AN: Hello all. Let me share with you a proverb I found that will be pertinent for the entirety of the story. "We must have reasons for speech but we need none for silence."

Buckle your seatbelts. It's going to be a wild ride.

Mum's the Word
Chapter One: Shenanigans

"Saying nothing… sometimes says the most." –Emily Dickinson, badass poet.

I can remember exactly when it started.

I should; I was the one who caused it after all.

It was July 21st, a week before my brother Jameson's birthday. I went on a hike in the mountains with no one but my three year-old golden retriever Shenanigans. I came back two days later.

I haven't talked to anyone since.

No, despite what you, my parents, teachers, and friends think, there is nothing wrong with me. Nothing happened during my hike. I didn't witness any heinous acts committed by some sadistic cult members while wandering the hillside. I wasn't abducted or taken captive that weekend by some strange vagabond and forced to do a number of questionable acts. I didn't have any problems or falling-outs with my friends. I haven't lost a loved one or someone close to me recently. In fact, the last time I even attended a funeral was when my Great Uncle Jeffrey died. I was seven.

I suppose that's why everyone's so confused. They're looking for an excuse or problem that they can blame my behavior on. That way they'll be able to fix me, label me, or at least push my "problem" to the back of their minds once they have it all nicely "figured out". Unfortunately for them, there's nothing wrong with me. I'm not broken, and I'm definitely in no need of fixing.

Sadly, my parents seem to think otherwise.

That's why I'm sitting here in the stereotypical psychiatrist's room complete with a leather sofa, pictures colored in crayons by appreciative patients, and an untouched box of Kleenex tissues. Nobody could see the humor in this situation. Not that I was doing this for laughs, although I'd discovered it came with its fair share, but I always had a talent, an aptitude if you will, for finding the funny side of any situation. The great Salma Hayek (yes, that's sarcasm) once said, "Life is tough, if you have the ability to laugh at it, you have the ability to enjoy it." She was right. I know a shocker, isn't it?

However, if there is one thing that I got from both my parents it's my stubborn and rather pig-headed attitude. That might be the reason they continue sending me here every other, yes, I said every other day, wasting their money. Honestly, if they thought I'd hang my head in resignation and give in that easily, they really must not know me at all. And we may not be poor, but we're not exactly rich either. By sending me There, they're practically shoveling their cash straight into an incinerator. I'm talking Do Not Pass Go Do Not Collect Two Hundred Dollars shoveling because frankly, I can do this for the rest of my life. Doesn't bother me one bit. I'm not gonna talk. I just don't want to. In the words of my inner two year-old, "I don't wanna, and you can't make me!" Add a stuck out tongue to that and sign me up for pre-school.

There was no hidden meaning behind it. I'm not trying to make a statement or anything. Nor is it a sign of teenage rebellion. I just feel like keeping my mouth shut. Is that such a crime? I really empathize with poor Forest Gump, no one believed him when he said he just felt like running. Well, I just feel like not talking. For how long, I don't know. Not forever, but I'm not going stop right now. Of course I didn't come out and say that (hello, vow of silence), but I really couldn't see how sitting in this shrink's office was going to change my mind. It wasn't like I was even pretending to listen to what she was saying. Funny, I thought they were just supposed to sit in their fancy chairs and nod perceptively and empathetically while I spilled my deepest, darkest secrets and all of my hidden desires in a fit of hysterics. Then, presumably, my family would come rushing in, we'd all have a group hug, and my life would be just swell. No more problems forevermore. Happily Ever After and all that jazz. Now time's up; fork over three-hundred dollars.

At least that's how I've seen it done on TV. This woman was practically down on hand and knee begging me to talk to her, to listen to her, to even acknowledge her. See, she really is a crackpot. A quack of the highest order. She probably downloaded her degree off the internet; I hear that they're getting surprisingly authentic looking nowadays. Maybe now my parents will realize how much of their money, and more importantly, my time that they're wasting…. Nah, not likely.

It must seriously be freaking them out though because we've even started going to church. Yes, that's right, The Parks are now attending Sunday Morning Mass, someone alert the authorities. My family's Catholic, always has been, but the last thing you could call us was pious. We haven't even gone to church on Christmas or Easter, otherwise known as the If-You-Don't-Go-To-Church-Now-Then-You've-Bought-Yourself-A-One-Way-Ticket-To-Hell days, for years. Since my "vow of silence" we're now the first family to walk through those great big doors of forgiveness every Sunday morning.

