They ambushed me.

How could they do that to me? I mean, sure... it's been two years since it happened... my chest tightened as I thought about it. I leaned against a white, bare wall in my bedroom, sliding down to the floor, trying to hold back the tears.

I miss you, V, my thoughts screamed as I buried my face in my hands and gave in to the emotions that swirled in my mind. V would know what to do, she'd have everything all planned out by now... but she wasn't here anymore. I let the sobs rack through my body as my mind flashed back to that night.

"Lyssss!" Vanessa's voice rang out through the school hallways. It was a Friday, and all I'd wanted to do was escape from school.

V had always called me Lyss, because she hated all the other options for nicknames my name offered. She didn't like it when people called me Cat, said I wasn't anyone's pet and I sure as hell wasn't domesticated enough to be a cat, either. I'd always laugh when she'd say that. V called me Lyss ever since I had met her, in fifth grade.

I scowled, closing my locker door. "Keep your voice down, V. You don't need to scream the halls down lookin' for me," I scolded lightly, shaking my head at my ever exuberant best friend. The more she'd talk, the more excited she would get, and the more excited she was, the louder she was.

She bounced in place, her golden hair flying everywhere as her brown eyes danced across the hall as if she were looking for something. "But this, this is epic," she replied, eyes bulging out as she grinned from ear to ear.

Her smiles were contagious, and I caught myself smiling back. "What now, V?" I asked, pulling my hair back into a sloppy bun. It was roasting in this school, and having long hair didn't help at the end of the school year.

She giggled. "You remember Melody's lake house, right?" she asked me. Without waiting for a response, she continued, her words almost jumbling together, "Well, she's throwing a massive, end of the year bash there. You know, music, beer, typical party stuff. But it's Melody. She's the queen of parties. She hasn't thrown one in a while, and everyone is talking about it! We have to go, Lyss! It's tonight. I don't care if I have to sneak you out of that house, where your parents seem to have you on 24/7 lock-down, I will find a way!" she squealed excitedly.

I stood there, gaping at her slightly, and raised an eyebrow at her. "V, you know if my parents catch me this time, it's the end of the line for me, right? Like, I'm done. No more Lyss at school, no more texting Lyss, no more seeing her... I'll probably be shipped off to some..." I shuddered, thinking of the worst imaginable thing they could do, not knowing what was already planned by some sick god above, "some boarding school or something. V, you'd lose me!" I whined, throwing my hands in the air as I went all out explaining everything to her.

V just shook her head, suddenly serious. "No, Lyss. We're going. I'm going to sneak you out of that damn house, end of story. I don't want to hear another peep out of your mouth on this matter, and I wanna see you dressed to the nines for this party. I'm talking, short dress, stilettos, curl your hair and do your make-up, girly. We are going to this party, and I will not lose my Lyss."

I laughed bitterly against my knees as I sat there, thinking angry thoughts. "No, V. You didn't lose your Lyss. Your Lyss lost you," I whispered, feeling the full force of my words. If only I'd tried harder to get her to listen to me. If only I would have made sure that I was the one driving her car back to her mom's, because I was the most sober out of the both of us. Maybe, if I would've just stayed at the party longer... instead of panicking... I'd still have my best friend...

"Come on, Lyss!" V whined, pouting at me. We'd only been at the party for a couple of hours, but I was worried my parents would find out somehow... or that my little brother would show up. He had this uncanny knack for crashing parties.

I folded my arms across my chest, frowning. "V, there will be more parties. Look, you're already drunk," I tried to reason with her. I didn't want her to do anything stupid, either. Everyone knew that Vanessa Croft was good at stupid while she was drunk.

She rolled her eyes dramatically. "Fine. But only because you're my best friend," she slurred slightly. "We can watch chick flicks at my house then? I'll tell you about what Matt's big surprise for me was the other day," she prattled on, suddenly happy with leaving the large, overpopulated lake house.

I smiled. "That's the V I know and love! C'mon," I said happily, looping my arm through hers as we made our way to her car.

We quickly made our way to her car, and she climbed into the driver seat and buckled in. I was too worried about getting home to take the keys from her.

Everything seemed to go in fast forward from there, and I couldn't stop myself from reliving every little detail of that night. All of the screams and cries...

I curled into a tighter ball, wrapping my arms securely around my knees as I sat there against my wall, unable to sleep. I didn't know what time it was, but I knew that it was early. My phone beeped continuously, and occasionally there was a knock at my door that I simply ignored.

Another shuddering sob racked through me, though no more tears seemed to come out. I felt so empty. Why did that night even have to happen? Why did it have to be V? I bit down on my lip, trying to stop the pathetic sobs from escaping. I tasted blood, but it didn't do anything to stop the sobs.

"Cat, c'mon," Jake spoke softly at my door.

I shrunk further into the wall. "Go away," I mumbled, not caring if he could hear me or not.

"Cat, I'm coming in. You've been crying all night, and it's 8 now," he said, his voice becoming a little louder as he opened my door.

I kept my face turned away from him.

He let out a sigh. "Cat. I'm sorry they did that. They're not home anymore, I don't even know where they went. Just, come downstairs and get some food. I made your favorite," he said softly, tugging on my hand.

I felt a small smile tugging on my lips. He made my favorite breakfast? Chocolate chip waffles?

