my stories

  Bout me...
  more than friends?
  summer breeze
  the perfect line
  angel crossing pt.2
  angel crossing pt.1
  the island of the forgotten children
  my victory is your defeat
  the rose
  wind beneath my wings
  without you I'm nothing
  what if
  stormy night
  truth or dare
  fatal attraction

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Gratis bloggen bei

this is my second ff. thanks to everyone from the rasmus forum for supporting me and all your great comments! thanks!
and believe it or not, i didn't know the 'in my life' video when i wrote the 'mudd-scene' *lol*


“I can’t live on like that. I need help!”
She could still hear these words in her head though Scott said them only a few days ago. She knew something wasn’t going right and could do nothing about it. She always used to have things under control.
Her mom had to work almost all the time, raising two kids without any help from her children’s father. Anna could hardly remember the time when her dad was still around, she was only six years old when he left right after Scott’s birth. Though she never really missed him. Anna felt more like a second mother to Scott than like a sister but he also was one of her best friends.
It all changed when she moved out and that really made feel bad… but isn’t it normal to leave your family one day to have your own life? And it’s not like she left the country, she just moved a couple of blocks away and met her family at least once a week. And still she couldn’t fight the voices in her head that keep telling her “What if you’ve stayed? Would it have turned out alright?”.
You may say, this could have happened to the best of us, sure, but why did it happen to Scott?
“I also could blame it on the wrong friends, the wrong environment… but I still blame myself. For not being there when Scott needed me, for not knowing the people he was hanging out with, for not telling him to use his fuckin’ brain! But it came how it came. I wasn’t there when he needed me, I wasn’t there when he looked for help in the wrong people.” she told herself.
Her mom sometimes called her to ask if she knew where he was but Anna always told her not to worry, “he’s a regular teenager, he’s probably just hanging out with his friends and forgot about the time. Hey, I mean all of us did stuff like that when we were younger, right?”
And than last week, a knock on her door in the middle of the night.
Anna opened up and saw Scott sitting there, shivering though he was sweating, looking like he hadn’t had any sleep for days. She was shocked.
“What the hell happened?” she screamed at him.
He tried to tell her but she could hardly understand a word. She helped him to come in, wrapped him into blankets and tried to find out what was going on. After a while Scott started to tell her everything.
A few weeks before she moved out, Scott had just turned 16, he met a couple of guys at school and started hanging out with them. First they just did the normal stupid stuff teenagers do, like sneaking out at night, buying alcohol with fake IDs, going to parties, maybe smoking an occasional joint. Then after a time they got into different stuff and started to try all sort of drugs. Scott thought he would loose all his new so-called “cool” friends if he didn’t take the same stuff so he just did everything they did. But he also admitted that he liked the drugs, the feeling they gave him.
After a year or so he met a girl he felt for though she was a couple of years older. She would let him hang out with her and her friends but he was always just the funny little guy, not someone she would take serious. Scott knew these guys were doing coke and H so he told himself if he could keep up with them they would take him finally serious.
“My little brother shot himself fuckin’ heroin into his veins when he was only seventeen!” she thought. ”Just to impress a bunch of idiots! If he had only talked to me when this all happened! Maybe I could have convinced him that this all was just an extremely stupid idea!”
Scott kept on using H, started to steal money and other stuff he could sell from his mom and even robbed some people on the street to get money for the drugs. His mom just was to busy to realize what was going on.
The night before Scott knocked at Anna’s door he saw one of his friends dieing and that made him somehow wake up.
“When I saw him passing away I saw myself lying there in front of me on the dirty floor of that bathroom” he told her.
The only person he knew who could maybe help him was Anna so he came there to ask for help.

Everything that happened during the following days seemed just a big blur to Anna. She tried to find a place for him for rehab and though she worked as a nurse at a hospital and had some connections, the only answer she got was “Sorry, we’re complete, but we can offer you a place in a month or two.”
They didn’t have that much time to wait! Anna and her mom were thinking about locking him in their apartment and trying to get him clean on their selves but they knew he would find possibilities to get out and just buy some dope on the street.
Then suddenly they got help from one of the doctors at Anna’s hospital. Dr. Kronen was kind of a father figure to Anna and she had asked him for help before. He offered them to use his holiday home in Finland. A little hut somewhere in the woods far away from civilisation, well, not really, there were some small villages around and Helsinki, the capitol was about two hours by car but it still sounded perfect. Dr. Kronen even offered them some money to buy flight tickets. Anna almost cried of relief when he offered her all this, he really was kind of a father she never had.
“So here we are now,” Anna thought “Scott and me, on our flight to Finland.”
Scott was sleeping all the way through cause Anna gave him all the valium she could get to make him survive this journey without too much pain.
“Though I’m glad we found a way to help Scott, I’m scared. I’m scared to death of what will come during the next weeks.”

Anna and Scott got out of the car and went to the tiny grocery store. They wanted to buy some food but more important they really needed someone to ask for directions.
They had been driving around this village for almost an hour but still were completely lost. Anytime they tried to ask someone on the street for help they got even more confused cause hardly anyone was speaking English. It was easy at first when they arrived in Helsinki. Everyone understood them and they had no problems to rent a car and drive to the village that was the closest to Dr. Kronen’s hut. But now they were lost.
“I feel really stupid!” Anna said to Scott. “Going to a country and not even know how to say hi and thanks in their language, that’s kinda embarrassing!”
“Oh well, that way you can at least help them to strengthen their picture of the ignorant stupid American tourist” Scott replied.
“Great. I didn’t come here to make an complete ass of myself… whatever, it’s not like they gonna see a lot of us. I’m not planning to leave the house very often, you know?”
“I know, Anna” he sighed.
Scott knew she was giving up a lot to help him and he was thankful but he already started thinking about if this was the right thing he was doing. He wished himself back to New York. Though he had all the trouble over there he didn’t have only bad times! He had friends, parties, girls, everything a young man needs to be happy… then he remembered the dead guy on the bathroom floor. No, he didn’t wanna die, not like this!
“Are you coming?” Anna shouted over to him and entered the store.
A little bell rang when Scott opened the door of the shop. Inside it looked like a normal little supermarket only one other guy was walking through the shop. A really old man was sitting behind the counter with closed eyes.
“Looks like he’s dead. Hope he’s just sleeping” Scott thought.
He had to smile. If this had been in New York a few days ago, he just would have stolen as much as he could stuff into his pockets but now it felt like a bad idea.
“Welcome to my new life” he whispered.
“Did you say something?” Anna asked.
He shook his head.
“Lets find something to eat for tonight. I’ll come back tomorrow to buy everything we need for the rest of the week.” she said and turned over to the freezer.
They took some pizza, cereals, milk, coffee and soda and went to the counter. The old man didn’t move.
“Excuse me?” Anna said.
It took a while till he slowly opened his eyes and started to add the prices together. He pointed on the display of the cash desk to tell them how much to pay.
“Maybe you could help us. Do you know how to get there?” Anna asked and showed him a piece of paper with Dr. Kronen’s hut’s address on it.
The old man smiled and started to tell them the directions… all in finnish.
Scott sighed. “We’ll never get there!”
Suddenly the other customer came over, a tall guy in his early twenties.
“Can I help you? I’m afraid old Matti doesn’t speak any English!” he said.
“You are our only hope to ever get out of this place again!” Scott said dramatically and grinned.
The guy smiled and drew a little map on Anna’s piece of paper, explaining the way to the hut.
“Thanks a lot” Anna said “I guess if we don’t find it now we’re just too stupid!”
“Nah, I’m sure you’ll find it. Enjoy your stay!” the guy answered.
Anna and Scott grabbed their stuff and went back to the car.
“Ok big sister! Let’s go! Go straight first and then turn left!” Scott said.
Anna looked on the little map. “First you gotta turn the map the other way round then we can go, lil’ brother!”

“This is … the hut?”
Scott checked the little sign on the mailbox. “Yes.”
They had expected a little wooden hut, hiding between some old trees in the middle of the forest. Now they were standing in front of a house with probably at least six rooms, a nice groomed front yard and a huge porch. Though it was still in the middle of nowhere. They had passed the last house three miles ago.
“Wow. Doesn’t look like we have to pee outside or get water from a river.” Scott said.
Anna looked for the key, then they went inside.
“Holy shit! Can you believe this!” Scott shouted when he entered the living room. It had a huge TV set with dvd player, ps2 and a large collection of dvds and games.
“This is heaven!” he sighed and sank on the comfortable sofa. Only seconds later he jumped up again, ran next door and screamed “This is my room!”
Anna followed him slowly. He was jumping on a huge king size bed and laughed like a little boy.
“My little brother” Anna thought “how happy and relaxed he’s looking!”
She knew that this would change soon if the withdrawal symptoms start.
Was she doing the right thing? Was she able to handle this situation? She wasn’t sure but she didn’t have another choice. They spend the rest of the night eating pizza and watching movies.

When Anna got to the kitchen the next morning, Scott was already sitting at the table, having a cup of tea. He didn’t look good, all pale with red eyes, his hair sweaty.
“How do you feel?” she asked.
“Like shit. Hardly got any sleep.” he answered and shivered. “Think I gotta throw up!” he mumbled and ran to the bathroom.
Anna sighed and followed him.
They spent the next few hours in Scott’s room. Anna sat next to his bed, helping him if he had to vomit into a bucket, reaching him something to drink, talking to him. Scott felt completely weak.
“I think I’m trying to sleep a bit now.”
“Do you mind if I go to the village to buy some stuff? If you need me just gimme a call on my cell phone!” Anna said.
Scott shook his head. ”It’s alright, I’m gonna sleep anyway.”

Anna got into the car and leaned her head against the steering wheel. Some tears ran down her cheeks. It hurt so much to see Scott like this and that was only the beginning.
“Please let me be strong enough to help Scott through this!” she thought. Great, now she already started praying though she didn’t even believe in the existence of god.
Anna dried her face and started the engine.

Lauri walked through the store. He had been at this store a million times but still didn’t know where to find some aspirin. He should have stopped drinking a couple of beers earlier last night.
“I’m really used to drinking a lot but will I ever get used to these fuckin’ hangovers?” he asked himself. He felt like shit.
“So what shall we choose, tequila or vodka?” Aki shouted over to him and waved with two bottles.
Lauri felt his stomach turning around and stared at him.
“I’m still thinking about how to keep my breakfast inside and you ask me what kind of alcohol to buy? How come you look like a new born baby and I look like death himself?”
Aki grinned “I always tell you to drink two pints of water before sleeping, dude but you never listen to me! Well, too bad for you!” he said and continued to think about the vodka or tequila problem.
“Hurry up, guys!” Eero shouted, “ Pauli’s not gonna be too happy if we don’t show up soon with some lunch!”
Lauri went on looking for some aspirin. When he finally reached the medicine section he saw a girl grabbing a box of aspirin.
“Oh no, it’s the last one!” Lauri thought, “Well, she doesn’t look like she needs it as much as I do!” and took the box out of her hands.
“What the fuck are you doing?” the girl shouted at him.
“Sorry sweetheart, I really need these and it’s the last box!” he told her with his sweetest smile.
“So what, I got them first” she replied and took the pills back.
And again Lauri took them back “See, honey, I had a really long night and now I’m having a bad hangover! So please?” He tried his puppy-eyes look on her.
“Come on, stupid bitch, I really don’t feel like arguing right now, so gimme these fuckin pills! Come on, every girl falls for my cute face, so what the hell are you waiting for?” he thought and smiled at her.
“Well, poor you, I wouldn’t even care if you were dieing” she replied with cold eyes “Give me these goddamn aspirins and piss off!”
She smiled, took the box and went to the counter. Lauri followed her.
What was going on with that woman? Why wasn’t she impressed by his eyes?
“Maybe we can share the box?” he tried again.
“Why should I?” she answered with an icy voice. Aki came to the counter waving with two vodka bottles.
“Great idea! Why don’t you have some more alcohol with your little friend here? Heard that might help against hangovers as well” she said, paid for all her stuff and left the store.
“That’s so typically you, Lauri” Aki laughed “turn a stranger into your enemy in only five minutes, good job!”
“Shut up, Hattu!”
Eero came from the back of the shop, carrying ten boxes of frozen pizza.
“Hey, you met the American girl from the neighbour hut, she’s nice, isn’t she?” Eero asked.
“I don’t like her!” Lauri mumbled.
Aki grinned “Poor Lintu! His ego just got hurt, she didn’t fall in love with him the minute she looked into his eyes! Well, I think she’s pretty hot! So she’s our neighbour?”
“Yeah, just moved in yesterday, told her the directions” Eero replied “Let’s hurry up, Pauli’s probably starving!”
They paid and drove back to their house.
Aki kicked the front door open and shouted “Honey, we’re home!”
“Grrrrmmmmrrrrrrmmm!” Pauli’s stomach answerd.

Anna drove back do Dr. Kronen’s house.
What the fuck was that little guy at the store thinking? So much about the shy and friendly people of Finland! At least he did speak English, well it wouldn’t have been to difficult to say “Fuck off!” in sign language but she preferred using words than using gestures.
When that other small guy with the vodka bottles showed up she even had to try not to laugh cause she kind of felt like being snow white and they were two of the seven dwarfs… Finland didn’t seem to be a country of tall men she thought, what a pitty!
Then she remembered the tall guy that told them the directions to the house yesterday.
“He was pretty cute!” Anna thought “and a lot nicer than that hangover-guy!”

She got to the house. Scott was still sleeping. She wandered through the house but started feeling trapped after a while. She decided to go running outside.
Anna loved running till exhaustion. She usually ran through Central Park and looked forward to running through this forest.
She left a note near Scott’s bed:” Went out for a run. Call me if you need me!” Great to be in Nokia-country she thought, phone connection in the middle of nowhere!
Anna went outside and started running, following a small path between the trees. She took a deep breath, her lungs filled with clean air.
“Now this is something completely different than New York !” she thought.
She ran for more than an hour, cleared her mind of all the things that were going through her head all the time.
“Running, sweating, not thinking of anything, this is my way of meditation!”
Suddenly she came to a lake. It was quite big, surrounded by huge trees, the water sparkled in the sunlight. It looked very peaceful, almost like a magical place.
Anna realized how much she was sweating, the cold water looked tempting. She turned around. She was the only person here.
“What if someone sees me naked?” she thought for a second but then she smiled.
“Whatever!” Anna took off her clothes and jumped into the lake.
It was like a shock, she could hardly breathe, the water was like ice. She quickly started moving. She swam in strong strokes till she reached the middle of the lake. It was wonderful, she floated on the surface of the water and enjoyed the sun shining on her body.

Lauri left the house and followed the narrow path into the woods. He was thinking about the last three weeks.
He and his band mates had decided to come to this house in the middle of nowhere and lock themselves up to start making the new album.
The last year had been amazing! Finally they had success all over Europe, they got platinum records in almost every country and did lots of tours and promotion.
Actually they had planned to release their album also in Asia and the United States, well, lets say the record company had planned all that but then they had realized that this all was too much. They didn’t need to hurry that much, Asia and the USA would still be there next year but recording a new album seemed to be more important to the band.
It took a while till the record company understood what they wanted but then they gave the o.k. to cancel the overseas tour.
Eero was the one who came up with the idea to move into a house in a quiet environment to write new songs and record a demo for the new album.
Aki and Lauri weren’t too happy at first to leave Helsinki with all the parties and bars but Eero and Pauli could convince them to come here. And they were right, it was good to be at a place without all of Helsinki’s distraction, to be just them as a band concentrating on themselves and their music.
Lauri thought it would be pretty boring without all the parties and especially without all the girls but he was surprised how much he had missed to just write music all day long and hang out with the guys. That was what he loved about his job and he was really glad he didn’t have to do anything that has to do with journalists and photographers at all. Not caring about styling and image but just concentrate on the music.
And after all they still had their own little parties every few days. Actually it was just them getting drunk. But they also had reanimated something from their teenage years: the game truth or dare. That might sound a bit childish but they had lots of fun especially with coming up with different dares all the time. Though their all time favourite was still forcing someone to do something extremely stupid, taking pictures of it and emailing them to friends in Helsinki.
Lauri laughed. He thought about yesterday when Eero had to get naked except for the red-hot-chili-peppers-sock, with “I am the ladies’ favourite toy” written in huge letters on his body doing a weird yoga position. He also had to email a photo of this to his wife and his parents-in-law. Though Eero didn’t drink any alcohol he was always up for a joke.
Lauri sighed. His head still hurt like hell. And it hurt even more when he thought about that girl at the shop.
“Stupid bitch! It’s all her fault that I’m feeling this shitty!” he mumbled.
And after all Aki had been right, his ego had been hurt a bit. Normally all the girls did what he wanted if he just smiled at them.
He arrived at the lake. This was his favourite place. He always came here if he needed a bit of an alone time. He sat down in the grass and lit a cigarette. How peaceful this place was! Lauri closed his eyes and listened to the sound of some singing birds.
Suddenly he heard a strange sound. It almost sounded like… a roaring lion!
Lauri jumped on his feet and looked around. There, again! It really sounded like a tiger or a lion or at least like a huge cat!
“What the fuck? Do I start having hallucinations?” he thought a bit scared.
But then he saw it, a small pile of clothes and a pair of shoes were lying in the grass next to the water, the sound came from over there. Lauri looked around but couldn’t see another person.
“Hello?” he shouted and went over to the stuff.
The roaring sound was still coming out of the clothes. He grabbed into it and found a cell phone. Should he pick up the phone? He couldn’t see anyone around.
Lauri pushed the button with the little green phone.
“Ehrm, hallo?” he asked.
Silence. Then he could hear someone breath heavily on the other end of the line.
“You gotta come home quickly! I … I ….can’t stand this… pain… please come, I need you… help! I think I’m dieing!”
Then he heard something fall to the floor on the other end.
The connection broke down.
Lauri was shocked.
“Hello? Someone here? Helloooo!” he shouted again.
But still nobody was around. He decided to push the redial button but nobody picked up the phone.
Lauri watched the surface of the water. There must be someone swimming, he thought.
No answer.
Suddenly a head appeared on the surface. Lauri stared to the person. It was the girl from the shop.
“What the fuck are you doing with my stuff!” she yelled at him.

Anna couldn’t believe it. First she was enjoying the peaceful atmosphere at this fairy tale-like lake and was diving through the clear water and as soon as she came back to the surface she saw one of the seven dwarfs trying to steal her phone!
She wanted to jump out of the water when she remembered she was naked.
“Put my phone back and turn around!” she shouted over to the guy.
But he didn’t move and stared at her like she was some kind of apparition.
Then he smiled “What do nice little girls say if they want something?”
Anna smiled back. “Put my phone back and turn around immediately you fucking moron?” she asked politely.
His smile froze. “Stupid bitch!” he answered but turned around.
“Dare to turn back and I’ll kill you!” she hissed.
As fast as she could she put her clothes back on.
“Oh by the way, maybe you’re interested in knowing that someone just called you. Don’t know who though. But he said he’s gonna die or something like that.”
Anna felt like her blood froze in her veins.
“If this is just a stupid joke…” she started and called Scott.
He didn’t pick up the phone.
“Shit! Did that really happen?” she screamed at Lauri.
He was confused. She looked like she’d gonna freak out soon.
“Yeah, said something like he can’t stand the pain…” Lauri started to say but Anna didn’t listen anymore. She was already running back to her house and left him standing there.
Anna ran as fast as she could. She was terrified that something could have happened to Scott. She knew she had made a few detours on her way to the lake so it took her only 15 minutes to get back to the house.

