A/N: HELLO! I'm thinking of wrapping this up in a sequel. I don't know, it's just hard to flesh it out properly without taking more time and chapters. It feels right to end it here and start it up in another story. Anyway, let me know what you think. If you don't think it's a good idea then I won't do it! I hope you want some seconds... hehe.
Anyway, the one where Eli wakes up, Morty is vandalized and Clare changes from church girl to danger seeking bitch.
DARE ME, NOT
"The Aftermath Deviation"
The police interrogation room seemed more daunting than it was. It had small four walls, and a simple desk and chair. Clare stared at the police officer, wondering when she'd be allowed to leave. Wondering when the questions would stop. She still had blood on her hands, and mascara was still smeared down her face. This was ridiculous. Was she giving a statement, or were they interrogating her?
The police officer standing across from her asked, "Can you explain to me - again - in your own words, what happened after the car hit Eli? You said were knocked against the lockers. Is that correct?"
Clare nodded, licking her lips. It all came rushing back to her;
The car collided with Eli, and his body rolled up the hood of the car before sliding back down to the ground as the car braked violently. Fitz had been knocked to his feet by the impact of the car crashing it's way inside. Adam, and Fiona appeared to be okay. Smoke coming from the car clouded Clare's vision of the cramped hallway, and she bent over Eli, pressing her fingers to his neck to check his pulse. It was faint, and Eli's eyes were shut.
She was trembling and tears were spilling out of her eyes. 'Oh god,' was all she could think. The driver door of the car opened and Clare jumped up, walking through the smoke to see who it was. "I should have known," Clare said as she came face to face with Imogen, who had a cut forehead and bruised eye. Imogen was staring at Clare. The car had not been intended for Eli. It had been meant for her. "Call an ambulance!" Clare told Adam and Fiona suddenly.
Imogen screamed, "You just can't leave well enough alone, can you?!"
"Everything was you," Clare realised, the car alarm going off suddenly. "It was all you. You sent Eli the dare, you made sure Jenna and Bianca knew about it. You were the one who was behind everything."
"Duh," Imogen shrugged, "I wasn't happy with the way things were. So I did something about it. So sue me?"
"I think I will," Clare hissed. She reached out, grabbed Imogen's head and whacked her body against the beeping and smoking car. Imogen screamed in pain as Adam wrestled the gun away from Fitz, and Fiona tended to the unconscious Eli. Everything was complete and total chaos.
Before Clare even knew what was happening, she and Imogen were going head to head - for each other's. Imogen was throwing swings at Clare, and Clare was pushing Imogen against the lockers and slapping her face. They were beating the hell out of each other, until Imogen grabbed Clare's neck, yanked her closer to her and whispered, "I'm not the only one."
"What?" Clare demanded but her distraction caused Imogen the upper hand and she shoved Clare away from her, winding her in the stomach as she did so. Clare groaned, and glanced down to Eli. What the hell was she doing? Why was she beating chunks out of Imogen when the guy she loved was bleeding to death in their school hallway?
"I'm not the only one!" Imogen repeated to Clare before she made her escape through the damaged and wrecked exit. Every bone in Clare's body urged her to go after Imogen but she couldn't. She had to stay there, and make sure Eli was alive.
Clare grimaced. She had already gone over this with another police officer. "Yes," she said stressfully, "I attacked Imogen, we fought and struggled, and then she ran away. She was well gone by the time the ambulance and police turned up," she chewed on her bottom lip, "Can I go see Eli now?"
"He's still in critical condition," the police officer replied. "According to Mark Fitzgerald, you told Adam Torres to hold him down until the police arrived."
"That's right," Clare nodded back, "He had a gun. It was in the safety of everyone."
"The gun we found on Fitz was empty. If he would have shot anybody, then he would have shot blanks," the police officer frowned at her as he spoke. He paused, and added, "Fitz claims that he got a dare, from this 'Dare Overlord' to shoot five blanks into Eli's chest the night of the Senior Charity Auction. He swears all he wanted to do was to scare Eli. What do you think?"
