Chapter Fourteen

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Bitches Get Stitches

'Why aren't you dressed?' Eden looks from me to Ellie, eyes wide. 'Ellie, why isn't she dressed?'

From the floor, legs tucked under her arms, Ellie shrugs and glances up at me through her lashes. She watches me for a second, cocooned pathetically in my blankets, before thinking better and turning back to her hand-mirror, steadily applying eyeliner.

She's already tried to get me ready, but clearly it didn't work. I watch as the black ink glides across her upper lid, sleek and polished in a way I could only dream of replicating.

Eden, on the other hand, stands in the middle of my room, towering above us both. Her arms are crossed as she stares me down, face impassive as those ocean eyes glare at me like daggers.

I find it hard to meet them, deciding to look away and watch my fingers fiddle with a stray thread peeling from my blanket instead.

Outside, night has fallen. Drops of rain splatter against my window and an amber glow from streetlights shines through the darkness, drooping lazily into my room.

Fairy-lights flicker above my desk, pink and white as they cast a glimmer across Eden's pale face. The sight is a comical contrast against those pursed lips and knitted brows, but even that can't make me smile.

'I'm not going,' I mutter under my breath, shuffling in the blankets as a perfectly shaped brow raises.

Eden's a master at the eyebrow arch, and can raise both on their own at different times. In that aspect, she's just like my Mum. My eyebrows, on the other hand, don't function independently – they either rise in a misguided fashion or don't move at all.

I clench my fist, determined to not let her get to me. 'We've got a lot of work and –'

'– And what?' she interrupts. 'You're just going to miss out on this opportunity to not only have fun, but to also see what Mara's really like?'

When I don't answer, Eden lurches forward and grabs at my blankets. At the attack, cold air washes over my bare skin and I look up, glaring. She grins, folding the corners into a neat little pile at the end of my bed.

'Come on, Haley. It's nearly eight and we're going to be late. What are you wearing?' She opens my wardrobe, pulling out Daisy's dress with a glimmer in her eyes. 'This one's cute. Oh, you have a red dress!'

I grit my teeth, crawling across the mattress to reach back at the blankets. I pull them across my lap and look at her, leaning back comfortably in bed, where I intend to stay.

'Like I said, I'm not going.'

Eden freezes, turning slowly to meet my eyes. 'And why is that, may I ask? Earlier you were excited for this.'

A pair of green eyes flash in my mind, but I push them and their memories away.

'I'm tired,' I reply, smothering the guilt that rises in my stomach. I don't want to lie to her, but I'm not sure I'm ready to tell her about what happened. I haven't even processed it myself yet, it's still a wild blur in my mind. 'We've got a lot of work and –'

'– No. Don't use work as an excuse. The weekend is coming up and we've got a bunch of time.' She looks at Ellie, whose hair falls like pirouettes across her shoulders, bunched up like a wild flame. 'Elle, what's happened to Haley? Why's she acting like a hermit crab?'

Ellie, amusement flickering in her eyes, slides me a look.

'No idea,' she says. 'I arrived at seven but she's not moved from bed since. And trust me, I've tried.'

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