PART 2, SECTION 7

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Shawn was always at home if he wasn't working.

I tried not to panic. I'd been so apprehensive about confronting him that I'd just assumed he'd be there.

I got back into my car and drove straight to Ian and Danielle's house, which was only a couple of miles past ours.

But there were no lights on at their place either. Their door was locked too, and when I knocked I was met only with a deep, disquieting silence.

I suddenly regretted not making Morgan come home with me. I don't think I'd ever felt more alone. The sky was perfectly clear and moonless, and all of the stars shined down on me icily as I walked back to my little car.

My parents' house was my last bet. I tried not to think about the possibility of finding their place abandoned and silent too.

I drove all the way back up the highway, still not passing a single car.

I turned off the road and drove under the big Travis Ranch sign spanning the dirt road. I'd always thought the sign was so tacky and worn out, but now I found it mildly comforting in the dark of night.

The old farmhouse I grew up in sits just over a low rise. When I followed the road up the hillside, the house's upstairs windows became visible first. None of them were lit. I braced myself.

But as I reached the top of the rise, I could see vehicles crowding my parents' driveway. The front porch light was on. Shawn's truck was there, and so was Ian's SUV.

I'd never been so happy to be home. I sped down the driveway and pulled up behind my dad's hay truck.

Then I remembered Haley, and what had happened last night.

What if everyone had gathered here at my mom and dad's because it really had been Haley who'd been attacked at the fair? What if she'd been hurt, or worse? And what if while all this had gone on while I'd been out partying, sleeping around with who knew who, and out of reach all day?

I knew I was probably overreacting, but I ran up the steps and threw open the front door. I burst through the entryway.

The first thing I saw was Haley, lying at the bottom of the staircase.

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Please VOTE 🌟 before continuing! Thanks! ;)  xxBailey

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