Lyra and Amara came over my house over the next few days to study or pick out our dresses for graduation, which was in three days. I never answered the door, Granny just told them I was busy with stuff and now I’m not going to have time for friends. That made me even more mad at her. But I couldn’t do anything about that, I just locked myself in my room and cried or I was passed out from crying.
I skipped school the next few days. I really shouldn’t have done that, the guilt of missing so many classes was another thing aching in my chest but it was okay because Lyra, Tristan, Amara and Lewis showed up at my house and they didn’t bother to listen to Granny when she started talking about how I was busy and under pressure. They pushed past my grandmother and rushed up to my room. I could hear their footsteps as they climbed the stairs and I could also hear Granny shouting at them because they bought their dirty shoes inside the house.
I covered myself with blankets and pretended to be asleep the minute they burst through my doors.
“Belle, wake up” Tristan demanded.
“Oh, don’t be fooled” Lyra sounded irritated. “She’s not even asleep” she added.
“Belle, get out of bed” Amara almost yelled.
“Do you guys always wake into people’s homes like this?” Lewis questioned.
“Shut up” Lyra told.
“Belle, why didn’t you come to school today?” Tristan asked gently.
“She’s busy with her new life now” Lyra said.
That hurt. “What is that supposed to mean?” I yelled from under the covers.
“Annabelle....” my real name sounded weird in her mouth. She continued “I can understand how hard it is....being...you...but you can’t shut yourself out” She said that with disgust.
“Yes I can” I insisted “What do you think I’m doing now?”
“Being self absorbed” Lyra muttered. That made me get up.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“Belle, I’m sorry if this sounds rude but for the past few months all we have ever done is talk about you” she admitted.
“Lyra” Amara elbowed her.
“It’s getting hot in here” Lewis muttered.
“Not helping” Tristan said.
“And all you do is get mad at us for what happens to you. I mean, for stars’ sake can you at least try to live a normal life and pretend that your not crazy?” Lyra added.
“I do try” I started “But it never works and I didn’t ask you to help me it’s something that you offered to do”
“I did help” Lyra said.
“And I shut myself out because I didn’t want to bother you guys anymore and I knew you would get tired of me” I breathed it all out.
“What are you guys doing up there?” Granny shouted from downstairs.
“Nothing Mrs. Virgo” Lewis yelled back.
“Close the door” I said and Lewis did.
“This is a bad time to ask but, when are you getting married?” Lewis asked. I threw a pillow at him and Amara punched him for me.
“Lyra, can I ask you something?” I said.
“You just did” Lewis pointed out.
“Can someone slap him for me?” I asked.
“I volunteer” Amara offered raising her hand.
“No” Lewis groaned. Amara slapped him on the back.
“You were saying?” Lyra said.
“Do you like Prince Alec?”
Lyra’s angry face washed away and she rolled her eyes in annoyance, ”
“No, I don’t know. Tell me” I tapped the edge of my bed and Lyra sat down.
“He’s a prince, he probably has a million other girls on his mind” Lyra said. Everyone laughed at that except me. I felt my insides turning. I remained silent until Lyra realized what she said and looked at me apologetically.
“Belle...that’s not what I meant” Lyra apologized.
“I know” I grinned. “Even if he does...I’ll straighten him out”
“You sure will” Lyra cheered.
“I wanna do something fun with you guys” Amara blurted.
“What?” Tristan said.
“This coming from you?” that was Lewis.
“Oh, don’t sound so surprised” Amara shot back. “I’m a fun person” she added quickly, that made us laugh except for Lyra she just smiled.
“Yeah, your idea of fun is playing basketball and other sports outside all day” Lyra pointed out.
“Hey! Basketball is fun” Tristan defended.
“Yeah” Lewis agreed.
“Sure they are, if you have nothing better to do” Lyra said.
“Belle, me and Lyra are going shopping for dresses and you are coming with us” Amara demanded.
I didn’t say anything. Lyra didn’t meet my eyes but Tristan spoke up “Are you asking her or telling?”
“If she says yes then I’m asking and if she says no then I’m telling” Amara joked but something told me she was serious.
“Okay, I’ll go” I agreed.
Amara smiled and now it was Lewis who broke up the remaining tension in the room.
“If I remember, Tristan wanted to speak with Belle alone so if you don’t mind.....” he said “let’s clear the room”
Lyra was the first to get up. She is definitely still mad at me, I thought. Amara gave me a smile and left. I rolled out of bed and Tristan sat cross legged on the floor.
“What did you want to talk about?” I asked.
“This is a good time to tell you that I came by your house a few times in the past week and your grandmother told me a lot of things about how we need to stay away from you and your going to move away and if I associate with you people are going to question your commitment to the prince” he mentioned. I couldn’t believe what I just heard.
“Granny told you what?” I shrieked.
“Calm down” Tristan said “She’s right”
“Tristan, how can you even say that?”
“Well, it’s true” he breathed.
“You’re gonna move to the palace and your busy with wedding stuff and I don’t think you can go to college with us anymore” Tristan’s voice was wobbly. I haven’t seen him cry since we were twelve years old.
“Can you keep a secret?” I sighed.
“Don’t I always keep your secrets?” Tristan reminded.
Then I told him everything about what happened yesterday at the palace. How the king heard me talking to Dad.
“Your Dad must be in trouble for that” Tristan said.
“Hopefully not too much trouble”
“Anyway, I was reading the newspaper last night and the King accused.....”
“Why’d you stop?”
“I shouldn’t say” he hesitated.
“Spit it out” I demanded.
“You can read it yourself” Tristan said lifting off the floor. “I have to go” he said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I don’t want to be here when you read the article and get angry” he answered.
When he swung the door open Lewis fell on Tristan’s feet.
“Lewis!” Tristan yelped.
“Were you eavesdropping?” I demanded.
“Technically, I wasn’t eavesdropping. You two aren’t the quietest people and we could have heard every word you were saying from the kitchen” Lewis told.
Amara who was sitting on the couch outside my room along with Lyra said “Yes, he was eavesdropping on you”
Amara went back to her book, actually she never looked up.
“Oh, you couldn’t hear them because you’re always stuck in your books” Lewis accused.
“We should get going” Lyra suggested. She didn’t look at me.