Personally, I think they're trying to put the fear of God in me. It might even be amusing if it wasn't so very frustrating. See, in a Catholic mass you couldn't even go to sleep properly. Whenever you were about to, it was time to stand up. Stand up. Sit down. Stand up. Sing a little ditty. Kneel down. Sit down. Bow your head and pray. All very ritualistic and very annoying. And it really does a number on your knees too. Not to mention all that incense. Blah. Kills your nose.

Sorry Mom and Dad, I'm not going to spill my guts to any kind, benevolent priests if that's what you were hoping. Oh well, Jameson needs to go to church anyway, and if this makes him go then I guess its okay. Perhaps the threat of Hell and eternal damnation will scare him out of his bad habits before we go back to school. I did notice him sitting up straighter with a guilty look on his face when Father Donovan talked about the evils of premarital sex last Sunday, so it might be working.

I guess I should explain things. Jameson's a first class womanizer. A pimp. A player. Insert any other term you like, but it still doesn't change the fact that whenever the girls get a look at his charmingly boyish face and cute little dimples, they go all servile on him. It's like they've never seen a hot guy before, which with the invention of television and digital cable is practically impossible. Their behavior is downright despicable and deeply offends my feminine morals. Honestly, did Women's Rights never happen? So the way I see it, I'm doing humanity a favor. One less philanderer roaming the streets at night. Gosh, I'm practically a saint. And you wonder why I'm the one forced to go to the psychiatrist? Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.

My thoughts stopped wandering when I uncrossed my legs (yeah, my thoughts wander a lot, so sue me). Gracious, my foot fell asleep. I don't know if you've ever had your foot fall asleep before, but if you have, back me up when I say that the only way to fix it is to walk it out. I think that's why I took the diminutive shrink, she was a squeaky little thing, by surprise when I stood up and walked right out the door. The poor thing, I think she honestly wants to help me, not just milk my desperate parents for all their worth like the rest of her ilk. It's too bad that Dr. What's-Her-Name had to be added to the growing list (it's getting extremely long now) of people who think there is something wrong with me. Shame, shame.

I strolled right out of her office and out the door all business-like. I've found that if you look like you know what you're doing people will, for the most part, leave you alone. I set off down the side of the road, heading straight for the downtown library. Like usual, I began musing about some random thought that popped into my head. More precisely, I was thinking about how when someone becomes blind or loses one of their senses their other senses improve to try and make up for the missing one. Like how blind people develop a more acute sense of hearing to help them get around. It's sort of like the movie I watched last night, Daredevil with Ben Afleckk and Jennifer Garner, minus the whole super hero thing.

Alas, this didn't seem to be the case for self-made mutes because if it was I totally could have avoided what came next with my super human hearing abilities.

Just as I was entering the library I collided with a boy carrying what looked like a mountain of books as tall as Kilimanjaro- a mountain of books that just fell smack on the floor. I quickly bent down to help pick up the multitude of books rethinking my previous conclusion that I was the biggest bookworm in the world. This guy did know that he only had two weeks to read these, right?

Stacking the diverse collection of books that ranged from topics of the life cycle of the Latrodectus tredecimguttatus (that's Mediterranean black widow spider to those of you deprived, benighted souls who didn't know) to second-rate mystery thrillers to the psychological and political ramifications of anarchy or something, I didn't really catch the title (boy this kid was weird) together I stood up, and looked straight into the expectant face of said weird kid.

He stood tapping his foot and shaking his thick dark brown hair, looking like he was quickly losing his patience. I honestly didn't know what he was looking at. The kid was interesting in a funny-looking kind of way. He appeared like he had some Italian blood in him if his coloring, nose, and hair had anything to do with it. He was short, an inch or two shorter than me, but upon closer examination I discovered he wasn't a kid at all. He was probably sixteen, seventeen if I pushed it, and had reading glasses resting on his nose and sunglasses perched on top of his head. Like I said, weird. He was dressed casually, but this was to be expected; as a rule, one usually doesn't visit the library dressed in their Sunday best. His t-shirt read something about FIFA at its finest, whatever that meant, and he was sporting soccer shorts that went a good three inches above his knees, not cool for a guy, and a pair of Tevas, thankfully sans tube-socks.

Apparently Mr. Tevas didn't have much of that patience left to lose. "Well, aren't you going to apologize?" he snapped. Interesting, I mused; he seemed to have a bit of an accent. I was right about the Italian.

A few seconds later when he realized he wasn't getting a response from me he continued, his cheeks coloring faintly, "I'm waiting," he tapped his foot. I raised one eyebrow at him, a look I had spent months perfecting- it really was harder than it looked, but totally worth it for the pissing off factor it held. Finally, he lost it. "Girl, are you deaf, dumb, or just stupid? Cat got you tongue or something? …Answer me damn it!"

