London, England 2024
I looked at myself in the mirror. A little black dress with lace trimmings, shiny black pumps, and a cute little purse. I had my coal black hair curled in ringlets, black eyeliner making my green-blue eyes pop, cherry red lipstick, and a touch of mascara. I gave a little spin, proud of the work I had done. I smiled at myself in the mirror then turned around and sat on the edge of my bed, grabbing my phone. The screen lit up showing all the texts I had missed. Lexi had texted me twenty times that she was going to be here in fifteen minutes to pick me up for Joclyn’s birthday party, then ten than five, and now she was here and was complaining about how I was taking way too long and not to forget the present. I quickly shoved my phone into my purse and dashed out of my room, grabbing the gift. I sped down the hallway, I quickly stopped at my sister's room to tell her where I was going, she always wanted to know every little thing I did, it was annoying, but what are older sisters for. She was just trying to protect me. I took a quick peek in, Saria was lying on her bed reading a book, she was such a bookworm, her midnight black hair spilled over her like a curtain. She lifted her head up and smiled. “Hi, Vera. Where are you going? And be back by midnight. Also, you look cute. Say hi to Ari for me.” She said giving me a wink. My lips twitched up. “I’m going to Joclyn’s birthday party, and thanks, I will, love ya, see ya.” I said blowing a kiss. I went down the stairs and headed out the front door. The air was a little chilly, and mist hung low to the ground. I spotted Adrian’s red Porsche. Adrian was seated in the driver's seat wearing a nice dress shirt and khakis, his curly brown hair halfway fallen into his eyes, we had been friends forever. Lexi was in the back, dressed in a cute emerald dress, and with her platinum blonde hair streaked with pink pulled into a bun she kinda looked like a modern-day Tinkerbell. She saw me and gave me a once-over, nodding in approval. I opened the door and got in the passenger side. “Hey.” I said. “Hi, thought you were never going to come.” she said, feigning irritation. I smirked. “I had to tell Saria where I was going, you know how obsessive she is about that.” Lexi nodded. “Yeah I know, by the way, you look hot, see I taught you something.” “Thanks, but I knew plenty about fashion before you intervened.” I said. “You have the gift, right?” I nodded, patting the bag by my side. We had gotten her an expensive bottle of perfume and earrings. “Hey, Vera.” Adrian said smiling. I returned the smile. “Hey Adrian, how’s it going?” “Good, ready to party!” he said, then started laughing, Lexi and I burst out laughing as well. Adrian put the car and gear and headed down the street turning onto the main road. I looked out the window, it was getting dark. The sun had fully set, leaving an orange hue, and the black darkness was slowly taking over. It had also started to rain. The car started to pull up to Joclyn’s house. It was huge, made up of red bricks and dark red wood. It had so many windows, and a long road with trees and shrubs led up to the house, actually mansion, to be more accurate. Many cars were lined up by the entrance, almost our whole junior class and the majority of the senior class was here, and that was a lot of people, our school was huge, but so was her house. We pulled up and got out, Adrian handed the keys to the valet guy. I grabbed my purse and the present and we walked up the pearly marble steps to the front door, there was a red carpet leading from there, way to be extra Jocelyn. “I’m going to find some of the football guys, I’ll see you two later, okay?” Adrian said. I nodded. “Bye Adrian.” Lexi said. “You know, I think Adrian has the hots for you, you should have seen his face when you walked out.” She said. I made a face. “No, he doesn’t, we are just good friends, plus I got Ari.” I said. Adrian did not like me, I would have noticed. Of course he was good looking and I had thought about being more than friends, but that was a while ago and I realized I would never want to jeopardize what we have, and now I was with Ari. “You ready to party.” Lexi whispered to me excitedly, changing the topic, thank god. I nodded, grinning. I had known Jocelyn for like ever, her parties were known to be extravagant and wild, especially if her parents weren’t home, and they weren’t. This was bound to get interesting. As soon as we entered the main banquet room, I spotted someone waving at us from across the room. My heartbeat sped up. Coppery auburn hair, warm hazel eyes, and a breathtaking smile. Ari. I felt his gaze rake over me. Lexi and I walked over. As soon as I reached him, he pulled me to him. “Hey there, you look beautiful tonight.” He whispered, I could feel his warm breath on my ear. My cheeks flushed. His hand caressed the side of my face, and he gave me a quick kiss. I smiled up at him, I wished we were alone. He put his hand in mine, giving a little squeeze. Ari was the perfect boyfriend, too perfect. He was kind, smart, hot, the list went on and on. Lexi cleared her throat, interrupting my thoughts. “Come on lovebirds, let's go join the party.” I turned around, and we headed to the dance floor. An upbeat song was playing, the bass drumming into my ears. Lexi marched her way into the sea of people. Ari put his hands on my hips and we moved to the music. Eventually, a slow song came on, one of my favorites. Ari pulled me closer and rested his face against my neck, I laid my head on his chest and we swayed to the music. This was a perfect night. Once the song ended I had Ari go and get us some drinks so I could go talk to Lexi and Jocelyn. I made my way through the crowd and finally found Jocelyn. Her face lit up when she saw me. She rushed over to me, her fiery red curls bouncing, she gave me a tight embrace. “Vera!” She exclaimed happily. “Happy birthday Jocelyn!” I said, handing her the present we had gotten her. “Oh, you shouldn’t have!” I waved my hand. “Nonsense, everyone gets gifts on their birthday, especially from their best friends.” She took a peek inside. “Thank you!” “Your welcome.” I said I was glad she liked it, I knew she would. “I’m going to go find Lexi, she’s always disappearing.” I said. “Okay, have fun finding her, I have to meet up with Jax, I promised him a dance.” She said, and with a wink, she took off. