(Author's Note: Normally it would be a thirteenth floor but I don't think thirteen floors would look like a nice house.)

I peered out of the car's window and gazed at the mansions flashing by.

" Right here!" Mother cried out cheerfully.

Dad turned and parked the car in a cobblestone driveway. All three of us, including the movers, stared up and up.

" Are you sure there are supposed to be four floors?" Lily, my sister, said nervously. " In Japanese, 'four' means 'death.'" I shivered despite the fact it was warm and sunny.

" Rider!" Mom called. " You coming!"

I hurried up the stone walk and up to the front door with my family. The wooden door creaked as Dad shoved it open. The movers carried in our stuff and left quickly. A bit too quickly. (Why does it always seem like the new families always move into haunted homes?)

Mom and Dad began to put everything in place.

Lily and I left the living room and went to explore the rest of the . We climbed to the second floor and peeped into the bedrooms. Lily claimed the one with a window facing the front of the house.

" Why don't you look at the others and see if you want one of those?" I suggested. I personally wanted a room on the third floor and I did not want to be alone on one of the floors.

She shrugged and followed me to the third landing. The stairs groaned beneath our weight as we ascended. We arrived to be greeted by a mess of cobwebs.

" Dad!" I yelled, listening to the echoes of my voice.

" What!" he yelled back.

" How long has it been since someone lived here!"

" I dunno! Probably about thirty years or so!"

Lily's and my mouth fell open. No wonder there were cobwebs everywhere!

We opened the door to one of the rooms and saw a 'beautiful' view of the window of the next house. Lily opened it and peered out. At the same time, the boy, who lived next to us with his family, popped his head out.

" Hey!" he cried at Lily.

" Hey!" she cried to him. To me, she said, " Why didn't you tell me someone so cute lived next door!"

" Maybe because I didn't know?" I hissed back.

" What's your name!" he said. " I'm Jonathan!"

" I'm Lily!" she smiled.

" Hey dude!" he said to me.

I nodded and saw another boy behind him.

" John! D'you know where .are?" he stared at Lily and me.

" Say 'hi,' he's looking at you!" Lily whispered loudly to me.

At the same time, I heard the other boy squeak, " Who's that!"

" Hello to you too!" I muttered, sarcastically. Why did I feel a strange connection to him when I had never seen him before? That thought was soon forgotten.

" Hey! This is my cousin, Aaron!" he leaned in. Aaron was asking him something.

" Aaron wants to know what your name is!" he yelled at me. Aaron blushed beet red.

" My little sister! She's Rider!" Lily said.

" I'm not that little," I muttered. " I'm at least fourteen. Hi," I said to him.

Aaron turned away.

" Why don't you come over!" Jonathan admonished.

Lily thundered down the stairs and hurriedly said to Mom and Dad, " Going next door. Bye!"

On the way she hissed, " I claim that room!"

I shrugged and saw Jonathan and Aaron waiting.

" Hey!" Lily said.

Jonathan put on a smile, and nudged Aaron. Aaron gaped at us, not paying any attention to his older cousin.

" Dude, it's not polite to stare," I said.

He looked away, blushing. Jonathan led us to his backyard and under a huge tree. He and Lily hit it off, chattering. Aaron would look up now and then, before blushing and picking at the grass. It was growing dark. Lily was reluctant to leave.

" Remember! Tonight!" Lily said.

I waved bye and then Aaron slipped a piece of paper in my hand. I crunched it up and stuffed it in my pocket.

After a dinner of cold sandwiches, Lily made her way to her bedroom and mine was next to it. I had a room that faced the backyard. I sat on the bed and pulled the note from my pocket. It read in Aaron's untidy scrawl:

Meet me in the backyard under the tree tonight at seven.


I looked at the clock-fifteen minutes. I shrugged and went to Lily's room. She didn't notice me open the door. I sat in the hall, watching. A thin curtain was placed over the window and a bright light was shining on it. My only guess was that Jonathan was watching through his window. I witnessed as my sister pulled off her shorts and T-shirt. I did not want to stick around; I gasped as I figured it out. Though he wasn't watching directly, he was watching her shadow. Ugh. What would happen the next night? I chanced a look at the clock and saw I had to go to their yard.

I entered the grounds and saw Aaron waiting under the tree. Moonlight dappled through the spaces in the branches, but his face was still in shadow. I sat across from him.

