Author's Note: I'm not really happy with this chapter, even though it's pretty long for me. I wrote it quite a while after the first chapter, so sorry if it seems inconsistent.

Chapter 2: No Butts About It

"There is no way I'm wearing that!"

It was the day before school, and Mom had bombarded my room with her designs. Said parental unit was now frowning slightly, her pride deflated from my uncomplimentary comments.

"But Francine Derriere loved this one, and it's just your size…" My poor mom would never get how mortified I would be to wear the fluffy purple thing she was waving in my face.

"The first day of school is all about making good impressions. I don't want people getting the impression that I'm a madwoman!" I cried hysterically.

Poor Mom. I really did feel for her. All day I had been complaining about the dresses she offered me, the fact that I had to go to school tomorrow, Francine Derriere (whom Mom defended the most strongly of), and the hideous pink color of my room. It was an obnoxious Barbie pink. I mean, really, with my mom being a fashion designer and all, you'd think she'd have more taste than that.

That being said, I still felt a sort of perverse pleasure in seeing her so pained. It was wrong, I knew that much, but I wanted to punish her for making us move to San Francisco. There was no way she could be so ecstatic about moving! It was sickening, really.

Yesterday I had been all too willing to plaster a smile onto my face and claim everything was okay. Then Mom announced that I had only a day to prepare for my first day of school, plus the added bonus that Derriere was coming over for dinner tonight. Yesterday was no more. I was waging war.

"Maybe I am a madwoman now," I muttered, just to hurt Mom. It worked. One glance at her face exposed all the pain that she was feeling. Hey, that wasn't fair. I couldn't fight a one-sided war. Mom was practically waving a white flag in front of my face.

"I'm sorry you feel that way," she whispered, her eyes shining. Okay, war over. I would be a sadistic witch to bomb a peaceful country.

"Hey, I really do love that dress, and it would look good on any model you could find. Just not me. I'm not a model." I was offering the olive branch.

For some reason, Mom was laughing. That same tinkling, bell-like laughter that was really getting on my nerves.

"Honey…you…look…" Cue more laughter and doubling over. I was looking red and angry, that's what. "…like a model!"

Oh. Wait, what?

"You're tall, skinny—"

"I prefer the term 'slender!'" I interjected, wincing at my mom's poor word choice. Skinny sounded disgusting.

"—And gorgeous!" Mom grinned widely and studied my face for a reaction. Well, let me tell you, I wasn't about to be flattered.

"…Say that again and I'll move to Timbuktu."

I had a thing with compliments. To put it quite simply, I just didn't like them. Sure, maybe deep, deep, deep down inside I might enjoy them, but I honestly didn't know how to respond to compliments. More often than not, I got angry, and that always confused the person who gave the compliment. Complimentee. Whatever.

Mom just sighed. She was used to my strange reactions. "You know, Kiko, most girls would love to be told they're pretty."

"But you're biased!" I stuck my tongue out at Mom. Athena's influence on me was becoming more and more apparent every day.

"Can you just wear this dress for dinner?" She held up a beaded red dress that had a long slit up the side. "I promise you can wear anything you want tomorrow, as long as you wear this in front of Francine."

My right eye twitched (a strange habit I had when I was angry), but I nodded nonetheless.


Francine Derriere was just as bad as I thought she was going to be. That is, she was a butthead. See, I told you her name suited her.

Exhibit A: Athena pranced up to Butt with these big, excited, lovely blue eyes (inherited from my mother, somehow) and said "Hi, Mith Derriere" in an incredibly cute and bashful voice. Butt wrinkled her nose and glared at my dear little sister as if she was a piece of gum on the bottom of her shoe (which, by the way, were like five inches tall and kind of crept me out because she's an old lady after all).

Then, she proceeded by giving my mom a "meaningful" look. What was that supposed to mean? It's not like Mom was going to tell Athena to bug off. Jeez, who did this woman think she was?

