The Llanview Senior High Warriors’ football team had faced one of the other high schools its conference and put on a complete demolition of a show, winning 35 – 3. Odessa, Kiko and Skyler were in front of the crowded Diner Vega, waiting for Alec and Derek to arrive.

“Holy crap! How boring was that game? I mean seriously I should’ve gotten some paint, painted my bedroom, and watch the shit dry if I’d known the game was going to be hopeless!” Skyler complained.

“Sky, what the hell are you on about? You were too busy making googly eyes over at Alec the whole time to even be paying attention, anyway,” Kiko called out.

“Um, so not true!” retorted Sky. Odessa and Kiko gave her skeptical looks. “Okay, even if there was the slightest bit of truth to that, it still doesn’t change the fact that the game was a complete waste of time,” she continued.

“And speaking of a complete waste of time, how are you losers doing?” asked snidely Gisella Vega from behind, who’d just come out of the Diner Vega. Before Odessa could turn around to face her, Gisella had deliberately bumped into the left side of Odessa. If not for Skyler holding her back, Odessa was definitely ready to retaliate.

“Let it go, ‘Dessi, you wouldn’t want to embarrass this thing in front of all these people,” Skyler glared at Gisella.

“That’s right, ‘Dessi,” Gisella mocked. “We wouldn’t want the Commissioner’s daughter causing all sorts of trouble now would we?”

“Oh, shut the fuck up, Gisella, and get outta here! None of us feel like dealing with any of your shit right now, alright?!” said an angered Kiko.

“My, my, my cousin! Such a foul mouth we have! Now is that anyway to talk to your family? Tsk, tsk, tsk.. I guess that whore you call a mother of yours forgot to teach someone a few manners.”

Normally, such a comment would have setoff Kiko completely. Rather, her facial expression morphed from anger into a calm and collected one. “Well, being that Aunt Natalie is a ‘Class A’ model citizen herself, I suppose my mother just observed from the best,” Kiko responded in a sweet but fake tone.

Just as Gisella was about to go off, her and Kiko’s mutual cousin, Tamzin Brennan, had come out of the Diner. “Hey guys, what’s up?” Tamzin acknowledged the sided trio of girls, unaware of the tension that had just built up. They returned their greetings to her.

“So Tamz, Odessa, here, was telling me how she wished she were in some of my classes. I was telling her how I understand, but not everyone can be so fortunate,” Gisella lied.

Odessa snorted and shook her head, but Tamzin clearly looked confused. “Oh…um, okay then…I’m sorry, I guess,” she said apologetically to Odessa. “Uh… are you ready to take off now?” she asked Gisella.

“Sure thing. Bye sweeties,” Gisella faked cheerfully to the three girls.

“Alright guys, see ya later!” Tamzin said and started walking off. The girls returned their goodbyes to her, and waited until she wasn’t looking before all three of them flipped Gisella the bird, in unison. Gisella smirked and walked off to catch-up with Tamzin.

“I swear that girl is asking for it big time! And what Tamzin’s sees in that witch is beyond me!” Skyler declared. “I can’t understand what Gisella’s deal is, seriously. You’d think a pretty girl like that would have other things better to do.”

“Now, now, Sky. It takes a lot to be a full-time whore. She’s just not quite ready, yet,” Kiko quipped in a posh voice, resulting in laughter for both her and Skyler. But Odessa only watched as Gisella got into her car with Tamzin.

Christian and Natalie Vega, Gisella’s parents, had split when she was eleven, due to Natalie’s persistent jealousy of people in around her, particularly of Odessa mother, Evangeline. The final straw for Christian were the constant accusations made by Natalie, who’d been given claims by her former foster mother, Roxy Balsom, that Christian and Evangeline were having an affair. Christian adamantly insisted such an affair was false. She’d also confronted Evangeline about the alleged secret “rendezvous,” in which Evangeline also insisted was completely untrue. Feeling like she was being made a fool, regardless, Natalie had hired a private detective to spy on her husband for a few weeks to come up with some evidence. When the detective came up with nothing, she still was not convinced. She was close to confronting John with her misguided suspicions, but instead thought it a better idea to “out” Christian and Evangeline at one of Christian’s art shows. That way they couldn’t deny their affair. Needless, to say the plan backfired on her, when a perfectly timed but drunken Roxy cleared the waves.

“Hey Natalie!!” Roxy had screamed. I just came back from UltraViolet and I saw that hubby of yours and Evana-what’s-her-face, kanoozling at the private bar!”

Of course, Roxy was completely off, considering Christian was at his art show the whole time, and Evangeline wasn’t even in town that weekend. Natalie ended up embarrassing herself in front of Christian’s patrons and the art media. Christian left Natalie for good, and was now living in New York City. “You obviously learned nothing from your job, have you?” he angrily said to her, referring to her career in forensics.

