~Changes, they might drive you half-insane, but it’s killing you to stay the same. But it’s all gonna work out, it’s all gonna work out someday. Moments, livin’ with your eyes half-open, you’ve been thinking ’bout these changes. It’s all gonna work out, it’s all gonna work out someday~ Lauv.
Chapter Theme Song: 'Changes' by Lauv.
I lay onto my back, staring up at the crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling while the stereo blasts the song ’Changes′ by Lauv. The orange glow from the setting sun seeps through the creases of my window, aiding in my meditation; however, it is quickly interrupted when my phone dings from the bedside table. I reach for it, sliding it open to discover a text from an unknown number.
Narrowing my eyes, I quickly type a response.
Who is this and how did you get my number?
In no time, my cell vibrates with another text, and I waste no time to have a look at it.
Jace. My aunt is the school’s headmistress, so it’s not hard work to attain your file, babe.
He keeps calling me babe, and it’s so annoying. I roll my eyes, priming my lips as I aggressively type a response.
A loud bang sounds at my door and I quickly block the creep’s number, throwing the phone aside before getting up. I open the door, then immediately regret it when I see Jeff.
“Can you turn your fucking music down? Are you going deaf?”
“What is it?” I hiss.
“Your little friend is banging my gate down and it’s annoying. Try to make her go away or you won’t like what I do.”
“Who, Riley? Why didn’t you let her in?!”
“I will not be letting her in; she’s not allowed in here. She’s a bad influence and your mom doesn’t like her very much.”
“Get out of my way! I fucking hate you...” I motion to push past him, but Riley is already coming up the stairs. She’s sighing tiredly while nonchalantly brushing her leather jacket off. “Damn, it’s a lucky thing I know how to jump a wall.”
Jeff gawks at her petite figure in awe. His mouth opens then closes, as he tilts his head to the side.
The thing with Riley is, she never takes no for an answer.
She looks up, smiling menacingly at him. “What? I know how to pick a lock too.” She slips a tiny pink pocketknife from her jeans, waving it in front of his face.
A huge grin shapes my lips as Jeff curses under his breath and walks off.
“Yeah, bring some weed for me, will 'ya?!” She calls after him, shaking her head. “He’s such a wuss.”
“Riley!” I jump into her arms, almost causing her to fall backward.
She stands her ground, chuckling while she hugs me tightly. “Yeah, I miss you too, Rain.”
I pull away, smiling ecstatically. “I thought you weren’t going to come. Since it’s now five in the evening.”
“Nah, I was just bathing my kitten, plus I had to cook dinner for my little brother.”
Riley has a six-year-old brother whose name is Bailey and unlike my family, her parents might not be married but they live together, as one big happy family.
“Where did you even find that kitten?” I giggle, crossing my arms as I lean against my door jam.
“In an old box on the sidewalk, someone left him there. The poor thing is malnourished, Bailey keeps trying to feed him skittles.”
A serious expression then surfaces her face, as it seems she remembers something. “Oh yeah, I bring you sensitive news.”
I narrow my eyes. “About what?”
I grab her by the hand and pull her into my room, closing the door behind us. I turn my stereo down and we plop onto my bed.
“What about Kendra?” I ask, eagerly curious.
“The bitch seems to have something up her sleeve. Yesterday, a group of men, in all black, came up to me. She was with them, and they were asking me where they could find you.”
I raise a brow. “They were asking for me?”
“Yeah, rumor has it that she’s the niece of a famous gang leader, so I think he sent some of his men to Freetown yesterday and while leaving school, they waited for me at the gate. They questioned me about your whereabouts, but I told them I have no idea where you are.”
I nibble on my lower lip, thinking about what she’s saying.
“It seems she has still not gotten over what happened.” Riley continues. “I don’t know, but it feels like she’s on some revenge conquest.”
I sigh, pushing my hair back. I am not one to chicken out; I fear no-one.