She found Scott lying on the floor in his room. He had passed out.
Anna pulled him back on his bed and checked his pulse and breath. He seemed alright except for being unconscious.
Poor him, she thought and wiped his face with a wet cloth, his pain must have been so bad it made him pass out.
Anna sat beside the bed and watched her brother lying there. His face was relaxed he looked like a little kid.
“I’m so sorry that I didn’t care enough about you during the last two years!” she thought. “If only I could have helped you earlier!”
She tried to hold back her tears. Scott opened his eyes.
“Hey,” he smiled weakly, “ I knew you would be here if I call you!”
“I promise I will always be there for you if you need me!” she replied and kissed his forehead.

“What happened to you in the forest, Lauri?” Pauli asked laughing, “did you get rejected by a girl again?”
“Very funny, Pauli,” Lauri replied, “ did you have a clown for breakfast?”
“You know that I’m always a happy guy, buddy! It’s just that your mood is now at least as bad as when you came back from shopping today!”
Lauri sighed and sat down on the couch.
“That’s probably cause I met the same stupid woman like at the shop. I really don’t like her. Hope I don’t have to see her again that soon!”
“I don’t understand you” Aki said, “I think she’s hot. And maybe she was just like that cause you tried to steal her aspirin, ever thought about that?”
Lauri told them what had happened at the lake.
“Maybe the guy on the phone was the one she’s living with in the house;” Eero said.
“She lives there with another guy?” Aki was disappointed.
“What man on earth could stand living together with that woman?” Lauri said, “I’m sure he’s her brother or cousin and is forced to live with her. Or he’s her servant. Or her slave.”
“Yeah, or she kidnapped him and now she hides him here in Finland!” Pauli laughed.
Lauri looked at him “Don’t laugh too loud, Pauli, I would not put that past her, that woman is evil!”
The others laughed even louder.
“Relax, Lauri! If the evil woman knocks on our door to come and get you we will protect you, I promise!” Eero answered.

They spent the rest of the day working on new songs.
“Grrrrrrmmmmmrrrrrggggrrrr!” Pauli’s stomach said.
“Time for dinner!” Pauli got up to put some pizzas into the oven. He came back and brought some beers and a coke for Eero. Though Lauri had told himself not to drink ever again this morning he took a beer.
After finishing eating they thought about how to end the day.
“Guys, we need to play truth or dare again” Eero said, ”I got a phone call from my parents-in-law today and I had to explain a lot. I really want revenge!”
They all agreed though Aki was a little bit scared cause Eero’s dare from last night had been his idea.
They played for a while. Somehow nobody really wanted to chose dare, they were all afraid of Eero’s revenge.
“Oh come on guys! This is not fair! Someone’s gotta choose dare!” Eero sighed. “Lauri, truth or dare?”
“Definitely truth!” he answered and opened another beer.
“Alright then, let me think of a question. Would you have sex with the American girl from next door?”
“Oh, come one! She’s good-looking, since when don’t you wanna have sex with hot chicks?” Eero shouted.
“Seriously, you could tie that woman naked to my body and I wouldn’t even think about touching her!”
“Well, I would, definitely!” Aki sighed.
“Yeah, but you would do anyone who is slightly female!” Pauli laughed.
Aki sighed again, “Almost four weeks is a damn long time. Why do I have the feeling that there live only old people and children in this village? There must be some girls somewhere!”
“Aki, truth or dare?”
“Damn I need some action, dare!”
Lauri thought about it for a while then grinned over to Eero
“I can’t really think of something good, maybe you’ve got an idea, Eero?”
“Hm, let’s see… how about we all drive over to the girls house, we’ll wait in the car but you gotta talk to her and kiss her. Tongue included! And at the doorstep so we can see it!”
Aki sighed “Oh well, ok, at least I’ll get a little tongue today!”

They got into the car and drove over to the neighbour house. Eero parked the car in front of the door.
“Good luck, dude” Lauri said with a serious voice “and if she tries to kill you or kidnap you give us a sign, we’ll rescue you!”
They all laughed except for Aki. He was really nervous.
“Maybe… I don’t know… what if….”
“Get out of the car!” Pauli pushed him out.
Slowly he went towards the door.
He knocked. No repose.
He turned to the car but the other guys made signs to tell him to knock again. He knocked.
Then after a while the door opened. There she was, looking at him with confused eyes. Aki took deep breath.
“Hi my name is Aki and I’m your neighbour. I want to welcome you the finish way!”
Before she could say something he lay his arms around her and kissed her. Before he could use any tongue she shoved him away.
“What the fuck?” she asked.
“Ehrm… I’m sorry” Aki stuttered, “me and my friend we were playing that game and I lost and I had...”
In that very moment he could hear a male voice scream from inside and someone banging against a door or a wall
“Help! Let me out! You gotta let me out! I’m gonna die if you don’t let me out! Stupid bitch! Help! Dirty whore! Why don’t you let me live me life!”
Aki was shocked. What was going on?
Anna looked at him with scared eyes
“Please, you gotta leave!” she whispered.
Aki stared at her.
“Leave! Now!” she shouted suddenly.
Aki turned around and ran to the car. He jumped in.
“Pedal to the metal, Eero! Go, go, go! I really don’t know what was going on but something’s going definitely wrong in that house!”

Anna watched Aki running to the car, they left with squeaking tires. She closed the door and went back to the living room.
Scott was still raging in his room. She could hear him banging against the walls, screaming, calling her bad names.
Anna knew he didn’t mean it, he was just suffering from the withdrawal symptoms but it tore her heart. This had been going on since a few hours now. Scott either cried, tried to make her feel sorry, begging for some drugs or he screamed angrily, calling her bad names, making her responsible for his pain. He even threatened to hurt or kill her.
On one hand she wanted to be with him, holding him, be there for him but on the other hand she was really scared. She knew that in this state of mind Scott wasn’t himself and it could be possible that he would try to hurt her to get out of the house.
The only thing she could do was locking him in his room and waiting for that phase to be over.
She just sat there on the sofa, staring at the wall, tears were running down her face.
And what the fuck was that guy from the shop doing in front of her door? She hadn’t seen who else was sitting in the car but she was sure that impertinent guy from the lake had been in there as well.
“Great,” Anna thought, “now all of the seven dwarfs probably sit together and tell stories about the crazy girl from next door!”

And she wasn’t too wrong. The guys were sitting together, having some shots of vodka to calm down discussing what just had happened.
“I told you she’s weird! If you ask me, she’s hiding that guy in her house and tortures him!”
“Lauri! Be realistic!” Eero sighed.
“I really don’t know what is going on in that house” Aki said “it was really kind of scary. But still… she’s hot! I’d still do her!”
Pauli shook his head. “Dude, why don’t you go to the bathroom and help yourself?”
“I’m not gonna do it more than twice a day! The rumours that it can be unhealthy don’t come from anywhere! There’s always a little bit of truth in every rumour, we all know that!” Aki answered seriously.
“Well, I guess that explains why you are almost blind!” Eero grinned.
They all laughed.
“Guys, I think I’m gonna go over to her house tomorrow, there must be a reasonable explanation for all that!” Eero said.
Lauri looked at him with huge eyes.
“Buddy, you must be crazy! But if you think you gotta do this, go ahead! But I’m not gonna feel sorry for you if you come back with your dick cut off!”
They went on drinking and making up some horror stories that could happen to Eero if he sat foot in their neighbour’s house.

Anna stood next to Scott’s door and listened.
No sound.
She was hoping that Scott was sleeping so she could open the door and check if he was alright. She slowly turned the doorknob and opened up. She exhaled quietly and looked into the room.
Scott was lying on the bed. He didn’t move. Anna sneaked over to him and checked if he was ok. He was sleeping.
The room looked awful, everything that could be smashed was broken and lying around in pieces. Anna picked up everything that looked like he could hurt himself with it and threw it into the trash at the kitchen. She went back to Scott and left a pot of tea, some water and something to eat next to the bed. She softly kissed his forehead. Then she left the room and locked the door again. She knew it wasn’t over yet.
Anna took a shower and made some coffee. She hardly had any sleep last night. She took a cup of coffee, went outside and sat on the porch. She closed her eyes and let the sun warm her face.
Eero came to Anna’s house. He saw her sitting outside.
How good she looked, her brown hair tied back into a ponytail, her eyes closed, her face all relaxed.
”Good morning!” he said.
“Please don’t let it be one of the seven dwarfs again!” Anna thought and opened her eyes slowly.
She smiled, it was the tall guy from the shop!
“Hey cutie!” she thought but said “Oh, hi! What are you doing here?”
“We are neighbours and I thought I should come along and welcome you!”
“The finish way?”
“Ehrm, excuse me?”
“Oh, never mind!” Anna laughed. “Do you want some coffee? Or tea?”
Eero sat down on the porch. Should he ask her what was going on last night?
Anna came back from inside with a cup of tea. They talked for a while.
Anna told him she was on vacation with her brother who was feeling a bit sick at the moment and was still sleeping.
Eero told her that he and his friends were living next door and that they were trying to record a demo for an album. He also explained the truth and dare game and why Aki tried to kiss her last night.
Anna laughed, these guys were definitely crazy! Then she remembered that they had heard Scott screaming. She tried to make kind of a joke
“You know, my brother was just playing around, he thought it would be funny to scare the first people that knock on our door!”
Eero laughed but he could see in her eyes that she was lying.
They talked for almost an hour about all different things. Anna was a bit disappointed when she heard Eero was married but she enjoyed his presence anyway. It was good for her to talk to someone else than herself or Scott.
‘Bang!’ Suddenly they got interrupted by a noise.
Scott had woken up and obviously he had thrown something against the wall.
“Anna! Let me out! You can’t look me in here!” he screamed angrily.
Eero looked at Anna waiting for an explanation.
Anna didn’t know what to say. “I’m sorry but you gotta go!” she said sadly.
Eero didn’t move.
‘Please! Please, leave!” she said again and ran into the house.
Anna stood in front of Scott’s door.
“I’m so sorry, baby but you know that I can’t let you out!” she sighed.
Scott started to cry.
“Please! Let me out! I’m dieing in here! Don’t let me die in here! I need something! Can’t you give me some pills? Please! Just a few!”
Anna could hear him sinking down the door. Tears ran down her cheeks again.
“Baby, you know that I can’t give you any drugs. I don’t have any and even if I had I wouldn’t give them to you! You gotta be strong, Scotty! This will soon be over!”
She heard Scott jump to his feet again.
“You are such a dirty liar! I know you got some! I will smash the door in, wait till I’m outta here, I’ll come and getcha!”
Anna leaned against the wall, her hands pressed against her ears, her eyes closed.
“Please let this be over soon! I’m not sure how long I can stand this anymore!” she prayed.
Suddenly someone touched her arm. It was Eero. He looked at her with understanding eyes. Then he took her into his arms. Anna leaned her head against his chest and cried.

That day Anna told Eero the truth about Scott.
He listened to her for a long time then he offered her his help. Anna was thankful. Finally she didn’t have to go through this all on her own.
Eero visited Anna and Scott everyday.
After the third day Scott’s body finally had been decontaminated from the drugs. His body didn’t need any drugs anymore but deep inside his mind there was still that little voice telling him that drugs were good.
Anna spend all of her time with Scott talking about what had happened in the past, they took long walks in the woods, swam in the lake, watched movies or played games. When Eero came along he and Scott mostly talked about music. He even showed them some yoga exercises.
One day Eero came along and brought an old guitar, he had promised to teach Scott how to play.
“Actually you should ask Pauli, he’s the guitar player in our band, he’s a lot better than I am! Why don’t you two come over tonight, we can play some songs for you and have a little party!”

When Eero came back to his house, Aki and Lauri were all excited.
“Guess what!” Aki grinned.
“You decided to become a catholic priest?” Eero guessed.
“Wrong! Lauri and I met two girls at the village and they’ll come over tonight for a little party! Woohoo! Women! Finally!”
Eero laughed. “Cool, the more the merrier! I invited Anna and Scott for tonight, too!”
Lauri made a funny face. “Great, he invited the horror lady! Thank God I invited my own girl!”
Eero had told them the truth about Scott and Anna but Lauri was still thinking she was weird.

The band was playing some new songs. Anna, Scott and the two girls from the village, Leena and Inari, were listening.
Anna wasn’t sure what to think about the girls, they were acting really strange, always whispering and giggling, they had only eyes for Lauri.
She tried to talk to them but gave up when they asked her which her favourite was out of the guys. She felt like talking to some thirteen years old though they were at least 20.
Anna listened to the songs, she really liked them and she had to admit that Lauri was a great singer though she still didn’t like him as a person.
“You were really great, I wouldn’t wonder if you will really make it big one day!” she said after the last song.
Leena and Inari burst into laughter and screamed something in finnish.
“Did I say something wrong?” she asked.
Eero smiled. “Ignore them, they are not one of the brightest girls.”
They all sat together and had a couple of drinks.
Scott was talking to Pauli and Eero about music, Lauri was talking to the girls in finnish. Anna didn’t know what they were talking about but she saw that the girls were hanging on Lauri’s lips, inhaling every word he said. Lauri was enjoying the attention.
“Oh my God, he’s one bad macho!” Anna thought and shivered. She really didn’t like men like that.
Aki was sitting next to her. He had realized her glance and laughed.
“Well, our friend over there loves to be the admired leadsinger! But these girls are real airheads, I prefer talking to more intelligent women!” he said and winked over to Anna.
She smiled “I also prefer intelligent conversations especially before I am welcomed the finnish way!” and winked back.
Aki blushed. “Ehrm… yeah… well… I’m sorry…”
Eero came over.
“Hey Aki, doesn’t look like tonight’s gonna be the end of your celibacy!”
Aki blushed again. “Eero! Shut up!”
Anna laughed.
“So actually you planned on getting one of the girls, huh?”
“Don’t worry Aki!” Eero answered, “at least you showed some kind of taste in women… though I guess it won’t take long till Lauri realizes how stupid these girls are and kicks them out.”
And he was right, only half an hour later it was only the band, Anna and Scott.
When Lauri came back from the door Anna couldn’t resist to say “So you finally decided to get rid of them and start an intelligent conversation?”
Lauri looked at her. “Right. And that’s exactly why I can’t talk to you then!”
“Thanks asshole!” she replied and turned over to Aki. “So guys, what are we gonna do now?” she asked.
Eero and Aki grinned and answered at the same time “Let’s play truth or dare!”

They started the game. While playing they invented a new rule. Everyone who refused to say the truth or do the dare had to drink two shots of vodka. They were all pretty drunk after a while but then they recognized that almost everyone preferred to drink then to play correctly so they skipped the new rule again.
It was Scott’s turn.
“Anna, truth or dare?”
“Dare!” she said and took another shot of vodka.
“Ok, let me think of something… alright! You gotta kiss one of the guys. But not just kiss! You gotta kiss him in a way that will make him want to have sex with you!” Scott grinned.
“Thanks, little innocent brother! Do I pick one or how do I choose?”
“I’ll spin a bottle, you gotta kiss the one the bottle points on!”
Scott picked up an empty bottle and spun it.
They were all watching the bottle.
“Don’t let it be Lauri!” Anna thought.
“Don’t let it be me!” Lauri thought.
“Me! Me! Me!’ Aki thought. It turned and turned, slowed down and stopped.
Anna got up and walked over to Aki. He was sitting on his chair with a huge smile on his face.
Slowly she sat down astride on his lap. She looked intensely into his eyes, softly touched his cheek then took of his glasses.
She slid gently along his lips with her thumb. She leaned forward and kissed his lips, a few short kisses then she sucked a bit on his lower lip, nibbled on his upper lip. She opened his mouth softly with her tongue, he kissed her back.
First their kisses were kind of shy but became more and more demanding. Anna licked along Aki’s neck, she bit softly into his earlobe then kissed him again. She grabbed into his hair and pressed her body closer to his. She could feel his hands on her back moving lower.
She felt Aki was getting a little too excited and stopped. Anna gave him a little kiss on the cheek and went back to her chair.
“Alright, who’s next?” she asked.
Then she realized that no body was saying a word, they all stared at her.
Pauli took deep breath. “So Aki, did it work? I mean, even I wanna have sex with her now and I just watched!”
“Me too, though I’m married!”
“Me too, though I’m her brother… wait, that’s sick…”
Aki just nodded.
“Nope, didn’t work for me!” Lauri said.
Everyone turned over to him.
“You’re just jealous!” Aki grinned.
“Honestly, as I said before, tie her naked to my body and I won’ t touch her!”
“Oh you don’t have to worry bout that, if I ever will be tied naked to your body I would rather die than touch you and neither would I let you!” Anna replied laughing.
“Here, have another shot, maybe you are easier to like when you’re more drunk!” she said and poured out more vodka.
“Cheers! Who’s next?”

Anna woke up but couldn’t open her eyes. The lids were just too heavy.
She tried to move her head but the sheer thought of moving made her head ache like hell. She rubbed her eyes with her left hand and opened them.
Her mouth felt like she had a dead little furry animal on her tongue.
This wasn’t her bed.
It took a while till she remembered the last night. Well, she remembered everything till after she had kissed Aki, the rest of the night was just a big blur.
“Water!” she mumbled. Suddenly she felt someone moving in the same bed.
“Oh my goodness, what….” She realized she was naked under her blanket. “Holy shit…”
Anna slowly moved her head to the person next to her.
It was Lauri!
She wanted to jump out of the bed when she suddenly felt a pain in her right wrist.
“What the fuck?” she shouted.
They were handcuffed together!
“Shut up, I wanna sleep!” Lauri mumbled.
Anna wrapped her blanket tightly around her body. At least I had my own blanked, she thought.
“Lauri, wake the fuck up!” she shouted.
He turned towards her and opened one eye. “What the fuck is your problem?”
“Ah, hello? Maybe this is a normal thing for you but I’m not used to wake up naked being handcuffed to a person I don’t even like!”
“Baby, you shouldn’t have had that much vodka then I suggest!” he said and turned away.
“Lauri! Tell me what happened! Now!” she yelled.
Lauri looked at her and grinned. “Baby, I’m kind of disappointed that you don’t remember anything!”
“I highly doubt that anything has happened and if, well, I guess you haven’t done a good job then!” she replied with an icy voice.
“Yeah, whatever.” He answered and closed his eyes again.
“Fuck you, Lauri!”
“You wish!”
What for christ’s sake had happened last night? Did I really… no! Anna was totally confused.
Anna was still wrapped into her blanket. She was fishing for her clothes that were lying next to the bed. Alright, how do I get into my clothes with just using one hand she thought.
It took almost five minutes till she managed to pull up her jeans and button them. Now she was sitting on the edge of the bed trying to find a way how to put on a shirt still being handcuffed to Lauri.
She felt him getting up and sit behind her. He stroked her hair out of her neck and kissed her skin softly. Anna shivered.
“Eeeew! Don’t. Touch. Me. Ever. Again!” she hissed angrily.
“You didn’t complain last night!” Lauri answered with a smile.
“Probably cause I was passed out!”
“No, actually you’ve been pretty… active!” he grinned.
Anna turned her head towards him “Fuck you! I don’t believe a word you’re saying!” she said but she wasn’t that sure if he was lying or not.
She still couldn’t remember a thing.
She looked around to find something she could use as a top. She found a scarf.
“Lauri, get up, I need to get that scarf over there!”
He stood up.
“And please! Cover yourself… somehow!”
He was standing naked next to her and grinned. “Don’t you like what you see?”
“Oh, will someone shoot me please?” she sighed. “Cover up or I’ll puke on your feet!”
“Thousands of girls would do anything to see me like that!” he mumbled and grabbed his blanket.
“Phhh! You wish!” Anna took the scarf and tried to wrap it around her chest.
“Tie it up at the back!” she told Lauri. “Outch! Not that tight! Thanks.”
It kinda looked like a bra now but that’s better than nothing, she told herself.
They went through the house but couldn’t find anyone else.
“Where the fuck is every one?” Anna asked. Lauri looked at her.
“Well, looks like we’re all alone, baby, so why don’t we continue where we stopped last night?”

