Chapter 56: Insert Bad Blood Lyrics Here

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Kim landed back in the real world on the Jersey Shore. The actual Jersey Shore. It was early morning--the wind was cool off the ocean and the beach was deserted. Kim kicked off her Tom Ford heels, useless on the sand, and resisted the urge to just lie down on the sand forever.

She was tired--more emotionally exhausted than physically, but still. She'd been through so much-- fighting selfie-hating men, wrestling illegal zombies, escaping an enforced wedding, waging a seemingly endless war against the unchecked proliferation of plaid, defeating Cassio the Creepo, saving a ton of extreme handsome and important celebrity boys, and being utterly rejected, cast out, by the woman she loved. Which, the last thing alone was such a complicated knot of emotions Kim could barely bring herself to think about it.

Everything keeps happening. Your life gets doled out in 3- or 8-hour increments and you barely have time to process or recover from one mission before the next one starts. Kim's entire life had been like that. I'll rest soon. I'll finish this one project, I'll launch this business, I'll achieve this goal, and then I'll relax. But there was always so much more to do, so many problems chasing you, nipping at your heels.

It was sort of like reading fanfic on Wattpad, where you're like Let me just read one more chapter, OK just one more chapter, and suddenly it's morning and you forgot to sleep and you barely have time to get ready for school and you definitely have a test that you did not study for.

Kim wanted nothing more than to lie down and let the warm sand embrace her, feel the sun and wind soothe her skin, and just rest, just not think about anything for a while.

Although, it had to be said: the Jersey Shore does not always smell that amazing. The beach in KKHollywood didn't really smell like anything. And you think of beaches in general as smelling like salt and ocean and coconut-scented lotion. But really the Jersey Shore smelled like hot garbage and Acqua di Gio.

And being back here, even though it meant she was almost home, it also meant she was farther away from Willow than ever. Everything in life was different and more complicated and not as perfect as you thought or hoped it might be. Everything was never uncomplicated.

Kim was stirred from her reverie by the wind suddenly flaring up around her, making her hair go all crazy. When the wind settled Kim felt a shift in the invisible energy all around her, and knew that she was no longer alone.

She turned and was unsurprised to see Taylor Swift and the many witches of her coven, walking slowly towards her in a row. Kim was annoyed to see Taylor in general, annoyed at what her appearance meant (nothing good!) but it was layered with another layer of annoyance, about Taylor's squad, this crew of perfect young women she rolled with. Kim had never had that exactly, when she was Taylor's age. She'd considered herself lucky enough to simply be part of Paris's squad. Even now, she had friends and family and a coterie of stylists, but nothing like this, this gaggle of celebrities who would blindly follow Taylor into a battle they had no hope of winning.

"Good morning, Taylor and friends," Kim began, pleasantly.

"I wasn't surprised when you ran and hid from us," Taylor said, "But I'm definitely surprised you'd dare to show your face in this world again."

"Why would you be surprised? My face is amazing."

"I would advise you not make this more difficult than it needs to be, Kim."

"And I would advise you of the same thing, Taylor. Just be cool for 11 seconds and let me explain--"

"The time for explanations has passed!" Taylor said. "You will return with us to Castle Swift, willingly or not, and you will stand trial for what you have done. You will tell us what you have done with the boys."

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