Chapter 2

"Do I look okay?"

"Yes mum, you look great."

"Okay! Are you sure you don't want to come out tonight? I overheard some teenagers about your age at the shop the other day, saying how there was a party that's going to "go off the hook" tonight. It's only a few streets away."

"Alright, I'll think about it."

"Really? Great! I'll write down the address and leave it on the kitchen bench." Lena's mother's face lit up after she heard that her daughter might actually go to a party, and leave the house.

"Alright, thanks mum." Lena felt terrible for giving her mother false hope, but she wanted her to have a good time without having to worry.

"Also, I'm not sure what time we'll be home. We intend on coming home at one point or another, just not sure when."

"Alright, mum. Go have fun." Lena glanced at her laptop screen, and waited for her mother to leave the room. Jenny, or DespicableYou as she's known online, was waiting impatiently for Lena to come back so they could continue their match on Eternal Guns.

"I love you!" Lena's mother kissed Lena quickly on the cheek, and left in a hurry; long, dark blue, glittering dress trailing her.

"I love you too. Bye!" Lena breathed a sigh of relief. She loved these moments when she had the house to herself. "Alright Jen, let's play."

An hour went by, and the time was only nine o'clock. Jenny had signed off a few minutes before, and now Lena was all alone, with no one online to talk to. She closed her laptop and went downstairs to grab something to eat. The fridge only contained fruit and vegetables, and she'd finished all the chocolate. Lena gathered up some tomatoes and lettuce, and made a small salad, which she then took to the dining table. The note her mother had left for her was still there, and when Lena read the address, she recognised it as a boy's house that she used to know.

"Daniel Lawson." She thought to herself. "If I went to that party, people probably won't even know who I am." Lena shrugged off the thought of her going and threw away the address. She ate her dinner and retreated back upstairs to the safety and comfort of her laptop.

Lena sat on her bed, laptop next to her, staring at her wardrobe.

"Maybe I should go... for Myles." Lena got up on impulse and went to her wardrobe. She threw on some clothes she hadn't worn for a while; a black pair of jeans, a black singlet and a leather jacket she'd gotten as a birthday present that year. If she was going to leave the house for the first time in two years, she wanted to be able to hide in the shadows whenever she could. As she slipped on her black flats and curled her hair, she thought about how she had all these things to wear and use.

Her parents never stopped trying to get her out of the house after what happened two years ago, so every time they had money to spare, they bought her some sort of fashion item, like clothes, accessories and hair products. This was the first time she'd ever worn or used any of the things they'd bought her, so she wasn't feeling overly confident about how she looked.

Lena decided not to wear much makeup; foundation, thin black eyeliner and a peach lipstick were all she could manage. She kept telling herself to stop, to get back into her pajamas and crawl back up in bed. But something inside of her kept pushing her to keep going, keeping getting ready. When she was finished getting dressed, Lena borrowed a bag from her mother and put her phone and some money in there, just to be safe. She went downstairs, walked to the front door, and just stood there.

"What could be the worst thing that could happen? Who's out there to hurt you? Why are you doing this? Myle's won't hate you if you go back into your bedroom. Just do it, Lena. You can do this. Just open the door, and take one step out. Baby steps, Lena, baby steps." She egged herself on to just open the door.

After half an hour of standing there, panicking, she reached for the handle. It unlocked easier than she remembered. The door swung open, and the breeze of the night hit her face like bricks.

"Fresh air." She thought to herself, shivering.

Her legs seemed stiff, almost cemented to the ground. But her jackhammer of a brain lifted her left leg and moved it forward. Before she knew it, she was outside. It was cold, dark, and slightly wet from the rain that had happened the night before.

"It's new years eve, Lena. Go to the party. Have fun, just go." She turned around and locked the door. The sounds of frogs and toads in the garden overwhelmed her and she started to feel sick. But Lena knew that if she sat down now, she wouldn't get up.

So she walked.

Daniel Lawson's house wasn't too far away, and she reached her destination in about ten minutes. It was a big white house, two stories, with a balcony on the second floor. There were teenagers about Lena's age everywhere, in the gardens, on the lawn, on the balcony, and from looking inside through the windows; there were also a lot of them inside. Loud music was blaring from every corner; it pulsated through Lena and made her feel more ill than she had felt since first leaving her house.

She clenched her fists and walked up to the front door, which was already open. People were dancing, mainly grinding up against the walls and on a large staircase. Cups were lying everywhere, presumably once filled with alcohol, and the smell of marijuana was heavy. No one seemed to recognise Lena, which made her feel a lot better about her decision to come here.

She walked inside and sat down in an empty spot on a big blue couch. She knew most of the people here, but they'd grown up a lot since she'd dropped out of public school. A boy that looked about the age of 18, came and sat down fairly close to her and started to smell her shoulder.

"You smell nice!" He was noticeably drunk, and smelled horribly of alcohol.

"Uh, thank you." Lena then looked away and tried to ignore him.

"I'm Trip, who are you?" The loud music made hearing fairly difficult, but she was able to make out most of what he said.

"I'm Lena." She replied.

"What?" He asked. Lena repeated her name three times before she eventually shouted at him. It was at this moment that the music decided to turn off, and everyone heard what she shouted.

"I said, I'm Lena!" Her face went pale as everyone looked at her. The boy got up and ran out the door to vomit, and the room remained silent.

"Lena? Lena Benson? Is that you?" A girl emerged from behind a group of people and rushed over to her. Lena stood up and the girl hugged her straight away.

"Uh yeah, it's me." The girl dragged Lena outside, and the music resumed.

"It's me, Eve Johnson!" Eve smiled widely as they walked out onto the street. "What are you doing here? I heard you were dead! No one has seen you in two years!"

"Yeah... I've just been at home... for all two years." Eve stopped in her tracks.

"All two years?"

"Um... yeah."

"Do you feel like getting something to eat?"

"Yes please, I had salad for dinner and it didn't fill me up, at all." Eve giggled.

"Alright then, let's go to McDonalds, it's not too far from here." Eve smiled at Lena, and they started walking.

"Maybe this won't be as bad as I thought." Lena thought to herself. She smiled back at Eve, who had long, wavy, black hair and brown eyes. Lena realised that Eve was her first somewhat friend outside the internet. She smiled to herself.

"I did it." Lena felt a bout of all different emotions. It wasn't going to be an unforgettable night.