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   Chapter 3 Three

Beauty and the Bad By Aubrey Wolfe Characters: 27439

Updated: 2019-04-10 23:19

By Wednesday, Logan, Sissy and I have almost become best friends, forming our own little trio during lunch and breaks between classes. Logan and I only have the one class together in the morning, and Sissy and I have art together during last period, since she really didn't want to take gym.

I had thought about taking gym before I attended, but it didn't say anywhere about dance, or any dance classes. Another thing I have to add to my list of things to search up around the area.

There has to be a community center or something that offers dance classes for a cheap price, or is even searching for a dance teacher for a fair price.

As we're walking to Sissy's car, just before I usually part ways to see my mom, still always waiting right up front, I decide to ask them if they can show me around town.

"Hey guys, I was wondering, if you guys were free later, if you could show me around town? I don't really know any stores or anything around here, and a might need new clothes for this weekend, " I ask awkwardly.

Sissy squeals and throws herself at me. "I would love to show you around! I can show you all the best stores to shop at, and we can even go together and shop for an outfit this weekend, " she says, while practically suffocating me.

"Alright, Sissy, take it down. We're both free tonight, text us your whenever you're ready and we'll swing by, " Logan says and starts to steer Sissy away before I can object. I bite my lip and walk over to my mom's car, thinking about what I'm going to say to her when I ask.

I think it over the entire drive home, listening to her ramble on about her first day at her new job, how friendly everyone is and how quick she is remembering everything she learned so many years ago.

I want to be happy for her, but I still have that awful gut feeling, and I've had it ever since she told me what she is planning. It's kept me up every night so far. Wondering, do I really want my old life back, now that I've made the decision to take advantage of this second chance?

"Hey mom, can I ask you something?"

"Sure, honey, what's up?" she says, the smile never leaving her face.

"Well, the friends I was telling you about, Logan and Sissy. They wanted to show me around town tonight, you know, show me all the shops and places where teens hang out, " I start off slow.

My mother frowns, but doesn't look at me.

"I don't know if that's a good idea, honey. It hasn't even been a week since we moved here, I don't know if I want you running around this place on your own, until maybe a little time has passed. Just until we make sure how safe we are, and only time will tell that, " she says and finally turns to me. "I promise, we can go out this weekend, and maybe look at a few clothing shops, " she adds.

This weekend? Uh oh. I chew my lip, thinking of an excuse to tell her as to why I can't go out with her this weekend, but it's impossible to think of anything, seeing as she won't let me go out anywhere anyway, and I haven't been in school long enough for there to be any major test to study for.

I have to come up with something, or hope for the best.

I send a group text to Logan and Sissy, telling them my mother said no to me going out tonight, and making up some excuse that she needs me to help unpack and arrange the house. They send their regards, poking fun at me at the same time, saying they'll see me at school tomorrow.

There's only 2 days before the beach party, the big back-to-school party that everyone who is anyone supposedly is attending. I need to make a good impression, and I still don't have anything to wear.

I try and rummage through my clothes one more time, now that they are unpacked and a little more organized, but eventually give up again and head downstairs for dinner. I try and keep my mind clear as my mother continues to talk about her job, occasionally asking me how school is going.

"Do you think, when a bit of time has passed, I could maybe look into some dance classes in town?" I ask my mother when the conversation dies down and our plates are almost clear.

She gives me a long, hard look, her lips pressed into a firm line.

"Don't they offer dance classes at school?" she asks quietly, casting her eyes down. I should have known she was going to object, but this is something I have thought about a lot.

"No, they don't. I already checked, even gym doesn't offer any sort of dance. Mom, if there is any sort of my old life that I want to hold onto, it's dance, and I think there might be somewhere in town where I can maybe take lessons, or even teach them. I took a lot of lessons back home, and you even said yourself I could make a career out of it, " I say to her, pleading with my eyes for her to understand.

She gives me another long look, before she sighs and looks like she's caved. "I can't make any promises, but we can try and take a look in a little bit for something close to here, " she says. I almost jump out of my seat, but she puts a hand up to say she isn't finishes talking.

"Again, I'm not making any promises, we will talk about it another time, but I am saying I will consider it. You're right, I always loved watching you dance, and you are very good at it. I just want to settle in first, adjust to our surroundings and new life. Can you do that for me?" she asks, and stretches a hand across the table.

I meet her hand and give her a small smile, nodding.

I guess that is the best I'm going to get.


