• Paige Curtis cursed to herself as she made her way down the streets quickly, holding her jacket closed. She didn't know where she was going, but she went. Today was just not her day, it seemed. Normally she would have gone to Trisha in situations such as this, but she was out of town for some reason or other. She was pretty sure it had something to do with her aunt being sick. Anyway, now she didn't have anywhere to run. The wind blew harshly in her face, making the weather seem a good ten or twenty degrees cooler than it really was. It wasn't unusual for the nights around here to be so cold, but this was the longest she'd spent outside in a long time now.

    Car headlights illuminated her face for a brief second as a car zipped past, blinding her and showing her features: Her hair was short and messy, and was a natural red that somehow seemed almost too bright. That set of headlights was followed by another, then another, and yet another. It seemed the traffic light had just changed on her, and she reached to shield her eyes.

    "Damn!" she swore again, attempting once again to close her jacket. It was her own fault, she supposed. Why did these things happen to her? It was too late to bother any of her friends—she wouldn't even have considered bothering Trisha if she hadn’t promised Trisha that she’d turn to her if ever she needed help. The promise had been made years ago but, despite what other people believed, Paige wasn’t an avid fan of lying.

    "You're sure the courageous one, aren't you?" Paige stiffened at the voice behind her, turning quickly to glare at him. She knew that voice. "What's an idiot like you doing out here anyway? Shouldn't you be doing something useful, like studying?" Cameron had never been known to be the kindest of people, and as he stood staring at her Paige didn’t wonder why he’d gained such a poor reputation. He smiled without a hint of compassion, and looked the very portrait of egotism and arrogance. His hair was a dirty blonde combed neatly and only slightly out of place—the wind, she bet—and didn’t stand out nearly as much as hers. He was a classmate, although Paige’s past behavior had left her a grade behind and so he was a good year or two younger than she.

    She blushed and looked to the cement, jealous of the person before her. As if he had the slightest clue what real life was like. The boy was rich beyond her wildest dreams, and he hadn’t done a damn thing to deserve it—he’d just been born lucky. Of all the people she’d met in her life, this was the last person she wanted to see her looking so pathetic. Usually she’d be fine. This wasn’t unusual—being locked outside—but usually she could scrape together enough funds to cover a crap hotel room for the night. It had been a long time since she’d been so utterly alone. She wasn’t about to proposition another stranger for a place to sleep. It had been two years since she’d last stooped so low, and she held her sixteen-year-old self in contempt for ever having done it.

    “I’m locked out,” she managed softly, although it was lost in the noise around them. Cameron took a couple steps forward and Paige listened absently as the sound was carried away by the wind. “I said I’m locked out, all right?” she said louder this time, although she didn’t raise her head to look at the boy standing before her. She was too angry to look him in the face right now.

    “You got yourself ‘locked out’? Are you some kind of moron?” Cameron asked incredulously, his laughter breaking his sentence occasionally. He laughed cruelly and without restraint, angering Paige more.

    “It’s not funny!”

    “I disagree.”

    Paige growled, looking up to glare at Cameron fiercely.

    “Shut up! It is not!” There was a long period of tense silence and then Paige cried out in annoyance, turning on her heel and walking away. That jerk! Mocking her very real problems!

    “Hey, wait a minute.” Paige didn’t slow her pace; stopping only after someone had grabbed her arm. “I said wait, you stubborn little girl. Are you serious?”

    “I said I was from the beginnin’, you stupid little man!”

    Cameron smiled a little, letting go of Paige’s arm.

    “I bet that sucks.”

    “Ya think?”

    “You could stay with me for the night.”

    Paige wasn’t sure what to say to that, turning on her heel to stare. “It wouldn’t reflect well on me to leave you here,” Cameron explained. Paige smiled, digging through her pockets for the pack of cigarettes she’d stolen that morning.

    “Your generosity knows no bounds.” She brought one stick to her lips but didn’t light it, shoving the box back where it belonged and keeping her hands there. “Betcha got some nice stuff back home, huh?” she teased, although she was half serious. “Pretty dumb to invite someone like me over.”

    “Don’t insult me. I know better than to let you stay unguarded.”

