Chapter 2

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A week earlier...

Carry on My Wayward Son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay--

Arielle jumped awake. Her body twitching from the unwelcomed wakeup call. Clumsily, she searched about her room, trying to figure out what had woken her up. She found it was her phone ringing...across the room. Arielle groaned and got up unwillingly. Who was calling her at 2 o'clock in the morning?

"Hello?" She groggily answered, her voice hoarse with sleep.

"Is this Arielle Johnson?" A voice mumbled.

Arielle didn't recognize the girl's voice. To be honest Arielle was surprised she had understood the sentence at all. In the background she could hear people yelling drunkenly as loud music pulsed through the phone. Who was this? And who the fudge did they think they are calling her at 2 o'clock in the morning?!?

"Who is this?" Arielle repeated, her annoyance leaking into her tone.

"Lila Patel."

Arielle nodded in recognition (not that Lila could see her). Lila Patel was a tiny, cute Hindu girl in her grade. Lila was also the student council president. Which explains how she had gotten Arielle's number. At the last student council meeting everyone had to write down their phone numbers on a piece of paper so the officers could keep in touch with all the members.

"Oh...um, hi?"

Lila giggled. "Student council's having a party in Tree Valley Park. Everyone's invited."

Arielle blinked...once, twice, probably a third time. No one has every invited her to a real party before. Sure, she's gone to friends' houses for birthday parties, but Arielle's never snuck out of the house for an actual party. The few times she has snuck out was to walk around her neighborhood when her insomnia kicked in.

Arielle was quickly pulled out of her musings by Lila calling her name.

"I hope you can come," Lila said suggestively, before hanging up.

She had stressed the word I. Lila's voice sounded as if she wanted Arielle to be there with her. Had Arielle imagined that? Lila's never paid much attention to anyone outside her little clique before. It wasn't because Lila was a snob, it was she just liked to keep to herself and her studies. (The girl was valedictorian for Pete's sake.) And she's never had a boyfriend as far as Arielle could remember. Arielle smacked herself for the last thought. Now was not the time for longing. This didn't mean that Lila liked her. Like she said, everyone was invited.

So Arielle flittered across her room, trying to find suitable clothing to wear to the party. She pulled on a baby blue button-down from her closet, skinny blue jeans, and brown ankle boots. Arielle then stood in front of her mirror and attempted to do her hair. At first, she'd tied back her dark auburn hair into a ponytail, but when she couldn't smooth out all the lumps, Arielle had yanked her hair down in frustration. After deciding she'd spent way too much time trying to figure out what to do with her hair, Arielle finally decided to put her hair in a messy braid.

Before leaving, Arielle took one last look in the mirror (to see if he actually looked good enough to impress Lila). Her freckles seemed even more intense and prominent than usual. Her whole body (especially her face) was covered in freckles. Like one of those connect-the-dots games. Arielle knew it was the first thing many people noticed about her when they saw her.

Arielle turned towards her window. It'd be easy to sneak out since none of her windows had screens. She stopped dead at the thought. That was before her dad decided to put in screens for all the windows! Arielle face-palmed. How could she have forgotten that? Now she had to sneak out the front door.

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