Anna turned towards him and came very close. She looked deeply into his eyes. Stroking over his cheek she smiled at him.
“So where did we stop then?” she whispered.
“Did we stop here?” She kissed his lips.
“Or there?” She licked along his neck.
“Or maybe here?” She sucked softly on one of his nipples.
“Or did we even…” Her hand slipped under the blanket that was wrapped around Lauri’s waist.
Suddenly he backed up and stared at her.
“Ha! I knew it!” Anna shouted “there was nothing! Or at least you don’t remember anything just like me!”
He blushed and looked like a little boy that just had been caught steeling a cookie.
“Well… yeah…I… you know…” he stuttered “Ok, you got me! I don’t remember a fucking thing!” he admitted “but damn, I really fooled you, right? You really believed that…”
“Oh shut the fuck up! I didn’t believe you at all! Stupid asshole!”
Anna turned to the sink and poured some water into a cup. She had almost believed him but of course she would never ever admit that!
Lauri watched Anna. He was impressed, he hadn’t expected her to do what she just did.
He still didn’t like her but at least she was a bit more interesting than most of the girls he usually met. The girls who just did everything he wanted just because he was famous. Not like he wanted to complain, he had lots of fun with these girls but he mostly got bored after a few days and kicked them out of his life.
Whatever, he thought and scratched his back.
“Listen, I really gotta pee, so come on, move!” he said.
“Oh, eeew, no! Can’t you wait till someone comes and frees us?”
“Two more minutes and I’m gonna burst, I promise! If you don’t come with me, I’m gonna pee into the sink!”
“Gross! Lauri, you’re sick. Alright, I’ll come.” She sighed.
The toilet was too far away from the bathroom door so Anna had to stand next to Lauri. She turned away and waited.
“Oh come on, are you peeing a fucking river? Hurry up!”
“Shut up, it takes as long as it takes! “
Suddenly they heard someone shouting “Get up you lazy people! We brought some breakfast!”
Anna rushed to the door.
“Hey, wait, I’m not… alright, done, let’s go!”

Everyone collapsed in laughter when Anna and Lauri entered the kitchen.
“Did you have a good night?” Scott grinned.
“Shut the fuck up, Scotty! Can someone please explain what happened?”
Eero laughed. “So you don’t remember anything? Both of you?”
They nodded.
“Oh my god, this is so funny!” Pauli could hardly breath and almost fell of his chair cause of laughing so hard.
Eero started to tell the story. “Well, you guys were arguing all the time and after a while, when Lauri chose ‘dare’ we decided that you have to sleep in the same bed naked and Pauli came up with the idea to use the handcuffs…”
“Pauli, why the hell do you have handcuffs?” Anna asked.
He blushed “Ehrm… I found them in Akis car…”
Aki blushed “well, I …”
“Anyway,” Eero continued, “when everyone was tired we all came to bed with you to check if you guy were doing what you had to do. You took off your clothes under the blanket, Pauli handcuffed you to each other and pretty much right after that you both passed out!”
“Thank god!” Anna sighed of relief.
Again the other started to laugh.
“Did you guys really think there had been going on something between the two of you?”
Anna and Lauri blushed.
Aki leaned over to Anna and whispered “What a shame you had to share the bed with Lauri, I was pretty lonely last night!”
Anna pretended like she hadn’t heard it. “Alright then, who got the keys for the handcuffs?” She looked at Pauli.
He just shook his head and looked over to Aki.
“How do I know? They’ve been lying in my car for years!”

Anna hit her head against the table. “Please don’t tell me that…”
Aki nodded. “The handcuffs were a present from a friend once, I never used them and I’m afraid I never saw a matching key…”
Anna sighed.
“Isn’t it enough of a punishment to have the worst hangover? No, I also have to be handcuffed to Mr. Idiot himself!”
“Shut up, Miss Asshole! You might not believe it but I know a million things I’d prefer… like eating pins or walking over broken glass!”
“Can’t you guys stop fighting for just 10 minutes? Why don’t we just call a lock-smith or something?” Scott asked.
The guys looked at each other.
“Well, the thing is,” Eero started “we’re already kind of famous as a band in Finland. And the journalists love writing stupid stuff about us. A headline like ‘Lead singer had to be freed after sex escapades’ isn’t really something we wanna read in the next newspaper.”
“Oh come on, you guys are kidding me, right?”
Anna looked at Eero.
He shook his head.
“Great.” she replied sarcastically. “Ok, then can we please think about how we’re gonna open these fucking things instead?”
“I’ve seen an axe outside” Pauli said “I could try to chop them apart!”
Lauri jumped on his feet, he looked shocked.
“I’m not gonna let you come anywhere close to me with an axe! You’ll probably chop my hand off!”
“Shut up sissy! I’d rather have my hand cut off than being stuck with you for another minute!”
“Great idea, then why don’t we just cut your hand off?”
Eero shook his head. “You two behave like little kids! Go get the axe, Pauli!”

Anna and Lauri were kneeling in the grass, their hand were lying on a wooden log.
“Alright, Pauli, do it!” Anna said. Pauli looked at Lauri who was breathing heavily, his eyes pinched shut. “Lauri, are you ready?”
“Yes… no, wait… I…”
“Oh, come on, you’re a whimp!” Anna shouted.
Lauri looked at her angrily. “Ok, Pauli, do it. On three!”
“Three!” Pauli said and copped the handcuffs apart.
“Thanks!” Anna got up and gave Pauli a little kiss on the cheek.
“Anytime!” he smiled.
“Yeah, thanks, dude!” Lauri said and went back to the house.
The others sat outside in the sun and had a late breakfast.
After a few hours Anna and Scott decided to go home. Anna went inside to get the rest of her clothes. She rushed into Lauri’s room without knocking. He was just getting dressed and stood naked in front of his wardrobe.
“Sorry!” Anna blushed.
Lauri sighed. “Why don’t you just admit that you like seeing me naked?”
“Sorry to disappoint you, buddy, but I’ve already seen enough and actually I’m glad I didn’t turn blind. Though I’m thinking of selling a story to the tabloids, how about ‘Lead singer strips in front of innocent girl!’ or something like that.”
“Pah! I don’t see any innocent girls around here!”
“Yeah, whatever!” Anna turned around and left.
“How much arrogance and stupidity can there be in just one man?” she thought.

Before going home Anna and Scott drove to the village where a lock-smith took the one half of the handcuffs off Anna’s wrist. Then they returned home and slept for almost the rest of the day.
When Anna woke up she felt like she needed to get out for some running.
“Scott, I’m gone for some running but I’m taking my cell phone with me!”
Scott just mumbled something, he was lying on the sofa and was watching a movie.
Anna left the house and enjoyed the fresh air. She ran for about an hour, it was already getting dark.
“Time to go home!” she thought. After a while she realized she didn’t remember the way back. She kept on running, she was sure if she just kept on running she’d find home sooner or later. It was pretty dark already, Anna could hardly see the path. She listened to the sounds of the forest.
“I wonder if there live any dangerous animals in finnish woods.” She thought and shivered. This was kinda creepy!
Suddenly she ran against something.
“Paska!” it said.
“Anna? What are you doing here?”
“Doing some sports.”
“In the darkness?”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t expect it to get dark that fast.”
“Oh, right, I guess in New York the sun stays up longer than here in Finland. You should go home!”
“Ehrm, Aki?”
“I have no idea where I am!”
Aki laughed. “You got lost? Well, then let me be your hero and get you outta here!” He took her hand and pulled her with him.
They walked for a while and didn’t say much. Anna was still exhausted from running that long.
After a while they came along the lake. It was new moon so it was pretty dark except for some stars in the sky. They reflected on the water, it looked wonderful.
“Wow, this is great!” Anna sighed. She felt all sweaty and asked herself if the water was too cold to swim.
“What are you thinking?” Aki asked.
“Bout swimming!”
Aki laughed. “We don’t have any swimsuits!”
“Yeah, but it’s dark so you won’t see anything of me anyway!”
Before Aki could answer anything she already took her clothes off and jumped into the water.
“Swimming naked with a beautiful girl, there could be worse!” he thought smiling and followed slowly.
“Come on in, it’s not cold at all!”
He jumped in and screamed.
“Holy fucking shit! This is like ice!”
Anna laughed.
“Wait till I get you!” Aki shouted and tried to chase her. They started a water fight and tried to push each others heads under water.
After half an hour of romping around they got out and sat in the grass. They were barely talking, just watched the stars and waited for their skin to dry.
Anna shivered.
“Are you cold?”
“Yeah, a lil’ bit.”
“Then move over, I’ll keep you warm!”
Anna laughed. “Aki, I’m still naked!”
“And it’s still dark!”
“I don’t know.”
“Come over, I promise to be a good guy! I won’t touch any of your… restricted area!”
Anna laughed again but moved closer to him. He wrapped his arms around her. She leaned her head against him and closed her eyes. She enjoyed the warmth of his skin and realized how comfortable she felt.
“Haven’t felt that good for ages!” she thought.
Aki leaned his head against hers. There he was, sitting in the dark with a good-looking naked girl in his arms, he who never said no to sex and was totally satisfied with just holding her. If he told his friends about that they would never believe him!
Aki couldn’t tell how long they had been sitting there like this. Suddenly they heard some voices.
The shouts came somewhere from between the trees.
They came closer.
“Anna, I think they are looking for us.” Aki said.
“Hm.” she replied.
“Maybe we should get dressed?”
“Hm.” She didn’t move.
“Or answer.”
They both were still sitting there like before.
“We should put on our clothes before they see us. Otherwise they will make fun of us for the next two weeks.”
Anna sighed. “Alright then!”
“You haven’t moved a bit yet!”
“You have neither!”
They heard the voices come closer. Slowly they started to dress then they answered the calls.

Eero and Lauri arrived with flashlights.
“Are you guys ok?” Eero asked.
“Sure, why did you come and search for us?” Anna asked back.
“Scott called us, he started worrying when you didn’t come back and you didn’t answer your phone. So he called us and asked us to help looking for you! He and Pauli went into the other direction. I’m gonna call him to tell him you’re fine.”
Anna checked her phone. “Shit, the batteries are low!”
Lauri looked at Anna and Aki while Eero called Scott.
“So, what did you guys do then?”
“Actually it’s non of your business but if you’re that curious… I got lost in the woods and then I met Aki who showed me the way back home. We just had a little break at the lake!”
“Aha.” Lauri thought about it for a while then he said “You’re hair is wet. So you went swimming? Naked?” He raised an eyebrow.
“No, Lauri, we had wild sex for hours and then I actually planned on killing Aki and eating his testicles when you came along and interrupted me!”
Aki laughed. “Looks like I gotta say thanks for saving me and my testicles, Lauri!”
“Shut up, Hattu!” Lauri answered angrily and turned away.
Together they went to the guys house. They hardly talked.
Aki walked behind Anna, she could feel his eyes on her back. She could still feel the warmth of his skin on hers. Though she had thought before that Aki was a funny little guy who was crazy about girls, she was surprised how good she had felt in his presence, how secure.
They arrived at the house. Scott was sitting outside smoking a cigarette.
Lauri went inside without saying bye or something.
“Thanks so much for helping Scott!” she said to Eero. “And Aki, thanks for helping me to find the way!”
Aki smiled. “Thanks for not eating my testicles!”
They laughed. Scott looked at her with questioning eyes.
“I’ll tell ya later, Scotty! Hey, how about you all come to our house tomorrow night? I’ll cook dinner and we can watch a movie or something. As a way to say thanks to y’all!”
“Great idea!” Eero said “I’m gonna tell Pauli and Lauri.”
Anna hugged them both, then she and Scott went to their car and drove home.
While driving she explained the testicle-thing to Scott. He laughed and watched his sister smiling.
“You know what?”
“No, what?” she asked. “It’s so great to see you’re having fun. You’ve been so serious during the last two weeks. I know it’s because you worry so much about me and I really appreciate that but it’s good to see you laughing again! I’m sorry for all the bad times I gave you!”
“It’s alright Scott, you know I love you. I’ll do anything to help you. And I already know something you can do to thank me… the house really needs to be cleaned!” Anna grinned.
“Ok,” Scott sighed dramatically “though I don’t know what’s worse, the withdrawal or housework!”

Anna was hanging up the phone when Scott came back from shopping.
“Oh, you just missed Mom. She says hi and she loves you!”
Scott put the bags on the kitchen table.
“Any news?”
“No, not really. Grandma has won a trip to Vegas, she says if she wins some money over there she’ll get Mom a new tv set. That’s about it. And still no news from the clinics.”
They had planned to stay in Finland till Scott got a place in rehab.
Scott was doing fine here but they knew it would be hard for him if he returned to New York, living a regular life. He still needed a proper therapy that could show him ways how to deal with problems and life in general without using drugs.
Actually Scott was glad cause he liked it here and he wasn’t in a hurry to go back and spend his time at a rehab center with other ex-junkies. Though he knew he couldn’t stay here forever and hide from real life.

Anna started cooking. She wasn’t really good in cooking but she wanted to make something good for the guys. She had found a thai cooking book in the kitchen and wanted to prepare a meal that looked good on the picture though she couldn’t even pronounce the name of it, something with all kind of vegetables in it.
Two hours later she was done and it even tasted good. Only the kitchen looked like a bomb had exploded in there.
The guys were already waiting at the table next door.
She swung the door open and shouted “Alright, I’m finally done, enjoy your meal!”
Everyone stared at her then they burst into laughter.
Eero got up and pulled her in front of a mirror.
“Holy crap!”
She looked awful. Her clothes were sprinkled with god knows what, her ponytail was half open and she even had some sauce on her cheek.
“I’ll be right back, start eating!” Anna quickly changed into some clean clothes, brushed her hair and washed her face, then she returned to the table.
They all were eating except for Lauri.
“Don’t you like it?”
“I’m still waiting.”
“What for?”
“To see if the others die in a few minutes or not. Maybe you’ve poisoned the food, who knows?”
Anna smiled at him. “Honey, if I wanted to kill you I’d definitely choose a different way… something that hurts a lot and takes for hours!”
“Then just go on like that! Sitting opposite of you and listening to your stupid talking will probably kill me after a few hours!”
Anna showed him her middle finger and started eating.

Later on they sat together in front of the tv and watched a horror movie. The room was dark except for the light of a few candles.
Anna was sitting between Scott and Aki. The movie was pretty scary so Anna hid her face a few times on Aki’s shoulder.
He didn’t mind at all. Aki had realized that they have had a special moment at the lake the other night but he wasn’t sure if Anna thought the same way. When he came here he didn’t see a difference in the way Anna treated him so he decided to act like he always did. But he enjoyed sitting close to her. He liked her a lot though they hardly knew each other. And after all he still thought she was damn hot!
“I reeeeeally want some ice cream!” Anna said. “Scotty, would you be a nice little brother and get me some?”
“Why don’t you go yourself?”
“Cause the movie was so scary and I’m afraid of monsters that could cross my way to the kitchen!”
“You wish! No, wait, I wish!” Lauri said.
Anna yawned unimpressed. “Scottyyyy, pleeeeease!”
“I’ll go and get it.” Aki said and went to the kitchen.
After a few minutes he shouted “Where do I find pots? And spoons? And which flavour?”
Anna sighed and got up to help him.
Aki was standing in the middle of the battlefield that used to be the kitchen.
“What the hell did you do in here? Did you have to kill the food first before you cooked it?”
Anna laughed. “I know, I’m a really bad cook!”
“No, you’re not that bad, the meal tasted great. But did you try to use all the dishes you have? Cause I couldn’t find any clean ones!”
“Wait, I’ll wash some quickly!”
“Know what? I’m gonna help you clean the kitchen, we’ll be done in half an hour if we do it together!”
“Oh Aki! And again you are my hero!” she replied dramatically.
Only five minutes later the kitchen looked almost normal except for the huge pile of dirty dishes next to the sink.
“Alright, I’ll clean them, you’ll dry them!” Anna said and pushed a towel into Aki’s hands.
They did the dishes and joked around. Anna tried to blow some air up her face.
“What are you doing?” Aki asked.
“There’s a hair somewhere across my face and it tickles my nose, I’m trying to blow it away!” She turned towards him. “Can you see it?”
Aki came closer. He gently stroke over her face.
“It’s gone!”
Their eyes crossed. There it was again, that special moment! And they both felt it.

Aki looked into Anna’s eyes. They were light blue and sparkling, like the sky on a sunny day.
His heart was beating faster, he felt his blood pulsating through his veins. All his senses were screaming “Kiss her!” but he wasn’t sure.
“Give me a sign!” his eyes begged.
Anna softly touched his cheek, her fingers were still covered with lather.
A shiver ran down his spine.
She pulled his face closer, leaned forward. Their lips came closer very slowly, were only millimetres apart.
When they met if felt like the beat of a wing of a butterfly, so tender and smooth.
Anna looked into his eyes and saw his desire for more. She kissed him more demanding, caressing his back. Aki’s hands wandered down her arms, he grabbed her wrist and shoved her against the refrigerator.
Anna closed her eyes and enjoyed his tongue on her neck. She freed her hands, pulled his head back up and bit his lip. She felt his hands on her waist, suddenly he lifted her body and carried her to the counter.
She pushed some plates out of her way and sat down, her legs still wrapped around Aki’s waist. He covered her neck with little kisses, his lips went slowly down her neckline.
Anna laughed. “That tickles!”
She felt Akis’s smile on her skin as he continued. His hands wandered under her shirt and touched the sides of her upper body.
Anna squeaked and laughed again.
“No! Don’t touch me there! I’m so ticklish!”
“Where? Here?” he asked and touched her again.
“Ah! Stop it!” She tried to hit him in a playful way but he ducked away.
A plate fell to the floor and broke.
They laughed. Anna took Aki’s face between her hands and gave him a kiss.
“Now be a good guy!”
“But being bad is more fun!” he grinned in a kinky way.
“Shut up!” she said and nibbled on his lips.
“What the hell are you doing? Smashing all the dishes?” Pauli suddenly shouted from next door.
“We’re cleaning the kitchen!” Aki shouted back.
“Yeah, I’m wiping the counter with my butt!” Anna giggled into his hear.
“When can we expect the ice cream you were talking about before?” now Eero shouted.
Anna sighed.
“Give us five minutes!” she replied. “I hate interruptions!”
She gave Aki a long kiss and jumped back to the floor. They put the ice cream boxes, some pots and spoons on a tray. Before they left the kitchen Anna turned to Aki.
“Let’s not tell the others.”
“Why not?” he asked.
“I dunno. They don’t need to know everything. And after all I think it’s quite exciting to have a little secret!” she winked over to him.
He smiled and kissed her a last time.

