A/N: Omigosh, I am so sorry I've been away so long! I've had so much on, which I know is no excuse... Sorry! Anyway, here's a new chapter (been in the works for weeks, but I had a mental block, so I only finished it literally ten minutes ago. Hopefully I'll be updating again soon, things are losing the hectic-ness. I hope you like the update, and get in touch to tell me what you think - as I said last chapter, my plots often get adjusted if people give me suggestions as to how they'd continue. I'm only one person, and you guys always have such brilliant ideas!
Early morning sunlight shone through the windows of Cabin Groove, the dawn-light colouring the room with an orange tint. In each of the three beds there was a slumbering form, three girls still away in the land of dreams. A shrill ringing broke the peaceful air, all three girls immediately waking, sitting up in their beds. The chestnut haired girl leaned back against the headboard, breathing deeply. The girl with wavy, light brown hair sat forward, rubbing sleep out of her eyes. The raven haired girl swung her legs out of bed, sighing as she felt the mess of tangled curls her hair always became overnight. The three soon began their own morning rituals, Mitchie gaining the first bathroom slot, quickly emerging fully dressed and hair dripping. Caitlyn next, soon following suit. Arianna spent the time before her bathroom time picking out her own outfit for the day, as well as giving approval on the other girls' choices. Soon all the girls were showered, their hair dry and they all sat in front of the cabin's one large mirror, Caitlyn quickly sorting her own basic make-up, before following Mitchie's lead in allowing Arianna to add a few – subtle – touches. Arianna then dealt with her own make-up, carefully applying colour with the precision only the well practised can truly have. The door swung open, then closed. The three girls were gone.
"… so this Tess chica is a long term bitch?" Arianna asked, as the trio pushed open the doors to the kitchen. The scent of freshly baked goodies hit them, the sounds of the kitchen in full swing surrounded them.
A woman's voice broke the silence, calling out:
"Mitchie, honey? Caitlyn? Is that you?" Connie Torres came around the corner, before stopping dead, hand going to her heart as she recognised the third girl, "Oh my… Arianna? Little Arianna Richards? Look at you!"
"Mommy T!" the girl replied grinning widely. Connie quickly wrapped the young girl up in a hug, saying as she did:
"Sweetie, not that I'm not happy to see you, but why are you here?"
"I got your message, I came right away. I couldn't leave Mitchie to crash and burn."
"Arianna, I didn't mean for you to come racing down here!"
"Yeah, but I did. No harm done – the camp director even said I could stay!"
"Oh, sweetie, that's wonderful! Now, will you be helping us, or did you just come in my kitchen to give me a heart attack?"
Laughing, the three girls pulled on the blue cotton jackets that would protect their clothing, and began working, joking and messing around as they cooked.
Breakfast ready, Mitchie paused before the door through to the mess hall. Sure, everyone now knew who she really was, but did she really want to do this? Much as she hated to admit it, part of her was still ashamed that she was the outsider amongst all these seemingly perfect young lives. She knew that stepping through that door would just make things real, but at the same time, there was nothing left to deny now, no reason to pretend. Caitlyn also paused. She knew first hand how cruel these kids could be, especially when they believed they'd been fooled. That was how Tess Tyler operated: let everyone to think they'd been wronged – righteous anger was more powerful than created hate, every time – and then her victim would begin to believe that they were worthless, someone who hurt people just by being there.
Mitchie looked over at Arianna, wishing not for the first time that she had the authority the elder girl had always possessed. That was the way it had always been, Ari and Jay ready for anything, heads high and smiling no matter the situation. She wished she had Ari's unshakeable confidence and fearlessness, that smirk that would colour her innocent features, as if laughing at the threat. She missed Jay's easy, lop-sided smile at that moment, the way he'd just seem not to notice the trouble, the danger. The only exception being the unmentionable past… A sharp pang ran through Mitchie's heart, the thought of the boy, who'd been so strong, and how helpless he'd become.
"I miss Jay," she whispered, eyes shining with the tears the memories threatened to cause.
"Me too, so much," Arianna replied softly, eyes briefly shutting, before the same old smirk lit her face, saying, "But you know what he'd tell you right now? 'Head up, princess, time to face the losers, show 'em what you're made of!'"
"I'm made of lies, Ari, that's what I'll show them," Mitchie muttered sullenly.
"Unless biology is very, very wrong, that's not true," Caitlyn put in, half-grinning.
"And who cares what they think! They're losers, remember!" Ari laughed, "We agreed right? Last night? Face them head on? Ringing any bells? You slip out the back today, you'll never beat them."
Mitchie nodded, trying and succeeding to conjure up last night's strength. Ari's smirk grew as she saw the same abandoned smile adorn Mitchie's features, just like it had a thousand times before. Caitlyn grinned in answer, silently acknowledging that it was time. She and Ari both pushed on of the double doors open wide, glancing at the middle girl, before the three moved together into the room. Out of the frying pan, into the fire never had more meaning.