My mother drops me off at school just as Sissy and Logan pull into the parking lot. I give my mother a rushed good-bye before I run over to join them, thankful for a little bit of freedom, even if it's at school.

"So, how far into unpacking are you and your mom?" Logan asks.

"Uh, not that far. My mom actually just told me she started a new job, so she hasn't been around during the day to do most of it, " I say, telling part of the truth. Most of our major unpacking and arranging is already done. The kitchen is unpacked and the living room is arranged and set up, the only things left are my room, and my mother's.

"Why don't Sissy and I come over tonight and help you unpack? That way your mom has no choice but to let you come and shop with us, " Logan says.

Should've seen that coming. I knew eventually I would come to a dead end with my lies, I just didn't think it would happen so soon.

"To be honest, my mom is mainly concerned about me going out, she's really protective of me, " I mutter, biting my lip nervously.

Logan and Sissy share a confused look.

"Is she going to let you come to the party this weekend?" Sissy asks.

I shrug and turn towards my locker. "I haven't really told her about it, I have a feeling she's going to say no anyway."

"What are you going to do then?" Logan asks, leaning next to me with excited eyes. Something tells me he already knows what I've thought of.

"Obviously, she has no choice but to sneak out, " Sissy says and rolls her eyes, earning a small punch in the arm from Logan. "And we're going to help you, I can be the get-a-way driver." She grins at me, and I can almost see the gears turning behind her eyes.

"I haven't figured everything out just yet, but I'll let you guys know when I do, " I say and shut my locker door. Just as I turn to walk down the hall, I'm blocked by a tall figure.

I already know who it is before I look into his gorgeous steel eyes. Ethan is grinning down at me, one hand shoved in his pocket, the other clutching the strap of his backpack.

"There you are, I've been trying to catch you all week, " he says, and leans casually against my locker. Sissy and Logan look between the two of us with wide, shocked eyes. Sissy's mouth is hung open like she is trying to catch flies.

They quickly get the hint and pull themselves together.

"We'll see you at lunch, " Logan says, sending me a small wink, before they turn and strut down the hall, their heads bobbing together as they probably whisper about Ethan and I. I roll my eyes at their retreating figures, before nervously turning back to Ethan, who is still grinning down at me.

"You're a very hard person to catch, " he says, adjusting the strap on his shoulder. It almost seems like he's nervous, but I'm probably overthinking it.

"Why were you trying to catch me?" I ask, cursing myself silently when my voice comes out shakier than I intended it to.

"Well, I wanted to ask you if you heard about the party a few students from school are throwing this weekend, " he says.

I nod and press my lips together. "I did hear about it, Logan told me."

"Good, because I was also hoping to ask if maybe, you could save a dance for me, if you find the time."

It takes me a few minutes to register what he is asking, before I shake my head slightly, chewing my lip.

"Uh, y-yeah, I guess I could try and find the time, " I say, starting off rough but quickly recovering by the end. I give myself a small mental pat on the back.

Ethan gives me another grin. "Glad to hear, I'll make sure to find you the moment I get there." He sends me a wink, a lot more sultry than the one Logan gave me, before he disappears down the hall.

I lean against my locker for a few seconds, until the warning bell breaks me out of my dreamy thoughts, and I fly down the hall to first period, making it into my seat just as the last bell rings. I let out a small breath, but instantly tense slightly when I feel someone staring at me.

I peek through the corner of my eye, and see the girl Sissy had pointed out to me on my first day; Athena. She is staring, or more like glaring, at me from across the room. She looks like she wants to stand and say something to me, but before she can even move a muscle, the teacher enters the room, and class begins immediately after.

She continues to glare at me throughout the entire class, making me want to sink into my chair and completely disappear, or fall underneath and sneak out the door, but neither are options. I try my best to ignore her, but her gaze is to intense, I have to excuse myself to the bathroom halfway through class.

I stop at the water fountain and take a quick drink, trying to seem as if I'm using the bathroom. I feel someone staring at me again, before a presence comes up next to me. I stop and turn to look right into the sneering face of Athena.

"Who the hell do you think you are?" she asks, shoving a perfectly manicured finger into my chest. "You waltz in here like thin air, and start trying to trap everyone in your web. First Sissy, and now Ethan?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about, " I say and try to back up, but I run right into someone else. I turn and see a pretty brunet girl, blocking my way.

"Don't try and play the innocent game with me, I have met plenty of girls like you, and I'm not letting a worm like you destroy everything I have built here, " she threatens and takes a few steps closer. I try and back up again, but the other girl doesn't move.

