Dark Angel

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Confused and curious, Lyla Hemmings must fight to uncover all of the lies that plague her life before she can begin to discover the truth...When a stranger moves to town, and an accident causes Lyla to begin seeing things, she and her friends must battle to the end, before the end finds them...With a surprise villain that will have you on your toes, you'll never see whats coming next.

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Dark Angel

Submitted: January 14, 2014

Reads: 150

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Submitted: January 14, 2014

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Chapter One

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I stood in a grand ballroom with walls of bright white, trimmed in gold with a single grand chandelier of red crystal hanging in the center of the ceiling; seeming to drip the smell of flowers into the room. A crowd of dancers twirled all around me, while I stood with my back to a painting of a wilting rose, watching and waiting as I always have. Faintly, I could feel my fingers trace the intricate flowered designs on my gown, my fingers straying on the pieces that darkened and stood out among all of the light, bright colors.  The other women wore old fashioned floor-length ball gowns, not unlike my own, with designs as individual and unique as the person wearing them. The women’s masks were a dull, smooth, gray plastic; while the men of the room wore old tailored suits in shades of red, blue and green; their masks a shimmering yellow. Almost without thought I reached up and stroked my mask, feeling neither the smoothness of the masks that the women wore, nor the slightly more rough material of the masks the men wore; instead I felt a mixture of both along with a material that slid like liquid between my fingers. I continued to scan the crowd curiously and noticed a man opposite of me; whose mask was that of white, gold and silver, the grandest of all masks; a breathtaking blend that reminded me faintly of the beginnings of a storm. He, himself, shone as a sort of beacon in this room that now seemed of darkness, pulling me toward him with his eyes and his light blonde hair. Heaving up my white and gold flower patterned dress and leaving my usual spot on the outskirts of the room, I began to push and fight my way through the surrounding maze of people.

Continuing to look into his bright, seemingly iridescent green eyes, I pushed onward; the tide of the crowd battling against me, trying to stop me from reaching him. The bright man’s unwavering gaze became the center of my attention, encouraging me to continue forward; while my body and mind grew weary, fearful, and suspicious…though his face was hidden, I imagined blindingly white teeth smiling, grinning, and pulling me toward him through the crowd. I saw on the edges of my vision an arm reach out and tare me away from my desired course, taking the golden man from my sight. I fought to arch my neck into such a position with which I could see my golden man, and felt a twinge of anger when I could not. I forced myself to look at this intruder and away from the spinning of the room to see a man who wore a black mask and attire aged and worn; which seemed to dim his brown eyes to a black hole with nothing but the faintest of lights. The dark man was dancing me across the ballroom, in a dance that was different from the move of the rest of the crowd, and yet they parted around us, as if it were normal for someone to go against this ancient ritual. In my mind I know that I should have fought to get away from him, but my body followed him and his steps as if in a trance. We glided around the room with such sure steps that for a moment I didn’t realize that the room had gone dark and that the crowd that usually paraded in this hall had disappeared. Panicking, I shoved backwards against the dark masked man, but to no avail as though his arms were made of stone. My breaths came out in short outbursts as I continued to struggle, but then just as quickly as the dark man had been there, he vanished. The man had let me go so quickly that the force of my struggles propelled me down, I closed my eyes.

I didn’t feel the granite floor rush up to greet me like I know that it should have, slowly… I opened my eyes and then quickly shut them again as a bright, yet oddly familiar, light hit me.  Squinting, under the protection of my eyelashes; I saw the bright, golden man who I had been so eager to reach, holding me so that I hovered just above the ground. He righted me and backed away, staring at me with an emotion in his eyes that I couldn’t quite place. I moved toward him, wanting to be close to him, but he just backed away even further. My eyes finished adjusting to his light, even so; I took my time opening them fully, instinctively surveying the room with my peripheral vision… that’s when I noticed him. The dark man was crouched just behind a pillar in the near left corner of the ballroom, so dark that he himself was a shadow that I had nearly overlooked, I felt my eyes widen as the man rose and stalked closer to me, his brown eyes lightening to a yellow-brown, then to yellow, finally to a bright electric blue. The two men who had been such opposite’s just moments ago had begun to change; the bright man to whom I had been so drawn too, leaned forward into a battle stance, his luminescence dimming just like his eyes and blonde hair. His elaborate, white suit seemed to rot and darken to off-white with age, his eyes a dark bottomless black, his blonde hair turned slowly to a sickly white, I stifled a whimper.

The bright man’s mask, which I had thought to be the grandest of all that I had ever seen, seemed to peel and shred, so that only a thin, dirtied piece of cloth covered his face. At the same time the man who I had thought to be dark, evil, began to lighten; the space around him brightening along with his once sullen clothes, his black hair that had seemed to outline his darkness now seemed to hold a reassuring glow. His clothes seemed to age backwards into a neat black suit that made his blue eyes appear even brighter, and his mask held its dark outlook, but as I watched and stared I saw thin lines of silver, white and gold interlacing and combing with the black in a pattern that was breath taking. He reminded me of an angel, a dark warrior on the outside, light on the inside. Without noticing, I had begun to tremble, my legs weakened and I fell to my knees watching the men turn to each other as if they had just noticed the other’s presence. They looked at each other for only a moment, before the man who had been so light and peaceful in the ballroom, lunged forward with an object that glinted silver in the dim lighting. I cried out as I saw my dark angel double over, a whisper escaping his lips...

