CHAPTER 9

Trouble, Tash, and Awful Truth.

I wanted you to know I love the way you laugh
I wanna hold you high and steal your pain away
I keep your photograph; I know it serves me well
I wanna hold you high and steal your pain

"Broken" by Seether featuring Amy Lee.

Nice girls don't make history.

I am proud to say I was a handful when I was younger. In fact, most people think I was more than a handful, but I assure you, they exaggerate. They also say I put Calvin and Hobbes to shame with the misdemeanors I got up to. Again, I assure you, they exaggerate. I was nothing like Calvin or Hobbes. I did not have a stuffed tiger. I did, however, have a stuffed cat, that people thought I was obsessed with.

Well, there again is the problem, you see? People use the word 'obsessed', while I prefer the word 'life long companion'.

Sly's been there for me since I was just a kid.

Sly's full name is Sylvester- from Looney tunes. Because he was bought at a Looney tunes store. And I've loved Sly ever since.

Yes, the cat's name is 'Sly'. What? I can't name my stuffed toy? No, I don't think its odd for me to have a cat called 'Sly' who is stuffed. He used to get me out of a lot of trouble.

For instance that time when my dad's boss called up when I was about six.

"Hello?"

"Hello." I responded whispering.

"Is your father there?"

"Yes." I said, still whispering.

"Can I speak with him?"

"No."

"Is your mother there?"

"Yes."

"May I speak with her then?"

"No."

"Well is there anyone around who is an adult?" I guess he was getting pretty exasperated and wanted to talk to at least some adult. Probably not wanting to talk to some little kid who obviously had voice issues. Or something else that he wanted to avoid entirely.

"Yes." I answered, "A policeman."

"A policeman! What's the police doing there?" He sounded really worried and this was really going to crack me up.

"He's talking to father and mother and the firemen." I mumbled in my muffled voice.

"Firemen! What's that sound!" he was getting really paranoid now as he heard the sound of a chopper buzzing behind me.

"A hellocoper that brought the search team." I was grinning ear to ear by now...this was really funny.

"A search team?! Who are they looking for!" (Ooooh boy was he having a cow or what!)

I gave a giggle as I whispered back, "Me."

You see, my mom had told my dad about this joke a while ago, something called 'Why parents go Gray' while I was eaves dropping on them and I had really wanted to try it out on the next person who decided to call my parents on something important.

My dad did not get sacked, I swear to god I would have been put up for adoption if he had, but he did not luckily for me. Anyway, the whole family refused to speak to me for a week though. I had Sly to talk to so I didn't need any of them talking to me anyway.

You see, Sly, unlike most people, just sat there and listened...and didn't respond back unlike most people.

I was, hence, not a very easy kid to control. It wasn't all Sly's fault but having him around did not help me either.

I do not like to be pushed. But as I grew older, I learnt to live in my parameters and boundaries that seemed to be tightening around my neck like a noose as we went along with the years. Soon I was being restricted to having mostly female friends and achieving perfect grades so that I could make a good match when I grew older. My father wanted me to pursue an MBA so that when he arranged my marriage it would be suitable for the boy.

It took me a while to convince him that I wanted my masters in Literature and Graphics, not in what he wanted.

Basically, I was a commodity to be sold to the best possible man.

That's the way things functioned in the stricter families in India. And that's the way things functioned in my house.

And god damn it, with how this cheerleader thing was going, it looked like this was the way things worked around here as well.

I hate the system.

I've just bucked it for the first time to fall into another trap? With Alexander of all people?! And Jenna did this to me!?

She was supposed to be one of my only friends in this god forsaken place!

My brain was hurting now. I was thinking too much. Lex was pacing around me still going on and on in his tirade as to how on earth I had got cultivated by that bastard and what he would do to him when he saw him (The scenario was going to be very messy the way he described it...I would hate to be Alexander at that point.)and I was thinking. Again.

What was Alexander playing at? What was wrong with Jenna's thought process that she suddenly thought me cheerleader material? Why was this happening to me? Why couldn't I have smaller feet? Why was Chad Michael Murray getting married? Why wasn't Denzel Washington fifteen years younger? Why-

Okay, okay...I'll stop! But they're relevant questions you know!

