Chapter 1: OPHELIA

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I'm texting Evan when Harris walks into the store, carrying his satchel protectively.

"Did you get it?" I ask, leaning over the counter. The record store is deserted, as usual, even though it's Friday and campus is buzzing with students. I've only had two customers all day, and all they were interested in buying was weed.

"Shh!" Harris holds his index finger against his lips.

"Did you get it?" I whisper-yell instead.

He glares at me, then locks the door and checks the window like he's looking for someone.

"Harris," I say. "Chill out. You're not James Bond. No one is following you."

He pulls the blind down over the door and spins around to face me, panic all over his face. "You don't know that! Besides, Ophelia, I told you: if I'm gonna help you with this we're going to be smart about it. And that includes making sure no one is following me while I have stolen documents in my possession, okay?"

I hold my palms up. "Okay, okay, jeez. But hey, if it makes you feel better, you didn't steal anything. You borrowed it."

He lowers an eyebrow. "It's only borrowed if I bring it back." He pulls the file out of his bag and points to it. "As long as this file is in my hands and not in the DA's office, it's stolen. So this better be worth it."

I reach both hands out for it. "It will be. Now, gimme!"

He hands me the file and I flip it open. Jules would probably want me to wait for her before I read it, but I want to make sure there's nothing here that could trigger her. She's been doing so well the last couple of weeks, I don't want anything to jeopardize that.

Before I've even finished reading the first sentence, I feel sick.

"God," I say. "This poor girl. And the DA did nothing?"

Harris shakes his head in disappointment. "It's like it didn't even happen."

Someone knocks on the door and Harris commences freaking out.

"Shit, shit, shit!" he whispers as he snatches the file from me and shoves it back in his bag.

"Dude!" I say. "Relax, it's just Jules." I walk over and unlock the door so Jules can come in.

"Did you get it?" she asks Harris.

He shushes her, then points to me and I roll my eyes.

"I know, I know," I say. "Don't worry, I'm closing the door." I close the door then turn the lock. "And now I'm locking it. Satisfied?"

His shoulders relax, and Jules gives me a curious look.

"What's with him?" she asks.

I shake my head and walk back to the counter. "Don't ask."

Harris pulls the file out again and hands it to Jules, who reads over it carefully. My chest tightens as I watch her brow furrow and her lips press into a hard line. But then I remind myself: this is Jules. She's the strongest person I know. She can handle this.

And if she can't, I'll be right there to help her carry the load.

After a minute or two of silence, Jules looks up from the file.

"We have to get this guy."

I nod. "We will."

"So," Harris says. "What do you think? Does it match up with any posts on the Sweet/Vicious forum?"

"There was one post I remember," I say. "It fits all the descriptors. Same date, same time, same initials as the douchedick that's listed in the file as the perp."

Jules slams the file closed and starts walking toward the backdoor. "Let's go upstairs and crosscheck the post with this file. We can't miss even the tiniest detail if we're going to pull this off."

There's another knock at the door, and this time we all jump.

I step over to the door before Harris can flip out.

"It's probably just Evan," I say as I unlock the door. "You know he can't resist my charms for more than a few hours."

I wink at them and pull the door, but it's not Evan.

"You must be Ophelia," she says. She flicks her curls back and reaches a hand out to me. I can't stop staring at her smile.

"Ugh," I mumble. "Yep." I glance over my shoulder to see Harris trying frantically to shove the file into his bag while Jules pushes him out the backdoor.

"Yep," I say again, shifting in the doorway so she can't see them. "I am Ophelia. That's me. That is...who I am."

Oh, god, Ophelia. Stop talking.

Her smile grows wider, her dark lipstick complimenting her brown skin.

"I could tell it was you from the photos," she says. "Your hair is pretty unmistakable."

I cock my head to the side. "Photos? Oh, shit. I didn't accidentally snapchat you boob shots, did I?" I slap my palm to my forehead. "Dammit, Ophelia, not again."

She reaches out and touches my arm. "No, no." She laughs. "I've seen you on my brother's Instagram. Although now I'm wishing you had sent me some accidental boob shots. That's a much better story for why I'm showing up in Darlington like this."

"Wait," I say, still incredibly confused. "Your brother?"

She nods. "I'm Evelyn. Harris's little sister."

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