Author's Note: I am still trying to get comfortable in Daphne's voice at this point, but this is coming to me easier than I thought it would. I love updating quickly, and hope I can continue to do this.

Chapter Two

It's The Hair

I think I've figured out why I fail at being a Disney princess. I mean, besides the obvious reason that I'm not a princess. But you know, neither was Mulan and she's still considered a Disney princess. Sort of.

Anyway, I think the problem is that all the Disney princesses have long, gorgeous hair. Seriously. Sleeping Beauty? Ariel? Princess Jasmine? Yeah, all of them had long hair.

And I just had to cut mine short for the summer. Seriously, what is wrong with me? I used to have pretty, long black hair. Like Pocahontas (though, comparing me to Pocahontas is a joke since she had that sexy tanned skinned and I'm as white as pallid milk.) Anyway, after I stupidly decided to lop off my gorgeous locks, I'm left with this spindly, limp, boring hair. There is a very limited amount of things you can do with hair that doesn't even reach your shoulders.

I was trying to decide whether braids would make me look too much like a hillbilly or if they looked cute when my cell went off. No one ever calls me at home, so this wasn't really a surprise. I checked the ID and saw that it was Flo.

"Hey Flo," I said casually, flicking open the phone.

"Hey," she answered. "Are we still on for the movie tonight?"

Crap. I had totally forgotten. And here I was getting all prettied up for a party. Which I happened to be going to with a very cute boy.


Everyone knows that ditching your friend for a boy is the absolute worst thing you can do. I mean, really, what could be worse than that?

Well, a lot of things, but still. I think my dilemma is pretty high on the list.

"Um, Flo?" I asked. My voice did that high-pitched thing that it does when I get uncomfortable. "Um, about the movie…what time does it start?"

Maybe I could catch an early movie and then go to the party. I hope.

"I think nine. Maybe eight-thirty. Why?"

Poo again. There was no way I could go see an eight-thirty movie and go to Alla's party.

I made a decision. "Flo, I'm really, really sorry, but I told my friend Alla from work that I could come to her party tonight and I thought maybe I would be able to go to the movie with you guys before it, but the movie starts too late, so…"

This is me being a dumb shit.

The line was silent for a second. Then, "Oh, Daph, it's okay, you can go to Alla's party. We'll see a movie tomorrow, okay? A matinee."

This is why Flo is my best friend. Not only is she totally sweet and super supportive, but she's also completely understanding. About everything.

"Really?" I squeaked. "Sure thing, Flo!"

"Um…Daphne?" she seemed hesitant about something. Maybe she didn't want to drop our plans after all. Maybe she was going to be mad at me for ditching them! I'm not a bad friend. I'm really not. This was pretty much the first time I'd ever cancelled on Flo for a boy.

Well, that's probably because there haven't been any boys for me to drop my plans for, but whatever.

But all my worrying was for nothing, because Flo only said, "Is that cute boy you keep talking about going to be there?"

"Jason? Yeah. He actually asked me to go with him, can you believe it?"

I was practically jumping up and down by this point. Flo got exciting right with me, and we spent the next thirty minutes on the phone, blathering to each other about this and that. Flo gave me some excellent tips for my outfit (she knows my wardrobe better than I do) and hair.

As our giggling began to subside, I asked, "Flo? Is Jia going to be mad that I cancelled?"

Flo hesitated before answering. I could hear uncertainty in her voice. "Jia? I don't think so…I mean, she'll probably be really happy for you because that Jason guy finally asked you out. You've only been flirting with him all summer."

Um, yeah. That doesn't really answer my question.

"Anyway, I better be going. I think me and Jia are just going to go out a get some coffee, 'k? I'll see ya bright and early tomorrow," Flo said cheerfully. She made a smooching sound over the phone. "Bye Daffy dear."

"Bye Flo," I answered, returning her phone-kiss. I clicked the end call button and went back to bemoaning my decision to cut my hair.