"I think whoever owns a gun in the first place is a psycho," Clare blurted out before she saw the gun tucked snugly in the police officer's belt. She squirmed and then added, "It was all Imogen. She orchestrated everything. She's the Dare Overlord. She dared Fitz to go after Eli, but I don't know why."
"You seem to have a theory," the police officer said casually, "By all means. Share."
Clare leaned forwards, "Well, Imogen planned to kill me, that much is obvious. She could have slipped through the smoke from the driver's seat, and pretended she didn't do a thing. Imagine Eli's grief. If Imogen's plan had worked, I would have died on the same night we broke up, which is also the same night Fitz just happens to play Russian Roulette with his life. Eli would be emotionally unstable, inconsolable. Enter Imogen Moreno. She comforts him, becomes his rock, and then eventually marries him."
"Quite the imagination," the police officer muttered. "But Imogen didn't run you over, did she? She missed you."
"Because of Eli," Clare whispered, nodding. "He pushed me away into the lockers," her eyes snapped up to his, "Have you found Imogen yet?"
"We have some of the very best out looking for her as we speak," the cop replied. "Mark Fitzgerald has been reprimanded and your Principal has been alerted. I also had to call your parents, considering you're a minor."
"There is one thing I can't work out though," Clare murmured suddenly.
"What's that?" the cop asked.
"Imogen said something to me, before she ran," Clare replied slowly, thinking. "She said 'I'm not the only one.' What does that mean? That there's other Dare Overlords out there? Or that she's not working alone to kill me?"
"Once we find Imogen Moreno we'll be sure to make sure to flesh out every single detail," the police officer yawned slightly. He pushed a pad of paper and pen towards Clare, "I'm going to need your statement," he said, "In writing."
"Then you'll let me go?" Clare asked, hopeful. All she wanted to do was leave this horrible little room, and go see Eli.
Clare stared at Eli through the hospital window. He was lying on the hospital bed, wires and tubes and needles hooked up to him. She couldn't bare to step inside. All she could do was press her hand against the window and watch him, tears welling into her eyes. Helen was standing behind her. Randall had a lawyer emergency so he couldn't make it, and Jake and Glen had decided to stay back, on Helen's request.
Helen said softly, "Clare, come on. We should go. The Doctor said he would contact you when Eli decides to wake up."
"I'm not leaving," Clare whispered back. Her eyes closed for a split second. She turned to face her mother, "He saved my life and I told him I hated him. It was one of the last things I said to him," she looked down at the clean hospital floor, "What if that's the last thing he hears me say?"
Helen said nothing. Eli had four broken ribs, a broken arm, internal bleeding in his lungs, and a severe concussion. The Doctors had stopped the internal bleeding and scanned him for brain damage. They said he had a 60/40 percent chance of recovering. Both Helen and Clare knew that small reassurance wasn't enough. Eli could still die. And if he did, then so would she. Bullfrog was half way across the waters on his Navy training, it's not like he could rush back. The Doctors hadn't even been able to get a hold of him. That just made everything worse.
"I'll get us some coffee," Helen replied instead. She left Clare where she was and disappeared.
A couple of minutes after Helen had left, a voice interrupted Clare's staring and said, "He looks peaceful when he sleeps doesn't he?"
Clare glanced round and was puzzled to find a beautiful girl in a wheelchair next to her. She was wearing a hospital gown, and had smooth creamy skin, and long dark hair, and red natural lips. Her eyes sparkled under the florescent lights. Clare wondered why the hell a random stranger was even talking to her when her eyes caught sight of something gold around the girl's neck. It was a necklace, with the name 'Julia' on it. Clare's stomach clenched.
"You're Julia Walker, Eli's ex?" Clare's mouth went dry. She looked good, for someone who was supposed to be in a frigging coma.