Anyway, looking at Lex, I sighed and mumbled, "Look, it was raining, and he offered me a lift to Jenna's place, that's all. Things got out of hand, he was...really sorry about it."

"You don't know Alexander Jefferson too well, do you?" Lex gave a short laugh that made me shudder. It wasn't like him to laugh in that way...that cold, chilling way that was reserved for the ghosts in really good horror movies.

"Come here." he took my hand and said quietly, "I am going to take you to my house, don't scream, okay?"

God, what did he take me for anyway? A hysterical, crying baby?

"You dope, Jenna gave me some pepper spray, okay?" I said, remembering, "I'm not scared of much now."

But he looked a little uncertain now as he took my hand and led me to his house.

It looked exactly like mine on the outside. Then I noticed him remove a key and open the door. Strange. It was a saturday...was no one home from his family?

"What's up?" I asked softly as he opened the door, "Don't you think your parents would mind you bringing a girl over to your place when you're all alone in the house?"

"Nah." he shook his head firmly, "Mom's probably at work."

He shoved his hands firmly into his pockets, and led me into quite an elegant house...except it was all dark. The halway led to the kitchen ahead of me, and the drawing room was to the left. In the hallway was a set of wooden steps in parquet leading upwards. Actually the whole house's flooring was in deep chestnut parquet.

I loved wooden floors...they made everything so cozy.

Apparently, Crash did too as he went charging into the house and then skidding into the kitchen.

Lex and I laughed watching him.

His house was done up in blacks and whites, eloquently...there was a modern feel to it. I reached out to touch the comfortable white sofa in the drawing room as he took me to the kitchen. Lex noticed my spellbound look and smiled. "Mom's an interior decorater. She's one of the best."

Before I could stop myself, I asked him softly, "What about your dad?"

He tensed and I bit my tongue the minute I asked the question. I was such a dumbass!

"My dad left us three years ago. I live here with mom, and at times her boyfriend Andrew comes around to visit. I hate the fucker."

Oh, God. Why did I ask?

I stood there, tongue tied for a moment as he grabbed a coke and chucked it to me over the top of the fridge. He had this unreadable expression on his face as he popped the top of his own coke.

Way to go on the prying kiddo!

"Ergh! I'm guilty enough! Let it go will you?"

Uh uh. I'm storing this up in the special cringe worthy section so I can torment you.

"I am going to get the devil's pitchfork and poke you wit it, I swear."

Go ahead and try. He'll laugh in your face just like I am. Ha-ha.

"You are a five year old in disguise."

Nuh uh!

"Rita! Earth to Rita! Quick question, if you please?" asked Lex, obviously trying to get through to me for a while "Hello?" He waved his arms in front of me.

"Yes, Lex. Please stop being a drama queen and ask me what you want to ask." I sighed as I looked at him.

"I am not a drama queen! I'm a drama king!" he said scowling, as he took a swig of his coke.

"Hah."

"And what the hell does that mean?" Oh, pissing him off was so much fun.

"Nothing, just ask your question," I said grinning, blowing a flick of my hair out of my face as I took a small sip of my chilled coke. Something as simple as that made me content for a while. I sat on a stool in his kitchen, Crash slurping up water somewhere close by then coming and putting his head on my knee, as I looked at Lex quizzically, patting Crash's soft head.

"Well...it strikes me as odd...someone who is as independant as you would...fuck, just give into something a prep says." he said softly looking directly as me, as he leaned on the counter. It was almost as if he was looking through me, despite the fact that I hadn't really answered yet.

I sighed, and shook my head. He didn't understand this, and nor did anyone else. "Okay. Look Lex..." I began, "It's a good question, for sure, and I know I come across to you as a paradox. The thing is..." my mouth was suddenly dry as it dawned on me as I was explaining to him, "the thing is, I am so used to doing what everyone else tells me to do, I've got that syndrome...the make-everyone-happy-around-me syndrome. Jenna was just so bloody keen on my joining the squad, she would have been heartbroken if I said no. That's one of her flaws. If things don't go her way, she takes them really seriously as an insult to her. And my flaw is..." I sighed, "I just don't know how to say 'no'."

