There she is again, all wrapped up in pretty clothes and shiny ribbons once again. It's the perfect disguise for what a mess she is inside.
If Dani didn't want to help, she shouldn't have agreed to. Her one job was to talk to Caitlyn and report back - something I thought would be nice and easy for her seeing as Caitlyn is a close friend of hers. That's all she had to do, but of course she had to go and ruin any chance she had of remembering any details.
When Dani told me she was going to Lexi's party with Caitlyn to see if she'd open up, I thought it was a great idea. The day was going to be productive for all of us. Kel would ask around her physics class in the morning, and then distract the supervising staff near Lola's locker so Mara could break in and search it. Zig was going to talk to Jacob at AFL practice that afternoon. I visited Lola's family, and Dani was to probe Caitlyn at the party.
A party. Surely there wouldn't be an easier task to fulfill than attending a party and talking to a friend. But somehow, Dani managed to forget about us and forget about Lola for the sake of getting hammered and dancing on tables.
I never saw Dani as the party-girl type. I guess I should have realised, seeing as she tagged along with Caitlyn and Lola who were pretty full-on drinkers. Social media was always littered with pictures of the three of them at parties together, but Dani always seemed to retain her composure, one thing about her that I had admiration for. Caitlyn always had some sort of fruity concoction in hand as she took centre-stage in every photograph. Dani would be smiling on the side, happy but sober. Lola used to drink whiskey, but you'd never see it in a picture. I once asked her why, and she told me that nothing can screw up a future career more than a questionable photo online. Lola had fun, but she never stopped being smart.
But now, Dani seems to have taken things up a notch. Logic tells me that I shouldn't care, but I can't help feeling furious. What if Caitlyn let onto something important that night, and Dani completely forgot? Lola is important - too important to be forgotten.
The door creaks open as Kel and Dani step inside with Kel leading the way. Kel sits next to me on the couch, and Dani sinks into a beanbag on the floor. They are the first to arrive. Kel gives me a tight-lipped smile, and I wonder what's troubling her. She's seemed off since I've been talking to her. Mara and Zig were both busy this morning, so I turned to Kel about the horrendous photos of Dani that surfaced online.
Usually, Kel is a champion at angry ranting. But today, she seemed distant. All the responses were one or two words long, and the conversation died quickly. After we discuss all the important matters with the others, I'll have to ask her about it.
The silence is highly uncomfortable, so I clap my hands to interrupt it. ''So, how did we all go?''
Kel is first to speak, as Dani sinks deeper into her beanbag. ''Nothing that interesting came up really. Class was pretty full on yesterday so I didn't have time to talk to people for long, but there were certainly a range of opinions on her."
I lean in, intrigued. "Like what?"
"You know, the usual. Some people thought she was smart, funny and kind. Some thought she was a poser leeching off Caitlyn for popularity. Some thought she was intimidating and never spoke to her."
The thought of people judging Lola for her difficult friendship situation makes my blood boil. "Talk about judgmental."
I hear a loud cough coming from the vicinity of Dani's beanbag and I look over. "Problem?"
She sits up straight, emerging from the beanbag. "I just think it's incredible how positively hypocritical you are."
Out of the corner of my eye, I see the corner of Kel's mouth twitch. "Excuse me? I think I knew Lola better than a bunch of idiots who just wrote her off as some empty vessel who only cared about herself."
YOU ARE READING
LolaMystery / Thriller
Dani Chapman is the only friend of Lola Bailey who speaks at her funeral. Cameron Keyes is furious. Both claim to have lost their best friend, and neither are satisfied with the explanation of her death. Their plan is simple - find out what really h...