I jerked myself upright in bed; covering my mouth in a silent scream, the sun shining through the purple drawn curtains of my bedroom casting a dark, shady gloom over my dimly lit room. I could plainly see that my room was empty, but I couldn’t stop or slow my breathing or the pounding of my heart, as if an enemy would jump from the shadows at any moment. I looked down to see my pink and white polka-dotted sheets entangling my stiff, sprawled out legs, and quickly scrambled to pull off all of the remaining covers; that hadn’t been thrown onto the ground from my body already. Immediately afterwards feeling for my lamp light switch sitting on the small wooden night stand to the right of me, finding it with my experienced fingers, I flipped it on and squinted into the light. Focusing on settling my breathing while allowing my eyes a few moments to adjust, I reached over into the single drawer fitted just beneath my dwarf-sized nightstand and rummaged around until my hand felt what I’d been searching for. Grabbing a blue inked pen from an open mouthed frog cup-pencil holder that sat starring upward next to my lamp, I pushed my legs up to create a surface to write on, and reached next to me where I set down the book I kept for just this reason, and began to write…

‘Friday, August 25—Journal Entry Subject; My Dark Angel

I had another odd dream last night, one of those that don’t make any sense or hold any real meaning for me, but I don’t want to forget it; it was an amazing dream, turned into a nightmare…’ I continued to scrawl down my dream in as much detail as I could manage and carefully tuned out the rest of the world, my heart and mind slowed as the calming sounds of pen against paper filled my ears…

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Sometime later I finished writing my total thoughts and unnecessary added commentary revolving around the dream-nightmare I’d had that night into my private-journal and closed it with a satisfied bang, already feeling the dream slip the rest of the way from my memory. With a sigh, I began to trace the intricate flower patterned design on the cover of my journal with a warm feeling spreading in my heart, and an involuntary smile spreading across my face. My heart beating a little bit faster as I started to think/daydream about going to my friend’s party later today, where I will see someone special, I remind myself enthusiastically…My obnoxious smile widened.

“Hey Lyla, are you up yet? I won’t have time to drive you over to your friend’s house before I need to get back to work for my next meeting— if you don’t hurry up and get down here.” My dad’s voice sounded from downstairs, he’s probably in the kitchen eating those cookies I baked last night. Rolling my eyes I hopped off my messy bed, tossed my journal back into my bedside nightstand drawer and went over to my dresser; which sat opposite the room from where my bed sat. I quickly grabbed, though the out-fit had been well planned out in advance; a low cut, tight blue tank top and a pair of jean shorts, and ran into the bathroom while shoving my phone into my pocket, nearly tripping on a pile of my laundry in the process.

“I’ll be down in a minute, I just need to get dressed and put on some makeup before we go.” I yelled back to my dad, I could hear him groan in frustration and pictured him throwing up his hands and ruffling his dark blonde hair, with his chocolate covered fingers.

I quickly changed out of my Elmo pajama pants and pink tank top in exchange for my ‘get ready to impress Josh’ outfit, purposefully averting my eyes from my bathroom mirror and morning appearance; instead focusing on my well-sized shower and bathtub with a rubber ducky-curtain covering up half the tub. Slapping on some eye makeup to make my green-blue eyes pop, and smothering my lips with some strawberry lip gloss, I sighed at my now acceptable reflection. Absentmindedly I grabbed my brush and combed through my light blonde, wavy hair and thought about how much I resembled my mother. I had her high cheek bones—that were always rosy, and her full lips; as well as her petite, curvy body… and the shape of her big eyes; though they were more the color of my dad’s. I smiled and saw the two dimples appear on either side of my mouth, just as my mother had had two dimples.  ‘Angel kisses, for those of us who are meant to smile and laugh a whole lot.’ She used to say to me as a child, and I’d laugh and roll my eyes because I’d thought she’d sounded so silly. My smile turned into a frown, it isn’t so silly now, I thought to myself, now that she’s dead. Mentally shaking myself, I adjusted my shirt so that it looked slightly more appropriate, in case my dad saw. I’m not going to let myself get sad, not today… checking my reflection one more time in the mirror with a nod, I set my brush down and ran out of the room.

My room is the first one by the stairs and the second biggest, aside from my parent’s room across the hall. Most of my friends thought of us as a wealthy family, because each of the bedrooms in our house has its own personal, full bathroom, and also because we all had our own cars. I glanced over at my older brother’s door a little further down the hall, seeing  his door was still closed with a poster of a red, electric-guitar next to a box of popcorn that read ‘be a musician, enjoy the food’. I grabbed a tight fitting, gray sweat shirt off the hook outside my bedroom door and walked down the stairs to the kitchen; quickly zipping up my sweat shirt having decided against letting my dad see the shirt I had decided to wear.

“Don’t you think those shorts are a bit…short? I mean, I know it may sound lame but I’m your father, and boys aren’t allowed to look at you until your thirty…twenty-five at the least, or until you’re married.” It was late afternoon and the light shined brightly off of our many silver objects in the newly-renovated kitchen that my step-mother had personally designed, meaning that she had hired a personal ‘designer’ and stood over him trying to inspect all of his work. I laughed under my breath and looked at my father’s neat black suit and his silver, gold and white striped tie; squinting in effort as to why it seemed like I was forgetting something.

“Dad, come on its summer, do you want me to go put on some sweat pants instead and get heat-stroke? I’m wearing a sweatshirt anyways to cover partially up, and these shorts are not that short.” Though they are meant to get boys to look at me, well, one boy in particular. My dad grunted and reached back into the cookie jar that sat open next to him on the counter.

Dad, don’t eat all of those cookies, I just made them last night.  Are we going to get going or are you going to eat those all afternoon…? I want to get to Clary’s house sometime before the end of this century.” I was being sarcastic, enunciating and elongating all of my words so that they dripped with an adolescent, teen whine specifically designed for my dad. He tilted his head to one side and looked up at the ceiling while I spoke; he’s pretending to listen, I thought in disdain… or maybe he’s already in his meeting at work…

“Alright, come on, go get some shoes on and I’ll meet you out in the car.” My dad said taking his hand out of the jar, wiping his hands on a paper towel and walking away. “Dad, aren’t you forgetting something?” I said raising an eyebrow.

“What-huh, oh yeah sorry,” He said quickly putting the cover back onto the cookie jar. “No dad, aren’t you forgetting something else?” He looked around like he was completely clueless. Rolling my eyes, I moved closer to the giant metal island in the middle of the kitchen and laid my hand next to his keys and wallet staring at him with a level gaze. “Oh, my keys and wallet, thanks Lyla, come on get your shoes on. Your mother—,” I interrupted him, “Amy, dad she’s your wife, not my mother.” I said it softly but even I could tell that my words had still sounded icy. “Watch your tone, young lady...  Amy wanted me to tell you that she won’t be home until late tonight and I was planning on pulling an all-nighter at work, she was wondering if you could sleep over at Clary’s. Otherwise she wouldn’t be able to pick you up until around midnight.” With one hand he reached for his wallet and keys and half-heartedly stuffed them into his pocket, but even before he’d finished talking he’d pulled out his phone with the other hand and started texting.

