5 | Lindsey

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"She shoots, she...hey!"

Lindsey Marcum looked up at whoever had stopped her soccer ball and rolled her eyes when she saw that it was none other than her two best friends in the world. She ran up to them, laughing and jumping with glee. She hadn't seen them all summer, and there was nothing she wanted more than to catch up with people who hopefully wouldn't look at her as if she were a sad, lost little puppy.

"How was your summer?" Bethany Volt squealed, handing the soccer ball back to Lindsey, "I heard that you were invited to the Green's barbeque on the Fourth of July. I'm insanely jealous."

Lindsey shrugged.

"I guess becoming captain of the soccer team has its perks—like the rich and idiotic inviting you to places."

Georgia Jones, Bethany's half-sister and the local tactless sweetheart, raised her eyebrows in disbelief.

"Oh come on, Linds. We all know that wasn't why you were invited to the Green's barbeque."

"Georgia," Bethany kicked her sister in the shin, "Shut up."

"Nah, it's alright." Lindsey shrugged, "I'm sure that Victoria had something to do with my invite as well. All the same, I still had to hang around the rich people for far too long."

"Speak for yourself," Bethany grinned slyly, "I've been enjoying my time with the rich people."

Over the summer, Bethany had begun dating Adam Hanson, varsity football player and crony of Michael Hadden, twin brother of the queen bee herself.

"Shut up." Georgia rolled her eyes, "If I have to hear one more thing about that stupid jock then I'm going to kill someone."

Both girls seemed to realize what was just said and their eyes grew wide as they turned to look at Lindsey sheepishly.

"Hey, don't sweat it. I'm more offended about the tone you had when you said the word 'jock'." Lindsey laughed, feeling her heart drop a bit. She had hoped that her friends wouldn't be too weird around her, and yet they were acting just like every other person that Lindsey had come in contact with for the entire summer. Yes, her sister had been one of the four teens killed in the tragic June car crash—but she didn't want to be defined by that.

"Well, after we go to the lockers we're going and talking to Adam." Bethany continued the conversation about her boyfriend, "I can't wait to see him in school. It's like, a completely different ball game!"

"So why weren't you invited to the barbeque, Beth?" Lindsey asked as they started to walk into the school building, the soccer ball tucked underneath her arm. "I mean, if you're dating a player on the football team, I would think that comes with some sort of clout."

"I thought so too." Bethany replied, shaking her head and rolling her eyes simultaneously. "But apparently Adam couldn't score a plus-one, since he isn't one of the Greens or one of the Green's close personal friends."

"Bummer." Georgia commented dryly before turning back to Lindsey in excitement. "So what was it like? Hanging out with all of the rich kids and their families for the day must have resulted in some interesting stories for us, and you've held them back all summer." The bubbly cheerleader was practically bouncing up and down. "Spill!"

Lindsey shrugged, her mind wandering back to the events of the Fourth of July, unsure of whether or not she really wanted to spill anything at all.

She figured this would be the time for her memory to flash back to a specific experience, but the entire day had been so incredibly traumatizing that she didn't feel the need to relive a single moment of it.

"I don't know, guys. It was pretty uneventful, honestly."

"Uneventful?" Georgia repeated, "How could it have been uneventful? We heard that Parker Nottingham and Mary Hadden totally got in a fight."

"And that Jordan Conrad was caught snooping in Erin Green's old bedroom." Bethany chimed in, "I don't think that counts as uneventful."

Lindsey shrugged again.

"I guess I just don't really remember those parts." She replied, "I mean, honestly, I just kind of ate food and kicked the soccer ball around with some guys."

"Which guys?" both girls questioned in unison.

"Parker—"

"You kicked the soccer ball with the captain of the varsity soccer team?" Bethany squealed.

"...I am the captain of the varsity soccer team." Lindsey replied, her eyebrows crinkling in confusion.

"Yeah, but the girl's team." Georgia waved it off, "Parker's so hot. And he's the captain of the boy's team."

Lindsey nodded, her attitude towards talking about the barbeque becoming even more negative.

"Alright. Didn't you say you wanted to talk to Adam, Beth?" Lindsey pointed towards where most of the popular kids were located, surrounding the Hadden twins and all of their friends a little ways off. "Why don't we go and do that?"

"Oh, you're totally right." Bethany squeaked out, jumping up and down as the girls made their way over to the group. Lindsey took a few deep breaths as they walked, trying to convince herself that it wouldn't be weird to talk to the Hadden twins again, or Jordan Conrad, or Roland Green...wherever he was. Just because their siblings had died inside the same car didn't mean that they had to speak to each other ever again.

Independence Day had proved that quite enough.

"Adam!" Bethany called out as she made her way through the throng of people until they reached the middle of the inner circle. "How are you?"

Adam Hanson turned around to give his girlfriend a kiss and start recounting his absolutely amazing summer full of football practices and beach parties, conveniently leaving out the multiple times that Lindsey knew he had cheated on Beth. She had been at most of those parties herself.

She milled about the circle quietly, looking around as she realized that she was in extremely close proximity to the people she had actively tried to avoid for the entire summer, as the rest of their friends started to go off to homeroom, leaving only around ten kids left in the circle.

Then, as if a light switch had turned off, everyone in the hallway became extremely silent, almost muted. Michael and Mary stopped talking to each other as they realized what was going on around them and turned to look out at the rest of the hallway. Everyone was staring at them, and Lindsey began to realize why.

She was standing directly next to Jordan Conrad, who had been texting next to Mary while she talked to her brother. It hadn't been too much of a scene as the four of them stood close to each other, since they could all run in relatively the same crowd. Yet Roland Green had walked up to Jordan and started talking to her, causing all five of the stranded siblings to be together for the first time since Independence Day.

And everyone knew it.

And everyone knew it

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