Julia's petite graceful eyebrows made a V shape in confusion. "Ex? You must of misheard, I'm Eli's girlfriend. We've been going out since forever," she glanced through the window, and sighed softly, "There's a couple of misplaced memories before my accident but I never would have thought that when I'd wake up, Eli would be two floors down from me."
"I'm sorry, what?" Clare gaped. What the hell was going on? "When did you wake up?"
"Eight hours ago," Julia replied, "My sister Natalie phoned Eli from the ward earlier tonight. My Doctor thought this blip would be the final thing; sink, or swim. And I swam, apparently. I wanted to walk, but my Doctor said I was too weak, hence the wheelchair. I just couldn't believe it when I found out that Eli had been knocked over."
Clare's mind was reeling. If Natalie had called Eli earlier that night, that explained Eli's freaked out reaction to the phone call he got before Jenna and Bianca went rouge. Eli's ex had no memory of them breaking up, and what's worse, her family didn't even bother to correct her? Spineless cowards, Clare thought darkly. She turned back to Eli, and wished she could tell Julia that Eli and her were going out now, but that wasn't exactly true either. Clare and Eli had broken up earlier that night, before the accident.
"So are you a friend of Eli's?" Julia inquired politely.
"You could say that," Clare mumbled, glancing down at the tattoo on her inner wrist. "Infinity times infinity," she whispered to herself.
"Sorry?" Julia asked.
"Nothing," Clare looked at the pretty model-esque girl. All of a sudden, it just felt wrong to be there. Standing next to Julia, and watching Eli. Maybe this was how it was supposed to happen. Maybe Eli and Julia were meant to be, separated by accidents and brought together by fate. A relationship halted… or destiny intervened? Clare felt sick with nausea. She had to leave. Now.
"Don't tell him I was here," Clare said to Julia, who was frowning. "Please," Clare added, "Don't," she turned and headed for the exit, ignoring Julia's confused reply, and the fact that her mother was still in the cafeteria getting coffee.
As soon as Clare stepped outside in the cold air, she bent over and wretched out her insides. She vomited for the second time that night and stumbled forwards, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. She walked down the pavement, looking out when she saw Eli's hearse Morty coming her way. Clare felt panic fighting it's way into her throat. She had a flashback of the SUV that almost killed her that night, the one Imogen was driving.
What that Imogen behind Morty's wheel? Clare froze to the ground. She clutched the nearest banister and felt relief flood her veins when she saw that it was just Adam and Fiona in Eli's car. Adam pulled up beside Clare and he and Fiona jumped out.
"Hey," Adam said, "The cops dropped us off at the school after giving our statements so we could get his car. Is he okay?"
"He's out of surgery, and stable, for now," Clare answered, "He's got broken ribs, a broken arm and a concussion. The Doctors stopped his internal bleeding and they said he'll wake whenever his body wants to." Her voice choked in her throat. How could she tell them that Eli's ex comatose girlfriend was now awake and under the impression that she and Eli were still going out? Everything was so screwed up. From Eli, to Julia, to Imogen. Clare asked, "Did they find Imogen yet?"
Adam shook his head, "No. They're still out looking for her."
Fiona teared up, "Clare, I'm so sorry about-"
"Fiona," Clare cut her off, "How were you supposed to know she was a raving psycho? It doesn't matter. I'm not freaking out about her anymore. I'm freaking out about what she said. About not being the only one."
"What?" Fiona gawked.
"Yeah, she said that before she took off," Clare nodded, folding her arms tightly. "She said she wasn't the only one. I don't know if that means there's more Dare Overlords, or she wasn't working alone to kill me. Maybe the Dare Overlords were helping her, or maybe they weren't. I don't know anything anymore."
"Fitz is getting community service and suspended for three weeks for bringing a gun to school, even an unloaded one," Adam told Clare. "But I saw him on my way out of the station. He looked absolutely awful."
"He should," Clare narrowed her eyes, "If he hadn't had that gun, Eli would never have ran my way, and I would have been the one Imogen ran over, not him."
