Important! Please read!

Hey guys! I've finally updated! I'm so sorry it took six months to update, but this chapter is filled with juicy tidbits! (at least it was juicy to me)

I'm really really sorry it's been so long. But (as always) I have a good reason! Just listen and then you'll understand!

Last year, on the month of June, I found out we were going to Canada...for good. was really hard for me, being in my last year of high school and all. I became depressed and moped around fora fewmonths. (and of course, that included losing interest in my stories.)

I had to pack, say goodbye to my friends, and all that. Then when I arrived here in Canada on September...I got depressed even more. No friends, new school, new world. I had to adjust to my new school, had to find friends. (It was so strange! You had to change blocks! In the Philippines, we stay in one class and the TEACHERS move!) Now my life has become more stable, and thus, my long overdue chapter is finally out!

I'm so sorry again!

TO Refresh Yourself: Before you read the following below, please click back to the chapter before and read the completesummary ofch 10-15(it's pretty complete) found in the upper part of chapter 16. Recommended for those who forgot the good parts of the story!

And now this is the CH16summary, the chapter before this:


(ALex is the made up name the McIntyre's told Christopher in ch8.) CHRISTOPHER'S POV :

This time I'll make sure she can't curse her way out. Nor will my parents or William be there to rescue poor old her.

There will be just me and a very much appealing confrontation. And the first thing I'm going to squeeze out of her is her real name.

I was beginning to detest the name 'Alex'.

Alex is nice. Alex is such fun to be with.

Alex knows everything. Try and get along with Alex

Alex isn't so bad. Alex loves ice cream.

Alex is this and Alex is that. Alex is perfect.

I snorted. Right. I just bet she is.

The faster she disappears, the better.

Then Terry explicitly tells Alissa she can't show up on her date with Greg after receiving the threat letter. In typical Alissa behavior, she doesn't listen.

Okay, fine. To be frank, I'll admit there isn't anything between Greg and me. Nil, nothing. Zippo.

At least, not yet.

And that is basically why I had to not miss this date with him! He's my only chance at experiencing the blissfully ecstatic happiness I could only glimpse on television!

Today is the day I'm going to profess my undying devotion to him, my One and Only, my Prince Charming, my Knight in Shining Armor… – and once we've officially become an item and he starts doting on me and everything, Terry will realize that I was right and she was wrong.

SO with the help of Matt, Alissa sneaks out of the house to meet up with Greg. She thought everytihng was going perfect.

Just imagine you're the cup…imagine you're the cup… I chanted to myself as I stared at his mouth touching the lucky coffee cup. Imagine that's your lips connecting with his…Yes, there it is. It's touching! It's touching!

I sighed, slumping over my seat. How utterly pathetic. I should stop day thinking about kisses. Thy're bad for my well-being.

When will he ever make a move to kiss me? When, oh, cursed miserable life, WHEN?

"Is that okay with you, Chrissy?"

"Huh…what?" I smiled sheepishly, my face instantly flushing. "I'm sorry. I was thinking." Of you, you adorable hunk! I'm thinking of YOU!

He chuckled. "I was asking if you'd like to take a walk."

"Where?" I unconsciously leaned forward from my seat. A walk to your car? A walk to your house? A walk to your ROOM?

"I'm not sure. But…" He looked around. "It's getting pretty crowded here. I just thought that maybe we could…walk around."


"Around?" I repeated weakly. "Oh, okay. That's fine with me."

William tries to find Alissa in the house, but can't because we know she's not there.

"If you're looking for her, she's not here." Chris answered calmly, cutting straight to the chase. "That's what you wanted to ask, isn't it?" He shot Will a cool stare that made him go unintentionally red. "You're hopeless. I can't believe you'd fall for someone so sadly undesirable."

It took William but a moment to take in that the guy in front of him was complimenting him.

For his lack of taste.

"I do not 'fall' for anyone. Least of all a girl." He gritted out. "Besides, I came to see her because I wanted to- to…" He was groping for an appropriate term when Chris finished it for him.

"You came to see her because you wanted to see her. I think we both understand that." Christopher closed his eyes once more. "She went out...on a date, if I'm not mistaken. Maybe you should ask the servants for extra information."

Alissa meets Uncle Henry's secretary in the middle of her supposed date.

"I…ah- I…" The child was having a hard time speaking, and she kept fiddling with her fingers while her eyes were zooming about, as if searching for someone.

"Are you lost?" I smiled gently at her.


I saw a slender brunette step towards us. Her hair was neatly pulled back and she seemed to be in her late thirties. "Where have you been?" Mild concern and relief clearly rang from her voice.

"Do you know her, ma'am?" I asked politely.

She turned to me, as if noticing for the first time, surprise widening her dark eyes.

"Yes. She's my niece." She took out her hand and we shook hands. "You are Alissa, am I right?"

I stepped back involuntarily. "How did you know? Do I know you?"

"Oh, I'm Loenne, Mr. Chapman's secretary." She laughed. "I apologize if I scared you. I'm on vacation right now." She glanced at me quizzically. "You live in New York with him, if I remember correctly. Are you on vacation as well?"

I shrugged, careful to keep my answer evasive. "Sort of."

The little girl looked ready to cry as she gazed between the two of us. "I want to go home." She demanded, her chin quivering.

Loenne sighed and I wasn't sure, but I caught her shooting the child an irritated glare. It was gone as soon as it came.

"It was nice meeting you. I'm sure we'll meet again someday." She told me somewhat reluctantly.