A bit later Aki and Lauri were playing a video game, Eero was next door and talked to his wife on the phone, Scott and Pauli were playing guitar. Anna sat next to her brother and listened to them.
She watched Aki in front of the tv. She started thinking about what had been happening before.
She could still feel his lips on her skin and smiled. She wasn’t in love with him, she didn’t even have a crush on him She just knew she liked him a lot though she didn’t really know him yet. Anna sighed. She thought about the future and that she would have to leave Finland in a few weeks anyway.
“Whatever,” she suddenly thought, “enjoy your time here as much as you can! I deserve some fun after the hard time with Scott. Just gotta watch out that no feelings get hurt, neither mine nor anyone else’s!”
She looked over to Aki and Lauri. She knew they were best friends but really, she couldn’t understand it, they were so different!
Lauri can’t be that much of a dork then she suggested. He was just so… weird! Then she saw the other half of the handcuff on Lauri’s wrist and burst into laughter.
“I can’t believe you’re still wearing that handcuff!” she shouted at him.
He blushed. “No one of us could open it yet!”
Anna tried to stop laughing, she could hardly breathe.
“Ha ha, very funny!” Lauri answered sarcastically. “It’s not like I don’t wanna get rid of it! I don’t wanna be reminded of the night I was handcuffed to the stupidest woman on earth every time I see that goddamn thing!”
“God, Lauri! You just gotta go to the lock-smith! And don’t worry, he’s like really old, I don’t think he will recognize Mr. Leadsinger-Superstar!”
“Oh, shut the fuck up!” he said angrily to Anna.
Eero came back from next door. “Oh, come on, kids! I just have to leave the room for ten minutes and you two are fighting again!” He shook his head. “Now be nice again or you won’t get any dessert tomorrow!”
“Alright, daddy!” they answered both at the same time.

Anna and Scott were strolling through the grocery store, looking for food.
“What about pizza?” Anna asked.
“Not again, I can’t see any pizza anymore!” Scott smiled at her. “Can’t you cook something like two days ago? That was yummy!”
She shook her head! “Are you crazy? Spending two hours in the kitchen again? No way!”
They went on looking for something that could be done in a few minutes.
“What’s that thing between you and Lauri?” Scott asked suddenly.
“I mean you’re arguing all the time! I think he’s a nice guy!”
“He’s never nice to me!”
“Yeah, but you’re not nice to him as well!”
Anna shrugged her shoulders. “I dunno. He’s just… so weird! And he’s arrogant and stupid. Don’t know, I just don’t like him, ok?”
Scott laughed and nodded over to the door. “Speaking of the devil…” Lauri and Aki entered the shop.
“Look, who we found here!” Aki smiled.
“What’s going on?” Scott asked.
“We just came from the lock-smith.”
Anna tried not to laugh.
“And now we wanna buy some stuff for tonight. We ‘re planning on having a barbecue at the lake. I’m afraid these are the last warm nights for this summer so we wanna take advantage of that! Wanna join us?”
“Of course we will!” Scott grinned.
“We plan on staying overnight and maybe go swimming.” Lauri said and looked at Anna. “So bring a swimsuit!”
“Hey, I’m not the one who shows himself naked all the time!” she replied.
Scott sighed. “Oh, don’t start again!”
He looked at Aki.
“We gotta separate them, you’ll buy the food for tonight with Anna, I’ll check the beverages with Lauri!” he said and pulled Lauri away.
They watched Lauri and Scott go away. Then Aki smiled and gave her a little kiss.
“Hi sweety!”
“Hey!” Anna took his hand and pulled him between some shelves filled with chips and crackers.
“Let’s check the food!” she said and kissed him passionately.
“What was that just about having seen Lauri naked?” he asked between two kisses.
“Remember handcuff-day?”
“Yeah, right, so did you like what you saw?”
“Have to say he’s not my first choice if it comes to wanting to see one out of your band naked!”
“Really? So who’s your first choice then?” he asked pretending not to know.
“Pauli!” she grinned.
Aki slapped her. “Oh, you’re disappointing me! I could have sworn you wanted to see Eero!”
They laughed. Anna hugged him tightly, she loved feeling his slim but muscular body. Scott’s voice came closer.
“Alright, let’s really check the food!”

Lauri and Aki drove back home.
“What’s that between you and Anna?” Aki asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Why do you fight all the time?”
“I don’t know. I just don’t like her!” Lauri said like that would explain everything.
He looked at Aki. “But you like her, right?”
Aki smiled big time. “Yeah! She’s really cool. And she’s still frickin’ hot!”
Lauri laughed. “Well, then good luck! Hope she gave up on the plan to eat you testicles cause I can’t be there for you all the time to save your life, you know?”
Aki smiled. He thought about Anna. He didn’t know if he had a crush on her but he knew he felt happy in her presence. She made him feel good. And after all, the sheer thought of the way she kisses him let shivers run down his spine. He knew she had to leave in a few weeks but he wasn’t looking for a relationship anyway. He didn’t have enough time for that due to the band. And often enough he saw Eero missing his wife and he knew how hard it must be for them.
“Don’t think about tomorrow, just enjoy the moment!” he told himself.
They all met at the lake in the late afternoon. It was still pretty warm so they decided to swim first.
Anna took of her clothes, she was wearing a little black bikini underneath. She knew she looked great in it so she didn’t wonder when the guys stared at her.
“Well, hello there, gorgeous!” Aki grinned.
She winked at him then she climbed a rock that was next to the lake. With a perfect back flip she jumped into the water. The guys ran to the rock and tried all kind of jumps into the water. After playing a while in the water they lay in the sun to let themselves dry.
“Where did you learn that back flip?” Eero asked.
Anna laughed. “I was a cheerleader at school!”
“Now that doesn’t surprise me at all!” Lauri grinned. “I heard that cheerleaders are always the popular but stupid girls who jump and shout around like idiots during a football game!”
Anna grinned back. “Sorry to disappoint you! I went to kind of a ghetto school. You either had the choice to join a gang or to join a school team. And as I don’t really like stealing, dealing with drugs or killing people I chose the second one. Dancing was the only kind of sport I really liked so I became a cheerleader. And to disappoint you again, I did straight A’s at school, so I can’t be that stupid.”
“Whatever,” Lauri mumbled and got up to get a beer.

They spent the rest of the day hanging around, talking, eating and drinking. When it got dark they sat around the camp fire, Pauli and Lauri played guitar and they sang a few songs. Aki sat next to Anna, sometimes she could feel his hands on her leg. Then she had an idea.
“Wait till everyone is asleep!” she whispered into his ear, “I will go down that path and I’ll wait there for you!”
Finally everyone was lying in their sleeping bags. Anna waited almost for an hour till she was sure the guys were sleeping.
She got up and walked down the path. After five minutes she stopped and leaned against a tree. She closed her eyes and waited.
She waited for at least twenty minutes and started wondering if Aki was still coming when she suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder.
She turned around and kissed him long and passionately. The way he kissed was different, rougher, then she realized something.
“Where did you leave your glasses?” she asked and opened her eyes.

Anna backed up.
“Lauri! What are you doing here?”
“The question is what are YOU doing here?” he answered.
“I was waiting for someone.!”
“Yeah and obviously not for me!” he grinned. “Who is it? Aki?”
Anna didn’t answer.
“Well, I guess I’m right. I saw you leaving the fireplace but when you didn’t come back for so long I thought ‘Great! That stupid woman got lost in the woods again!’ So I got up to look for you. And then you kissed me!”
“But why did you kiss me back?”
“Hey, I’m just a man! I take what I can get! That’s better than nothing!”
Anna looked at him with disdain, turned around and went back to the fire.
Aki was sleeping. She took her sleeping bag and lay down next to him. At least she wanted to lie close to him and feel his body next to her. She didn’t care if the others would see her and snuggled up to him.
Anna woke up. She was freezing. It was still early, the sun just had started to rise. The guys were still sleeping then she realized Aki was watching her.
“Hey,” he whispered, “sorry, I fell asleep!”
Anna smiled at him. “That’s ok.”
“Wanna go for a walk?”
She shook her head. “It’s so cold!”
Aki grinned and opened his sleeping bag.
“Wanna come in?”
Anna smiled and crawled onto him. He zipped it close again and kissed her gently. She lay her head down on his chest. She felt all comfortable and warm and only two minutes later she fell asleep again.
When she woke up again she was sweating. The sun was shining on the sleeping bag and had heated it up. Again she was the only one awake.
She crawled away from Aki, trying not to wake him up.
Anna watched the guys sleeping. They all looked like little boys, so innocent, Lauri was even sucking on the tip of his thumb. She tried not to laugh.
She looked at the lake. Swimming would be great now, she thought.
Anna took her clothes of, slid into the water and swam with fast strokes. Though she wasn’t a sports freak she liked to move her body till exhaustion, to feel every muscle. She swam across the whole lake and took a little break at the opposite shore.
From a distance she could see Lauri sitting down on the rock next to the lake with his guitar.
That’s probably the only time I can somehow stand him, Anna thought.
She liked his singing voice and when it was just him and his guitar, he playing a little melody all stuck into his thoughts, he almost seemed to be a nice guy.
“The complete opposite to how he acts normally!” she said to herself and got back into the water.
Lauri was sitting on the rock and played guitar. That melody had been stuck in his head when he woke up and now he tried to play it. Maybe this was a good hook for a new song. He hit the strings just softly, didn’t want to wake up the others. After a while he saw Anna swimming.
“What’s that about that woman?” he asked himself.
Alright, his ego still was hurt a little cause he couldn’t manipulate her with just a smile like he could do with other girls but it was also something else.
The way she acted, she always seemed to be so self-confident, sometimes even hard. He wondered what in life had made her become that way. Actually he often was intimidated by her though he would never admit that. It was easier to just be unfriendly.
Anna got out of the water. The sun reflected on her wet body.
“Holy shit! Now that looks damn hot!” he thought.
“Wow, she looks hot! At least that you gotta admit!” someone said behind him.
It was Aki. Lauri looked at him. If Anna had told him what happened last night? Didn’t look like she did.
“If that means you’ll leave me alone with that ‘why don’t you like her’-stuff, alright, yes.” he sighed.
Aki grinned. “See, it didn’t hurt!”
“Yeah but if you don’t wipe that stupid smile of your face, my hand will hurt pretty soon on your head!”
Anna walked out of the water.
“Cold!” she gasped.
Aki welcomed her with a huge towel and wrapped it around her.
“Morning!” he said and wiped away a drop of water that was just about to fall of the tip of Anna’s nose.
“I’m hungry!” she mumbled.
“For food or for me?” he smiled.
She bit into his earlobe. “You taste pretty good… but I’m sorry, at the moment real food wins!”
Then she jumped over to Scott, Eero and Pauli who were still sleeping. She shook her head as hard as she could and sprinkled water all over them.
“Morning you lazy folks! Who’s gonna make some breakfast?” she shouted.
The answer were a shoe and a pillow that were thrown towards her.

Anna was lying in the bath tub under a huge pile of foam.
She and Scott had just come back from a bike trip. Actually they had planned just a short trip to another lake, have a pick-nick and some fun in the water and then go back home. Unfortunately they got completely lost. They never reached the lake but spent almost eight hours on their bikes till they found their house.
Scott had been fallen in his bed as soon as they got home.
Now Anna tried to relax. Her legs felt like they were made out of rubber and her butt hurt really bad. She closed her eyes and inhaled the sweet smell of the bubble bath. Her eyelids felt so heavy.
Scott stood in front of her. He looked horrible, all skinny and black shades under his eyes. Anna wanted to talk to him but her voice didn’t work. He just looked at her very sadly.
Anna started worrying and tried to say something but no sound left her mouth.
Suddenly the expression on Scott’s face changed like he was suffering from pain. His eyes accused her. Then he said with a creepy voice
“Why did you leave me alone? Why didn’t you care about me? Do you see me suffering? I will die!”
His body started to shrink, the skin crumbled to the floor.
“But I will not die alone! I will take you with me!” His skeleton-like hand grabbed for her.
Anna screamed.
“Are you ok?”
Anna opened her eyes. It was Aki.
She was breathing heavily and looked around the room. Scott was gone.
Just a dream, just a dream, she told herself over and over again to calm down.
She looked at Aki. “What are you doing here?”
“I thought I’d check if you guys were back from the bike trip already, the back door was open.”
Aki was confused. He had expected her to be happy to see him but she looked scared.
“Are you really ok?” he asked again.
Anna sighed. “Yeah…no… I had a bad nightmare!” Then she couldn’t hold her tears back anymore.
“Hey, come on, it was only a dream!” He tried to wipe the tears away.
Anna had always been so self-confident and strong and now she looked so vulnerable. He didn’t know what to say and gave her a bath towel.
“Get out of the tub, I’ll make you a cup of tea!” He left the bathroom and went to the kitchen.
Five minutes later Anna came downstairs and sat on the couch with Aki.
She looked like she was embarrassed that he had seen her crying. He took her into his arms.
“Wanna talk about it?”
She didn’t say anything and took a sip of the tea. Like she was thinking of how to start.
Suddenly the words burst out of her and she told him everything. How she grew up in a rough neighbourhood, how she raised her brother when her father left the family, how she always had to be in charge for so many things though she was still young.
And about what happened to Scott. That she felt guilty cause she hadn’t been there for him when he needed her the most.
“I feel so small and weak, I used to have things under control but now it seems like everything just slipped through my hands. I’m just waiting for the moment when my facade crumbles and everyone will realize what I really am.”
“And that is a wonderful woman!”
Anna looked at Aki.
“You are a wonderful person, you are strong and beautiful and smart but after all you’re just a human being! You have all rights to be weak! That’s normal!”
Anna swallowed. “Oh my god, don’t you make me cry as well!” she smiled and kissed him quickly.
He kissed her back. She slid her hands under his shirt and painted little patterns on his chest with her fingertips.
“Give me a second!” Aki jumped up and ran to the bathroom.
When he came back Anna was sleeping peacefully. Aki picked her up and carried her to her room. He put her to bed, cuddled up next to her and fell asleep, too.

“Will someone please shoot that goddamn bird?” Anna thought and opened her eyes.
A little bird had been singing his morning song with its very shrill voice.
“Who the fuck do you wanna impress with that stupid chirpy-chirp?” she mumbled and threw a pillow into the birds direction. It stopped singing for a moment then it went on.
Anna turned around and saw Aki. Why was he here? She could think of a why but then why were they dressed?
Then she remembered the last night. No one ever had said something that nice to her. Her heart made a little jump when she thought about what he had said.
She remembered kissing him and that she actually had in mind to rip his clothes off his body but she must have fallen asleep.
“Anytime we wanna hook up one of us falls asleep, what a shame!” she thought and looked over to
Aki. She moved closer to him, watched him sleeping. She gently stroke through his hair. His lips looked too tempting so she leaned forward and kissed them. He didn’t move. She kissed him again and bit softly into his lip.
“Wake up!” she thought.
He mumbled something and turned on his back. Anna sighed and wondered if she should shout “Wake up! Sex!”
Might be a little insensitive! She started to unbutton his shirt.
Then she covered his neck and chest with little kisses. Her tongue left a wet trail on his skin. Her lips wandered down further, kissed his belly button, his stomach. She redrew his abs with her tongue. His skin was hot and smooth. He moaned quietly. Anna reached his pants and grinned.
“At least someone’s awake down here!”
She opened the pants when she felt Aki’s hands in her hair. She looked up to his face, he had raised his head to watch her.
“So when did you plan to wake me up so I don’t miss all the action?” he asked reproachfully.
“Guess what I’m trying here?” she smiled and slipped with one hand into his pants.
Aki laughed, grabbed her and threw her on her back. He kissed her passionately.
“Someone’s definitely wearing to many clothes for this!” he grinned and pulled on her shirt. She was just wearing shorts and that shirt so he was done pretty fast with undressing her.
“Now, that’s unfair! You are still wearing your pants! And boxers! And socks!” she complained and wanted to pull off his pants.
But he pushed her back into the pillows. “Don’t be that impatient! This is my turn, so lay back and enjoy!”
He explored her body with his tongue, his hands stroke softly along the sides of her upper body. This time it didn’t tickle. Anna felt his lips all over her skin. When he kissed the inside of her thighs she felt the heat raising in her body. She grabbed into the blanket and moaned. She didn’t want to wait any more, leaned forward and pulled Aki’s head back up.
While their tongues were playing with each other she tried to pull his pants off.
Aki looked into her eyes questioning. As an answer she kissed him long and desperately. She felt him inside her body and grabbed his ass. They found their rhythm and moved to the sound of their heartbeats. Aki watched her enjoying all this with closed eyes. Her face reflected her passion and desire. He pulled her closer and turned around, now she was on top and determined the movements. Her skin was burning, her whole body was on fire. She felt how the feelings overwhelmed her, then she sank on his chest.
Aki kissed her softly. “You’re incredible!” he whispered. Anna got off him and cuddled up next to him. She looked into his eyes.
“So are you, baby!” Then they both fell asleep.

Anna didn’t move.
Again that shout. She turned around and slapped her hand into Aki’s face.
“Oops, sorry, baby!” she mumbled.
She heard Scott running upstairs and coming closer to her room.
Out of a habit she wanted to hide Aki. He was still sleeping so she just pushed him off the bed and threw a blanket over him.
Scott came into her room, gave her the phone and left again without realizing anything.
“Hello?” – “Hi mom!” – “Still sleeping!” – “Yes.” - “Mhm.” – “No!” – “Sure, mom!” – “Love ya, too!” – “Bye!”
She hung up. Aki’s head appeared at the edge of the bed. He rubbed his shoulder.
“Outsch! Why did you do that?”
She kissed his shoulder and smiled. “Sorry, babe, just a bad habit!”
“What? Kicking your lovers out of your bed?” he grinned.
He climbed back to her and pulled the blanket over their heads.
“Actually I like hiding! Especially under your sheets!” He kissed her softly.
“Do you think we should tell the others?”
“I don’t know.”
“You know them better than I do. Don’t you think it will be kinda weird, doing that couple –thing in the group?”
“Maybe. I don’t mind if we don’t tell them.” He smiled at her in a kinky way. “I know lots of interesting hiding places!”
She laughed. “That sounds tempting!”
Aki took a look on his watch. “Oh shit, I almost forgot about the rehearsal! I really gotta go!” He kissed her and got out of bed, collecting his clothes that were spread around the room.
Anna whistled. “Heyhey, nice ass!”
Aki licked his fingertip, touched his butt with it and said “Zzzzzzzzhhhh! I know, I’m hot!”
Anna got up and kissed him goodbye. “Well, then, hottie, good luck with sneaking out!”
Anna got dressed and went to the kitchen. Scott was standing in front of the open refrigerator. She lay her arms around his waist and looked over his shoulder.
“What’s for breakfast?”
“Lunch!” he corrected her. “Not much left!” he sighed.
Anna decided to drive to the store.
She bought all kinds of food.
“I shouldn’t go shopping when I’m hungry!” she thought and heard her tummy grumble. She paid and left the shop.
When she reached the car, a guy stopped her and said something in finnish. She looked at him. She had never seen him here before. He was in his mid-forties, tall and wore strange clothes, one of these vests with a million little pockets on it.
“This guy looks like he’s going on a safari trip!” she thought and answered in english “Sorry, I don’t speak finnish!”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure!” He took a photo out of his jacket and showed it to her. “Do you know these people?”
Anna needed to take a second look, of course she knew them. They looked different, very styled, Lauri was even wearing eye make-up but the photo showed definitely her neighbours!
Why was this guy asking her that question? Why was he looking for them? Maybe he was a journalist?
“No, I’ve never seen them before!” she replied. “Who is this?”
“You don’t know them?” he asked in the same way he would have asked if she had asked who the pope was.
“No, well, I’m from the United States, I’m just spending my holidays here!”
“That’s The Rasmus, they are a very famous finnish band! So, you haven’t seen them or one of them around here?”
“No, sorry to disappoint you. I’ve been around for a couple of weeks now but I haven’t seen them anywhere!” She smiled at him like she would seriously regret that she couldn’t help him.
He smiled back and shrug his shoulder. “Thank you anyway!” He left.
Anna got in the car and drove back home. She wondered if she should tell the guys? Seemed like Eero hadn’t joked around when he told her they were kind of famous in Finland. Anna laughed.
“Wow, I’m hanging around with some local heros!” she thought sarcastically.

