I typically would not write within this genre, so I would appreciate help. More will go on in further chapters, I was just trying to develop the characters a little. Tell me if I should continue. Thanks!

Many summers had slowly passed—lazily like the breeze that teased the trees and made the faint child thirsty and hopeful for more—since the day her father left. The young girl stirring the spoon in her cereal rests her head on her palm and huffs out a sigh. Her pale red hair gently flies upward from the burst of air.

"Eat your breakfast before you go to school Lizbeth," her mother Michelle chirpily called upon opening the door to leave for work. "And be good, I love you."

"Yes mom, I love you too," Elizabeth replies with sarcastic enthusiasm.

It was a time when her mother was in one of her good moods and yes, this included being cheerful in the early morning. It would not be long before the depression occurred again. Elizabeth could not comprehend it, could not understand how such a beautiful woman held on like this. Sometimes she pitied her mother and her obliviousness to the whole situation. The way she would hum and dance around the kitchen, walk ever so merrily with a smile spread across her face, produce laughter that carried out a tune throughout the empty house, or the way in which she would prepare dinner so methodically and with so much happiness as if it did not add to her work, to her mother, it had not seemed so absurd. So many times before had she felt this way and the feeling had faded almost as quickly as it had come. Of course, the sun just started to bear down and it would only be a matter of time before the clouds would swarm over and rain would again pour down and beat its ominous tune onto the hard ground.

Just a week ago flowers had been sent to their Victorian home in South Carolina. It was a beautiful day and Elizabeth had to admit that, but it was a day that filled her with resentment. Of course the backdrop that nature had so cleverly laid out only exaggerated the feeling that those flowers would bring to her mother. Michelle was as fragile as any woman that had been locked up for most of her life not being allowed to do what other children had done. Her own mother had treated her like a delicate, proper lady and she developed into a beautiful one, but one that was ever so delicate and suppressed in her feelings. She never broadcasted her feelings of anger, sadness, or guilt to the world; only that of happiness which she was allowed and told was correct, for a lady that is emotional and not pleasing, is a woman that will not ever know the likes of man. Her poor mother was trained not to be the most intelligent, even though she was considerably clever, but instead, she portrayed a fake and rather coy, silly girl that attracted the hearts of men and had them swooning over her to nurture the helpless woman that disguised her true self. She was anything but helpless for if she were, how could she make it this long on her own?

So, it was this day that had turned to be so miserable for Elizabeth because the flowers came as they always had around this time of year. Yes, he was here. It was her "father's" way of showing her mother he was back in town for a while. She never let that false hope of him coming back to see and be with her for good from preoccupying her thoughts. For as smart as she was, she wanted to believe in a fairytale and not look to the facts that he left her for good. She could be unrealistic and why, Elizabeth could not understand. Maybe something to hope for is what she needed to continue. Whatever it may be, he was not coming back and Elizabeth was sure of that, as sure of that as she was that her mother would go into a bout of depression and lock herself in her room claiming a sickness, hysteria, and anything that would hide the truth—that she was hurt. Soon she would not eat, she would not acknowledge those things that once brought delight to her, and she would hide in the darkness letting it consume every part of her soul. Yes, he did this to her. If he could bring happiness, he was the man that could also rip it away. Only someone that means something can bring about pain. It made Elizabeth wonder if he enjoyed this game that he played with her fully well knowing that not coming back would break her mother's heart. Why did he even leave to begin with? There was no reason, no note, no anything. If at least there was a reason, Elizabeth could forgive him for leaving the two heartbroken. There was never even an argument, for her parents had an extraordinary relationship, but maybe she had viewed the world behind rose colored glasses. Elizabeth just woke up one day and he was not there. She assumed him to be gone to work, but he was not there for dinner, or for breakfast the next day. Finally she asked her mother where her father had been. She had said nothing, but the response in her eyes told everything. They did not well with tears because she could not express emotion easily, but she had shown it, it was that glint of profound sadness, that emptiness in the darkness of her eyes that said it all. It hurt Elizabeth to see, so when her mom needed her most, she turned away, could not look her in those deep blue eyes, and for that, Elizabeth could not forgive herself. But to give someone hope about love is the worst of all sins in her mind; it is giving a child a colorful lollipop and just as soon snatching it away from them, it is showing a starving man a dollar and burning it in front of him.

