"Yes! The collaboration for the ad campaign? They want Lana to be in their TV advertisement! This is so huge and it wouldn't have happened without your incredible idea!"

My heart rate sped up. Holy heck!

"That's amazing!" I said, completely awestruck at how well my idea had worked.

"Anyway, Lana is going to need you to go with her. I'm sending Kara as well. We're leaving on Sunday, so pack a bag and get ready."

"Leaving on Sunday?" I repeated, lost again. I really should have looked into this advertisement more.

"Yes! For Japan? We're shooting in Tokyo, sweetie. They're doing a Harajuku theme."

Japan.

Japan?

I was going to JAPAN?

"Oh, and don't forget Milk Matte's Masquerade is on Monday. Thanks for all your hard work Wren. I'll see you then!"

And then she hung up. Leaving me standing there flabbergasted.

It was one thing that the JAWCK gang was heading to Japan— expected, even, considering their role as entertainers. But me?

Heck, just six months ago I thought moving to LA seemed impossible. Now, I was going to Japan? This was crazy!

I was in a daze as I finished packing the dishwasher, and couldn't seem to shake how unreal it all felt for the rest of the evening.

***

Later that night, I woke to a strangely dry mouth. My mind was ridden with sleep, and I was never great at functioning in the morning. Checking my phone, I saw that it was 3AM, and as I lay there, trying to go back to sleep, I couldn't ignore how parched my throat was.

It was incredibly hot, too— the California summer was starting to take over, and I felt sticky and gross. Eventually, I couldn't take it anymore, and I finally got up to go get a glass of water.

As soon as I stepped out onto the landing, I got the feeling something was wrong.

I crept along in the darkness, towards the staircase, and heard faint murmurs from downstairs. Still drowsy, it didn't register at all who it was, and my heart went into overdrive.

Did someone break in?

Tentatively, I slowly crept down the staircase, and I got chills as flashbacks from that time in the alleyway came to mind. I shivered at the thought of being held at knifepoint... or gunpoint, even, and decided I wasn't going anywhere near whoever it was without a weapon. So when I reached the landing, I grabbed one of the display swords Connor had up in the foyer— he was big on collectables— and carefully followed the sound of the voices.

I stopped just short of the den, and there was silence, except for the sound of muffled footsteps. Heart pounding in my chest, I readied my weapon, and as the footsteps came closer...

"Hyah!" I screamed, jumping out and raising the sword. A jostling sound, followed by shouting, as three guys stumbled backwards into each other, dropping the candles they'd been holding. The candles shattered as they hit the ground, and a wide-eyed Connor swore and went to stamp it them out. My jaw dropped and my free hand flew to my mouth.

"Oh, crap, I'm so sorry!" I cried, as guilt and horror washed over me.

"God damn it Wren!" Kurt shouted, looking pale a ghost. "Shit, we fucking dropped our candles— shit, dude, what do we do?"

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