Lex snorted at this, and I looked up to glare at him, as Crash whimpered at him at about the same time.

"It didn't occur to me you were such a push over, and just faking being independant."

Oh, he did not just call me a faker...he just called me a faker! I was in shock for about two minutes staring at him. He smirked back at me, twirling the can of coke annoyingly around on his finger without spinning any.

Woah...that fucking- "THAT IS BLOODY IT! I'M LEAVING!" I yelled, rage overcoming me, how dare he? I hated posers! I hated fakers, now he was accusing me of being one of them?

He got up immediately, and barred my way from stomping across the hall.

"No, you're not going anywhere until you listen to what I have to tell you."

He took my wrist and I winced, he was really grasping it way too hard. He took me up the wooden stairs and to the attic...except...the attic wasn't really an attic. It was a warm, cosy room, big enough for plenty of people, because it was a large attic for a house like this. His bed was in one corner, a beautiful teak bed, and more wooden flooring all around. A computer was in his room as well as plenty of bobs and bits from that beautiful garage thing he had built for his bikes below. On one side there was a huge table with a number of drawings scattered all over them, mostly of various bikes...

Amazing...he even painted and created his own designs...that, in itself was incredibly impressive, as I studied the collage that covered the wall of his bed of many machines.

He, however, dragged me to the bed, and sat me down. Then he pulled up a chair for himself.

"Look, Rita. This thing that happened with Alexander...you aren't the first girl."

"Yes, I gathered that when you screamed it." I said, rubbing my wrist in irritation.

Lex ignored me but took my wrist in his hand again before I rubbed my skin off. His fingers rested gently on my wrist, as though feeling for a pulse point.

"Listen to me, okay? I'm worried. He's after you, then he won't stop until he has you."

I scoffed, "Lex, he apologized profusely to me, believe it or not. It wasn't supposed to happen like it did and he stopped, I promise you."

"That's what Tash had said." he sighed softly and looked away from me...looked anywhere but at me.

I didn't ask any questions. Again, it wasn't that I was not curious. I just didn't want to push him. I hated it when people pushed me into telling them something, and I guessed he was the same. My parents were constantly pushing me to share all with them, but I learnt very early on in life that they tended to use it as ammunition, when ever they yelled at me.

That was one of the reasons for a rift between us.

I looked up and instead of finding a ceiling, I saw that he had a big window built into the roof that reflected the sky perfectly. At this moment, the sun was too bright and I was guessing this wasn't one of his brighter ideas...how on earth did one sleep in the afternoon on this bed?

"I don't sleep there in the afternoons."

I was startled by this very accurate reading of my thoughts.

Turning, I looked at him. He was watching me very carefully as I studied the glass cieling he had set up for himself. But he didn't look amused by my observation as he always did, with twinkling sea god eyes and a smirk playing on the corners of his mouth.

Instead, he looked sad. Almost tired.

"I like looking at the sky at night. That's why it's there."

It wasn't something I expected from him...and yet, after seeing his artistic flair in his accurate, proportionate drawings of the bikes he was designing, as well as the liberal colours he had used to air brush them convinced me he was one for deep contemplation.

And patience.

Art took a great deal of patience. And he had to have possessed a reserve of it to have created those beautiful pieces lying on his desk. I was itching to go and take a better look at them, but he wasn't going to let me do any such thing until I listened to him I was guessing.

Sigh...men. Everything HAD to go their way, or no way at all.

"I'm gonna tell you something you can't repeat." It was almost taken for granted I would not repeat it, and anyway, I was always good at keeping secrets.

Um...skabab.

Anyway. Back to Lex.

He got up and walked towards his desk removing a picture from the drawer of the study table. Bringing the picture over, he placed it in my hands.

It was a sweet photograph. I recognized Lex's entire group there, they were all a bit younger...and a lot happier looking. Byron was there, with his Mohawk, a big grin and the girl with purple hair by his side. Lex was there with a guy with an eyebrow piercing and spiky hair, and a girl whom I had recognized as one always hanging around them with the pink and blue strands through her short hair. Another guy whom I recognised pretty well was there, a guy called Blade with pale skin, and eyes so dark they were black. He was lean and tall with jet black hair that fell elegantly over one eye, and his full, pink lower lip was adorned with a lip ring. There was Raven with his arm around a very pretty girl with long blonde hair that fell to her waist and a lovely smile that reached her...sea goddess eyes.

