Jane Sylvester was rarely restless. She knew exactly what her goals were (become a high-end scientist by her third decade on Earth) and knew exactly how to reach it (get good grades, get into a good college, and make connections). She kept a strict schedule: up at 5:30, eat a nutritious breakfast while reading Science Daily until 6:15, get dressed according to Science Daily's weather forecast, brush her teeth, and out the door at 6:45 to reach school at 7:00. After classes, it was cross country or track practice, depending on the season, and she would finish her homework by 9:30 and get ready for bed, sleeping by 9:45.

It was the summer before senior year, and her schedule hadn't changed much. She was taking a few summer courses at a university near-by and kept up with the pre-season cross country practices. Her schedule, therefore, called to be followed.

But today, she was behind. Today, Friday, July 18, Jane was supposed to finish her English summer work and get to bed by 9:45. But here it was, 11:19 crowding her digital clock with its too-many numbers, and Jane had barely written a sentence.

She couldn't sit still. She bounced in her chair, tapped her feet, clicked her pen, and yet the restlessness refused to leave. Instead, it intensified.

She found herself grabbing a pair of shoes, loose flip flops, and throwing them on as she left the house in her pajamas: a pair of cotton shorts and a loose t-shirt. She slipped her way down the apartment building stairs and ducked to the back of the building outside, where a few tin trash cans sat and a large square of asphalt lie.

She wasn't alone, nor did she expect to be alone. Outside, sitting on one of the empty trash cans, was Landon Prigg, her neighbor. He had lit a cigarette and was casually dragging it. It wasn't like the pictures; the cigarette marred his already hard features, and his eyes were wrinkled and crinkled from the toxic smoke. She sat down next to him, holding her breath from the acrid smoke but taking an offered cigarette anyways.

They didn't talk, only smoked on poison. Landon lived by himself, running away from his dad's dream of having a lawyer son who could help him write up divorce claims from umpteenth wives. When she first met him, she told him that smoking was terrible – how it ruined lungs and caused cancer. He looked back at her and said, "The poison of this cigarette is nothing like the poison everyone else pumps into you."

After meeting Landon, Jane received her first D (an AP Biology test), stopped going to the university, and stopped dreaming of being a scientist. She wanted to paint.

It was Landon who gave her the first squeeze of paint. She marveled at how the brush made the paint glide onto the canvas and how colors came together to make the flowers outside the apartment building, the sky before the storm, the glittering water in the gutters…how she could make the serpentine colors anything she wanted.

After their nightly cigarettes, Jane and Landon usually painted together until she had to leave, until about two o'clock in the morning, half an hour before her father got home from the graveyard shift at the cemetery. But tonight was different. Jane's hands nervously twitched toward the suitcase she had been holding, making ash fall down like acid snow. Landon seemed calm, but his eyes darted from his own suitcase to Jane.

"You're early," he said.

"I was too restless to wait much longer."

Over an hour later, they quickly gathered their tiny suitcases, full with their lives, and jumped into a taxi that littered the street. They refused to look at each other during the ride but held hands as the driver snorted and coughed his way to the airport.

Fifteen hours later, they found themselves in Pairs; the best hometown in the world for artists without a home.