When I was a little girl, I believed in fairy tales, I believed in happily ever after, and I believed nothing bad could ever happen to me or my loved ones. How wrong I was.

"Allie?" I called as I knocked on my best friend's door. I didn't get an answer so I turned the knob and slowly opened the door. I was sent into a state of shock at the scene that lay before me. My best friend lay lifelessly on the wooden floor, a pool of crimson staining her wheat colored hair.
Let's rewind a bit shall we?

Some people walk around with a clouded mind that some of us like to call reality. However, my mind is more than just clouded- it has the full thunderstorm- you know the storm is coming, but you don't know the exact time or why it suddenly decided to appear conveniently outside your homes window. It's that thought, the same thought that I have almost every day. It makes my hand shake; my mind goes out, making me paranoid. My bottom lip shivers, and my eye slightly twitches. Yes, I know something is about to happen. I just don't know what that 'something' is.

I woke up to sunlight streaming through the window. I forced myself out of bed and grabbed the first thing I saw out of my closet before heading to the bathroom. After getting ready for the day I studied my reflection carefully. A girl around 17 with almost snow white skin and innocent ice blue eyes that had never seen evil stared back at me. She had dark blonde hair that fell just past her shoulders, ending in soft curls. She stood at 5'3" and weighed just under the average weight for a girl her age and height. She wore ripped gray jeans, and an ice blue tank top under a gray vest paired with elbow length white fingerless gloves. I turned away from the mirror. Allie skipped into my house, her light brown curls bouncing behind her.

"We're officially seniors!" she exclaimed cheerfully. Allie wore white ripped jeans, with a pink tank top that had a white rose pinned to one of the straps. She wore pink flip flops. Her light brown hair hung just past her shoulders in perfect ringlets. She had a natural tan and emerald green eyes. Allie was almost always cheerful, and could always brighten up even the saddest person's day. A few times I caught her deep in thought, or a worried expression on her face. Most of the time she had brushed off my questions saying she was fine, but I knew there was more to the story.

"Earth to Katie?" Allie called suddenly as she waved her hand in front of my face. I blinked. She grinned at me.

"Nice of you to join us," she teased. I smiled.

"You were saying?" I asked. She frowned at me and I held up my hands in surrender. She rolled her eyes.

"I'll repeat it, just for you," she replied dramatically.

"As I was saying before you zoned out, we need to do something new this summer. We always stay here and do the same thing, we need to try something new!" she exclaimed. I looked at her weirdly.

"Who are you and what have you done with my best friend?" I asked, all seriousness. She glared at me. I returned the look with a grin.

"Sorry. Shutting up now." She smiled in satisfaction.

"I'm serious Katie. We've spent so long just sitting here. This is our last year to act like kids, once we're in college we'll be forced to grow up." Her tone had lost all traces of happiness. She was serious, which was rare. She stared at me for a moment, a sad look flashing in her eyes so quick I thought I might have imagined it. She suddenly grabbed my arm.

"You're so pale. You need to tan," she muttered, completely changing the topic. She turned my arm over and I jerked it back. She looked at me wide eyed. I bit my lip nervously.

"Sorry," I apologized. Allie eyed me suspiciously.

"What's going on with you Katie? You seem so distant lately, and the whole 'I'm going to shut everyone out' act is getting old. You need to get over yourself because the world doesn't revolve around you," she snapped suddenly. I sat there in shock.

"Allie, I never said, or implied that I thought the world revolved around me, I don't know where you're getting that from. You should speak for yourself, I know I've been distant lately, but that's only because I've been trying to figure out what's wrong with you. You're so different lately and it feels like I don't even know you anymore," I retorted. I was rewarded with another glare, this time, Allie's expression was one of hatred.

"Alexandra? Kaitlyn?" My mother called suddenly. Allie's expression immediately turned innocent.

"In here," Allie called sweetly. I rolled my eyes.

"Amazing, how quickly you can go from being hateful, to innocent," I said sarcastically. Allie flashed me an annoyed look.

"Would you stop?" She asked.

"You started it!" I exclaimed. We both looked up as my mother entered the room. Her expression was unreadable. I briefly wondered who was going to break the sudden silence, when she finally spoke.

"Something wrong?" She asked, looking between me and Allie pointedly.

"No," We chorused and glanced at each other. My mother's expression showed she didn't believe us, but she just shook her head, leaving the situation alone.

"Why don't you girls go for a walk, it's nice out," she stated. It wasn't a suggestion. It was her nice way of saying, get out until you work out your problems. Arguing was not something my mother took lightly.

"But -" she cut me off.

"Kaitlyn. Out." She gestured towards the door. I rolled my eyes. Today was definitely not getting any better. Allie silently followed me outside. I resisted the urge to slam the door behind me. Once we were halfway down the street, and out of my mother's view, no doubt she'd be watching to make sure we listened to her, Allie broke the silence.

"It's pretty obvious we've both been... not ourselves lately." I looked at her out of the corner of my eye. Her expression was serious, which looked unnatural with her features.

"Allie," I said patiently. "I don't like arguing with you. You're my best friend, and I would hate to lose you over something stupid, like an argument, but it's hard to sit here and watch you when you look scared, upset, or worried, for no apparent reason. It honestly scares me to see you so worried, like something or someone is going to come get you at any moment," I admitted. I looked at her, to see her expression. She had that deer in headlights look.

"Allie?" I asked, waving my hand in front of her face. She blinked and looked anywhere except for at me.

"Allie," I said a little more forcefully. She finally looked at me.

"Do you know how you told me you'll sometimes wake up, and know something bad is going to happen, but you don't know what?" she asked. I nodded, waiting to see where she was going with this. She sighed.

"I think someone wants me gone. I know it sounds crazy, but I always feel like I'm being watched, and it's scary. That's why I was bugging you earlier about getting away, I don't want anything to happen to me," she admitted. I stopped walking. Allie's expression held no trace of humor, and her words held a ring of truth.

"Why would anyone want you...gone?" I asked, not wanting to say the word. Allie shrugged helplessly.

"I wish I knew," she replied.

The next day, I woke up early wanting to go over Allie's to plan the trip she wanted to take. I took a quick shower, making sure to scrub my hair. I got out once the water ran cold. After brushing my teeth, and drying off, I changed into a simple pair of light wash jeans, and a plain white t-shirt. I kept my hair back with a thick black headband.

"Where are you headed this early?" My mother questioned when I walked downstairs.

"Allie's," I replied nonchalantly. My mother raised an eyebrow. One of the few things me and Allie actually agreed on, was our mutual hate of waking up early when we didn't have to, although she was usually more cheerful than I was. I frowned when my mother walked over to me, feeling my forehead.

"Are you sure your feeling okay? You usually refuse to get up early," she said teasingly. I rolled my eyes.

"I need to see Allie, we have a lot to talk about," I replied vaguely. I walked out the door before my mother could interrogate me. The day was perfect, not a cloud in the sky. It was in the mid 60's, not too hot, not too cold. I made it to Allie's within 10 minutes. I knocked on the door, frowning when I didn't get an answer. I knocked again, only to be greeted by silence. I opened the door, shutting it behind me.

"Allie?" I called. Once again, silence. I bit my lip, and felt the paranoia creeping over me. I could feel myself shaking as I walked further into the house.

"Help!" Allie's voice suddenly screamed followed by the sound of a gunshot. I didn't think about my next move as I rushed up the stairs. I hurried down the hall to Allie's room, only to hear the same silence I had been greeted with. I felt the fear taking over as I slowly turned the knob. Something was holding the door shut. I put all my weight against it and shoved, almost falling into the room as the door finally opened. My hands flew to my mouth, and I was sent into a state of shock at the scene that lay before me. Allie lay on the floor, her light brown hair stained with the blood pooled around her. Her eyes were lifeless, and she lay unmoving. Her skin was quickly losing color. I sank to the floor, and felt the hot tears streaming down my face.
"Allie, wake up," I begged, grabbing her hand in mine. It was ice cold.

