Shatterclass finished their set and broke down their equipment quickly and efficiently. I just stared, my eyes glued to Macen's every move up on stage until my mother smacked my arm lightly.

"So?" She asked. I looked over her, my face surely contorted into an expression of horror and confusion.

"So what?"

"So, what do you think of him? He's a hunk, right?" She smiled brightly and I felt ill suddenly.

"You knew… you knew he wasn't standing me up, but that he was in one of the bands playing!" I accused, she just smiled brighter and nodded. I hated her. Well, maybe I didn't hate her, but I was certainly not fond of her at that moment. I huffed and stalked away across the room and out to where drinks and band t-shirts were being sold.

Why? Why me? Why did I get the crazy mother who ordered her daughter a boyfriend through the mail? Why did said boyfriend have to be gorgeous? Why was I complaining?

"Hey." I turned with a jump as someone whispered the word into my ear. Macen Holstead – go figure. I didn't even respond. I just stared at him. He smirked a little and quirked an eyebrow at me. "Asa, right?"

"Asabella." I corrected stiffly. I turned back around to stare at a list of drinks that the concession stand offered.

"Asabella, sorry." He sounded anything but. In fact, he sounded rather sarcastic and rude. "I was right though. You are the girl I'm supposed to be meeting."

"Unfortunately." The word had spewed forth from my mouth before I could stop it. I cringed and then composed myself as I turned around to see Macen looking fairly offended. Well, the damage was done. No point in trying to fix it now. "Sorry," It was her turn to sound anything but sorry. "I just don't like my mother setting me up. Least of all with mail-order boys."

He rolled his eyes. "Well, it's not her fault she's trying to help her hopeless daughter. It's not her fault her daughter is so pathetic she can't get a boyfriend any other way."

Oh, now he'd done it. I slapped him on impulse and didn't regret it. He rubbed his cheek, but kept a smug look on his face. "Shut the hell up."

"I know the truth hurts, but reign in that temper, little girl." He mocked me, eyes full of amusement. I blanched when I finally took a good look. They were a perfect shade of dark emerald green. Damn him. He was my perfect guy in appearance – why did his personality have to be so awful?

My mother came up beside me and saw the deadly glare I was sending Macen's way and the bright red mark on his cheek. She sighed and shook her head. "I'm sorry for my daughter, Macen." That was all she said. She didn't even inquire as to why I had slapped him! She just apologized for my behavior and then dragged me off like I was the one at fault.

Ok, so I technically started it by not keeping my mouth in check, but he was the one that decided to be such a jerk about it.

Once we were in the car my mother let out a frustrated sigh and stared at her steering wheel a moment. "It's a good thing I set up meetings with two other boys on the off chance that this one failed. Honestly though Asabella! He was good looking, he plays an instrument, he has a job-"

"Playing in a no name band?"

"No! He works as a web designer and he's saving up to start his own company." I furrowed my brow and then took my turn to sigh. "I thought you two would do well, but you just had to ruin it."

"I ruined it?! He was rude to me!"

"I'm sure you instigated it though. You are such the little instigator and always have been."

"Gee, love you too, mom."

"You know I love you." She said, exasperation clear in her tone. "I just don't understand why you can't flirt and be charming and just give it a chance! With the next boy you will be polite and tactful or I will force you into an arranged marriage!"

I stared at her in disbelief and shock. Somehow it was beginning to seem more and more likely that my mother was just crazy enough to do something like that. I shuddered at the thought and turned to look out the window as we drove home. Twenty one and I felt like a fifteen year old.

My mother was still deciding my life even though I was an adult. I was the most pathetic being on planet Earth. Would it never end?


Apparently it never would.

A week later I was on another meet-and-greet with some catalog boy. This one had dark brown hair and grey eyes. He was attractive, but he wasn't as attractive as Macen. I couldn't deny that Macen was the hottest guy I had ever seen – even if he was an asshole.

The guy I was on a date with this time had a normal name. He was named Jeff and he worked in a bank. He didn't even live nearby. He lived in Virginia, but he came all the way up to little old Rhode Island just for me. I was just so grateful. Not. He kept asking me questions about myself, but then he'd answer the questions about him before I could get a word in. Well, I knew why he was in the catalog. No girl in her right mind would date him otherwise. He never shut up about himself.