Listening to the clock ticking away, time awakens her from a daze and she realizes that she must hurry to school. She quickly stopped to take one last look in the mirror to fuss with her perfectly placed hair. That hair reminded her of David, her father. Why could she not have the beautiful golden hair that her mother had? Why was she a constant reminder to herself of the man she despised? The red hair made her look ridiculous, like a clown, but worse—like him. Her mother admired her hair, said it reminded her of sunny mornings, but she knew the truth. It reminded her of the man that ran away, the coward that professed to be a man, but in the worst of times, stuck a tail between his legs and ran. She resented her hair, she resented the features that were like her fathers, she resented the fact that she wanted to tease her hair and wear the tight jeans that the other girls had in order to blend in, but her mother insisted upon proper clothing because it was more flattering. Of course Elizabeth had the figure to wear shirts that bared her stomach and pants that hugged her legs, but her mother insisted on making her a southern belle as herself. She wore vibrant solid colored, flowing dresses when her friends wore things with bold patterns. Matching hats, bags, and gloves would adorn her when she went out to social parties or to the city. Today she wore white shorts, a soft green blouse that covered her shoulders, and matching heels. Kissing her lips together, she spread the crimson color that had been carefully applied, grabbed her bag, and headed to the door.

Luckily the school was not too far of a walk because she typically missed the bus when day dreaming. She arrived just as the bell rang, so naturally she was already late. The clicking of her heels resounded against the walls. Picking up her pace, she feared being too late and making an appearance. Quietly and inconspicuously, she tried entering the room, but was stopped short when the teacher handed her a slip.

"This is your third time, you will have to go to detention Elizabeth," Ms. Madison sighed. She had a mop of dead brown hair that draped over her almost round face. Elizabeth was not sure what shape to make out of her face because it barely had structure. Her features were so unrefined and plump that her face appeared almost a formless blob, sunken deep within skin. The bulbous nose made her tiny putrid brown eyes submerge within the pasty skin more. The smell of her was that of the overly sweet and rotten orange peels left too long in the dumpster subjected to too much time in the sun.

"Yes mam'" Elizabeth said with a syrupy sweet apologetic note. "Thank you," she effortlessly pulled the slip of paper from the thick hands. It took everything she had not to wrinkle her nose in disgust. Making her way to the back of the room, color rose in her face and she timidly dropped her head so no one around would see. Heat came to her in such a rush; the kind that makes you want to jump into the cool lake, come out soaking wet, but the sun still shines and the warmth will still be there burning within. Dropping herself down into the desk she slid in the seat and retrieved her pencil to start taking notes. It was best to pretend nothing happened; she did not even want to look around to see the amused faces laughing. They reminded her of the nightmare where she had been trapped in a funhouse not knowing where to turn, but the evil laughter and faces of the clowns would follow her around every corner. That was the life of high school; turning around every corner to know that at least one person's eyes followed you. She did not much mind the laughter, but the stares made for hard concentration and too much awareness of anything that may be a little bit wrong with her. Usually she did not mind much what others thought of her because she was not here to make friendships, she was here to get an education and get as far away from this place as possible. Uninterested, she took the notes from the board, but it did not pass through her mind for it was elsewhere. Her pencil moved and voices beat around through her head, but her hand had a mind of its own. It kept moving without her telling it to do so. Luckily she was asked no questions for she would not know the answer, but when she looked at her notes, everything was staring back at her completed. Before she knew it, time passed and she was off on her way to lunch.

She dug for change in her backpack and bought a small bag of peanuts and a bottle of water since she forgot to bring her own lunch. Sarah came up from behind surprising her so much she almost dropped her food.

"Hi Elizabeth! Where were you this morning? I didn't see you in class. You didn't miss much. Oh, except for Danny pulling the fire alarm. Isn't he so handsome? He is so bad," she teased. "Don't you think he is amazing? I think he is…" and on and on and on she went, but Elizabeth immediately tuned her out. All of these meaningless conversations never end. Elizabeth had hoped to sit alone; Sarah bothers her with her incessant talking about nonsense. At least she could talk about something important, but instead it was always talking about the latest fashion, hair, and boys. It seemed immature to her, but maybe she was just too stuck up. Some people believed that as truth. She did not really have true friends although some may believe they were; she only had acquaintances which she treated with kindness. Sarah woke Elizabeth up from her thoughts by staring as if in question.

"Well," Sarah pondered, "I guess it probably would be best to ask him myself, not you," she giggled and Elizabeth nodded in agreement to whatever was said. Elizabeth looked up at the clock and watched the time slowly pass. It seemed she was always looking for time to pass, time to pass so she could be out of this place. She did not want to be out of school to be home because when she was home she wanted time to pass so she could be away from there. She truly wanted life—a life that could get her away from all of the lies and falsities. It was finally time to get to class and Elizabeth darted out of the way finding herself lost in the crowd and away from Sarah.

The rest of the day was like watching a toad sitting in the sun, and she dreaded having to go to detention, but could not allow herself to skip. Missing her first class was already enough of a disappointment. Hopelessly she rose from the desk in her last class and made her way down the hall to detention. The room was empty and she walked to the back where her bag dropped with a loud thud. As soon as she turned around she just as quickly almost fell back next to her bag. He stood close to her staring straight on; so direct without even faltering when she faced him.

"Uh—excuse me?" she asks annoyed.

"Oh-I-uh, it's just I haven't seen you here before."