Because of his now extremely busy career, he felt it best that Giselle stay in Llanview, with her younger brother, Alessandro, or simply “Alex,” until they finished school. Christian felt it would be more stable than staying with a parent who was constantly travelling. Naturally, the questions were becoming frequent from the youngsters, and Natalie explained to her children, when they were old enough to “understand,” her own version of why ‘daddy was no longer living with us,’ which was chockfull of fallacies, of course. As an outcome of Natalie’s foolishness, lies and influence, Gisella took out her anger over her broken home on Odessa, since she was easier to access as opposed to Evangeline. After all the ruckus Natalie had caused and tired of being around her exasperating, obnoxious attitude her Uncle Kevin and Aunt Kelly had all but shunned Natalie and her unstability. Of course, Giselle took this personally, and vented her irritation out on Kiko.

“Fee, are you alright?” Skyler asked as she saw Odessa looking after Gisella. “Don’t let her get to you, she’s not worth it.”

“I know, but I can’t help but feel that it’s a pity a mother can mentally mess up her own kid so badly. I mean, good grief! Gisella is physically stunning, but it’s stunning how she’s got so many issues.”

“Yea, well she may be pretty and all, but she’s got nothing on you, dollface,” Kiko complimented.

Never one to handle a compliment about her appearance, Odessa pretended not to hear her. “Hey look, here comes Alec and Derek.”

The two boys approached and greeted them, with Alec giving a Skyler a quick kiss.

The group teasingly “ooooohed” and made Sky and Alec blush a little. “Alright, what’s the deal, you two? Are you back together officially or what?” Odessa interrogated.

They took a moment before answering to keep the gang in suspense, but with Kiko starting to threaten them Alec finally gave in. “Yeah, we talked for an hour before the game and we’ve sorted things out, for now…” he answered, and Skyler playfully punched him in the arm.

“Careful now, Sky. I just won the bet with Derek now, and we can’t have you two fighting again already,” Kiko teased.

“Aww, do I really have to buy you lunch for a whole week?” moaned Derek.

“Yes!! And don’t you try to get out back out of it now, buddy. A girl’s gotta eat, ya know!”

“So where’d you guys go before you got here, anyway? Odessa asked the boys, as they were walking inside the Diner Vega.

“Oh, my dad’s coming down for the week tomorrow afternoon and he’s eager to help me and Grandpa restore a classic ’72 model Jaguar that belonged to my great-grandfather. So Derek came with me to go get a carburetor, which I managed to get pretty cheaply from my friend, Tim.” Alec and Tamzin were both living at their Grandfather Clint Buchanan’s mansion, which once belonged to the late Asa Buchanan. Their parents, Nash and Jessica Brennan, commuted from Napa Valley, where their vineyard and winery business was based, to Llanview every two weeks. Alec and Tamzin, both felt more comfortable in Llanview and wanted to stay in the town.

“Hmm, I dunnno any Tim. Where’d you meet him?” Skyler wondered.

At that point, Odessa’s phone rang again. “’Scuse me, guys,” she said as she answered her phone, while Alec carried on the conversation. It was her mother calling to remind her of her curfew, and Odessa assured her she got the message. Odessa sighed. “Yes, Mom, I know.”

“Alright then, Baby. I’ll see you when you get home, and make sure you have your keys.”

“Don’t worry, Mom. I have them.”

They talked for a bit longer before she hung up the phone. I’ll see you soon, too. Odessa caught the end of the conversation that was still carrying on. “…ohhh, I don’t know. That sounds a bit dangerous,” Skyler said.

“What sounds dangerous?” Odessa asked.

“Alec was saying how his friend Tim let him ride his motorcycle a couple of times.” Skyler informed.

“Oh yea? That sounds cool,” added Odessa.

“See? ‘O’ here thinks it’s cool!” Alec protested.

Skyler, frustrated, sighed. “Whatever…”

“Uh oh, I hope lovers squabble isn’t about to happen again, otherwise Derek will be one fed boy next week. And you know the boy can eat, too!” Kiko whispered over to Odessa, who was trying to hold in her giggles.

“So, O, were you able to snap some pics earlier today?” Derek asked.

Reverting back to The Boy from the auto shop, of whom she had photographed at the memorial ground, she decided against talking about her little photo session, for fear she would get clowned again by both Kiko and Skyler. “Yea, I was able to get a few photos in a park. I’m hoping to get them developed tomorrow, using the police station’s darkroom, since I don’t have access to the school’s on weekends,” she informed.

“Oh, yeah? So what’d you snap then?”