Eyes just like Lex's.

I looked up at him for a moment. "Is she your sister?"

He shook his head. "She's my cousin. But she used to live with me and my mom. Her name was Tash. Her parents died some time ago, so my mother decided to take her in."

There was no animation in his voice...none of his usual charm, none of his usual amusement. It made me sad as well.

"We were all great. Tash fitted into our group as soon as we made it to high school, even though she was nothing like the rest of us. She was chirpy...bubbly. Just like Jenna. Everyone loved Tash. She was somewhat like the baby of our group. Raven, Byron, me and Cue really doted on her." he pointed Cue out. He was the guy with the eyebrow piercing and the spiky hair. Then he pointed to the girl with the liberal purple streaks in her hair, extraordinary violet eyes... and a pierced lip. She was the bar tender who had made me that great Bloody Mary at 'Blood Lust'.

"That's Violet. And the girl with the pink and blue streaks is Dolce." I looked at him quizzically. "Well, her dad gave her that name anyway. None of us know why."

There was something very sullen about her...her smile from her mouth did not quite reach her eyes, and that disturbed me. She looked unhappy, more actually discontent and her blue eyes reflected this unhappiness and discontent.

"Tash, Dolce and Violet were really close. We were all really close. And back then, most of us mingled with Alexander's lot. All of us had a blast partying together, and shit like that. It was great. Whilst they weren't our closest friends, they were friends and we had no problems at all with each other. In fact, Raven and I used to hang with Derrick and Miguel a lot."

He shook his head. "Everything was great all through our freshman year and sophomore year...and then, Junior year started. With it, came the fights. Alexander began to really dislike Raven, because he was coming up as a pretty powerful student body authority in school. On top of that, Raven was dating Tash at the time. She was a cheerleader and she would have become head cheerleader this year actually, she was that good. And she was that good looking as well. Alexander had had a thing for Tash for a while...and she just wouldn't respond to him. It was all a big joke to us at the time, the way he would moon over her in front of us...he made it seem like it was a joke. We didn't know Alexander was taking everything that seriously."

Lex got up now and walked away from me, giving me the odd feeling that he couldn't look at me anymore...it felt strange...because usually it was me who hid my emotions from him.

"The girls started fighting as well, mostly because of Triona siding up with Alexander everywhere he went and being really jealous of Tash - both because Alexander liked her, and because she was a threat to her winning captaincy of the squad. Jenna and Miguel were the only two people who didn't bother fighting with anyone. They usually played mediators or prevented the fights, somehow." Although his voice was not emitting any sort of emotion, I was able to picture the entire thing in my head.

It was becoming a pretty gruesome picture too.

"Anyway, on Tash's birthday, Alexander decided to get even with all of us. Particularly at Raven through his weakest point. Tash. At the time of the prom, Raven was pretty much in love with Tash and Tash was really into him as well. They were easily the best couple going around in all spheres. They were also the best people to hang out with because they made everyone around them comfortable."

He slowly walked back and sat on the chair again, taking the picture from my hands. "We decided to throw a party for Tash on her birthday. Mostly a surprise one organised at 'Blood Lust' by Raven, but I think she did know about it. Alexander was the one who was supposed to pick her up and bring her there. None of us suspected the reason he could have jumped to that particular duty was something else entirely. So he took off over to her place about fifteen minutes to the party to bring her over. Raven would have done it himself, but he was too busy with the organisation, I was buying out the alcohol and the food at the time, given how much I procrastinate so Alexander got the go ahead from all of us. Mom wasn't around either...so she couldn't drop Tash off."

Taking it all in, I could only guess what happened next, and if it was what I believed it was, then I was truly horrified. His voice was breaking as he spoke the next few words.

"That was probably the last time were were together as a group. We waited two hours for Alexander and Tash to arrive. But they were nowhere. Soon, getting worried something had happened to them, we all piled into our cars and took the party over to my place, here. Only to find an ambulance parked on the street and two police cars. People were gathered around the house and you'd think a murder had taken place there."

