Lucy marched down the street. She was wearing heels, a jean skirt, and a cap-sleeve t-shirt. It was the first time she had worn something other than grungy jeans and a black shirt. She liked being able to wear whatever she wanted, and dressing up when the situation called for it, and this was definitely the situation that called for it. Her hair was tied back as usually, covered with a patterned bandanna. Normally her hair went all over the place, and it was the best she could do to get around it.

"Honestly, Luce, I don't know why you're so angry. The guy was a jerk."

That was her friend Miranda, who had dragged Lucy from her bedroom almost by force. It had been four days since Lucy had broken up with her boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, Will. The two had been dating for a year now, to the point where Will Ainsly and Lucy McBride had become almost a household name. Will was on the football team and Lucy was gearing to be an art student when she graduated next month. He had even brought up the idea of getting married and moving in together.

That was until she went to his house last week and found him on the couch with Macy Sanders from the cheerleading squad. Will had told Lucy to come over later to watch a movie, and apparently had forgotten that she was coming over. Lucy shuddered slightly, and was glad that she was smart enough and had not given into the temptation of sleeping with Will.

Then, of course, Will had the audacity to break up with her and told Lucy it was because she wouldn't sleep with him.

"I can't believe it!" Miranda told her, "Luce, are you okay? You've been kind of quiet."

"I wasted a year of my life," Lucy wrapped her arms around herself. She had been shocked when Will had broken up with her, and she still wasn't quite sure if she should cry or get pissed and beat the crap out of something, "So, where is this party, anyway?"

"Dunno," Miranda shrugged, "It's one of those huge houses in Hillgate, but I don't know who actually lives there. Supposedly the guy's parents don't come home very often, so he throws parties whenever."

Lucky bastard, Lucy scowled. Her home life sucked in the manner of her parents ignoring her for her elder sister who, according to her parents, was basically put on Earth to be the epitome of perfection. Where Lucy liked to paint, her sister Harriet was a doctor. Harriet also played the piano, the violin, sang, and was Valedictorian in high school and college. Lucy liked her 'B' average, and was perfectly content with avoiding music like the plague.

Harriet McBride and her fiance, Raphael, were getting married in two months. It was starting to get painful to even be at home with her mother fawning over Harriet and Lucy having to run all the grunt errands. Did she even get to be in the wedding party? Nope. Did she still have to haul everything around and clean up the house? Damn straight. It didn't help matters either that her parents had completely adopted Raphael into the family.

She figured she sounded like she was whining, but she didn't really care at the moment. Lucy was used to going through life trying to please people and be proper, but she saw where that had led her. Now she was alone, completely ignored, and Miranda was really the only person who actually cared about her.

They reached the front driveway of the house. There were cars lining the streets, and music blaring out of the open windows, but this wasn't what Lucy noticed. It was a multiple story house, probably big enough to fit two of her houses in it, with a three car garage and a front gate. The iron gates were open, and people were walking in and out of the open door. It had french doors, and when Lucy found herself walking into the doorway, she was floored by how many people were there.

Hillgate was known for having some of the largest and most expensive homes in the city, but she hadn't expected this.

"I don't want to stay too long," Lucy told her friend, "Just long enough to say hi to people and then leave."

"Hon," Miranda sighed, "This is a party. You don't say hi to people. Go get drunk, find some hot guy, and make out with him."


"Hey, you're a free woman for the first time in a year. Up until now, Will has been basically taking advantage of you. You can do whatever you want, and then rub it in his face later."

Miranda did make a good point. In all the time in the past four days, it never occurred to Lucy that she was free to do whatever she wanted. Lucy stood in the front entry of the mansion that resembled more of a castle to her, and waved towards Miranda as her friend set off to find her own boyfriend. Randy had been dating Travis for the last month or so, and Lucy wasn't going to be the wet blanket in the group. In a way, she needed a little time to herself, but Miranda had promised that she would call in a few hours to check up on her.

A few hours?, Lucy thought, I'm supposed to stay here for a few hours?

She made her way over to the bar, which was being run by some burly guy dressed in a tuxedo. Ordering herself a beer, whatever was easist to find at the time, she popped off the top and took a big drink.

"Luce?" a voice said beside her, "I didn't know you drank beer."

Oh no.

Will stood behind her, a glass of Bourbon in his hand, looking as handsome and gorgeous as ever. Years of athletics had refined his muscles, and he was tall. Of course, Lucy was used to most people being taller than her because she was short, but she was half a head shorter than Will. There was a hint of amusement in his blue eyes, his blond hair combed perfectly. That was Will was in general, just perfect.

