Chapter Two

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A few hours later, the sound of the doorbell pulled me out of my deep thoughts. I got up off my bed where I had been absently scribbling and sketching lines that were beginning to take shape as the New York skyline.

I walked out of my room down the corridor to the top of the stairs, where I found Madison already skipping up.

"Your mom let me in. It's been so long since I last saw her." She commented as we walked back into my room, and she threw herself onto my bed.

"Hey to you too," I replied, quickly picking up the pencils and sketchpad before she crushed them. "And yeah, she's going to be home more often though."

"That's good to hear." She smiled. I told her what my mom had informed me about switching shifts around and she rubbed my shoulder sympathetically. "Oh, sweetie. Your mom only does what she thinks is best for you."

"I know, its just frustrating because she's always tired and I hate seeing her like that."

"You guys will figure it out, you always do." She tugged on the shoulder she had been massaging comfortingly and we flopped onto our backs. She crossed her arms under her head and looked around, confused for a second. "Open the curtains, silly. The sun is still up." She made a move as if to get up and my eyes widened.

"No! I mean, no. Some people are moving into the house next door and there's some girl in the room opposite mines and I feel uncomfortable and awkward because it's too close for my liking and so I shut the curtains because it's weird." I explained in one quick breath. Madison gave me a weird look.

"Okay calm down, gosh. Just open it and talk to her, she might be perfectly nice." She suggested. That was obviously the normal thing to do, but I was terrible with new people and knowing my awkward ass, I'd probably do or say something awfully embarrassing.

"Whatever. Maybe some other time." I said offhandedly. Madison's face suddenly changed as if she remembered something, and she sat up with wide eyes.

"Oh, my God, guess what." She exclaimed, and I immediately knew we were back on this morning's topic. Here we go again. "So I was talking to Camila during last period and she mentioned that she had overhead Ayden talking about how he was hoping you would be at the party tomorrow!" When I continued to give her a flat stare, she sighed deeply.

"That clearly means he's into you." She continued, enunciating each word as if I was stupid.

"Mads, I already told you that I'm not into him." I replied, and she frowned.

"No, you said you didn't know if you liked him or not."

"Well, now I'm sure that I don't like him." I stated. She rolled her eyes and flopped back onto the bed.

"You should have said so before I went to all this trouble." She grumbled dramatically.

I laughed and scooted closer to her, resting my head on her thigh. "I'm very sorry for the inconvenience, your highness."

She flicked my forehead playfully and pulled her phone out of her pocket and began scrolling. "Does that mean you're still not coming tomorrow?" When I hummed as an answer she continued. "Oh come on! You always miss out on so much. Drawing dicks on Charlie's face when he's passed out absolutely smashed, Gray dancing like Obama on Ellen after he's had a few drinks. It's so much fun!"

"That does sound hilarious, but most of it is usually caught on camera so why would I bother going?" I argued. Maybe I was just lazy, but I rather stay in, set up a canvas and put on my apron.

She sighed. "Oh Talia."



The next morning when I went down for breakfast at noon, I found my mother in the kitchen chatting with some strange woman. Horrified, I immediately stopped in my tracks and became aware of my pajama shorts (emphasis on SHORT) and horrendous bed hair. Unfortunately, before I could turn around and escape, mom noticed my presence.

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