Chapter One

If there was one thing that Alex Raines and I agreed on it was this: Our hatred for each other was completely and irrevocably mutual. It was not one-sided. It stood true and strong. And it was twisted in every sense of the word.

I've come to learn something about hatred. It varies between people. For some people, it happens gradually, like a slow stroll through a park. You're oblivious to the fact that in a short amount of time, your entire being will be filled up with despise. I imagine it's like that feeling you get after you've heard a song on the radio too many times. At first, it's completely innocent, but every additional encounter with it brings you one step closer to your own personal ticking time bomb of hatred.

For other people, it happens all at once, like that feeling you get when you fall really hard and all the air is blown out of you. It ensnares your entire being and all you can feel inside you is pure, unfiltered hatred coursing through your veins.

For me, it was neither. Mine was a special hybrid of the two, a kind of hatred that only forms once in a blue moon, and has to come from a very, very special and one of a kind individual.

And that person, my friends, was Alex Raines.

I remember the exact moment we'd met. It was mid November, and the wind outside left a permanent redness on my cheeks, even after I'd been inside for twenty minutes. I'd been sitting on a moving box in the living room, watching fat snowflakes fall from the sky like cotton, marveling at how different the weather in New York was from what I was used to back in Florida. Dad was in the kitchen, meticulously slaving over four cups of hot chocolate, and I remember how confused I was counting the number of cups on my fingers and thinking about how there should've only been three; One for me, Dad, and Will, my older brother.

However, my attention quickly shifted from the extra cup of hot chocolate, to the sound of stomping feet making their way up the snowy driveway, quickly followed by the feeling of the cool winter air being let in from the opening of the front door.

And that's when I saw him.

To tell you the truth, I didn't really have a problem with Alex the first time we met. In fact, one could say I even had a liking to him. He was all messy, boyish hair and huge, innocent eyes, that at first glance you couldn't ever suspect he was capable of doing wrong. He basically had a permanent halo hovering over his head.

As soon as I'd spotted him, I'd hid in the kitchen, now understanding the significance of the fourth cup. I let Will tell me about his best friend, how they were in the same grade -fourth-, and how they'd been friends ever since he came to New York with Dad, three years ago. Will eventually cajoled me into getting to know Alex, and as time went on, and I settled into my new life with Dad- and without Mom-I became accustomed to Alex's presence.

He was quite enjoyable to have around, actually. I longed for the half days at school when we would come home at noon instead of 3 pm. Alex, Will, and I would always run straight home from the bus and play every board game we could find in the house.

Alex quickly became one of my closest friends. In the span of three months, the three of us became inseparable, and I found myself sitting with Alex and Will during combined lunch at school, playing at the swing sets during recess, and having sleepover movie nights together. It was probably the happiest I'd ever been since my parents had split up.

Back then, I was so full of hope it was almost nauseating. I had a fresh start, in a new school, at a new place, with new people and possibilities. Mom would get better, and then I'd get to go home and see her again. Not that I didn't love living with Dad and Will, but after the split it was made very clear that Will would stay with Dad and I would stay with Mom.

I didn't exactly know how long I was supposed to be staying with Dad, waiting for Mom to get better, but by the end of the year, Dad informed me that I would not be returning to Florida, and he was filing for full custody. Of course, I was barely 9 at the time, so I didn't understand the gravity of the situation.

After it was established that I was permanently staying in New York, I found myself enrolling for fourth grade. And that's when everything changed between Alex, Will, and I.

While I would continue my education in elementary school, Alex and Will were moving up to the intermediate school for fifth and sixth graders. We were going to separate schools.

The change between the three of us wasn't obvious at first. We would all still try to try to hang out together, regardless of the fact that we weren't getting out of school at the same time anymore, and weren't spending basically all day together.

But, slowly, the three of us started drifting. Suddenly, I'd found myself missing out on our weekly after school kitchen sink sundaes. Our half days no longer coincided, so the times we would spend at each other's houses together diminished drastically. Alex and Will found other friends at their new school, and while I would decline most birthday party or sleepover invitations to spend time with the boys, they would not do the same.

The newfound distance between us, while bothersome, wasn't completely horrendous. We still hung out sometimes, during extended breaks and weekends, and during those times, it almost felt like everything was back to the way it was. Even if I didn't spend as much time with Alex, I still had Will, and that's all that mattered to me. Will and I always had each other.