Odessa thought quickly. “A dead bird actually,” she fibbed.

Kiko cringed at this, and Derek sarcastically quipped. “Ahh, exploitation at it’s finest! I applaud you,” he said and Odessa playfully stuck her tongue out at him.

The next day, Odessa had gone down to the police station, and with her father’s permission, used the crime scene photo lab to develop her pictures. Naturally, she was under strict supervision by one of the technicians, for professional reasons. “We can’t have you snooping into photographic evidence, and ruining pictures now,” her father had kidded.

“Dad, please, you’re just worried I’m gonna find something incriminating against you!” she quipped back.

When in the darkroom, she proceeded with all the steps needed to developing her film, including loading the film reel and choosing her selective shots (apparently, she’d inadvertently snapped a third shot of the boy), preparing the chemicals, developing, performing the various film washings, hanging and drying. After finishing she asked her father to collect them for her, since he was catching up on some paperwork to finish, anyway. He agreed and she left the station to return home. When her father came home later on, he handed her photos the photo lab technician had put in an envelope. Odessa was excited; she couldn’t wait to see how they turned out. When she opened them, she was stunned. The photos came out absolutely gorgeous! The Boy was extremely photogenic, and even though he was in a state of torment his emotion transcended through the picture flawlessly. Odessa was starting to even feel guilty for intruding on his time.

Her father had seen the photos. “Who is that?” he asked of The Boy.

“You mean you don’t remember?” she answered incredulously.

John looked at the photos harder, and then frowned. “He looks very familiar.”

“That’s because he’s the same boy at the auto shop.”

”Is he?” he asked, still looking at the photo. “Aw yes, I remember now.” He frowned again. “But, I swear I’ve seen him somewhere else...” his voice trailed off. Odessa only looked at him.

John put the photos down. “So what, are you stalking him now?” he joked.

“Ugh! No Dad! He just happened to be give me a perfect photo op for my photography project’s theme.”

“And what’s was that again? Stalkous Cuteous Boyous ?” He teased before getting hit with one of the couch pillows.

“You are sooo hilarious, Pops…”


The sun was about to have its rest for the day, and the occasional cool breeze flowing through the air was making its presence known. Odessa stood alone by the cliffs of Llantano Mountain, gazing at the vibrant, intermingling hues of reds, oranges, and yellows within the horizon.

“Absolutely amazing,” Odessa admired.

She had one of her digital cameras with her and immediately began photographing the breathtaking view. Then out of nowhere, a bald eagle emerged from the setting sky and flew over Odessa. She watched as the eagle turned around in its flight, and landed a few feet away from her. The eagle was still, carefully watching her with its fierce eyes. Odessa, in complete awe of the magnificent creature before her, stood still as well, returning the fixed look of the bird. For Odessa, there was only one thing she could do, or rather, was interested in doing.

“You, my friend, are a thing of beauty,” she said and prepared to take a photo of the eagle.

But then the eagle swiftly spread its enormous but brilliant wings, and remained fixed in its stance, as if it were actually posing for Odessa. She looked up from her camera lens and smiled.

“You are teasing me, aren’t you?” she said to the bird.

She looked through her camera view again, but this time she noticed that there was a greyish-red glow surrounding the eagle.

Odd… Odessa thought. That wasn’t there before…

Through her lens a startling change was happening to the eagle. It seemed to be growing and morphing into some sort of figure. Scared, she looked up from her camera again to see if she was seeing things, but she was not… The eagle was actually changing into another being! Odessa looked around her.

What the heck is going on?!?! she frantically wondered.

She then looked back at what was the eagle, astonished to find that it had morphed into The Boy from the auto shop! Fascinated but frightened beyond belief, Odessa wanted to let out an immense scream, but she didn’t…she couldn’t. The Boy had her in, yet, another trance, the look in his shocking green eyes even fiercer, somewhat angered, than when he was an eagle. He slowly walked towards her, almost as if he were gliding with every step. Odessa quickly snapped out of his enchantment and she slowly began walking backwards, to the point where she had to stop, for she was now at the edge of the cliff.

The Boy then stopped. He was now very close to Odessa, and looking down into her eyes. Despite the fact that she was shorter than him, she could feel his soft breathing on her face. The look in his eyes changed… his expression less hardened, yet apologetic. Odessa watched as he parted his lips and

The Boy spoke deeply, but softly. “You should never have taken those photos of me.”

And with that, he quickly morphed back into the eagle, the greyish-red glow blinding her. Odessa, forgetting her positioning on the cliff, started going and fell backwards. over the edge. Whilst Odessa screaming and falling, she could only watch as she saw the eagle standing at cliff’s edge, witnessing her descend into the rocky river of Llantano Mountain…