Then, her date didn't end as she expected...

"I like you." The words flew out of my mouth before I could stop. "I like you more than a friend."

His face registered little surprise, as if he had been expecting some kind of admission all along. "Chrissy, you're a wonderful girl."

He leaned towards me and gave me a small smile. My heart began to beat faster and louder. It felt like my stomach was doing triple summersaults inside.

"It's only that…"

His voice lowered into a whisper.

"Yes?" I asked breathlessly. What is it? Are you ready to confess?

"I already like someone else."

NowTHAT hurt Alissa a lot.

"No…No…" It was like a chant that I had to repeat over and over again. I didn't know where I was going. I didn't care. I was only aware of the pain.

My heart. It was crying.

She goes home and accidentally falls asleep in Christopher's room.

Christopher walked into his own room an hour later and nearly stopped dead in his tracks. He wasn't planning on knowing how it happened, but there was a most pleasant surprise. Apparently waiting for him.

Well, well, well…

He leaned on the doorway, smirking as he gazed at the body lying on his bed.

What have we here?

He had planned on somehow trapping 'Alex' into his room for their long-awaited confrontation, but it looked like there was no need after all.

The girl obviously came on her own free will.

Then they had a very long talk, with the talk ending up with Alissa confessing being a girl, Chris not believing, and Alissa being kicked out of his room with a threat.

"Enjoy your last few days here," He flashed me a warm smile…then it turned disturbingly cold. "Because that's only how long you'll last."

I gaped at the remote control, and then at him as he slammed the door again. What did he mean by…that's only how long I'll last?

That's it! Now you know what's going on. lol (But if I were you, I'd go to chapter sixteen and reread the last part again. The part where Chris find out Alissa's in his roomup tothe end of the ch. It's just so funny! And you'll see how much animosity there is between Chris and Alissa, so you won't get confused in the continuing chapter below.) But maybe that's just me...because I wrote it and all.

Okay, now that is officially it! You can read CH17 now!

Not What It Seems

Ch17 The Various Attempts (of Chris, especially)

I frowned as I sat in front of my expensive glass desk, staring at my homework but not really concentrating. I raised my well-chewed pencil to my lips.

Forget trigonometry. I thought critically as I nibbled the eraser top. I have to worry about Christopher. What's he planning?

Exactly one whole day had passed since he threatened me, and I still couldn't rub his words off. It was stamped on my head, on my brain, like some pesky storm cloud that wouldn't disappear.

"Enjoy your last few days here, because that's only how long you'll last."

I rapped my head reproachfully. What is wrong with me?

Am I nervous? Of what? Him?

I snorted. For all I know, he was just carrying out empty threats. He must be.

He didn't do anything strange this morning. He didn't even talk to me.

I nodded to myself. Of course I'm right. When haven't I been?

Late that night, as I was getting ready for bed, I opened the door and took a precautionary peek.

Nothing. No firecrackers, no smelly garbage. No anything.

I closed the door and let out a sigh of relief mixed with reproof. What was I expecting? A bomb?

I unconsciously swaggered towards my bed and crawled into it confidently.

Tomorrow will be like any normal day. He's all talk and no act. Who's scared of who?


"Alex?" Mrs. McIntyre asked after taking a dainty sip from the green-tinted bowl the Asian chef called his 'Eight Treasures' soup.

I looked up from my dinner plate.

"How was school today?" she inquired pleasantly.

I shrugged. "It was okay."

"Did you have fun?" Matt quipped in.

"Well, not-…" I started to say, but almost froze in surprise when Christopher 's familiar voice smoothly cut in.

"You don't have to ask that, Matt. Of course he had fun." He took a bite of lamp chop. "Everyone in Xavier Academy is rich and snobbish. Not to mention plastic. I'm sure he relates fairly well with them."

My spoon clattered to the plate and I didn't even notice.

Mr. McIntyre coughed out his vegetables from mortified shock and had to cover his mouth with his napkin. "Christopher," he warned when he finally reclaimed his bearings. "That was not the nicest thing you could have said."

"It wasn't?" He glanced at his father innocently and then at me, his eyes hardening slightly. "Funny, I could have sworn I was giving a compliment." Then he calmly began eating again.


"Hey, Matt?" I called out while I wandered down the first floor. "Where are you?"

He appeared a second later, carrying a plastic bag filled with toy cars. "Hi! Why did you call me?"

"I…uhh…" It frustrated me that I had no choice except to stick to him, but Terry was out. These days, her visits to her 'supervisor' were becoming suspiciously frequent. I had absolutely no inkling why. But that always left me alone in this big lonely mansion.

I bent my knees so I could face Matt eye to eye. "Would you like to play toy cars with me?" I asked nicely. Usually, I don't like playing with kids. Do I even look like I still play?

But that was all I could offer so he'd keep me company. The way my day was going, a few more hours of boredom and I'd probably collapse from brain failure.

Strictly speaking though, right now, just thinking of spewing out engine sounds with my mouth while I race around with a small car clutched in my fingers is making me strangely, inexplicably excited.

I blinked. You see? That line of thought is proof! That's what happens when a teenage girl is left alone with only a six year old kid to pass time.

"Matt, want to play toy cars with me?" I repeated hopefully.

He shook his head. "I can't. I made big brother promise to connect my new Hot Wheels racetrack today. He's up in my room now."


"You can help if you want." He offered, albeit a little nervously.

He was making amends, the sweet kid. He's probably sorry that his brother was born a nasty pig. Maybe I'll accept his invitation.

