❝ makes me feel alive ❞

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I feel something so wrong,
By doing the right thing.
I couldn't lie, couldn't lie, couldn't lie,
Everything that kills me,
Makes me feel alive.

"Counting Stars" –One Republic

Surprisingly, the next couple days passed without incident.

It might've been because everyone was busy with Christmas, or because I hadn't seen the Elite much since school let out for winter break, but either way, I was thankful. I needed a bit of a break to think, and just get away from everything Elite-related.

I was just hoping that the killer is focused on filling stockings and finding non-cheesy Christmas wrapping paper instead of plotting a way to slice me into ribbons.

When I woke up Christmas morning, Raine and Kaden were already up. I could hear them moving around in the kitchen as I made my way downstairs, hoping I wouldn't walk in on them having sex on the kitchen table or something.

It was actually a pretty typical scene.

Kaden was sitting at the breakfast bar, reading the newspaper as he drank something -coffee probably- from his mug while Raine stood at the stove, cooking something. Eggs, I think, from the smell of it.

Raine looked back as I sat down beside Kaden. "Oh, good you're awake," she said.

I nodded, stifling a yawn. "Morning."

"We'll open present after breakfast, okay?" she told me. I nodded even though she had already turned around. There was still a little coffee left in the coffeemaker so I poured it into my cup, then filled the rest with milk. It had more milk than coffee, but I was fine with that since I didn't particularly like the bitter taste of caffeine.

"Thanks," I said when Raine set down a plate with eggs and toast in front of me. She put the other beside Kaden's coffee then grabbed one for herself.

She poked Kaden lightly after she sat down. "Hey, you. Eat."

Kaden lowered the newspaper and glanced at her. "But Russian politics are so interesting," he teased, but folded up the newspaper nonetheless.

I wrinkled my nose. "You guys are gross."

Raine simply laughed. "We could be worse," she pointed out.

"I think you guys are pretty bad enough," I replied. I guess she had a point, I mean at least they were better in public, but it was still pretty weird at home. Blake and Avril hadn't been like that as much, though I wasn't sure if that was their nature, or if it was just not around me since at the time I had still believed that boys had cooties.

Breakfast didn't take long, since Raine kept probing at us to finish. I think she was more excited about opening presents than I was. "Okay, Lena, you first," she said as we moved to sit around the Christmas tree. She handed me a bag lined with tissue paper, and a small, slightly messily wrapped box.

I decided to open Kaden's first, the box. I set the bag down and shook the box gently. No sound. It was possible that it was jewellery, with a lot of tissue around it, but they both knew I didn't wear it often. I glanced at Kaden, who was watching me with a small smile on his face, but giving nothing away. I slid my finger under the tape and pulled it free.

The box was simple, white. Inside, there was a piece of paper. Garage, was all it said. I looked up at Kaden, eyebrow raised. "Tell me this isn't some kind of scavenger hunt again." Last year, he had given me note, like this one. It had a destination written on it, and in that place, there was another box, with another destination. The end present had been my car, so there was really no guessing what it could be this time.

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