When Anna passed the band’s house she stopped. She had decided to tell them and if she was here anyway she could quickly say hi to Aki.
She rang the door bell and waited.
After a while the door opened. It was Lauri. He looked at her without a smile.
“I’m also happy to see you, Lauri!” she said sarcastically. “Gotta tell you guys something.”
He just looked at her, then he turned around and went back into the house.
“Well, I guess that means ‘please come in’!” she sighed, closed the door and followed him.
The others were sitting in the rehearsal room and discussed a song. “Hey guys!”
“Hey Anna!” they replied.
Aki winked at her and grinned. She sat down and told them about the guy she met at the village. When she was done they didn’t say a thing but stared at her.
“Please tell me that is a joke!” Pauli said.
“My jokes are bad but not that bad!” she answered.
“Someone from the village must have told the press!” Aki said.
“Oh, I bet it was that fucking lock-smith! I told you it would be a bad idea!” Lauri shouted and looked at Anna angrily.
“Oh shut up, Lauri, that guy was at least 80 years old, he probably didn’t even know what a radio is!” Aki replied.
“It could have been anyone, we’ve been at the store a hundred times!” Pauli added.
Eero sighed. “Looks like this is the end of our lovely quiet hiding place!”
“Oh that sucks! This place is perfect!” Pauli said.
Anna looked at them. “Come on, don’t exaggerate! Why don’t you just let that journalist come along, he takes a few pictures, asks a few questions and than he leaves again!”
Eero sighed again. “He’ll not gonna be the only one. There will be a lot and they will stay for days. Not to mention that when the press leaves, the fans will know and we’ve got some really pertinacious fans!”
Anna laughed. “Why? Do they camp in front of your houses?”
“For example!”
Anna stared at him “You’re kidding, right?”
He shook his head. “Maybe I kind of didn’t tell you the whole truth, we’re not just quite famous in Finland…”
“But?” “Pretty much around Europe.”
“Oh. Ok.”
“We got platinum records in almost every European country and we’re gonna tour the U.S. in January.” Lauri added proudly.
Anna thought about it for a while. “Oh great, now I know why these two girls laughed when I told you you could make it big one day!”
Eero laughed then he suddenly stopped and looked at Lauri.
“How unfriendly have you actually been when you sent the girls home that night?”
Lauri blushed cause he knew what Eero would say next. “Ehrm, well, I wasn’t that mean, just a little.”
“I swear these girls felt insulted and then they spread the news via internet!”
“Damn! Fuckin’ internet! Whatever we do, someone always finds out and posts it on one of these forums sooner or later!” Lauri said angrily. “Alright then, let’s get our stuff together and pack.”
Anna looked over to Aki who stared sadly to the ground.
“Wait!” she said. They looked at her.
“Why don’t you move over to our house. Pretend like you left the village and hide for a few days. Then they’ll think you’re not here and they will leave. And then you can move back!”
Eero looked at her. “Do you really mean this?”
“Sure, the house is big enough!”
Pauli jumped over to her and hugged her tightly. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Anna gasped for air. “Pauli… can’t… breathe!”
Pauli blushed and let her go. She laughed. Aki smiled at her.
“Let’s drink to that!” He went to the kitchen.
After a few moments he shouted “Anna, can you help me with the glasses?”
Eero got up. “Stay, I’ll help him.” he said and went next door.
Anna laughed cause she could imagine Aki’s face if he saw Eero instead of her!

Scott came downstairs when he heard Anna opening the door.
“Look what I found on the doorstep!” she grinned.
Eero and Pauli were standing behind her carrying huge backpacks and waved at him.
“Are you guys going somewhere?” he asked.
“Yep, we’re gonna move in!” Eero replied.
“Watch out!” Aki came in with a huge drum. “Where can I put this?”
Scott looked at Anna. “Did I miss something?”
Anna laughed and told him what had happened. They spent the whole day driving from one house to the other to bring all their stuff.
When they were done Eero drove to the village to return the key to the house’s owner. Though he knew him quite well, it was a friend of Eero’s father, they wanted everyone to know that they had left. When he came back he even hid Aki’s car behind Anna’s and Scott’s house.
The others were almost done with moving. The instruments and all the equipment were in the basement, the perfect place to rehearse and record. He had to share a room with Pauli but they were used to that anyway from touring.
Now they were all sitting in the living room eating pizza and celebrating their new living situation.
“To Anna!” Eero raised his cup of tea, “for having that great idea! Cheers!”
The others raised their wine glassed and drank.
“Hope you and Lauri won’t smash each other’s head in!” Scott said to Anna.
“Sure, as long as he stays out of my way, no problem!”
She looked through Pauli’s cd folder.
“Pauli, you can’t deny that your taste in music is very… let’s call it varied! Queens of the stone age, AC/DC, George Michael, Xzibit… Christina Aguliera?” she laughed.
Pauli blushed. “That cd was just a present from my little nice. She’s got a good voice though!”
They all laughed and made fun of Pauli.
“Hey don’t laugh about me! Why don’t you ask Eero about his Elton John cds?”
“Hey, Elton is music history!” Eero tried to defend himself. To change the topic he suggested playing truth or dare.
They played for a while. Pauli’s turn. “Anna, truth or dare?”
He thought about it for a while. Then Scott whispered something into his ear.
“Alright. You gotta sing something to us. Let’s say ‘Beautiful’ by Christina!”
Anna’s face froze. “Scott, I hate you!”
“Come on, that’s not too bad!” Pauli said.
Scott could hardly breathe because of laughing so hard.
Anna sighed. “It is. Remember that movie ‘My best friend’s wedding’? With Cameron Diaz singing karaoke really bad? That’s me. I really can’t sing!”
“Shut up, everyone can sing!”
“I can’t.”
“Too bad for you,” Lauri grinned, “You chose dare, here you have the lyrics!”
Anna took the cd inlay and looked for the words. “Alright, but just one verse. And don’t complain afterwards if you’ve turned deaf! I warned y’all!”
She took her glass and chugged all the wine down at once. Then she took deep breath and started to sing. While singing she made dramatic gestures and faces to make fun of herself.
No one said a word when she stopped. Then they burst into laughter.
”Ok, you where right, not everybody can sing!” Pauli gasped for air.
Anna smiled at him. “My turn, right? Pauli, truth or dare?”
Pauli stared at her. “Alright, I’m not gonna spoil the fun, dare!”
Anna smiled. “I need someone else for this and you can choose someone, Pauli. Though I would suggest my dear little brother!”
“I pick Scott.” Pauli grinned, what ever would come now, at least he didn’t have to go through this alone.
“Excuse us for half an hour, guys!” Anna said to Eero, Aki and Lauri and went next door with Scott and Pauli.
When she came back, Anna realized that Aki and Lauri were pretty drunk. Eero saw her look and shrugged his shoulders.
“They were bored so they had a little drinking competition.”
“Anyway, gentlemen, may I have your attention please! Let me introduce to you Chrissy and Tina! They studied a little dance just for you! So give it up for Chrissy and Tina!”
Anna went to the cd player. The music started and the door opened.
Pauli and Scott came in, they were both wearing short skirts and bras, their faces were painted with tons of make up. They started dancing. To “Dirrty” by Christina Aguliera!
Anna had shown them the dancing steps from the video and now they were showing their best!
The others were hanging on the couch trying not to fall off cause of laughing so hard. Tears were running down their face, they could hardly breath.
When Chrissy and Tina were done they took their bras off and threw them to their audience which was going crazy. They cheered and shouted for more.
“Thanks. Thank you! You were a wonderful audience!” Pauli said and let himself fall into a chair. “Should have seen Anna though, she looked really good when she showed us the moves. She’s very… let’s call it flexible.”
“Thanks, Pauli. You should see yourself as a lucky man, I normally show that… flexibility just in private shows!” She grinned and looked over to Aki who was just choking on his wine.
“My turn!” Scott shouted. “Aki, truth or dare?”
“Hm, let me think, what about kissing…”
“Hey, don’t look at me, just cause I’m the only girl in here doesn’t mean I’m gonna kiss everyone!”
Aki and Lauri looked at each other.
“Oh darling! Finally we don’t have to hide our feelings anymore!”
“Oh baby, come and kiss me!”
They fell into each other’s arms and kissed long and passionately.
Scott and Anna watched them surprised. The thing that Anna surprised most was that she thought it actually looked kind of sexy!
“Erhm, do you do that often?” Scott asked.
All the guys looked at him and started laughing.
“Hey, we’ve been here for over five weeks or something. Imagine how often we’ve played truth or dare!” Eero laughed. “Alright then, my time has come, I really need to go to bed!”
He got up and left. Pauli and Scott got up, too. “Yeah, me too! Gotta wash off that goddamn make up!” Pauli said, “Good night!”
When they were gone Anna went to the couch and sat next to Aki. They kept on drinking and talking for a while.
“Can’t believe that!” Aki said, “I’ve been sitting between you since almost half an hour and you haven’t argued yet!”
Anna grinned. “Don’t you know the phrase ‘Drink till he’s cute’? Seems like it works!”
“Hey, I’m just too drunk to fight.” Lauri mumbled.
Aki looked at Anna and took the glass out of her hand. “I don’t want you to think he’s cuter than I am!”
“Don’t worry!” Anna answered, “he just passed out!”
They turned to Lauri who had just sunk to the side and was now snoring quietly.
She kissed Aki.
“What was that for?” he asked.
Anna laughed “Gotta make sure you know I am cuter than Lauri! Looked like you enjoyed kissing him a tiny bit too much!”
“Don’t worry baby, you’re a better kisser! And you don’t have beard stubbles, that’s a plus!”
Anna slapped him. “Come on, I’ll take you to bed!”
She helped him getting up, he could hardly walk properly. They went to his and Lauri’s room, he fell on the bed.
“Can’t you sleep here?” Aki begged. “Lauri’s sleeping on the sofa anyway!”
Anna sighed. He just looked too cute to say no, so she cuddled up next to him.

Anna woke up. She felt Aki’s arms around her body, he was lying behind her. Anna sighed, she loved spooning. She opened her eyes and looked into Aki’s face.
Aki’s face? If she could see his face who was hugging her then?
She tried to move her head around.
“Eeeew, Lauri.” she mumbled and tried to crawl out of his arms. He was holding her too tight, she couldn’t get rid of him.
Anna softly poked Aki into his shoulder. He didn’t move.
She tried it again, still no reaction. Then she poked him really hard into his arm.
“Aaaki! Wake up!” she whined. Aki opened his eyes.
“Outsch! What was that for?”
“Take that off me, I can’t get out on my own!” She pointed on Lauri.
Aki took one of Lauri’s arms and pushed him away. Anna quickly moved over into Aki’s arms and shuddered.
Aki laughed “You behave like I just got rid of a huge spider or something. It’s just Lauri!”
“Yeah, and he spooned me!” Anna shuddered again. “You weren’t really surprised by seeing that, were you?”
Aki laughed again. “I’m used to that! He always does that in his sleep when he’s really drunk!”.
“How come you know this?”
“We share rooms when we are on tour, usually they have two separate beds but sometimes we have to sleep in the same bed. I’ve woken up a hundred times with Lauri spooning me! Guess he needs something to cuddle up to when he’s drunk.”
Anna laughed out loud. “You should give him a teddy bear or something.”
She crawled onto Aki’s body and kissed him.
“Nah, just give me a girl.” Lauri answered from the side.
“Uh, how romantic!” Anna replied sarcastically.
“Romanticism sucks! Now can you kiss a little bit quieter? I wanna sleep!” Lauri turned away and closed his eyes.
Anna sniffed on Aki’s chest. “Baby, you smell!”
“What? No, I don’t!”
“Yes, you do!”
He tickled her. “No, I don’t!”
Anna laughed. “Yes, you should definitely get in contact with water! I could rub your back!”
“But I smell great!”
Lauri turned around annoyed. “Dude, she wants to get you under the shower! Fuckin’ get it and leave me alone!”
“Oh…” Aki thought about it, “…oh! Hell yeah, I smell really bad!” He jumped up and pulled Anna with him, then they disappeared into the bathroom.
Lauri closed his eyes. He could hear Aki and Anna giggling next door. Then he heard them fall against the door.
“Geez, please let them at least get under the shower! I don’t wanna be forced to listen to them!” Lauri pulled the blanket over his head.
He was wondering why they tried to keep this as a secret. Aki usually brought all kind of girls along and he never tried to hide them from his friends. Maybe this was something different?
Lauri shook his head. No, he knew his friend quite well and Aki had never been that relationship kind of guy. There were probably just playing some weird game.
Whatever, he thought and fell asleep.

Anna stood by the window. It rained like hell. She wanted to go shopping but she didn’t want to get wet. So she just stood there and listened to the music that was coming from the basement.
The guys had been around since five days now. They spent most of the day with their music, Anna usually didn’t see them before dinner time. She liked spending the evenings with them, they watched movies, played games or just talked.
And of course she enjoyed having Aki around. Still nobody had realized what was going on between them. Well, Lauri knew but he didn’t mention it among the others.
Sometimes Anna and Aki left each other little notes that told a secret spot to meet. Yesterday they had spent a few hours in Aki’s car that was still hidden behind the house. He had decorated the inside with small candles and welcomed her with champagne and chocolate. Anna had loved it though they almost set the car on fire cause of a little candle accident.
She looked outside the window again. The rain wasn’t as bad anymore so she ran to her car and drove to the village.
When she passed the band’s house she could see two cars who were still parking along the road.
Eero had been right, there had been lots of journalists seen around the village and the house during the last few days who were lurking around and asking question. But it looked like most of them had already given up, they really believed the guys had left this place.
Anna entered the shop and got her stuff together. When she was just about to pay, the little bells over the door rang as someone came in.
It was the journalist who had asked Anna all the questions before. She smiled and waved at him.
“Hi! So have you finally found that band?”
He came over. “Hi, no, looks like they had been here but they probably left a few days ago.”
“Oh, what a pity! And I was hoping I could see them as well somewhere, so I could tell my friends at home that I met a famous finnish band during my holidays!”
“Sorry to disappoint you!”
“Then what are you still doing here? Having a few days off, too?”
“No, I’m always working. But I think I will leave tomorrow, there’s nothing left for me to do here!”
Anna smiled at him. “Well, then I hope you’re having more luck with your next job! I gotta go, have a nice day!”
She left the shop and ran back to the car. As soon as she closed the door behind her she couldn’t hold back the laughter.

When she got back home she wanted to spread the good news. They were all sitting in the kitchen having sandwiches. Pauli was talking on the phone the others were listening to what he was saying.
“What’s that about?” she asked Scott.
“Dunno, still don’t speak finnish!”
Pauli hung up. “Alright guys, I gotta go to Helsinki for two days for some post-production.”
“What post-production?” Scott asked.
“I’m producing another band, we got to do some last production work so they can release their album. Does anyone want to come with me?”
“Sure, I’d love to meet my wife!” Eero said.
“I’m not gonna come, my head is stuck with so many ideas for new songs, I can’t take a break right now!” Lauri replied.
“Of course we want to come!” Scott said and looked at Anna.
Aki jumped on his feet. “Cool, I can show you around then!”
“I’m really sorry,” Anna answered sadly, “I’m having a phone date with my girls from New York tonight, we’ve planned that since weeks! And I’m also expecting a call by Dr. Kronen tomorrow. I really can’t come with you! But why don’t you go with the guys, Scott?”
Aki smiled sadly then he turned to Scott. “Hey, that’s great, I can show you some cool places!”
Anna remembered what had happened at the village and told them.
“That’s good news!” Eero said, “we should try to be seen at the city so they all think we are in Helsinki.”
On hour later they had packed their stuff into Anna’s car, Scott was sitting behind the steering wheel. Anna hugged them goodbye.
“Have lots of fun! And keep an eye on Scott, please!” she asked Pauli, Eero and Aki.
“Don’t worry, we will return him healthy and in one piece!” Eero promised. “But you gotta promise not to kill Lauri, we still need him as a singer!”
Anna grinned. “I’ll try my very best!”

Anna was sitting on the couch waiting for the phone to ring. She had opened a bottle of red wine, in front of her was a little present.
Her friends Susan and Michelle had sent it to her but she had to wait with opening it till they called her.
She heard Lauri playing guitar in the basement. He had been down there all day long so there hadn’t been any reasons to argue.
“Hope he just stays down there till the day after tomorrow!” she thought when the phone rang.
Anna was happy to hear the voices of her friends and finally she was allowed to unwrap the present. She ripped the paper off and found a cd. Her friends had made it especially for her, they had recorded all her favourite songs and even had designed a cover that showed the three girls together at a party.
“Oh. Sweethearts! That’s so cool! Thanks a million times!” She put the cd into the stereo and turned up the volume. “Alright girls, let’s get the party started!”
They talked for ages, Susan and Michelle told all the news from New York, Anna told them everything that had been going on in Finland. Of course they wanted to know all about Aki.
“So, do you love him?” Susan asked.
Anna thought about it for a while till she answered.
“Well, I don’t know, I mean I’ve never really been in love before so how do I know I am? I know that I really like him a lot and he makes me feel good and he treats me right.”
Michelle laughed. “Girl, to me that sounds like you’re just about to fall in love!”
“No, that’s not true! And after all, I’m gonna leave in a few weeks, I don’t need any broken hearts when I’m back in New York!”
“Sweety, sometimes you can’t control those feelings, and you definitely can’t control broken hearts!” Susan replied.
Anna sighed. She didn’t want to talk about it anymore cause she felt she had to clear things up for herself first. She wanted to change the topic and she knew what always worked with her friends.
“He’s pretty good in bed though!”
“Tell us every little detail!” the girls screamed on the other side of the world.
Half an hour later the girls were completely drunk, Anna just had opened a second bottle of red wine. She was dancing to her new cd and chatted with her friends.
“Girls, we have to do this again soon, this is almost like one of our girls night out! Though I guess it’s almost time to say bye, huh?”
“Yeah, it’s getting a bit expensive, I’m afraid.”
“Alright, have a great rest of the day, I miss you, call again soon!”
They said goodbye, Anna hung up the phone and let herself fell into an armchair.
Holy shit, didn’t realize I was that drunk, she thought. She took another sip straight out of the bottle. The next song was Milencollin’s version of “Israelites”. She loved that song! She jumped on her feet, turned the volume up and danced and jumped through the room.
Suddenly Lauri came in.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” he asked. Anna needed a while till she could stop moving cause not only she had been moving but also the room around her. Well, at least it seemed to her that way. Then she smiled.
“Lauri, my friennn, do you… do you… do you wanna drinnn some … wine?” Damn, pronouncing isn’t that easy anymore, she thought and wanted to pass him the bottle.
“Man, you’re drunk like shit!” Lauri shook his head.
“Noooo! I’m jusss friennnly! I promissssd to be ‘n nice girl!” she replied.
“Yeah, sure!”
“Commmon! Dance with me!” She pulled him with her.
“No! I don’t like dancing!”
“Pleeeeaaaase!” she begged.
“Girl, you can hardly walk, how do you want to dance?”
In that moment she stumbled and fell into his arms. He catched her and hold her in his arms.
“Seeeee, we can slow dannnce!” she said and lay her arms around him.
Her head was resting on Lauri’s shoulder. He could feel her breath on his neck. He hugged her a little tighter cause she was about to loose balance.
Damn, her body feels good, he thought and caressed her back softly.
Anna sighed.
“What the fuck is going on here?” he asked himself.
Suddenly she lifted her head and looked at him.
Then she mumbled “I feel sick!” and ran upstairs to her bathroom. He could hear her throwing up.
After a while Lauri followed her. She was sitting next to the toilet, her face all pale.
“Lil’ bit too much wine, huh?” he asked.
“Nah, don’t you know that being close to you makes me sick?” she asked sarcastically.
“Yep, there she is again, old Anna is back!” he thought and left.