"Hi Will."

"What are you doing here?" he looked around, "I always figured these kinds of places weren't you thing."

She was suddenly angry, but didn't know exactly why.

"I'm here with Miranda. She wanted to see her boyfriend and go to the party, so I went with," Lucy explained, knowing it wasn't completely a lie. He was humoring her, and as far as Lucy was concerned, she wanted to tell him to go to hell.

Will reached out and touched her arm, "Come on, Luce, I'll take you home. This isn't the place for you."

What the hell was his problem? He was acting like nothing happened, like he hadn't cheated then broken up with her. Now he was expecting her to just go with him willingly.

"No, that's okay. I think I'll stay here."

"Oh, come on, Lucy," Will frowned, "You couldn't handle being here for more than ten minutes. You hate the crowd and the drinking and everything else."

She was a stubborn person, and the only reason why Will knew these things about her was because they had dated for a long time. Lucy hated it that he knew everything about her.

Hey, you're a free woman for the first time in a year.

You can do whatever you want, and then rub it in his face later.

Lucy jerked her arm out of Will's grasped, and took another drink of the beer in her hand. It wasn't to bad, but not her first choice in drink, "No, Will, I think I'll stay here thank you very much. You're not my boyfriend. Now go screw off, or better yet, go find Macy Sanders and leave me the fuck alone."

He blinked. It was the first time he had ever heard Lucy swear. Then the anger that flashed in front of his eyes was instantaneous, "Oh? You think you know everything? Look here you little bitch, you don't know shit about life. Without me you couldn't walk down the fucking street."

How dare he.

That was when the crowd of guys behind her suddenly registered in the back of her mind. The plan in her head was stupid and would probably get in more trouble, but it would be worth it if she could show up Will for once. He thought he knew everything, didn't he? She was going to show him.

"Screw you, Will, I have better things to do than let you walk all over me."

"Oh?" he leaned closer to her, "Maybe if you actually let me walk over you, you might find that you like it."


"No, actually, I would rather gag. I have a better idea in mind though," she replied in the same low voice that he had been using on her. There was a flash in his eyes, and she was worried for a moment that he was try and grab her again.

"What's that?"

It all happened to fast because Lucy tried not to think about what she was doing. One of the things that Will had complained about in their relationship was that she was a terrible kisser. Grabbing the arm of the first guy behind her, she turned him around and reached a fist up to grab his collar. Right in front of Will, and in front of all the strange guy's friends, she kissed him.

She could tell he was surprise. For a second he stiffened, but the hold she had on his collar was too tight to let him back up. Lucy laid her other hand on his cheek, taking the initiative to taste him when he lips parted. She didn't allow herself to think, knowing if she did, she was simply die right then and there.

Then, to her shock, the guy kissed her back.

His arms latched around her, tipping her head back, and he ravaged her mouth. Lucy suddenly found herself clutching the front of his shirt. What had she done? What the hell had she been thinking? It was like she unleashed some sort of dragon, and he made no move that he was letting up, not that she really wanted to. Lucy had never been kissed before, like he was a starving man he and she was something to drink after days of wandering in the desert.

At some point, he pulled away slightly, and Lucy found the courage to open her eyes. Her brown eyes stared into a pair of emerald green orbs that were shining slightly at her. He was taller that Will, considerably so, and she suddenly felt a little guilty about making him lean over so far. His hair was dark brown, and where her fingers had moved to grip his arms, there was nothing but pure muscle.

There was also something else she noticed. He was wearing a t-shirt, and under her fingers, she saw the line of a Celtic knot tattoo circling his upper right arm.

There was only one person she knew from school that had a tattoo like that.

Will was livid. She heard him shouting and swearing at her somewhere in the background, but her mind didn't really care about him at the moment. He could complain all he wanted, but Lucy was done with him. The current man that had capture her attention was still staring at her with an oddly contemplative look in his expression.

She had kissed Dominick Noon.

Noon was the resident bad-boy at school. He had tattoos, piercings, smoked out in the back alley, and had been arrested a few times to her knowledge. It was also common knowledge that he was one of the most eligible 'bachelors' in school, or so to speak. He was the exact opposite of everything that Will was.

"Hey, Dom!" one of the boy called the background, from Noon's own circle of friends, "Who's the hot babe?"

Lucy suddenly felt her cheeks heat up. What the hell was she doing? She pulled herself out of Noon's arms turned to Will, and he continued to shout at her, Noon's friends crowding around her. Setting her beer on the counter top, Lucy pushed her way through the crowd and made a beeline for the back door.