"Allie!" I sobbed, slightly shaking her. I so desperately wanted this to be a dream. Allie couldn't be dead. I mean, just yesterday, we were teasing each other. As much as I wished this was a nightmare, or my imagination, I knew it was real. My best friend was dead.

"Kaitlyn, you need to let go of Alexandra," I heard an unfamiliar voice say.

"Her name is Allie," I replied in a monotone. Even though I knew Allie was gone, I couldn't bring myself to let go. The police officer looked at me sadly. "Hon, you need to let go," she said. I looked up at her. "She would want me to stay with her," I said. "You did, she's in a better place now, you need to let go so we can figure out how she died," The officer coaxed. My grip on Allie's hand tightened, before I reluctantly let go. The officer helped me up. I was numb. I couldn't feel anything, and I couldn't think straight.
"Let's get you home," the officer said, and led me out of the room. I was tempted to go back, but I allowed myself to be led down the stairs. I pulled my arm from the officers grasp as soon as I felt the cool air. She eyed me with an annoyed look before grabbing my arm again and leading me to the police car. I sat in the front and she silently drove me home.

"Kaitlyn? What's going on?" My mother asked as soon as she saw me. She wrapped an arm around my shoulders, and turned to look at the police officer. The officer had the decency to look sad.

"I think it's best for your daughter to explain. I must be leaving now," she said and walked out. My mother turned to me, her face a big question mark.

"Allie is dead. I knew something was wrong when I went over there, and it was silent. I knew for a while that something was wrong, but I've been ignoring the feeling, thinking it was nothing important. Today, it was silent when I first went inside, and then Allie screamed. I ran upstairs, and it took me a few minutes to open her door. When I finally got it open, she was laying on the floor, in a pool of blood," I managed to explain.

I didn't notice I was crying until I felt the tears leaving hot trails down my cheeks. My mom immediately wrapped her arms around me, and I buried my face in her shirt. The day's events had finally registered, and I was close to my breaking point. My mom led me to my room, and had me go to bed. She woke me up the next day, to tell me the police wanted to interview me. I pulled my hair into a messy bun, and walked downstairs, still in pajamas. I sat on the couch, while two police officers sat across from me.

"Can you explain, in detail, what happened yesterday?" The taller of the two asked. He took notes as I slowly and clearly explained everything that had happened.

"Did anyone else hear Alexandra scream before you found her?" The second officer asked. His tone accusing. I shook my head.

"Not that I know of." They glanced at each other, before writing more notes.

"What time did you leave the house, and around what time did you find Alexandra?" The first officer asked, in a nicer tone. She glanced at the other one, almost as if she dared him to interrupt.

"I left around ten yesterday morning, so I would say I found Allie around 10:20. It takes ten minutes for me to walk there," I replied. The officer nodded.

"Were you in the room before she died?" The other officer asked. My eyes narrowed.
"Are you accusing me of murdering Allie?" I asked disbelievingly. The officer looked away.

"It's a possibility. You said no one heard her screaming, and no one can confirm where you were before her death happened," he accused.
"I ran upstairs when she started screaming! Something was blocking the door, and by the time I got it open, she was laying in a pool of blood!" I shouted.

"Why would I kill my best friend, and then sit there with her, even though I knew she was dead? I wanted to protect her from whoever wanted her gone, as you can see that didn't work too well." My outburst had rendered both officers speechless. My mother chose that moment to come into the room.

"I think you've got the information you need. it's probably best for you two to leave, I don't think Kaitlyn is up to answering any more questions," She stated. She walked them to the door and turned to me as soon as she shut it.
"What? Are you going to start interrogating me too, then accuse me of being a killer?" I asked icily. My mother sighed.

"Kaitlyn, I need to know if you've told me the entire truth," she said.

"Of course I have! This isn't something I'd lie about! I'm sick of everyone automatically assuming that because of one little argument, I would go and kill my best friend. Nice to know I'm trusted around here," I said disbelievingly. With that I got up and walked upstairs, slamming my bedroom door behind me. I threw myself onto my bed, and screamed into my pillow. I just laid there in silence until I heard a knock on my door. "Go away," I called. The door opened, whoever it was either hadn't heard me, or chose to ignore me. I picked my head up. "I said go away," I snapped, sitting up so I could see who it was. "Kate, being alone is the last thing you need right now," Nikki, a girl me and Allie had hung around a lot, said. Nikki was another one of 'us'. What I mean by that is, she was what you expected someone to look like if they were popular. Tall, naturally thin, light brown hair, perfect tan, etc.

"You're the last person I want to talk to right now," I stated icily. Nikki rolled her eyes. "Kaitlyn, I know you were close to Allie, but taking your anger out on everyone else isn't going to help you," she replied.

"Is is too much to ask for to just be left alone? My best friend just died Nikki. She's the one that knew me better than anyone, and now she's gone. How do you expect me to feel?" I asked.

"I lost her too Katie," Nikki said. I couldn't pinpoint the tone I caught in her voice.

"You can go around, saying that all you want, but you knew nothing about her, and you weren't even close to her. I was her best friend. I was the one who helped her when she needed someone, while you were off doing who knows what. You claim you lost her too, but you have no idea what it feels like for me. You tell me not to take my anger out on everyone else, when all your managing to do is piss me off. If you would just leave me alone, maybe I wouldn't take my anger out on you," I stated. Nikki silently turned around and left the room. I grabbed an outfit from the closet, and walked across the hall to the bathroom, taking a quick shower. I got dressed, and actually attempted to look decent, even going through the long annoying process of drying the blonde mane I called my hair. I wore black jeans, and a v-neck long sleeved t-shirt with a black tank top under it. I left my hair natural and walked downstairs. I found my mom sitting on the couch and sat down next to her.

"It's good to see you up and out of your room," she said carefully. I forced a smile.

"How are you holding up?" she asked. I shrugged.

"I miss her," I said quietly.

"That's normal," my mother said soothingly.

"It's hard, I can't get it out of my head that I could've helped her somehow, I could have helped her avoid all of this, and she would still be here," I stated.

"Kaitlyn, everything happens for a reason," my mother soothed.

"I'm never going to see her again. When I go back to school, I won't have her there with me. She's the only reason I was able to handle everything," I replied, my voice cracking. I could feel tears streaming down my face again, and furiously wiped them away. My mother had me lay down, and ran her hand through my hair. I didn't even bother trying to wipe away the tears at this point. I just laid there for a while. I didn't even know what to feel at this point. Suddenly an idea popped into my head.

"I'm going to find out what happened to her," I said suddenly. My mother's hand froze. I sat up.

"Kaitlyn, are you sure that's such a good idea?" she asked. "I can't go on not knowing who killed her, I need to find out," I stated.

"Be careful," my mother said finally.

"She was the only person who understood me, and when I find out who killed her, they will regret it." With that I grabbed my hoodie, and slipped on a pair of black winter boots, before heading outside. I walked around aimlessly for a while. I wasn't really watching where I was going, and jumped when I heard a voice behind me.

"Kate?" I turned around.

"Zach! You scared me!" I exclaimed. He raised an eyebrow. Zach was tall, standing at around 5'10. He had sandy blonde hair, pale green eyes, and had always been closer to Allie, then to me.

"I haven't seen you around the past few days," he commented. I shrugged.

"After what happened to Allie, I'm not really in a people person mood. I just shut down after that," I replied. He nodded.

"That's understandable," he said. I nodded, and forced a smile, before turning around to walk away. I was only a few steps away when Zach called,

"Katie, wait up!" I turned to face him.
"What do you want, Zach? You barely talked to me when Allie was around, there's really no point in starting now," I said exasperated. He walked over to me.

"I know that you're going to try and figure out who killed Allie. You're not the type to just go on acting like something didn't affect you. I just want you to be careful, whoever killed her, can probably easily kill you as well," he said. I stood there shocked for a minute.

