"You're late." I looked up as I walked into the Art room. Sean, Sam, Angie, and James were standing there, glaring at me. Instead of going to the Brew today, James went to go pick up some Chinese just so we could figure everything out for tomorrow.
"Sorry, I got held up." I took a seat beside Sam who in turn handed me a carton full of noodles and chicken. "Where are we?"
"Sean filled you in on everything this morning?" James asked. I nodded and smiled. "Good, because that's just about it. There's no way that we can figure out anything else about these people."
"Not even Clay?" I asked as I twirled a piece of noodle through my chopsticks. "Do we even know how many people attend this gala thing?"
"I asked my dad," Angie started. "The Roswell's are in attendance every year, they never miss. Clay is usually with his family, so we can expect something going on there. Mostly, this is just a very long list of Evermount graduates and their selfish children."
"You'll be there," Sean said.
Angie shrugged. "Who said I wasn't selfish sometimes?"
I smirked at the same time Sam stood up. "I know that you both have been having a hard time trying to find the perfect dress for this gala, but I think that I can help with this."
"Oh boy," Angie said under her breath.
Sam, ignoring her comment, pulled a magazine out of her backpack. "My aunt, for some odd reason, is coming into town tonight and she's staying with us and she's a designer."
"Aunt Stephanie?" I asked.
Sam smiled and nodded. "And she's very interested in bringing some gowns for you or she's interested in working out some of her gowns to fit you both. This is the best I got and it will be free."
"This is great," I said. She handed me the magazine and Angie came and stood behind me. "I didn't know that she was published."
"She's been doing a lot lately. She sent me this in the mail just last week. She was the featured designer and she said I could pick something I wanted for free and she would size it just right for me."
"Awe," Angie said. She placed a hand over her heart. "And instead of using that for your selfish needs, you decided that you wanted to gracefully give these dresses to Briana and myself."
"You're not the only selfish one." Sam pointed at a dress in the magazine. "That bad boy is mine so you can't have it."
"Selfish and has good taste." I laughed as Angie snatched the magazine and began to go through it. "When do we have to have our choice?"
"By the end of this lunch period." Angie glanced at Sam and Sam shrugged. "Sorry, okay, we are on a deadline here and she has to have enough time to add and take away. So circle your two favorites and put your initials by them before this period is over."
"I got first dibs." Angie went to her bag, pulled out a sharpie and smiled. "Sorry B."
"It's okay. There are many dresses to pick from so I think that I'll be fine."
Sean sighed and stood to throw his cart in the trash. "Girls and their tastes."
"Hey!" Angie pointed her sharpie at him. "Take that back." She sat against the teachers' desk and crossed her arms. "Dresses are nice when the occasion is right, okay?"
"Says you." Sean glared back at her. "A girl." Angie threw her fortune cookie at Sean and he smiled and caught it. "Such a girl."
Through their shenanigans, Sam leaned against me and I looked up at her. She had a concerned look on her face. "Something's wrong. It's either Mike or it's either the Cynthia thing or your new friend Ethan who you won't tell us about."
At Ethan's name, I had to look away. Even though I didn't cooperate in the kiss that he and I shared didn't mean that I didn't like it while it was happening. Something about him stirred something within me and now I'm realizing that it wasn't hate that I was feeling and that it had to be something else, something else that I could enjoy.
"Nothing's wrong." I looked at her and smiled. "This whole Cynthia thing has just got me into a weird place and I don't know how to deal with it right now. I'm just still figuring this out."
"Good thing you're not doing it alone." She smiled and grabbed my hand. "I'm here for you." She shrugged. "Even though you act like you don't need me sometimes, I know you do."
Angie stalked back over with the magazine and the sharpie and threw it in my lap. "I've circled mine. It's all yours B."
"So I'll show my aunt these designs," Sam said. She flipped through the magazine, but also tried to keep her eyes on the road. I looked over at her and raised an eyebrow. "I'm supposed to come and get you around 12..."