“No, I should be able to stay at Clary’s, I’m sure that will be fine.” I said, already planning ahead for our ‘sleep over’, trying hard to ignore the fact that he wasn’t even listening. My dad nodded; rubbing his stubble absentmindedly with his free hand, with the other still texting as he walked out of the house. I walked over to the shoe rack in the hallway by the front door texting Clary, nearly tripping over my cat ‘Captain America’ and falling into the living room. I hit my shoulder on the wall and pushed myself up, “Captain, if you don’t quit walking under me I’m going to have to reconsider you being our only pet.” He hissed and puffed up his long white fur before turning to walk away with his white, fluffy tail high in the air. Turning back around, I picked up a pair of black strap on sandals with just the right amount of heel, slipped them on quickly and turned to the front door. Locking the door behind me and stepping out into the bright rays that meant it was the late afternoon; I allowed myself time to take a deep, slow breath of the warm summer air.

“Come on Lyla, I’m going to be late for my meeting if you don’t pick up the pace.” My dad yelled, rolling down the passenger side window. I hurried over to his black sedan, sliding onto the hot black leather seat, and slamming the door shut behind me. “Ouch, dad can you turn the air up? I feel like I’m going to fry in here.” He rolled his eyes and backed out of our ‘longer than usual ‘driveway’ with ease, speeding onto the main road that’s nearly always deserted in our small town. Already the silence that had settled in the car was beginning to make me squirm, reaching up to the car dials; I turned up the air and the radio to drown out the rest of the world until we could reach my friend’s house and all of this happy-pretend family stuff could end.

Within minutes, with my dad’s reckless driving, we pulled up in front of the small red and white farm house that was my best friends Clary’s. “Alright have a good time at your sleep over, I probably won’t see you tomorrow; I’m going to be stuck in the office in meetings all day, but don’t worry I have a change of clothes there. But your moth—I mean, Amy will be home, she has a few days off before her and I fly out to New York for a few weeks. Bye—.” My dad spoke to me as I slid out of his car, taking off nearly as soon as my feet had touched the ground. As a smug after thought, I thought about how he still had a forty-five minute drive alone until he reached his office building in the city.

“Good bye, dad. Have a good day at work, I love you.” I whispered to the dust that his car had drug up behind him as he had sped away. Tossing my hair over my shoulder and turning to walk over to the house, I slid my sweat shirt off and adjusted the tank top I wore to be the way that I’d wanted it to be. I walked slowly up to Clary’s porch, trying to ignore the little sting of tears in my eyes by concentrating on the white peeling paint of the front porch steps.  Just as I was up the first two old, creaking steps the door swung open with a bang; revealing a tall, dark haired, angry looking woman with her hands on her hips, stepping out to glare at me. With a small laugh, I noticed the white apron she was wearing had an odd mixture of sauces spilled messily down the front.

“When were you planning on telling me that you and Josh are dating?” My best-friend Clary demanded in her high-pitched bossy voice; that usually meant she meant business. But it wasn’t her voice that had surprised me and had me widening my eyes, “What are you talking about? You’re my best friend, if I was dating my dream guy, who I’ve been crushing on for forever, don’t you think I would have told you? And again there’s a big ‘if’,” I rushed, my eyes still wide. I stomped the rest of the way onto the porch, causing the wood to creak and bend under my weight; as I approached she reached out and grabbed my arm before she continued to talk, “Well, Jessie told me that Sarah heard Josh and his friend Zack talking about dating you, and apparently it sounded like they were really into the conversation. So I just assumed that that’s why you were so persistent about coming over here so early before the party, to tell me the good news.” She was talking hurriedly, pulling me along behind her without as much as a second thought. I’d barely had time to close the door behind me and throw my gray sweat shirt onto the small table she had sitting in the middle of her living room, before she was practically dragging me through the house behind her.

“Well, this is all news to me. Again, if,” I paused for effect, “I was dating Joshua Anthony Williams don’t you think I would’ve told you right away?” My eyes widened a second time as I realized how messy her house had gotten since I’d been there a few days ago. Bowls and towels strewn all across the floor, spoons and forks and laundry everywhere as if they had no place at all, piles of empty take out boxes stacked here and there. But before Clary had a chance to respond, I continued, “What happened in here? Did a tornado rip through your house in the short time that I wasn’t here? Look, I know you were upset about the whole conspiracy, dating Josh thing, but you didn’t have to destroy the house because of it.” She dropped my arm as we entered her small kitchen, but instead of continuing to talk I started to cough as a huge cloud of smoke smothered me, I squinted to see Clary. She was at the stove across the room from me, swinging a towel at flames shooting up from a giant cooking pot, sometimes, I seriously don’t know about her. Taking a deep breath, I walked over to where Clary stood; grabbing for two hot pads sitting nearby on the counter and swung the cooking pot into the sink, turning the water on, just as quickly I turned off the burner and backed away. That may have put out the fire but there was still the kitchen full of smoke to worry about; rushing, I turned on the ceiling fan and swung open all four, giant windows in the kitchen and began to fan the smoke out with a towel, hot pads now lying somewhere where I’d carelessly thrown them aside.