"How do you know this?" I asked. He smirked.

"I know you better than you think. All the times I hung out with just Allie? She talked nonstop about how amazing her best friend was, obviously meaning you," he replied, sort of sheepishly. I nodded, taking all of this in.

"Did she ever tell you anything, that she might not have wanted to tell me?" I asked, before I could stop myself. Zach glanced at me weirdly for a moment before replying.

"Why do you ask?"

"Well, right before she was killed, she seemed.. I don't know.. weird. She was acting like she knew she was going to.." I trailed off, not wanting to finish my sentence.

"Like she was going to..?" Zach asked. I walked over to bleachers and sat down. The water from the rain had dried up already.

"You know exactly where that sentence was headed," I replied.

"She never told me. But Kate -" he stared but I cut him off.

"It's Katie, I don't go by that anymore," I stated. He raised an eyebrow, but otherwise didn't argue.

"Katie, whoever killed her is dangerous, and was most likely someone who really wanted her dead, for whatever reason," he said, sitting next to me.

"I just can't wrap my head around anyone wanting to kill her. You knew how she was, she was the one who cheered everyone up.. Why would anyone do that to her, of all people?" I asked. He shrugged.

"I've asked these questions myself. I wish I knew, that's all I can say." I flashed him an annoyed look.

"That doesn't help me," I stated.

"Okay, you want to solve this, what do you suggest we do?" he asked, annoyance lacing his tone.

"Well, first, we probably don't want to be discussing how to find a murderer out in public, at a place little kids and their parents come to. Second, I suggest we go to my house. My mom will bug me at first about having people over without telling her, but that she'll leave us alone after a few minutes," I stated. Zach looked at me doubtfully and hesitated for a moment when I got up, but ended up walking with me back to my house.

"Mom?" I called as I walked into the house.

"Yes?" she asked. Zach silently followed me in and I shut the door behind him.

"I brought a friend over," I replied. She walked into the living room, looking ready to yell at me.

"Kaitlyn, you know how many times I've told you not to bring people over without letting me know first," she said.

"I can go," Zach started, casting a glance between me and the door.

"No, you're fine," I stated, shooting a glance at my mom. She raised an eyebrow before disappearing into the kitchen. Zach and I both sat on the couch. I turned to face him.

"A good place to start would be Allie's house," I started but he cut me off.

"Are you insane? There's police tape all over the place, and that's a dangerous place to start," he argued.

"Do you want to help me with this or not?" I asked. He stayed silent.

"Exactly. Now, before you get pissy and yell at me, hear me out. We need to go to her house, and search her room for clues. If she was keeping something from me, now is the chance to find out. There has to be something there that can help us," I explained.

"I'm going to regret this, but I'll go with you, two of us are probably better than just one," he stated. I smiled in satisfaction.
"Let's leave now, while its still light out," I suggested. He silently followed me out the front door. 10 minutes later we were at Allie's.

"We should go in through the back," Zach suggested. I nodded in agreement, and followed him to the backyard. He lifted me up onto a branch of the tree that was next to Allie's balcony. I carefully climbed over the railing, and opened the double doors. Zach appeared in the room a minute later. I silently walked around.

"This brings back memories.." I trailed off, trying not to choke up. The blood had been washed away, but if you looked closely enough, then you could see a very faint stain.

"We can take a walk down memory lane later, you wanted to come here, now let's get whatever it is you feel the need to do accomplished," Zach stated. I winced at his icy tone, but nevertheless walked around, carefully looking at everything.

"Did she have a journal, a diary, something, that might give us a clue as to what she was dealing with?" he asked.

"You're asking me this, when she kept things from me but went ahead and told you," I muttered darkly. Zach pretended not to hear that comment and continued searching. I walked over to her bookshelf, and on an impulse picked one of our favorite books from the top shelf.

"What are you doing? We're supposed to be looking for clues, not going through her stuff," Zach hissed.

"Would you shut up already?" I asked. I opened the book and a perfectly folded square fell out. Zach and I looked at each other before I set the book down and picked up the note.

Dear Kate,

My stubborn, loveable, unforgettable best friend, if you are reading this, then congrats, you're one step closer to figuring out the truth about what happened. Yes, I knew something was going to happen to me. I knew it would eventually lead to me being killed. I don't know if, or when you'll find this, but I want you to be careful about who you trust. You may think I'm crazy, but I can promise you, that if you're not careful, you'll be next, and I would hate for that to happen. I can't give too much away.
Love,
your ever so cheerful best friend,
Allie
I stood frozen in my spot.

"Katie?" Zach asked cautiously. He carefully walked over to me.

"She knew something was going to happen.. She never told me.." I trailed off. I felt numb at first, and then I felt my anger rise.

"I could have helped her! Even if she was scared she should have told me something was wrong! She could still be here, but she accepted the fact someone wanted to kill her. How could she?!" I exclaimed. Zach put a hand on my shoulder but I moved away.

"Leave me alone," I snapped. He ignored me and pulled me into a hug. I resisted at first.

"Let go of me!" I exclaimed, moving to try and break his hold.

"Not until you calm down," he replied. I finally relaxed and let myself hug him back. He ran a hand through my hair.

"Being angry won't help you, and blaming her, or yourself isn't going to help either," he said softly. It had been a while since I had last let anyone besides Allie or my mom hug me or actually be near me like this.

"We have to find out who killed her, I need to know why," I mumbled.

"We will, but like I said, being angry won't help you. You need to calm down and think rationally before going on to find this person," He replied. I nodded. He pulled back slightly to look into my eyes.

"If I let you go, do you promise not to throw another fit?" he asked.

"I promise." He slowly let go of me. I let my arms drop to my sides. He watched me for a moment, to make sure I wasn't going to freak out again.

"What does the note say?" he asked, reaching for it. I quickly turned away and folded it back up. I put it in my back pocket.

"Don't worry about it," I replied. He raised an eyebrow but otherwise didn't comment. I put the book back on the shelf and followed Zach outside. I made sure he climbed down first before putting a small rock in the door to make sure it wouldn't close all the way. I easily climbed back to the lowest branch of the tree and jumped down.

"Want me to walk you home?" Zach asked. I shook my head.

"I can handle myself, it's only a 10 minute walk. You can go home, don't worry about me," I replied. He looked doubtful.

"Go, it's fine," I urged. He sighed.

"If you need me," he started but I cut him off.

"I won't. I just need to be alone for the rest of the day, I'll see you tomorrow." He raised his hands in surrender before turning and walking in the opposite direction. I walked home, thinking over what the note had said. I couldn't wrap my mind around it. Why would anyone want to kill the sweetest person I know? Well.. knew.

"I think I deserve an explanation as to where you've been all day," my mother said as soon as I walked in. My face was probably red from the cold.

"Zach and I are trying to come up with an idea for a memorial for Allie, cause yanno, so many people adored her, and I would hate to see someone like that forgotten," I lied. Note to self, come up with an actual memorial idea so she doesn't get suspicious.

"That sounds like something her parents will appreciate. What did you think of?"

"Err..we're still working out the issues with that, I'll give you a update soon, but I'm gonna go lay down, the cold gave me a headache," I replied, and hurried out of the room before she could question me further.

A few hours later, I shut off the light, and pretended to be asleep when my mother came to check on me. When I heard her go to her own room, I immediately got up and grabbed a flashlight. I snuck out my window, flashlight in hand, and walked to Allie's. I snuck back into her room and turned on the flashlight. I shone it around, looking to see if there were any other clues. I went back to the bookshelf, and started to go through each one, looking for something that would give me a better explanation. I froze when I heard footsteps on the stairs. I quickly put the book back and ducked into Allie's closet, hiding behind a row of dresses she never wore. I heard the bedroom door open, and panicked, not remembering if I had left the balcony doors open or not. What felt like an eternity later the footsteps finally left the room, along with the sound of the bedroom door shutting. I waited a few more minutes, barely able to keep myself from hyperventilating, to make sure the coast was clear. I cautiously came out of the closet. There was a zebra striped journal sitting in the middle of Allie's bed, and with a shock I realized it was mine. I quickly grabbed it and left the room, almost running all the way back to my house.

