“Fiona, are you ready to go?” John McBain called out from base of the staircase.

“Yes, Dad, I’m coming! I’m just looking for my purse!” Odessa answered. Darn it! Where’d I leave that freaking bag? Odessa wondered, as she ravaged through her closet.

“If your purse is purple, it’s over here on the kitchen counter,” her father informed.

“Oh ok then, cool,” she said relieved. Odessa ran downstairs to grab her purse and join her father out in the garage. They were going to stop by the auto mechanic’s to pickup John’s ’68 Thunderbird convertible, which was recently restored but needed to have a new coat of candy-apple red paint done. Her mother, Evangeline Williamson-McBain, was already out doing some last minute grocery shopping, and Odessa was needed to drive him over there with her car.

As they were pulling out of the neighbourhood, John couldn’t resist the urge. “Now don’t get all ‘Speedracer’ on me. I don’t wanna have to make you pull over and give you a ticket,” joked her father.

“Oh ha-ha, Dad. You know fully well I can drive. You’re the one that makes it necessary for everyone to have auto and life insurance,” she joked back.

“Ouch! There’s no need to come at your old man like that. I am deeply offended,” John replied in a mock-hurt tone.

“Hey, I only call it like I see it. Besides, Mom would agree with me. According to her, you drive like a ‘bat out of hell’ sometimes.”

John chuckled. “Oh, I see how it is now. You and your mother, talking junk against me behind my back.”

“Dad, it’s not trash-talking if it’s true,” Odessa replied, looking cheekily and smiling at her father before returning her attention back to the road.

John chuckled again. “I think you’ve been hanging out with your mother too much.”

In reality, John McBain, a busy man as Commissioner of Llanview, relished the moments he spent with his seventeen year-old daughter and only child. Even though she was “Daddy’s little girl” Odessa Fiona McBain was a far cry from a little girl. She stood about 5’6’’ and sported a nice slim build. Her skin was the shade of burnt caramel, which offset her hazel-blue eyes. Her long, thick, near-black mane topped off her exotic beauty. She was truly the combination of her father and mother, a former lawyer now a district judge. Aside from her physical attributes, Odessa was an intelligent, young lady who was very much into her computers and photography. She aspired to have a career in computer science or graphics one day. It was constant worry for the Commissioner fret about young boys constantly eyeing up his “Fiona,” which occurred often, and how she would respond to all the attention. But because they know she was the Commissioner’s daughter, boys often found it a bit intimidating to approach her, and John was satisfied about that. Regardless, she was one who was so modest about her appearance, it often seemed as if she didn’t realise or didn’t care how truly stunning she was. Regardless, she, like most teenagers, dealt with various issues one would find typical amongst youngsters these days.

They eventually reached the mechanic shop, and John went in to the shop to complete the payment and collect his car. He’d told Odessa she can go on ahead, and he’d see her at home. “Uh, Dad? How about I drive your car home and you can drive mine,” Odessa asked, knowing full well what the answer would be.

“Uh, Fi? How about absolutely not!”

“Ahh, you’re no fun!” she pouted. As she was getting ready to drive off, she noticed a vending machine right by the entrance of the shop’s garage, and was suddenly in the mood for a chocolate bar. “Hmm, I’m sure the mechanics won’t mind if I bought some candy,” she said to herself. She got out of her car with her purse and went towards the machine. She inserted her coins and made her selection, but the chocolate bar decided it wanted to get stuck in its dispenser slot, just as it was about to drop. Aww, are you kidding me? Odessa thought to herself. She looked around to make sure no one was looking, and only noticed a couple of cars in the shop. She than began hitting the side of the machine with her hips. Nothing was going to keep her from getting her chocolate! A few hard hits and a sore hip later, the bar finally dropped along with another one, leaving her pleasantly satisfied. She bent down to grab her choco bars and began to open one of them.

“Well, I guess hard work does pay off, huh?” said a young man’s voice from behind her, chuckling.

Shock and slight embarrassment had caused Odessa to drop the chocolate bars, while she still had her back turned to the stranger. But I didn’t see anyone, she thought to herself.

The young man reached down to grab the chocolate, which fell next to her left foot, and handed them to her side. “I think you these belong to you,” he said.

Odessa still hadn’t faced him, saw his hands with the chocolates and took them. “Thank you,” she said. She was about to ask the young man where he, all of a sudden, came from, and when she finally looked at him she experienced a state-of-shock at the sight before her. The Boy, who looked to be around her age, maybe older, was absolutely striking. He was close to 6’1 with a lean, athletic build, slightly tanned, and had black hair that appeared to be coloured but went just past his chin. But his eyes – those mesmorising green eyes – pierced right through should one become the object of their sight.

The Boy, himself, was staring at her, but Odessa was too much in a daze to really pay attention. “Have mercy,” she said in a garbled whisper.

“What was that?” the boy asked softly, breaking her trance.

OH NO, I said that aloud!! She thought to herself. Her shock and embarrassment were climbing to such a high level that her nerves were seriously running at peak point. When she was younger, Odessa used to do a row of successive sneezes, whenever she was severely nervous. She hadn’t done such a thing since she was 13, and she couldn’t believe it was about to happen again!

“A-choo! a-choo! a-choo! a-choo! a-choo– ” she began sneezing, covering her face in the nook of her arm.

“Whoa, bless you! Are you okay?” asked The Boy, a bit startled.

“A-choo! a-choo! a-choo! a-choo– ”

“FeFe, is that you sweetheart?” called out her father.

“A-choo, a-choo! A-CHHOOO!!” Odessa finally stopped. Horrified her dad had called her his pet name in front of this “hottie,” and more to the point, completely horrified she’d done her sneezing number in front of him, she instinctively felt like fleeing.

"Bless you," said the boy. At that point Odessa was beyond embarrassed. Dropping her chocolate bars behind, she ran out of the shop’s garage past her father and The Boy, and drove off home in her car.