"She planned everything so well," Fiona said sadly, "From Eli's dare, to making me trust her, to daring Fitz to into scaring Eli with the gun, and she knew you would run out of the school because of the info she gave Jenna. She would have gotten away with it as well if you hadn't of walked round to the driver's door."
"She was counting on getting me," Clare replied, "She could have slipped out of the driver's seat in the smoke and acted like an innocent bystander."
"Do you think she was working with somebody else?" Adam asked Clare.
"I don't know," Clare shrugged weakly. "I hope not."
"Are you wanting to go back inside?" Fiona asked, "I was planning on visiting Eli."
"No, you two go in, see him," Clare nodded her head, "I just needed some air."
"Sure?" Adam frowned.
Clare nodded again. "Yeah. I can't handle hospitals right now. It's fine. Go."
Adam and Fiona hugged Clare each and then walked by her. Clare called after them, "Julia's awake."
"What?" Adam gaped, "Julia Walker? Eli's ex girlfriend? The one in the coma?"
"That one," Clare said sadly. "She thinks her and Eli are still dating. It's some warped coma memory thing. She can't remember their break up fight before her accident. So don't... tell her anything. Let her think what she wants to think."
"Clare," Fiona titled her head sympathetically.
"It's fine," Clare swallowed the lump in her throat, "Eli and I aren't together anymore. Let Julia think whatever she wants… And if anything happens… Let me know, okay?"
Adam nodded and he and Fiona headed towards the hospital. Clare turned back and caught sight of Eli's hearse Morty. She truly loathed that stupid frigging car. It was horrible. It literally embodied everything about death, and nothing about Eli. He had that style, but that's not who he was.
Clare began walking away from the hearse, until she caught a glimpse of the back. She just stood there. She couldn't help it. Images flooded towards her. Images of Eli's coffin, lying in that hearse. She felt sick again. He couldn't die. Could he? He was Eli Goldsworthy. He was crazy and confident, and insecure, and hot-headed and sure of what he wanted. He was Elijah Goldsworthy, her whole entire life. He couldn't die… right?
And then something in Clare just… snapped. She glanced around, and saw one of the metal poles that had come loose from the banister. She picked it up, and without hesitation, she lunged for the hearse with it. She didn't stop until her palms were almost bleeding from her tight grip. She smashed in the windows, dented the doors, wrecked the lights. She hit it harder and harder every single time, tears pouring out of her eyes.
She hated this night. She hated it. She dropped the metal pole, her breath stolen from her lungs. She was completely broken. She leaned against the wrecked Morty and sobbed again, sliding down the slide until her legs hit the ground. She cried hysterically for everything that had gone wrong, and she cried for Eli.
Five minutes later, a car rolled up next to her. She didn't even care anymore. She didn't even care if it was Imogen back to finish her off. She just didn't care. The door opened and she recognized the shoes in front of her. Clare glanced up, and saw Alli, looking down at her with a torn face.
"Clare, what are you doing there?" Alli gaped.
Clare didn't reply.
The driver door opened and Sav stepped out, glancing down.
"Sav, help me get her up," Alli said as she bent down to pick Clare up. Sav hooked an arm around Clare's waist and they both set her on her feet.
"What are you doing here?" Clare whispered.
"You're my best friend, stupid," Alli said affectionately. "Sav and I snuck out with the car to find you after your mother phoned me and said you had disappeared from the hospital. She was really worried about you."
"I just didn't want to be in there anymore," Clare sighed sadly, "It was horrible."
"You can't be alone right now, until they catch Imogen," Sav said.
"Everybody knows?" Clare asked but she already knew the answer.
Alli nodded. "Everyone knows. Do you want me to come back to your apartment with you?"
Clare nodded, "I'd like that. I'll call my mom when I get home. I can't even deal with her right now."
"What about mom and dad?" Sav asked Alli.
"Tell them I left early in the morning," Alli replied. "Will you give us a lift to Clare's?"