"But I'm not sure Christopher would want you there. He doesn't like you like I do. He might get upset." He told me carefully, his face down. His voice lowered when he came to the last part. "I wish you to come, but I don't think he does. Maybe… maybe you shouldn't help."

On second thought, who needs a bullied kid and his bullying brother?

I forced a smile, but all that came out was a grimace. "It's alright. I don't feel like playing cars anyway."


I stared at the pile of books the housekeeper was carrying along the hall. Were those…?

"Wait! Excuse me!" I hurriedly followed her just as she was about to enter the elevator. "Mrs. Barton!"

She swiveled around, her portly face splitting into a cheery smile. "Hello. Do you need something?"

"Um…" I scratched my head awkwardly and pointed to her load. "I was just wondering why you have my school books."

"Oh." She registered honest surprise. "These are yours? I was going to throw them away."

"B-but why?" I stammered. "I didn't tell you to do that."

"I'm very sorry." She handed the books to me. "Christopher found them scattered around the study. He told me to get rid of them."

"Please don't get upset." She immediately soothed when she saw my features contort into rage. "I don't think he knew they belonged to you. I'm sure he would never have ordered me to if he did. He's so nice. It's just not like him."

The jerk.


I did a double take when I saw a servant walk by carrying something. I wasn't going to let Christopher get the best of me again.

When all she had in her arms was a huge pile clothes, I felt my spirits settle down for a quiet respite.

These few days had been havoc in hell for me. My temper never had time to cool off. Something just had to happen. And all of them were his doing. I couldn't prove any of it to his parents…but it was all him. Yesterday, I got pushed into the pool AND got locked out of the house for three hours. Oh, and I musn't forget. My homework got shredded by 'mysterious' dogs. The funny thing was, the dogs didn't leave any remains behind. Hahaha. So much for it being shredded.

Tthe worst part of it all was that I had promised Terry I wouldn't fight back. She threatened to quit and leave me to my demise. (Actually it was the silent 'I'll tell Mrs. McIntyre about your secret ice cream stash' that did the trick. Crafty witch.)

I'm rethinking my promise though. I was beginning to lose it. One of these days I just might do something. Burn his room down. Choke him with a banana. I don't know yet.

But I will do something about this.

I headed to my room tiredly and shut the door hard.

I threw myself back first into the bed with a weary sigh, looking around as was my usual habit.

Everything seemed to be in place.

I closed my eyes for a peaceful moment, my mind wandering about with no firm thought.

Today, my room feels so much cleaner.

I instantly sat up, bewildered. I jumped off my bed and began to look at my surroundings harder. The dirty laundry usually on the floor was...

All the blood drained from my face.

No! Please, no. I scrambled to my closet and flung it open. Empty. I flung open the other next to it. Empty. All of it.

It was empty.

I rushed out of my room and ran. I was madly across the hall and down two steep flights of stairs. I rushed into the main kitchen and out again in a blurry frenzy, stamping frantically around the house harassing everyone until I saw the servant who walked past earlier.

I took her by the shoulders and shook her.

"Y-yes?" She squeaked softly, her eyes wide with fright.

My eyes were wide too. Feverishly wide.

"Where is it?" I demanded with a hoarse whisper.

"What…do you mean?" She quivered.

"My clothes. Where are my clothes?" I was too dazed to raise my voice. It came out a croak.

"Clothes…?" She took a step back, her composure recovered. A light of understanding dawned on her young face. "You mean the rags Christopher told me to burn?"

BURN the rags?

"You burned my clothes?" I repeated weakly, my color becoming even paler. "How could you?"

"I apologize." She kept bowing down. "I did not know."

"Wasn't anything left? Why didn't you leave some behind?" I was becoming hysterical. "Not even one shirt?"

"I didn't burn them." she supplied quickly. "Mrs. Barton didn't want the backyard to smell."

My clothes...all gone.

She recurred again when there was no reaction in the eyes that stared blankly at her, "I said I didn't burn them."

As if in slow motion, I blinked twice. I wheezed out a puff of air and then gradually sagged down along with my body. "Thank god." I murmured with profound relief. For a moment there, I believed I was a goner.

Uncle Henry bought me those clothes. I thought I had lost them.

I looked up at the waiting servant. "Put them back into my closet right now."

She bowed once more. "I apologize again. I will clean them first."

"Why?" I asked suspiciously.

"I shoved them down the garbage chute."


I shivered. It's so cold. I crouched down to shovel through a big heap of frozen meat.

Where is it? I rubbed my arms a few times before continuing my search. I know I hid it somewhere behind here.

I pushed aside a hanging carcass of cold dead pig. I could barely breathe right from the freezing temperature, but still I rummaged about.

Someone grunted edgily from behind. I rose quickly and turned around, my face frozen with guilt. "I…ah…"

The cook was standing in the entrance of the walk-in freezer, his spindly arms crossed.

He was the mean Chinese one. I cursed my luck. I should have come when the nice Frenchie was still here.

"What are you doing?" he snapped in his thick accent.

"I'm trying to…find something," I answered somewhat lamely.

His chinky eyes narrowed into little slits. "What? I can help you."

I bit my lip. This was embarrassing. "Did you happen to stumble on…"

"On what?"

"Chocolate ice cream." Amazingly, I still felt myself go red despite the subzero degree. "I remember I buried it under a stack of steaks."

Where else could I hide it? Mrs. McIntyre still hated seeing me eat it.

"This is no place to put ice cream," He informed me with a deep frown. "This freezer is only for cold cuts. Ice cream is not here anymore."

