As far as Adam was concerned, the party was the best thing that could have happened for the majority of the student body – those who were not the elite. He had seen kids who usually never spoke to anyone become the life of the party [sure, under the influence, but progress is progress, right?]. People who had ignored each other, never acknowledged one another were talking like they were old friends. He had seen the gay kid and the emo kid all over each other [and good for them], and even his sister and the girl who hadn't really spoken to anyone since her boyfriend died were now laughing, and drinking, and talking in the corner, both of them seeming ecstatic to be in the other's company. Everyone was together.

Except for the one girl, who he hadn't seen do much since she arrived. The people she spoke to were the ones with cigarettes, and he was sure that once she finished smoking she went back to solitude, anyway.

Smiling greetings, and how-are-you's, he headed outside for a smoke. As he pulled his lighter out of his pocket, and took a long, relaxing drag, he heard footsteps behind him. Turning around, he saw the girl that he had been watching all night [whether consciously or unconsciously, he wasn't entirely sure]. She was prettier close up, even with all the eyeliner, and the eye shadow, and the bright red lipstick, and the black and red T-shirt and jeans ensemble she was wearing. Or because of it, he didn't know.

"Hey, um, do you mind if I…" she asked, indicating the box in his hand.

"Oh, no, sure. Here," he offered her the cigarette packet. Taking one, she held out her hand for the lighter.

"So," he said, between drags, "What's your name?"

"No offence, but I asked for a smoke, not a conversation," she said. "Why do you want to know, anyway? It's not like you'll notice whether I'm here or not, or there, or anywhere, really, because I'm not that important to you. Or anyone, really," she added bitterly.

He looked at her, speechless.

"Sorry," she laughed. "I have a tendency to ramble on. You don't have to listen."

"I want to listen," he assured her, and to his surprise, he actually meant it. It wasn't just a line, to get her trust, to get her to think he was a good guy, when all he wanted was to get her into bed and forget she existed. He did actually care.

She raised her eyebrow. "Really? You want to hear all about my problems? You want me to rant and rave on and on about my mother, and my life, and everything I can think about?"

He nodded, and she laughed. "Why, so I'll have sex with you?"

"Surprisingly, no. See, normally at this point, I'll lie to you, tell you I care, sleep with you, and then disappear. For some reason, that's not why I'm doing this."

"So, what, you actually like me?"

He nodded, and she burst into tears.

"Did I say something wrong?" he asked, worried.

"No, it's just…that's the nicest thing anyone's ever said, or, well, nodded, to me in a long time. It was unexpected, that's all."

Danni hadn't expected that. She hadn't expected him to admit to it, any of it. She certainly hadn't expected to say that he liked her. She had thought that he was just one of those guys, the ones who had been coming up to her all night, trying every line they could on her. She didn't know why she had started crying. Maybe it was the alcohol, but somehow she knew that he was different.

"I'm Danni," she said, without thinking.

He smiled. "Adam."

"Cool."

"So," he said. "Why don't you tell me what you're doing here?"

"I'll show you mine if you show me yours," she said smiling sadly.

He laughed. "Do you really want to go there?"

"Yeah. I really do," she said, and she meant it.

"Well. My parents don't give a damn about me anymore, except to constantly criticise, and compare me to my sister, Little Miss Perfect herself, not that it's her fault. My parents have all but forgotten my name, and so just label me as a failure. According to them, I'm a useless worthless waste of space, who's never going to go anywhere in life."

"Right," she said. "Sounds like a ball of fun."

He laughed. "Oh, it is. I don't mind it though. Not really, anyway. I'll rather be the screw up son than the darling daughter. I couldn't deal with the pressure." He looked at her, grinning. "Your turn," he said.

She took a deep breath, and prepared to spill her soul out to the stranger she had only just met. "My parents haven't stopped fighting since I was about five. I've had to look after my sister, because they were always too goddamn preoccupied to notice anyone but themselves. When I was seven, they got divorced. Ever since then, my mum's had a new boyfriend every couple of weeks, it seems. Whenever a new guy comes into her life, she forgets about us for a while, a couple of days at most, but she always comes back. But this time is different. It's been weeks, and she's only getting worse. Amy's out every night doing god knows what, and I'm at home, drinking until I throw up, drinking some more, and then crawling into bed, wondering what the goddamn point is anymore, of anything. I feel dead inside, and I don't know what else to do. If I left, if I…disappeared, I don't think that anybody would miss me." She sank down onto the grass, fully expecting Adam to turn and walk away, and forget he'd even met her.

"I'd miss you," Adam said, kneeling down in front of her. "And I swear that's not just a line."

She looked up at him, unable to stop the few tears, the few, watery drops of evidence that she had felt something. "What?" she whispered. "How could you miss me? You don't even know me."

"Maybe I don't know what your favourite colour is, or where you went to primary school, or what the name of your imaginary friend was, but I know enough about you to know that I'd at least like a chance to find out the answers. You're too…different, not to be missed."

He moved beside her, and put his arms around her.

She was wrapped up in the comfort of…something. It wasn't just Adam [or maybe it was, maybe he had done this to her], but she was starting to feel…not so dead inside, and it felt…to be honest, it felt weird, but weird in a good way, like this was what was supposed to happen. She revelled in the feeling, drinking in her…happiness like it was water in a desert.

"So," Adam said, breaking the silence. "You come here often?"

As Danni laughed, he thought about the night. He'd done two out of three. He'd smoked, and drunk to his heart's content. And he had found a girl. But she wasn't just a random, one night stand, a girl he'd never see again, a girl he was using to escape. He liked her. He liked her enough to let her into his problems, let her see beyond what he wanted the rest to see. And it seemed that she liked him, if the way that she was sighing in his arms was anything to go by. Unless it was a what a loser, what am I doing here with him, I'm such an idiot kind of sigh, but he didn't think so.

And so, not wanting to push anything, he kissed her forehead and pulled her to her feet.

"Come on," he said, taking her hand in his own. "It's getting cold out here."

She smiled to herself, embracing the butterflies that had emerged when he kissed her forehead, the way her head had spun when he had taken her hand, and just the way that he made her feel [because now that she could feel something, there was no way she was letting go].She let him lead the way, knowing, and believing that she was safe, as long as he was there.

Strand

1. one of a number of fibres, threads, or yarns that are plaited or twisted together to form a rope, cord, or the like.

2. a similar part of a wire rope.

3. a rope made of such twisted or plaited fibres.

4. a fibre or filament, as in animal or plant tissue.

5. a thread or threadlike part of anything: the strands of a plot.

6. a tress of hair.

7. a string of pearls, beads, etc.

verb (used with object) 8. to form (a rope, cable, etc.) by twisting strands together.

9. to break one or more strands of (a rope).


Another quick, too-fast moving relationship, i believe.
BUT. i think it all worked out.
PLEASSE tell me that one of you got the clever little acronym thing i put in there. Or my genius will have been wasted, haha.

But erm, yeah. Reviews, suggestions, criticism would be appreciated, and loved, whatever it is (unless you're a jerk with nothing constructive to say like someone i know).

But...yeah.
I'm off to watch american idol!
woo, adam :D

Love, and harlequin kidds that i heart with all my...well, heart,
-ashley.