Sav nodded back, and caught sight of Eli's wrecked car in the dark. "Oh my god. Who did that?"
Clare pushed her tears away and whispered, "I did."
Alli and Sav shared a quiet look and helped Clare into their car.
Eli fluttered open his eyes and glanced around. His vision was blurry, and his throat was dry. He wanted water, but he also wanted to know where Clare was. And then he saw something he couldn't believe. Julia was sitting in a wheelchair next to his bed, holding his hand and smiling at him with warmth in her eyes.
"Julia?" Eli croaked, and Julia held out a glass of water for him. He took it slowly and sipped at it slightly.
"I should go tell someone you're awake," Julia reached out to stroke his forehead.
"You're awake," Eli gasped, eyes wide. "What…"
"You don't remember my sister phoning you?" Julia tilted her head slightly, "Earlier tonight?"
Eli frowned. He breathed unevenly. "Yeah. I remember."
"I woke up right after that phone call," Julia grinned, "I couldn't believe it when Natalie told me you'd just been brought in. My mind is pretty much blown that we've been apart for a year, but now that you've woken up, everything is going to be okay. We can be together again."
Eli's brows knotted, "What do you mean?"
"It's okay, you're confused, you've just woken up after extensive surgery," Julia said soothingly, "We can talk after you've rested properly, but I'm going to be there for you, Eli."
"You are?" Eli gaped.
"Of course," Julia grinned widely, "You're my boyfriend after all."
Eli's stomach flipped. He frowned. Was he the one who was confused? Or was it really Julia? Everything was so jumbled in his mind… Where was Clare? And who knocked him over? And what happened to Fitz and his gun? "Where's Clare?" he asked suddenly.
Julia frowned back, "Clare? Is she another friend of yours? I've only met Fiona and Adam. They're just at the cafeteria getting something to eat. I didn't want to leave you though."
"I need to see Clare," Eli continued, "She's got shoulder length brown curly hair, fair skin, and pink lips. Have you seen her? Where is she?"
Julia opened her mouth to say something, but she suddenly stopped herself, and frowned.
"Eli!" Fiona cried from the doorway. She handed her cup to Adam and ran towards him, "Oh my god, you're awake!"
"Where's Clare?" Eli asked.
"She left a while ago," Adam said before Fiona replied. He hesitated and then said, "You deserved the punch in the eye, but I regret hitting you."
"I did deserve it," Eli nodded, "Can someone call Clare, please? What happened with Fitz? Is Clare okay? Who was driving the car?"
"I'm confused," Julia quipped.
"The gun Fitz had was empty, he said he was told to just scare you with it, from the Dare Overlord," Fiona replied, "Imogen was the Dare Overlord. She was the one who sent you the dare, and who told Jenna and Bianca. She also told Fitz to scare you with the gun. She was the one driving the car. She meant to hit Clare, but since you shoved Clare out of the way, she got you instead. And Imogen escaped, Eli. The police are still looking for her but they haven't found anything yet."
"Eli, what's going on?" Julia asked.
"Wait, what?" Eli cried, ignoring Julia, "I'm sorry, what? Imogen? But why would she want to hurt Clare?"
"She told Clare she wanted you, but you didn't want her," Fiona choose her words carefully because Julia was in the room. "So she went after Clare instead."
"I'm getting very confused now," Julia spoke up again, "Why would this Imogen girl go after Clare? And who is Clare?"
Eli looked to Adam and Fiona, "Can you give us a moment?" They both nodded and left the room, closing the door behind them. Eli looked over to Julia and said, "I'm so happy that you woke up, Julia. I mean, really. It's been one of the best things that's ever happened to me. You get to live your life like you deserve. But some things have changed, and some things had already changed before your accident."
"What are you trying to tell me, Eli?" Julia asked anxiously.
"Julia, you must have forgotten because of the accident," Eli replied, "But we had a fight before you were hit. We broke up. That's why you were hit. You biked off in a storm, and accidentally got hit by some jackass on the phone."