Anna slammed the phone on the sofa. She felt heat and cold rushing through her body at the same time. She wanted to scream her anger out but she also was close to tears.
Dr. Kronen had just told her that she didn’t have a job anymore. Though he had promised that she could always come back to the hospital, that he would keep her job available, she now was officially unemployed.
It wasn’t Dr. Kronen’s fault and Anna knew this. The hospital was a public hospital, the city had to save some money and like always they cut off the money in places were it actually was needed. Her and ten other people’s jobs had just been rationalized.
Anna sank to the sofa. She had saved some money and could live a few month with out a job but she had really liked working at the hospital.
Every time Anna thought things were going great something bad happened.
“Fuckin’ shit!” she shouted. She felt the anger rise again.
Fuck these stupid politicians who always tried to save money at the wrong places. They probably were now buying weapons from that money to shoot some innocent Iraqi women and children!
Anna got up. If she had been in New York now she would have gone to the gym to relief her anger on a punching ball. The only thing she could do here was running.
On her way out she noticed her new cd lying at the kitchen table. A post-it was sticking to it.
“Scratched it. Sorry.”
Anna swallowed. “My cd! The one my friends made especially for me!” she mumbled.
“Lauriiiiiiiiiiiii!” she screamed.
No answer. She checked the whole house for him but he was gone.
“You can’t hide. Wait till I’m back and I will kill you!” she thought and left the house.
Anna ran through the wood. The ground was muddy due to the heavy raining the day before but she didn’t care. She ran along the path and was all stuck in her thoughts. From a distance she could see that the path and the small lawn next to the lake had turned into one huge puddle of mud. Just a narrow piece of grass between the muddy lawn and the overflowed trail.
She tried to balance over it.
Suddenly someone shouted “Don’t trip!”.
Anna startled, tottered, lost grip and fell straight into the dirt. When she got up she saw Lauri sitting on the rock laughing his ass off.
“This is priceless!” he gasped. “You should see your face!”
Anna took a pile of mud and threw it right into his face.
“Hey, you stupid bitch! That really hurt!” he shouted angrily and jumped off the rock.
“That’s why I did it!” she answered and threw another handful into his direction. It hit his shoulder.
If looks could kill I would die right now, he thought.
“You fuckin’ asshole broke my cd!” she yelled at him.
“So? I’ll bye you a new one!”
“You can’t buy that anywhere, idiot!”
Anna looked into Lauri’s face, it was like a red rag to her. She was so furious, her blood felt like it was boiling. She had the urgent feeling of beating him.
Before her fist could hit him Lauri grabbed her wrist and turned her arm on her back. Now he was standing behind her, without loosening her hand.
“Now calm the fuck down. I didn’t do it on purpose!” he hissed into her ear.
But Anna didn’t listen to him, her anger didn’t let her think clear. All she wanted was hurting him. She stretched her leg back and pulled one of Lauri’s legs away. They both fell into the mud.
He wanted to get back up but Anna tackled him to the ground. She jumped on him and tried to hit his face.
Lauri didn’t know what to do. It took all his strength to defend himself. They were rolling through the dirt, both were covered with mud.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” he shouted.
“You broke my cd, the one my friends from New York especially made for me!”
“I told you I’m sorry!”
“That doesn’t fix it! You are such a cocky asshole! I hate you!”
Finally he had managed so sit on top of her, pushing her hands to the ground so she couldn’t beat him anymore, their faces where close, both were breathing heavily. Anna tried to free herself.
“Fuck you!” she said.
“You wish!”
Anna looked at him. She felt the weight of his body on hers. Suddenly all her anger turned into sheer lust. She didn’t know why, she just knew she wanted him. Now.
“Yeah.” she answered.
Lauri stared at her. Did she really just say that? Her eyes had turned dark of desire. He felt his excitement. He loosened his grip, Anna pulled his head closer and kissed him. He kissed her back, his hands slipped under her shirt. Anna scratched his back with her fingernails.
Their kisses were rough, like their tongues were still fighting. Lauri squeezed her boobs. She moaned. This had nothing to do with the tenderness she usually loved and it was exactly what she needed now. She felt his hand between her legs and unbuttoned his pants. Then she felt him inside her, deep inside her. He moved his hips, slowly at first then faster, rougher. Anna felt the heat rising in her body and screamed silently. Lauri moaned, sunk on her breast and breathed heavily.
Neither of them said a word. Then he rolled off her.
They were both staring into the grey sky.
Suddenly Anna jumped on her feet and ran away. Lauri pulled his pants back up, sat on the rock and lit a cigarette.

What the fuck had just happened?
Lauri inhaled deeply the smoke of his cigarette.
It had been great, no doubt about that but it had left a bitter aftertaste. Aki had never said anything about Anna except that he liked her a lot but Lauri wasn’t blind. He knew his friend pretty well and he had realized during the last days that something was definitely going on between Aki and Anna. He could tell from the looks Aki gave her.
So why did he let this happen? Just for the relief of energy?
Lauri sighed and looked into the sky. He was ashamed to admit it but this had been the first time he had felt superior to Anna, stronger, not intimidated by her self-confidence. Had this just been a proof of power?
But it wasn’t like I did it against her will, he thought, actually she had started it! Lauri rested his head on his knees. He started to freeze but he didn’t want to go home yet.
At the same time Anna was standing under the shower and let hot water wash away the mud. She felt bad.
What had she just done? And why had she done it? Anna couldn’t explain it to herself. She had been so angry about loosing her job and finding the scratched cd, she had lost her mind somehow.
That explained why she wanted to beat Lauri up, but to have sex with him?
Anna sighed. She thought about Aki and felt even worse. They had never talked about love and like she had told her friends, she didn’t want to leave the country with a broken heart. But her friends had been right, she had thought about that earlier this day and she had realized that she liked Aki more than she had expected. Maybe she had done this to keep kind of a distance to Aki? To stop her heart from concentrating on him too much? She just didn’t know.
She left the shower and lay on her bed. Her cell phone beeped. Aki had sent a text message. “I miss you.”
Now she felt like shit.

There was one thing what both of them didn’t know. They had not been alone at the lake. The man got into his car and smiled satisfied. Actually he had just wanted to go for a last walk before driving back to the city but what he had seen was worth all the days of waiting.

The next morning Anna was sitting in the kitchen having a cup of coffee. She still felt bad.
“Can I have some of that coffee?” Lauri asked behind her.
She hadn’t seen him since yesterday. She nodded but tried not to look him into his face.
Lauri took a cup and sat down at the table. They didn’t talk for a long time just stared into their coffee. Then Lauri looked up to her.
“This is for you.” He gave her a cd. “I downloaded the songs from the internet. It’s the same that your friends made.”
Anna took it. She still couldn’t look him into the eyes.
After a while of silence he said “Why did you do that?”
Anna knew he was talking about what had happened at the lake. She looked up and tried to read his face.
“I don’t know.” She didn’t know what he was thinking. “Why didn’t you stop me?”
Lauri shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know.”
Anna stared back into her cup. “Do you think I should tell Aki?” she whispered.
“I don’t know.” He thought about it for a while. “Maybe not. I mean if you tell him you will feel better cause you said the truth. But he will be hurt and feel bad. This all didn’t mean anything, right?”
“So we should just forget about it. Aki doesn’t need to know.”
Anna thought about it. Telling the truth would just making her conscience stop telling her how mean she was but it wouldn’t make Aki feel better.

The others arrived around noon. Anna welcomed them at the door. Scott was all excited.
“Anna, we really have to go back to Helsinki! It’s such a great place!”
Anna laughed. “Calm down, Scotty! Why don’t you come in first and drop your stuff. You don’t need to tell me everything on the doorstep!”
They sat together in the living room drinking coffee and talking about the last days.
“We’ve all been to the opening party of a new club. Lots of press people have seen us there and took pictures. I’m pretty sure they think we are back to Helsinki again.” Eero said.
Scott jumped up and down on his arm chair.
“That club was so cool, we really need to go there, Anna!”
Pauli looked at Anna and Lauri.
“So did anything exciting happen here? I mean, you’re both alive, no severe injuries. Looks like you came along quite well!”
“We pretty much ignored each other,” Lauri answered.
Anna nodded. “Excuse me.”
She got up and went to the bathroom. She locked the door and leaned her head against it.
Her heart had make a little jump when she had seen Aki getting out of the car. Though she had a bad conscience she was happy to see him again. Anna had realized that she already liked him far too much. Her head told her to not meet Aki alone anymore, to end it so she could go back to New York without being lovesick. But her heart was screaming the exact opposite. She didn’t know what to do.
When Anna left the bathroom Aki was waiting next to the door. He smiled at her.
Anna looked into his eyes, he looked so happy. She smiled back.
“Is something wrong?” he asked.
Anna stopped breathing for a moment. “No, why?”
“You’ve been so… I don’t know… distant?”
“No, everything is fine!”
“Then give me a proper hug!” he smiled and took her into his arms.
Anna felt the warmth of his body and suddenly she couldn’t think of anything else except that she had missed him and that she was glad he was back.
The other guys had decided to move back to their house, so they spent the rest of the day packing and driving from one house to the other. When they were finally done, Eero hugged Anna.
“Thanks so much again for letting us stay at your place!”
Anna sighed “It’s gonna be quite lonely there without you guys!”
“You can come over when ever you want!”
Anna grinned. “Don’t say that out too loud! Could be possible you won’t get rid off Scott and me anymore!”
Anna and Scott drove back to their house.
“What’s going on between you and Aki?” he suddenly asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Hey, I might be stupid enough to take drugs but I’m not blind! And after all he was talking about you all the time when we were in Helsinki!”
Anna looked at Scott and smiled. “Really? What did he say?”
“That you were an annoying and ugly person! Nah, just kidding! Do you have a crush on him?”
“I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t want to. We’re leaving in a few weeks…”
“Forget it, sis! You can’t tell your heart what to do!”

“Aki! Could you please stop mentioning Anna in every third sentence you say?”
Aki looked at Lauri. “What? Am I doing that?”
Lauri sighed and nodded.
“You behave like that lovesick skunk from the Bugs Bunny cartoons! Thank god you don’t smell like it!”
Aki tried to kiss Lauri “Aaah, mon amouuuur! Giiive mee a kiiiss!”
Lauri punched him. “Fuckin’ stop it!”
Aki laughed.
“You’re exaggerating! I don’t talk about her all the time!”
“Alright, maybe not but at least you think about her all the time!” Lauri replied.
Aki sighed. “Possible. I behave like a dork, don’t I?”
Lauri pretended to think about it then he answered “Ehrm… yes! Can I ask you a question? Have you fallen in love with her?”
Aki sighed again and blushed. “I think so.”
Lauri laughed. “Holy fucking shit! I need to mark this day in my calendar! Aki Hakala has finally fallen in love!”
“Oh, shut up!” he answered. “I mean this is stupid, right? She leaves in a few weeks!”
Lauri looked at his friend. He seemed to be kind of sad. “All I know is that if I had finally found a girl I love I wouldn’t sit here with my friend playing stupid video games! Move your ass and go visit her!”
Aki got up. “Damn, you’re right! Thanks, buddy!”

Aki drove over to Anna’s house. Lauri was right. He shouldn’t waste any time of the few weeks he had left with Anna.
But was she feeling the same way? Before he had left to Helsinki he had almost been sure she did. But since he was back Anna acted somehow different.
Sometimes she seemed to be far away though she was sitting right next to him. Maybe she was fed up with him? But why would she spent time with him then anyway?
He wondered if he should tell her how he felt. But maybe that would scare her away?
He got out of the car and went to the door.
Or was she just waiting for him to say that?
He knocked.
What if she doesn’t love me at all and just likes to have sex with me?
The door opened, Anna smiled at him.
“I love you.” he suddenly said. In his imagination he hit his head against the wall. Great! That had been a very sensitive way to tell her his feelings!
Anna stared at him.
“I mean… I want to say… I think… somehow… I kind of… love you somehow…” he stuttered. Why didn’t she say anything? I knew it! I shouldn’t have said it! I’m such an…
Anna embraced him tightly and whispered “I love you, too.”
“Thank god, finally!” they heard Scott shouting from the back, “What the hell did take you two that long?!”

Anna watched Aki. He was sleeping next to her.
Yes, she was sure, she loved him. She was lucky but at the same time this thought scared her. Now it was too late, she had lost her heart to him. When she had to go back to New York, parts of it would stay here. And that would hurt like hell.
Maybe she could stay a while longer, she didn’t have a job anymore she had to return to. But she knew that this wasn’t Aki’s normal life as well, they’d soon go back to Helsinki, recording the new album and tour around the world. She would hardly see him.
She sighed. She didn’t want to think about that right now, she just wanted to enjoy the moment.
Then she thought about the incidence with Lauri. She still didn’t feel comfortable in his presence and tried to avoid him when ever she could. What had happened at the lake had just happened out of the situation. It didn’t mean a thing.
She still felt bad because of lying to Aki about this but she also was angry about herself. Why had she let it happen? And why did Lauri let it happen? Aki was his best friend and she had been sure Lauri knew what was going on between them, so why didn’t he just sent her away?
Maybe I was right from the beginning, she told herself, and Lauri is just an asshole. But I wasn’t any better, she added sadly.
Then she tried to push these thoughts out of her mind. Aki opened his eyes.
“Morning, sweetheart!” he smiled and kissed her.
“Morning, baby! What do you think about having breakfast in bed?” she asked.
“Great idea! Wait, I’ll go and get it!” He left the room.
After a while he shouted “There’s not much left! I’m gonna drive over to the shop quickly!”

A little bit later Lauri and Pauli were standing in their kitchen. Eero came in.
“Has anyone of you seen Aki yet? Looks like he didn’t spent the night here!”
Lauri grinned. “Well, I could tell you but… let’s say it has to do with a girl from another continent!”
In that very moment they heard a car stop in front of the house with squeaking tires. Pauli looked through the window.
“There he is!”
Aki came running to the house, slammed the door open and called Lauri.
“I’m in the kitchen!” he shouted back.
Aki opened the door, looked around, found Lauri. Then he came closer. With all his strength he hit his fist into Lauri’s face. Lauri fell straight to the floor.
“What the fuck?” He felt something thrown on his chest, then he heard Aki driving away.

Anna was waiting in the living room. Wonder what takes him so long, she asked herself.
Then she heard a knock on the door. She opened up and saw Aki standing there. She smiled.
“You’re back! I missed you!”
He just stared at her.
“What’s up?”
He didn’t say a word, just threw a newspaper in front of her feet. Then he turned around, went back to the car and left.
Anna was confused. What did that have to mean? She picked up the newspaper. It was a finnish magazine. She opened it and gasped for air.
She didn’t understand a word except for The Rasmus in the headline. But for what the pictures were telling she didn’t need to know any finnish words.
The page was split in two halves. On the left side were some pictures of Eero, Pauli and Aki at the opening party of that club in Helsinki.
The pictures on the right side showed her and Lauri. They were covered in mud but you could definitely recognize them. One picture showed them rolling around, the another one showed Lauri sitting on top of her, pushing her hands to the ground. But the third one showed them kissing heavily, one of Lauri’s hands was under her shirt.
Anna couldn’t move. She just stared at the pictures.
“What are you reading?” she heard Scott asking. He looked over her shoulder.
“Cool, that’s from that one club we went to but… holy fucking shit!”

“I’m afraid he doesn’t want to talk to you!” Eero said to Anna.
She nodded. “Did he talk to Lauri?”
“No, he has locked himself into his room yesterday and has hardly left it. Except for getting alcohol and food out of the kitchen,” he added and looked at her. “Can I ask you something?”
“Yes, go ahead.”
“Why did you do it?”
Anna sighed, then she told Eero everything about what had happened and about her feelings. Tears were running down her cheeks when she came to an end.
“And now I didn’t only loose my heart to Aki, but I also lost him as well! And besides that it’s my fault that Aki and Lauri are fighting!”
Eero hugged her. “Shhh, don’t cry. It’s all gonna be alright! I mean, just tell Aki the exact same thing you told me, he will understand it, he just needs some time! And about Lauri, he’s a grown up man, he’s responsible for his own actions, though he tends to think with the wrong body part sometimes! It’s not your fault that they are arguing. They will sort that out, they’ve been friends for so many years now, don’t worry!”
Anna blew her nose. “I really hope you’re right! I just wish he would talk to me or at least listen to me.” she said.
Eero looked at her. “Just give him some time.”
Anna nodded. “Ok. Thanks for listening, Eero.” She hugged him and left.
Aki was lying on his bed. His head hurt like hell.
Why do I always think drinking helps, he thought. He had drunk a lot yesterday, he had been so mad about Lauri and Anna, he just wanted to drown his anger in alcohol.
Now his feelings had changed. He was just sad. Why had Anna done this? Did she lie when she said she loved him? And what about Lauri? He was his friend, how could he even think about touching his girl? And then two days later he pretends to be the best friend who helps you figuring out that you love that girl!
Aki felt deep disappointment. Being betrayed by your best friend and the girl you love, great! Finally he had found the right woman and just after a moment of happiness it all turned into a nightmare.
Only one day ago he had felt like he had all the luck in the world and now he was lying on his bed, crying silent tears. And the worst thing was, he missed Anna like hell.

At the same time Anna was walking through the wood back to her house. In her mind she repeated over and over again the words she wanted to tell Aki if he gave her a chance to apologize.
All trapped in her thoughts she didn’t see Lauri coming towards her and almost ran against him.
“Watch where you’re going!” he told her.
Anna looked up and saw his black eye. If she hadn’t known the reason for why he had it, she would have started laughing.
As if Lauri could read her thoughts he looked at her angrily.
“Don’t even think about laughing!” he hissed.
“Hey, I just lost the man I loved so please leave me alone with your stupid comments.” she replied.
“What’s that about?” he asked, “are you blaming me now for being responsible for all that? I wasn’t the one who started it!”
“First of all, I didn’t say anything, ok? And second, don’t you pretend now that you’re just the innocent victim! I fuckin’ know that I screwed things up but I’m definitely not the only one here!”
“Oh, come on! Tell me one guy who would turn down an offer like that if he’s mud wresting with a woman!”
“Aki’s friend.” she replied.
Lauri looked at her with cold eyes.
“Just leave me the fuck alone!” he said and left.
“That’s so typically you, blaming everything on your d’ick!” she shouted after him, “why don’t you just use your fucking brain once!”
Anna sighed and went on. How could she had ever have sex with him, she asked herself.
“He’s still the same cocky asshole as before!”

Eero opened Aki’s door. He had found the general key and decided that two and a half days were enough for Aki to recover.
Aki was lying in his bed, staring against the wall.
Eero gasped for air. “Dude, when was the last time you’ve opened the windows? And what’s that nasty smell?”
Aki didn’t move, he just mumbled “Leave me alone!”
Eero went towards the bed and stumbled over an open can of tuna.
“Eew, found the nasty smell… Come on, you had enough time to cry and blame, now it’s time you hear the whole story!”
“Why do I need to hear the story, I already saw pictures of it.”
Eero sighed. “You should know by now that pictures don’t tell the real story, especially the ones in magazines!”
Aki looked at him. “Oh yeah? Then what were they doing? Did Anna drown in the mud and luckily Lauri tried to do CPR? Giving her mouth to mouth to save her life?” Aki laughed sadly. “I think the pictures showed enough.”
“Give them a chance to explain.” Eero replied. “I know they both feel real bad and they regret it!”
Aki sighed, “I know that I can clear things up with Lauri pretty soon but Anna… I don’t know what to think, on one had I miss her so much but then on the other hand I feel so insecure, I’m not even sure if she loves me.”
Eero smiled. “I know she loves you.”
He slapped Aki on the shoulder. “And now get up, take a shower and get rid of the food leftovers in this room. It smells like some dead animals are rotting under your bed!”

