On the day of Jason's party, I walked to Lizzy's house to meet Gina and Lizzy so we could get ready and go together. Cory had offered to take all three of us and I was touched by the gesture. He hadn't met Lizzy and Gina properly yet and so I was hoping that it wouldn't be too awkward and silent with all four of us in the car.
I wasn't exactly looking forward to the night and I couldn't help but wonder if it was a mistake overcomplicating things with ridiculous plans. After all, our plans always tended to go more wrong than right and the last thing I wanted was to be humiliated in such a social situation.
I let my mind wander as my sneakers took me past picture perfect houses lined so neatly in straight rows on either side of the wide road. It was almost impossible to believe that there could be anything askew in the lives of the people living there. It made me consider my own life lately and the recurring complications that seemed to pop up unbelievably frequently.
I let out a breath and took in the scenery; images of thin trees reaching up into a grey, unforgiving sky like dusty needles dabbed with blood orange leaves. It was funny how the world seemed so perfect sometimes. I could almost lose myself in the sweet scenery of it all.
I sighed and rubbed my eyes tiredly, overcome with a heavy fatigue that had nothing to do with lack of sleep.
It was a good thing that I had told Raith to leave me alone. At least that's what I kept telling myself. If he wanted to act like a dick then I'm better off without him.
Feeling more focussed and less like someone lost in the middle of some unfathomable ocean, I picked up my pace and arrived in front of Lizzy's formidable white marble house in less than five minutes.
As I rang the doorbell and waited while the deep chimes echoed through the manor, I glanced around the petite front garden that had always marvelled me with its beauty. I was sure the Connifer's had a gardener and probably an army of servants hidden somewhere. Even though I had never seen a maid or cook anywhere in the household, there was no way Paul or Lizzy could manage the upkeep of the house by themselves.
A moment later, the huge wooden door opened and Lizzy was throwing her arms around me and shrieking in my ear.
"Tegan! Yay you're finally here!"
"Not so loud." I groaned, pushing her off me as gently as I could.
Lizzy lead me into her house and past the massive stone Greek statue just as Paul was coming down the stairs looking like hell.
"What happened to you?" I asked as we approached him.
Paul grumbled something that sounded like 'cat' and stomped past us into the kitchen.
I looked at Lizzy with raised eyebrows and the blonde let out a melodramatic sigh, fake eyelashes fluttering.
"He hit a black cat last night with his car." She said with bravado.
"What?" I asked in shock, almost tripping on the staircase.
"Yea. He thought he killed it too but when he stopped the car and got out, the cat was gone! There was just some blood on the road and it was a full moon. I told him he's cursed and the zombie cat's going to eat his face."
I shuddered. That was creepy. Poor Paul.
We reached the top of the staircase and headed towards her room, our feet swishing against the plush red carpet.
"Is Gina already here?" I asked as we opened her door.
Lizzy didn't have to answer because as soon as that door was open, Gina came running out screaming, her sandy hair a mess and her glasses askew.
"What's wrong?" I cried as she hid behind me and glared at Lizzy.
"That beast of an animal attacked me!" Gina exclaimed, her fingers digging into my shoulders.
"Nonsense! Princess Zefernini is a harmless little angel." Lizzy defended.
I peered into the room and saw the rabid dog chewing on what looked like Gina's ripped pant leg.
"Eliza, I am not going back in there with that thing." Gina stated flatly. Lizzy looked like she was about to protest but in the end, changed her mind.
"Fine. I'll let her run around in the garden for a bit."
I shuddered as Lizzy went into her room and cooed at the animal, while yipped and growled in reply.
"That has got to be one of the ugliest and scariest things I've ever seen." I said to Gina as Lizzy carried it out, the thing jerking and snarling as it saw us.
Once Lizzy had disposed of the beast, we all hung out in her room getting ready and discussing the arrangement for the night.
"Do you think this is really a good idea Lizzy?" I asked, voicing my inner concerns as I flipped through the latest issue of Vogue.
I was sprawled across the bed as Lizzy pulled clothes out of her wardrobe and held them up to Gina.
"Yea Tee. Don't back out on us now." Lizzy picked up a sparkly black halter top.
"No." Gina stated forcefully.
"Aww but it's so cute!"
"It will make me look like a prostitute."
"Well you can't wear that sweater and those pants."
"Because you want Jason to notice you right? You want him to get one look at you and then fall head over heels."
Gina huffed as Lizzy continued to rummage through her stuff.
"This is going to take forever." Gina growled. "I can't believe I agreed to this."