After a few minutes of fanning most of the smoke out of the room; I felt like I could talk again without choking or passing out from lack of oxygen, I looked over to Clary. With one hand she reached over to the faucet and turned off the water and with the other, she was swinging a towel that said in bold red letters; ‘cook or be cooked’ with a picture of a smiling pig wearing a chef’s hat and an apron, holding a spatula. “Clary what’s going on, where’s your grandma, your uncle and your aunt?” I gulped at the fresh air that was streaming in from the open window, letting it soothe my aching lungs. “I,” She paused for a moment too look over at me, “they went on vacation for a while and I said that I could handle keeping the house clean and cooking for myself, and doing the chores, and—,” She looked away and resumed swinging the towel around wildly, “I’m panicking here, Lyla! Farm chores are easy, but this—I have no idea what I’m doing, house stuff, that’s always my grandma’s job! She even tried teaching me a few recipes when I was ten and then again when I was fourteen and I almost burned the house down, then too. This is hopeless!” Clary sounded desperate, but in an over-exaggerating voice that only my best-friend could muster. I stopped fanning and shook my head, considering for a moment; I set my off-white towel down and walked over to her, “Come on, let’s go see if we can find the couch somewhere in the living room—that’s where it used to be anyways, the fan can take care of the rest.” I pushed Clary’s arms down and slid the towel from her hand, tossing it onto the counter, away from the stove. She pouted and hurried out of the room before I could continue to talk, or in her mind, scold her. Before I followed her out of the room, I took a long look around her kitchen; her stove sitting opposite to the out of place, expensive-looking fridge; covered in pictures of Clary in different stages of her life, the old-fashioned wooden cabinets lining her walls hanging partially ajar with dishes and rags hanging out and her small, cluttered counter-space and decided that the kitchen was safe of any immediate danger, for now.

“Look, I’m sleeping over tonight; after we’re all rested up tomorrow, I’ll help you clean up. Then you can come over to my house and spend the rest of your family’s vacation time with me, so you don’t destroy or burn or melt or blow up anything else. It’s going to be fine, you don’t need to panic.” I said walking into the living room after her, carefully pushing aside magazines and a few dirty socks so that I could sit next to Clary on the what ‘used to be green’ couch. She groaned, “You don’t get it, Lyla, your good at this stuff; at everything and I can’t even look after my own house for a week. I just feel so…useless.” She was laid awkwardly across a pile of laundry and what looked like a hard cover of the dictionary, or maybe the atlas…whichever one is bigger…my mind supplied sarcastically.

“Clary, you are absolutely not useless. I can’t do half the stuff that you can; like your farm chores? Yeah, I wouldn’t last a week, or maybe even a day and a half doing that stuff. And you’re a much better cheerleader than me; I don’t even have true ‘team spirit’. Plus, if there’s anyone who knows how to tap into the gossip stream, it’s you. You can find dirt in anything and dig it up; I bet you’d make a great reporter.” She sniffed and looked up at me; tilting her head and rounding her big brown eyes, “You really mean it?” She said sitting up slightly, “Absolutely, I mean if I can count on anyone to find out who Jessie is really cheating on Erik with, it’d be you.” With this she perked up and smiled, past cares tossed aside.

“Oh that’s easy; see Jessie’s hooking up with Zack, which is hilariously ironic because he’s one of Erik’s best friends and she doesn’t want anyone to know because—,” She continued to talk while I let my mind wonder, I thought about Josh. How his lean, muscular shoulders would lean closer to me while we talked after school last year, how his green eyes brightened when I would start talking to him, he’d smile and lean forward, letting his blonde hair fall just above his eyes, I stopped and squinted, trying to remember why I suddenly felt like I was forgetting something again. I’ve known him since he moved here in sixth grade, why wouldn’t I feel like he’s familiar to me? I mean, it’s not like I haven’t spent my fair share of time looking at his golden-blonde hair and the flecks of gold and silver in his bright green eyes—

“Lyla, are you listening to me?” I shook my head and gazed at Clary, remembering that she’d been talking to me, “Sorry what was that?” My voice sounded squeaky, like I’d been caught doing something that I wasn’t supposed to. Clary rolled her eyes and scooted closer to me, “I said we should start getting ready, I’m not letting you wear those clothes now, I mean there covered in a nasty layer of gray-stuff and we smell like smoke. You can just borrow some of mine. And, wait, you were thinking about Josh, weren’t you? Aw, this is so cute you guys are like destined to be together! Like Romeo and Juliet!” She said smiling, and bouncing slightly.

“You know that Romeo and Juliet killed themselves, right? That’s why the playwright is a famous romantic tragedy.” I laughed and rolled my eyes, I could that see Clary was about to say something over-dramatic and totally off-topic so I grabbed her hand and drug her off of the couch. We walked up her narrow squeaky stairs that jutted upward directly across from her couch, and up to the cramped hallway of her second floor, naturally I went to the last door in the hall and swung the door open. By the time Clary closed the door behind her, I was already looking in her walk in closet for an outfit for her and another one for me to change into, since mine was now a little ‘out of service’.

“You know since you and Josh are probably going to start dating soon, and then get married, do you think that I can be your wedding planner? I mean, no offense, but every birthday party of yours that I’ve been to, and I’ve been to a lot, kind of sucked and was boring until the sleep over part of the night when you and I pigged out on chocolate and watched Disney movies until we passed out.” Clary went over to her giant bed that takes up more than half of her cramped, messy room and sat down; talking as if everything were a proven fact and nothing could change that. I chuckled and looked up from the mountain of clothes I’d just pulled out from her closet, “You know there’s no guarantee that we’ll even date, and you’re talking about us getting married? Why don’t we stop talking about my love life and start talking about yours? Are you going to make a move on this mysterious boy-toy you’re always talking about, but won’t ever tell me his name? If he’s so great than why don’t you tell me more about him?” I said squealing in delight as I found the item I had been searching for, Clary was silent, which was as shocking as when she seriously yelled at someone. I looked up to see her blushing and staring at her hands.

“Well he’s going to be going to our school this year, and I knew him before I moved here, he’s amazing, it’s just…I’ve never actually had a full conversation with him before, I was shy back then; I don’t even know his name... I just remember that when I went back to my old town to visit in the summer, that he’s totally gorgeous and he was always super nice to everyone, even when everyone picked on him for being quiet…So I can’t tell you what I don’t know.” My eyes widened, because for the first time since I’ve known Clary she looked sincerely embarrassed and nervous. “Actually I heard that he’s staying with his cousin, who might be taking him to the party at Erik’s tonight—,” she was cut off by the sharp ring of her house phone, getting up and sarcastically stomping downstairs I heard her answer the phone—though her voice was low and muffled.