"Allie! You're okay!" I exclaimed, pulling her into a tight hug.

"Of course I am," she replied in her usual cheerful tone. She hugged me back, her grip on me tighter than usual.

"Something's different," I stated, pulling away. She looked at me innocently.

"I think you're exaggerating Kate," she said. I frowned.

"Just relax for once, you need to go at least a day without thinking something bad is going to happen," Allie continued.

"How'd.." I started. Allie only smirked.

"We've been best friends since we were little, I know you better then you know yourself."

"I'll say," I muttered. She laughed, and despite my weird mood I smiled. Allie had that effect on people. It was a little chilly outside. Allie's hair was in a perfect fishtail. My own hair was piled on top of my head in a messy bun. We both wore pajamas. It was just past midnight.

"race you to the merry go round," Allie said suddenly. With that she took off running.

"Cheater!" I called and ran after her. She laughed. I grabbed onto one of the handles just before Allie did. We both collapsed onto the merry go round in a fit of laughter.

"I'm gonna miss this. Just being able to spend time with your best friend, nothing to worry about, even if that can only last so long. As excited as I am to grow up and see the world, I'm going to miss spending time just being able to act like a little kid, and do stuff like this," Allie said suddenly. We were both laying down, staring at the sky.

"I'm gonna miss it too. We've been best friends practically our whole lives, it's going to be hard once it all ends," I replied. Allie suddenly sat up. I slowly pulled myself into a sitting position as well.

"Promise me we'll always be close, no matter what happens," she said, her eyes locking on mine.

"I pinky promise, you will always be my best friend. No matter what happens," I replied. She smiled, and hugged me tightly. I hugged her back just as tight.

That's when I woke up with a jolt. I pulled my blanket off and looked around. The only Allie I saw was the one in the picture frame, with the letters R.I.P written at the top. I wiped at my eyes and felt that my cheeks were wet. There was a tight knot in my throat as tears started streaming down my cheeks. My knees locked and I fell to the carpet. I was sobbing hard now, my body slightly trembling. I pulled my knees close and buried my face in the soft rug.

"Allie.. Please come back to me," I whispered, my voice cracking. Allie was my best friend. I loved her to pieces and I would never forget the joy she brought to my life. I stayed on the carpet now wet with my tears for a while longer. I didn't move until my mother walked in. She gasped when she opened the door and found me on the floor. She walked to where I was laying, and placed my head on her lap.

"Oh, honey..," She said sadly. She raked her fingers through my hair, and I eventually fell back to sleep. When I woke up again I just laid there for a while, staring at the wall. A little after 3, I forced myself out of bed. I took a quick shower, and got ready for the day. I studied my reflection. My hair lay straight for once. I had braided my bangs, and pinned them to the side. I wore a pair of cut off light blue jeans, and a black tank top with a thinner checkered tank top over it. I turned away from the mirror and walked back into my room. I slipped my feet into a pair of flip flops and put my phone in my back pocket. I walked downstairs to see my mom working on her laptop.

"I'm meeting up with a friend for a while, I'll be back later," I called, trying to keep my tone normal. She flashed me a worried glance.

"Are you sure you're up for it?" she asked. I nodded.

"I'm fine, don't worry," I replied. With that I walked outside. I walked to the playground, feeling memories push to the forefront of my mind.

"Hey Katie," A familiar voice greeted. I turned to see Jake. He had also been close to me and Allie. Jake was a good four or five inches taller than me, with shaggy brown hair, and hazel eyes.

"Hey," I replied

"How are you holding up?" he asked, referring to Allie.

"I'm doing okay, it's hard without her. I'm not used to not talking to her for hours about random stuff. I miss her," I said quietly. Jake cautiously hugged me. I hugged him back, just standing there until I heard someone's car alarm go off. I didn't want to let go. I was afraid I would fall apart again.

"Last time I tried to hug you, I ended up getting elbowed," he joked. I smiled.

"Sorry about that," I apologized. He chuckled and wrapped a protective arm around my shoulders and we began to walk around.

"I'm always here if you need me. You forget I was close to her too," he said.

"I know, and I really appreciate it. I'm here for you too," I replied.

"I don't think anyone took her murder as hard as you did. I heard about..everything.." he trailed off. I looked up at him.

"Define everything," I said.

"Your mom was telling mine about how she's worried about you, and that you've completely broke down twice," he admitted. I winced.

"She was my best friend Jake, the only person who understood everything, I don't know what to do without her," I said, my voice going quiet again.

"Kate," he said. I looked up at him, my eyes meeting his.

"I know I'm no replacement, but you've still got me," he replied. I wrapped an arm around his waist.

"Thanks Jake," I replied. When I leaned against him, he didn't complain. We walked in silence for a while. I shivered as it suddenly got windy.

"Here, you need this more than I do, the last thing we need is you getting sick," He said, pulling away to hand me his jacket.

"But-," he cut me off.

"Katie. Take it," he stated. I silently slipped it on and zipped it halfway. When it began to get dark he walked me halfway home.

"I'll catch you tomorrow?" He asked. I nodded.

"Thank you for everything, Jake. I don't think I'd be able to handle all of this on my own," I said. He smiled.

"No need to thank me, it's what friends are for, I'm glad I could help," he replied. I smiled.

"Were you with Zach at all in the last few days?" Jake asked suddenly. I raised an eyebrow.

"I was either yesterday or the day before," I said slowly. Jake frowned.

"You shouldn't trust him," he said, his tone completely serious.

"Jake, I appreciate the concern, but I can handle myself, I'll see you tomorrow," I replied. I leaned up and kissed his cheek before turning and walking off. My mom was in the kitchen when I came home.

"Are you hungry?" she asked when she saw me. I shook my head. She studied my appearance.

"Who were you with?" she asked. I rolled my eyes.

"Just Jake, don't worry," I replied, walking back into the living room to slip off my shoes. I walked upstairs and collapsed on my bed.

The next day

"You shouldn't hang around Jake," Zach stated. I turned the page in Allie's journal, not even bothering to look up.

"Funny, he said something similar last night," I murmured to myself.

"Pardon?" Zach asked.

"I was told not to trust you, and frankly, I don't like taking orders from people, even if said people are two of my closest friends," I replied.

Zach growled in frustration. I glanced at him from over the journal.

"Zach, you know your my friend, but this whole telling me what to do thing, isn't going to work. Bug off." He rolled his eyes.

"What's that?" he asked, just now noticing the journal.

"I'm looking to see if there are any clues as to what really happened to Allie, or well, who killed her. I'm not going to relax until I know the entire truth," I replied. He frowned.

"Can I see it?" he asked.

"She left it with me for a reason," I replied.

"Let me see the damn journal Katie," he demanded. I glared at him.

"I'm not in the mood for your anger issues Zach," I snapped.

"Sorry," he muttered. I smiled in satisfaction.

"Do you think that maybe Allie somehow knew what was going to happen?" I asked.

"If she knew, she would've told someone," Zach replied. I bit my lip. I closed the journal.

"This is useless. We're getting nowhere," I said.

"We just have to keep trying," Zach insisted. I sighed in frustration.

"I'm done for the day, I'll try again tomorrow," I said.

"I'm gonna go, let me know if you find anything," Zach said. I simply nodded. He walked out of my room, shutting the door behind him. I took this opportunity to look over the letter Allie had written. Something about it seemed off. Before I could think about it further, my phone rang.

"Hey Jake," I greeted.

"Everything okay?" he asked.

"Err..yeah," I lied.

"Tell me the truth." I sighed.

"Zach is really getting on my nerves, he supposedly wants to help me figure out what happened to Allie, but he's only managing to piss me off," I explained.