Mom actually had the gall to look embarrassed. I almost threw one of the heels Mom forced me to wear at her. At Butt, not Mom. Yes, Mother Dearest was getting on my nerves for not sticking up for Athena, but I figured it was all Butt's fault.

"Marie, why in the world are you living in this hole-in-the-wall?" Butt demanded in a disgusting nasally voice. I was tempted to tell her to bug off. Yet, I knew Mom's career practically depended on this vile woman, so I settled with a subtle eye twitch. It's not like I could help my strange habit anyways.

Mom turned beet red. Oh great, now my left eye was twitching along with my right eye. Seriously, what kind of demand was that? Athena had almost mistaken our house for a palace, for goodness sakes! I knew it was pretty nice, and we lived in an affluent neighborhood. Well, I'm sure Butt lived somewhere fancier, but our house was definitely not a hole-in-the-wall!

Dad finally stepped up to the plate, probably because Mom was just standing there looking shocked. "I have no idea what you're talking about, Miss Derriere. I think our house is quite pleasant. You should've seen the little shack—"

"Oh God, please don't remind me. I did see that nasty little shack in Hawaii. Besides, I was talking to Marie." The sorry excuse for a human turned to Mom after a disgusting sneer at Dad. "Marie, I quite recall giving your paycheck in advance. You could do better than this dull thing." She looked around at our house with an ugly look of superiority in her gray eyes.

Oh, that rat-faced freak was going down!

Mom must've seen my murderous gaze because she sent me a panicked look and said, "Francine, this is my oldest daughter, Kiko."

I didn't realize she and my mother were on first-name basis. Butt turned sharply to face me and gave me a once-over. I felt like telling her to take a long look in the mirror, but I'm not a mean person by nature. Butt seemed to bring the mean streak out of me.

"Marie, isn't that the dress you designed last week? You were supposed to send it to Mrs. Watson! It's quite wasted on this girl."

What—I oughta—gahhhh! I mean, I knew I wasn't the prettiest girl in the world, but I honestly didn't think the dress was wasted on me.

"Kiki lookth like Esmeralda!" Athena piped up from behind Mom, seeming to have gotten over her momentary fear of Butt. I wasn't sure whether to take that as a compliment or not. Seeing as Athena loved all things Disney, it was probably meant as one.

"Well, Esmeralda was a right little tramp," Butt asserted, ruining any hint of a compliment in Athena's statement. I suddenly had a disturbing image of the Disney Esmeralda seducing Quazzi-Motto. I shuddered. "And Marie, please send this girl to speech lessons. That lisp is horrendous."

Before I could think of numerous ways to murder Butt, Mom finally stepped in.

"I think she'll grow out of it soon. Come, Francine, dinner is waiting."

Mom had told me earlier that Butt wanted a nice, home-cooked meal. I found that hard to believe as she sauntered into the dining room and frowned at the heaping plates of food that Mom had spent all day slaving over.

Athena tugged on my arm. "What'th a lithp?" she whispered, her eyebrows coming together in confusion.

I was going to kill that woman! I hated having to explain things to Athena. Like that one time she asked where babies came from.

Want to know my tactic in such matters? Avoidance is key. Five-year-olds have the attention span of goldfish. Tell Athena that she looks really grown up now that she's wearing big kid underwear.

"¡Vámonos!" I picked her up and placed her on the chair next to me. "Gosh, you're getting really heavy, chica." Athena liked it when I spoke Spanish because it reminded her of Dora. I couldn't for the life of me understand how Dora was so fascinating.

Butt shot me a disapproving look, which I ignored.

How was dinner, you ask? Well, let's just say I had a hard time controlling my violent urges. I might've accidentally flung some mashed potatoes into her beehive bun. No butts about it…Butt was pure evil. I'm so punny.


I want to surf.

That was my first thought when I woke up the next day. Well, first coherent thought, mind you. If you wanted to be technical, my first thought was probably along the lines of gah.