My throat went completely dry and suddenly I was really scared.

"Then...then they carried Tash out." his eyes closed and he placed his head in his hands. "They carried her out...and she was all bruised...and beaten so badly that we could barely recognise her. I remember all of us freezing, and then Violet and Jenna both screaming as they put Tash into the hospital. We kept asking the cops what had happened and finally, one cop gave us answers. That she was raped. Repeatedly. Then beaten up so badly that she was almost on the brink of death."

That shocked me completely, scaring me beyond measure...a girl he was so close to, literally his sister...treated like that. No wonder Lex was so protective. I understood now...and I regretted most of the things I had said before to him.

He looked up again, this time, hatred in his eyes blazing away. "Alexander showed up some time later, and when we asked him where he was, he said his car had got smashed up, and that he had walked over here only to find Tash like this. He said he was the one who had dialed 911 and that he looked everywhere for the guy who had done this to her. We knew it was a lie, he had a cell phone and could have called one of us to pick him up...particularly with the scratches I could make out all over his arms and neck. Raven pounced on him, and there was a really messy fight between them, which when anyone of us intervened only got sucked into."

I reached over to touch his hand, slipping it into his. Seeing and feeling my hand seemed to have calmed him because he murmured, "That night split us all into half. One half on Raven's and Tash's, the other on Alexander's. Miguel, Jenna, Derrick, Triona, Melanie and Chris knew Alexander so long that they refused to believe he had done something like this. The rest of us believed Raven, and because Raven barely ever makes a mistake in his killer instinct. Dolce, Byron, Cue, Violet, Blade and I took Raven's side because we believed Alexander was a culprit. And there was proof enough for it. But Alexander Jefferson had a rich family. He did become a suspect but was let off because of 'lack of evidence'. Basically, his family bought off everyone."

Lex flexed his powerful hands...staring at them with disgust...such disgust that it made me hurt even more for him "A few days after they let him go, I caught a hold of him behind the football benches and beat him to pulp. I was so...angry...I wanted him to feel what Tash had. To sense what Tash had when he hurt her...But it was nothing. It didn't help anyone. Least of all mom...Jefferson's parents were pissed off at me and had me in jail for a couple of days. They couldn't do more than that because they hadn't got any witness. But they persecuted mom."

He shoved his face into his hands and rubbed it violently, "She worked in a top notch law firm at the time. She was one of their best lawyers. But the Jeffersons literally owned the place. So they handed her the pink slip. No fucking reason for it either. It broke her heart...and she had to give up everything she had worked for and takea bit of the savings she had to do a course in interior decoration. She's fine now...but I know she misses her old job. Those bastards didn't even give her a recommendation or anything."

The truth was rarely pure...and never simple.

And right at that moment, the truth hit me like a ton of bricks. Why Lex was so protective about me...why Raven hated the lot I hung out with so much...why there was a division that clearly rearranged the two groups. It wasn't a clichéd group issue thing that you saw in the movies. This was the real world.

And reality sucked big time.

I was horrified and frightened all at once. And my heart ached for Lex, for Raven and for everyone involved in this ordeal. Especially Tash.

Particularly Tash.

For a moment, I was able to look at Lex in the face as he lifted his head. And I looked away again...uncomfortable seeing tears in his eyes. I wanted to hold him...but I was never very good at comforting...I was at a loss of words.

But seeing him like this...

I reached over timidly and touched his hand. His fingers first touched mine lightly, then gripped them.

There was so much need...so much hunger in his touch, that I couldn't help myself. I got up and closed the space between us, crawling into his lap. He buried his face in my shoulder, his arms clutching me as if I was his only lifeline.

Say something idiot! My lunatic brain was screaming at me...AGAIN!

"What can I possibly say in a situation like this?"

Comfort him!

"Oh, and I guess you are going to tell me how exactly I am going to do that?"

Sure! Just put...um...I mean, you could always...err...

"That's what I thought. Now shut it and butt out! I can handle this."

You said that when-

"Yes, I am well aware of when I said it last! Thank you!"