"Eyes on the road." I picked up the magazine and examined it. "Please, I need my life." She smirked and placed both of her hands on the wheel. "I'll even let you doll me up this time since I know you love it so much." She glanced at me and then smiled.
"Sounds like a plan to me. Just shower because sometimes you smell like Axton." I looked at her, mouth agape and she sighed. "Axton smells good sometimes, but everyone knows that you have a dog so you don't want to smell like him."
I rolled my eyes and sighed. "Fine." Her car began to slow down in front of my house. "I'll shower and Axton and his smell would be left behind."
She smirked. "Good. I'll see you tomorrow."
Getting out of the car, I waved my goodbye and walked my way up the sidewalk and to the front door. The mailbox was overflown with mail, so I made it my duty to pick out all the mail and take it inside with me.
I skipped through it all and noticed that there were many different bills that had yet to be paid and that also shocked me seeing as how my father was supposed to pay all these bill earlier this week.
"Dad." I kicked the door shut with my foot and walked towards the kitchen where my dad was sitting, hunched over a lot of paperwork. "Dad."
"Hey darling," he muttered without looking up. "How was school?"
"Good." I scanned through some more of the mail before I sat down at the barstool and looked over at him briefly. "I have all these bills in my hand that you said you had paid already."
"Set them down there." He never once moved his eyes from his paperwork.
I stopped going through the mail and I glared at him. "You're also never home."
"I'll get to that soon as well."
Clenching my jaw, I threw the mail down and he finally looked at me. "You're not even paying attention to me. It's been like this the whole week." He slowly put his pen down and gave me his undivided attention. I picked up the stack of mail and went through it. "Bill, bill, bill, overdue bill."
"You shouldn't be worrying your pretty little mind about adult business," he muttered.
"If I don't worry, who will because it's obviously not you."
My dad turned and looked at me. "I paid all the bills yesterday, I just didn't have time to check the mail since earlier this week so it seems as though they are piling up, but they aren't. I have my bank statement if you want to see where I went in and paid all the bills and the mortgage and my car payment." I slowly put the stack of mail down. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a lot of work to get through before tomorrow." And he turned from me and resumed his work.
I slowly stood from the seat and walked slowly back out of the kitchen. Before I could head upstairs, my phone rang and I answered it without looking at the caller id.
"Briana?" It was a slow and panicked voice.
She sighed and then there was some rustling in the background. When she spoke the next time, her voice was in a whisper. "I'm in my closet and I feel trapped and I don't know what to do."
I turned and walked towards my living room and held the phone closer to my ear. "Why are you in the closet talking to me?"
"He's here." I stopped cold in my tracks. "He's staying here until the gala tomorrow because he wants to spend quality time with Christian - my brother." She sucked up a few deep breaths. "I don't know what to do, I can't come out."
"Okay, um..." I sighed. "Stay calm." I looked around and bit the inside of my cheek. "Okay, Cynthia, I'm coming to get you. Stay in the closet and keep your phone on you. It shouldn't take me but ten minutes, but I'll be there."
"Okay, but please hurry."
I hung up the phone and looked past my living room into the kitchen, where my dad sat with his back still hunched. I slowly began my trek towards him. It would take me at least ten minutes to get to Rona from my house and I knew that she couldn't wait any longer than she had to. My dad was probably peeved at me, but I had to do something that would make him realize that this was something very serious to me.
"Dad." He looked over his shoulder briefly and then back at his work. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have jumped on you like that. I know that work has you under a lot of stress and I know I'm not making it any better for you."
"You're fine Briana," he muttered. "I know how you are. You worry and that's okay."
"Good." I sighed and tapped my finger against the wall. "That was Jolie, from the library. She wanted me to come in and talk with her for a minute and I was wondering if I could borrow your car for an hour or so?"
I waited and anticipated for this answer. "Sure. My keys are on the rack by the door."