See, it was a tradition for Kane and I to have an early morning surf session before the first day of school. It got rid of the nerves, and we came to first period dripping wet and cool-looking. Granted, I've had a history of first period teachers that hate me. In the words of dear Mrs. Galverson: "That Kiko punk has no respect for education!" Mind you, the only day I was late was the first day, and I was a good student too. Whoever tries to deny that first impressions don't count needs to take a long look at Mrs. Galverson.

I shook my head to rid myself of the evil that was Mrs. Galverson (although I had to admit that Butt was much worse) and pondered my dilemma. I wanted to go surfing. I had no surfboard, and I was in San Francisco, the closest body of water being the Bay, which was notoriously freezing.

I was just dandy.

I considered calling Kane to complain to him but then realized my oath. Right, I couldn't talk to him, because that would make it harder to get over him.

Once I was awake, I was awake, and there was no way I could return to my dream world, which included Kane, of course. I distinctly remembered dreaming about him and I surfing on a giant surfboard.

Anyways, I headed to the bathroom to shower instead. One of the actual pluses about owning a Barbie Dream Room was that I had my own bathroom, with no little Athena to burst in and randomly decide she wanted to play Pirates.

I shamefully admit that I am a shower singer. Once the steaming water hit me, I lathered on some passion fruit shampoo and started singing my own version of a good ol' feel-good song.

"I smell gooooood. Nananananana. I knew that I would now, nanananananana! SO GOOD! SO GOOD! I SMELL GOOD! OWWWWWWW!"


All it took was a shower concert to get me pumped up for the day. I live on simple pleasures.

Okay, so it also took me three cups of coffee to trudge into the car that morning, but that's just a minor detail.

Mom had generously offered to drive me to school, but I had dramatically exclaimed that I was an independent junior in high school.

That was how I wound up staring with wide eyes at Lowell High, biting my fingernails, with no one to comfort me. Idiot, I scolded myself. I briefly wondered if I could fake being sick. I'm sorry, but I drank so much coffee that I peed out all the water in my body. I chuckled sadistically.

I had timed it perfectly. I had made sure that I wouldn't arrive too early and not too late. I didn't want to spend an hour roaming around with no friends, but I didn't want to make a bad impression on the first day at a new school. That's what I was good at. Timing. I never had bad timing.

There were already people at school. I saw them in tight-knit groups, no doubt welcoming each other back, and tugged on my shirt self-consciously. Luckily, I didn't have to go to the office. They faxed me my schedule, along with a school map, yesterday. I spent the wee hours of last night highlighting all my possible routes and circling the location of my locker with a big red marker. I decided to head to my locker now.

Great, now what? I opened my locker and stared at it for a few seconds before I noticed something shiny in the back. It reflected the light as I picked it up. What was it?

It was some gold medallion thing. It had these strange-looking men holding weird light-saber things carved on it. For some reason, it reminded me of Hawaii. Huh. Strange. I pocketed it just as my cell phone started to ring.

We're gonna have a killer surf session-

"Hey Harriet, what's up?" I struggled to keep my tone casual, even though I felt like yelling, "Don't call me! You don't really care about me!"

"Just, you know, checking in on you," she said in her high-pitched voice. "Umm, Kane meant to call you too. He's just been busy. You know, hanging out. With me."

I gritted my teeth and tried to persuade myself not to lose my cool. She was calling to rub in the fact that I was miles away from my boyfriend, and she was right there, hanging out with him. I mean ex-boyfriend.

"Well, today's my first day of school." I heard the warning bell ring. "What are you doing up this early anyways?"

"Me and Kane pulled an all-nighter partying." I could practically hear the smirk in her voice.

"Since when does Kane party?" I sighed and ran a hand through my hair distractedly. "Uh, sorry, I gotta go. The bell just rang."

"Okay, good luck. I mean it, Kiko." I could still hear the smirk in her voice, and it bothered me. This was the girl I considered my best friend, next to Kane of course. How did my life get so screwed up?