You're welcome.

"Sarcasm is completely wasted on you."

I shut my mind down ruthlessly as I realised his grip had loosened just a little and that his breathing was becoming more and more normal. Sitting on his lap was more comfortable than I had assumed earlier...in fact, I was beginning to wonder why I hadn't done this before.

I heard his voice then, coming to me from my shoulder.

"I wish I had done something, Rita...I could have helped have saved her...I didn't and I'm a weakling for it."

Suddenly, I found the words. They were fierce and almost as if coming from a different part of me.

"No Lex. You are NOT weak. You trusted someone just the way she trusted him. You all trusted him, and even I fell for his façade. Don't you dare blame yourself. I don't trust people easily...and yet he won my trust."

I could feel a single tear hit the skin of my shoulder, and I reached up gingerly to run my fingers through his hair, trying hard to soothe him. It appeared to be working...as his grip on me relaxed considerably.

Silence encased us completely, and a part of me was thinking, he was never going to forgive himself for crying in front of me. But I believe that it takes a strong man to accept his emotions the way Lex had in front of me. And something nudged me into believing he was only doing this in front of me. Outside, he was that nutcase everybody loved.

Then again, everybody was hurting around here.

"Will you do something for me?" he mumbled, his face in my long hair. I smiled gently. He was so vulnerable at this point, how could I refuse him anything?

"Sure...name it."

"Flash me?"

I swear to God...

"Lex you are INCORRIGIBLE!" I bellowed as I tried to jump off his lap. He held me hard and fast, laughing his butt off as I remained seated on his lap, fighting to stand up.

"Let go."

"No."

"Let GO!"

"NO!"

"Let me GO, Damn you!"

"I just want to take a peek at your tits, you know I think they are perfect!"

I stopped fighting him for a second as I said with much disdain, "This continues to stink. Let me GO, you...you...messy haired bastard!"

"You like my hair." he grinned, his face so close to mine, I could feel his breath on my skin...I wasn't entirely happy with the way he sent shivers down my spine with that deep breath.

"No I don't."

"You think its sexy. You said so yourself."

"I didn't!" I screeched, as he pulled me over him on the bed, where the tussle continued.

"Look, either way, your body is mine, so what you'll be showing me is really my own breasts. How can that possibly be a problem?"

As flattering as it was to have someone this attractive of the male species make claims on my body, he was getting very weird with this conversation.

"Lex, you are the most WARPED human being I know. And this conversation disturbs me."

"Awwww...I love it when you praise me Rita, you come up with the best flattery honestly."

"Lex-"

"Shut up and let me kiss you, for god sakes, woman."

This was growled and suddenly there were a pair of lips devouring mine. The change in his attitude had surprised me at first, but then I realised, that he had shared too much with me...too much he was uncomfortable with.

I let it go. Once again, I am not one to push...and for a while, I seriously wanted to forget what he told me...

It had scared me.

And a part of me felt sad, because Lex and I could never be the fun loving people we had been with each other as completely as we used to before.

So I let myself go...lost myself in his arms, and his mouth and his bitter sweet taste. There, on his bed, with his hands slowly making their way to my back, I felt him easily flip us over so I lay on top of him as his mouth searched mine eagerly.

It was as if he was trying to get rid of all the emotions the past few moments had raised.

And as much as I hated being used like that...I went along with it.

His hands began to reach for my waist again, and this time, in a single sweep, I felt them disappear under my t-shirt. His fingers gently began to run along the skin of my lower back, and as his lips plagued my own, my hands reached up to run through his hair.

Nipping again at my lower lip, I felt him suddenly speak. "You're not into it right now, are you?"

I gently kissed the curve of his neck. "No. Not really..."

"What's on your mind?" he whispered.

He was quiet for a few moments, and I dared to ask, softly. "What happened to Tash? Is she..."

"Is she alive?" he asked, bluntly. "Yes, she is alive."

I didn't ask any more questions. He looked shattered all over again, and I regretted asking him anything at all.

"She was institutionalized."


Little more serious chapter this time, but I am disappointed...I could have made the history more interesting. I had a lot of trouble brainstorming this.