Anna was sitting in front of the tv, zapping through the channels. Most of the programs were finnish, so she didn’t understand anything but she wasn’t really watching anyway. She just tried to distract herself somehow. It didn’t really work, she thought about Aki most of the time.
Scott had tried to cheer her up but with not much success. Now he was at the guy’s house, practicing guitar with Pauli.
Lucky him, he’s at the same house then Aki, she thought.

Aki went downstairs to the rehearsal room. After lying in bed for a few days he really felt like playing drums to relief some energy. He heard someone playing.
Aki opened the door and saw Lauri behind the drum kit. He slammed the door.
“Great! First you take my girl and now my drums! What do you want next?”
Lauri stared at him but didn’t say a word. Aki stared back. The atmosphere was tense. Lauri slowly got up and took deep breath.
“Aki, please believe me, I’m really, really sorry! I didn’t mean to do that and I regret it from the bottom of my heart. I understand that you’re angry bout me, I know that I fucked things up. I just hope that we can still be friends.”
Aki looked at him with sad eyes and sighed.
“I know that you’re sorry, it’s just that I feel that I need a lot more time till I can trust you again. I just wanna know why you did it!”
Lauri stared to the ground and thought about it for a while.
“She tried to beat me up and I was defending myself and then… it happened just out of the situation… I mean, you know me! Rolling around in a puddle of mud with a beautiful girl, I just didn’t use my brain… I know that’s no excuse but…”
Lauri sighed and blushed a bit.
“I’m gonna tell you something right now and you have to promise to never ever tell that someone else! I feel like a whimp in Anna’s presence, she intimidates me, that’s why I don’t like her. And in that moment I felt like I had power over her. Now this really makes me look like an asshole, right? But I assure you, all that didn’t mean a thing to me! And to Anna neither. I know she loves you, you should give her a chance!”
Aki looked at Lauri for a while like he thought about what he just had heard.
“Alright, let’s try to behave normal again.” Then he grinned. “Nice black eye you’ve got there!”

Anna sat in her car in front of the guys house. She wanted to pick up Scott from his guitar lesson. She didn’t know whether she should just honk or if she should get out and knock at the door. Finally she decided to go over.
She stood in front of the door for a while, didn’t dare to knock.
Suddenly the door swung open. Anna looked into Aki’s face. They stared at each other.
“Ehrm, I’m here to pick up Scott” she said.
Aki looked like he was thinking about what to say, then he just said “I’ll get him.”
Before he could turn away, Anna took all her guts together.
“Aki! Please wait!”
He didn’t say anything but he didn’t leave either.
“Can I talk to you?”
He left the house and closed the door. Suddenly Anna couldn’t remember anything she had prepared to say before. Her heart was beating loudly, she wondered if Aki could hear it.
She took deep breath then she started talking. Anna told him everything that had happened and what she was feeling. She couldn’t hold her tears back, in the end she was just sobbing “Please forgive me!”
Aki looked at her.
She really looks awful, he thought, all pale, red eyes, like she hadn’t slept the last days.
That’s good, she deserves to suffer, his head told him but his heart was shouting with pity “Get the fuck over it, just take her into your arms!”
Anna stared to the ground then she looked at Aki but he didn’t say a thing.
She wiped her face, then turned around and whispered “Tell Scott I’ll wait in the car.” She walked away.
Suddenly Anna felt a hand on her shoulder.
“Don’t go!”

Aki turned her around and pushed her against the garage wall. He held her face between his hands and forced her to look into his eyes.
Anna was confused. His eyes were hard, his body was tense, he seemed to be surrounded by an aggressiveness she had never seen in him before.
Aki’s face was close to hers. “Promise you’ll never lie to me again!” he said with a cold voice.
Anna whispered “I promise” and tried to free herself out of his grip but Aki pressed her against the wall and kissed her roughly. His tongue forced her mouth open. Anna didn’t know what to think but that was definitely not what she wanted.
Suddenly she felt how his body relaxed. Aki stopped kissing, leaned his forehead against hers and sighed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do this,” he said sadly, “it’s just that… I don’t know, I was so angry when I saw the pictures of you and…”
“Sssshhhh,” Anna answered and kissed his lips softly, “it’s ok, just don’t do that again. And you’re not the one here who needs to apologize!”
Aki smiled at her. “Baby, it’s ok, you already apologized and I can feel you really mean it!”
“But I can understand if you can’t trust me…”
“Let’s just not talk about it anymore.” Aki grinned. “I know lots of better things we could do now than talking!”
Anna smiled at him and stroke gently over his cheek. “Gosh, I missed you so much!”
“I missed you, too” Aki replied, took her hand and led her back to the house.

The morning sun was shining through the window and reflected on Anna’s hair. She was sleeping peacefully.
Aki was lying on his side, his head leaned on one hand. He looked at Anna, watched her breathing. He felt lucky. The last days of anger, disappointment and sadness were forgotten. He was just happy to have her back.
They had spent an incredible night together, his skin still smelled like her. Aki sighed.
Wow, I really think I love her, he told himself. Though he tried to avoid unhappy thoughts, he couldn’t stop thinking about what would come next. The time to say good bye would come sooner or later.
Maybe I should ask her to stay? But how can I expect her to give up her life in New York? Why on earth did I fall in love with a girl that lives some thousand miles away?
He sighed again and tried to think of something else. He looked at Anna, a little smile was painted on her lips. He wanted to kiss her and leaned his head slowly towards her face. When he had almost reached her lips, she suddenly opened her eyes.
Anna screamed, hit her head against Aki’s and fell off the bed.
Aki crawled to the edge of the bed and looked down to the floor. Anna was lying there, rubbing her forehead.
“Honey, what are you doing down there?” he giggled.
“Don’t laugh!” she whined, “Imagine to see your face that close if you open up your eyes! That would scare everyone to death!” she teased him.
Aki threw a pillow at her.
“Oh, that’s sweet, just hit the one who’s already lying at the floor!” she complained.
Aki put on some clothes and looked at her. “Let’s go get some breakfast!”
“I’m too weak, you gotta carry me!”
“No problem!” He laughed, picked her up, hung her over his shoulder and walked towards the door.
Anna screamed and slapped his back.
“Wait, let me down, I need clothes!”
“Oh, I think the guys wouldn’t mind!”
“Let me down!”
Aki turned around and let her fall on the bed. Anna got dressed.
“Alright, now you can carry me again!” she smiled and kissed him. Aki picked her up, she put her arms around his shoulders, wrapped her legs around his hips.
It took them a while to reach the kitchen. Anna didn’t stop kissing him so Aki had some difficulties to see where he was going. Finally he stumbled through the kitchen door. Aki put her on the counter but their lips where still glued together.
“Ehrm…” they heard suddenly someone coughing behind them.
Anna opened her eyes and saw Eero, Pauli and Scott sitting at the table having coffee.
She blushed and mumbled “Morning!”
“Morning, Anna!” they shouted back and grinned.
Lauri entered the room. Aki felt Anna’s body stiffen up, he looked into her eyes, tried to read her face. She didn’t show any emotions, only her eyes were looking at Lauri with the usual despise she always showed towards him.
Aki was relieved, pulled her a bit closer and kissed her again.
“Oh, come on, why don’t you get a room, some people try to eat in here!” Lauri complained.
“Morning, asshole!” Anna answered and kissed Aki. “Morning, stupid cow!” Lauri replied.
Eero and Pauli laughed. “Looks like finally everything is back to normal!”

The days just flew by. How come time seems to go faster when you are happy, Anna asked herself.
Anna and Aki had been back together since almost two weeks now but it seemed like just a few days to her. They had spent every night together since then. Aki and the other guys were pretty busy with their music during the day.
They had started to record the demo. Though they didn’t have a proper studio, just a mixing console, some mics and Pauli’s computer, it all went pretty well. From what Aki was telling her it sounded like they had written some good stuff, they were all stoked to record the new album soon.
So Anna spent most of her time during the day with Scott. He was glad that his sister was finally happy. And he also enjoyed his time here. Anna thought he was doing great, he was much more relaxed and easy-going than he was before.
He put all his energy in learning how to play guitar. He almost played 24/7 and sometimes Anna was close to stealing his guitar and smashing it. She enjoyed the times when Scott was at the guys’ house to have lessons with Pauli. Then she mostly just sat on the couch and listened to the silence.
But at the moment he was practicing “House of the rising sun” next door.
Oh, please, it can’t be that hard to hit that one note, Anna thought after Scott had repeated the first part of the song for the twentieth time. She already started to make plans how to destroy his guitar and make it look like an accident when he stopped playing.
“Oh thank God!” she sighed. Well, at least he didn’t learn how to play the violin that would have been much more painful!
Scott entered the room and sat next to her.
“Oh, you’re already done with practicing?” she asked innocently.
“Yeah, ‘nuff for now. I’m going over to Pauli at four anyway. What’s for lunch?”
“Whatever you buy at the shop, honey!” she smiled, “it’s your turn to go shopping today!”
Scott sighed and got up. “Alright then, I’ll go.”
He took the car keys and left.
Anna looked outside the window. It was pretty sunny and she thought about going outside for a run.
Suddenly the phone rang. Anna picked it up.
“Hi Anna, this is Dr. Kronen speaking!”
“Oh, hi! How’re you doing!”
“I’m doing great. Listen, I gotta tell you something. I got a call from the New Hope Rehab centre in Jersey today and they have a vacant place to offer!”
Anna’s heart stopped beating for a second. She gasped for air.
“That’s… great!”
“Well, the thing is, Scott’s gotta be there on Monday, otherwise they’ll give it to someone else. Means you have six days left. Do you think you’ll be able to make it till Monday?”
Only six days, Anna thought, six days left with Aki. Her heart felt like it would explode any second. But wasn’t this the opportunity they had been waiting for all the time? Finally Scott would get some real help. I can’t think about myself now, Scott is more important.
“Dr. Kronen, thanks for calling! We will be there on time.”

Anna hung up the phone and took deep breath. Her body felt numb, she heard the blood rushing inside her head.
Why can’t I be happy for Scott, she thought, finally everything’s gonna be alright, gonna be back to normal.
She would go back to her friends, to her family who she had missed a lot since she was here. She should be happy, too.
The only thing she could think of was that she had to leave Aki. She knew she loved him. But was it worth giving up her life, her family and friends?
Again her heart and her head fought with each other. What if she stayed? Finland probably wasn’t waiting for an only English speaking nurse and what else could she do? She hardly knew anyone over here, didn’t speak their language. She just knew Aki and the other guys but she liked them and she loved Aki, so wasn’t that enough?
But what about Scott? She had promised to always be there for him. She had to go with him. To her head things were clear, leave the country and support Scott. Her heart was still struggling but she loved them both, Scott and Aki.
Anna sighed. She had made a decision and picked up the phone.
“Hi Aki. Can we meet at the lake in two hours?”

Scott came back from grocery shopping.
“What’s up? Are you feeling sick? You’re all pale!” he asked Anna who was sitting at the kitchen table.
“Come sit with me!” she replied.
Scott was confused. Why did she look so serious? He sat down.
“Did something happen?” He thought about it for a moment. “Is something wrong with Mom?”
“No, she’s fine. Relax, I gotta tell you something.”
Scott looked at her.
“Dr. Kronen got you into rehab. We’re gonna leave on Sunday.”
Silence filled the kitchen. They both didn’t speak for a while. Scott swallowed.
“That’s… good… I guess…”
Anna took his hand. “Of course that’s good! That’s what we’ve been waiting for all the time! Don’t you feel happy?”
He sighed. “Yes, sure I do. It just happens so quickly now. I really liked it here. And what about you?”
Anna smiled at him. “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.”
Scott realized the sadness in her eyes but he couldn’t say a word. Again his sister gave up things for him but he knew he couldn’t change her mind. He got up and put some pizzas into the oven.
They had lunch without talking much. Then Anna got up.
“I’m outside, going for a walk. See you later.”
“I probably won’t be here when you come back. Guitar lessons with Pauli, remember?”
“Sure, then see you tonight,” she replied and left the house.

Aki was already sitting on the rock when she reached the lake. She sat down close to him. They both looked onto the water and didn’t speak.
After a while Aki leaned his head against her shoulder and sighed.
“Know what I love about that? There’s even comfort in the silence when we’re together. No need for big words.”
He took her hand and kissed it.
“We’re leaving on Sunday.”
Aki looked up to Anna’s face. She was still watching the lake, a single tear ran down her cheek.
Anna told him what had happened.
“I love you but I have to go.”
Aki took deep breath. “Why don’t you let him go on his own?”
Anna leaned her forehead against her knees.
“I can’t,” she whispered, “I promised Scott I’ll be there for him if he needs me. And he needs me now.”
“But I need you, too!”
“I’m so sorry, Aki!”
He took her into his arms. “It’s ok, I can understand you. It’s just that I don’t want to let you go…”
Anna sobbed, why was he always so understanding?.
“What about coming back if Scott is doing better?” he asked.
Anna smiled “Of course I will come back and visit you!”
“No, I mean staying.”
Anna had hoped he would ask that question but why did she feel so insecure now?
“I don’t know. What about my folks back in New York? My life over there? I hardly know this country, I don’t even speak finnish!”
Aki smiled at her. “Hey, you don’t have to make a decision right know, I just wanted to let you know that I’d love to have you around every day!”
Anna wiped the tears away.
“I love you, too.”

Scott sat on the porch and smoked a cigarette. He was totally confused. Why wasn’t he happy? He’d finally get a chance to finish with his old life with all consequences. Being clean, starting a new life, a better life. Working in a proper job, maybe having his own little family one day.
He pictured himself showing his kids how to play guitar. A peaceful, neat, normal life.
Scott threw the cigarette away, grabbed his guitar and got into the car. He looked at the house. Gosh, how he loved this place! He’d had the best times of his life so far over here, he would miss it awfully.
Then he thought about the time back in New York. Not everything had been bad over there, even the drugs hadn’t been all bad! Like that one time, he and his friends had been completely stoned and decided to skinny dip in the water fountain at Central Park. They definitely scared some of the old people away who where feeding doves.
Scott laughed. Ok, they had been arrested in the end of the day but they’ve had a blast.
Suddenly there was this little voice in the back of his head again.
Drugs aren’t that bad. They are fun! I mean you don’t have to get addicted just because you have a little fun now and then!
Scott tried not to listen. He saw the band’s house coming closer. But maybe this voice was right?
No, it’s not, I don’t wanna be a junkie again! No drugs for the rest of my life!
The rest of your life, that sounds pretty long! How about just a little bit? Just for a last time? Just once.
Maybe just once, to prove myself that it’s not good for me?
One last time. That’s nothing bad, just a way to say good bye to your old life! Then you’ll be definitely ready for your new life.
Come on, only one last time!

Anna was doing the laundry.
“No washing powder left, damn!” she mumbled and went upstairs to the phone.
She called the guys. Eero picked up the phone.
“Hi, do you have some washing powder I can borrow?”
“Sure, just come along and get it.”
“Can you tell Scott to bring it if he’s done with his guitar lessons?”
“Alright, I’ll tell him. Anything else?!
“No, thanks, Eero. Bye!”
Anna went back to the basement and started separating the dirty clothes.
The phone rang again.
“Hi, it’s Pauli. I don’t know but Scott didn’t show up today. Eero just told me you thought he was with me.”
“What do you mean? He didn’t come over?”
“No, he was supposed to be here two hours ago. Do you think he had an accident or something?”
“I don’t know. Would you mind driving along the road and see if something happened?”
“Sure, I’ll come along afterwards.”
“Thanks, Pauli!”
Anna hung up and looked for her cell phone. What was going on here? She dialled Scott’s number.
“The number you have called is temporarily not available.”
Anna started worrying. She tried it again, walking up and down the room. Still no connection. She heard a car stopping in front of the house and ran outside.
Aki and Pauli came towards her.
“Did you see him?”
They shook their heads.
“Can we drive to the village and look for him and the car?”

They drove through the village. Anna tried to call Scott but his phone was still off.
“He probably did just meet some girls at the village and is having a good time now!” Pauli suggested.
Anna wasn’t sure. “I don’t know, he really admires you, he loves the guitar lessons. I think he would at least have called you to cancel the lesson!”
Aki lay his arms around her and thought about something.
Then he said “How did he react when you told him about rehab?”
Anna looked at him. “What do you mean? He was happy to hear it! Well, he was kinda sad cause of leaving soon but… do you think…”
“Maybe he got scared by the situation?”
Anna swallowed.
“Do you think he drove away… to get drugs?”
Pauli nodded. “Yeah, what if he somehow flipped out and now he’s looking for a last shot before going to rehab?”
Anna leaned her head against the window.
“Shit! We gotta find him! Where would you go to buy drugs?”
Aki and Pauli looked at each other.

They were on their way to the capitol. Eero and Pauli sat in the front, Aki, Anna and Lauri were squeezed onto the backseat. They hardly talked, Anna stared out of the window, watching the landscape fly by.
“How can we find him? It’s already getting dark! He could be everywhere, this city is too big!”
Aki pulled her closer.
“We’re gonna check certain spots first. I mean, Scott doesn’t really know where to buy drugs in Helsinki, so we first gotta look for him in places he would go to. Maybe the train station and some of the clubs we went to last time. Don’t worry, I promise, we’ll find him. He’s gonna be alright.”
“This is all my fault,” Anna sighed, “I’ve worked with enough junkies at the hospital, I should have been prepared for something like that! I shouldn’t have let him go!”
“Oh, shut the fuck up!” Lauri suddenly said, “you don’t carry the world’s problems on your shoulders! You’re not fuckin’ responsible for everything!”
Anna looked at him.
“You’re right, why the fuck should I care” she replied sarcastically with an icy voice, “he’s just my brother! You shut the fuck up! I promised my Mom to care for him, so I am fuckin’ responsible!”
“Shut up, both of you!” Eero shouted from the front before Lauri could answer.
“I’m not gonna say Lauri is right, Anna but he’s not all wrong either. You have every right to worry but stop blaming yourself! Sometimes things happen, you can’t predict them. Scott is responsible for himself, he’s living his own life. He needs to make his own decisions. You can’t do that for him.”
Anna sighed. “I know, I’m sorry.”
When they reached the city, all of them started looking for Scott’s car. Eero slowly drove through the streets.
“Stop!” Pauli suddenly shouted. “I think I see it! Over there!”
They got out and checked the car.
“Yeah, that’s it! Great, his phone is lying inside!” Anna said.
“We’re pretty close to the central train station. We should separate and start looking for him. Ask the people if they’ve talked to an American. It’s not really the season for tourists so maybe someone remembers him. Aki and Pauli, you go that way with Anna, Lauri and I walk down here. Call us if you found out anything!”

They had been walking through the dark streets for over an hour, still no sign of Scott. They looked into every dark corner or house entrance, checked public bathrooms, went into pubs and asked people.
In her mind Anna started to see pictures of him, lying somewhere on a dirty floor. She felt miserable, she knew something was going terribly wrong, she could feel it. And it felt really bad.
Suddenly Aki’s phone rang.
“They found him!”