"That doesn't sound too good. Maybe you should try to get your mind off it," Jake suggested.

"And how do you propose I do that?" I asked.

"Good question," he replied. I smiled, despite my mood.

"Are you free today?" I asked.

"Well actually, I'm expensive," he joked. I laughed.

"Smartass," I retorted. he chuckled.

"Can you hangout?" I asked.
"Meet me at the park, and we can walk around again?" he suggested.

"That works, I'll see you soon," I said, and hung up. I left my hair in its usual curly mess. I traded out sweats for a pair of black jeans, a dark gray tank top, a plain white t-shirt, and Jake's jacket. I pulled on a pair of black fingerless gloves and slipped on a pair of white converse before walking out of my room. I tucked my phone in my back pocket, and walked outside, shutting the front door behind me.

"Katie," Jake greeted with a smile when he saw me. I smiled in return before something caught my eye.

"Since when does Nikki hangout with Zach?" I asked. Sure enough Zach and Nikki were over on a bench, heads close together, talking about something. Jake frowned.

"Since never, they hate each other," Jake stated.

"That doesn't explain that," I said gesturing to them. As if they heard us, they looked up. Nikki smirked at me before getting up and walking away. Zach flashed a glare in Jake's direction, before following after Nikki.

"Do you want to follow them?" Jake surprised me by asking. I shook my head.

"Knowing them, that's exactly what they want," I said.

"Let's try to get your mind off it," Jake suggested. I nodded and we began following the curved path that was around the park.

"What's Zach been doing to annoy you?" Jake asked. I shrugged.

"I ran into him a day or so after what happened to Allie, and I'm trying to figure out what really happened to Allie, who killed her and why. Zach has been getting bossy and trying to take over, but when I find something meant for me, it's like a little voice in my head is telling me not to fully trust him," I explained. Jake was silent for a few minutes.

"You don't think I'm crazy do you?" I asked worriedly. He laughed at that and wrapped an arm around me for a quick hug before letting go and taking my hand.

"You're so adorable sometimes. No, I don't think you're crazy. I mean I'm not in your situation, but, if you feel like you shouldn't trust someone, then don't. I know you want to figure out what happened to Allie, you two were closer than anyone, but is Zach really the person to go to?" I thought about this for a few minutes. Jake had a point.

"He was always closer to Allie then he was to me, and I don't care about that, but I need to find out what he knows," I replied carefully, looking up to see Jake's expression. He looked thoughtful.

"I know that there's no stopping you, when you get an idea in your head, so I won't stop you, but just be careful," he said, his eyes showing genuine concern. I smiled.

"I'll do my best," I said quietly.

"What else is bothering you?" he asked. I sighed and closed my eyes, willing away the sudden feeling of dread.

"The day before Allie was killed, she came over. I've been hiding something..for a couple months. Something I felt like I couldn't even tell Allie," I replied. I let go of his hand and pulled up my sleeve. Jake's eyes widened as he took in the bruises.

"What the hell happened to you?" he asked. I was silent for a few minutes. We had stopped walking at this point. Jake took my hand, and carefully held it, staring at the bruises.

"You know how I go to visit my dad once every few weeks?" I asked. Jake nodded, his eyes fixed on my face.

"My dad.. when I go over there... " I could barely get the words out.

"He abuses you?" Jake asked, his voice going angry.

"Sometimes he's in a good mood," I replied meekly. Jake stared at me in disbelief.

"You need to tell your mom, or the police, or someone," He said. My eyes widened in alarm.

"No! You can't do that!" I exclaimed fearfully.

"Kate, if you're being abused, you need to tell someone, before it gets worse," Jake said quietly.

"I can't," I mumbled.

"If you don't, I will. You've got enough on your plate with Allie's murder," Jake stated. I winced. He was right.

"I'll tell my mom as soon as I get home," I said.

"Promise me."

"I promise," I muttered. Jake was silent for the rest of our walk.

"Sorry for getting annoyed earlier, I know you're only looking out for me," I apologized.

"It's fine, you don't need to apologize. I know you're under a lot of stress right now," he replied.

"Thank you Jake," I said quietly, and hugged him. He hugged me back and we just stood like that for a minute before I pulled away.

"You gonna be okay?" he asked, watching me with a careful expression. I nodded.

"I'll live. I think I'm gonna head home, I'll call you after I talk to my mom," I said.

"Let me know how everything goes," he called as I started walking away.

"You know I will," I called in return.

"Kaitlyn, is that you?" My mother called as I shut the front door.

"No, it's Casper the friendly ghost," I called jokingly. My mother came into the living room and one look at her face made any positive feelings I previously had, disappear.

"Mom, what's wrong?" I asked worriedly.

"Your father was arrested this morning. He's been charged with domestic and child abuse," my mother replied. I could feel my heart racing.

"W-who called them?" I asked, I was slightly shaking.

"Andrea, your father's new wife. It turns out your father has been abusing both her and Samantha," my mother replied. I was shocked.

"How long is he in there for?" I asked.

"I was told that it would be 10 to 15 years, because of previous criminal history. You no longer have to worry about him," she replied, saying the last part softly.

"I need to be alone right now," I replied, and rushed up the stairs. I shut my door behind me and quickly pulled my phone out of my pocket, dialing Jake's number.

"My dad is in Jail," I blurted as soon as Jake picked up.

"What?" he asked in surprise.

"He was arrested for domestic and child abuse. His new wife and her daughter," I replied.

"Wow, that's shocking.. your dad never seemed like that kind of person."

"I know, believe me, I was shocked too," I stated.

"How are you taking all of this?" he asked.

"I don't know, between fighting with Allie the day before everything happened, finding out she knew she something would happen, then walking in to find her dead on the floor, and then this, I have no idea what to think. It's all so overwhelming," I replied.

"Wait, back up, she knew something was going to happen to her?" Jake asked.

"I'd rather not get into that right now," I said hesitantly.

"I won't push you," he responded. I sighed in relief.

"I think I just need to be alone with my thoughts for a while, do you mind if I head to bed and call you tomorrow?" I asked.

"No, I don't mind, you need your sleep," he said. I smiled.

"Goodnight Jake, sleep well,"

"Goodnight Kate, you sleep well too,"

with that I hung up. I changed into pajamas and shut off the light. I was asleep before my head even hit the pillow.

I woke up the next day to my phone ringing. I grabbed it off my nightstand and pressed talk.

"Hello?" I asked, my voice still thick with sleep.

"Did I wake you?"

"Zach?" I asked, sitting up.

"I know I haven't been the nicest in the last few days, and I wanted to apologize," he said sheepishly.

"Thanks Zach, I know I've been pretty snappy as well," I replied.

"You have every right to be. I mean, you weren't the only one who lost Allie, but you were always the closest to her."

"I'd rather not talk about Allie right now, I've had enough breakdowns in the last few days, I don't need to have another one," I said.

"Wait..what?" he asked, his tone shocked. I forced a smile, even though he wouldn't be able to see it.

"It's a long story, I'd rather not get into it. But hey, I just need to be alone today, I'll catch up with you tomorrow," I said. I hung up and set my phone down. I got out of bed and got ready for the day. I kept it simple with jean shorts and a black tank top. I kept my hair in a messy bun, with my bangs laying across my forehead for once. I pulled on a pair of striped socks and walked downstairs. My mom looked up as I entered.

"How are you holding up?" she asked. I smiled, hoping she couldn't tell it was fake.

"I'm good, it's just.. a lot to take in," I answered carefully. I walked into the kitchen and grabbed a water bottle before heading back upstairs. I began flipping through both mine and Allie's journals, trying to find anything that might help me understand what exactly happened.

"Katie, someone's here for you," my mother called about an hour later.

"Send them up," I yelled. I looked up as my door opened and Nikki came in.

"You are the last person I want to talk to right now," I said. Nikki shut the door behind her.

"I came to talk to you about Allie."