Yes, I am aware you all want to kill me in painful ways for not updating, but cannot because you want to know what happens next...right? RIGHT? (Laughs manically). No, but seriously. College has just begun and we have classes from nine in the morning to six in the evening. Sometimes even longer, till ten. It's a professional course and so demanding...I'm really sorry about the lack of updates, but I haven't had a vacation at all to sit down and write. I'll try really hard to be better with my time guys, I promise I will!

Now to my fabulous, wonderful reviewers without whose support I am incomplete!

Sapna-Shanti: I understand totally. Am blown away by your honesty actually, and am glad you like the chapter for one. I understand where you are coming from on breaking the rules. I live in India, you see and I am exhausted of the supression that comes our way from both family and from men. You can't even walk the streets without someone eave teasing you! Anyway, I would love to talk some more to you. Write me at my email address.

Twinkle Star Bell: I totally love Lex as well...and as to how Xander could do that...well. I think this chapter reveals enough about him. LOL, here, take a chocolate sundae!

Aero Faerie Extraordinaire: Thankies! Thankies very much! New reviewer! Give reviewer new batch of choco chip cookies!

Negative Cation: I feel somewhat sorry for my poor girl as well. She seems to just get herself dragged into messes. Thankies for the review! I'll give a chocolate sundae for this one!

Hug a Tree: Choco chip cookie for the lovely review! PS. I love your name!

Kawaii Chibi Kitty Angel: LOL, love that spelling, and agree with it completely. LOVE THY REVIEWS! Take a sundae and enjoy!

Bob n Kazzi: Kazzie Kaz! Yes, I felt pretty awesome about that chapter, but not so much so about this one...so much revelation in one chapter makes me feel strangely empty...I guess I'm emphathising with my characters because there is even more revelation in the next chapter. Thanks babes for the great review!

(Smooches Bob back 'coz she loves him anyway.) Love you Bob, darling!

Joe: Love you Kaz! And yes, Alps and primates and twentyfive thousand babies! Or do you want more?

Iced-Faerie: Isn't he just adorable? I think his character is turning out to be a lot more sensitive than I had earlier imagined. LOL, Rita does need a vacation from her life...maybe I have another trick up my sleeve. ;) Have a chocolate sundae!

Kabocha: LOL, I love 'Brain Stew'...it totally applies for my insomnia. Thanks for the review! Here, have a cookie!

twistedFAerieTALes: I love choco bunnies too! Take a sundae for your review!

omaterluna: I love my sexy Lexy too! I love cliffhangers...they're awesome (evil grin)! Here's a chocolate sundae for the cool review! Thankies!

CayRae-SkySong: Thank you so much for your lovely words! Raven's going to be playing a bigger part from now on, so there is that to look forward to! Here, have a cookie!

living-out-a-sacrifice: Thank you for your review. I can see what you mean by character conflict...and I am glad you relate with Rita! Hopefully you'll like this chapter as well.

P: Here's your update! Thanks for the review!

CrazyPerson: I love confetti! Thanks for your review and hopefully, this chapter is likeable too...LOVE YOU and have a chocolate sundae!

SaNiA: Rita is way strong...and she is still suppressed, which is depressing. Her character keeps succumbing. She'll come to her own sooner or later. Yep, Alexander turned out to be a bastard. :( Lex is such a cutey pie isn't he? LOL, love you and here's a chocolate sundae for you!

authordream4life: Yay! Awesome review! I've started off on chapter ten as we speak so I hope I can update quickly! Here's a chocolate sundae for the cool review!

I'm Me For A Reason: Here's your update and sundae! And thank you for your review!

Whoregasmic: Thank you so much! Your reviews made my day! I'll try my best to keep up to standards with this chapter...I wish I had written it better though...do you like chocolate? Here's a sundae for you!

SkateForLife: Here's the update! I hope you like the background story...there's a lot more to come ahead, however...Here's an icecream sundae for you!

d2tspf: LOL, thanks for your awesome review...who doesn't love Lex...I know I can't resist him! :P Here's an ice cream sundae!

x X GOD- Is- Life X x: And this is what Alexander did the first time around...thanks for the awesome review! It made me feel like a million bucks, and here's an ice cream sundae!

