Ch. 1

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I knew I shouldn't have taken her seriously. But still, she was persuasive. Annoyingly so.

If there was one thing I could congratulate Olivia, my dear sister, on then it would be her persistence. She never gave up on an idea, even when it was obviously a bad one. I admit some of her ideas were fairly good. Visiting the new ceramics studio in town was one of them. The 'Clay Cafe' was a very quiet place. The only sounds that could be heard were the whirls of turntables, squishes of wet clay and squeals of kids who couldn't quite get a grip on their clay.

Me, Olivia and Sidney weren't doing so well, but it was fun either way.

It was especially fun watching Sidney struggle. She had smudges of dark grey on the tops of her cheeks and her chin, but she stayed focused on the misshapen mess of clay on her turntable. She nodded to whatever Olivia said, but wasn't paying attention to it. I shook my head, alternating between listening to Olivia ramble about Beth Slate's party tomorrow, and pouring pints of water over my drying clay mold of what should have been a cup.

"It would be fun if we went..." was Olivia's argument as she kneaded her clay lump roughly.

Increasing the speed of my turntable, foot pedaling away, I gave her a wry smile. I couldn't undermine her when she had that look in her eyes. It was one that told me I had no choice but to follow her on this. Yet, I tried either way.

"Your idea of fun is very different to ours," I mumbled, cupping my clay as it continued to spin. "Party crashing isn't cool or fun no matter what."

It was common knowledge that Beth and Olivia had a mutual dislike for each other. Beth didn't like people who challenged her authority and Olivia didn't like people who thought they were better than her. I couldn't blame either of them. They had similar personalities, so it was only natural that some spark of conflict would be ignited whenever they got close.

"It's not party crashing," Olivia claimed while slamming her fist into the clay. "Sidney was invited."

At the sound of her name, Sidney raised her head from her work to give us a dubious look. "What about me?"

Olivia huffed and slammed her fist once more into the clay blob. This time, a lot more forcefully. Little clay pieces splattered on her face as a result. I winced at the impact. She really didn't like being ignored.

"Beth Slate's party. " I quickly provided before my sister could burst into a rant. "Olivia wants us to go."

Sidney nodded, pushing back a blonde curl that fell over her smudged forehead, with the back of her hand.

"Oh, she invited the entire girls' soccer team to that." She gave her clay a sigh before turning to me with a smile. "She told me that you're welcomed to join, Riley."

My brows raised in surprise at her statement and I could feel Olivia roll her eyes next to me. Even in middle school, I never knew how Beth felt about me. She was a confusing person. Cold at times, but warm and friendly at others. Her emotions were as complex as a 10 000 piece puzzle. So, I decided that she just tolerated me enough to show sudden moments of civility.

She liked Sidney by default because they were on the same soccer team for two years now. That was just the way Beth worked.

"Why me?" I finally asked.

"I don't know what goes on in her head." She shrugged. "And I'm not sure what she'll say if she sees you there, Olivia."

"Trust me," Olivia gave us a wide smile. "she wouldn't care if I showed up."

"How do you know?" Sidney inquired.

"Because I'm always with you guys," Olivia claimed to like it was the most obvious thing in the world. "Beth knows you can't break up a group. She knows you guys wouldn't go anywhere without me. Just like she wouldn't go anywhere without her minions."

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