FIVE

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      For a reason I couldn't explain, I was nervous about meeting Alice. I wasn't sure what it was exactly. I had done interviews — many, many interviews — with the Warrior before. I had talked to just about everyone from every walk of life on campus, including conquering my fear of talking to the hot senior in my physics class my sophomore year.

     But for some reason, Alice Huey — sweet, small, minds-her-own-business — Alice Huey threw me off of my game.

     I had responded to her message the night before confirming that I would meet her and had barely been able to sleep since. I did almost feel this immense guilt for what she was experiencing, despite the fact I didn't play a role in it. I had to wonder why it was her and not me — why was she the person who had her picture leaked? Who could she have possibly pissed off that would want to do this to her?

     I put on a coat of mascara before grabbing my backpack from my bedroom floor. I always kept my bedroom in nearly spotless shape, a trait I was sure rooted from my parents being equally as neat. It was a trait that used to drive Nick up a wall. It wasn't that he was a messy person, he just wasn't as neat as I ever was.

     Where are all of your things? Do you really keep all of your clothes hung up? He'd asked me the first time I had snuck him into my room. I didn't really need to be sly about it — my parents definitely knew and I knew that they knew — but I like the feeling of doing something potentially reckless. That's what Nick was for me. He was my chance to be reckless, to be Edy instead of Eden. To be Nick's girlfriend instead of the intense editor.

     And to be fair, Nick did have a point about my more minimalist living. I had never really liked 'things' — I wasn't much of a collector and I didn't have any sort of trophies or participation ribbons or posters. I really just had my books; my collection of classics lined one wall, a constant reminder of something I had started but never finished. I regularly told myself, usually over breaks from school, that I would get around to reading them, but I'd often start and get sidetracked. It was one of the few things I just couldn't motivate myself to do.

     I grabbed my phone from the top of my dresser on the way out. I spotted a sticky note from my mother — Love you 24/7 — pressed against the refrigerator as I went to grab orange juice. Something about it made me smile, even if it was a reminder that I probably wouldn't get to see her again for another few days.

     Dad was still sleeping, so it was quiet in the house. The sun had just started to rise, a harsh telltale sign of how early I had to get up for school. I took a sip of my orange juice and broke a piece off of a blueberry poptart, trying not to dwell too much on Alice or the reality of what today might look like.

     It was hard to even come up with an idea of what to expect. There could be calm just easily as there could be chaos. The school could calmly and quietly make this go away, or it could a months-long whodunnit. The only way to know was to actually go to school, something I didn't really want to do.

     I carried my poptart with me as I exited my house and locked the front door behind me. My neighborhood was peaceful per usual, entirely unaware of what was brewing just Fifteen minutes down the road.

     Alice Huey did not look like the beautiful, shiny, happy girl who Louis had described to me. She was still beautiful, but in a sad way now. It seemed like everything in her face was drooping and frowning. Her red hair was being used a shield and her freckles popped against her increasing pale skin.

     She sat down across from me at one of the long rectangular lunch tables set up in the cafeteria. It wasn't a big room, but it had a glorious nearly floor-to-window view of our football field, which was about fifty yards out from the school.

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