This is a Heart Attack: Thank you! Your words are really a huge boost...I'm going to update faster from now on, at least...I'll try to. Here's a bag of cookies for you!

Adora Bell: LOL, thanks! I had actually intended this to be a total chick lit...instead it turned out to be a little more on social issues (Those will come later on) Hopefully, it will turn around to be a funny all around novel by the end of this! Here's your next chapter and here is a bag of cookies for your awesome review!

DeliciouslyAngelus: Here's the update with a bag of cookies to go with it! Thank you for your review!

Chel-Chang: Thank you so much! Here, have a cookie! In fact take a whole bag!

the value of the hypotemuse: LOL, now do you get why Lex is pissed? He has every right to be in my opinion...Crash is such a cutie, right? Thankies for the kind words! Have a sundae!

Lonely Forest: Rita's human. And she ha been suppressed an awfully long time...can you imagine trying to break out of a mold you are so used to? That's why Rita is yet to come to terms with her own reserves of strength. Anyway, thank you for your review and I appreciate the constructive criticism enormously! Thank you and have a sundae!

LilLaTLuv: Yay! Cool review and yes, we are at the enmity bit now...that's why this chapter is a little more serious. Anyway, thanks for the awesome review and here is the update! Take a sundae!

witchwriter: Haha! You have a strait jacket too! So much like me! Fictionpress is my reason too! And for the awesome review, take a sundae.

court-minstrel: LOL, and the pandemonium is yet to come. I don't think Lex can take it lying down twice. And here is the next chapter as promised! Love the review and heres a bag of cookies!

XxAmberRomancexX: Chocolate sundae, chocolate sundae! Love the review and hopefully you'll like this chapter as well!

Ck90: Haha! Yes, that should happen...he should have been killed when he did this the first time around but a lot of things go right if you have a family that can buy you the world. Thankies for the review and here's a chocolate sundae!

The Latest Plague: Oh yes it shows! Alexander should be slapped really hard though. Thankies for the lovely review! And here is a chocolate sundae for you!

Out-Spoken-Runaway: No way is Rita going to let it go! She's going to kick some ass...somehow. LOL, anyway, loads of background here...hope you will enjoy. Have a sundae (any flavour you like!) and thanks for the review!

Kelly : Now that's one review that makes me feel awesome. This story needs to be mega edited for sure and I'll get to that in some time...so far I'm just trying to construct it. I really appreciate the constructive criticism because I got an offer recently to publish this. Thankies for the review and here's a bag of cookies! I like feeding my reviewers!

rocky19: Thankies for the review! Take a bag of cookies!

AngelicScreams: Thank you so much! I feel amazing after reading your review, and I am so glad you enjoyed the story! Please do keep on reading! Here's a bag of cookies for you!

stained innocence13: LOL, sure...just gimme your details and I'll write you a part! And I totally wish I could find you a sex God like Lex...hell, I wish I could find myself a sex God like Lex...unfortunately, I have no such luck. :(. No matter...lets drown our sorrows in chocolate sundaes!

bananarama: LOL, I wish I could give him to you, but Rita would murder me! Thank you so much for your kind words and here, have a banana split!

codyismypup: Don't kill me! Here, here, take update, take update! There, kissing scene...happy? Happy? Happy? Muah! Love you babes, and here is a chocolate mud pie for you! Yummy!

Radhika: Okay, I wasn't planning on responding to be honest. Whilst I appreciate your words, I want you to know that I am an Indian girl, living in India. And I am also a Sikh to top it off. I KNOW suppression...I can't walk around in a sleeveless shirt for gods sakes because my family doesn't approve of it. My family IS orthodox in its views even though we have lived all over the world including America...hell, do you know at nineteen my mother was already married? And I have been told that is the way things should be for me as well? The other day in the newspaper, there was an article that read how women wearing a skirt are more liable to be raped, any woman in western clothes is labeled as easy and the ten rapes within the city are all because men were provoked into them. You say you're a concerned reader...then be concerned in this direction too. Thanks for your review, my dear and hopefully, you can understand where I'm coming from as well. The caveman attitude does not need any help from me...it does not get any worse than it already is.