Amazing. She has slept nearly the whole day yesterday and yet she was still sleepy. Amelia cupped her right hand over her mouth as a huge yawn over took her. Then she sneezed.
Maybe she was coming down with something?
Shivering right down to her boots, she snuggled into her scarf, pulled her arms tight around herself and remembered the warm, sunny days of summer. The best of them, when Andy would drive them down to the beach. Amelia would lay back on the passenger side, the seat reclined all the way back, the window wide open and her feet—toe nails painted a perfect bubble gum pink—up on the dashboard, as the sweet, sultry summer air blew over her. Those were perfect days.
She hated it when Andy was late. Worse, she hated it when Andy was late on one of those rare L.A. cold days. Normally she loved the weather—because normally the weather was sunny and bright. But, alas, even California had to pretend it was winter for a few days in February. Still, Amelia hated it.
Suddenly, and loudly, a small, black Honda rounded the corner so sharply Amelia was sure it balanced on two wheels for a split second. She cringed back from the side walk as the car screeched to a halt in front of her.
"OMG!" Andy yelled out at her, leaning across the seats so she could see Amelia. "Get in! I have the biggest news! You are going to die! And then come back to life and then die again!"
"Are you threating me?" Amelia asked as she pulled the passenger door open and climbed into her friend's car. "And by the way, you really shouldn't drive like--"
"Shut up, shut up!" Andy jumped up and down in her seat. "Just give me a minute before you lecture me, because you are going to be so grateful I rushed this news to you."
"Alright, kill me then."
"Gabriel broke up with Stephanie last night."
And then Amelia died. No, wait. She just thought she did.
Andy grinned like a lunatic. "EEE! He broke up with her! Everyone is talking, er, texting about it! Here!" She shoved her cell phone at Amelia's face. There, in plain type, was what Andy has just told her.
OMG! Gabriel Santa Maria—yes, the Tennis Team captain—broke up
with his girlfriend of two years, Stephanie Douglas! Looks like
the new semester is starting out with a bang! Pass it on!
"Who sent you this?"Amelia stared at the message, her heart fluttering and her stomach dropping.
"Oh, does it matter? I got like five of them last night—you know, from the Student Council people. Point is, it's true!"
She looked at Amelia expectantly.
"I knew there had to be a good reason for you to actually say, 'OMG' out loud like that. I'm just glad it not dementia. Now can you drive, we're late for school." Amelia snapped her seat belt into place and looked out the window.
Andy glared at her. "Oh, no! Don't even pretend like you don't care. I know you've been in love with Gabriel since 8th grade. I drove like a maniac just to see the look on your face and you act like nothing just happened. You should be thrilled!" She practically screamed the last part, her face having gone very red.
Amelia stared at her friend with wide eyes and was suddenly very grateful there were no sharp pointy objects in the car. "Um, I-"
"No, forget it!" Andy snapped her own seat belt and turned on the car.
"Andy, wait. Look, OK, I like him. But so what, he doesn't know I exist, and that fact that he broke up with Stephanie doesn't change that. Besides, she's really nice; I've never actually been able to hate her." It was true, no matter how great her longing to be Gabriel's girlfriend, she had always kind of thought that if she couldn't have him, then Stephanie was the next best thing. She had a deep respect for a girl who was that pretty and that popular, and still managed not to be a total bitch.
"Oh, shut up and drink your Starbucks." Andy held up a cup of steaming coffee. "I thought we might celebrate with a little Hazelnut goodness but I see was mistaken about that too."
"Ah!" Amelia exclaimed, wrapping her cold fingers around the warm cup. "I love you, and your knowledge of all that is Amelia!" She held the cup up to her nose and smelled the rich scent.
"Yeah, yeah. So much for my knowledge, apparently I know nothing about who you really love or like." She pulled out with a little too much rev action and Amelia decided it was best if she smoothed out this mess.
"Fine, look. I really am glad they broke up,--ok, not just glad, am willing to go so far as 'happy'-- but I don't want to celebrate it; they were together for more than two years! Something like this has to be horrible on Gabriel. He is really sensitive." She all but sighed the last sentence.
Andy turned to smirk at her. "Now, that is more like it."
"Ah!" Amelia put her hands on her head and squeezed her eyes shut. "I don't know who to feel! Part of me is so happy I could dance! But another part—a more rational part, I bet—feels horrible for how that other part wants to celebrate!"