I feel a ball of panic form in my chest, my mind blank on what to do. I can't hit her, or do anything that will get me in any trouble, or my mother will kill me. She wants me to keep a low profile, and getting into a fight with someone my first week of school, is not doing that.

"Enough, Athena, put your claws away, " a deep voice interrupts from behind, their shoes heavy against the tiled floor. I can't see them, but I can see Athena's shocked face as they approach. She backs away and looks toward her friend, giving her a look that says the same.

"This doesn't concern you, Thomas, we're just talking. Besides, what are you even doing here, thought you dropped out?" she sneers, smirking at him.

"I had an overdue library fee, I couldn't live with myself if I left and didn't pay it off, " Thomas says from behind. I don't turn around, completely glued to the spot.

Athena scoffs. "Seriously, I find that hard to believe."

"Good, because it's not true, now get the hell out of here."

She sneers again, but remains silent and turns on her heels, her platinum blonde hair twirling dramatically. I let out a small breath when she's finally gone, but suck it back in when I remember the guy standing behind me.

Whoever he is, he's supposedly frightening enough to scare off someone like Athena, who scares even me.

"You can relax, she's gone, " he says. I hear his footsteps approach, coming to stand in front of me. I can see he is tall, but not as tall as Ethan. Still enough to tower over me. I slowly look up at him, and I'm taken back at how cute and boyish he looks, not what I pictured at all.

Why is Athena afraid of someone like him? She did say something about him dropping out, maybe he isn't as innocent as his appearance makes him seem.

"So, what have you done to get yourself on Athena's black list?" he asks, completely oblivious to the tension hanging between us. Or maybe it was just me feeling it.

"Nothing, but I feel like it doesn't take much to get on her bad side, " I mutter. Thomas lets out a low chuckle and nods his head.

"Yeah, she can be a real bitch."

I choke on my spit a little, surprised at how casually he says that.

"Anyway, she's not that bad once you get to know her, she just thinks everyone is out to get her. She comes from a very protective family, this is the only place where she feels in control, which seems to have gone to her head over the years, " Thomas explains, and the more he talks about her, the more I feel that small tug of comfort I felt before.

It seems Athena and I might not be so different after all.

"Well, thanks for saving me, I guess. I would say I owe you, but

something tells me I won't be seeing you any time soon, " I say, silently referring to what Athena mentioned earlier. He nods slowly, getting exactly what I'm saying.

"I'm sure I'll see you around sometime, and I'll make sure you owe me one, don't worry about it. Till then, try to stay out of trouble, this place isn't as glamourous as it seems, " he says, all humor erased from his face, and an almost grim expression in his eyes.

Before I can ask what he means, he saunters off down the hall without a glance back, and walks out the front doors of the school. I stand there, thinking over what he says.

Is he talking about the school, or this town?


At the end of the day, I wave good-bye to Sissy and Logan, telling them I'll figure out a plan for this weekend. As they pull out of the parking lot, I realize my mother's car in nowhere to be found, and the lot is starting to thin out.

I look at my phone and realize she texted me.

Sorry honey, running late at the office. Any chance you can take the bus?

I groan and shove my phone back in my pocket. Does she not realize that since she never let me go out and explore the town, that means I have no idea how the bus system works? Or if there even is a bus I can take from here to home. All the school buses have already left, and I wouldn't even know which one goes by my house anyway.

Just as I'm about to turn and go back inside, someone honks, and a nice-looking car pulls up to the curb. The window rolls down and reveals a grinning Ethan.

"Need a ride?" he asks, and revs the engine a little for dramatic effect. I roll my eyes, but can't contain the small smile that stretches across my face.

"My knight in shining armor, " I tease when I settle into the pristine leather seat. Ethan chuckles and revs out of the parking lot, earning a few awed looks from lingering students.

"Were you waiting in the parking lot to see if I needed a ride, or did you just happen to be passing by?" I ask, trying to sound playful, but my jaw feels tense.

Ethan laughs again. "If I tell you, I'll just look even more pathetic."

I smile and duck my head, trying to hide my burning cheeks with my hair.

"So, where am I dropping you off?" he asks when we finally pull onto the freeway. I realize then that I'm going to have to give him my address, something I have been avoiding giving out to anyone. I try and think of something on the spot, and decide to just give him an address of a house a few doors down from mine.

"How are you liking it here so far?" he asks, and I can't help but smile at his attempt at small talk.

"Not bad, a lot better than I was expecting moving to a new city would be, " I say, trying to be as vague as possible, so I don't slip up.