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted Lexi, who was up and close with some random blonde guy. I checked my phone to see what the time was. Thirty minutes till twelve, I had to be home by twelve. I walked over to Lexi and taped her shoulder. “Hey, what’s up?” Lexi asked. “We have to leave soon, so be prepared, don’t get drunk, I’ll be with Ari.” I said as someone touched the small of my back. Lexi nodded, then went back to dancing. I turned to find Ari, holding two cups of punch. “Want to get some fresh air?” He asked. I nodded, grabbing one of the cups, and with my other hand, I grabbed his. We exited the dance hall and made our way to the gardens. I breathed in the fresh air, flower blossoms coated the scent. We sat down on one of the many benches. I took a gulp of the punch, it was sweet. Ari set his punch on the ground. “Is it any good?” He asked. I shook my head, feeling a little dizzy, it was probably spiked, damn it, thank god I wasn’t driving. “You okay?” “Yeah, just a little dizzy, I’ll be fine.” I said. “Okay, but don’t faint on me okay?” Ari joked, chuckling. I poked his chest. “I won’t, I only had a little.” He pulled me close, mmm he smelled so good, like cherries. “We should probably get Lexi, I have to go home, it’s almost curfew.” I said. “We should, but a few minutes won’t hurt, I know how strict your parents and Saria are.” Ari murmured. Gently he cupped his hands around my face and pressed his soft lips to mine. Too soon, for my taste, he pulled away. I grinned at him, I couldn’t think of anything to say. “Your so beautiful, too good for me.” He whispered, almost so I couldn’t hear. My face scrunched together, how could he think that he was perfect, especially in my eyes. “Ari, how could you say such things!” I exclaimed. “You are the most caring, kind person I know, I don’t know what I’d do without you.” “Thank you, Vera, you complete me, I don’t know what I’d do without you, I, I need you.” He said brushing a strand of hair away from my face. I swore he was about to say a different four letter word, but. I jumped into his lap and leaned against him, he pulled me closer. I didn’t want to move, I wanted to stay in his arms forever. “We should go.” I whispered. He nodded, bringing me to my feet. We walked back to the party entering the crowded dance hall, I spotted Lexi. I walked up to her. “Hey Lexi I have to go, do you want to come?” I asked. She looked at me and grinned stupidly, oh god she was drunk. “Come on Lexi.” I said grabbing her arm. “Nnn.” She mumbled, she didn’t have enough strength to fight me though. I brought her over to where Ari was. “She got drunk, and I don’t think I’m fit to drive either, do you mind taking us?” I asked, I knew Ari wouldn’t mind, but it never hurts to be polite. “Of course not, come on, are you feeling okay Vera?” He asked, his eyes filled with concern. “I think I’m okay just a little dizzy, that’s all.” I said, my head was pounding, but I didn't want to worry him. “Okay, come on.” He said pulling my arm, as I held on to Lexi, making sure she didn’t fall. We reached Ari’s car out front and lumbered in. I set Lexi in the back, and I went to the passenger side as Ari got in the driver's seat. We took off down the road, lights flashing bye. Ugh, I didn’t feel too well, my head felt like it was on fire. Ari took notice of that as I started to slump against the door. “Vera are you sure you’re okay? You don’t look too well.” he said putting a hand on my forehead. “Oh sweetie, you’re burning up.” he said driving a little faster. I watched the speedometer move up to 100kph. “Ari, slow down.” I mumbled, half delirious. He shook his head stubbornly. “You need a doctor.” Suddenly a blinding white light was approaching us, it was coming fast. I screamed. “Ari!” His eyes turned at the last minute, then all went dark as a loud smash and the breaking of glass filled my ears. I woke up to sirens blaring. Everything hurt, was I dead? No, if I was dead it wouldn’t hurt this much. I peeled my eyes open, I was lying on the ground. It was pitch black, only street and car lights illuminating things. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a boy who looked my age he had dark wine red hair, almost black and magnificent stormy grey eyes, he was very handsome, then he disappeared. I frowned, why did he leave, maybe I just imagined him, it felt colder without him near, yep, I was imagining things. Then I rembered why I was on the ground. There was broken glass everywhere, and blood. My vision blurred. I struggled to pull myself up, I was all cut up. “Ari? Lexi?” I asked choking, where were they. I squinted making out a body. I dragged myself over, the excruciating pain spread over me, I had to though, I had to. It was Ari, his eyes were closed and his skin was so pale. I put my hand on his face, it was ice cold. “Ari, Ari! Wake up, Ari, wake up.” I said, he didn’t move. I put my hand to his throat, there was no pulse, no, no, this was not real, no it wasn’t. “Ari wake up!” I shouted, tears streaming down my face. “No, no, no. Ari!” I screamed, sobs wracking my body, this was a nightmare, it wasn’t real, it couldn’t be. I, I, I, I had so much more to say to him, he couldn’t be gone. I hadn’t even told him I loved him. “No, Ari, you’re okay, I’m here, I love you.” I whispered. He didn’t move, he was turning even cold, if that was possible as I held his lifeless hand. “Ari!” I shouted. “I love you, wake up.” I cried. I felt arms come around me. “She’s going into shock.” I heard someone say. “Of course she is dumb ass, her friend is dead.” Another voice said. “No! No! Ari is not dead!” I screamed in their face, he wasn’t. “Come on honey, you need treatment, it’s been a rough night, come on.” A new voice said, picking me up, dragging me away from Ari. “Stop! Stop! You have to help Ari first, you have to…” I hollered frantically, Ari needed more help than me. As they dragged me away, I saw another body in a black body bag, it was Lexi. “No!” I screamed. Blackness crept into my vision, my head went all dizzy, and I collapsed. The last thing I remember is Ari’s beautiful lifeless body lying broken on the ground.
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