Andy gave her a look that said, you are insane, woman. "If you ask me, you have too many parts talking at the same time. Just listen to the one who wants to dance. Dance, and I will dance with you."
Amelia took a sip of her coffee and then shook her head. "No, no. I don't want to be that kind of girl. I just want him to be happy, it's what keeps me content."
Speeding up to make a yellow light, Andy talked to her with out turning around. "Yeah, well, I'm willing to bet my beloved Hello Kitty sticker collection on the fact that he is not happy right now. And if he isn't, then I don't see why you can't try to make him happier."
"Agh! He doesn't know I am alive, Andrea!" She tried to keep the sob out of her voice, but failed.
"We can change that." To Amelia's complete horror, Andy looked totally serious
Gabriel Santa Maria stared at his locker number. But that wasn't what he saw. What he saw was the shock and horror that had filled Stephanie's face when she pulled the pictures out of the envelop he had given her. The same pictures he had seen only hours before. He saw the tears fill her eyes as she looked up at him imploringly.
That had been the worst part.
That he had felt sorry for her, after she had betrayed him. What kind of an idiot was he?
Disgusted with himself, he pulled out the rest of his things from the locker and stuffed them into the plastic bag he had brought for that purpose.
To hell with all of this.
To hell with Stephanie.
To hell with--
"Hey, man, you Ok?"
Gabriel looked up to see his 'best friend' leaning against a row of lockers, a look of concern on his face. He couldn't help it, before he knew what he was doing he had grabbed Mike by his shirt and had him slammed against a the lockers.
"No, Mike. I am not ok. And if you don't get out of my face, you won't be either."
Michael struggled, but Gabriel kept him where he was. "What the hell is wrong with you, Gabe? Why are taking this out on me?"
"Why?" Gabriel shouted and it echoed in the empty locker room. "You know damn well why! I thought you were my friend, my best friend!" He slammed him against the locker a couple more times, before pushing away from him and fighting the urge to punch him. "Now I know better. You can go to hell you piece of shit. We are through. You keep your fucking distance from me or I will beat the crap out of you." Turning, he closed the empty locker and grabbed the bag.
"Hey, man. She came on to me."
It was the wrong thing to say. Dropping the bag, Gabriel turned and punched his former best friend so hard the back of Mike's head dented the locker.
Stephanie's face was blotchy and swollen from all the tears she had been crying since last night. Looking at herself in the mirror she wondered if any amount of make-up could help. It might help with her face, but she doubted anything could fix her heart.
"I don't get it," Kitty mused from where she stood next to the door, where she could shoo anyone who tried to come in to the girls' rest room. "Who would send those pictures? Where did they come from?"
"I don't know," Stephanie moaned, the tears coming full force again. "I mean, it only happened once. I was half drunk—I know that is no excuse—but I never thought--" she cut off mid sentence, her sobs shaking her whole body.
A phone rang, and Kitty pulled her cell phone put of her school bag.
Stephanie turned to her best friend, barely making her out in the blurriness of her tears. "Oh, God, it's another one of those damn messages, isn't it?"
"It's the third one this hour." Kitty snapped the phone shut and put it away.
"The whole school knows!" Stephanie sank to her knees, right there in the middle of the girls' rest room.
Kitty rushed over to her, and pulled her up. "Hush, honey, it will be Ok. None of them say why he broke up with you, so I think that secret is safe. At least as long as Gabriel doesn't say anything. Maybe you should go home?"
"No!" Stephanie pushed away from the other girl. "No, I can't. I have to talk to him. I have to know who gave him those pictures!"
"Whoever it was, they must hate you."
"Which is why I have to know who it was; I have to confront them! And...do you think he can forgive me?" She whispered the last part.
Kitty looked at her with sympathy. "I don't know."
He hunted ruthlessly, each forfeited life bringing him closer to her. Each night he staked, lured, and killed; the pattern repeating itself three or four time a night, until the power built and he was strong enough to search her out again.
He found her—each time, he found her--and eased his way into her dreams, asking her questions she readily answered. Her name, where she lived, her age. All these things she told him, the eagerness almost too much for him to take. And then, when all his questions where answered, he took her in his arms and kissed her. And she didn't fight him. Didn't struggle.
Because she thought it was all harmless dreams.
AN: I meant to update on Monday, but he site was, um, down? I think? So, I guess now I will update Fridays. I really want to get out a new chapter every week. [crosses fingers] Reviews will help keep me motivated! So, yeah, please review?