"Have you ever moved before? Or is this your first time?"

"This is my first big move, I've only ever moved within my old town." I can feel a small ball of panic build in my chest the more I talk about my old life.

"This has to be pretty different for you then, you're handling it a lot better than most new kids I've seen, and some of them just move from across town, not a completely different city. Any reason why you moved in the first place?" he asks, the one question I have been waiting for someone to ask me.

Why did I move?

I come up with a quick lie. "My mother and I have been on our own for a long time, we both just needed a change of pace, escape our old life and start new somewhere else." I start rambling, and catch myself just as I realize my slip up. Though I didn't say anything specific, I'm getting nervous and not thinking about what's about to come out of my mouth.

I need to change the subject!

"How long have you lived here?" I ask him.

"I've lived here my entire life, just my dad and I. He owns one of the best auto body shops in town, let's me work there part-time so I can save up for college, " he explains, but I'm barely paying attention, just thankful for the change of topic.

"Well, here we are, " he says and pulls up to an unfamiliar house. I open my mouth to object, but quickly snap it shut when I remember the fake address I gave him.

I give him a tense smile. "Thanks again for the drive, doesn't even look like my mother is home, " I say, looking at the empty driveway, even though it isn't really my driveway. I'm thankful it has played out so well.

"Now, since I've done something for you, you need to do something for me, " Ethan says and grins at me. I'm stuck between the urge to slap him, and hear him out. I just give him a suspicious look, narrowing my eyes at him.

"What exactly do you want?" I ask cautiously.

Ethan chuckles. "Your name, " he says simply.

"W-what? You just want my name?"

He nods, still grinning at me. "You said I'd have to find out, if I want to know so bad. Well, I want to know that bad."

I can't keep the giddy smile off my face. "Haley, " I say quietly, still not liking how the name feels on my tongue.

"Pretty name, for a pretty face, " he says and smiles softly at me. I avert eyes, feeling my cheeks heat up instantly.

"I'll see you tomorrow, thanks again, " I say quickly and all but run out of the car. I stop and wave to him from the sidewalk, staying glued to the spot until his car pulls away and disappears. When he's out of sight, I take a look around and try to remember which direction my house is in.

I eventually recognize the bright red front door, but I'm shocked to still see an empty driveway.

She still isn't home?

I check my watch, and see it's almost 5 o'clock, well past the time my mother is usually home, and even school is done. I cautiously walk in the front, thinking her car might be in the unused garage, but I'm met with complete silence. She really is late.

I send her a quick text that I made it home safe, but don't receive a response. I shrug it off and shove my phone back in my pocket, wandering into the kitchen to look for a small snack to tie me over until my mother gets home.

Whenever that is.

I take advantage of the time alone to start arranging my room and finally setting it up to make it feel like my own. When we made the move over, my mother took the opportunity to get rid of all our old furniture, especially the pieces that wreaked of smoke and other disgusting smells from Jason and his party friends.

With some of the money from my grandparents, she bought new furniture. Now, even our living room feels foreign, nothing feels like home. The best I can do to try and feel the slightest bit comfortable here, is to make my room the closest feeling to home.

I take my time and care hanging up old pictures of friends and adventures from the past, now all distant memories, I'll probably never be able to return to. I think to all those pictures I see on Facebook, of friends and family re-creating old photos and memories, thinking I'll never have those chances.

I'll never be able to re-create those precious moments, just make new ones.

Do I really want that? Am I really ready to give up my old life, the old me?

Suddenly feeling lightheaded from the swirling thoughts, I drop the rest of the photos on my desk and lug myself over to my bed to lie down and try to calm my mind. But it doesn't work.

My mind continues to fill with so many questions and concerns, but barely any answers, until my eyes are too heavy to keep themselves open, and I drift off.

I'm woken up to my mother shaking me, whispering quietly in my ear.

"Honey, wake up, it's almost time to get ready for school."

I groan and blink my eyes against the harsh light. "What time is it?" I ask groggily, tossing the covers back over my face.

"It's 7 o'clock, I have breakfast ready downstairs, " she says and rips the covers off of me, no warning. I let out a shriek and try to grasp the covers back, but she has ripped them clean off the bed.

"Hurry up, or the food is going to get cold!" she calls over her shoulder and closes the door. I huff and look towards the clock next to my bed. It reads 7:02 AM. She's right, I slept through the entire evening and night, not waking up once.