"But this is so fun!" Lizzy beamed, clapping her hands. "It's like you're my doll and we're playing dress ups!"
Gina gagged and I laughed.
"You're in safe hands." I assured my friend as I got off the bed and looked at myself in my Lizzy's floor length mirror.
I was wearing a white singlet with a light blue, short sleaved jacket over the top, and a pleated, short denim shirt. I had to say, I didn't look too bad.
"Perfect!" Lizzy squealed, shoving Gina into her adjoining bathroom so that she could change.
"So are you sure Sabrina and her crew are going to be there?" I asked as we waited. Lizzy fixed up her make up in the mirror, and tugged at her short dress.
"I am a hundred percent certain. Everyone goes to Jason's parties so Sabrina will be there."
"What about Josh?"
"I don't know, probably."
"He's traumatised about the cat remember."
Lizzy made kissy faces at her reflection and winked.
"Actually, I'm more excited to meet Cory. I wanna see the chemistry between you too." Lizzy grinned and I went red.
At that moment, Gina returned to the room wearing a baggy, torn, dark green T-shirt with a white singlet underneath, ripped jeans and long boots.
"Perfect!" Lizzy cried, launching herself at Gina and hugging her.
"I feel uncomfortable." Gina said, her face scrunched up.
I was about to say something when my phone rang. I checked the ID and saw that it was Cory.
"Hey. You here now?" I asked as my two friends started bickering.
"Yea babe. Come on down."
I grimaced at the pet name. I really hated it when people called me things like babe, sweetheart, darling and honey. It made my skin crawl.
I sighed. I really should have told Cory when he first started calling me babe. It was too late now though. I guess I just have to put up with it.
"Quit it you two. Our ride is here." I snapped, getting the attention of Gina and Lizzy.
Lizzy practically pushed us out of her room and down the stairs and out the front door to where Cory was waiting, leaning against his car with his hands in his pockets.
"Wow he looks so cool." Lizzy whispered in my ear as she linked arms with me.
"Calm down. Why are you so excited?" I asked with a laugh.
"I just am! He's your first boyfriend right? Oh my God!"
"Do you have any idea what's wrong with her?" I asked Gina as we approached Cory.
The other girl just shrugged and stared at the ground, not looking happy at all.
Before I could ask her what was wrong, Cory was pulling me away from my friends and into his arms.
"I really missed you." He said with a sweet grin, ruffling my hair.
I suppressed my cringe. I really should have told him that I hate people messing up my hair too.
"Hey. I'm Cory." Cory suddenly said, putting one arm around my shoulders and holding out a hand to both Gina and Lizzy.
"Hi. I'm Lizzy." Lizzy said with a massive smile.
"Gina." Gina mumbled, her eyes still glued to the ground.
"Well we better get going." Cory said, opening the door for me to get into the front seat.
I settled myself in and Lizzy and Gina did the same.
Then Cory started the car and we were on our way to Jason's fantastic lake party.
The party was located on the edgy of Longtom Lake, which happened to be named after a fish. Fancy that.
The lake was about the only exciting thing in Fishbowl. Situated at the edge of our stingy town, Longtom Lake was massive. From most vantage points, it was almost impossible to see the other side of it. The water just seemed to stretch out endlessly and at times, I could imagine just sailing on it forever. It was the closest thing Fishbowl had to the sea. Due to its size, Longtom Lake was a popular hang out for teens on a warm summer's night or, in this case, a warm winter's night. The weather was acting really weird lately.
There were docks for various fishing boats situated closest to the town area. We liked to call it a harbour even though the ocean was far, far east somewhere. The harbour side was beautiful; full of shops and restaurants. However, the harbour was not where we were heading tonight. We were going to a more secluded part of the lake where troubled adolescents could get drunk and pass out without winding up in jail.
"So…where abouts are we going?" I asked as I stared at the pitch black dark dirt road that Cory was driving along.
"It's just a little up ahead." Cory said, turning on the highbeam which did little to penetrate the heavy black night.
"This road has been going on for ages." I complained.
"Just trust me okay! I know where I'm going!" Cory yelled.
I jumped a little in surprise. That was the first time he had ever snapped at me and it felt strange.
"Wow it sure is spooky out there." Lizzy said quickly to break the awkward silence, her face pressed up again the window as she watched the trees fly past us in a blur.
We all screamed as Cory suddenly slammed on the breaks and the car skidded forward a few metres, stopping just in front of a huge road block sign.
"Sorry. Didn't see that." Cory said quietly, reversing and turning right instead.
"I think I almost died." Lizzie whispered shakily. "I saw a bright light and my dead grandma."