"You found it?" I asked him meekly. "Do you know where it is?"

"No. I was not the one who found it." He gazed at me with dislike. "That Christopher did. He took it out."

I gaped, temporarily becoming unconscious of the cold. "He ate it?"

"Maybe. I do not know. Just do not store ice cream here. It ruins the meat." He turned and walked out stiffly.

I clenched my fists. Why does it all come down to him every time? I've had enough.

I bore everything else because I-…I don't know. I did steal his identity. That's not really a plus on the conscience part.

And, of course, Terry endangered my ice cream stash. But now there wasn't anything left to endanger. He took all two gallons and five pints of it away.

Therefore, I refuse to play the abused role anymore!

Ice cream was the single thing that kept me floating. Chocolate ice cream was my drug. It was my coke, my pill, my ecstasy. It was the only drug in the face of earth that wasn't illegal.

And now that he messed with my beloved 'it', he was going to accept the consequences!

I stalked out of the freezer angrily, brutally pushing the sleeves of my shirt up. He was going to pay.

Literally. And damn if it isn't with interest.

"I already told you before." Christopher explained into the phone with a hint of impatience. "Merria, we're done."

"But you don't understand." her voice pleaded though the line.

He listened for a moment. "I saw it." He cut in coolly. "Nothing's going to change that."

"You don't understand." she repeated desperately. "I can explain."

"Are we going to go through this-…" Chris was saying listlessly. He didn't get to finish. Someone chose to storm into his room at that very fine time- someone who lacked the manners to knock first.

"Later." Without much regret, he put the phone down. He didn't wait for Merria to utter her goodbye.

There was one thing, among many others, that he couldn't stand. People intruding his privacy.

Alissa stood in the doorway with her hands splayed on her hips, her legs apart, and her chin jutting out in a slight show of defiance. She was wearing her usual fashion of baggy clothes that made her look ridiculously like some under-sized stick.

"What do you want?" he inquired icily.

"Where's my ice cream?" she demanded in that impossibly low voice her earring was warping her natural one into.

"Oh, that?" Christopher shrugged. "I ate it."

"All two gallons and five pints?" Her eyebrows shot up incredulously. "You must really hate me to eat that much."

"Are you crazy? You think I'd eat all that for you?" he retorted with surprising strength. He looked down for a moment. "If you must know, I gave most of it to the servants. They liked it more than I did."

"Servants?" she echoed. "How could you waste them that way? Those were Breyers!"

"Is that what you came here for? Your ice cream? It's gone." He graced her with a perfectly crisp smile. "You can go now."

"I'm not moving until I get what I want."

"And what is that?"

"Reparation for damages." She looked smug. "I'll settle for cash."

"Not that much. Only five hundred bucks," she quickly cut in before he could interrupt. "Two hundred for the ice cream. Another two for the psychological injuries you've been inflicting. The last one hundred is for miscellaneous stuff." She paused. "You know, like pushing me into the pool and hogging Matt to yourself."

"Well, now the true colors are showing." He leaned back into the grey-backed cushion of his computer swivel chair. "Bloomed a little bit behind than I hoped for…but don't worry. You haven't disappointed me yet."

"Are you mocking me?" She gave a snooty huff and managed the almost impossible task of looking down on him from ten feet afar. "I don't care to hear your answer. It's either you cough up or your parents will know everything you've done to me."

He would never concede to anyone, but he had come to admire her stamina…somewhat grudgingly, of course. Under ordinary circumstances, normal girls would have given up by now. Needless to say, she was anything but. Even he would acknowledge to that.

"Five hundred? Is that all?" He let the words slip lazily out of his mouth.

It was just too bad. He despised the kind of people who'd take drastic measures- and that included cross dressing- for the sake of money.

Did he have to point out who?

"Five hundred? Is that all?"

No, that's not all. I'd also like to chop you up into little chunky pieces and bury you seven feet under the ground, but then I figured I'd end up in jail for MURDERING you!

I took in a shallow breath, keeping my haughty expression on.

"Why?" I imitated a sarcastic coo. "Is that too small for you? Why not make it a grand then?"

He deliberately pivoted in his swivel chair, as if thinking. "I don't have that much. How about this instead?" He slowly stopped his turning to look at me. "You step out of my room and maybe, just maybe…" His emerald orbs twinkled none too pleasantly. "I might give you five dollars."

"Five dollars?" I repeated in disbelief. "No way. I'm demanding for five hundred."

"And if I don't agree?" He sneered. "What then? You'll run off to my parents?"

"Yes!" I hesitated for a moment. Was it only me or did he twist the question into making me sound chicken?

Never mind. I don't care. Do I give the impression that I care?

"You twisted the question!" I accused him angrily. "You made my answer seem cowardly!"

"I asked and you answered. You did it to yourself." He crossed his arms and leaned back on the chair. "The bottom point is you won't get what you came here for. If I were you, I'd leave."

"Are we going through this again?" I cried exasperatedly. "I already told you I don't want your family's money!

"What I meant was," he enunciated, "you won't get what you came into my room for."


I flared up. "I want the five hundred! You owe me that much for all the mean things you did to me!"

He was lower than dog manure! How could he just take an innocent girl's ice cream away and not pay her back?

His gaze flickered over me aloofly. "If you really want the money, why don't you ask William? With the way you've been at him, I'm sure he'd gladly oblige."

There goes the insinuation again. Where does he find the nerve to fling offending insults out like that? I haven't trusted William enough to even willingly come close to him these past few days, much less speak with him.

