Chapter 3

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"What the

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"What the..."

I acted quickly, throwing a glass of water from my bedside over the curtains. The flames grew, unharmed.

I grabbed the comforter from the end of my bed and threw it over the singed material in alarm. It took a moment for the fire to react to the lack of oxygen, but finally, the flames were smothered. In the absence of my panic, the room was still, the only sound my laboured breathing.

I sniffed the air, and the putrid trench of burning material filled my nostrils. If my dad didn't see the curtains, he would definitely smell what remained of them.

In a panic, I threw open the bedroom window, but I knew it would be a slow process to air out the room. I reached for the bottle of perfume on my dressing table and sprayed the air around the curtains once, twice, three times, until I eventually lost count.

I took a hesitant whiff of the air. My bedroom now smelled like I'd bathed in Miss Dior, by Dior, but it was better than the alternative.

It was lucky that my bedroom was at the back of the house where the reporters couldn't see, or smell, what had occurred. At least, I hoped that was the case.

I glanced toward the cake with suspicion. What was on those candles? Vodka? That never happened with the candles Liam gave me. That never happened full stop. Unless I'd somehow been teleported into a blockbuster.

I knew Liam wouldn't purposefully give me a death-trap for my birthday, and the package had been sealed. I grabbed the plastic wrapper they'd been encased in, searching the label for the company that made them. Taking my phone out of my back pocket, I googled it and searched for recall notices.

I found nothing. No one had a similar experience.

My panic grew. I yanked the candles out of the cake, broke them in half, and tossed them across the room.

"Olivia, Sweetie. Are you alright? It sounded like a stampede up there!"

I ran to my bedroom door before Dad could open it and rejoiced when the lock slid into place.

"Yeah Dad. I just tripped when I was getting changed," I lied, panting against the door.

My father's voice was suspicious when he replied. "Are you sure Liv? It sounded like you were running around up... wait."

He sniffed the air.

"Liv, is something burning in there?"

I forgot to breath.

"Yeah, sorry. I was curling my hair, and I left it on too long. It's just a bit singed, that's all."

He released a heavy breath, and I could feel his disappointment through the door.

"Olivia, you need to be more careful. What if that had caused a house fire?"

"I know, Dad," I replied, silently begging him to leave. I couldn't let him see the curtains − he would know that I had candles in the house. Mum would be furious. "I promise to be more careful, I was just being clumsy."

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