And then one day I came home after a sleepover, completely exhausted and wanting to curl up on my bed and sleep the night away, when I heard Alex's voice. Confusion had swept through me because I wasn't aware Alex was coming over today, but nevertheless, I'd made my way to the game room where Alex and Will were, excited and full of joy. But Alex's tone made me stop in my tracks.

"You're older than her Will, you can't keep hanging around your kid sister all the time." I'd felt my ears grow hot at the realization that they were talking about me, but I'd held my breath. Nine-year-old me didn't know that snooping around could end up with getting your feelings hurt.

"I thought you liked Waverly." Will said over the loud roar of whatever video game they were playing at the time. I'd relaxed a bit. Will had my back. He always did. Besides, Alex and I were friends, and friends don't try to get rid of each other, right?

"I mean I do, but we're in fifth grade now, we can't keep hanging around these elementary kids Will. We go to different schools, we're in different groups now. Plus, her name is kind of weird. What kind of name is Waverly?" Through the small opening in the door I could see Alex and Will sitting together on the couch in the game room. Will looked so conflicted and I dug my tiny little kid fingernails into my palms to keep from running in and letting my presence be known. I had to hear what Will had to say.

"I mean she's my sister." The uncertainty in his voice was evident and I could feel hot tears pricking at my eyes. Will would never turn his back on me. We'd been through too much together.

"And that's the whole reason we should stop hanging out with her! It makes you look bad if all you ever do is hang out with your sibling. We have different friends now, and she's so clingy it's crazy. She needs to find her own friends."

And that was all I needed to start hating Alex.

My hatred for him, though, solidified itself at my 10th birthday party. I remember it so vividly it's almost paranormal. I hadn't talked to Alex in seemingly forever, but that day, him and Will were hanging around in the house during my party.

Will wasn't talking to me, I was avoiding Alex, but that day, I was putting all my childhood drama aside and enjoying myself. I was ten. I'd hit double digits. This was a milestone if I'd ever seen one, and I was ecstatic.

The cake had been cut, I'd blown my candles, and I was half way through opening gifts when I heard the clomping of feet coming down the stairs.

It was Alex. I'd turned, about to ask him what he wanted, but before I could get a word out, a glass of pink lemonade had been dumped on my head and my ears were filled with the resounding laughter of everyone around me.

Alex had then thrown some choice insults at me, but I honestly don't remember which ones because as soon as the lemonade had made contact with me, I'd ran out of the room in tears.

After that day, everything changed. It was excruciating. I'd cried for days. The halo over Alex's head had collapsed for me after he finally convinced Will that hanging out with me was basically social suicide, but once he humiliated me in front of everyone, any warmth I had in my heart for him dissipated into thin air. I couldn't stand looking at him anymore, and although Will and I eventually made up, my hatred for Alex never wavered.

Anytime I saw him around the house, I made a point of sticking my nose in the air and ignoring his calls for me. Suddenly every single thing I'd ever liked about Alex turned into another reason to hate him.

Nothing else mattered. I didn't care that Alex and I had been best friends. I didn't care that we had shared laughs and memories and countless days together. I didn't care that I was breaking off a friendship over some elementary school drama that would be irrelevant to me in a matter of months. I didn't care that I didn't even know why he suddenly started hating me.

To me it was more than that. Alex had tried to drive a wedge between me and my brother. He had made me feel small, belittled me, worn me down to my core, and as the years progressed, our hatred for each other just got stronger. The older I got, the more I found to hate about Alex, and as I grew, finding things to hate about him became so easy it was stupid.

I hated the way he smiled when he thought he won an argument. I hated the way he was so obnoxiously cocky. I down right hated the way he breathed. It was still never enough.

Because there's the real difference between my hatred for Alex and normal, everyday hatred. Most hatreds can be calmed, they might even subside over the course of time. But mine? Mine was blinding.

Mine was built on betrayal and pretense and fake smiles. Mine had caught me off-guard and completely took me off my feet. Mine was entirely made up of Alex Raines.

And that, in itself, was difference enough.

AN: So the other day I was hanging out with some friends and then out of nowhere I had this idea for this story but it was an idea that I couldn't just start writing. I don't know if that makes sense. It was like I had an idea for a specific scene that I want to write, but it wouldn't make sense just by itself, so I was just like I'm gonna write a whole story just for this particular scene that I want to write. This is my first story on fiction press! I've written a couple fanfictions but this is the first time that I'm writing an original story. I love love-hate stories and I honestly think that there will never be enough of them they're just so great. Anyway, let me know what you think of this first kind of intro chapter so I can know if y'all are actually interested in this story and if I should try to continue it.

R & R! -abean