"You're always implying that I'm seducing him!" I snapped indignantly. "How would you know? Why? Do you spy on me? Can you see through walls?"

For once, he couldn't answer.

"If you have no plans of paying up, you don't have to involve other people. Why don't you just say you won't give me the money and end there?"

Her outburst stunned him. He had thought she would deny it, but she didn't. At least not in that sort of way.

For the shortest fraction of a millisecond, he gave in to a nugget of doubt. Had I assumed wrongly from the start?

But what if this was all an act?

His expression hardened. The idea wasn't too far to be preposterous. In fact, it was too logical not to consider.

"All right. Maybe you really have no malicious intentions towards him."

"I don't," she responded calmly.

"Then I'll have to listen to your suggestion." His voice was indifferent, but there was a smirk lurking. "I'll just say I won't give you the money and end there."

She became angry all over again.

There were shouts for a brief period of time, all hers. He didn't think it would end soon, because she only seemed to burn more and more with every careless comment he made, but it did.

She suddenly stopped, her eyes still glittering brightly with an emotion he could unmask all too well. "You pig! I just knew you wouldn't pay me!"

"Then why did you bother to ask?"

"It's only five hundred dollars!" she yelled furiously. "It's not like I could buy anything good with it!"

"That's why you should accept the five dollars I'm offering." There was that smirk again. "At least you can still afford a box of ice cream."

She gave a strangled cry of vexation and snatched the nearest object she could reach. "I hate you! I hope you rot in hell!" She hurled it at him forcefully before storming out of his room.

He flinched, expecting to take a hit. Then he stared at the wrecked clock that landed near his feet.

It had missed his face by an inch.

"Have you thought this over carefully? The McIntyres won't be pleased when they hear this." Terry reminded me as I hauled two suitcases down the sidewalk. She was standing beside me, her own bags on the ground. Matt stood in the sidelines quietly, taking in the whole scene.

I snubbed her.

"Are you really sure about this?"


She tried again, her forehead wrinkled with worry. "Are you sure you won't change your mind?"

I'm dragging my luggage around! I screamed inwardly. What do you think?

I finally turned to look at her. "If I say I'm not sure, will you let me kick him in the groin?"

"No." Terry shook her head as if to emphasis. "You can't do that to Christopher."

"Then what's the use of asking?" I snapped angrily, pointing at the five-story house in front of me. "If I stay there one more day, my so-called 'killers' won't have to do their job. I would've already committed suicide!"

She sighed, but a smile played at her lips. "Fine. Don't say I didn't try." She lifted her own bags with effortless ease and began to walk ahead. I started pulling my heavy suitcases again and scowled at her back. If it was so easy for her to carry her things, why wasn't she helping me? She's supposed to be my bodyguard!

I grumbled and continued tugging as Matt followed slowly behind.

His solemn voice abruptly sliced the still air. "You say you hate my brother. Does that mean you hate me too?"

"Of course not." I answered automatically, concentrating more on making it to the other side of the street with my hefty baggage.

"Are you sure?"

I stifled a moan. What is up with 'are you sure-s' today? It's beginning to irritate me.

"Yes, I'm sure." I turned my head to face him. "If you want, you can accompany us to William's house."

Matt nodded immediately, his fears relieved.

Will didn't know we were going to stay there yet, but I was certain he wouldn't mind. Even if he did, I wasn't in the mood to give him a choice. That was where I was crashing tonight and that was that. Period.

I was so occupied with lugging my suitcases that I bumped into Terry 's rear. I didn't notice she had stopped.

"What's wrong?" I asked impatiently.

"Don't you hear something?" She whispered softly, her eyes trained on the empty street we were about to cross.

I strained my ears and was about to give up when the faint sound of a rumbling engine became perceptible.

"It's just a car." I dismissed it with a wave and started to lug my belongings again. Her hand caught on my arm firmly to halt me.

"What is it now?"

"Step back and stay where you are." She cautioned, her wary eyes still focused on the road.

We waited until the car came into view- Terry 's grip on me unconsciously tightened- and then it whizzed past us and disappeared.

I rolled my eyes. "Okay. Did something happen?"

She released her hold on me and visibly relaxed.

"Give yourself a break, Terry. This isn't the first time you acted like that. You keep doing that and people might think you're creepy."

She shrugged. "It always pays to be sure."

I laughed. "Whatever."

It took a few minutes before I was officially standing on the right side of the street. Another minute more and we were in front of the metal gates of the Roukes. William's domain. At last.

This was a friendly posh neighborhood, so no harsh guards were waiting to shoo us away.

We had succeeded in shoving it open to a substantial space enough for us to get inside when Matt, who was waiting meekly on the pavement, suddenly jumped in excitement.

"Do you see that? Do you see that?" He kept saying as he stretched his neck to peer out into the street.

I jogged towards him with Terry not far behind. "Is Christopher running after us?"

A flutter of, impossible...a flutter of triumph, of...of gloating, tingled down my spine. Was he sorry already?

Hmm...I knew he would eventually sink to his knees. Just didn't think it'd only take an hour or two.

Unfortunately, Matt shook his head. "I see a red motorcycle. It's still blurry, but I think it's a Harley!" Motorcycles were rare events in his young life. He scuttled out into the middle of the street, his eyes wide with delight.

Bad-boy motorcycles were unusual for me too. I tried to join him, but Terry gripped my arm again.

"What is your problem?" I snapped in a huff and twisted myself free. I ran to Matt before she could stop me.