“Hello?” Silence “this is she…” I continued to shuffle through Clary’s clothes, while straining my ears to listen, “Oh, yeah, no I am definitely going to be there, actually I’m coming with my friend Clary.” I heard her laugh ring out suddenly, “Yeah, ok see you there, bye.” I heard a loud sarcastic squeal and then pounding as Clary ran back up the steps, she was panting as she entered her room; throwing herself with another girly shriek onto her bed. “Ok, so are you going to tell me what that was all about or…?” Laughing as I threw the outfit I’d picked out for her onto the bed next to her.

“Ok, so you remember how I was saying that the guy I like is staying with a cousin?” She sat up, bouncing, “Yeah, considering it was like a minute ago…?” I replied standing up and grabbing the dress I’d picked out for myself; it’s amazing how her family seems to lack-in finances but Clary still manages to buy designer clothes, “Well it turns out that he’s not just going to Erik’s party, he’s actually Erik’s cousin, and the guy I like,” she giggled to herself, “was describing me too Erik and told him my name because he remembered me saying where I moved when I came back to visit one summer and Erik gave him my number. And you know what? He called me! His name is Devin, ugh, just saying it makes me all excited! And then Devin asked me if I was going to Erik’s party and I said yeah, and he said ‘I can’t wait to see you there’!” She squealed again and grabbed the clothes I threw next to her on the bed, starting to change.

“Ok, so normally I just date a boy for like two weeks and then dump them, but if this guy and I get serious, oh my gosh! This is going to be great, it may even turn into, get ready for this Lyla, a serious relationship.” I raised one eyebrow at her reflection while admiring myself in the floor length mirror hanging on the back of her door. In the end I’d picked out a simple red, tight fitting dress that flared out slightly at the hips to give the illusion that there was more curve there than there actually was. The dress is strapless and made me look even older than I thought it would, but at least I looked good—for Josh, I reminded myself, “Woe, slow down girl, you just found out his name, and your already pulling out the ‘R’ word? I’d be careful; I wouldn’t want you to get hurt…” I said it slowly, so as not to sound too harsh and turned around to look at her, she was wearing a purple tank top with a belt around her waist to make the flowered skirt she was wearing flow like it was a dress, I smiled in approval, “How do I look?” We both asked at the same time, laughing we hugged each other and turned back to the mirror to apply makeup, or to re-apply in my case.

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Within the next half an hour we were ready to go, but there was still another half an hour until the party actually started, but we weren’t going to show up for a half an hour after that…”What are we going to do? We look so good, and I don’t want to sit here doing nothing for another hour…why didn’t you bring your own car, instead of grabbing a ride from your dad? We could at least have driven to the party in style that way and not in my pickup truck.” Clary frowned as she followed me down her steps and back into the living room and looked around. I shut my phone with a smile, “I just took care of it. My car is in the shop, remember the accident I had with my mailbox after I drank too much at Erik’s last party? Yeah, well it should be done soon, so for now were going to have to settle for my brother’s car. He said he’d drive us there since he’s going to the party anyways,” I rested my hands on my hips with a frown, deciding the room was to dark, walking over to the far wall next to their flat screen, I flipped on the living room over-head light and blinked at the bright light, “besides—I want to at least start straightening up the house before we leave, so we don’t have to do so much tomorrow.” Clary groaned and started to whine, but I cut her off by raising my hand. “We’ll start in the hazardous kitchen, so nothing explodes while were gone, or sleeping during the night…” with that I took charge, not wanting to waste any time, therefore not allowing either of us too over-stress about the party coming up fast. Plus, knowing how drunk Clary will get and knowing how bad her hangovers are, I doubt we’ll get much work done until early evening tomorrow, which means that a head start wouldn’t kill us.

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We’d just finished with the kitchen when Clary threw up her hands in complaint, “Come on, that’s enough for today, can you just call your—,” Just then the familiar horn of my brother’s car honked, interrupting any further words that would’ve been said, and replaced them with happy squealing from Clary.

We walked outside to see my brother’s sleek, black Lamborghini grinning back at us welcomingly, “Speak of the devil, here’s his son, our hero really, Tyler. Thank you, darling.” Clary said sarcastically as she ran as quickly as she could in the six inch heels she’d put on, and slid into the back seat, batting her eyelashes and puckering her bottom lip. My brother laughed and then seeming to remember that I was there cleared his throat.

“We’re going to stop at G’s diner before we head over—I figure it’ll kill some time before we have to get to the party, and there’s no way I’m going to be drinking with an empty stomach.” My brother said while I sat next to him, I’ve been noticing how Tyler’s been ignoring Clary lately; did they have a ‘thing’, without me knowing? We pulled away from Clary’s house and Tyler blasted some techno music that I’d never heard before. Several times I’d peek over at him and catch him blushing and looking into the back rearview mirror more than necessary on this empty street. His light hair looked almost white in the weird lighting of the car, and his normally blue eyes looked dark brown in the cast shadow over his lower face, again I feel like there’s something I’m forgetting, did I put enough mascara on? I pulled down my passenger side mirror and looked at my makeup, thinking that this must have been what I had forgot…it all looked ok, better since I hadn’t had to rush the second time of me applying makeup today. So why do I still feel like there’s something I’m forgetting? I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket and glanced at the caller ID, turning down the music I answered, “Hello?”

“Hi, uh is this Lyla? Do I have the right number?” A voice chimed, sounding so familiar that it took a moment for my mind to catch up with my ears and my heart; which beat faster immediately, “Yeah, is this Josh?” I said hearing Clary move in her seat, she was poking my side, encouragingly, “Yeah, uh, you’re going to Erik’s party tonight, right?” I gulped slowly and took a calming breath, “Yeah, Erik throws some awesome parties.” I silently scolded myself at how stupid that sounded, and apparently Clary and my brother Tyler agreed with me, considering they both laughed, “Well, I was wondering if we could spend some time together there? I mean, if you want, if you’re not busy or anything? I just would really like to spend some time with you. Well, that and I’m helping Erik show his cousin Devin around, and introducing him to people…uh so what do you say?” Josh sounded so nervous, it made me giddy and start to bounce in excitement in my seat to think he sounded this nervous for me, “Yeah, I’d like that, so I’ll see you there?” My voice rose slightly, and I felt another jab from Clary. “Definitely.” He responded, I hung up the phone to a silent car and a brother side glancing me.

