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 IT WAS ONLY A QUARTER AFTER MIDNIGHT and there were already a bunch of teenagers crowding up the entrance of Jake's party.

I was feeling pretty confident about our riding session, jam packed with information that would surely help me win. While we were training, Kalama sat behind me to help with the controls, but for the most part, I didn't really need his help.

He congratulated me as we parked his cycle next to Jake's garage.

"So," I made a pop sound with my lips as I smacked them together. "How are we going to make this a competition?" He looked at me, furrowing his eyebrows as if he wanted me to expand on what I was saying. We already made a plan, but I wasn't sure it'd get the attention of Thayer. "I mean, how are we going to make sure everyone hears about it?"

"When I challenge Jake to a race, he'll want everyone to watch. We just have to make sure you challenge me after I win." He said it with ease and certainty.

"Will that be convincing enough?" I asked, intertwining my fingertips.

"I don't know," he shrugged and pursed his lips. "I guess we'll just have to find out." Kalama opened Jake's front door..

As soon as we walked into his house, we were hit with a bunch of swarming bodies and the music was significantly louder than before. People were dancing with black plastic cups in their hands, others were leaning against the wall talking. Some people even stood on the steps of the entryway to chat with others, keeping their distance from the sea of people in the house.

There were a bunch of flashing lights changing colors every two seconds, as if they were coordinated to the pop music blaring through the speakers, and I could hear people shouting "drink, drink, drink," from around the corner.

"This looks fun," I sarcastically yelled over the music.

"You're gonna have to give me time," Kalama shouted back towards me. "I don't know how I'm going to insert a motorcycle race into a conversation. You should find Liz and prep on how you'll challenge me to a duel."

"Okay," I raised my voice even louder. "She's hates being called Liz by the way." He shrugged towards me.

"It's habit." He looked around the main entrance. "You'll know when it's happening."

"Are you sure?"

"Trust me," he paused as we entered the room we were eating in earlier, trying to find the location of Jake. "When we race, he's going to want the whole party to watch. He'll like the attention." He spotted him in the crowd. Jake was talking with the new guy Timothy from whom I met earlier and he looked unenthused. "See ya later Arya."

Kalama started pushing his way through the crowd of dancing, sweat-covered bodies jamming out to the song as I pulled my phone out of my pocket to ask Beth for her location.

Walking towards the kitchen, I grabbed one of the waters off the table. I wanted to start the race as soon as possible because I knew that if I waited any longer, I'd want to back out of it. I also wanted to find Elizabeth, so we could talk about how I'd challenge Kalama. I wasn't sure how I was going to, but I needed to sound confident that I'd win. I needed to impress Thayer.

Untwisting the cap, I took a drink of it. It felt cold against my chest. Someone grabbed a water and stood next to me, uncapping their own. "This party sucks, right?" he asked.

I wasn't sure why he started a conversation with me, because I probably didn't look too sociable just standing by the counter drinking water by myself, but I could feel his eyes looking down on me and I knew it would be rude if I didn't say something back.

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