My phone went off again about thirty seconds later. It was probably Jia. I hoped she wouldn't be too mad. Flo tends to be a little nicer about these things, or maybe she's just more tactful.

When I checked the ID it was a number I didn't recognize at all. Most likely it was a wrong number, I get those all the time. It's actually really annoying because sometimes I get more wrong number calls than calls from my friends. Boy does that make me feel popular.


"Hola," I said into the receiver, because a lot of times the wrong number calls are from people speaking Spanish.

Hey, I may be white, but I live in Lancaster, where about 30 of the population is Hispanic. I at least know how to say "You have the wrong number" in Spanish by now.

"Er…hello?" a familiar voice responded. "I'm sorry, I think I might've dialed wrong…"

I rolled my eyes. "Sev, it's Daphne. Sorry. I thought you were a wrong number."

"Oh. I thought I was too," he said, and laughed. When Sevin laughs, it's never the light, sort of nervous laughter people do when they say something funny and no one else laughs. No.

When this happens to Sevin, he basically busts a gut laughing.

I mean, sometimes he'll say something he thinks is hilarious and will laugh for hours about it, even when everyone else just sort of stares at him and wonderers what's so funny.

This happens a lot, I've noticed.

"So why'd you call?" I asked, truly perplexed. This was the first time Sevin had ever purposely called me.

Not that he'd ever called me on accident, either.

"Oh. Flo just told me that you're going to Alla's party," Sevin said. "Me too."

"Okay," I answered, not really understanding why he had called just to tell me that. "That's, um…great. I'll see you there—"

"Yeah, so I called because I was wondering if you could give me a ride there?" he asked in his 'I'm-so-innocent-and-unselfish' voice.

I sighed. I was supposed to go to this party with Jason. I didn't need stupid Sevin freeloading off me.

"Why? You know how to drive," I reminded him. "You drove to work. I was there. I remember."

"Er, yeah, only, Flo's taking the car so I'm kind of…carless."

Oh, right. Flo said she was still going to go out with Jia.

Well, in that case…

I sighed, nice and loud, so that Sevin could hear what a tremendous sacrifice it was for me to drive him. Which it wasn't, really, but I wanted him to appreciate what an unfailingly kind and considerate person I was.

"I guess I could give you a ride," I said dramatically. "Even though it will be a great burden to my mental and emotion—"

"Do I need to remind you that I drive you to work almost every day?" he asked.

I shut up after that.

"I'll be there in a half hour," was all I said.

"Great. Thanks. Bye." He hung up before I could even say "you're welcome."

It takes me about ten minutes to drive to Flo and Sevin's house. That gave me about twenty minutes to prep and primp for the party. I'd already taken a shower, so that was no problem. Twenty minutes to pick out an outfit and put on some makeup.

And figure out something to do with this hair of mine!

Then I remembered that Jason was planning on picking me up at a quarter-to-nine. Clearly we would just have to meet up at the party, now that Sevin had decided to be such a freeloader.

I found Jason's number in my address book and hit send. We'd both exchanged numbers earlier, right after work. It gave me a slight thrill to see the name Jason T. in my address book.


Jason did not pick up his phone. It rang for about a minute and then went to voicemail.

"Hey, you've reached Jason," came the voicemail message in a monotone voice. "Leave a message and I'll get back to you…" Then, mumbling, he added, "If I feel like it."

I frowned at this. "If I feel like it?" What kind of outgoing message is that?

"Hey Jason, it's Daphne. I hope you pick this up before eight-thirty, 'cause I'm calling to tell you that I don't need a ride to Alla's party. I'm going to drive myself, and we can meet up there. I hope that's okay…see you at the party. Bye."

Now I just had to hope that he would get the message in time.

Putting these complications aside, I whipped out a hair curler and began the taxing process of making myself look pretty.

Twenty minutes later I stood back to admire the effect. Jason was not going to know what hit him.

I threw my stuff into a purse and grabbed my keys before heading out the door.

"Honey? Are you going out?" I heard my dad's voice from his study.

