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1.9 Parker

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PARKER

All the way to the car, Lizzie and I were reduced to children. No. Less than children. We were Camille's wild dogs that she snapped "no" at and clapped at to get our attention because we were too busy snarling at each other to follow our master. She sat us both in the backseat, where all children deserved to sit. My clothes clung to my body. Water trickled from the top of my head into my mouth and I knew my mascara had run down my cheeks like I was the second to last contestant on the Bachelor and tried to steal the last rose from the winner before being escorted out by security. Lizzie and I looked like animals left out in the rain.

"I can't take it anymore," Camille bellowed, tightening her grip around the steering wheel. No music played. The windows were shut tight. The heaters were blasting, becoming miniature hair dryers to keep us from dying from pneumonia. However, a slow weakening death might be better than the drawn-out excruciating pain of dying from embarrassment.

Camille shook her head, glaring at us from the rear-view mirror. If anyone was more done than Camille, they'd just be straight-up dead. She zoomed through the neighborhood, past dozens of houses that looked the exact same. "I can't keep babysitting you and expecting you to not kill each other-"

"She started it!" Lizzie cried.

"I was upset!" I snapped, feeling the itch in the back of my head return. With her, these feelings festered inside of me like maggots in rotted wood. "Emily just broke up with me again-" The hurt was still fresh, and I wanted to spend the remainder of the night rocking myself in the fetal position.

"I didn't know! I didn't know!"

Camille rolled her eyes, but once we started going, there was no stopping us. We were two people in the middle of a forest fire, splashing gallons of gasoline at each other. "God!" I huffed and tried to squeeze the water out of my hair like a wet rag. "The category of people who are attracted to you must be the smallest faction in history."

"Oh, I'm sorry." Lizzie raised a hand, her voice gritty. "Give me a second to process this, I didn't realize I was in the presence of perfection."

"Why are all your insults compliments?"

"It was sarcasm! And it's not my fault your dates can't handle five minutes being around the real you-"

My face grew hot, but before I could whip my own "comeuppance" sandwich and stuff it in her big fat mouth, Camille snorted. She laughed high and pitchy and I took it like a slap with her underhand. "You know, Lizzie, that's not actually too far off."

"Camille!" I gasped, aghast that she'd dare pick Lizzie's side. Camille never picked sides at all. She usually just stood to the side as referee, blowing the whistle and dealing out yellow cards. For her to join in the fight, it was unprecedented. We did it. Lizzie and I finally broke Camille.

"Oh, don't Camille me! What's your longest relationship? A week? Oh, sorry I didn't mean to confuse you with Lizzie. Parker, you can last two weeks, right? You can point out each other's flaws until your face turns blue, but that doesn't mean either of you is going to change. Ever. You two never even try to be better. You both just stay in this realm of mediocrity and think you're satisfied, but I know you're not. You're miserable- God." She rolled her eyes. "Why the fuck am I even bothering? You two would never last long enough to go for it."

"That's not true." Lizzie sat up. She grabbed the driver seat, trying to creep into Camille's vision. "I'd try! And I'd last longer than two weeks."

I jumped up too. "I could last a month!"

"Fine!" Camille roared and slammed her breaks at the stop sign. I rammed my nose into Camille's upholstery and my face pounded as my back hit the backseat again. Camille whipped her head around, barking at us. If someone could spit fire, Camille was coming close.

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