I glanced at my watch and figured that if I left for my class now, I could get there late enough to not feel entirely awkward but early enough to leave a good impression on the teacher. As I walked through the halls, I almost wished that I hadn't started attending Lowell at the beginning of the school year. Then it would be as I'd always seen in movies—everyone is always totally fascinated by the new kid. I doubted anybody really noticed me here, and that left me feeling a bit disconcerted.

Finally, I reached the AP Studio Art room with a minute to spare. Then I was faced with the difficult task of finding a seat. The classroom, unfortunately, was designed in a loose fashion. There were tables placed randomly about the room, and I was forced to assess the three tables with available seats.

One held a bunch of blondes. I'm not even kidding. Considering I wasn't blonde, I nixed that option. The second table seemed normal enough. A motley group, however, occupied the third table. A girl with rainbow hair stood out.

For whatever reason, I decided to go with the rainbow-girl-table. "Can I sit here?" I asked, pointing to the seat next to Rainbow Girl.

She smiled and nodded, and I let out an internal sigh of relief. I wondered if I should try to talk to her, but the bell saved me from having to make that decision. Yep, I had wonderful timing.

A messy-looking boy walked in, took a seat at the normal table, and promptly fell asleep. No joke. I could hear him snoring lightly within seconds. I surveyed the rest of the room to see their reactions, but no one seemed to give it a second thought. Oh God, did that mean this school was devastatingly boring? While I was pondering that frightening thought, the teacher finally decided to make her appearance.

And let me tell you, all thoughts of this school being remotely dull were erased. Ms. Voyante was less than five feet tall and legally blind. She wore Lennon-style glasses, a huge headscarf that almost touched the floor, a billowing silk dress, and bright yellow eyeshadow. The oddest thing, however, was that she had three eyes. The third eye was painted on her forehead, mind you, but it was still a bit disturbing.

"Hello, talented souls," she greeted, flashing the class a brilliant smile and stepping onto a stool in order to become eye level with rest of us. "I would like you to forget everything you have learned about art up until now. Can someone give me the definition of art?"

Rainbow Girl snickered and raised her hand. "It's the expression of anything outside yourself." The stricken look on Ms. Voyante's face led me to believe that Rainbow Girl had purposely given the exact opposite of the answer she wanted just to irk her.

Ms. Voyante climbed onto the table and raised her hands into the air as if she was giving a sermon. "Art is definitely not the expression of something outside yourself! Art is a very personal experience that can only come from within. I want to see a piece of yourself there. It musts have vision, darlings, vision! Say it!"

The whole class looked at her dully. Rainbow Girl, on the other hand, snickered and shouted, "Vision, darlings, vision!"

Ms. Voyante looked at her approvingly. Before I knew it, my whole table was shouting "Vision!" along with Rainbow Girl. Oh, what the heck. I joined in too.


After class, I instinctively lingered in the art room, somehow knowing that an extra minute or two would do me some good. I glanced around, seeing that Rainbow Girl and her friends were dawdling, too.

"Hey Kiko," I heard from beside me, and I halted the doodling of a wave that I was doing on a stray piece of binder paper. There was no way I could have misheard that; I mean, there aren't too many girls named Kiko out there.

I turned around and faced Rainbow Girl. "Um, yeah?"

"You're new here." It wasn't a question, just a statement, and I could only nod in agreement. She looked at me quizzically. "You don't look Japanese."

I sighed. "Yeah, I get that a lot. But seriously, my dad is Japanese, or part anyhow. My mom's white though."

She nodded. "My name's Marié. You can be my friend, since you don't know anybody." My eyes widened. Well, she was straightforward.

She flicked her thumb over to the rest of her friends. "Don't mind them, they're just in awe of your beauty and mysteriousness."

I laughed. "Um, yeah, I'm not either."

A boy scoffed from behind Marié. "Apparently, you're modest, too." At that remark, a petite girl beside him glared at me. Whoa, okay, what was her problem?