I was a little shocked but I hid it well; I just looked at him blankly and then smiled with mirth. This seemed to make him really "t'oed" in the words of Kit from Napoleon Dynamite, and he opened his mouth to let me have it. Sadly, my fun was spoiled as the nosy red-haired (I'm being redundant, I know), freckled librarian who'd probably heard the whole one-sided (obviously) conversation came to my rescue. Pft, I didn't need any saving from this guy. I could take care of my own, and she had to come and ruin it just when things were starting to get interesting.

Hurriedly she hovered over to the kid and introduced us. "Paolo, this is Audrey Parks, Audrey, this is Paolo Rossi," she stressed his name, using a horrendously awful Italian accent that sounded like something straight out of a bootleg 1980's Mario Brothers video game. "He just moved back over to America from Italia!" she exclaimed like I was too stupid to figure it out by now. The phrase 'no shit Sherlock' comes to mind. Finally she 'discreetly' leaned over to Paolo, which sounded a lot like "POW-low" when she said it, and whispered in his ear, "Excuse Audrey dear; she can't help it. She's mute."

I stared at her in shock, absolutely dumbfounded. How much of an idiot could one gossiping wench be? Excuse me for thinking that librarians were actually intelligent. Well, that utter hen and her little tittle-tattle certainly proved me wrong. I'm supposed to be mute, not deaf. It's not like I couldn't hear everything she said. Not talking and not being able to hear are two entirely different, completely unrelated things. Seriously, I felt a swelling in my breast of righteous indignation. Someone needs to educate the ignorant, starting with Big Mouth Librarian.

I glanced at Paolo and noticed the abrupt change in his features. I could track the journey of his emotions on by his face alone. At first he paled in shock and then flushed in realization.

It's rather amusing how fast peoples' opinion of you change when they think you have a handicap. I'd be lying if I said I didn't take advantage of all its perks. I certainly enjoyed manipulating the people who had met me after my hike. I'm sure it's morally wrong in the fine print, but it's not my fault if they assume that I was born this way, and it'd be foolish to tell them otherwise. While they still have all this unfounded pity for me I can get away with murder. It's hilarious. Jameson says that nobody'd do anything for me if I was dressed as a mime, but I've got the innocent girl look down to a science. Aww, Paolo's blushing. He looks positively mortified. Serves him right too after what he said. "Girl, are you deaf, dumb, or just stupid? Cat got you tongue? …Answer me damn it!" I mean, how rude!

Paolo seemed to remember it as well because he gave me a pleading look. "I am so sorry," he apologized profusely, his accent coming out again in his emotional state. I glanced at him and decided.

He deserved to suffer.

Feeling exceptionally evil, I let a giant crocodile tear slowly run down my cheek and scrunched up my face, quivering chin and all, to look as pitiful as possible (this face comes in handy in a house with an older brother). I have perfected The Fake Cry to such an exact science that I only have to let one or two tears drop before I get what I want (the trick is to make the eyes look as big as possible; think Bambi).

Big Mouth Librarian shot Paolo a dirty look and wrapped her arms comfortingly around my shoulders, a feat in itself seeing as I'm nearly half a foot taller than her. I didn't even have to hide wrinkling my nose at her hideous perfume; it went right into my act. She then led me off to her office whispering consoling words about big, bad, insensitive foreigners and promises of some iced tea. Turning to peek over her shoulder I saw Paolo staring at us, well, me really, with a look of guilt, a look of shame, a look of total remorse on his face.

I grinned wickedly at him and shot him the bird before turning back around. Seeing the shocked look on his face, I smiled.

It was only ten o'clock in the morning and I'd already completely fucked with someone's head.

I love Mondays.

AN: First and foremost let me say this: I do not mean to offend any Catholics out there. Audrey's just bitter about being forced to do something she doesn't want to do. Her 'views' are not mine. I am, in fact, Catholic and I've already asked God for forgiveness for saying bad things about his Church, taking his name in vain, etc. And guess what? He totally forgave me already. So if you're mad at me, think about this, the Big Man upstairs has let it be, are you too superior to not follow His example? No? I thought not. Bizzam!

…Wow I'm a loser.

Another thing is I keep constantly changing this first chapter around. Sorry. No more Lucas. I've essentially killed him. Killed him dead. I'm the author. I have the power. Insert evil smirk, yes I said smirk, here. I've found evil laughs are just way too obnoxious to truly inspire fear in people's hearts. People are more likely to take you to Happyville Insane Asylum if you do one of those mwahahaha kind of laughs rather than cower and kiss your feet like good little minions should do.

And that was a completely random tangent. Anyways…

Please review. I guess. If you want to. I'm not making you or anything. Just suggesting it. Strongly, strongly suggesting it. smirks