"Yeah, I am!" I hollered back. I was halfway to the door.

"Well hang on a second, I want to talk to you," he responded.

I sighed, rolled my eyes, but obediently dragged my feet over to his study. "Yeah?"

He was sitting in his chair at his desk. When I alerted myself to him, he spun around and took off his reading glasses.

He must have been staring at me for about three minutes before I shifted uncomfortably and said again, "Um, yeah?"

He shook his head slowly. "I'm sorry honey, it's just you look…"

"Like mom," I finished for him.

He nodded. "Yeah. Like your mom."

I was not surprised to hear this. In fact, I was reminded almost every day of how much I looked like my mom. We both have dark, wavy hair and pale complexions. Unlike me, however, my mother's eyes were pale brown, warm and always full of compassion. My mother had been beautiful, but some how I simply fell short of that.

She had died when I was twelve, and Dad had never quite let go. Sometimes I felt like when he looked at me, he saw her, and that reminded him that she was gone. I hated being something that would bring my dad pain.

I began to feel uncomfortable, as I always did when my dad spoke about my mom. He had loved her more than anything. He had loved her enough to marry her, even though she was pregnant with another man's child.

Me, obviously. My dad wasn't really my dad. Except that he was. Because he'd been there for me since birth, and that meant a whole lot more than a set of chromosomes, as far as I was concerned.

"Where are you going?" my dad asked after a moment.

I was relieved to talk about something other than Mom. "A party. My friend from work is throwing it. It's just gonna be a couple people, though, so no worries."

My dad nodded. "I'm not worrying. We're still on for tomorrow, right? We'll go to breakfast and then I'll take you to Dr. Schulz's?"

Dr. Schulz is my therapist. After my mom died, Dr. Schulz was worried that me and my dad were distancing ourselves from each other. So he made us do 'bonding time,' which basically means every Saturday my dad and me spend quality time together. Usually this he just takes me out to breakfast or something.

This is usually what Dr. Schulz asks me about in our sessions. My relationships with my dad, I mean.

"Yeah, we're still on," I said, because Dr. Schulz always reminds me that it's best to give a verbal affirmation.

Dad actually smiled, which made me feel a lot better. "Okay. Great. You look nice. Have a good time."

And that was that. I left his study and a moment later, I was on my way to Flo and Sevin's house.

When Sevin got in the car, he did a double take and then let out a low whistle. "Hottie," he said to me.

"Oh, shut up," I replied, but I was pleased. If my look had that kind of effect on Sevin, who always tried his very hardest not to compliment me, then I could only imagine what Jason would think.

"I wasn't talking about you," Sevin corrected me. "I meant the car."

My car is a piece of crap. It's an old 1990 Bentley, which sounds glamorous, but is actually quite sucky. For one thing, it hasn't gotten a new paint job since, well, ever. For another, it's got two-wheel drive, which is fine if you live somewhere like San Francisco, but just doesn't cut it when you live in the freaking desert, in a valley no less. Plus, my car happens to have some of the most god awful, atrocious upholstery in this really icky beige color that seems almost sickly.

There was no way my POS car looked hotter than I did.

"Thanks, Sevin," I said dully.

Well, I thought I looked good. I was wearing a dark blue keyhole shirt with bell-shaped sleeves, coupled with my favorite camel colored pleated skirt with the black buttons down the side. I usually don't bother with make-up, but for tonight I had done my eyes in black eyeliner and mascara, as well as using the eye shadow Flo had given me for my birthday. It was a silvery-gray and it brought out the deep blue of my eyes, which practically matched the shirt I was waering. A simple pair of black teardrop earrings and necklace to match added the right amount of elegance to my outfit.

All of this, of course, was under orders from Flo. I swear, without that girl, I would not know how to dress myself in the morning. I would probably end up coming to school or work looking like a troop of bear-fighting clowns had just left me behind on a tour.

The scary thing is, I'm not exaggerating that much.

"How much money would I have to give you for this thing?" Sevin asked, tapping the dashboard.