"That's Matt. He's kind of rough around the edges, but he's a real softy inside, I promise. I'm his sister, I know these things." Marié grinned. I looked between the two, searching for some kind of resemblance, but I failed to find anything. Well, it was still cool. I'd never met twins before.

Matt rolled his eyes and strolled out of the room. I frowned. Did I do something wrong?

"You didn't do anything," Marié informed me, as if reading my mind. "He just got embarrassed." She giggled. The petite girl that had glared at me promptly left the room, too. I gulped. It seemed like Marié's friends didn't like me much.

Marié just ignored her friends' odd behavior and asked to see my schedule. I complied, feeling a sense of relief overtake me. I had someone to talk to, and it had only been one class period.

"Hey! We have AP Psych together!" My head snapped up in time to see Marié's wide grin. "Ohh, and you have like three classes with Danny!" Her face lit up even more, if that was humanly possible.

That was a different name. "Who's Danny?" I asked, feeling a little lost.

"Only the nicest guy in the world!" she exclaimed. "Now, pack up, I'll take you to your next class and introduce you to him."

I stuffed my binder into my backpack, feeling slightly overwhelmed. I don't think those three cups of coffee helped, either.

It turned out that Danny was every bit as cheerful and nice as Marié was. He seemed genuinely interested in me, and not just out of politeness.

"So, where did you move from?" he whispered to me as our Pre-calculus teacher passed out the syllabus.

"Hawaii," I whispered back, unsure as to whether he heard of Kauai before.

His eyes lit up. "That's so cool, I've never met anybody from Hawaii before. But, you know, you look Hawaiian. Not that I know what Hawaiian people look like." He looked confused with his own words, which I thought was kind of cute.

His looks were kind of cute, too, if I were into the whole blond hair and blue eyes thing. He looked the part of a California surfer dude, but it was ironic considering the foggy sky right outside the window.

"Hey, you surf, right?" Danny asked me after class.

I looked up into his bright blue eyes. "Yeah, it's kind of a given if you live in Hawaii."

He nodded enthusiastically. "I surf, too. I mean, I don't get around to it as often as I'd like to, but I have a beach house in Santa Cruz."

Well, it looked like he really did fit the stereotype.


Marié and Matt were both in my AP Psychology class. It also turned out that the boy who fell asleep during my first period class was in every single one of my classes so far. I regarded him curiously; strangely, the teachers didn't seem to mind that he was never awake.

Marié, on the other hand, was definitely awake and was chattering nonstop during class. Matt contributed to the conversation by rolling his eyes every few minutes.

"Oh, Kiko, this year will be so exciting with you here!" Marié exclaimed. "I'm going to take you to all the cool spots around the city."

"Oh, yeah, I was thinking about taking my little sister to Fisherman's Wharf," I replied absentmindedly.

Marié and, surprisingly, even Matt looked scandalized. "But that's such a tourist trap! You can't go there, it's a nightmare."

I frowned. "Well, I am a tourist, in case you haven't noticed." Then I realized what my problem was.

I still thought I was just a visitor. That's why I was feeling so detached. I was wondering what Kane and Harriet were doing rather than focusing on the people with me. It was strange how my social clock hadn't quite adjusted yet.


As I was exiting the classroom, Matt grabbed my arm and led me down a hallway, into an empty room.

He pushed me down into a chair, and I was suddenly aware of how mysteriously hot he was. He had black hair and icy blue eyes. Why didn't I see this earlier? I gulped.

He stared at me stoically for a while before finally leaning over to tell me something.

"I want to do you."


:O

Review please! Even if you didn't really like it, I still want to hear feedback! I'll give you...butts? LOL

Nuda : Thanks for your review! It kind of encouraged me when I was thinking about starting a new story again instead of continuing this one (I know, I'm crazy xD) I feel like I've let you down, though, with this crappy chapter. Hopefully my next one will be better. It's definitely going to be shorter!