River is standing right there, wearing dark jeans, a black t-shirt and a hard look on his face as he glares at Nick behind me. Then, his eyes meet mine, and his tough demeanor softens slightly. Thank goodness for the dim light that is hopefully concealing the redness of my face. 

         Out of the corner of my eye, I notice two more figures stepping out from the throng of people to stand beside River. The first is Jake, who holds his ground with his muscular arms crossed intimidatingly over his broad chest. Then Ky, who comes to stand beside him, glances from Nick to me, then to Marissa; his eyes linger on hers for a moment before turning to the crowd surrounding us.

         "Shows over," Ky says rather effortlessly, yet everyone hears him and most pretend to go back to what they were doing. However, their ears are most definitely still with us.

         "Lea, I swear this isn't what you think!" Nick begs from behind me, forcing me to look away from River and twist towards him.

         "Save it," River says, calmly yet firmly. Stepping forward, he takes a hold of my wrist and pulls me out of the house through the front door and onto the porch. I want to pull my arm away from his unnecessary grasp but decide against it.

         Marissa, Ky, and Jake follow after us like sheep with River as the shepherd until we are all out of the house and stood on the grass of the front garden. River's fingers are still tightly wrapped around my wrist. Although I want to deny it, his touch makes my heart flutter.

         River nods towards Marissa, his expression quite agitated. "Did you drive here? Do you have a ride home?" He questions as if Marissa is in some sort of interrogation.

         "Excuse me?" I turn at him, surprised at his rude tone of speech. Marissa stares at him in shock.

         What aggravates me the most is that he doesn't even turn to face me; he simply leans forward, waiting for Marissa's response. Poor Marissa looks stunned.

         "Yes." She answers quietly.

         "Good, then you can go home. Ky, go with her and make sure she gets home." River order as if he's our parent.

         "What on earth, River are you hearing yourself right now?" My voice is louder this time, and it finally captures his attention. He doesn't have any right to boss her, or anyone around like this. 

         He turns to face me, his glaring eyes piercing mine. What is wrong with him?

         "You said you were going to Marissa's house only. What happened to that?" He inquires, the harshness of his tone still obvious. 

         "What the hell is it to you?" I bite back, loathing his bossiness.

         "I'm sorry, am I missing something? Do you two know each other?" Jake asks, looking at both River and me in turn.

         River lips part to reply with, "no, I mean yeah, it's complicated." He finally releases me from his grip. 

        Stepping closer to Marissa, I give her the let's-get-out-of-here look. "Ky, there's no need to go with Marissa, we're both going." I address him, before looping my arm around Marissa's and starting to walking down the garden path, away from the three of them. 

         "No you're not, you're coming home." River calls after me. Is it bad that a small shiver rushes through me when he says 'you're coming home'? As if his home is also mine? 

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