“Yeah, whatever. Just be careful and stay away from her. You know how crazy she is.” I get up and move over to my closet, organizing some clothes which I was supposed to do from last weekend, but was too lazy to make time for.
“Be careful, Rain, okay?” She pleas. “I don’t think this is something we should take lightly. I just have a feeling she’s about to do something really bad.”
I spot Ansel’s hoodie among the clothes, and I take it up from the pile, running my hand over the fabric as my mind flows right back to him. I didn’t see him at school today, he probably worked full time at the café again. To be honest, I kind of miss him.
Suddenly the sweater is snatched from my grasp as Riley sprints to the corner of the room. She holds it high, beaming as she inspects it. “Woah, who does this belong to?”
I roll my eyes, attempting to keep blushes off my face as I turn to her. “Give it back, Riley.”
She sniffs the sweater, then her smile stretches wider. “This smells like heaven.”
I race over to her and she giggles, dodging my attempt to reach for it as she sprints to the other side of the room.
“Let me guess? Ansel’s?”
“Riley, stop!” I reach out to her, but she hops ontop of my bed in a swift, immaturely waving the hoodie in the air.
I frown. “Riley.”
“Answer me first, whose is it?” She grins, wrapping the sleeves around her neck while she jumps up and down.
I roll my eyes again, swaying to the side in defeat. “It’s…Ansel’s.”
“What? I didn’t hear you!” She jeers. “A little louder.”
“It belongs to Ansel, okay? Now give it back.”
She laughs, plopping herself on the bed while I snatch the garment from her.
“Now you have some talking to do, how did the oh-so-handsome Ansel’s hoodie end up in your closet, at your house?” She raises her brow and I smile. I have no way to get out of this, Riley won’t stop until she knows.
“Well…” I sit in front of her, while she grabs my pillow off the bed, tucking it under her chest while she eagerly listens.
“I was at school, and these two girls were bullying me—”
“Woah…” She raises her palm. “Who dares to bully my sister? Come on, I want names because they are gonna get it. I will murder each one of them.”
I know she will. She isn’t sane at all.
I giggle. “Riley, just listen.”
“Okay okay, I’m listening.” She laughs.
“They intentionally squirted ketchup on the gym bench, and I sat there, then this one by the name of Olivia, the one you tripped at the party—”
“Yeah, she fell headway on that tile.”
“She was saying mean things and I got so irritated and I was planning on ‘giving it’ to her, you know?”
“Oh, I know, and Kendra knows.”
“Then Ansel came and he…tied his hoodie around me, to hide the embarrassing red stain in my shorts.”
Riley’s face lights up.
“But…it wasn’t like a normal ‘tie’. He was so close…like really close, and he smelled so good.”
Riley giggles. “Oh my God! That’s so sweet.”
“I even went to his house.”
“Yes way, and I met his family, they are nice.”
“Moving fast, I see.” She waggles her brow and I grab my pillow and slap her on the shoulder.
“It was just for the night.” I clarify. “Things were bad with my mom and he offered that I stay the night at his place.”
Riley’s expression saddens, as she lowers her gaze to her fingers. “I am sorry I am so far away; I know your mom likes telling you not to come home.”
“It’s okay.” I shrug. “I am just happy you’re here now.”
“By the way…” I grin cheekily. “Alex kept asking about you.”
I watch as a faint blush creeps on her face. “He did?”
“Yeah, he was wondering when you’ll be back in town…I told him today.”
Instantly, my mind drifts right back to Ansel’s request on Tuesday.
“You know, Ansel invited me to this club in town called Naked this evening. But I don’t know…I feel like a lot of people from Crosshill will be there, and I don’t like them at all.”
“Oh my God, we should go!” Riley grins.
I make a face. “What? No way.”
“Please? I would want to check it out, Rain.” She pouts her lips, and I roll my eyes.
Secretly, I am hoping to see Ansel. I haven’t seen him all day.
“Fine.” I sigh. “But I won’t be staying all night.”