" You gave me a note?" I said.

He hesitated, then said boldly, " Yes, I did."

" Well?"

He grasped both of my hands with his own; it was a bit gross because they were sweaty.

" I-I-I like you," he stuttered.

" What?" my ears were betraying me.

" Actually I don't like you."

That sounded better.

" I love you."

That didn't sound right at all.

" What!" I cried and tried to wrestle away from his grip.

He grasped my hands tighter, refusing to release me. " I loved you, ever since I saw you."

" You have?" I unsuccessfully tried to get away. " But you haven't seen me until a few hours ago."

" Yes, I know," he whispered huskily.

A chill went down my spine. Something was going to happen, I felt it. Right now, I wish I hadn't been there. I wished I was else where-anywhere but there.

Aaron leaned in and kissed me. I've been kissed before, but it wasn't something like this-not even close to this. Before I could say a word, he was kissing me with such intensity. I couldn't leave; his hands still gripped my own. He broke away to breathe, then leaned back in to capture my lips again. He leaned in farther and I fell back, him still kissing me. He lay on top of me. I never figured a guy could weigh this heavy.

I couldn't force him off. I frantically searched the ground and my hand connected with a leafy branch. I lashed it out across his back. He cried out in pain and I seized the opportunity to escape. I scrambled over the fence, skinning my knee in the process. I slammed the back door shut and tried to catch my breath.

I ran up to my room (and it took awhile, it being on the third floor.) I thumped by Lily's room and locked the door in my bedroom. I flopped into the desk chair and then dared to look out the window. I watched as Aaron, still stunned, gathered up his things along with my shirt and pulled them back on before entering his own home.

" Hey," Lily rapped on the door. " Let me in."

I pulled it open and she sat on the bed. She tended to my scrape and then said, " What happened?"

" Please don't tell mom OR dad!" I pleaded.

She nodded. I explained.

" I thought he only wanted to talk. I didn't think he wanted to make out," I finished.

Lily was actually quiet. Of all the other times, she only said something like, " Go Rider!" or " Lover Girl!" NOW she is quiet.

" We should tell mom and dad," she said finally.

I shook my head. " I was going to sock him until he had all sorts of bruises. Or just hide from him."

" You have to face Aaron sometime," Lily tapped me on the shoulder gently.

I sighed. " I guess."

She socked me. " Hey!" I cried.

We ran up the stairs to the fourth floor. There, we stopped. A strange humming had revealed itself and a scream echoed throughout the floor. It wasn't heard earlier in the day. Terrified, we thundered down the stairs and stayed in my room the entire night.

I went into Lily's room the next morning and discovered she was in the backyard. She was talking to Jonathan, Aaron standing behind him. I scowled at Aaron and he motioned me to sit down. I sighed and obeyed. I met him in our backyard this time, under the protective cover of the weeping willow in our yard. Lily gave me an encouraging smile then returned her attention to Jonathan.

" What?" I said, crossly. I studied his face in the dappled sunlight instead of shadow.

" I didn't mean to make out with you," Aaron stated. " I really didn't."

I said nothing.

" I really, really like you, Rider," Aaron clasped my hands in his. " I really do love you."

" To make out me?"

" Okay, so that was a little extreme." I raised my eyebrows. "Okay a lot!"

I sighed. " It's okay. Just don't try it again."

He looked at me then leaned in. He kissed me gently, his hand letting go of mine to caress my hair. It was okay, but it didn't feel right. The answer came to me in a flash. I didn't even like this boy. So, why was I letting him kiss me?

Sensing that I was not going to resist, he kissed me more deeply, more passionately. I had not thought for a minute to respond. Not even when his tongue took a stab in my mouth; I jerked away.

" Dude!" I cried.

He said nothing and attempted to kiss me again. I tried to back away but I was too busy to notice that somehow in the kissing, our hands became entwined. I unraveled our fingers and stood.

" Yeah," I said, loudly. " Nice talking to you."

I chanced a quick peck on his cheek. He turned his head so that our lips met instead. He looked at me longingly, pulled away and ran, leaving me stunned. I fell to the ground, dazed, a weird feeling in my stomach. I had that feeling all day. Then, as I lay in bed, it hit me. I was beginning to like Aaron! I was beginning to like Aaron? Ugh. I buried my head under my pillow and blankets, the thought ringing throughout my head.

" Hell you doing here!" I cried in the morning.