Chapter One

Shirt: puff-sleeved turquoise silk. Banana Republic. Skirt: black leather pencil, knee-length. Marc Jacobs. Shoes: four-inch black patent leather. Steve Madden. Bra and panties: black silk lace. Victoria's Secret. Bag: black leather hobo. Kate Spade. I smoothed my skirt one more time, then started determinedly up the white marble stairs leading to the front doors of my school for the next two years. I took a deep breath – ah, the sweet smell of university.

I made my way through the huge double doors and headed towards the main office, making sure yet again I had all my transfer papers with me and in order. Yes, alphabetical. And chronological. I shoved a loose hank of hair behind my ear and entered the office. A plump woman with fake ginger hair smiled up at me from her desk to the right of the door.

"Hello, dear. Can I help you?" Her voice was the epitome of sweet, matronly lady. I wondered how many cats she had.

"Hi!" Bubbly, falsely cheerful voice – check. "I'm a new transfer student; I just wanted to check my schedule and paperwork with you." She smiled again, and I saw the gleam of light reflecting off her dentures (I'm pretty sure the same light hit the opposite wall).

"Of course, dear." Her upper denture slipped a little. She took my papers and glanced over them, finally handing me a few new ones. A signature, three forms, and a new schedule later, I was gently pushed out the door to find my way to my new class.

I had been searching fruitlessly for some time, hardly paying attention to what was in front of me, when I ran into something impossibly broad, squishy, and with amazing reflexes...for a wall. A pair of thick arms snaked around me as I stumbled backwards.

"Whoa there," the wall's boyish voice rumbled; I felt it all the way to my feet. Finally looking up, my eyes were greeted by a pale, chubby face with a tousled cap of muddy brown hair, complimented by a pair of equally muddy brown eyes. My – ahem – "savior" smiled widely like a boy just given a sweetie, obviously pleased with himself. He rather reminded me of the mouse Gus from Cinderella, only I would have much rather touched Gus. I smiled weakly in reply.

"Thanks," I said with as much gratitude as I could muster. I stepped back – fortunately he let me go.

"Petey," he said, as if that explained things, and held out a meaty hand. I could not help but think of one of my old band mates back home as I looked at Petey's "chode fingers". He wiggled them. This little piggy went to the market...I shook his hand, which was oddly sticky, dropping it as quickly as possible.

"Er...Sam. Hi." His pudgy smile grew impossibly wide. I had to hold back a shudder as he visibly undressed me with his eyes. Gag me. "So...thanks again, and I'm uh...I'll see you later..." Mistake. His eyes lit up like I really had just offered him a piece of candy.

"Yeah! Great! Hey! You must be new; why don't I show you around a bit? We can find out if our dorms are close!" I tried to keep my smile from being overbearingly smug.

"Actually, I'm not in a dorm. I have off-campus housing. And really, thanks for the offer, but I'm supposed to be meeting someone..." Okay, so the second one was a total lie, but can you blame me? His face fell, and I almost felt sorry. Almost. I started to edge away. "So yeah, I'll see you..." He smiled again, suddenly triumphant (my cheeks were starting to hurt from watching it), and ripped a piece of paper out of, wheeled...backpack. In all honesty, I'd thought those were done away with in the fourth grade. He scribbled a number on the paper, ripped it in half, and thrust both pieces and his pen into my horrified face. Sadly, it wasn't in my heart to write the wrong number. I smiled again, feeling a tad bit queasy, and handed my *cringe* number back to him.

Petey put a plump, sweaty hand on my shoulder and slid it down my arm to pump my hand again, still smiling hugely. I tasted bile in the back of my throat. I pulled the corners of my mouth up in one last semblance of a smile, then got the hell out of there.

If only I had worn sneakers that day, I'd have been able to run away. As it was, my Steve Maddens clicked their disapproval as I half ran down the hall to the double doors and the light at the end of the tunnel.