Best Laid Plans

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Ellie

After I let the dust settle from my argument with Lucy, I felt an inexplicable emptiness. It was as though I was the last human being on earth living in the desolate dissolve of humanity. Social Media became a burden. I started to avoid it and all of the filtered photos of friends laughing together and engaging in collective outings. I had to remind myself that everyone has days like these, though they don’t showcase them for all to see. A week before our blow out, I thought we had leapt miles in our forgiveness for one another. I value my friendship with Lucy above all of my relationships. My life hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies; there were a lot of hardships to hurdle. I was adopted and struggled with my identity most of my life. I clung to Lucy because our friendship felt more like sisterhood than anything. We bickered about little things, but nothing was big enough to tear us apart. That was, until Cora entered our lives.

I knew from the beginning that something wasn’t right with her, but when I tried to point it out to Lucy, she became protective. I knew better than to speak negatively about someone she loved and admired her for that. Lucy didn’t hold a grudge against me for it and we carried on with our lives as though nothing happened. I decided it was best to keep calm waters still and to just mind my business and row my boat. I debated meeting them at Quench that night. I thought better of it and almost called Lucy to tell her I was sick. Before I mustered the energy to make this excuse, they walked in together. I thought I would champ it out and engage in some friendly banter and then call it a night, but Cora had other plans. Her cutting words were all I could hear for a few days on end playing on repeat in the back of my mind like a broken record.

It felt like eons before Lucy and I made up. I had a big plan to sneak into her apartment and leave her favorite plant potted in a white clay pot that I had made. I was beyond woeful when I dropped it. I didn’t want Lucy to know that the gift was unique and handmade; it would only have made her feel bad. I kept it from her so she wouldn’t realize it. Little did I know, Cora would prey on that small decision I made. While I thought Lucy and I were getting back on track, Cora had set herself to derail us. The night Cora called me was shocking to say the least. There are no words in this universe that can describe the feeling I felt when her named flashed on my phone for an incoming call. Against my better judgement, I answered it. She sounded apologetic on the phone and I was manipulated into apologizing back. That’s when she threw a metaphoric wrench at me. She claimed Dominic didn’t like me. I never should have taken the bait.

A few days after my falling out with Lucy, I realized Cora’s game. I wrangled with the idea of calling Lucy, but something inside of me made me dial Dominic’s number. We hadn’t spoken in a while and quite frankly, I was afraid he didn’t approve of me. To my surprise, he answered on the first ring. I was taken aback. We exchanged pleasantries, and then I cut straight to the chase. I warned him to be weary of Cora and that I thought she had ulterior motives for her friendship with Lucy. Honestly, I thought he would be under the serpent’s spell just as everyone else in the world seemed to me, but he agreed with me. He wanted to ruin Cora as much as I did for destroying his relationship with Lucy. This was the point when I learned of their breakup That’s how out of touch with Lucy I had become. He said he would confront Cora that night and tell Kingsley the truth about his past with Cora. I decided to follow suit. I wanted to confront Cora the following morning.

That morning, I woke up to rain pouring down and flooded streets. I poured myself a cup of tea and sat down to read the news. The world is in shambles per usual. I decided that I had enough news for the day and would take a shower. By the time I was fully ready to head out to Cora’s house, the rain had stopped. I noticed blue sky and sunlight starting to break through the foundation of dreary clouds. When I got to Cora’s house, I knocked on the door, and the slight pressure from my fist opened it slightly. I realized someone carelessly left the door unlocked and didn’t double check that it had latched after they closed it. I called into the house, but no one answered. To avoid intruding, I called even louder in the big, quiet house. I was overcome with a feeling of uneasiness. Cora and Kingsley are not the type of people to leave their house vulnerable to burglars. I remember once when Cora had a Crime Prevention Specialist come to her house to look around and point out the vulnerabilities and how to fix it. No one would go through that much effort to end up this careless. Slowly, I stepped into the house and that’s when I noticed the blood. My eyes followed the trail and I screamed, a blood curdling scream.

I don’t know what possessed me to do what I did next, but I called Lucy. She didn’t answer, that wasn’t like Lucy. She always answered. It dawned on me that I still had her GPS location. Lucy always forgets little details like turning off her GPS. I checked it and she was in the National Forest. That was definitely not a Lucy move. She would never blow off work to go hiking alone. Something was wrong. I shared the location via text to Dominic. I called him before the text finished sending.

“Hello?” he sounded confused.

“Listen, I sent you Lucy’s GPS location from her phone. You need to get there as soon as possible. I think she is in grave danger! I’m at Cora’s house and Kingsley is, he’s, he’s dead! He was shot! Hurry, get to Lucy. I need to call the police. I’ll tell them where to find you all. Please, please hurry!” I sobbed.

“I’m already on my way. I was heading that way for a camping trip with Ludo, so I’ll be there shortly.”

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