I squinted hard. "I don't think it's a Harley, Matt. It looks like a Yamaha."

"Is that a good brand?" he asked.

Both our eyes were still on the incoming rider.

"I don't know, but I think it's from Japan." When the motorcycle came into clearer sight, I edged Matt back a little so the biker would have some room to pass by.

A second later and I edged him a little more.

Maybe it was only my imagination, but the motorcycle was sidling close to the left part of the street.

Our part.

It could have been just a precaution, a product of Terry 's endless safety measures, but I shoved Matt and myself to the sidewalk. When the motorcycle moved even closer to the left, its front wheel centered straight at us from fifteen feet away, the certainty of my suspicion blew up into a thousand sure pieces and left me frozen with fear.

I couldn't believe it. He wants to hit me.

"Run, Alissa!" Terry's sudden scream pierced through the fog of terror shrouding my mind. "RUN!"

And I ran.

I really did run. I ran towards Terry. I ran, but my legs were shaking so much. I ran, but I could feel myself trembling. My arms were outstretched, quivering, as the loud roaring of the engine seemed to engulf my entire senses. The noise was deafening.

I risked a look at the motorcycle. God.

I shut my eyes hard, my footsteps slowing down. I didn't know I why I stopped, but I did. I felt numb all over.

He was near. He was going to hit me.

Only one thought crossed my mind that moment. Running wasn't enough, but I did try.

I heard Matt scream.

My eyes flew open and I saw Terry's colorless face. I saw her hands reach for mine. It was too late.

Terry watched on in horror as Alissa turned to look at the motorcycle shooting towards her.

Every drop of blood drained from her face when she saw Alissa came to a slow halt and silently close her eyes.

Out of instinct, she didn't wait for the foolish girl to recover. Terry sprinted the remaining distance and flung her hands out to reach for her. Shecaught her cold wrists and pulled her back just as the biker zoomed past the spot where she was before.

Alissa stared at her with a blank glassy expression. There wasn't much time. TheYamaha had skidded and turned around for another attempt.

Terry hesitated only for a tiny second before slapping Alissa's face hard. "Come on, get a grip on yourself!"

I don't care who I hurt. He drew the brakes and skidded on the gravel, whirling around to face the strangers again. I was paid in full and that's all that matters.

The letter said it wasn't important who he injured. Just as long as he gets the message through.

His eyes narrowed inside the dark helmet he wore as he watched a little boy run across the street. And I'm sure as hell breaking this kid's bones will get the message through.

I didn't know how long I had been in a daze, but the sharp jolt of Terry 's slap woke me into reality.

"Go!" she ordered, a trace of panic in her voice as she jerked me in the direction of William's house. "Go inside and hide!"

I was going to nod and follow her instructions. That was what my mind was telling me to. But right then, I saw what Terry hadn't. Matt.

He was running towards us. The stupid boy couldn't even go and get help. Then my frantic gaze shifted to the motorcycle as it vroomed. The rider's head was low; he was ready to crash and destroy.

And he was aiming for Matt.

I didn't understand how it happened, but something inside me gave way. Common sense snapped and I was sprinting for the boy. My legs no longer shook. Every footfall was solid and determined. This time it wasn't my life I had to save; it was someone else's.

Terry's wild yell was the last sound I heard before everything around me died out. I remembered lunging for the boy and pushing him back. I remembered feeling the blinding, painful sensation as the burning tire collided with my lower body. I remembered thinking it was better that I take the blow because it had been meant for me.

Then I didn't remember anymore.

End of Chapter


Actually, I'm just playing with you. It isn't really the end of the chapter. This is just a little 'break'.

Got you there, huh? Hahaha.

Did you feel the suspense? Or was it a total flop? I want answers! (If you don't review me what you think, I'll make sure I won't add any more parts like the one I just did.)

That…err…wasn't a threat. (cough-cough- It-cough-cough-was-cough)

Don't forget; tell me later, okay?

"I told you you were way over the line, but you didn't listen." Lance leaned forward smugly. "So what are you going do now?"

"I don't know." Christopher sighed, traces of guilt hovering on his tired face. "I had no idea she was telling the truth."

"Maybe you should just get yourself knocked up by a vehicle too," his friend suggested. "That way, you can save yourself from groveling."

Chris pretended he didn't hear the remark. "I just thought-…I mean, there was no way her story could've been real."

"But it was real."

"I know."

"You made her life miserable and now you find out she didn't deserve it all along. Ironic, huh?"

"I didn't make her life miserable," was the defensive reply. "It was already miserable before I came."

"Oh sure. Lay all the blame on her. It's entirely her fault she got pushed into the pool two days ago."

"If she hadn't been standing there, I would never have-…"

"And that she almost got her clothes burned."

Okay. He'd concede to that.

"Or that she was run into by a motorcycle."

And that was…

That was a direct hit. It was his fault that she got hurt. But it was still partly her fault. Why? She didn't try hard enough to make him believe. She wasn't good at explaining, and she wasn't good at convincing people either. It just wasn't… right...that they were blaming him for his reaction.

"I think you should apologize to her." Lance said.

Yes, I should. But...The nearest Chris could bring himself to agree out loud was to say, "How?"

"You could bring her flowers to start."

"She might hurl it back to my face." He finally smiled, faint but present nonetheless. "Do you know she threw a clock at me?"

"Do you acknowledge that you, as Alissa's appointed protection, are being held accountable for letting her out of McIntyre ground without measurable safety precautions?" her supervisor asked grimly.