"This is ridiculous. Didn't he give you a map?" Gina grumbled from the backseat. That had been the first thing she had said since we got into the car.
"I don't need a map. I've been here heaps of times." Cory replied lightly, although he didn't seem as put off by her comment as he had been with mine.
After a few more minutes of driving, I started to see something bright up ahead.
"Oh hey is that it?" I asked, sitting up straighter.
"Where? Where?" Lizzy leaned forward and peeked between Cory and I. "Oh is that a bonfire?"
"Yea. Okay we're here."
Cory parked the car at the edge of a large clearing off the dirt road where some other cars had been dumped and we all got out.
"The cabin is right by the water. It's actually quite pretty." Cory said as we started walking towards the bonfire.
Lizzy linked arms with both Gina and I and skipped along, a bright smile on her face.
"So Cory, what is Jason like?" she asked with a sly wink at Gina.
"He's a good guy. And quite popular with the ladies."
Lizzy nudged Gina who went red and shot her a glare.
I just snorted and tried to keep up with Cory's fast pace. I could smell the muddy water now, as well as the smoke from the fire.
We walked a little more and in the distance I could detect what sounded like music and drunken laughter.
After a few more minutes of walking, we could finally see the party. Jason's cabin was situated in the middle of a massive stretch of pebbly sand that led into the lake. Someone had a lit a huge fire near the water, and someone else had hooked up massive speakers all over the place, the thumping music making the sand vibrate. The cabin itself was gigantic. It was basically a small mansion made of logs. There were people everywhere, splashing in the water, dancing around the fire, chilling on the sand and making out in the forest. I was sure that many more of my classmates were inside the cabin itself.
"Wow. He owns this?" I murmured.
"Yea. Jason is loaded." Cory responded, laughing. "I think his dad bought him this whole area for his sixteenth birthday."
"Wow." Lizzy gasped, sounding envious.
"Unbelievable." I heard Gina mutter.
"Come on, let's go in." Cory placed an arm around my shoulders and steered me through the crowd of people and past the massive fire which made my eyes water and my nose tingle.
Gina and Lizzy followed; both silent as they stared around in awe.
I just couldn't wait to see what the inside of the cabin looked like.
Half an hour later and I was bored.
Yes, the cabin was impressive, massive and definitely something I'd never seen before. Yes, the bonfire was pretty awesome. Yes, the breeze off the lake made the whole night seem magical. But in the end, the party was just a party. It was still full of drunk, drugged up people, either making out, dancing, or puking in the corner.
"Have you seen Sabrina and Co. at all?" Gina asked Lizzy as we sat in the main room of the cabin surrounded by dancing bodies and the heads of animals mounted to the walls. We had managed to claim the small sofa we were sitting on before anyone else, though Lizzy actually bit a girl so that she would back off. We would have sat outside but the bonfire was starting to get all smoky and Gina was an asthmatic.
"Not yet. But she has to be here." Lizzy said with grim determination.
"Well we better see her and her group soon. Otherwise I'm leaving." Gina said with her hands on her waist.
"Why? This place is awful! About three guys have grabbed my butt in the last half an hour, and I think someone threw up on these shoes…though I guess that's ok, since they're yours."
"Shut up Gina. Ok, new plan girls."
"Uh oh." I muttered, laying my head on the armrest.
"We're going to split up so that we can find them."
"No!" For once in her life, Gina looked absolutely terrified. "Don't you dare leave me alone in this place. Who knows what could happen!" She grabbed Lizzy's arm and refused to let go.
"Geez, have we found your one weakness Gina Genius?" Lizzy laughed.
"Be quiet Eliza."
"Right, Gina and I will search the ground floor, and you can search the second floor Tegan. I think the third level is full of bedrooms so I guess we'll just stick to these two levels."
"Fine." I complied. I still couldn't believe this 'cabin' had three storeys. Seriously, no one even lives here most of the time.
"If you find them, call me." Lizzy continued. "And if you don't but you've finished searching, still call me so that we can meet up."
"I know, I know."
We all got up and went our separate ways. It was easy to get disoriented in this cabin with so many people but I could see the staircase so it wasn't too bad navigating through it all.
As I pushed through all the dancing people, I almost ran into Jess who screamed when she saw me.
"What are you doing here? Go away! Stop following me around! You're so embarrassing!" Repetitive much? She literally pushed me away from her and I squealed as I fell onto…Roger?
"Oh hey Tina."
Seriously, was my name that hard to remember? Jerk.
He helped me stand upright, though I was almost knocked over again by some girl whose dancing looked more like she was having an epileptic seizure.