Dude – working in a bank is not impressive. Not when you're twenty five. If you were eighteen, sure. That's a good job then, but once you go through college don't expect a job as a teller in a bank to be the most impressive job out there. It's just not. It's great he had a job, but he was glorifying it to a surreal extent.

I yawned as he babbled on about Virginia. 'Not interested.' I thought to myself, resisting groaning out loud. This was why catalogs should not be used to find boyfriends. Or mothers shouldn't be allowed to pick for their daughters. Strike two!

I went home feeling exhausted and miserable. I had never wished to go back to university so badly in my entire three years of going, but right now it seemed like it would be a blessing – anything to get away from my mother and her ridiculous match making failures.

The next day I awoke to my mother kicking me. I moaned and rolled over. "What?" I snapped.

"So? How was your date?"

"Horrible. He wouldn't shut up about himself. You'd think a catalog would mention if they were self-absorbed or assholes. Don't they have a screening process or something?"

My mother sighed heavily and I could tell she was upset that I hadn't found my future husband yet. I would have rolled my eyes at her, but I had closed them again and I was too tired. "Well, there's one more I picked out for you and he might be ok. I still can't believe you didn't hit it off with either of the other two. You're so picky."

I scoffed. "You should be happy about that. At least it means I won't marry a psycho killer and your grandkids won't be deformed or mentally unstable… unless they take after you. God forbid."

She huffed and left. I rolled back over onto my stomach, but half an hour later I was still unable to get back to sleep so I got up and dressed in a pair of black shorts and a kelly green halter with matching green flip flops. I threw my hair up into a quick ponytail and then grabbed my car keys as I bounded down the stairs and out the door. It was warm already at nine in the morning – not surprising for summer really. Still, the change in temperature from my house to outside made me pause a moment and bask in the heat. Usually I preferred the cold and snow, but there was something refreshing about a sunny, warm morning. The smell of freshly cut grass from the neighbor's recently mowed lawn was great too. I breathed in deep and smiled as I continued my walk to my car and hopped in.

A few minutes later I was parked outside my friend Nora's house watching her shut her front door and walk over to my car only to climb into the passenger side.

"Hey, what's up?" She asked, smiling and closing the door. She put her safety belt on as I pulled out of her driveway.

"Not much. I just needed to get away from my mother. I thought there was no better way than shopping with you." I chuckled at her incredulous look. "I know. Me? Happy to go shopping? That's how much I needed to get away."

"Is she still trying to get you to date those catalog boys?" I nodded and she laughed openly. I scowled and she quieted. "Sucks to be you."

"No kidding. I'm twenty one for Christ's sake! I think I can handle my own love life. Sorry if I don't date a lot or at all, but I have a future to think about. I want a career and I'm an independent person. I want to be secure in my profession and life before I introduce someone into the mix who I'll have to sacrifice for." I growled and shook my head a bit as I headed for the highway.

"You make it sound like getting together with someone is death." She grinned at that. "Sacrifice. Geeze."

I sighed. "I know it's not death. I don't mean to make it sound like that. I just mean if I find a guy and I marry him I'll be expected to share finances with him, share time with him, share space, share thoughts, share everything – and then it might not work out. If I'm not prepared to take care of myself on my own and things don't work out I'll be in big trouble."

Nora nodded slowly, but she still seemed to find it amusing how much I worried about it. "It could also work out. Depending on someone else a little won't mean you're incapable of taking care of yourself and sharing is a good thing. Didn't you learn anything in kindergarten?"

"Shut up." I muttered as I reached over and turned on the radio to end the conversation. We spent the rest of the ride to the mall in quiet conversation over the songs on the radio and college talk. I was glad for the change in subject, but even happier for the sight of the mall as I drove into the parking lot and picked a spot under a good sized tree to shield my leather seats from the harsh rays of the sun thus protecting my butt from burning later.

Nora was out of the car as soon as I turned it off, always eager for shopping. Today even I was looking forward to it. Usually I hated shopping. Malls, people, trying things on – not fun, but so much better than listening to my mother lecture me on how I needed to find a man. What was so great about having a guy in your life any way? She had gone without one for years when she and my father had separated for a while. She had done just fine I thought, but here she was telling me I had to find someone. She was lucky – she was happy with my father… now anyway. That was hard to find though, especially since guys seemed to be getting more arrogant by the day.