"I'd really rather not," I said. She sat down across from me. Her hair was in a high ponytail. Considering the weather she also wore shorts and a tank top.

"Katie, you didn't know her as well as you thought," Nikki said softly.

"Of course I knew her -" Nikki cut me off.

"I know you were close, but you don't know her as well as you thought you did. Allie wasn't murdered, Kate. She planned to be killed, she even wanted it to happen,"

"How do you know this?" I asked. She smiled sadly.

"I talked to Zach. He knows a lot more than you might think," she replied.

"Since when are you and Zach buddy buddy?" She shrugged. She pulled a note out of her back pocket and handed it to me.

"Allie wrote a note to Zach, talking about everything," Nikki said.

"That doesn't make sense, she was so scared the day before I found her, she was screaming help when I got to her house, that doesn't exactly scream wanting to be killed," I argued. Nikki rubbed her temples.

"I'm just telling you what Zach told me," she replied. I sat back.

"I need to talk to him," I said and started to get up.

"Kaitlyn." I glanced at Nikki.

"You need to stop and think for a minute. Is this really the best thing to do right now, after just losing your best friend?" she asked.

"No.. but-" she cut me off again.

"Katie, you need to take a break from all of this. Stressing yourself out over all of this, is only going to make you feel even crappier then you already do," she stated.

"When did you become an expert on feelings?" I muttered. She shrugged.

"All I know is this isn't going to help with the stress. I know I'm not Allie, and I was never was close to her as you were, but you can trust me," she said.

"How do I know? I trusted Allie, and the one person I thought I wouldn't have to deal with losing, left me. She wanted to be killed, and she didn't even tell me. How am I supposed to feel after that?" I asked. At this point, I could no longer feel sadness, only anger.

"Taking it out on me isn't going to help. I've never done anything to convince you otherwise. Between Zach and Jake's issues with each other, I'm all you've got," she replied. I thought for a minute.

"You have a point," I admitted.

"What do you say we hangout today. It's nice out, you've got to get your mind off everything for a while," she offered.

"I'm not really in the mood to be all buddy buddy with anyone right now," I said carefully. She stood up and grabbed my arm, pulling me with her towards the door.

"Nikki," I complained.

"Kaitlyn. I know that as soon as I leave you're going to rush off to confront Zach, and that's not the smartest idea right now," she replied.

"Nikki, as much as I appreciate you telling me all of this, and then trying to help me get my mind off it, I've had enough of being around people the last few days. I'll pass," I said.

"Look over the note. It'll be good for you to know what really happened." With that she left, shutting my door behind her. I took this time to pull the note out of my pocket.

Zach, whatever you're about to read, you cannot, under any circumstance tell Katie. The last thing I need is to worry her. Anyways. Besides Katie, you are one of the only people I can trust. I can't do this anymore. I'm tired of everything, I want it all to end. We both know I'm too much of a chicken to even consider .. well you know. I love my best friend to death, but I just can't take it anymore. I don't want to be alive. That sounds crazy, but I'm asking you, no begging, you not to tell Katie. The last thing I want is for her to be in danger. I don't know exactly how that's gonna work out, but I guess I'll just have to figure it out. Until then,

-Allie

I sat there registering what I had just read. I was shocked. I didn't think about it as I got up and slipped on a pair of converse and headed downstairs.

"I'll be back," I called to my mom before I left. I made it to Zach's about 10 minutes later. I knocked on the door and it was a few minutes before he answered. He looked surprised to see me.

"Katie, come in," he said. He shut the door after I walked in.

"What do you know about Allie that I don't?" I asked, getting straight to the point.

"What are you going on about now?"

"I talked to Nikki. She gave me the note," I replied. He stiffened.

"Zach. What do you know?" I asked, my tone going cold.

"You read the note. She wanted out. She wanted to die. That's all there is to it," he said simply.

"She trusted you. You didn't even try to help her?" I asked.

"Why should I? She made her choice, who was I to stop her?"

"She's dead Zach!" I exclaimed.

"Katie, we all cared about her, but she's gone now, and we can't change that. If she wanted help, she would've asked for it. She wanted out, and she got what she wanted."

"That was her way of asking for help! How could you go on letting her feel like she wanted to die? She needed you, and you didn't even care enough to bother trying to see that. I trusted you.. you were so understanding last week, and now, you're just being heartless." I ranted. Zach shrugged and put his hands in his pockets.

"That was your mistake," He replied. His face showed no remorse, and his eyes only held a cold expression. I shook my head.

"Forget it, why do I even bother?" I asked.

"Tell me about one good memory of you and Allie," Jake said and ran his hand through my hair. It had been a few days since I confronted Zach. I hadn't seen or spoken to him since. Jake and I were currently at the park. It was in the 60's, so I wore cut off jeans, a red tank top, and jakes jacket. He was sitting in the grass, and I was laying down with my head in his lap.

"There's so many," I replied.

"Pick the first one that comes to mind, and tell me about it," he persuaded. I bit my lip.

"One day, during our junior year, right after New Years.."

"Katie!" Allie yelled and almost tackled me in a hug.

"Random hug," I greeted, hugging her back. She hugged me tightly for a moment before letting go.

"Where have you been the last few days? It's been so boring without you."

"Home, sick, where else?" I asked. She frowned.

"Girls, enough of the chatting, get to class," a teacher called as she passed by. Allie rolled her eyes.

"Forget teachers. We just got back a few days ago, they can go easy for one week. But seriously, I was worried. You never miss school," she said.

"It was a stressful break, It didn't help getting sick during my last day of freedom," I said.

"Come over Friday, we'll invite Jake, and Zach, and we can torture them with chick flicks.." she trailed off. I smiled.

"You're the greatest, that sounds like exactly what I need right now," I replied She smiled.

"We should probably get to class," I said, glancing at the students making their way to class.

"You're probably right," she admitted. I offered her a half smile before walking in the opposite direction, towards my classroom.

"Bye I love you!" She shouted when we were on opposite sides of the hall. I laughed.

"Bye I love you too!" I shouted in return. People stopped to give us weird looks. Allie looked around.

"What are you all staring at? Katie is my best friend, and I'm not afraid to shout it. You act like it's a crime. You can all carry on with your lives now," Allie chirped. She flashed me a grin and turned the corner. I smiled at my best friend's oddness and went to class.

"I remember that," Jake said softly. He continued to run his fingers through my hair. I smiled slightly.

"At this point, I don't know what to think," I said.

"What do you mean?" Jake asked. I looked up at him.

"Allie wrote Zach a note that Nikki got from him and gave to me. It turns out Allie wanted to die. I'm not supposed to know. When I confronted Zach, he was a completely different person then the one who helped me out before," I explained.

"Allie never told you any of this?" Jake asked. I shook my head.

"In her defense, I did keep secrets from her as well," I answered.

"You were being abused, you didn't want to worry her. You didn't know that she was planning all of this," Jake stated. I shrugged and sat up.

"It's just so weird, you know? You think you know someone, then something happens to make you realize there's so much more to someone then you might think. I mean, I thought I knew Allie, but I guess not," I replied.

"Now's the opportunity to find out what you didn't know," Jake said. I thought about that for a minute.

"You have a point there," I admitted. He offered me a half smile. I leaned against him and he wrapped his arms around me, pulling me closer.

"Thank you, for everything, I don't know what I would do without you. Especially now, with everything going on," I said quietly.

"Everyone needs someone to be there for them, and I want to be here for you. I know it's not the same as if Allie we're here, but," he shrugged. We sat like that for a while.

"Even if everyone's saying I didn't know Allie as well as I thought I did.. I do know one thing," I said suddenly. Jake raised an eyebrow.

"Even if Allie wanted to.. wanted.. didn't want to be around anymore, she's not the type to go to extremes. She never was. That means, her murder, was actually a murder," I replied.

"So next on the agenda is finding out the murderer," Jake said carefully. I nodded.