Lucy barely made outside before she sat down on the metal bench on the balcony, and buried her face in her knees, trying not to hyperventilate. It was a mistake to do what she did, to come to the party, to even leave her room. Had she known that Will would be there, she would have done everything possible to avoid him. The door slid open and Lucy turned to race down the balcony stairs. She didn't want to see anyone or talk to anyone, and there was a slight fear in the back of her mind that Will would follow her.

The stairs led to the courtyard and gardens that surrounded a fountain. If the circumstances had been different, she would have thought the back yard was gorgeous. Because it was slightly chilly outside, people were generally sticking to the indoors, and Lucy finally found that she could relax. Plopping on the edge of the fountain, she buried her face in her hands. She wanted to go home, but if she did, she would have to go through more crap from her parents for staying out late and scolding her for not being responsible like her sister.

God, she was pathetic.

"You okay?"

She didn't recognize the voice, but she didn't really want to look up. It was a guy's voice, and she heard his footsteps as he sat next to her. With a deep breath to give herself the courage, she glanced to her left to see who it was.

Dominick leaned forward slightly, his elbows resting on his knees. His dark hair was mussed by the wind, and there was no irritation in his green eyes. She didn't really know how to answer his question, and didn't even know if she would want to if she could.

"I shouldn't have come here," she said, sweeping her hand over her cheek before the tears fell too far on her face, "I'm sorry I involved you in that. Will...just won't leave me alone."

"Ainsly," he said, with a hint of disdain in his voice that Lucy couldn't quite decide was directed towards her or Will, "You didn't do anything wrong."

Lucy glanced over at him, and gave him a small smile, "Thanks. You're pretty easy going for a guy that just got molested by some random girl."

That comment caused him to grin.

He was hauntingly handsome, and thought caused her to shiver slightly. Handsome in a different way from Will in that it was a more raw kind that a groomed and pressed look.

"Sugar, if I had any complaints, you would have heard them by now."

Truth be told, Dom had never been kissed like that before. It had been desperate, like there was something that was chasing her and she was running. He was generally good at keeping a wall around his emotions, as his father had always instructed him, but there was something about this girl that just hit him straight in the chest. His response caused her to chuckle, which made him happy that she was cheering up.

"So, what's your name?" he asked. Dom knew she was from school and in the same grade he was, but had never met her before.

"Lucy McBride."

"Lucy, huh? Is that a nickname?"

She blushed, looking embarrassed, "Yeah."

He stared at her expectantly, as if she would just just blurt out her whole name to him. Miranda didn't even know with Lucy was short for, and Lucy had no intention of telling him.

"And?" Dom's eyebrows rose in the air.

"And, what?"

"What it is short for?"

"It stupid."

"Can't be more stupid than Dominick."

"There's nothing wrong with that name."

He leaned back on his hands, "I think it's dumb. Come on, tell me what it is. It can't be that bad."

Maybe she would just tell him to get Dom off her back. He seemed like the type to be stubborn when he wanted to.

She sighed.


Dominick stared at her a moment, completely perplexed, "What's wrong with that? It's Italian."

"Yeah, how did you know?"

He shrugged, "I speak Italian."

Her mouth dropped open. That was definitely something that she didn't expect from the school's resident badass. Lucy heard her phone ring, and checking the ID display, she saw that it was Miranda.


"Hey, girl," Miranda replied, "I'm going to go home with Travis, are you going to be okay getting home?"

Lucy glanced at Dominick, and nodded to herself, "Sure, I'll be fine."

"Where are you?"

"I'm out-" she stopped a moment. If she told Miranda she was hanging out with the Dominick Noon, there would be more trouble that Lucy wanted, "I'm out talking to a friend."

"Okay. Take care. If you get stuck, give me a call and Travis and I will come get you."

"Kay, thanks."

The phone hung up, and Lucy took a moment to stare at Dominick. He smiled, "Looks like you're stuck here."

"Looks like."

"So," he motioned his head towards the house, "You want to dance?"

"Will is-"

Dominick stood up, and held a hand out too her, "Trust me, Ainsly won't bother you."

Lucy stared at him nervously a moment, and then took his hand. She wanted to take a leap for once in her life, to ignore the preconceptions people had about her and forget all the demands her family made. Her helped her up, and Lucy followed him inside. The moment she entered the house, Will caught sight of her. Dominick felt her stiffen next to him, and his arm wrapped around her waist. He leaned over,

"Don't worry, I've got it."

She smiled, and they disappeared into the crowd and the music.