Julia pulled her hand away from Eli's and looked down. Tears welled into her eyes. She glanced back up and said, "I know."
"What?" Eli gasped.
"I remember everything," Julia began crying, tears streaming down her cheeks, "I know I shouldn't have acted like I didn't, but it's just been so hard, Eli. You don't know what it's like. I've been asleep for a year, and if I hadn't been in a coma, we probably would have gotten back together by now, don't you think?" she let out a shaky breath, "I just wanted everything to go back to the way things were."
Eli looked at her sadly. "I can't lie to you, Julia. When you were in your coma, I fell in love with a girl called Clare. And I still love her."
Julia nodded back, "I figured. I think I met her, earlier. She was standing outside your room but she left when I showed up. I guess I'm just the person to make people leave."
"You didn't make me leave, Julia," Eli shook his head, "We just didn't work out. I'm sorry."
"I have to tell you something," Julia whispered. Eli was silent so she added, "It wasn't the driver's fault."
Eli's eyebrows knotted. "What?"
"I can remember crying as I rode home," Julia hiccuped from her crying, "I remember hurting so badly, at the thought of losing you. It was horrible. So I saw a car coming up the road, and I don't know why I did it, but I biked across the road. I made the car hit me, I planned to die," she sniffled and rubbed her temples, "I don't know, it was just an impulsive thing, I was so heartbroken and it was stupid, and I wish I had never done it."
Eli lay, stunned. He literally couldn't believe it. "Julia!" he gasped, "Are you serious? The guy got death threats from local people, his house was egged and his property was vandalized! He got his license taken away, he lost his right to drive. He broke his arm!" Eli could not believe this. It just made him so angry.
"I'm so sorry," Julia sobbed harder, "I wasn't thinking straight! I just lost it."
"You need to talk to someone," Eli said, softer this time.
"I know, and I will," Julia nodded back. She whispered, "I hope we can still be friends, Eli. I really, really, do. I miss you so much."
Eli said, "We will be friends, Julia," he paused, "Can you go get Adam and Fiona?"
"I'll get your Doctor as well, let them know you're awake," Julia wheeled the wheelchair towards the door. She reached out, opened it and wheeled herself out. Eli sank back in his bed. Tears swarmed into his eyes. He glanced down to the inside of his wrist and saw the tattoo he shared with Clare.
He took a deep breath and turned his head away.
Two Weeks Later
"As much as I love having Alli over, she has got to stop eating all my cereal," Fiona said to Adam as she scoured the kitchen cupboards looking for her favourite cereal.
"At least she's not obsessed over finding Imogen like Clare," Adam replied, "She's been out the last ten nights looking for Imogen. And she comes back every morning, exhausted and refusing to deal with her emotions."
"Eli's getting out soon?" Fiona asked Adam instead of talking about Clare. Fiona felt a big amount of guilt whenever Imogen was mentioned. Fiona secretly felt that she had invited Imogen into their circle, and maybe things would have turned out differently if she hadn't.
"Yeah, really soon," Adam nodded.
Alli came wandering down from the hallway, having stayed in the fourth unused bedroom for the past week since the school had been closed temporarily since the Charity Auction night, so they could fix the damage the SUV did when Imogen crashed into it.
"Is Clare back yet?" Alli asked, yawning.
"Still out," Adam replied, "She's been out since midnight. Left a message at six to let us know she hadn't been murdered."
"Oh, too soon to joke," Alli rubbed her eyes.
The door suddenly opened and Clare burst inside, dropping her bag and rushing over to the television to turn it on.
"What is it?" Alli asked, worried.
"Did you not see the news?" Clare gasped, picking up the remote to switch the channel to local news. "I heard about it in Bullfrog's car. A girl was found in the ravine this morning."
"A girl?" Fiona held her breath, her stomach twisting in knots.