The next day I found myself with Zach and Nikki, of all people. I wore a dark blue jean jacket, with a black summer dress and black flats. We were at the park. We had been talking about Allie, even though they were the last two people I wanted to be around.

"Did you kill her?" I asked suddenly, turning to Zach. For the last hour he had been fidgety and mumbling incoherently.

"Of course not!" He exclaimed.

"As if you give us a good reason to believe you," I spat.

"We know Zach's a jerk -" Nikki started.

"I was thinking of a much stronger word, but go on," I cut in. She flashed me a be quiet look and I smiled innocently.

"As I was saying, we know Zach's a jerk," she shot me a look and I mimed zipping my mouth shut. "But I don't see him as being the one to kill Allie."

"If he didn't, then who did?" I asked.

"I'd like to know the answer to that myself," Jake said as he walked over to us. I offered him a small smile as he sat next to me.

"It would have to be someone she knows," I offered.

"Katie was close to her, they had a fight the day before, and Katie's the one who found Allie dead. That's just too convenient," Zach stated.

"Allie was her best friend, they've never really fought. Why would Katie, of all people, kill Allie?" Jake asked. Zach shrugged.

"What if she wanted Allie out of the way? Allie was the one who everyone loved. They only put up with Katie because they knew she was Allie's best friend," Zach said.

"Enough," Nikki snapped.

"Who put you in charge in the first place?" I asked.

"No one is in charge of anything. Look, we're all here to find out what happened. Hating each other, isn't going to help," Nikki replied.

"Oh, I have no problem with Jake, and you only mildly annoy me, it's Zach I have the problem with," I said cheerfully. Nikki flashed me another look.

"None of you wanted to help when she was alive. None of you spent hours on end talking to her about what problems she had. Allie being dead doesn't give you the right to start pretending like you cared. Cared enough to actually help her when she needed it. Even if I wasn't able to talk to her about what she was thinking about before she died, at least I made sure she knew I was here for her."

"Stop taking your anger out on everyone!" Nikki exclaimed.

"How do you expect me to feel? I lost my best friend, and suddenly everyone is saying how sorry they are, and acting like I didn't know her at all. Everyone is suddenly acting like they cared, when in reality they didn't. You all keep saying I didn't know her, and you're beginning to sound like a broken record. None of you know half as much about her as I do," I snapped.

"If you were such a good friend, then why did Allie want to die?" Zach challenged.

"Zach, that was uncalled for," Jake cut in.

"No, he has a point," I stated.

"Katie," Zach started to say but I shook my head.

"She's dead now. You've made it clear that I'm part of the reason why." Jake cautiously put his hand over mine. I turned mine over and laced my fingers with his.

"That's low Zach, even for you," Jake stated.

"All she's been doing is drowning in self pity, 'oh I'm Katie, I lost my BFF, we were closer than ever, everyone feel sorry for me,' blah blah blah. If you cared about her, you would be trying to figure out what happened, not complaining about how depressed you are," Zach said.

"Says the one who started to help her try to find clues, then turned into someone who pretty much said they didn't care," Jake commented. Zach glared at him.

"Everyone needs to stop acting so damn Bipolar," I muttered.

"While you two have your little tea party, Katie and I are going to talk to Allie's parents," Nikki said, ignoring me. She stood up.

"We are?" I asked. She flashed me an annoyed look.

"If you'd rather listen to their jealousy fit, be my guest," she gestured to Jake and Zach. I let go of Jake's hand and stood up. Nikki pulled her keys out of her pocket and I followed her to her car.

"Why exactly are we going to talk to her parents? Knowing them they won't be much help," I stated.

"We have to start somewhere. While the idiot twins are arguing, we're going to figure out who else Allie knew," Nikki explained.

"She knew tons of people," I muttered.

"Okay Miss Blonde and perfect, do you have any better ideas?" she asked. I rolled my eyes.

"Didn't think so," She said. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes again. The drive to Allie's house was silent. As annoying as Nikki was, I had to admit I felt better knowing I didn't have to figure everything out on my own.

"We're supposed to just go up to the door, knock, and start interrogating them?" I asked. Nikki rolled her eyes.

"Don't be so dramatic. We're going to ask them if we can talk to them about Allie. You act like we're going on a suicide mission," Nikki replied. I frowned but didn't argue. We silently got out of the car when she pulled up. I knocked on the front door. Allie's mom answered, looking surprised to see us.

"Hello girls," she greeted.

"We were wondering if we could talk to you about Allie," Nikki said. Allie's mom silently opened the door wider, letting us walk inside. Nikki and I sat on the couch, Allie's mom sat across from us.

"What do you girls need to know?" she asked.

"Did Allie know or talk to anyone who might hurt her?" Nikki asked. Allie's mom shook her head.

"I can't recall anyone ever wanting to hurt Allie," she replied.

"No one at all? No jealous ex boyfriends, no crazy stalker wanting to be just like Allie.." Nikki trailed off.

"Because that's totally logical," I muttered under my breath. Nikki flashed me an annoyed look. I ignored it and looked at Allie's mom.

"We're there any signs she was showing?" I asked. Besides the obvious.

"I believe you should already know the answer to that last one," came Allie's Dad's voice. I winced at his harsh tone. He walked into the room.

"I want both of you out of my house," he stated.

"John!" Allie's mom scolded. He ignored her.

"Now," he snapped. Nikki and I stood up and walked towards the door. Allie's dad grabbed my arm and held it in a tight grip. I had to bite my tongue to keep from yelling in pain.

"You have no right to come into my house asking questions about my daughter, mind your own business," he growled and let go. Nikki shot me a warning look before I could reply. I walked out the front door.

"What was that about?" she asked a few minutes later. She was dropping me off at my house.

"I'm not completely sure.." I trailed off, absentmindedly rubbing my arm.

"Are you okay?" she asked, eying me with a careful expression.

"I'm fine," I replied shortly. She raised an eyebrow.

"Don't say anything. I don't feel like talking about it anymore," I stated. She frowned and pulled into my driveway. I got out and went inside, offering Nikki a small wave.

"It's good to see you making friends," My mom said suddenly. I jumped a foot in the air and put a hand over my heart to feel it beating rapidly.

"Mom, you scared me!" I exclaimed, leaning against the front door.

"What's got you so jumpy?" she asked. I shrugged.

"It's been a stressful few weeks," I said. I slipped my shoes off and walked into the kitchen. I grabbed a water bottle and an apple.

"Have you eaten today?" my mother asked.

"Yes Mom," I replied.

"Kaitlyn," she stated, making it obvious she didn't believe me.

"Mom, don't worry about me, I'm fine," I said, exasperated. She shook her head.

"If you say so," she said finally. I offered her a quick smile and went upstairs. I changed into a pair of red pajama shorts and a black tank top. I pulled my hair into a messy bun and let myself fall onto my bed. I couldn't focus however, when I heard my mom talking to someone on the phone. I frowned when I heard my name mentioned. I grabbed my phone, and dialed Nikki's number.

"Katie?" she asked.

"No. It's Casper the friendly ghost."

"What's up?" she asked.

"My mom keeps fussing over me, and I don't really want to be alone. Do you think you could come over for a bit? I know we're not exactly best friends, and we annoy each other more often than not, but I really just need a girl's night, or whatever," I said.

"Sure, I'll be there in a bit," she said, and hung up. About an hour later Nikki and I were halfway through watching The Lucky One. My mom walked in, and looked surprised.

"Hello Nikki," My mother greeted.

"Hello," Nikki replied with a smile.

"Are you staying the night?" my mother asked.

"Yes, she is," I cut in. My mother raised her hands in surrender and left the room. Eventually Nikki and I went to my room, I set up a bed for her on the floor, using a few extra blankets and pillows I had. We both passed out early. I woke up to my phone ringing. I checked the time on my clock. It was just past midnight.

"Hello?" I asked, picking up my phone.

"Sorry for waking you," Zach apologized.

"What did you need?" I asked and stifled a yawn.

