When I finally made it back to Nikki’s that evening, I headed straight for Alyssa’s bedroom - sending a dull greeting Nikki’s way. I saw her lips purse slightly with disapproval, but she didn’t say a word. I collapsed onto the already rumpled sheets, my mind and body drained of energy.

I slipped easily into sleep, the pain easing from my chest.

When I woke up the next morning, it was to a loudly grumbling stomach. I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I’d eaten. I lay in bed for a while, and could distinctly hear the sound of voices coming from the living room. Female voices. I presumed the strange voice I could hear conversing with Nikki was Carla.

The sound of her high-pitched giggle travelled through the door, and I winced; the throbbing ache in my head making itself known. I had yet to meet the elusive Carla. She never seemed to be in the apartment when I was there, but I presumed it was just a coincidence as she had no reason – that I knew of anyway – to avoid me.

Making a split-second decision, I rolled out of bed and headed for the bathroom. It was a mess of towels, makeup, and little bottles. I was momentarily glad that I didn’t share a bathroom with another girl; it would never be clean…then again, Nick wasn’t much better.

My thoughts quickly turned sour after that.

I hurriedly jumped in the shower, my mind turning to other, more random things.

When I was washed and dressed, I wandered out of the room I was staying in – glad to be looking at something other than pink. It started to give me a headache after a while, but then; beggars can’t be choosers. 

I followed the sound of voices through to the kitchen. I stopped in the doorway, feeling slightly awkward all of a sudden. I wasn’t a big fan of meeting new people.

The kitchen had an island in the centre, and Nikki stood on the far side, facing me. She looked up from the bowl of salad she was eating, and smiled. I raised my hand in a small wave, my eyes already moving on to the other girl in the room. She had her back to me, and obviously only realised somebody else had entered when she saw Nikki look up.

She was a little taller than me, and had dark hair to her shoulders. She’d highlighted her it with streaks of colour more yellow than blonde. I’d seen a lot of girls with the same style but I couldn’t see the attraction; but then, that was just my opinion. Her eyebrows were heavily plucked and I could faintly see acne scars dotted across her cheeks, but I couldn’t be sure because her makeup was about an inch thick.

Despite the thickly clumped mascara and dark eyeshadow, she had really pretty sea-green eyes. She also had her nose and tongue pierced. Overall, she was…not pretty, but still attractive. Nikki had told me a little about her and apparently she had…loose morals; but maybe that was a bit harsh.

“Hi” I began quietly, still standing in the doorway.

“I’m Carla” she said, “and you must be Shannon.”

Her voice was loud, and I could tell that it was her natural…decibel level. I contained a flinch. I was used to a quieter environment. I nodded instead, though it hadn’t been a question. She scrutinised me, a look of almost disbelief on her face. It made me feel…small. “You’re the one who was going out with Nick King, right?”

“Not going out, no” I said, my mouth suddenly dry at the mention of his name. I looked over at Nikki. Had she told Carla? No, she was looking at her roommate with evident curiosity.

Carla followed my gaze. “Don’t worry; Nicole hasn’t been spilling all your little secrets.” She smiled in a rather nasty way. “A lot of people have taken an interest in you, Shannon.”

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