9 minutes. It took me 9 minutes to get to Cynthia's house. The wraparound in front of her house was full of cars so I had to sit on the edge of the wraparound and run up to the house. The air was crisp. The first day of fall was a couple of days after the first football game so the air was beginning to settle from the heat to something else.
I knocked twice on the door and it was immediately answered and not by the maid this time. Standing before me was a guy who I had never seen before. His hair was brown and cut short and his eyes mimicked his brown hair.
"I'm Briana. I'm here to see Cynthia."
"I'm Cynthia's brother, Christian." The look he had on his face was stern. "You're no friend of hers that I've ever seen."
"Maybe that's a good thing," I muttered. I stared into his eyes and he smirked. "Anyway, can you let me pass because I need to get into the house so I can see her. We're having a girls' night."
"CiCi isn't here." I looked up as a bleach blonde dude appeared next to Christian and I knew exactly who he was. "I would know." And a smile appeared on his face and I wanted to wipe it off so badly.
I gulped and clenched my jaw. "She is here, so obviously you didn't know. She called me from here and we are having a girls' night. So move your ass."
I had to admit, I was scared. I was frightened because I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into right now. The way that these two were looking at me was as if I were a piece of meat that they wanted to pounce on at any minute and that thought alone scared the shit out of me.
Christian looked at Clay and then they both separated. "After you, your highness."
I stepped in fast and made my way up the spiral staircase. I stood outside Cynthia's door and slowly opened it. Her room was clean and her gown was neatly hung on a mannequin in the middle of her room. It was a nice, long black tulle dress with a sweetheart neckline. It was simple, but gorgeous. She was going to look amazing.
At the sound of my voice, a person emerged from the closet and I realized that it was Cynthia. She rushed over to me and immediately hugged me. Her grip was terribly tight and I knew that she was struggling with this whole thing.
I would never know what it was like. I would never know what it was like to be under the same roof as someone who had caused so much emotional and physical harm to me nor would I ever want to feel that way in the first place.
I wrapped my arms around her and she sighed into my chest. "Did you see him?" Her whole body shook in my arms.
"Yeah. I saw him." I sighed and she stood back to look at me. "You're going with me tonight and we can go to the gala tomorrow together."
"Okay." She turned and paced some. I raised an eyebrow and she turned to look at me. "Have you found a way to help me?"
I shrugged and looked away. "I don't know. I can't..."
"Do you have a plan?" She asked, walking closer to me.
I looked into her eyes and I knew that she needed this. "My friends and I-"
"No." She stopped me and I glared at her. "Amelia said that you were the best. She didn't say anything about your friends or your associates." She walked over to me slowly. "She said that you were the best. So please, tell me what your plans are."
"My plan was to have him tell the truth on his own and somehow get him convicted that way." She rolled her eyes and paced. "But my first plan was to get you to tell the police because I am just one girl and I can't handle something that's not my job to handle in the first place."
Cynthia stopped and looked at me. She crossed her arms and then ran a hand through her hair. Her face began to crumple and then she shed a few tears. "I can't go to the police."
I walked over to her and pointed. "Yes, you can. You have everyone on your side."
"I don't. I don't have everyone." I stopped and glared at her. "If I did, then I would have my father and my brother and they are not capable of being on my side when they are on each other's."
"Then you tell your mother." She stopped, mouth slant and arms crossed. "You have to tell her or none of this will even matter. You cannot continue to build on this. You are broken. I know it sounds harsh and I know you don't believe it, but you are and the healing process will start once you tell someone of authority who will listen because that's the only way I can help."
Cynthia clenched her jaw and then turned from me. She paced some more and I sighed loud and hard before she stopped and hung her head. "I'll tell her." She looked back at me. "But can it wait until after tomorrow?" I bit my lip. "Because I can't ruin her night."
"That's your call," I answered almost immediately. She glared at me. "But I'm here to help you so I'll do whatever you want me to do."
Cynthia nodded. "I'll pack a bag. Can you just get my dress?"
She turned from me and walked to the bathroom that was next to her room. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. There was just so much going on in my world at this moment and I didn't know that it could get worse and worse each day.
