I know, I know. Long time no update. I wanted to put more into this chapter, but I just couldn't find the energy, or the words. But I swear, next chapter will answer some questions and pose a few more, which means it'll be way longer than this filler nonsense.
Reviewers will be loved. forever.
Amelie woke up around noon to the ringing of her cell phone already delivering the promise of a splitting migraine. Then she realized that her ringtone was not what was making her feel as though she'd been kicked in the head. What had happened last night?
She fought off a wave of nausea as she sat up and answered the phone.
"I feel like shit," Leah screeched into her ear, making Amelie wince.
"Join the club," she mumbled, turning down the volume until she could barely hear her friend on the other end of the line.
"What'd you do?" Leah asked reproachfully.
Ammy swallowed. She was supposed to be the responsible one, the dependable friend who could clean up any mess Leah made. How would Leah handle the sudden reversal in roles? Not well, she was willing to bet. She drew breath to speak and changed her mind.
"Nothing," she said. "It's just a headache."
"Take an Advil," Leah advised. "Can you come out tonight?"
Amelie protested, "No more clubs!"
A sigh crackled through the earpiece. "Nothing big's going on," Leah began in her persuasive tone. "It's just a little beginning-of-summer thing down at the beach."
Noting the careful avoidance of the word 'party,' Amelie crossed her arms. Leah knew she hated parties. All those people that she hardly knew just stood around, silently judging her as well as each other. It always made her too nervous to have any fun. Her friend knew all of this, and still she begged and pleaded for company at any gathering she deemed "hot."
"Leah…" Amelie began, her voice tired.
"It's not even people from Saint Lucy's!" Leah cut in. "The girl who told me said it's a Cape May Public crowd."
These were the two major schools in the Cape May area. Amelie and Leah both attended Saint Lucy's, an allegedly Catholic school that hardly seemed different from any public one, with the exception of the hated uniforms.
"I don't know," Amelie said, but even she could hear the note of acquiescence in her tone.
"Yes!" Leah cheered loudly enough to make her pull the phone away from her ear. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
"Uh huh," she replied, distant now as her mind returned to the events of the night before. "I'll be over later."
She hung up before Leah could respond and flopped back on her bed. There was a fire, she recalled, and those beautiful boys from the club. The one with the dark hair had asked her to sit. She remembered lips, but she'd woken up with last night's clothes still on. Had they drugged her? She didn't feel different, just hung over. This was all too confusing. She curled up and went back to sleep.
When Amelie awoke again, it was nearly seven in the evening. She sighed, swung her legs over the side of her bed, and began to get ready for the party. After selecting a few outfits to choose from and brushing her pale hair, she was ready to go to Leah's.
It was still light outside as she made her way through the town's residential districts, but the sun was getting lower and lower in the sky as the streets emptied, then filled with a different sort of crowd. Cape May possessed a sort of magic, something that she'd yet to see anywhere else. It was something about the way faces in the town always appeared and vanished, even well after tourist season, and how the faces were so compelling that you couldn't help but miss them when they were gone.
Then again, maybe that was just her. Amelie thought through the lens of a camera, snapping mental photos of the people she encountered even when her precious Canon wasn't at hand. A single moment could tell her everything she needed to know about someone, and as much as she relied on this sixth sense, she was almost waiting for it to be wrong. It never was, and that scared her, making her feel like she was inhuman.
She halted mid-thought, having arrived at Leah's house. The square 1970's-style building was a far cry from her own tall, narrow Victorian, but it possessed its own sort of charm.
Leah's room, complete with original shag carpeting, was already strewn with clothes and various makeup palettes by the time Amelie made her way upstairs.
"Oh, thank God," Leah sighed as the blonde walked through the bedroom door. "I'm way hung over and I can't decide between these two." She held up two outfits for inspection, one a red sundress and the other a miniskirt and v-neck hoodie. Amelie pointed to the latter and silently offered her own armload of clothes to her friend.
Leah only seemed to have trouble choosing clothes for herself because before long, Amelie found herself dressed in a flowing empire-waist tank top and cardigan paired with denim shorts that Leah insisted would make her legs look much longer than they really were. Her cheeks were only lightly dusted with glitter and what little makeup she wore was hardly noticeable, but she felt as painted up as one of those porcelain dolls that she'd used to collect as a child.
Tonight, she wore her hair loose, a decision she began to regret as soon as she and Leah arrived at the beach. The wind was blowing the long strands to and fro, and her long bangs seemed to be perpetually getting stuck in the lip gloss her psychotic best friend had slathered over what felt like half of her face.
Still, there was an upside to this party. Although the beach seemed to be overrun with high school students bent on exerting all the energy they had built up over the school year in one night, she recognized only a few of them. So Leah hadn't lied, it was a Cape May Public party. Amelie relaxed visibly. She wouldn't have to worry as much about anything she did being remembered, which was a huge relief, especially after the mystery of the previous night. That reminded her…where was Leah? She wasn't supposed to let her near the keg tonight, not when she was still hung over from Red's yesterday.
Back in her element now, Amelie cut her way through the crowd, alert for her friend, but after making two full circuits of the crowd, she was rapidly losing hope of finding her friend. Instead, another voice caught her attention, and instinct made her turn around.
The voice belonged to a gorgeous boy with a scar on his face who was standing in the center of a knot of people, animatedly telling a story. Amelie stared blankly at him for a moment as he continued to speak, waiting for her brain to work out where she'd seen him before.
"So I say to him," the boy snickered, "'Fine, have fun buying a ticket to your own sold-out show, then.'"
The group laughed, and something finally clicked in Amelie's mind. This was the boy whose face was her last memory of the night before. As if he knew that she was thinking about him, his head snapped around to look at her. Her eyes widened, and she froze.
"Excuse me," he murmured distractedly to his friends, and then made his way over to where Amelie still stood.
"Fancy meeting you here, Miss Amelie Brown," he greeted her cheerfully.
Amelie stared at him for a moment before stammering, "How-how do you know my name?"
It was a legitimate question, considering she was only just starting to recall flashes of what had happened after she'd left Leah's house, but the boy looked hurt.
"I'm wounded. You don't remember?"
Mutely, Amelie shook her head, but the look on her face must have spoken for her, because this boy who had seemed so confident just moments before now appeared to be waging a mental civil war.
"Come with me," he finally sighed. "I'll try and explain."