Prologue

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Liam's house is in complete chaos. Of course, that is how he likes it most of the time. It is Christmas Eve tonight, and that reason alone is enough for him to throw a huge party and invite practically everyone from school.

The walls are pumping with music, and there are sweaty people everywhere. Most are clutching a sparkly green or red cup which no doubt contain an alcoholic drink of some sort. People are grinding and groping each other very openly. I suppose they think they are dancing, but it looks more like physical flirting and rounds of jumping jacks to be honest.

Somebody bumps into me and I stumble back a few steps. They don't even bother with an apology, and so after a few more moments of jostling from the writhing mob, I begin to edge away towards the side of the room. Combing the crowd for Liam like some lost kitten seems a little dangerous, so I resort to just scanning the room for him against a wall, a safe distance away from the mass of supposedly Christmas theme clothed bodies.

Being here does not feel right. I would much prefer to stay back home, where no one is able to point out at me when they see me, or shoot me daggers with their eyes. Because that is exactly what people are doing now. Being slightly more than friends with one of the most popular boys in school has a way of drawing a lot of unwanted and hostile attention towards you. Especially when half your grade didn't know about your existence until your name practically popped up over the walls of social media like some unwanted virus.

I had texted Liam earlier on, telling him that I was coming. It had only been to bring him his Christmas present of course, but I had wanted that to be a surprise. His reply had not exactly been enthusiastic.

A sudden thought makes my insides tighten. What if he isn't even here? What if he decided that the party was somehow too boring and eloped somewhere with his friends? But that can't be true, because even as these thoughts cross my mind I see Shane standing a few feet away from me with a fluffy looking Christmas hat nestled in his hair.

He is the golden boy of our school, and one of Liam's closest friends as well. Popular, handsome and devilishly charming, girls flock to him like children to the stack of presents beneath the Christmas tree, even knowing that he has a girlfriend. He is actually very nice as well, something I had found out when Liam had introduced me to him, as well as the rest of the populars.

Shane's eyes meet mine, but his returning smile seems a little forced. I want to ask him if anything is wrong, but he is surrounded by a gaggle of ditzy, giggling females.

He tries to step away from them, mumbling some kind of excuse with a gentle smile gracing his lips, but a girl with way too much eyeliner around her eyes ropes an arm around his waist and the rest of them combine efforts and squash him in their mass of bodies.

One of them spots me and sends a heart stopping glare my way, as if warning me to back off. She turns her attention back onto Shane and continues to shamelessly flirt and bat her eyelashes in an attractive kind of way which I will never have the courage to attempt.

"Arden?"

I would know that voice from anywhere. It is the voice which forms echoes of words in my mind before I fall asleep, the voice which makes me laugh, smile, feel and tell myself how lucky I am to have what I have now. I turn around and my breath catches in my throat when I see him.

"Hey," I breathe out.

Liam looks stunning today, as always. With his tousled dark brown hair and vibrant blue eyes, he can practically get any girl he wants, but he chose me. I can already feel the beginnings of a blush starting to fan my cheeks, and he smirks at this. He loves the effect he has on me, how he can make me forget what I am about to say with just one look or a touch.

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