TWENTY-FOUR

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I was so happy when our plane touched down in LAX.

Not that it wasn't cool to be overseas, in Japan—but I was over it. The stress of losing my passport had genuinely ruined 95% of my fun... I only had a handful of good memories to hold onto.

Speaking of which...

As we were departing the plane, I looked over to Wesley and caught his eye. The two of us had acted normal ever since last night. By normal, I mean nothing dramatic had chanced in our routine. Maybe a little more eye contact, and a moment of hand holding, but otherwise, we were keeping it chill.

The boys, on the other hand, were doing their absolute best to not let us live it down after our awkward exit from the bathroom last night. I was glad to be walking through the airport, on our way to collect our bags and get back home—back to the privacy of my own room.

Unfortunately, life had other plans.

After a long wait to go through security, get our bags, and get out of the airport, I'd never been readier to collapse in Wesley's car. But we'd taken two steps towards the parking lot when a sudden swarm of people surrounded us with cameras and microphones.

"Wren, do you deny the accusations?"

I blinked.

"Will you be meeting with Audrey Bloom in court?"

What?

I was suddenly moved to the side by a swift hand, sweeping me through the crowd.

"Wren won't be answering questions," a curt voice said, but that only seemed to rile the crowd up more. I looked up at the strange man, who I didn't recognize in the slightest. His hair was starting to grey, and he wore black shades as well as a tailored suit. I frowned.

"This way," he said in a low voice, guiding me away. Wesley followed, his expression just as puzzled, and the other boys did their best to keep up as the crowd pursued.

"What is going on? Who are you?" I asked frantically. We were being steered towards a black car.

"I'm getting you away from the media. You've made quite the impression in your absence, Miss Robinson."

"How do you know me?" I snapped. He gave me a coy look.

"Who doesn't know you now?" we held gazes for a moment, until finally he sighed. "I'm George. I work for your father. He's here—and he wants to talk to you."

I froze. I then eyed the car, which had tinted windows.

"Here?" I breathed, suddenly feeling very faint and sick.

"Not here here—he's back at your house. It's a long story. I'll explain on the way," George promised. I grimaced. It seemed kind of shady... but my dad was head of a law firm. And the words accusations and court that the media kept shouting were starting to click.

I turned to Wesley.

"I'll see you at home," I said, knowing he needed to take his own car. He nodded, and we parted ways. I then opened the car door and quickly got in, eager to get away from all the damn cameras.

What I wasn't expecting was to find someone in the car with me. My eyes widened.

"Daniel?"

***

The car was nearly at my house—rolling through the neighborhood, but my focus was elsewhere.

"So...you're telling me you figured out where I was living from seeing my video go viral, and then emailing Connor and asked permission on behalf of my dad to fly you both out here?" I summarized.

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