Aki grabbed Anna’s hand and started running.
“What’s up? What did he say?” she asked and tried to follow him without stumbling.
“I don’t know, he just said hurry up. He didn’t sound too good though!”
Anna didn’t know how long they were running, she couldn’t say where they were going and hardly realized the rain that was hitting her face.
She knew something had happened. She felt coldness creeping through her bones.
Suddenly they turned left and entered a bar. Anna felt like running against a wall out of heat and smoke. Aki pulled her through the crowd and pushed a door open.
Anna felt like she was floating. All sounds seemed to be far away. She didn’t know where she was and looked around. The walls and floor were covered with white tiles, she saw some sinks and a huge mirror.
People were kneeling at the floor. They were talking but she didn’t understand a word.
Why are these guys sitting there, she asked herself.
Oh look, there’s Eero and he’s kissing that guy who’s lying on the floor. I wonder if his wife knows about that?
No, wait, he’s not really kissing him. What is going on here?
Anna heard a female voice crying and screaming.
Poor girl, she thought. That sound was heart-tearing. She somehow knew this voice but she couldn’t tell who it was.
“Anna!” Someone was shaking her shoulder. “Anna!”
Like being thrown into ice cold water, she suddenly was pulled back into reality. The girl she had heard crying was herself. Scott was lying on the floor and didn’t move.
They say that a person who has passed away looks peaceful. But that’s not true. Scott looked just dead, like someone had blown out the flame that used to burn in his soul.
Anna couldn’t breathe. “I’m sorry” she heard Aki whispering next to her.
She wanted to say something but no sound left her mouth. The world started spinning around her, everything turned into blurry colours. She felt her knees weaken and hit the ground.

Anna opened her eyes. She was lying in a bed.
Where was she?
It was a small apartment, just one room that was kitchen, living room and bedroom at once, right next to the bed was the bathroom door. A drum kit was standing in a corner, so maybe that was Aki’s place?
But why did they come here? And why was Aki sitting in an armchair next to the bed sleeping?
Suddenly her memory came back. Scott was dead.
Her stomach cramped, she jumped up and ran to the bathroom. She felt dizzy, retched but couldn’t throw up. Her body was shaking, she leaned her hot face against the cool wall and cried.
Maybe this was just a bad dream? No, that indescribable emptiness in her heart told her she wasn’t dreaming.
She just sat there crying till Aki carried her back to bed. He didn’t say anything, he held her in his arms and stroke softly over her back.
After a while Anna looked up to him. “Can you tell me what happened?”
“Eero and Lauri found him in that restroom. The needle still stuck in his arm. It was too late. He had stopped breathing when they got there and Eero tried to reanimate him. The doctor said that Eero had done everything right, nobody could have helped Scott anymore. You fainted. They said it was the shock. We brought you here, they gave me some pills for you if you need any?”
Anna shook her head.
“Where is Scott now?”
“They took him to the morgue.”
Anna sighed. “I need to organise things, I have to pack, I need to find a crematory, I have to call Dr. Kronen, I have to clean the house, I have to call mom, I …” she collapsed in tears and sobbed hysterically.
Aki held her shaking body.
“Sssshhhh, it’s ok. You have enough time for all that. You should get a bit of sleep first.”
“No, I can’t sleep anyway,” she said and got of the bed.
Her legs didn’t carry her weight, Aki caught her.
“No, you gonna take one of these pills now. You need some sleep.”
He pushed her softly into the pillows and covered her with a blanket. Few minutes after swallowing the medicine she drifted away into a deep and dreamless sleep.
Aki watched her. He felt helpless, he had never lost a loved person before, he didn’t know what to do. He lay down next to her and wiped the tears of her face.

Anna had been sleeping for over a day now. The other guys had come along to see how she was doing but she just slept and slept.
Aki didn’t dare to sleep himself, he was afraid something could happen to her. He even called the doctor to ask if this was normal.
“That’s a typical reaction, sometimes they refuse to wake up so they don’t have to face reality.”
“Does that mean she might not wake up again?”
The doctor laughed. “No, don’t worry, it usually takes one or two days.”
Aki was scared. What if he was wrong and Anna would never wake up again? No, that man is a professional, he knows what he’s talking about, he told himself.
He sat in the armchair next to the bed and watched her. Her body moved slowly up and down, she was breathing steadily. But her face had a sad expression even while sleeping. Aki’s eyelids became heavier till he finally fell asleep as well.

Aki jumped out of the chair. The bed was empty. Then he saw Anna standing on the balcony talking into the phone. She had obviously taken a shower, her hair was still wet, she was wearing some of his clothes. He couldn’t hear what she was saying.
He went over to the kitchen to make some tea. A few minutes later Anna came back inside and sat on the bed. She looked sad but calm.
“I just told my mother,” she said.
Aki sat next to her and took her hand.
“I told Dr. Kronen to be at her house when I call so she didn’t have to be alone when she heard the news. She’s really down. I need to hurry up and go back to New York.”
Aki wanted to hug her but she got up and walked around.
“Can you help me finding the phone number of the morgue and of a crematory? His body has to be burned, it’s easier to take his ashes back to the States. I’ll probably have to call the American Embassy as well.”
Aki was surprised. It almost seemed like she had avoided his hugs.
“Sure, give me a few minutes to find clean clothes then we can go to all of these places.”
“Oh, that’s ok, Eero has called bout an hour ago and he’s offered to come with me.”
Aki looked at her questioning.
“But of course you can come, too,” she added quickly.

They had been driving around the city to organize things during the last two days.
Aki was very surprised. Anna behaved completely different. No big signs of sadness or grief, she acted almost like nothing had happened. Like she just had to do a job. She avoided any kind of body contact.
Aki didn’t know what do think nor what to do, he felt ignored and left out. Maybe she was just trying to avoid all kind of feelings so the sadness couldn’t affect her but he felt like he was loosing her.
No matter what he was doing or saying, it didn’t seem to reach her. Though she slept in his bed there was always a big gap between them.
Tomorrow morning they all wanted to drive back to the village.
Anna was lying in bed. She couldn’t sleep. She heard Aki breathing next to her. She knew he was confused about how she was acting. But she just wasn’t able to show feelings. She was scared that if she once started with it the bad feelings would overtake and she knew she couldn’t stand that anymore. It was easier to forbid her heart to feel anything at all. She was sorry for Aki but she didn’t dare to change her strategy.

“I don’t know what to do!” Aki said and looked into the review mirror.
Anna was driving alone behind their car.
“No matter what I do or what I offer, she doesn’t care. Like there had nothing ever been between us!”
Eero lay his hand on Aki’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, just give her some time.”
“But that’s the one thing we don’t have! She leaves in three days!” Aki replied angrily.
Eero looked at him. “Hey, don’t take it personal! I’m pretty sure she’s not doing this on purpose. This is probably just her way to deal with Scott’s death.”
“No, it feels like I’m loosing her, “Aki sighed sadly.
“Don’t give up,” Pauli said from the back, “even if she flies to New York in three days doesn’t mean you’ll never see her again.”

Anna saw the guys parking in front of their house. She waved at them and drove on to her house. She unlocked the door.
It was a weird feeling to be back. Though only one person was missing, the house seemed empty.
Anna sighed, she had lots of work to do. The house needed to be cleaned and she had to pack all of her stuff together. She worked the whole day and fell exhausted into her bed.

Anna woke up around noon. She didn’t want to get up cause there was still one thing to do. She had to clean Scott’s room. Since she was back she hadn’t dared to walk into it.
Anna got dressed and went to his door. She took deep breath and entered.
Everything looked like Scott would come back any minute. She swallowed and pulled his suitcase off the wardrobe. Slowly she started to pack his clothes.
She tried to hold her tears back.
His Yankees – shirt, that is his favourite, she thought and pressed her face into it. It smelled like Scott. Anna started crying.
Why did he have to go? Why didn’t he stay strong? And again, why had she just let him slip through her hands? She had been there for him all the time and still hadn’t been able to save him.
Her heart hurt like hell, like someone would stab a burning sword through her chest.
How could she go back to her mother? She had promised her to look after Scott, how could she ever face her mom again? This was all her fault.
“You screw up everything you do!” a voice was screaming inside her head. “You don’t deserve to live, you should have been the one who dies, not Scott!”
Suddenly she saw the skeleton-like Scott she had once dreamed of standing in the corner.
Anna ran to the bathroom and threw cold water into her face. Then she saw the pills the doctor had given to her in Helsinki lying on the sink.
Maybe this voice is right, she thought. She took the pills and went through the house. In the kitchen she took a bottle of vodka out of the refrigerator. She put everything into her backpack, took a jacket and left the house. She did all that automatically, like she was under a spell.
Anna walked through the woods, she didn’t know where she was going, she just went straight.
Then she reached a small clearing, sat down under an old tree. She heard some birds singing, the floor was a bit wet but she didn’t care.
She stared on the bottle and the pills that were lying in front of her. Her chest was burning, she cried loudly. Her whole body was shaking.
Why did it hurt so much? She couldn’t stand it anymore. Just one step further and she would be redeemed from this pain. She would be free.
She took the pills and tried to open the box with trembling hands.
“What the fuck are you doing here?”

Anna looked up. “Leave me the fuck alone, Lauri!”
“Why do you sit in the middle of the forest to get drunk?” he asked.
Then he saw the pills.
“Are you fuckin’ nuts?” he shouted and tried to take them away.
“This is none of your business! Let me go!”
Lauri finally managed to rip the pill box out of Anna’s hand and threw them into some bushes. He looked at her angrily.
“What do you think you are doing here? And give me that bottle!”
He took a big gulp out of the bottle and sat down next to her.
“Did you really want to take these pills?”
Anna didn’t answer, she just leaned her forehead against her knees.
“You are so stupid!” he went on, “as if that was the solution for everything. That’s the stupidest and most selfish idea you ever had!”
Anna turned her head towards Lauri.
“Thanks, that’s exactly what I need now, an annoying dwarf sitting next to me, insulting me and drinking my vodka!”
She took the bottle and drank. The liquid burned in her throat but at least it somehow heated up her cold body.
“I totally screwed up, like always. Where’s the point in living on? I can’t stand that pain anymore.” She drank more vodka and gave the bottle to Lauri.
“Oh shut the fuck up! Don’t you care about anyone else except for yourself?” He took a sip. “If you’re feeling pain now, what do you think will all the other people feel when you kill yourself? They need you, you can’t just go.”
Anna took the bottle and snorted contemptuous.
“As if someone really needs me!”
“Are you really that stupid? Wake the fuck up! What about your mom? Your friends in New York? And you know Aki needs you! Even I would be kind of sad if you leave, I mean with whom can I argue then?”
He grinned.
Tears ran down Anna’s cheeks but she smiled a bit.
They didn’t speak for a while, just passed the bottle.
“Do you believe in life after death?” suddenly Anna asked.
Lauri shook his head.
“No. At least not like they say in the bible.” He thought about it for a while, staring at the half empty bottle.
“You know, when my friend died I always wished that there is something like heaven and that he’s watching me now and guards me. But I just can’t believe in all that church stuff. My friend is still living on. He’s in my heart, I will never forget him. Scott will always be with you if you keep his memory. He lives on in the hearts of everyone who knew him.”
He drank some vodka and passed the bottle on. Anna sighed, leaned her head against the tree trunk and looked up to the sky.
“I know. But still it feels like my heart is bursting any second. It just hurts so much.” She started to cry again. “I can’t stand this anymore. Will this pain ever stop?”
Lauri leaned his head against the trunk, too. “I don’t know. You can’t escape the pain or the fact that you miss him like hell. You have to learn to live with it, then the pain will become a tiny bit bearable every day. To deal with death means to deal with life.”
Anna thought about his words. She shivered.
“Come on, let’s go home.” Lauri said and pulled her up.
The bottle was almost empty, they were both pretty drunk.
It took them a while till they reached the house cause they had difficulties walking properly. They stumbled through the door.
“Maybe you should call someone to pick you up,” Anna suggested, “I’m gonna make some coffee.”
When she came back with two filled cups Lauri was just hanging up the phone.
“They are still recording. It’s gonna take another hour.”
Anna wanted to hand him a cup when she lost balance. She tried not to fall and grabbed Lauri’s arm but he was too drunk himself to stand straight. They landed on the floor.
Somehow Anna had managed to spread coffee all over Lauri but to stay clean herself. His shirt was soaking wet. She looked at him and burst into laughter. He made a funny face and wiped some coffee out of his eyes. Anna giggled.
“Oh shit… I’m really… sorry!”
They helped each other up again, still laughing Anna pulled on Lauri’s shirt.
“Come on, take it off, you can hang it over the heater to dry.”
He let her pull the shirt over his head.
“Thanks,” he said and hugged her.
She hugged him back. They stood there like that for a while. Anna felt the warmth of his body through her clothes.
This was the first time she let someone touch her for more than a few seconds since Scott had died. It felt so good, she didn’t want to let go. As if her body had hungered for affection during the last days.
She pulled him tighter and ran her fingers down his spine. She felt his breath on her neck, it made her shiver. She softly kissed his shoulder. Anna felt how his hands stroke through her hair then he pulled her head back and looked into her eyes.
Suddenly they both backed up at the same time.
“Sorry,” she said, “I can’t do that.”
Lauri nodded. “Aki,” he replied.
“I love him,” she sighed.
“I know,” he answered and smiled.
Anna smiled back.
“Friends!” she nodded. “Let’s see if we can find a clean shirt for you!”
They went into Scott’s room. Anna picked a shirt out of the wardrobe and gave it to Lauri.
“Here, try this.” While he put it on she took the Yankees-shirt into her hands and sat down on the bed. She sighed.
“That’s his favourite shirt,” she said sadly. Lauri sat next to her.
“He was a baseball fan?”
Anna nodded.
“Tell me more about that.”
So Anna began to tell him how they used to go see the Yankees play since Scott had been a little boy.

Aki got out of the car. Lauri had called him to pick him up over an hour ago. He was wondering why Lauri had been at Anna’s place but he hoped Lauri had talked to her. Aki knew that Lauri had lost a friend to drugs a few years ago, too, so maybe he had been able to help her or reach her somehow.
He felt bad. Anna was leaving tomorrow but things were still weird between them. He missed her so much.
The door was open but he couldn’t find the others.
Aki took a beer out of the refrigerator and walked through the house. Then he saw them.
Anna and Lauri were lying on Scott’s bed. Her head was resting on his chest. They were sleeping.
Aki felt a little sting in his heart.
At least they are both dressed, he thought and sat down on a chair next to the bed.
He opened the beer bottle and watched them. Though he remembered what had happened between Anna and Lauri at the lake he was kind of glad to see that his girlfriend and his best friend finally seemed to get along on a friendly basis.
If she’s still my girl, he added sadly. Why had she turned away from him during the last days? He still couldn’t understand it. Shouldn’t he be the one to comfort her and be there for her? At least Anna’s face looked relaxed, the cool and hard expression it had shown since Anna had woken up after Scott’s death had disappeared.
Aki couldn’t tell how long he had been sitting there watching them. The sun had already begun to go down. An orange light filled the room.
Anna woke up.
“Aki!” she whispered.
He went over and sat next to her. She looked into his eyes, pulled his head closer and leaned her forehead against his.
“I’m so sorry,” she sighed, “I wasn’t myself during the last days. I love you.”
As an answer he kissed her. He embraced her tightly, it felt good to have her back.
Anna kissed him passionately. The feelings overwhelmed her, she wanted him here and now. They ripped each other’s clothes off, their hands were all over each other’s bodies.
Lauri woke up, he could still feel the alcohol in his blood. Then he saw the two moving bodies next to him.
The gleaming light of the sunset created an unreal atmosphere. He followed their movements with his eyes and listened to their heavy breathing. He felt weird but couldn’t turn his eyes away.
Anna and Aki had realized that he was watching them but they didn’t seem to feel disturbed.
Suddenly Anna looked him straight into his eyes while Aki licked her neck.
Lauri blushed but couldn’t move.
Aki whispered something into her ear. They grinned at each other then they turned towards Lauri.
He was confused, has this been an invitation?
Aki looked at him questioning. Lauri smiled and shook his head.
He got up, walked over to the living room and lay down on the couch.
He felt his excitement, he wanted Anna but not like that. He didn’t want to share.
He turned the TV on to drown out the sounds that were coming from next door.

Aki woke up. The bed was empty. He looked outside the window, the sun was shining again. He jumped up and looked for a watch. 8 a.m.
Wasn’t Anna’s plane supposed to leave at ten? He put his pants on and went through the house.
Lauri was sleeping on the couch. He went to Anna’s room.
Her bags were gone.
Aki took deep breath. Did this mean she had left without waking him up? He went to the kitchen and found a letter lying on the table. He sat down and opened it with shaking hands.

“Dear Aki,
Please don’t be mad at me but I didn’t dare to wake you up. I hate saying good bye so I thought this would be easier for us. I was afraid that if I look into your eyes one more time I wouldn’t be able to leave. But I have to go, I’m sorry.
I love you and will never forget you!
PS: Can you do me a favour? Please throw away all of Scott’s stuff, I don’t need it anymore. And can you lock the house afterwards? The key belongs underneath the white stone next to the entrance.
Tell Eero, Pauli and Lauri I say bye and thanks for everything.”

Aki hit his head against the table. Anna was gone.

Anna sat on a bench at Battery Park and looked at the sea. She could see the tiny Statue of Liberty at the horizon. Though the leaves had started to fall off the trees it wasn’t cold yet. Anna closed her eyes and let the autumn sun warm her face.
She came here a lot. Two weeks ago Anna and her mom had stood at the same place. It had been a full moon night. They had strayed Scott’s ashes into the sea. It flew away with a soft wind that was blowing. Finally he had been set free.
Anna laughed while thinking about it. Though it had been a touching moment, it had been funny at the same time. They didn’t know if they were allowed to empty an urn where ever they wanted so they did it at night. Her mom had been nervous all the time, she had never ever done anything illegal and she was afraid of being busted by the police. Anna had made fun of her offering black clothes and a skiing mask.
Scott would have loved to see his mother sneaking around the park by night!
Anna sighed. Lauri had been right. With every new day she faced life, the pain became more bearable.
She wondered what the guys were doing right now. She had hoped Aki would call her but she never heard a single word from any of them. And she didn’t dare to call herself cause she knew it had been cowardly by her to leave without saying good bye.
She had been sitting next to sleeping Aki on that last morning and had watched him for more than an hour. But she didn’t dare to wake him up.
Anna knew this had been unfair towards Aki and she felt really bad. She missed him everyday.
There wasn’t much going on in her life right now. She was still looking for a new job. Her mother dealt better with Scott’s death than Anna had expected and she was glad about that.
Suddenly someone sat next to her and took her hand.
Anna didn’t have to look over, she knew it was him. They didn’t talk for a while.
“The guys say hi,” Aki said.
Anna leaned her head against his shoulder.
“Thanks.” She took deep breath. “Why didn’t you call?” she asked.
Aki looked at the sea. “I had to think about some things. About you. And me.”
Anna looked at him. “So did you come to a conclusion?”
He smiled and lay his arm around her shoulders.
“And what is it?” she asked impatiently.
“Do you really wanna know?” he teased her.
Anna laughed and slapped his knee.
Aki smiled at her. “We have to play that game once more!”
Anna was confused. “Excuse me?”
Aki grinned. “Truth or dare?”
Anna stared at him. “What?”
Aki laughed. “Come on, choose. Truth or dare?”
Anna thought about it for a moment then she replied.
“Pack your stuff together and come with me to Helsinki.”
Anna looked into his eyes. Was he really meaning this? And could she leave New York? What would her mother say? And her friends? And what about leaning finnish, finding a job.
Oh fuck it! She laughed. What the hell did she have to loose?
“Alright,” she said, pulled his head closer and kissed his lips. “I’ll come with you!”


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