“What, I can’t talk to a friend in the car?” I spoke quietly, to hide the fact that my voice was cracking, “No, you can call whoever you like, as long as you tell me his name, so I can have a little chat with him.” He spoke his words slowly, flexing his muscles slightly, which in my opinion made him look even more massive than he already did. “His name is Josh, he’s a junior like you’re darling sister and I, you might know him—,” Clary chimed in with a laugh before I had the chance to tell my brother who, “Josh Williams, the football jock? You have a thing with Josh?” His voice seemed to rise an octave with each sentence he finished; if he were a girl in choir they would call him ‘an over achieved soprano’. “Well, she’s hoping they will by the end of tonight.” Clary continued, I tried quieting her but it only seemed to make it worse, “She likes him a lot, and I think they are so super cute together, and totally right for each other!” Luckily we just parked in the parking lot of the diner, because otherwise I would’ve seriously considered rolling out of the side door of the car. Before they could say another word, I hopped up out of the car and started walking toward the old fifty’s style diner, with my head down and my arms wrapped around myself, as a shield to block out all other commotion. But I didn’t stop at the entrance of the diner, instead I walked around the far corner of the building where the garbage can overflowed with trash; and tried to breathe calmly. My feet seemed to glide beneath me, at the same time that a cold, sickening feeling began to spread in the pit of my stomach…

That conversation was just like the one before…In my mind I was there again, at the accident three months ago; in the car, driving home with my mother from a shopping trip… The day had been perfect; the sun shining, just the right amount of wind and clouds adding shade to the light blue sky. “Who was that on the phone, sweetie?” My mom asked side glancing at me with her hands on the wheel, her blonde hair tossed into a messy bun. “It was a friend of mine, a guy.” She arched a thin eyebrow at me, the beginnings of a smirk outlining her dimples. “Do I need to call Clary and ask her about him, and have a talk with him myself, or are you going to tell me his name?” Her voice sounded on the verge of laughter, I adjusted my seatbelt and moved uncomfortably in the front passenger seat, avoiding her eyes. My pink tank top and purple pants contrasted greatly with my mother’s blue T-shirt and light green pants; I remember thinking about how odd her outfit looked with her fair skin. “I…his name is Josh…” I cleared my throat and felt my cheeks flush; I hadn’t wanted to continue talking. “Is Josh the boy who used to come over to study with you in sixth grade? He is a nice boy, I think you two would be great together; I can tell that you like him.” The road we had been driving on was deserted, with a thick line of forest outlining either side of the street. “Is it really that obvious?” I looked down and began to fiddle with my fingers, peaking at my mother from underneath my eyelashes; her face looked ageless and kind, her features strong yet soft with an undertone of something dark, her clothes unruffled because the seatbelt hadn’t been cooperating earlier that afternoon when they had entered the car… I remember feeling and seeing my mother’s hand fly out in front of me to push me back as we swerved. The tires screeched and grinded against the concrete, the world had spun around me until it flipped. There was a moment of being weightless and being upside down before everything had become blurry. “Mom,” I coughed, “mom?” I coughed again, harder this time; starting to feel pain seep into my body…I remember feeling that sick, dropping feeling when she hadn’t answered… As soon as I rounded the corner, I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes, trying to block out the rest of the world. The world became quiet accept for the faint sounds of a cricket, and the rustling of the wind through the leaves of the nearby trees…

“What are you doing back here?” A male voice said, making me jump. I opened my eyes to see a tall, muscular man step forward out of the shadows. I’d never seen him before, but he seemed so familiar; the way he held himself confidently, his black silky hair, and his deep electric blue eyes, he was wearing a button up black shirt and black skinny jeans. His chin was strong, along with his high cheek bones that made his face seem very angular, strong yet delicate at the same time. His arm muscles bulged underneath his tight fitting shirt and he sat looking at me with an expectant look on his face…

“Can you talk or…?” He said mockingly with a smile, his strong jaw tightening only just. His skin was pale, but not sickly; just an even toned color that reminded me of the color of a full moon. Our eyes met, and we stood silently for a moment, I could hear my heart pounding in my ears, “Oh, uh yeah you just, scared me. I wasn’t expecting anyone to be back here.” I heard myself hiccup. He was leaning against a tiny shed the diner kept behind its back room to hold extra supplies. “Neither did I, and yet here we are.” An old, yellowed street-light shone above his head, making his hair reflect in a sort of halo, I gulped, searching for something to fill the silence that filled the gap between us. “’The Dark Angel’, what does that mean?” I said slowly, reading the white lettering on the black leather bound book he held in his hands, he glanced down himself as if noticing the book he held for the first time, “Yeah, it’s my journal, it was a gift from my old mentor. I hope you don’t think it’s lame that I keep a journal?” He said raising a thin black eyebrow, “No, I—uh, actually have a journal to, but mine doesn’t say anything on the front, it just has this really cool swirling-design.”  I shook my head and smiled nervously, trying to take deep breaths to stop myself from rambling.

“Have we met before?” He asks suddenly, stepping out of the shadow of the shed completely and into the light of the sunset, his whole silhouette glowing with a golden and silver light. I could see him clearly now; and saw how his dark hair just fell onto his forehead, how his nose was crook just barely on one side, how his eyes were so bright… “I don’t think so, but it’s possible that I’ve passed you on the street and haven’t noticed; this summer has been really busy.” I spoke to him with a matter of fact tone hoping, partly; to appear confident and partly to scold myself for letting me, my usually calm self, stare at him now, like I was. This whole scene reminded me of a scary movie, he seemed so handsome and yet there just is something not exactly right about him. Next thing you know he’ll take out a mask and start chasing me slowly with a weapon.