I guess I was a lot more exhausted from everything than I thought. I made it through my first week in this new life, without any blunder or slip up. I give myself a small, tired pat on the back while I trudge myself out of bed to get dressed, which reminds me that I still don't have anything to wear to the party tomorrow night.

I slowly walk down the stairs to join my mother at the kitchen table. She is sitting there, already half-way through her plate, shoveling food into her mouth while going over scattered papers all around her on the table.

"What's all this?" I ask, pushing some papers out of the way before I sit down.

"Oh, just some paperwork from the case we're working on, " she says absent-mindedly, not looking up from her stack.

"You mean, the guy you're hunting, who you think is connected to Jeremy's killer?" I taunt, but she still doesn't look up, munching viciously on a piece of toast.

"It's much bigger than that, this goes way back to multiple people and gangs–"

"Wait, what? Gangs? Mom, this sounds a little too dangerous, " I say, dropping my fork and cutting her off.

She finally looks up from her papers and smiles at me.

"Don't worry honey, we aren't dealing with the Mafia or anything extreme like that, these are just your common criminals, put away for things like grand theft auto and robbery mostly. Of course, drugs are always involved, anything to get money I suppose, which is where our guy comes in."

The more she talked about it, the more the gnawing feeling in my stomach grew. It's almost the size of my stomach at this point, cramping and growling at me, screaming that there is something wrong here.

But I have no idea what. My mother is finally happy, getting out of the house and doing something with her life, finding meaning. I should be happy for her too. Why aren't I? Why do I keep finding every reason for her to not pursue this? Is it because I don't want my old life back? Or is it deeper than that?

Before I can ask, she's shuffling her papers together in a blur and clearing her plate.

"Now, I know I mentioned I would take us out this weekend and do some shopping and touring around town, " she starts off slowly, turning to me in the kitchen. I suck in a silent breath, forgetting completely that she had mentioned that before, and I still haven't come up with an excuse as to why I can't go.

All my worries are wiped away, when she gives me a disappointed frown.

"Unfortunately, we're going to post-pone it to sometime next week, I'm going to be away at the office all weekend, and probably working over-night Saturday. I joined the firm at the best and worst time, they really need my help, " she says and comes towards me to put a comforting hand on my shoulder.

She has no idea that I am jumping for joy inside.

She's going to be gone, for the whole day and night Saturday. This is working out perfectly!

I don't have to tell her about the party, and I don't have to make an excuse to avoid going out with her, and it's going to be much easier to sneak out of the house, when I can use the front door!

"It's okay mom, I'll be alright on my own this weekend, and I promise to stay out of trouble, " I add when I see her opening her mouth to probably tell me something along the same lines.

She smiles softly at me and kisses my forehead. "That's my girl, now go get ready or you'll be late, I'll meet you outside."

I nod and rush upstairs, texting Sissy and Logan in our group chat the good news. They both cheer and send me their congrats, saying this is going to be the best back-to-school party I have ever been too.

Probably best to leave out that this is going to be the only party I have ever been too.

I wait for my mother to disappear out of the school lot, before I run up and join Sissy and Logan.

"So, you have temporary freedom for the weekend?" Sissy cheers, winking at me. I just laugh and roll my eyes.

"Well, now that I know you're for sure coming, I want to give you something." She grins at me before she turns back to her car and dives into the back seat. She rummages around for a few seconds, before she pulls out a plastic bag with heavy items in them.

"What is this?" I ask, trying to peer at the contents. But I just see an endless amount of black and lace.

Sissy's grin widens. "Well, since we never got to go shopping, and I wasn't sure if you had the chance to find an outfit for this weekend, so just in case you don't have anything to wear, you can borrow that outfit from me, I rarely ever wear it anymore, " she says and gestures for me to open the bag.

I pull out a gorgeous, black baby doll style dress. It looks like it will stop just above my knees, not too short but not too long, with a lace front covering the chest, and shoulder straps made out of the same black lace material.

"There's also a black bikini in there, so it goes with the dress underneath." As she says that, I pull out the slightly skimpy looking black stringed bikini. I smile tightly at her, not sure how I feel about it, but still love the dress and the thought none the less.

"Thank you, Sissy, this is gorgeous."

She squeals and runs up to hug me, once again almost suffocating me. Logan rolls his eyes but joins in our group hug when Sissy grabs hold of his arm and yanks him in, not really giving him an option.

I tuck the outfit away in my bag and rush off to class, getting more and more excited for tomorrow night as the day goes on.

Tomorrow is the night I finally figure out who I want to be.

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