Chapter 25

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We head down the footpath towards the party

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We head down the footpath towards the party.

"Did you say James was meeting us here?" asks Charlie.

I nod as the smell of beer and grilled burgers wafts up the hill towards us.

"He should be here already," I say. "He was heading down with Tom after soccer practice."

We stop still as we reach the elegant black gate leading to the grounds. Music blares out from some speakers, and through a crowd of our classmates I can see a number of kegs lined up on the lawn.

Charlie smooths down her dress and beams at me excitedly.

I take a deep breath.

Am I really going to go to the unlit terrace to talk to Cupid?

Am I really going to go alone?

I feel my resolve strengthen.

I came here to speak with him - and that's what I'm going to do.

I smile tightly back at my friend, and we step into the gardens.

We walk towards the glass front of the house. The path is lined with white statues of people; they remind me of the one I saw back at the Cupids Matchmaking Service. The one Cal seemed to want to avoid.

"Bit extravagant," I mutter, staring up at one.

My friend laughs.

"His parents must be loaded," she replies.

As we reach the crowd by the barrels of alcohol, a couple of girls from the social committee catch sight of Charlie and wave us over.

"You go ahead. I'm going to go find James," I lie.

Charlie shrugs and waltzes off to her friends.

I take another deep breath, and head into the house to find the steps to the terrace.

As I weave through the crowds lingering about in the open plan kitchen, I can't help but worry.

Why would Cupid want me to join him? Does he know that I'm his match?

I shake off my nerves.

I'm here to confront him about what happened to Jack. That's all that matters.

I edge into the empty white tiled corridor that leads off from the kitchen, making my way past the doorways to a windy black staircase at the end.

The terrace has to be up here somewhere.

At the top of the stairs I find myself in another corridor; mythological oil paintings hang from the walls. There are a number more open archways along the edge leading into other rooms, and I see the corridor veers off to the left. It's silent up here – the noise of the party far behind.

I walk nervously forwards and turn at the end of the hallway.

At the far side is a large, glass doorway leading out onto a dark terrace.

Leading out to Cupid.

I take another deep breath and am about to move forwards when the sound of angry voices in one of the rooms just ahead makes me halt.

"Yes, well your assignment directly conflicts with mine."

It's Cal.

I frown and creep to the open doorway to listen in.

"I'm just doing my job," comes the irritated female reply. "I have a match to make and I'm going to make it."

The voice is familiar but I can't quite place it.

I'm just about to peer inside to take a look when someone grabs my shoulders and I make an involuntary yelp and stumble forwards into the room.

"Hey, Lila," comes the voice from behind.

It's James.

The two figures arguing in the room spin round towards me. Cal's angular face is etched with rage.

I see immediately who the female figure is.

Beautiful, blonde, and immaculate in a glittery blue evening dress; it's the receptionist from the Cupids Matchmaking Service.

She looks straight past me to my boyfriend stood behind.

"Hi, James," she says, smiling sweetly.

I frown.

They don't know each other do they?

"Hey, Crystal," he replies.

"Hey, Crystal," he replies

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