"Where are you off too?" Roger called as I elbowed my way through the crowd. The beat of the music was giving me a headache.
"Looking for someone!" I yelled back before reaching the staircase and walking up the steps.
I stepped on about twelve people before I reached the top, where I saw a hallway with pictures hanging on the walls. Several people are lounging around, bottles in hand, but none of them were who I was looking for.
I opened the first wooden door I came to, and saw a room filled with smoke and people crowded around two pool tables.
I recognized some people who went to my school, but there was no Sabrina and her gang.
Leaving, I went to the next door and found myself in an empty study. The carpet was a moss green, and there was a row of metal cabinets leaning against the wall. In the middle of the area was a large redwood desk with a lamp sitting on top of it.
I switched on the lights and sat in the wheelie chair, pushing myself across the room and spinning around. I looked at the pictures on the walls; my eyes catching the one entitled Dellacruse Academy. It looked like a photo of the graduating class, with a huge circle drawn around the face of one of the boys.
It seemed Jason's older brother attended a school called Dellacruse. Now why did that sound familiar?
I spun around on the chair until I felt dizzy and a little sick.
As I stopped and the room stopped spinning, the nausea in my stomach made me think of the night when Cory and I had dinner with Raith and Trinity.
Suddenly I remembered how Raith said he went to Dellacruse Academy. At the time I thought he was making it up but from the photo, it seemed that school did exist.
I rubbed my eyes, pondering this new piece to the puzzle.
I wondered what Raith was like when he was human. Maybe he actually did attend Dellacruse. How did he die? Oh damn, here I was asking questions again. I could understand why the boy gets so mad at me. Being nosey must be annoying.
I sighed, resting my hands behind my head as I thought about our fight. Even now, I still didn't know what I was so angry about and why I blew up like that. I hadn't seen him for a few days. Argh don't tell me I miss that jerk!
As I ran my eyes over the photo again, I stumbled out of my chair.
A certain face seemed to leap out at me; a face of a dark haired boy standing at the back of the group.
I walked right up to the picture and stared intently at the image. It was hard to see distinct features since the boy was standing in a shadowy area but I swear it looked like Raith. I checked the date of the picture and saw that it was taken ten years ago.
I started reading through the list of names at the bottom, hoping to come across 'Raith' but before I could get halfway there, I heard someone turning the doorknob.
Someone was coming in!
In a moment of blind terror, I scrambled under the desk just as the door opened and two people stumbled in. Then I wanted to slap myself in the face because I had no reason to hide in the first place. I wasn't even doing anything wrong!
Mad at my stupidity, I remained in my cramped position and listened to what was happening around me.
I could hear a girl giggling but I couldn't see who they were. I was under a desk after all. Oh God how did I get myself into this position? It was too late to come out now. That would just be too embarrassing.
"Stop it! Hehehe quit it! hahaha!" a girl's voice squealed.
Oh shut up. The bedrooms are upstairs.
"Shhh quiet down. Someone might hear." The dude said. Little late for that moron. Go away! This situation was way too awkward.
I almost threw up when I heard them slam onto the desk above me.
No way! Stop!
The girl started moaning and I threw my hands over my ears, wanting to die on the spot. This was sick. Why did I have so much bad luck?
Come on Tegan, block it out, focus on the carpet. Focus on the pretty wood. When will this end?
I jumped up, hitting my head hard against the bottom of the desk and cursing.
"Did you hear that?" The girl's voice quivered.
I slammed my hands over my mouth in horror.
"Hear what? You broke my dad's fucking lamp!"
"But Jason! I thought I heard something under the desk!"
"Oh shit, oh shit, we broke the lamp! What are we going to do?"
"Shut up! I'm trying to think! Ok, ok, we're going to get out of here and just say that someone else broke it. Let's go Sabrina."
What? Sabrina and Jason? But what about Josh?
I heard them hurry to the door while Jason continued to freak out over the stupid lamp.
"Jason, just relax. For Christ's sake, man up." Sabrina snapped as the door slammed shut.
I breathed out a sigh of relief that was overshadowed by the dreadful feeling in my gut.
Now I had a moral dilemma. What should I do about Sabrina, Jason and Josh? Do I tell Lizzy? This would be perfect opportunity to bring down the queen of Kensington but I'd need proof because we all knew that Sabrina's word would win against mine.
As I crawled out from under the desk, I had another thought. To get Babu to stop harassing me, I need to help Sabrina. Could not telling Lizzy about Jason be helping Sabrina? Well not really. Besides, it's not like Sabrina really liked Josh in the first place. She won't be that upset if Josh dumps her I don't think.