"I found something out about Allie," he stated. I couldn't place his tone.

"You go from being helpful, to hateful, to being helpful again. You really need to make up your mind," I muttered.

"I've already apologized, twice. What more do you want?" he asked. I sighed.

"I don't feel like arguing with you right now Zach," I stated.

"Please just meet up with me? It's important," he urged. I sighed and took a glance at Nikki. She was still asleep. So it would be easy to sneak out.

"Where do you want me to meet you?" I asked.

"The park? 10 minutes?" he asked. I bit my lip.

"I'll see you there," I replied and hung up. I slipped on a pair of sweatpants over my shorts and grabbed a hoodie. After pulling on a pair of slippers I carefully opened the window and climbed out. 10 minutes later I saw Zach leaning against the fence separating the park from the field.

"What did you have to tell me?" I asked. Zach didn't look like himself. He looked like a mix between scared and angry.

"Zach?" I asked, stepping closer. He looked at me, his face expressionless.

"I killed Allie," he stated. I froze.

"Excuse me?" I asked.

"I killed Allie. I went to her house, blocked her bedroom door, and shot her," he said slowly as if he were talking to a child.

"Why?" I asked, my voice trembling. I couldn't even focus on one thought.

"She deserved it," he replied.

"Where the hell did you get that idea?" I asked. He chuckled.

"Katie, Katie, Katie. As you've heard, you didn't know her as well as you thought," he started to say.

"Get to the point already," I cut in.

"She wanted to die. I gave her a way out. She didn't deserve to live anyways. She had the perfect life, but she was selfish. Wanted to give it all up. Nothing was good enough for her," he explained. I took time to notice his hand was in his pocket and my heart dropped when I saw part of a gun.

"I thought you loved her," I said slowly trying to keep him busy. Zach looked thoughtful for a moment.

"I did, that's why I had to do it, and why I'm about to do this," he replied, pulling the gun out and pointing it at me.

"Zach, you don't want to do this," I said, my voice shaking. Zach looked at me.

"I loved her Katie, but it wasn't enough. What better way to prove that, then to kill her best friend, then everybody wins," he said.

"Zach, put the gun down," I said slowly.

"I'm afraid I can't do that," Zach replied.

"Zach, what good will it do to kill me?" I asked. His hand slightly trembled.

"You can be with Allie now, and Allie will have her best friend," Zach stated. His expression was cold and calculating. I thought for a moment. His reasoning didn't make sense.

"But Allie's dead, she got what she wanted, who's to say I want to follow the same path?" I asked, trying to keep the fear out of my voice.

"Goodbye Katie," Zach replied and pulled the trigger. I tried to move out of the way and felt myself being pushed. I waited for the bullet to hit but it never came. I looked up to see Zach standing there shocked, and Jake laying on the ground a few feet away.

"Jake!" I cried when I saw him. His eyes were closed. I dropped beside him and his eyes opened. He smiled slightly. I grabbed his hand and my heart dropped when I felt it becoming slightly colder.

"I told you I'd always be here for you," he managed to say. Tears streamed down my face. I heard sirens in the distance. Jake's side was bleeding. I pulled off my hoodie and balled it up, pressing it against his side. He squeezed my hand.

"Don't worry about me," he started to say.

"It's kind of impossible not to worry," I said quietly.

"Katie.. I'm cold.." he trailed off. Tears streamed down my face. He squeezed my hand again.

"Everything will be okay," he said.

"Shouldn't I be the one telling you that?" I asked. He smiled slightly. I heard footsteps and looked up to see a police officer and two paramedics.

"Ma'am, we need to get him to the hospital immediately," one of the paramedics said. I reluctantly let go of Jake's hand and they put him on a stretcher. I watched as he as loaded into the ambulance.

"Miss, I need to know what happened," the officer said.

"We've been trying to find out more about Allie's murder. We found the killer, and he tried to kill Katie. Jake got shot trying to help Katie. I called as soon as I realized what happened," Nikki explained and wrapped an arm around me so I wouldn't fall over. The officer wrote everything down.

"Who's the killer?" She asked. I felt my throat close up at this.

"Zach Williams," I managed to get out. The woman's eyebrows shot up in surprise. After an hour of more questions, I was allowed to go home. Nikki walked home with me.

"How did you know?" I asked curiously.

"I woke up right after you opened the window. You left your phone at the house, and I saw the call log, and Zach's name was first. I called Jake, and we found you," Nikki explained. On an impulse I hugged her. She hugged me back tentatively.

"Thank you," I said.

"We wouldn't want to lose you too," she said softly. She stayed with me the rest of the night to make sure I was okay and went home early the next morning. After she left I got ready for the day. I straightened my hair and changed into a pair of light blue ripped jeans, a pair of black and white striped converse, and a white tank top. I paired it with Jake's jacket. I wore my usual fingerless gloves, these ones being plain black. I left the house and aimlessly walked around for a while. My thoughts were focused around Jake and what had happened last night. I wasn't really watching where I was going and bumped into someone. I looked up, to see who else but the object of my thoughts.

"Shouldn't you be in the hospital?" I asked. He shook his head.

"It hurts, but it's not as bad as it was last night. They let me out early this morning," he replied.

"I'm glad to see you're okay," I said softly. He smiled.

"Come swing with me?" I asked, taking one of his hands in both of mine.

"Lead the way," he replied and let me pull him over to the swings.

"I never thought Zach would be the one to kill her," Jake stated. I shrugged.

"I was mad when I accused him of it, I never thought he would actually take her seriously, or take it to the extreme, when she said she wanted out. He loved her, or at least I thought he did," I replied.

"Not enough to let her live."

"It's weird... he was so helpful before... but then he turned into someone else...a completely different person, I don't get it," I said. Jake watched me for a few minutes before answering.

"I talked to the person who finds out why criminals do what they do. She says Zach is Bipolar."

"That explains the mood swings," I murmured. Jake watched me.

"How are you handling all of this?" he asked.

"Sounds like a bad horror movie," I replied. He chuckled and shook his head.

"You would be the one to say something like that," he said. I smiled innocently.

"So what now?" he asked. I shrugged.

"Now we just to back to our boring lives," I stated. I allowed my swing to slow down to almost a complete stop.

"Well, its still summer, I'm sure we can find something interesting to do before senior year begins," he stated.

"We, aren't doing anything until your side is healed. I don't know what would have happened had you not been there," I answered, my voice going quiet at the end. I got off the swing and he followed me.

"I'd do it again if it came to it," he said, all seriousness.

"Don't say that!" I exclaimed. He rolled his eyes and pulled me into a hug.

"Relax Katie, it's all over now," he said. He kissed the top of my head. I pulled away.

"I'll race you to that tree!" I said suddenly and started running. He laughed and easily caught me around the waist, turning me to face him. I looked up at him, my eyes meeting his.

"No matter what happens, I'll always be here for you," he stated.

"You've done enough Jake, it's my turn to be here for you," I replied. He frowned. I leaned up and kissed him.

"I guess we'll see where things go from here," he replied.

"Indeed we will," I agreed.

Epilogue

It was raining on the large crowd of people dressed in black. The cold winter rain fell hard on the ground, and was the only noise that could be heard. I felt my tears mix with the rain. I told myself I wouldn't cry when it was my turn. One second looking into the casket and tears made a steady stream down my face. Despite it being 12 degrees, my face was hot. I clenched hard on Jake's hand. I could hear him sniffling, eyes fixated on the person that laid in the casket. The sight made me sob harder. I felt my knees buckle, and I fell to the floor, splashing in a puddle. My loud sobs broke the silence. No one whispered. Jake knelt down and I buried my face in his chest. He pushed my hair behind my ear and whispered to me. I nodded and stood up, drenched and trembling. I leaned into the casket and kissed her forehead. I turned from the casket, inhaling sharply. I nodded to the person behind Jake and I. Then we moved on. It was someone else's turn.