I was drowning. My limbs flailed every which way, in an unplanned, totally random manner. Salty water dripped down into my eyes as my lungs took in heavy breaths as if the air around me was precious cargo, meant for only me alone. My legs ached, and my feet all off a sudden felt way too big for the high heels I was wearing.

I was drowning… and I had never had as much fun as I was then.

"Sophie!" I heard my best friend, Melody, cry from somewhere on the edge of the sea. I barely registered her though, merely closed my eyes as I struggled to stay afloat.

"Sophie!" Melody cried, again, her voice growing more desperate by the second. I looked over to see her standing in her dark black dress, her hands on her hips, "Sophie, c'mon! We have to leave now if we want to make it to Dairy Queen before it closes!"

I sighed, lowering my arms, and making my way through the ocean of people. Closing my eyes, I wiped the salty sweat from my eyebrows, and paused right in front of her. She stood with her arms crossed, and her golden left eye twitching irritably. It was tradition for us to go to Dairy Queen and get supper plus a huge ice cream cake to eat after the school dances and Melody was all about tradition.

"Where are the others?" I asked, looking around in an attempt to find them. I would be so pissed if I got dragged away from the dance floor when they weren't even ready, yet.

Melody rolled her eyes, "Waiting at the door with all of our stuff." she thrust her thumb behind her, where I could clearly see three other people waiting.

I smiled sheepishly, before beginning to lead my blonde haired best friend over to the entrance. As we walked, I pulled my waist length brown hair out of it's-once high-ponytail, letting it cascade down my back.

"Finally." Cierra rolled her eyes when we reached them, me now braiding my hair, "I thought we would be here all night."

I shrugged, as Drake handed me my black coat-my hair now completely braided-and Melody her matching silver one so we could slip it over our bare shoulders. We huddled deep within the bundles, both smiling as we had forgotten just how cold being away from the dance floor could be.

"We spent twenty-five bucks on the tickets." I said, zipping up the coat, "I figure we should get our fill of it so it isn't a waste of money."

Drake gave me a weird look, loosening his tie as he did so. We still hadn't moved from our spots yet, apparently too preoccupied to remember that it was kind of hard to get to Dairy Queen if you didn't transport yourself somehow.

"What is it about dances that changes you?" he asked, raising an eyebrow quizzically. "Just last week Andy and I practically had to drag you out of bed to come to Burger King and a movie. Now, it's like you don't even want to go home."

I shrugged, "I dunno. I guess there's just… something about dances that gets me excited." I turned around and motioned to the dance floor, "Out there, it doesn't matter who you are, or what you've done. If they allow you in, then you're just another member of this great big thriving organism." I smiled fondly, "And I love it."

Cierra sighed, "And here I thought you just loved to dance." she shook her head, "I suppose I should've known better. You always have to have some deeper meaning to everything you do."

I smiled over at her, before producing my keys from the pocket of my coat, internally sighing as I felt my cell phone and wallet in there as well. No matter how much I liked dances, I could never get over the horrible feeling that something important would get stolen from my pockets when I wasn't there to protect them.

"Well, since everyone is in such a hurry to leave, let's go."

Everyone flashed me a thank-you smile, before heading towards the doors. As we were heading out, a boy and a girl came stumbling in, each one with blonde hair and brown eyes, though the girl's hair was nice where as the boys was shaggy and almost unkempt. This was Justin Wayne and Terra Jones, the most popular boy and girl in school. Rumor had it that they were going out, though neither one of them had denied it nor said it was true.

"Leaving so soon?" Justin asked, raising an eyebrow at us, "The party's just getting started."

"The party started over two hours ago." Drake crossed his arms, "It's closer to ending than to actually 'getting started.'"

I had to fight back a sigh at that. Drake had never liked Justin-at least, for as long as I had known him. According to Cierra-who knew both of them from way back in elementary school-they had been friends for the longest time, until they'd had a falling out of sorts in the sixth grade. Nobody was sure what had happened, but it must've been bad, considering that the two of them hadn't had a decent conversation since then.

Things were awkward for a second, but luckily, Melodoy was able to break that. It was a talent of hers, I supposed.

"C'mon!" she'd cried, grabbing a hold of Drake's arm and beginning to attempt to drag him towards the door, "Let's get going! I'm beginning to get really hungry!"