Terry nodded solemnly. "I do, sir."

"So you are officially accepting the full responsibility of the accident?"

"I-…" She glanced away briefly. "Yes, I am."

"You are aware that, with what you've just answered, you could be permanently dismissed from this assignment and abstained from anyone who has to do with it, including Alissa herself?"

"I have given this matter great consideration." She clutched her fingers rigidly. "Maybe it will be better if someone with more experience take it from here."

Her supervisor blinked, the only sign of surprise in his impassive face. "Are you sure about this?"

Terry nodded, her eyes lowered. "Yes, sir."

I'm sorry, Alissa. Forgive me for not being able to do anything.

"It's broken."


Mrs. Barton, the housekeeper, kept in an impatient huff. "I think it's broken. You shouldn't move around if I were you. The doctor is on the way."

"It's not broken." I declared as she carefully set fluffy pillows around me. I had regained consciousness in the elevator somewhere between first and second floor, but that didn't stop them from carrying me to my room like some sick invalid.

"It's not broken." I repeated uncomfortably.

"Isn't it?" She gently prodded my right leg, now swollen and ugly.

I nearly jumped from the pain. "It's-…Ouch! Stop touching it!"

She gave me a pitying look before exiting the room.

"It just hurts, that's all. It's not broken." I said, more to myself than anyone in particular.

It couldn't be broken. Broken meant I wouldn't be able to walk. And when I can't walk, I can't run either. I have to be able to run when they try to kill me again. I just have to.

I took a deep breathe before sitting up. It was scary to be in that position again. Getting hit and knowing you couldn't stop it. The guy didn't kill me. Why didn't he? He had the perfect chance.

My legs have to be alright…I have to flee from the next attempt.

I slowly, cautiously, swung my legs to the side of the bed. I flinched when my wounded leg collided with my other one.

No matter how much it hurts, I was going to prove to that housekeeper that my leg wasn't broken.

Gradually, I let my uninjured left leg firmly touched the floor, and I stood up on one foot. Now it was my right foot's turn. As gently as I could, I straightened it and let it land carefully on the carpeted floor.

I stood there for a second. Nothing happened.

"See?" I said to my empty bedroom. "I knew it wasn't broken."

How would you know? A small voice inside me challenged. You're not actually standing on it. You're just pretending to. You're standing on your good leg.

I was not! I was only letting it rest for a moment because it wasn't ready yet.

I closed my eyes and took a step using my injured leg.

All at once, the throbbing in my head began to pound. Excruciating pain filled my leg and snaked up to my whole body. I felt like being hit all over again. My right leg buckled and collapsed. I swayed to the side hard, and my head smacked into the bedpost.

In a moment, it was all over. I crumpledto the floor, unconscious once more.

"Don't touch her."

"What's your problem? I'm only looking."

A soft gentle stroke on my forehead made me stir from my sleep. I opened my eyes and blinked. Everything around me seemed to be blurry.

"Didn't I just tell you not to touch her?"

"I'm so sorry. I did touch her, and I think it killed her."

I blinked a few more times. William was standing near me, his head to Christopher, who was sitting across the bed.

My throat was parched and dry, and my body felt as if it had just gone through a fifty-mile race.

I tried to sit up, the silk sheets rustling in response, and they both simultaneously turned to me.

"See what I've done? I woke her up with my murderous touch," Will said smugly.

What were they doing here? How long had I been asleep?

Christopher stood up, somehow looking concerned. Maybe I was hallucinating.

The hallucination strode towards me and spoke. "How do you feel right now?"

I raised my hand to my throat and whispered. "Need water…"

Will immediately straightened, since he was near enough to hear, and winked. "Wait here. I'll be back with a glass of the most sparkling refreshing cold water you've ever had."

I managed a rough giggle.

When William had left, I didn't know what else to do. Christopher looked like he didn't want to be there, and I was sure I didn't want him there either.

If I could talk properly, I would have told him to leave.

As it was, I could only glare at him accusingly.

He didn't say anything. And he was acting strange. I didn't know what was up, but he was definitely acting strange.

If you were Christopher and you were standing at the foot of the bed doing nothing but stare at the floor, wouldn't you agree you were acting strange?

Finally, he looked up at me. Our eyes met for a silent moment, his emerald ones uneasy and mine wary.

"I want you to know," he said slowly. "That I'm really sorry for not believing you."


He was apologizing to me? Hah! I suddenly wanted to gloat. To laugh right at his face with scorn, but…I tried…and my throat was too dry to make any sound louder than a whisper.

'Go to hell! You're saying this after, what? After I've been hit? You can go eat your sorry!' I attempted to convey my thoughts through my facial expression. It worked.

He shuffled uncomfortably, but still he held my gaze. "I know it's my fault you got hit."

Damn right!

"And if I hadn't pushed you out like I did, I might not be here looking at you sit there hurt and helpless." I heard him add, "For the first time." under his breathe. He smiled slightly at his own comment.

How could he be making fun of me even now? I hate him so much!

"Get…out…" I managed to say, more than a little angry.

His smile disappeared, and he solemnly motioned to the right with his head. "I can't blame you for detesting me, and I really don't have a choice if you want to kick me out of yourroom. But before you do, you should at least look at what I brought you." He blinked, and there was a glimmer of amusement dancing in his eyes again. "As a sign of good will. And also as peace offering."

Bring what as peace offering? Where?

My eyebrows shot up questioningly.

"It's on your bedside table."

