Okay, so I could bore you with all the reasons why I have not updated in the past seven months (holy crap, that's a long time) but I won't because, well, like I said, that would be boring. I will, however, remind you that I will not leave this story unfinished - life just has this habit of getting in the way.
Oh, and, I don't own PLL. In fact, with the way the show is going at the moment, I'd be ashamed if I did.
"It's three o'clock in the morning
And I'm on the streets again
I disobeyed another warning
I should have been in by ten"
After my little hiccup with Bruce on the bus, the rest of prom went surprisingly well. We ate at tables of eight under a big white canopy which was then cleared for a dance floor and a band stand. Bruce was less flirty when the rest of the group were around us, probably because he was afraid of Rose's wrath. Whatever it was, I was glad that he'd backed off, especially because Ezra and I had been texting for the whole night.
I was pulled from my thoughts as another text came through.
Would you rather kiss Ms Welsh or eat my cooking? X
I laughed and hit reply. We'd somehow fallen into the childish game of 'would you rather'. Bruce was off getting us some punch so I moved my phone up from where I'd been discreetly hiding it in my clutch.
Ms Welsh all the way… mmm baby ;) xo
Ezra's reply was instantaneous.
Well that's just rude x
No, Ms Welsh is a total TILF! Xo
What about me? :( x
Been there, done that, got the tshirt Xo
I'm wounded. x
I was about to text back when Bruce returned with our drinks in hand.
"Who are you texting?" He asked, nonchalantly, his eyes trying to catch a glimpse of my screen.
"My boyfriend," I replied, thanking him for the cup he pressed into my hand.
"So how'd you meet this mysterious guy?" Bruce asked, taking a seat beside me and draping his arm across the back of my chair. His fingers grazed my arm and I shivered, but not in the same way as I did when Ezra touched me.
"In a bar back home," I replied, shifting slightly away from him in my chair, "We've been on and off for about a year and a half."
I could almost see Bruce's ears perk up, "And you're definitely on right now?" I nodded and took a sip of my punch. The fruity drink left a burning after taste in my mouth akin to vodka, making me wonder who had managed to spike Rose's punch. I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been Bruce himself.
"He's a lucky dude," Bruce told me after a minute, "And I know I can be no competition but I'd like to dance with my date at our senior prom." He stood up and held out his hand, "What do you say?" My heart melted at his eager, boyish smile. I stuffed my phone into my clutch and took his outstretched hand.
"It'd be my honour."
Bruce shot me his trademark toothy grin and pulled me up beside him, leading me over to the area of the floor reserved for dancing. We joined the crowd just as 'And She Was' started to play.
"I love this song!" I exclaimed as Bruce span me around under the fairy lights. "Do you like Talking Heads?"
Bruce shrugged, spinning me again, "Don't really know them. I'm more of a Jay-Z, Kanye, Snoop kinda guy."
I nodded and our conversation quickly dwindled. Soon, however, Rose and Amy joined us with their dates and the six of us danced and laughed ourselves silly for the best part of an hour. Eventually, the pain my stilettos were causing my feet became too much and I excused myself from the group, making my way back to one of the remaining tables where I'd left my stuff.
I collapsed into my seat and noticed that my phone was face-up on the table. Frowning, I picked it up, certain that I had left it in my clutch. Memories of A began to flood my mind and I felt myself begin to panic. With a trembling hand, I clicked the menu button and watched the screen come to life. Sure enough, there was one message on the screen from a blocked sender. With my heart in my mouth, I forced my shaking thumb to hit the 'open' button.
Meet me in the forest behind the Gazebo at midnight. Follow the signs. Come alone.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no. This was not happening. 'A' could not be back, not when everything was so close to being perfect.
My knees felt weak and I knew that if I were standing that they would have collapsed beneath me and I'd be a pile of Aria-gello on the ground. The last message I got from 'A' was the day my parents sent me to West Virginia so my mind and body were not equipped to deal with the panic and fear that come with a message from the stalker from hell.
With a quick glance at my phone, I noticed that it was only eleven fifteen so I still had thirty minutes to kill before I could leave. Even though following a random text leading me into a forest on prom night goes against everything I've ever learnt from shows like 'Criminal Minds', I knew from my own personal experience that ignoring what could potentially be an 'A' message would most likely lead to more trouble than following it would. Images of Ali being buried alive sprang to mind and I forced myself to take a deep breath.
In an attempt to focus my mind on something else, I picked up my phone and opened my message stream with Ezra, thinking that maybe he could give me a sense of calm but stopped myself. If this really was 'A' then it was in my best interest to keep as few people in the know as possible. So, instead, I opened up an all-too-familiar 'SOS' message to the girls back in Rosewood. My thumb hovered over the 'send' button before I hit cancel. If this was a false alarm then I didn't want to worry them for nothing.
It looked like I was on my own.
With a frustrated groan, I threw my phone on the table and kicked off my heels, roughly massaging my feet. When would this torture ever end? It'd been over a year, why come back now? Why was it that every time my life is going in the right direction does another hurdle appear in my way?
"You look happy." Looking up, the smirking face of Amy came into view. She collapsed into the chair next to me. "Bruce isn't annoying you too much, is he? Rose told him to lay off before we came here."
"No," I replied, shaking my head, "He's been fine. I told him about Ezra." Amy raised an eyebrow, "Only that I was in a relationship with him, not who he was."
"Then why so glum, sugarplum?" Amy asked, taking a swig from a hip flask that she'd carefully hidden in her bust. She passed it to me and I took a swig, instantly recognising the poisonously foul taste of tequila. I coughed and spluttered for a moment before Amy handed me a cup of punch. The spiked drink didn't do much to help and I ended up coughing even more.
Once my fit ended and I was left gasping for air, I took one look at Amy before we burst out laughing.
"God, I'm gonna miss you next year," I confessed once we'd calmed ourselves, "You'll be on the other side of the country living it up and, sure, Rose'll be in New York but it won't be the same."
"We'll be friends forever though," Amy replied, wrapping her arms around me and squeezing tight, "Bound by our love of shoes and crappy sitcoms." I hugged her back with a giggle, allowing her words to sooth my jittery nerves. "But for now," she said a moment later, pulling away from our hug, "We dance."
She didn't give me a chance to refuse before grabbing my hand and dragging me, barefoot and all, to the dance floor. She grabbed Rose along the way and the three of us formed a tight circle, our arms looping around each other's backs as our heads pressed together in the centre. As we swayed to the beat of the music, I let my worry about the mysterious message dissipate , intent on spending the next half hour laughing and screaming the lyrics of One Direction with two of my best friends.
I have a plan for the next chapter but I'm not making any predictions as to when I'll have it up. Last time I said two weeks and it was over half a year so... yeah. It'll be up eventually.
Please leave a review letting me know what you thought and to let me know if you're still reading... I hope you are because you're all quite lovely.