“I don’t think so, I just moved here—,” he was cut off by my brother’s voice calling out from the other side of the building, “Lyla, where did you go? Come on, we need to get inside, the dinner crowd is starting to come and I’m hungry!” I was turned half facing away and half facing toward the stranger, I smiled to myself. I quickly shrugged and began walking around to meet my brother, careful not to look back. As I walked away I heard a rustling sound and a slight bang, my feet moved faster toward where my brother’s voice had sounded. While walking past the garbage can again, I realized with a start that there was a single line of spray painted words that said, ‘mortem veniet’, my eyebrows shot up, what could that mean? I quickly picked up the pace even more so and rounded the corner at a near sprint, nearly tackling my brother, who already had had an annoyed look on his face. “Come on, let’s go get a table, I’m starved…”

The rest of the meal was a blur; Clary gossiping and leaning awfully to close to my brother for comfort, my brother blushing and trying to scoot away, the waitress coming to take our order and trying to flirt with my brother, me gagging at the sight of the mini cat fight going on between Clary’s and the waitresses eye contact, us eating our food—I think I had a chicken salad wrap? And I remember faintly getting into the car and driving to Erik’s house.

“Ok, Lyla, last check, how do I look?” Clary said once we’d exited my brother’s parked vehicle, and my brother had disappeared inside. Clary looked expectantly at me; her hair was straight, dark brown, her outfit stylish and cute, and her makeup un-smudged and perfect, “You look awesome, just don’t forget to bring your lip gloss, what about me?” I asked straightening my hair and fixing my opal necklace, Clary was quiet a moment, inspecting me up and down. “Gorgeous, we look hot, you ready to divide and conquer?” She half-smiled at me, hooked our arms together and marched us up to the white, rich, modern looking house that belonged to our dear friend Erik.

We entered his house to pounding music and a crowd of people that I didn’t know, but that didn’t matter, my eyes were already searching for the one person I couldn’t wait to see tonight. The first room we entered was an open, large entry way that split off in two directions, “I’m going to find Josh, meet up with you later?” I side glanced at Clary already walking away before I’d even heard her say yes. Choosing to go left I thought, for a moment, back to the stranger behind the diner and shook my head. I walked into a room with a lavishly decorated white couch shoved up against the back wall and a large fireplace blazing behind a crowd of people. Though the party had nearly just started; there was confetti, drinks, cups, and even a guy passed out on the ground…but I still can’t find him, I think grudgingly to myself. I turned right into another room obviously meant to be the kitchen, though it looked more like the inside of Clary’s house, and shook my head as I continued to push my way forward, into a large open dining room with a long wooden table stretching at length to each end of the room. I passed a group of obviously drunk guys who tried to reach out to me, and hustled down a skinny hallway into Erik’s back greenroom, that I know he uses it for a hang out more than to grow plants… “Excuse me,” I continued to mumble as I pushed past people. The green room had fewer people than I’d expected and looked the same as it had the first time I’d come here; a long skinny room with rows of tables set randomly about with one corner set up with a wide assortment of furniture; two plush, blue chairs, a couch and a small wooden table. I remember meeting Josh here, while sitting in a green chair that had long since been thrown out…

“Lyla!” My heart skipped, finally, Josh! I turned around smiling brightly as Josh walked up to me in a plain white T-shirt and some baggy jean shorts, and let him guide me to an ugly brown couch a little away from the crowd; in the corner of the room where the music wasn’t quite so loud, “I can’t believe you made it! I was looking all over for you, and when Erik said he hadn’t seen you, I was beginning to think you’d skipped out on me,” He said sweetly, smiling at me. The music pounded in my ears and I had to lean even closer to him to hear all he had to say. “I would never skip out on you—I mean, I haven’t seen you all summer since you went on vacation, there’s no way I was going to skip out on Erik’s last party of the summer, maybe the last time we’ll be able to hang out.” I made my eyes wide with disappointment, and made sure my voice sounded extra sad and convincing. It must have worked; Josh leaned even closer, so that we were inches apart and looked worried, even a bit sad, “I was hoping this wouldn’t be the last time we could hang out, I mean, unless you have someone else…” I frowned, and furrowed my brow, “No, no, I’d love to hang out with you more, I just didn’t know if you wanted to or not, and I am a bit shy; I didn’t want to ask you.” I looked up at him, my cheeks feel warm, I wonder if he notices? “I wish you wouldn’t be shy, I really like you, Lyla. I want to spend as much time with you as I’m allowed, which is however much you let me.”

I nodded and leaned even closer to him, “I promise I won’t be shy on one condition.” My heart was pounding, the music seemed to fade into the background, there’s no one else in the room but us, my mind says. “What’s that?” He whispered, I raised my eyebrows in fake-shock, when he couldn’t tell, “Kiss me.” Josh looked at me with a breathtaking smile and leaned across the rest of the way to kiss me, as light as a butterfly at first, then slowly more hungrily, I reach my hands up and buried them into fists in his hair, it was a relief and a joy that was instantaneous, something that felt so foreign and yet so familiar at the same time. His hands cupped my face, and I heard him chuckle as he pulled away from me, “So does this mean I can call you my girl now?” Our foreheads are still touching, I thought smiling. My heart is still racing, “Only if you take me to the movies this next Saturday.” He laughed and was leaning in for another kiss when someone called, “Oh there he is, Josh! Come on, he’s over here.” Reluctantly we pulled away from each other, but before he could get too far I grabbed his hand and interlaced our fingers. I became aware of the crowd of people and the music once again and looked up to see an all too eager Erik rushing over to us with a drink in his hand. His dark hair fell low, covering his light brown eyes, he was stumbling somewhat, motioning someone behind him forward. Erik has always been a small man, but his height accompanied by the muscles he’s been working on all summer, they somehow seemed to make him even shorter.

Josh leaned closer to me, rolling his eyes, “What is it Erik?” Instead of saying any greeting to Erik, I just leaned my head onto Josh’s shoulder and enjoyed the happy feeling that I was still floating in. “Oh, uh I didn’t realize you were busy…?” Not waiting for Josh to reply Erik continued, “Well since my cousin wasn’t here earlier, you didn’t get the chance to meet him, I was just bringing him over to meet you. Plus after you’re done here, you promised to help show him people—hey that’s an awesome—,” Erik seemed to drift into a sort of drunk, distractive attitude sitting and mumbling on the chair set next to the couch Josh and I were sitting on. I let my eyes drift somewhat closed, letting the world sort of fade into the background again, “Josh, Lyla this is Devin, Devin this is Josh and Lyla.” Erik said drowsily, how much has he drunk tonight, did he find out about his girlfriend cheating on him?