Like a typical boy, Sevin loves cars, especially classic motorcars like my Bentley.

"I'd pay you to take it if I had a better car," I told him.

He nearly exploded. "A better car? What could be better than a 1990 Bentley?" He seemed appalled at the very idea.

Okay, what about a car that can actually drive?

"You're such an idiot," I responded, rolling my eyes. "What's Alla's address again?"

He shut up about my car and gave me her address. At least he's not a complete idiot, though after his antics this morning and tonight, he's getting pretty close.

I turned onto Alla's street and drove slowly along, checking the addresses of the houses. I spotted one with a U-bend driveway that seemed to have a surplus of cars.

"This must be it," I said. The address matched so I swerved in, parking behind a blue Jeep.

"Thanks for the ride, Daffy," he said mockingly, but he was grinning.

"You're welcome, Sevvy," I shot back, and stifled a laugh because 'Sevvy' is just such a funny name. He didn't seem to notice my use of it, though, because all he did was unbuckle his seat belt and hop out of the car.

When I didn't follow right away, he stared back at me questioningly.

"Go on, I'll catch up with you later. Gotta make a phone call," I told him, whipping out my phone and re-dialing Jason's number.

I glanced back at Sevin and saw that he was already headed toward the front door. I could hear the party from inside. It sounded like a little more than the 'just a couple cool peeps' I had been promised, but I didn't really care.

Just as long as one particular person was there.

"Hey, Jason?"

"Daphneeee!" he greeted. There was garbled sound in the background, making it hard to hear.

"I was just calling to make sure you got my message and everything," I said.

There was more background sound, and then, "…message?" I started to respond, but he went on. "Hey, listen Daphne, you should get here soon 'cause Mikayla brought a bong."

"A—what? Jason, are you at Alla's right now?" I asked, completely baffled. He sounded as though he'd already had three or four drinks. And he was planning on smoking on top of that?

"Yeaah…anyway, gotta go, I hope you get here soon!"

With that he hung up.

I was slightly—well, more than slightly—miffed, but I tried not to let it show as I hopped out of the car, grabbed my purse and went inside.

There were a moderate number of people there. Alla had invited more people from her school than I'd thought she would.

Still, it wasn't one of those kinds of parties you see on TV where there's about a zillion kids and half of them are practically having sex on the couches while the other half are getting drunker and drunker by the second. Well, okay, the last part was kind of true, since Alla had apparently stocked up on cheap beer, and someone had apparently filched their parents' tequila for the occasion. The number of intoxicated teenagers, it looked like, far outnumbered the sober ones.

I had already lost Sevin, and Jason was nowhere in sight. For some reason, though, I wasn't too keyed up to go find him.

"Daphne!" There's that high-decibel voice again, the one everyone uses to say my name.

I turned and saw Alla, holding a beer in each hand. She proffered one to me but I shook my head and jangled my keys.

"I'm driving," I said in explanation.

She nodded. "If you want to, you can stay over and then you wouldn't have to worry about that," she told me.

I smiled at her offer. "Thanks, but I've got a date with my dad tomorrow morning. Maybe next time."

She grinned and started to walk towards the kitchen, beckoning me to follow. On the way she introduced me to about six of her high school friends, none of which looked very sober at all. Out of the six of them, I remembered exactly none of their names.

"Jin-ho! My man!" Alla hollered once we'd reached the kitchen. I did not think this was a very orthodox way of greeting the person you have it bad for. Then again, Alla is absolutely gorgeous and can get any guy she wants, regardless of how she greets them.

Jin-ho was seated on the counter, with what looked like six empty beer bottles around him.

"Is that Daphne?" he asked, looking distinctly tipsy.

I laughed. If there's anything funnier than seeing a six-foot-two Korean guy getting completely shitfaced, I don't know what it is.

"Hey Jin-ho," I answered good-naturedly. I then left Alla to flirt her heart out, and went in search of someone to talk to.

I found Mikayla in the sort of sitting room area right outside the living room. Sevin was there too.