It was only bringing my mood down to think about it though so I pushed the thoughts out of my head until I couldn't any more, which unfortunately wasn't as long as I would have liked.

Nora and I had been shopping about an hour when we decided to get smoothies in the food court. It was too early for Chinese food and we didn't want breakfast from a fast food joint – I personally hated Burger King, McDonald's, Wendy's, etc. as it was just… gross. The smell alone made me want to vomit most of the time. So we opted for smoothies. Right after we got them – mine being a delicious strawberry orange banana one – we went to find somewhere to sit and my eyes scanned the food court only to freeze on a familiar face. I would like to say I was lucky enough to spot him and then turn tail and run, but it never works like that – especially not for me. I think if a higher power does exist they have it out for me. Bad.

No, when my eyes landed on a certain hunky black haired, green eyed boy he was staring right at me. Better yet – he was smirking clear as day. I frowned and turned away, but I could feel his eyes still on me. Nora had already found a nice table by a fake palm tree and was sitting at it. I sat too, plopping in my seat in a very graceless and clearly moody manner.

Nora gave me a 'what's up' smile and I shook my head and sipped on my smoothie, but the deliciousness of it was lost to my unhappiness at having seen him. What were the odds anyway? They couldn't have been high. My luck really sucked.

"Well if it isn't Asa! Oh, I mean Asabella. Sorry." I couldn't help the groan that escaped my lips. Once again he didn't sound sorry at all and the way he stressed 'bella' told me he wasn't just correcting the name he used for me, but also insulting my looks. Bella meant beautiful after all, but he obviously wanted to make it clear that he wondered why anyone would call me beautiful.

"Who's this, Bell?" Nora asked, her voice too chipper.

"I'm Macen. Macen Holstead. And you are?" He sounded suave now. I wanted to gag.

"Nora James." She smiled and I rolled my eyes. It seemed that then Nora picked up on the name as realization fluttered over her face. "Oh! You're the mail-order boyfriend!"

Macen smiled sheepishly and took a seat beside me. He was a good actor. "Yep. Sadly, Asabella didn't seem to like me. She shipped me back – called me defective."

"I did not call you defective, though that would be a good adjective." I commented, almost grinning as he scowled. He then turned his attention back to Nora with a flirtatious grin.

"Since she didn't want me though I'm on the market." He raised his eyebrows suggestively at Nora who just giggled – there was no other word for it – and then looked at me in disbelief.

"You said he was a prick, but he seems fine to me."

"A prick?" Macen faked a hurt tone and I found myself rolling my eyes again. I expected him to go on, but he didn't.

"Seeing as our first encounter was anything but pleasant you wouldn't expect me to praise you now would you? You were pretty rude."

"And you weren't?" One of his black eyebrows rose up in a perfect arch. Why did his appearance have to be so sexy while his personality sucked? Honestly, I had the worst luck imaginable.

"Only because you were. It's an immediate reaction." I turned my eyes to the table and took a drink of my smoothie, wishing I was enjoying it more than I was.

"I'm fairly sure you started it. I wasn't the one who was unreasonably displeased about having to meet someone. I wasn't the one who decided not to even give whoever I was meeting a chance."

"Oh, really? Because I'm pretty sure you didn't give me a chance either. You lost your temper pretty easily."

"It's hard not to when talking to you."

"You've only talked to me twice so how would you know?" I growled.

"Well, I'm pissed off now too so I think that's a pretty good indication."

"Maybe you just have a short temper."

"And maybe you're just infuriating." He retorted.

We were glaring at each other openly and I could feel the heat prickling under my skin, the irritation building. Nora was just watching. I turned away first and took another sip of my smoothie as I stood up. "Come on, Nora."

She stood and followed after me as I stalked off, tossing a goodbye over her shoulder at Macen who returned it, though the tension in his voice was still apparent.

Well, there went my good mood.

A/N: Well, there's chapter two! This chapter's pretty boring... well so was the other one, huh? I'm not really good at plain old fiction. I'm still getting used to it. Plus I've never written a story about someone in college (with the exception of Mere Infatuation, but both that and this story are new ones so...) Basically... I'm still learning how to write stories like this - hang in there? Also, criticism is appreciated so read and review please?