I turned to the right and saw a big bouquet of white roses. I stared motionless for a moment.

He was giving me flowers. My first bunch of flowers, and it turned out to be from him. And it was white too! Of all the colors!

White? I wanted to say out loud. You brought me white roses? Do you know when people give white roses? Right. When someone dies. Do I look dead to you?

Or is that a roundabout way of telling me you want me to die?

I couldn't help it. I glared at him again.

He didn't seem to understand, but he knew well enough that I wasn't exactly pleased.

"That's not the only thing I'm offering." He strode to my mini refrigerator and took out something. When he returned with it in hand, I stared motionless for a moment the second time. But now, it was a goodkind ofstare.

I just couldn't believe it. He was holding Häagen-Dazs ice cream.

My mouth began to water. (Unwillingly, just so you know.)

Unfortunately, Christopher was keen on my reaction. He had this smug look back on once more. "So…you accept peace?"

No, I do not! How could he think that I would forget everything he ever did to me with just one box of stupid ice cream? Even if it is chocolate!

I held out my hand expectantly. Give it to me…

He shook his head. "Tell me you accept it first."

Never. You'll never hear me say it!

I pointed to my throat, and then held my hands out again.

"You can still speak. You just told me to get out, remember?" He patted it temptingly. "I'm sure you can manage for this."

What? How dare he try bargaining with me! I am not the kind of girl who verbally agrees to peace!

I shot him an impatient look, but conceded by nodding my head vigorously. See? This is to peace.

I held out my hands to receive the ice cream.

He made a small grunting noise, and his face momentarily distracted me. He was as good-looking as usual, but it was that grin of his that caught my attention. It wasn't forced or mocking. In fact, he seemed to be…enjoying himself in my company.

Another strange thing, because he never does.

"You're smiling," Christopher whispered after a few seconds, his gaze becoming serious. "Does this mean you don't hate me anymore?"

Was I?

My hand slowly inched towards my mouth. Yes, I guess I was.

I couldn't help it. I smiled wider.

He took a step closer until he was beside my bed, never breaking eye contact. "Alissa, I…" He slowly sat on the edge of the mattress. "I have something to tell you…"

Whatever he was about to say was cut off when the door opened and William stepped in. He was carrying a glass full of water that he immediately passed to my greedy hands.

I drank it leisurely, my eyes darting to and fro both guys, then suddenly drawn to the small figure standing near the door.

A child with very proper barrettes on her shoulder-length hair, looking no more than twelve, was staring at me without tact. A strange little girl who was…

Well, actually, I didn't know who she was.

"Oh, I forgot." Will exclaimed, when he saw me peering suspiciously at her. "Alissa, I want you to meet Kelly. "

The girl nodded solemnly at me.

I nodded back, and then continued sipping my water.

From the corner of my eye, I could see Chris was distinctly uncomfortable. Earlier, his emerald eyes were glued to mine, unable to look anywhere else. Now, he was trying not to catch my gaze. And, bizarrely, he wasn't glancing at the kid either.

I was becoming curious. It couldn't be his sister. Or his relative, for that matter. The girl had blonde hair and blue eyes. He was dark-haired. So who was this kid that was making Chris act all queasy?

I wanted to ask, but it wasn't in my place to.

I mean, Will could have introduced her to me, but he didn't. That shows he wanted her to remain anonymous. I shouldn't poke my nose into it.

Well...I did try to sound polite. 'Try' being the active verb. "Okay. Who are you?"

She smiled, showing very even white teeth. "I'm Kelly. I think William already mentioned that."


She glanced at Will for a fraction of a second. Then, calmly, she said, "I'm you new bodyguard."

Everything was going wrong. I suddenly couldn't move.

"What did you say?" I had goosebumps crawling over my skin. Where was Terry?

They all started speaking over each other.

"You see, Terry had to drop the mission..."

"She was the one who decided not to..."

"Kelly's not as young as she looks. She's already twelve..."

"Shut up, Will. Can't you see Alissa is..."

"I'm not talking to you, Chris. Butt out of the..."

I closed my eyes. I wanted to cover myself and go back to sleep.

The girl spoke up again. "Don't worry about Terry. You won't miss her that much."


"Don't you think we bear some resemblance?" she continued.

I opened my eyes to look at her.

"I'm her sister."


"You can pretend I'm her, you know. I'm just five inches shorter."


She started scratching her head uncomfortably. "We can do all the things you guys used to do together. It'll be the same. You won't even notice the difference!"

How could Terry bail on me? Especially now that I almost got killed?

"Many people say I'm just like her. Sometimes I even talk like she does."

Oh, was that supposed to make me feel better?

I looked away and shut my eyes . I don't think so.

End of Chapter

(Now, I'm serious)

SO how was it? Maybe my writing has gone rusty on me...

Please tell me what you guys think! Please read and review! I'll thank you so much afterwards! Sorry this update took so long. I won't pretend to think all of you guys are still interested in the story. (I mean, after 6 months?) But I am still hoping you guys are!

I haven't thought of the next chapter yet so suggestions and general inquiry are welcome! lol. And if there's a good suggestion out there, I just might be inspired to write it out and post the ch upearlier than if I had to think of a thousand plots first!

Anyway, Greg is kind of set aside for the moment now. hehehe... So for those who didn't like him that much included...(a huge sigh of relief.)

And about William being a suspect. Hmm...I refuse to comment on that. lol

Pls R/R! Pls. R/R! Pls R/R!

I'll try very very very hard to put the next ch up fast if you do! hehehe