"I even got you some ice cream, if you'd rather just devour that instead..." he trailed off, chuckling softly.

My stomach growled, and I rubbed the dried tears out of my eyes. I didn't want to admit how hungry I was after being up for so long, or from crying for so long.

"Did I ever tell you how much of a perfect little bro you are, Jake?" I whispered, not trusting my voice to be strong enough right now. My throat felt raw, and my voice still cracked.

Jake chuckled again. "Well, it's that brownie ice cream stuff that you just inhale... so does that make me an amazingly perfect little bro?"

I let out a shaky laugh, letting him pull me to my feet as I shook my head.

"Oh..." I trailed off, looking down at the crumpled silk evening dress that I was still wearing.

He gave me a sad smile. "Go get yourself washed up, sis. I promise not to eat your food on ya this time," he said jokingly.

I nodded slowly, smoothing out the dress. If my mom had seen the state that it was in right now, she'd probably kill me.

"Food will be downstairs, and I'll set up some Netflix or something for you to watch when you get down here," he told me, making his way for my door.

He didn't realize how much I appreciated him. He was always there for me after the accident, and after I lost V. My little brother became my best friend, and
knew me better than anyone else did after that. I let out a sigh as he closed my door softly, and scooped my cell phone up as I made my way to my dresser.

10 New Messages. 4 Missed Calls.

I rubbed my eyes and decided to focus on the messages.

Dierde: Caaaat. How was the dinner?

Dierde: Cat, you alive over there?

Dierde: Am I getting annoying? If I am, let me know.

Dierde: Something was bothering you earlier. Are you okay?

Jake: Lyst, stop crying please. It's okay. They were just worried. So was I. I don't think they meant to give you a break down...

Jake: Mom and dad are gone. They left. Dunno where they are. No notes at all.

Dierde: Catalyst? I know your phone isn't off, so you're getting these. I tried calling you and you didn't pick up. Am I wrong to be worried?

Dierde: I'm taking it upon myself to message your bro.

Jake: You're making boys tweak by not answering them, now. How's that make ya feel? Eesh, Cat, he's so caught up on you. He's worried. I'm worried. Let me in? No worries, sis... didn't tell him anything. I know you'd hate me.

Dierde: I hear you're still not up to par today, I'm coming over. Your bro and I have something planned for you.

I felt the tears trickling down my cheeks before I could stop them. Wiping them away, I brought up my missed calls.

Dierde, Jake, Jake, Momma, Da.

I shook my head softly.

Wait... Riley was coming over? I hurried over to my dresser, and pulled out a pair of ripped jeans and a band tee. I grabbed up some ankle socks, underwear, and a bra, from the top drawer. I quickly made my way into the bathroom across the hall, and turned the water on pure hot. I needed to get the knots out of my shoulders.

I swiped some cover up over the dark circles under my eyes, and put some eye drops in my eyes as well to get rid of the redness. I didn't really need Riley to know how broken I was last night. He'd find out eventually, anyways. I shook my head, letting the soft waves of my dark hair fall across my face, covering the nasty scar on my temple that seemed to stick out more so today than any other day. It looked pink still, like it was still healing.

I averted my blue eyes from it. If I didn't pay attention to it, would they still notice it? I let out a sigh, and put my make up bag away. There was a soft knock at the door, causing me to jump a little.

"I'll be out in a sec," I called out, running my fingers through my hair once more. I gave up, and opened the bathroom door.

Just to jump and almost scream.

Riley smirked, leaning against the hallway wall in a fitted long sleeved shirt and skinny jeans. I gave him a once over again. Since when did he wear skinnies?

"Good morning, sunshine," he said easily, his smile brightening slightly. "See something you like?" he asked, his green eyes twinkling in amusement.

My eyes widened slightly at his comment. "W-what are you doing here?" was all I could get out of my mouth, like the idiot I am.

He laughed at me, his amusement growing. I felt my cheeks heat up. Damnit.

"Didn't you get my message?" he asked me, smiling still as he tilted his head to the side, letting his black hair fall in his face.

I nodded, still slightly confused. "Yes, but why are you here?" I asked him, finding my voice finally. It was still a little hoarse sounding from a night of crying, but I doubted that he realized.

His smile faltered a little bit. "Come on downstairs, Cat. Jake's been waiting impatiently for you to get yourself dressed. I've been here since... well, since right before he went in to get you up," he told me, his voice soft.

How much did Jake tell Riley? As much as I didn't want Riley to know right now, I didn't want to be the one to tell him about all of it in the future. Maybe it would've been best if Jake had told him...

"Okay," I said, making my way towards the stairs and brushing my hair out of my face.

My mind was running a million miles an hour, while I slowly made my way down the stairway. I didn't really want Riley to be a part of my mess. Hell, I've only known him for about a week now. I hardly knew anything about him. If he was just going to jump into my life like this, and not want to budge, how am I supposed to stop that from happening? He's already made up his mind apparently...

But it's not too late to change it...

I shook my head. You're over thinking everything, Catalyst. Chill out a second, will ya? I tried clearing my mind, but it wouldn't. I was going to need some serious amounts of caffeine today.

A/N: So this was really fillery. I apologize for not updating in a little over a month. I had some major writer's block. Hoping to get another chapter up soon. Thanks for reading&reviewing, favoriting&following! -Brandi