"Hi Mikayla," I greeted, setting my purse down on the coffee table. She looked completely sober, as did Sevin, though I did note the beer in his hand.

"Hi Daphne," Mikayla answered, and smiled. She might not be an absolute beauty like Alla, but Mikayla is definitely pretty with her curly auburn hair and chocolate colored eyes. Like me, Mikayla is not very well endowed, but she is ridiculously skinny and altogether a very tiny person. When you see her, you just think small.

Her personality, however, is anything but. Not only does Mikayla not know how to say a complete sentence without a single cuss word, but she also goes batshit insane over almost anything remotely sexist, racist, religionist or ageist. Or if you said anything that a conservative Evangelical Christian might say.

"Did you guys get a load of Jin-ho over there?" I asked, gesturing back toward the kitchen.

Sevin followed my gesture interestedly, but Mikayla just laughed loudly. "Oh, I know, that kid is gonna have a fucking fantastic hang-over tomorrow."

I didn't really know how a hangover could be fantastic, but I ignored the use of that adjective and replied, "Well I suppose it'll be better if in addition to a headache he wakes up with a certain party queen here."

"Who?" Mikayla asked, her voice lowered conspiratorially. She looked at me and I just raised my eyebrows. "Alla?"

Sevin laughed. "Oh come on, you've noticed how she stares at him all day," he put in. I raised my eyebrows further, this time out of surprise. How had Sevin noticed and I hadn't?

Note to self: Pay more attention to people.

Seriously, if I am not getting these hints and Sevin is, I must be walking around with my eyes closed, banging into walls.

Well maybe not that last bit.

The three of us chatted and migrated back toward the kitchen to watch Jin-ho get even drunker. Eventually it got to a point where he fell over onto Alla, confessed his love for her and started serenading her with a Korean long hyme. At least, I think it was a love hyme.

Alla got so excited about this that she kissed him. Full-on. Like with tongues and stuff.

Ew. I mean, he's completely drunk and probably smells like beer. If there's one smell I can't stand, it's the smell of beer, especially cheap beer.

Let me reiterate: ew.

I took this as a cue to move on. I didn't get very far, though, because as soon as I went into the living room, someone seized my forearm.

For some reason whenever someone grabs me suddenly, my first response is to kick them. Don't get me wrong; I am not a violent person at heart. I've never punched anyone in the face or gotten into a catfight.

I think if I actually ever tried to have a fistfight with someone (which I totally wouldn't, I'm way too wimpy), they would knock me down in about three seconds flat. Even someone really small like Mikayla. Actually, I bet you Mikayla could knock almost anyone down, despite her size. She's that kind of person.

But aside from being a normally very peaceful-spirited person, I still have the tendency to kick people in the shins if they grab me. It's just a knee-jerk reaction. Pardon the pun.

I guess this is kind of a good second nature to have in some situations, like if you're about to be kidnapped or mugged. Most of the time, though, it just creates a lot of embarrassment for me, like if the person grabbing me happens to be my gym teacher.

Oh yes. That happened. I physically assaulted my gym teacher last year and he had to wear a brace around his ankle for a month, and he totally didn't let me forget it the entire year. That was the first class that I ever got a C in.

This time, though, I restrained myself from my kicking tendencies, which was lucky because I whirled around and found out that the person who'd grabbed me was none other than Jason, a half-empty beer bottle hanging from his grasp.

"Oh, hi, where've you been?" I asked him. I hadn't exactly been looking for him, but he didn't have to know that.

He didn't answer, but instead his eyes drifted up and down my outfit.

I knew it. I did look hot.

I noticed, though, that once he stopped checking me out, his eyes rested on a place that was somewhat…south of my face.

Oh great. My first date turns out to be completely horrible before the first five minutes have passed.

I bet you Ariel never had this problem with Prince Eric.

"Um, Jason?"

His eyes finally flicked back up to my face, and then he smiled.

Somehow this did not make as big an impression on me as it had earlier that day.