"Yeah, well, I am not really supposed to be here and never have been before. So, what did you want? And would you mind backing off a little bit?" growing more impatient and disgusted she turned around and sifted through her bag.

"Yes, I'm sorry," he said backing away and smiling nervously. "Well, I just was hoping to get your name. I mean, it isn't often someone like you is here."

"What do you mean someone like me?" she sneered.

"You know," he paused, "Someone that hasn't been here before. I didn't mean to offend you."

"Well, you got that right, I don't belong here, but apparently you do. Now, if you don't mind, please excuse me so I can do my homework," she gave him a repulsive look and returned to getting her notebook and pencil out of her bag.

"Actually," he chuckled, "I don't belong here. I am a tutor; I meet a few students here for tutoring. If you want, I can tell the teacher that you need help with your math or something. They don't mind so much with students like you, they won't even suspect a thing."

"I don't need your help, okay? So leave me alone," her tone and the crossing of her arms showed how irritated she was.

"If you are so sure then, I will leave you alone. This is your last chance. I am leaving now, and you will have to be here for another hour," he said glancing at his watch.

"Leave then, I wouldn't mind one bit," her eyes pierced through him.

"Okay, have fun in here. I am sure you will enjoy the company," he said just as the perverted boy from her school shuffled in.

"W-wait!" she stammered shoving the notebook and pencil in her bag. She threw it over her shoulder and ran to catch up with him.

"Oh, so you decided you needed me," he inquisitively turned around.

"I don't need you, I—"

"Well, then I better be going," he said turning to walk away.

"Okay, I need your help. Will you please just tell the teacher I need tutoring so I don't have to be in detention?" She did not whine or beg for it was not her style, but rather demanded.

"Well, I am glad you admit it, and yes, I will. Just wait here." She didn't understand why she had to wait for him, but she did. Maybe she wanted to be sure that he would not play a prank on her. "Oh wait," he returned. "For me to do this, I have to know your name, besides, that is what I originally had intended to find," he grinned.

"I see why you are doing this," her eyes narrowed, "Okay, it's Elizabeth, Elizabeth Walton," she said reluctantly.

"Oh, the Walton's, I didn't mean to, I mean, I didn't want to," he stammered backing away from her, "Do you own the Walton Ranch?" he expressed fear and puzzlement.


"Oh, never mind," he brushed it off nonchalantly, "I just thought you were from that family, they would kill me if I was with 'one of them.' I will just go do that really quickly. Be here when I get back," his voice begged. She moved her eyes back and forth across the bulletin while she waited for him. She wondered if he was lying to her and she would end up being late for detention which would just end up in a call home. He did arrive though and he seemed very pleased with himself.

"So, would you like to come with me?" he said gallantly striding forward.

"I thought you had to tutor," she said warily.

"Well, that is what Mr. Beacon thought too. I actually came to the room to tell him I wouldn't be tutoring today, but when I saw you, I had to conjure up a way to meet you," he winked.

"Well, I do declare, that is awfully sneaky of you to come and try to take advantage of a poor girl like me," she said batting her lashes and making herself look as charming as possible. She then giggled. "Well, I ought to know my pursuer's name."

"Of course," the smile slowly spread across his face in interest. "My name is Steven Merson, but you can just call me just Steve. Would you like me to carry your bag Miss Walton?"

"Oh, I have a gentleman on my hands. Really, you can just call me Lizbeth', that is what my mother calls me. I can carry my own bag thank you," she said truly pleased.

"You aren't like other girls that look like you; you like to do things on your own."

"Well, of course I do. Why wouldn't I?" she said with disapproval.

"I don't know why, but it seems most girls do. I like a woman that isn't so helpless, but I would like to help you. It is refreshing to finally meet a girl who knows how to handle things and has a mind of her own. You seem well educated."

"Yes, I am," she stated as they exited the school. The warm air came at them like an open stove. "Where are we headed anyway?" she wondered.

"I will take you wherever you please my lady," he rather ridiculously said, "But I do prefer that I do not have to show you home just yet." His eyes showed a statement that was very genuine. He locked onto her eyes, and it was so intense that she had to look away from the green irises that seemed so rich and magnificent. The seriousness of his voice made her feel aware of a sort of truth she searched for.

The silence broke. "I don't know, surprise me. As long as we get out of here quickly before Mr. Beacon takes a glimpse out of the window to find that you really aren't tutoring after all."

"Right. Good idea," they quickened their pace. He really amused her, he was a world full of surprises and disorder that she had not been introduced to, but it was a good kind of disorder if there was such a thing.

The woman sitting at the desk turned out the dim light that sat beside her. As much as she wanted to continue, she really had to close her eyes before her thoughts became too delirious. Cautiously she found herself to the bedside. Rest was much needed for her to overcome this fatigue that had tried to gain control. She gradually brought the covers that tried to provide comfort, over her body and went off into a dream.