"Ugh! That's too difficult, Egg!" Aimee complained, with all of her friends' eyes on hers.
It was already dawn and there were only a few people staying at Luna's Shack since everyone finally left after Joaquin's performance. Even though the performer and Ellie had decided to leave because of having to go back to Los Angeles as soon as possible, Madison and the gang decided it's too early to go home and started a game of drink or dare.
It seemed as if the game just started and no one was drunk yet but the dare was already getting really hard. Egg was daring Aimee to remove her bra underneath her clothes in front of them.
Fiona slapped her boyfriend's arm while giggling. "Would you allow it if it was me who's going to do that?" she asked playfully.
Egg's face turned serious. "Okay I'll change that," he said that made everyone laugh.
"Share a secret that you have never ever told your best friends," he said tonelessly that made everyone groan.
"That's too lame for someone like you, Egg," Chet quipped.
Madison chuckled upon hearing that. Egg had always been known for his craziest and wackiest ideas so his dare to Aimee was kind of surprising. Fiona's remark must have done it to him.
To everyone's astonishment, Aimee did not laugh along with them but instead, a deep sigh escaped her mouth. "You got me, Egg."
"WHAT?" Madison, Fiona and Lindsay exclaimed at the same time making Vicky giggle.
"Chill! It's not something major that I've been keeping from you, 'kay?" their ballet friend responded with her hands held up. She gave Egg a dirty look. "You sneak!"
"Okay hold up! Egg knows and we don't? How did that happen?" Fiona demanded, giving her boyfriend an annoyed look as well.
"Don't look at me!" Egg argued on his defense. He slowly stood up from the tables and motioned the guys to follow him. "We guys are gonna chill while you girls are gonna grill… Aimee."
All the guys snickered as they all stood up chatting and walked away from the table. Drew gave Madison a squeeze but the brown-haired girl did not budge and only have her eyes on her best friend.
"I cannot believe you'd keep something from us, Aim," Madison said glaring at her friend. She leaned back on her chair, her arms crossed over her chest with a huff.
"And the worst part is that Egg found out about it first!" Lindsay complained.
Despite the obvious annoyance among her friends, Aimee was still calm and somehow unaffected by their melodramatic antics.
"Egg knew about it is because he's the biggest eavesdropper I've ever known," Aimee explained. "I told him not tell you guys yet because… I'm not yet ready. But I guess I don't have any choice because of that blabbermouth."
"So what's the big secret then?" Vicky asked light-heartedly. Having been friends with the girls for a shorter while except with Madison, she was not very uptight about the issue on keeping secrets.
Aimee heaved a deep breath. The eyes of her friends did not leave her face as she prepared herself to tell her story. "Um, ever heard of Dancing with the Stars?" she mumbled.
Madison had heard of the show. But before she could react to the question, Fiona suddenly stood up and started jumping excitedly.
"Omigod! You will be in the show? Omigod!" Fiona squealed, running towards Aimee and giving her friend a squeeze.
"Seriously? That's great news!" Lindsay asked with her jaw dropped. She also stood up and was about to hug Aimee as well but their ballerina friend pulled away and held up her hands.
"Wait, I just asked if you are familiar with the show," Aimee explained. "The thing is, when Ellie invited us to The Paparazzi, I ended up dancing with a bunch of guys who seemed to have been professionally trained. Some of them I recognized as once competitors of the show. Surprisingly, one of them was a producer of the show and asked me to join."
"Wait, are you sure that the guy is not an imposter?" Madison asked, skeptical. "I mean, I'm sure you would be good enough for the show but I'm just worried that maybe he has other intentions."
Aimee nodded understandingly. "That's true. But I'm positive he really is one of the producers. I've only been fan of the show for a short while but I know him."
"So what's next? What's holding you up?" Fiona asked impatiently.
"Duh! School!" Aimee answered with a roll of her eyes as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "My dream is to become a great ballerina someday not to be some celebrity wannabe. I mean, I like the show a lot and I enjoy it but I did not work my butt off to get accepted in Julliard and then give it up just for that."
"You seriously think that?" Lindsay challenged. "I mean it is 'Dancing with the Stars' for goodness' sake."
"I kind of agree with Aim here. She can join the show when she's done with school, right?" Madison commented.
"IF there will be another chance for her again. What if this is the only chance for her to join?" Fiona replied.
"Then I guess 'Dancing with the Stars' just lost a great dancer in their show," Madison said matter-of-factly.
"What's the big deal? I can have my own show. No biggie," Aimee responded confidently with a toss of her hair.
All the girls laughed and the subject was instantly changed to Hollywood stars. But Madison observed that Aimee was a little quiet than usual and that she was obviously still thinking about the dance show.
After some time, Vicky declared that she's already tired and will be looking for Hart. The others decided to follow suit despite Aimee's complain that it's still too early. They met up with the boys who were all goofing around by the beach and headed home.
The following morning, the troop decided to go out for breakfast in a restaurant known for their delicious pancakes. While the girls were preparing in the room, someone suddenly knocked on their door.
"Is someone naked in there?" It was Drew and he was laughing. "Can I come in?"
"Wait a sec!" Fiona exclaimed who opened the door since she was the one nearest.
When Drew materialized in the room, Aimee surprisingly screamed that made him cover his face for fear of seeing something he'll regret.
"Just kidding!" Aimee quipped that made the others giggle.
"Very funny," Drew responded with a roll of his eyes. He then approached Madison who was seated right in front of her laptop typing something.
"I'll show you something," he said, taking over her laptop.
The others got curious as well while the only guy in the room went online and typed a website. There was a silence as they waited for the page to load. A photo of a man and a woman appeared which Madison soon realized to be Ellie and Joaquin.
"Wow! Ellie looks great!" Lindsay commented.
Madison had to agree with her friend. But Ellie's look was so much different from her blond-hair -blue-eyes look. The model's hair was now dark and her eyes were obviously brown again. - Just like how she looked like when they were younger. And somehow, Ellie looked like the happy, young girl she once knew before but still had the look of the beautiful woman they all envy.
"Joaquin does too," Aimee added with distaste.
It was obvious that Aimee did not like the fact that the two were now being seen in public. But the image did not imply that there was something going on between the two. They were just walking along the street with a big distance between them while smiling at the paparazzi. It was an innocent shot to say the least.
"Of course the media is still all hyped out from the suicide incident," Drew explained. "But I think Ellie will be able to handle it all now. I think she got stronger."
Madison stared at her boyfriend lovingly and kissed his lips. "I think so too," she sighed with satisfaction.
Madison's thoughts drifted as her other friends continued to look at photos of the new Ellie who was somehow back to her old self.
So much had happened in so little time and Madison never thought she'd live through it. With all that she had learned through her experiences, she could feel something good will come out with her friends.
For Ellie, she'll eventually get tougher and maybe, she will finally found a special someone with Joaquin. For Fiona, maybe this time she would get to be closer to her brother unlike before. For Lindsay, maybe they do not see each other often but the probability that they would still be friends for a long time was definitely strong. For Aimee, sooner or later, she will be able to decide if she will prioritize school or the dance contest.
And for Madison, some of the things she had done may not be acceptable. But she knew for sure her friends will be there for her to help her go through and learn from her mistakes. Plus, there's Drew to give her the hugs and kisses she would always need. That was definitely acceptable.