"Hey, I was waiting for you," he told me. As soon as he spoke, I knew he'd been smoking pot. I mean, I guess I should have figured, what with his comment about Mikayla's bong and everything, but I guess I sort of hoped he wouldn't be completely stoned when we met up.

I was sorely disappointed.

"Let's go talk over here," he said, leading my by the arm across the living room.

I know I totally should have noticed the way he said 'talk' as if it was code for something, but I just followed him obediently.

"Wanna drink?" he asked me, holding out his half-drunk beer. I just shook my head.

"Oh come on, what are you, straight edge?" he asked me, kind of laughing in a not very nice way.

I stared at him. Did he just ask me if I was straight edge? How, exactly, had I not noticed was a loser he was before now?

Yes, even stoned and drunk he was completely hot, but beyond that? Complete loser. It's funny how quickly a summer long crush can go completely down the drain. All it takes is a little weed and some alcohol.

"I have to drive myself home," I told him shortly.

He laughed when I said this. Um, excuse me, what is so funny? I do have to drive myself home. There's nothing funny about it.

"I can drive you home. Don't worry about it, have a beer."

Okay, why wasn't I telling this guy to beat it already? He was drunker than an Irish man in a bar and he was offering to drive me home?

But I didn't say any of that. I just said in this really small voice, "I have to drive home." As if I hadn't already told him.

"Oh come on, don't be such a wimp," he said. "Have a drink."

A wimp? Did he just call me a WIMP?

Okay, yeah, I am kind of wimpy sometimes, but he has absolutely no right to say that to me. I am not a wimp for not drinking beer when I am planning on driving. That is not called being wimpy, that is called being SMART. Something, I'm afraid, Jason simply does not comprehend.

By then, I'd had enough.

"I'm out of here," I said, in this really disgusted voice. I was really disgusted at that point, so it was sort of fitting. I mean, this guy was practically making me nauseous.

So I turned away, planning to storm off and make Jason realize what an idiot he was, except his hand was still on my wrist and he was NOT letting go.

And that was when my second nature kicked in. And this time I had no qualms about causing bodily harm to Jason.

Only, as soon as I was about to deliver a blow to his shin, he swung me around, catching me off balance, and sort of pushed me against the wall.

Obviously I did not like that very much, but before I could yell at him or try to inflict any more damage, he had me pinned against the wall and was staring at me with this sort of angry, drunken look in his eyes.

I was not disgusted at this point, I was downright scared. I mean, I had no idea what he was going to do to me. I though he was going to hit me or something, but instead he lowered his head and smashed his mouth onto mine.

Yes, he was kissing me. And let me just be clear: I was not enjoying it.

Sure, I'd thought about this moment many times over the summer, and how great it would be, and how nice it would feel to be in his arms, and how his beautiful eyes would look at me lovingly…

This? This was not great. This was the opposite of great.

All I wanted was for him to get off me and to go lie down. I wanted to lie down, I mean. I didn't care what the hell he did, as long as it didn't involve kissing me. Or whatever he thought was kissing, because this definitely wasn't it.

As soon as I wrenched my head around to get his lips off me, I growled, "Jason, get off!"

But he went right on back to kissing me, keeping me pretty well pinned between him and the wall.

So I was struggling pretty helplessly while he practically mauled my face, smelling (and tasting) like really cheap bear and pot and then I actually started feeling nauseous.

And then suddenly, miraculously (it felt like), Jason was dragged away from me. His mouth left mine, and then his hold on me vanished and I was standing by myself, still pressed against the wall, I guess from being so freaked out.

Vaguely, as if everything was little more than a blur and the volume had been turned down, I saw that Sevin was standing in front of Jason, his hands clenched around Jason's jacket. Sevin was yelling (what was he saying?) and the next thing I saw was his fist hitting Jason's face.

End Notes: And so the drama begins. And it's only chapter two! But don't worry, this story will last for a while yet. Thanks everyone who read last chapter and was interested enough to continue onto this one. Feel free to leave a review. Really, I don't mind.