"The radio in the car said she hadn't been identified yet," Clare replied as she turned up the volume. Everyone huddled around the small television screen to watch the news. The news reporter currently talking on the screen was standing in front of the local ravine, with an ambulance parked a few yards away from her;
"…small town resident Bill Brown was particularly stunned to find the body after his usual morning walk at 6am. For people just tuning in, local police have identified the strangled body as one Imogen Moreno, a local high school student at Degrassi. Imogen Moreno was wanted in connection for a hit and run on fellow student Eli Goldsworthy, who is currently recovering in hospital. Police first suspected that Moreno's death was suicide but after further investigation have officially ruled her demise as homicide. Any witnesses have been urged to come forward and contact local police. More on this story tomorrow. Back to Tom in the studio with the Red Eagles game results-"
Clare switched off the television and sat back.
"Oh my god," Fiona gasped, "Who would kill Imogen?"
"Who wouldn't?" Adam muttered.
"Adam!" Fiona gaped.
"He's got a point," Clare swallowed the lump in her throat, "Anyone could of. I could have killed her, you could have killed her, Adam could have killed her, even Fitz, after he found out she was the one who dared him. Anyone could have had motive," she sat back, "This just proves my theory though. Imogen wasn't working alone to kill me. Someone else was. And whoever was working with her decided she had to go. It was bye-bye Imogen and hello murder."
"She was a liability," Alli agreed, "Who do you think it is?"
"I don't know," Clare licked her lips, "Isn't it usually the ones you least suspect?"
"I don't know, guys," Fiona spoke up, "I think Imogen was working alone. Why would anyone want to hurt Clare?"
"A bunch of people, actually," Clare stood up, walking over to the window. "There's Jenna, Bianca, K.C, Jake. They all don't like me."
"Yeah, but we're talking about murder here, Clare," Fiona stood up as well, "You can't just accuse somebody of murder because you think they don't like your personality."
Clare's phone beeped and she pulled it out, staring down hard at the screen.
"What is it?" Alli asked.
Clare raised up her eyebrows and turned her phone around so they could all see it. The text read;
From: Blocked Number
Message: Bet you think you're safe now that Imogen's gone. Guess again, Clare-bear. I'm still here, and I keep my promises. And I promise to see you soon!
Love, The Dare Overlord.
Adam's mind reeled, "What the hell was that?"
"The real mastermind," Clare pushed back her hair, "Imogen was just a small pawn in the big fish's game. Whoever's behind this text was rigging the whole thing."
"It has to be someone you know," Alli said, "My Sociology teacher said that 67 percent of violent crimes are committed by people that you know. It makes sense this is personal. So who could it be?"
"Anyone," Clare sighed, "It could be anyone."
"It could even been one of us," Adam said quietly, causing the whole room to turn awkward.
"That's going too far," Fiona shook her head, "Clare, you can trust us. We'll take care of you. I can drive you to the police, and we can show them the text."
"Why in heaven's name would we do that?" Clare titled her head slightly, walking over to the window to stare out of it.
"So we can get this person caught," Fiona said like it was obvious.
"But then I wouldn't get to give them my own brand of personal justice, and where's the fun in that?" Clare replied. She turned back around and they all saw it: Clare had changed. She wasn't Clare Edwards; good girl. She was something new. Something entirely different.
Adam frowned when he saw Clare's bare neck. Where was her religious cross necklace? He glanced at her fingers and saw her missing promise ring. Where was her ring? "Where's your necklace?" Adam asked.
Clare wasn't really paying attention as she replied softly, "It must have fell off at some point. I'm not exactly sure when that happened."
Me neither, Adam thought darkly. He hadn't exactly noticed Clare's immediate change when it happened either.
"So what are you going to do?" Alli asked, changing the subject.
"I'm going to find out who's behind this," Clare replied, face hardening. "And then I'm going to kill them."
Clare smiled sweetly, "Kidding," then she shrugged slightly and asked, "Does anyone want some cake? I'm feeling like I might want some seconds!"