TWENTY

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The next morning it was a struggle to get up.

Kara ripped the sheets off of me and whisked me into the bathroom to get ready, but I was still half asleep, my eyes drooping. I spent at least five minutes dozing off while trying to brush my teeth. I was leaning into the shower glass, toothpaste slowly dribbling down my chin, when Kara whipped the door open and told me to hurry up because our taxi was here.

I pulled on my clothes and raced down to the elevator on Kara's heels, sporting what I hoped would come across as a messy hair look.

Though, I was in Japan— and considering their Harajuku fashion culture, I'm sure my bedhead looked relatively mild in comparison.

Lana barely looked at me when we met up with her, so I didn't have to worry about her sneering at me so early in the morning. Still, I couldn't stop raking my fingers through my hair as we rode the elevator down.

Audrey was already in the lobby, checking us out. When she turned to us, she spotted me, and came clicking over in her heels.

"Wren, honey, are you feeling any better today?" she asked soothingly. I swallowed hard and nodded, barely able to look her in the eye.

"Yeah. Thankyou," I replied. She gave me a small smile.

"I've got some aspirin if you need it— you can take some on the plane, okay?"

I nodded again, guilt twisting in my gut as how nice she was being to me. We were waiting on Nathan, who was taking a million years to get down here.

"He said he was almost finished in the shower when I left," Lana said finally, looking up from her phone. She sighed impatiently, tapping her foot. "I knew he was going to hold us up."

"I'll go get him," Kara said finally, nodding to Audrey. "We'll get another taxi—you guys take the one waiting before it leaves."

Audrey nodded, gesturing for the rest of us to follow her out the doors and down to the street, where our taxi was waiting. We all clambered into it.

Unlike when we'd first arrived and caught the train, we would be going straight to the airport in the taxi. It was still dark out— but the dim, twinkling lights of Tokyo city made the forthcoming sunrise more noticeable.

I thought about Wesley and Kurt with that video footage. I thought about telling Audrey I was quitting, and that video coming out, and everybody realizing the truth. Everybody turning on me.

I thought about my parents, and what they would think. I didn't know how big this scandal would get, whether it would reach their ears in Princeton... but if Nathan's confession got out on top of everything? It would be hellfire for Audrey's company.

What if the media painted me as the girl who singlehandedly took down LA Beauty?

I cringed.

I couldn't.

It was one thing to get on camera for the first time and envision an audience of thousands watching it. But it was another thing to be the face of a much bigger, much more serious public scandal.

If I could leak that video anonymously, and somehow cover up any and all suspicions of my involvement? That would make things so much easier.

We finally arrived at the airport just as the sun was starting to paint the sky orange. We all climbed out of the taxi and gathered our bags on the sidewalk. It didn't take long for Nathan and Kara to pull up and get out too.

Once we were all reunited, we headed into the airport and went to the baggage check-in. Lana grabbed Nathan and pulled him in front of me, clearly cutting me off so that she could check in first. Audrey and Kara stood by the other available baggage check in, pulling out their passports and printing their boarding passes. I bit my tongue, glaring at Lana's back for her rudeness, but pushed the anger down and reached into my bag to get my own passport out and ready. There was so much stuff in my bag that I couldn't find it, and it wasn't in it's usual pocket.

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