Chapter 1

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"Ava, wait up!"

I watch him as he dodges through the hallway to catch up. He bumps into 2 football players who look like they could murder him right then and there. He scurries around a few more tough-looking guys, until he reaches me.

"Hey Connor," I say to my best friend.

"Hey, you. This morning, I waited for 20 minutes at our Tree wondering where you guys were before I realized...you know," he mumbled, attempting a chuckle. I haven't gone to the Tree in weeks...

We walked along silently. This past month has been a living hell for the two of us. An incident happened and....our best friend, Camilla...she's gone. I don't really like talking about it.

"See you at lunch," I say.

"Later," he replies, continuing on to his biology class.

I walk into English class and Mrs. Millstone, tells us that we are going to do a writing prompt today. I like my English class this year. I love creative writing and hate memorizing vocab, and Mrs. Millstone seems to agree.

She writes on the board, I wish...

I don't even have time to think about what I'm doing. I just pour my heart out onto the paper, and it's like the words just flow out of me. In my mind, I'm sitting on my bed, writing in my diary, like I do every day after school.

I wish Camilla was still here with me. I wish I hadn't been sick that day and I wish I could've stopped her. I wish I could have said a proper goodbye. I would do anything to have her back with me here today. The laughs we shared, the way everything was okay when we were together; I miss her so much.

I sit back in my chair and take a deep breath.

"Would anyone like to share what they wrote?" Mrs. Millstone asks.

A girl in the front row raises her hand.

"Kimberly! You can go first."

She smiles fakely and starts reading. 'I wish that the Sephora would give out free samples and..."

Blah, blah, blah. I tune her out. I hate her. I absolutely hate her. She's superficial and wears more makeup than she does clothes. She never liked me or my friends, but at least I have a good reason not to like her. And now since Camilla's gone, I seem to be her main target.

"Good job, Kimberly. Next time, try writing about something more meaningful, though."

She sits down and glances over at Josh, the most popular guy in school. He's sleeping on his desk, drool sliding out of his mouth. I honestly don't know how anyone could like him...well, besides Camilla anyways. Kimberly gazes longingly at him.

I see Connor through the little window in the classroom door. "Come here," he signaled, seeming urgent. Why is he skipping class? What could he possibly need to show me right this moment?

I raise my hand. "Mrs. Milestone, may I go to the bathroom?" I ask. She nods.

"What the hell are you doing here?!" I whisper-shout once I'm in the hallway. "Follow me." he says, dragging me down the hallway. We stop in front of the guidance counselor office. There seems to be a meeting going on inside. "What are we doing here?" I say, confused. "Just listen," he replies, pressing his ear to the door. I follow, hesitant.

*barely audible through the door*

"I've invited you four here today because I have an issue I want to discuss. Some of Ava and Connor's teachers have commented saying that there has been a major change in their attitude lately. They haven't been participating in class as much and they rarely do their homework. Do you think this is the result of a family problem? Has anything drastic happened at home lately? Are they stressed out all the time? Anything you think may have caused this?"

"Not that we know of. He's been staying his room more, though. And he always used to socialize with other friends, but now the only person he will talk to is Ava."

"Actually, that is the same case with Ava. We will discuss this with her when she comes home tonight. But at the moment, I really need to go back to work. My boss was fuming when I left. Could we maybe reschedule this meeting?"

"Yes, same here. We'll make sure to talk to Connor, too. "

"Well, this could be a very serious situation. Please contact me for rescheduling the meeting as soon as possible. Thank you for coming in at short notice, and have a good day now."

Me and Connor hide behind a row of lockers as we watch our parents exit the office and walk out of the front doors, mumbling.

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