    Paige laughed. “Why bother at all?”

    Cameron paused for a few moments and then shrugged. “Forget it, then. I thought I’d do something nice for you, but you’re too proud to accept it.”

    “Excuse me? Don’t go calling me proud, ya brat. I’ll stay.” She followed him without a word, stepping into his car—it was dark and she didn’t care to look too hard, lest she feel any sort of violent need to wreck it—and finally lit her cigarette once her hands had regained a little feeling. Most of the ride was spent in silence, which was surprising. Cameron had even turned off the radio to drive in complete, utter, deafening silence.

    “You’re not plannin’ anything, are ya?” she asked as they stopped at an intersection, not able to stand the silence much longer. “Try anythin’ funny and it’ll be your a**.”

    Cameron laughed. “I have no ulterior motives, although…”

    Paige laughed this time, turning to fog the window with her breath.

    “Just try it, ya jerk.” She smudged out ‘SCREW YOU’ on the window in large, uppercase letters, making sure it was large enough that the people walking around outside could make it out.

    “That leaves smudges, you know.”

    “Who you tryin’ to impress with clean windows? As if the car ain’t enough. It’s shiny and new, and for god’s sake you even have leather seats! Your car just screams ‘I’m loaded.’” There was another long silence, and then…

    “Why won’t your parents let you come home?”

    “Mother, first of all. Second, I probably don’t wanna be home right now anyway. And third, I ain’t lookin’ forward to that mess. She’s probably screwin’ some guy she picked up at the bar right now.”

    “So it’s not that you can’t go home, it’s that you don’t want to.”

    Paige smiled, although it was a cold, self-loathing smile. “Your parents must not suck, huh?”

    “I can’t recall ever thinking so.” Paige slid in her seat, practically laying there. “I take it yours do,” Cameron finally asked.

    “You betcha, but I don’t hate her. Else I’d be out of there. Or maybe I’m just staying ‘cause she feeds and houses me. Either way, we’re stuck together. I don’t wanna end up like her, so I’m gonna take advantage of what I got while I got it. She ran away from home around my age, you know? Dumb move.”

    “Whatever you say.”


    Cameron’s home had been everything Paige had expected, to a point where it had been almost disappointing. Oh, how she’d wanted to see something different! Instead, he fed right into the stereotype—his house was huge with far too many rooms, and there was pointless, expensive art decorating the walls most everywhere she looked. There was even a winding staircase with a red streak of carpet from top to bottom, where it continued on to the door. The guest room itself was a vibrant white with a quaint little canopy bed and a gorgeous full-body mirror sitting beside a large, magnificent desk.

    But it ended so that Paige saw very little of this room. Instead, she spent the night laying naked beside Cameron in a large white room—she supposed this room would be considered more off-white, especially compared to the linen white of the guest room—that was decorated with even more paintings. Near the window was a bed larger than any one person would ever need. Otherwise the room was bare, aside from one beige dresser sitting by the closet, and Paige wondered if there was anything in the world that Cameron liked besides himself. One toy or one poster… Something—anything—to show he was still human. Sadly, there was nothing of the like to be found.

    “Where’s my jacket?”

    Cameron tossed the flimsy thing over to the other side of the bed without a word, listening as it landed with a dull ‘thump.’ Paige muttered her thanks and dug around for her cigarettes, lighting one.

    “Don’t do that in here.”

    “Blow me.” Paige blew a ring of smoke in his face before wandering off.

    Cameron had said he liked her, but she knew better. She wasn’t about to make the same mistake her mother had so many years before. She wasn’t about to be seduced by the lies of some man who had only spoken with her a handful of times in the past.


    “Hey, Trisha?” Paige smiled as she played with the gold pocket watch she had acquired that morning. Her friend just grunted, pulling her school bag higher on her shoulder. “Did I ever tell you my mother ran off with a stinking rich b*****d like Cameron Sage?”


    “Well, she did.”

    “And where did this come from?”

    “I was just thinkin’, you know, that Cinderella’s a sack of lies.” Both girls laughed, and Paige returned the silly trinket to her pocket. Maybe she’d sell it later, or maybe she’d keep it. Just to see if he would ever notice it was gone.