“Hi, nice too meet you Josh, though I think Lyla and I have already met. We met behind the diner right?” I recognized this guy’s voice, I leaned my head up and saw the dark boy—Devin? From earlier, “Behind the diner…?” I heard Josh mutter, “Uh, oh yeah, hey. So you’re Erik’s cousin, it’s nice to officially meet you.” I said smiling tightly; Devin looked down at my hand interlaced with Josh’s and then back to meet my eyes still smiling, at the same time I could feel Josh’s eyes weighing on me questioningly. I could feel the blood rush to my cheeks and suddenly felt extremely conscious about the close proximity of Josh and I, I began to squirm. Erik lifted his head just long enough to look at the three of us and whistle mockingly, chuckle and lay back down. “So, uh, how do you like it here, in our small town, so far, anything interesting?” I tried to make pleasant conversation, but I could still feel a burning sensation in my cheeks.  “I haven’t met many people, but the people I have met are very interesting.” He said, the ghost of a smile playing on his lips, his blue eyes sparkled and for a moment I couldn’t hear anything or see anything else but Devin. It seemed as though we were staring at each other with nothing else was around us, I could see him smiling and his blue eyes crackling electrically—

“—so yeah, sorry, but I’ll have to show you around and introduce you to people tomorrow, right now I’m spending some quality time with my girlfriend. It was nice to meet you though.” Josh was saying, stressing and elongating the word ‘girlfriend’, so that it seemed to hang dead in the air. He was helping me up, off the couch and guiding me out of the room to the door the was straight forward from where we had been sitting, before I could even protest. I know that I shouldn’t have but I looked back. Devin was looking at Erik, but feeling my eyes on him he glanced up, meeting my gaze to half-smile at me, revealing a single dimple on the left side of his mouth. I couldn’t help it, I smiled back, and just as we were exiting the room I saw Clary bounce up to Devin and start to twirl her hair around her finger the way she always did when she flirted. Before Clary got the chance to see that what Devin had been staring at was me, I looked away and allowed Josh to guide me the rest of the way out of the room.

We made our way through the thickening crowd of people, to the wreck room that had obviously been cleared away very quickly for dancing, “Do you want anything to drink?” He yelled into my ear, I nodded and smiled sweetly at him, nodding in response he disappeared into the crowd to find us some drinks, I felt glad that Josh had left me here. I hadn’t wanted Josh to notice my hands becoming slightly sweaty as I thought back to Devin’s smile; mentally shaking myself I wiped my hands on my dress and stood up straighter. I had just adjusted my hair, and dress and applied a thin layer of lip gloss when Clary came bouncing over to where I stood, one of her hands waving wildly, and the other holding another hand…who’s skin was slightly pale. I looked up to see Devin standing close to Clary and smiling at me showing both of his dimples, “This is Devin, the guy I was telling you about earlier, he lived in the same town I did was I was younger—before I moved. He said that Josh was busy and couldn’t introduce him to people, so I volunteered, naturally.” Clary was still bouncing, but had leaned closer to yell into my ear, I glanced back down at Clary’s and Devin’s hands and noticed that when Clary had moved closer, she had pulled Devin closer too. I thought I saw tint of red flash in Clary’s eyes at the same moment that I thought I saw a flash of concern flash in Devin’s. My breath caught, but I forced myself to look up and meet both of their gazes steadily, “Yeah, I already met Devin; Erik beat you to it before he passed out onto the chair in the greenroom.” I said moving a step closer to both of them, so that they could hear my voice over the music.

“Here you go; one drink for you, and one drink for me—,” Josh stopped when he saw the tight circle we had formed in the middle of the room, I backed up realizing how close I’d been to Devin and reached over for the drink smiling. “Thanks boyfriend,” Hopefully distracting him from where I’d just been standing, in response he smiled and wrapped his arms around my waist, careful not to spill his drink on my dress. I wrapped my arms around his neck and looked back at Devin, who was watching with a strange sort of amusement, “Boyfriend..? Oh finally, congratulations you guys!” Clary screeched and began pulling Devin away stopping when she was close enough to my ear to whisper, “We are definitely going to celebrate a double victory later, and maybe we can even do some double dating,” she backed up to grin at both Josh and me, shaking her head she yelled, “I’m going to go introduce Devin to a few people, I’ll see you two later!” And she was gone, dragging Devin away through the crowd; I watched them go with a slight pain in my stomach, a feeling I refused to believe or acknowledge was jealousy.

“Are you ok? You seem kind of distracted…” Josh spoke into my ear, before backing up to meet my gaze, when I looked at him I felt a sudden rush of reassured excitement, and shook my head hastily, feeling my hair bounce around my shoulders, “No, you want to dance pretty boy?” I said laughing and wrapping my arms tighter around him; he chuckled loosening his hold on me with one arm so that he could take a drink. I followed his lead and soon we were laughing, drinking and dancing to the music along with everyone else in the room. After a few songs and more than a few drinks, we were both tired, lifting my cup to take another drink; I found it to be empty, “Josh, can we go back to the drink table?” I whispered with a light buzz spreading through my head and my stomach, when he nodded in silent response we both turned; walking slowly hand in hand, over to the table filled with cups and a number of other drinks—anything from water, to wine, to beer, to soda. Deciding I didn’t need any more alcohol, based on last month’s party, I grabbed a bottle of dark soda instead and waited as Josh decided on some sprite, looks like were thinking pretty similarly, I thought with a grin.

“Do you want to continue dancing?” Josh sounded breathless, his cheeks were flushed, he looked absolutely adorable, but still I shook my head, “I think we should go find Clary, sometimes she gets a little carried away when there’s alcohol around; I don’t want her doing anything too


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