I walked over to the mannequin, unzipped her dress and slipped it over the mannequin head. I did so very slowly as not to tear or ruin her dress in any way. For some reason, this dress was probably the only good thing that was happening in her life at this moment.
Once Cynthia was finished getting her suitcase packed, she met me by the door and we walked out and down the stairs together. Standing at the edge of the staircase was Aiden Roswell. As if this day couldn't get any worse.
"Cynthia darling." His eyes settled on me and his fake smile began to wither. "Wilkens girl."
"Mr. Roswell," I shot back coldly. No one's feelings were getting spared tonight.
He turned his attention from me to Cynthia as we approached the ending of the stairs. He leaned over and kissed her cheek and she cringed and I wanted to throw up. "Where are you going? And why is your dress going with you?"
"I..." Cynthia looked over at me and I looked at her father.
"She's coming to spend the weekend with me." He didn't look at me. He continued to look at Cynthia and I could see him wanting to snap at her.
"She's staying here because we are going to the gala tomorrow night as a family."
"She's staying with me because she doesn't feel safe in this home, sir."
He shot his eyes at me and Cynthia looked over at me, pleading me with her eyes. Mr. Roswell approached me. "Who in your right mind do you think you are?"
"Honey." Aiden Roswell stopped in his tracks. Behind him stood a petite older lady with a white flared dress on. She smiled at me. "Cynthia have fun with your girls weekend." She looked at me and smiled. "Your father can spend one gala without you."
Cynthia smiled. "Thanks mom."
I glared at Mr. Roswell and he was already looking at me, peeved and wanting to kill me and I couldn't help but smile.
I won this battle.
"No one's ever stood up to my father like that." I looked at Cynthia as she sat in the passenger's seat of my dad's car. "No one has ever spoken to him like that."
"He deserved it." I shrugged. "He deserves more than that for not believing you when you told him about your situation." I sighed and turned down my street. "You deserve better than that."
We pulled into my driveway and I stopped and took a deep breath. She looked outside the window and smiled. "Your home is beautiful." I turned to speak, but at the same time she got out of the car. I got out at the same time she did. "It's really nice."
I opened the door to the backseat and she did as well. She grabbed her suitcase and I grabbed her dress, slowly so it didn't get caught on anything. I shut the car door and went around the car to meet her. We walked up my porch steps and I unlocked the door. Walking in, I realized that my dad wasn't at the kitchen table anymore.
I turned and looked at her. "Follow me." I began walking up the stairs and she followed me. I opened my room door and laid her dress neatly onto my bed, which was the only thing that was a mess.
Cynthia looked around my room, eyes opened. She turned her head to the side and I raised an eyebrow. "Sorry, don't mind me. I just have never seen a room this... fascinating."
I turned and glared around at my room. It kind of mimicked Sam's with the posters and stuff. It was a deep shade of maroon with black nightstands on each side. There was a little slit in the roof above my bed that made way for Christmas lights to hang down on a canopy. Above my bed's headboard were pictures that lined up across it and to the right of my bed, right beside my window was my dresser. In front of my bed was my vanity and beside my vanity was my TV. Then there was the door to my bathroom and beside the door was my closet, which was open and clothes were spilling out.
"Sorry. It's nothing like your gorgeous room.
She smiled. "I'm glad." She paced around som. "It's alive. Like someone has lived in it." Duh. She turned to me. "How long have you lived here?"
I sighed and paced. "Since I was three so like 14 years." I smirked. "It went through this whole phase where it was pink and I wanted boyband posters everywhere and it was so disgusting."
"Let me guess, you look like a Green Day kind of girl."
"And Coldplay. Let's not forget them." And then she laughed and it caught me off guard. She laughed wholeheartedly and it made me smile.
I could do this.
Miha: Thank you for your comment! I'm sorry that it took me forever. This chapter doesn't have much information, it's just a filler chapter, but I still hope that you enjoy it.
Butterfly: Awe! Thank you so so much!!