I stood up and went to the door, prepared to put my ninja skills into action. I'd find Lizzy the proof, and then make it up to Sabrina by doing something really nice for her. Something that would make her so happy that Babu would have no reason to traumatize me again.
Except what should I do? I knew nothing about her. I might have to do some hardcore stalking.
I walked back they way I came and stopped halfway down the staircase, looking out over the crowd of swaying bodies.
Where did they go?
Ignoring the flirtatious, lewd stares some fifteen year old kid was giving me, I leaned over the railing and spotted my targets.
Sabrina and Jason were standing in the corner talking. Sabrina suddenly let out a high pitched giggle and said something before handing Jason her cup and walking off somewhere, probably to the toilet.
Jason began to fiddle with something in his pockets and a moment later I saw something small and white fall into Sabrina's cup.
My mouth fell open. Jason looked into the cup and was swirling the contents when Sabrina suddenly returned.
I couldn't believe it. Did he really just spike her drink?
This was it. This was my moment to atone for breaking into her house and stealing the ring. I was going to save Sabrina from being drugged by Jason!
I ran down the stairs, practically flying over the people slumped in my way.
"Tegan! Have you seen Gina? I can't find her!" Lizzy called out as I passed but I didn't look back. Sabrina was about to take a sip of her drink.
"No!" I screamed and it felt like slow motion as I charged through the crowd towards Sabrina and slapped the cup away from her hands, the Coke splashing all over her face and white dress.
It seemed like everyone within a ten foot radius stopped and stared at the three of us. Jason and Sabrina stood frozen with looks of absolute horror on their faces whilst I tried to catch my breath.
Then Sabrina seemed to get a hold of herself and started screaming at me.
"What the hell is your problem? This is a Channel dress! It's probably worth more than your house!"
Who the flip wears a white Channel dress to a house party?
"That was not cool Tiffany." Jason said disapprovingly.
"It's Tegan!" I shrieked. "And you spiked her drink!"
Now everyone in the whole room was staring. Some idiot even turned the music down.
"What?" Sabrina and Jason asked at the same time.
"You…" I cleared my throat, feeling incredibly embarrassed and self conscious with all the attention I was getting. "You…I saw you put something in her drink…"
"What the hell! Are you stalking me now?" Jason snapped whilst Sabrina turned to him.
"Did you put something in my drink?" She shouted.
"No! I was trying to eat a tic tac and it fell in! And then before I could get it out you came back!"
He was kidding me. Oh my God. Please no.
Sabrina peered into her cup and stuck her hand in, pulling out something small and white. She licked it and grimaced.
"Orange flavoured tic tac." She declared to the silent crowd of people.
There was a moment of silence where all I could hear was the bass of the music playing softly in the background.
Then Jason started screaming at me.
"Are you stupid? I can't believe you'd think that I-" Jason began but Sabrina cut him off.
"Oh I see! You were just making up an excuse to throw my drink on me you jealous bitch!" She almost slapped me, I saw her arm twitch.
Geez, all this girl did was call everyone a bitch. I was so over that word. I was so over this whole situation.
As Sabrina continued her tirade of verbal vomit, I bit my lip and prayed that the ground would swallow me up. This was beyond embarrassing. This was a whole new level of shame. I literally wanted to die right there and then. I wanted the ceiling to cave in and crush my head. I wanted someone to break a bottle and stab me in the chest. I wanted someone to do something, anything, to get me out of this messy hell that I had made for myself.
Out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw something black move and I glanced that way just in time to see Raith's satisfied smirk before he disappeared.
Wow it has been a while hasn't it? A few months! I'm so so absolutely sorry that this took so long to update. Everything started to get really hectic with school and exams and university applications and blah blah blah! I just didn't have the time to write!
I'm not too sure how often I'll be able to update now, because I've only got one week of holidays left before school starts again so I'll try to get out as many chapters as I can before I need to start studying :( But I am absolutely determined to finish this story so it will get done eventually!
Anyway it's quite late and I'm really tired and I want to get this out ASAP so I don't have time to write a reply to all my reviews but thank you to: Inik, Bridgett-blah, DomoKun Rainbokinz, Jenna Lovett, frizzy 1254, Thumbelina0004 and Lorelei Ravencroft!
And once again THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO READ, REVIEWED OR FAVOURITED THIS STORY!
Inik, Bridgett-blah, DomoKun Rainbokinz, Jenna Lovett, frizzy 1254, Thumbelina0004 and Lorelei Ravencroft