"Haha, okay, okay!" Drake laughed, finally looking away from Justin, whom he'd been staring at for the last who knows how long, "I'm going, I'm going!"

I pulled my phone out of my pocket, mostly out of habit than anything else, so I could check it. I hadn't done so since we got to the dance which made me unreasonably uneasy. My phone was the same as Melody's, a new 4G smartphone of some sorts. Only mine was red and hers was black-we'd traded off backs a couple years back so that we would always know ours even in a pile of other 4G smartphones of the same brand. We called them our hybrid phones.

"Be careful!" Terra yelled out to us, "There's been a lot of kids getting kidnapped around here!"

I smiled, and waved over my shoulder at them. Our school wasn't like most other schools. The popular people weren't based on looks or anything like that-though Justin and Terra were both insanely gorgeous-it was based on how nice they were and how many people liked them. And-aside from Drake-everyone liked the two of them.

"You shouldn't fall fo rtheir charms like that," Drake grumbled as we walked through the parking lot towards my car, "It's only going to kill you even more when you find out who they actually are."

"I don't get why you're so against them." Melody sighed, smiling that we'd finally found my car which promised shelter from the cold winter air, "They're nice. And besides, people change over time."

"Not as much as he pretends to." Drake grumbled, crawling in back with Cierra and Andy.

"Stop being such a baby." I sighed, holding out my hand back to them, "Here, pass me up some sweats. I feel horribly uncomfortable in this ungodly dress."

"You're going to change in the car with two boys here?" Andy asked, incredulous.

I turned around to face him, making my eyes go wide in a "duh" look, "Uh… duh. Of course. I do it after every dance."

"Yeah," Cierra blew out her cheeks irritably, "You and Melody change up front while the rest of us have to wait until we actually get there."

I raised an eyebrow at her as the boys reached into the back to grab my bags, "I bought a three seater van for a reason, Era. You can hop in back and change in back."

Cierra rolled her eyes, "Yeah, so they can peek back at me."

"Like we would ever do that." Andy snorted, "If anything, you will be the one peeking on us as we change."

"Let's not argue about this again," Melody sighed, "I'm really not in the mood." she punched me lightly in the shoulder, "C'mon! I'm a starving girl on her period-you can't keep me away from food for much longer!"

"Whoa!" Drake gasped, he'd lunged forward halfway through her sentence but hadn't made it there in time, "We did not need to know that!"

"Oh please," Melody rolled her eyes, "We haven't been friends for almost five years for nothing. We should be able to tell you when we're on our period." she turned to me, taking her bag of clothes as I began to pull my sweatpants on, "Don't you think so, Fiel?" Fiel was her nickname that was part her first name, part her last name-Elerson.

I shrugged, "Of course. I have no problem telling them when I'm on my period." I leaned back in my chair so I was facing Andy, my head upside down, "My period ended four days ago."

"Gah!" Andy covered his ears, "Just because you guys feel comfortable telling us when your periods are, doesn't mean we want to know!"

I laughed, before yanking my dress over my head, and tossing it over my shoulder at the boy, "Shut up!" then I yanked my black Murder Me Always dress from the play our school had been in the year before over my head. I hadn't actually been in the play, but had been in the tech crew. Which was really fun, because I loved building things.

"Okay," I sighed, finally putting the car in drive as Melody threw her own dress back, "Off to Dairy Queen, we go!"

As I pulled out of the parking lot, I turned the radio on which switched automatically to 104.7 where they were talking about the missing kids. It was up to six kids now.

"Ugh," I saw Cierra throw her head back out of the corner of my eye in the rearview mirror, "Let's not listen to this. It's depressing me."

I smirked, shaking my head, but complied by plugging in my iPod. It switched immediately to one of my many Anna Nalik songs-more specifically, Breathe (2am).

"Aw, no!" Andy and Drake cried as us three girls started to sing very loudly and off-tune to it, "Please, not this, again!"

"Yeah, we walk through the doors

So accusing their eyes!

Like they have any right at all

To criticize!

Hypocrites, you're all here

For the very same reason!" we all continued to belt out despite their whining.

By the time we reached the restaurant, all of our voices hurt, but for different reasons. The girls because we'd been singing at the top of our lungs for the last ten minutes, and the boys because they'd been yelling at the top of their lungs for the last ten minutes.

"Hello, Paula!" we called out together in our now slightly hoarse voices to the girl with short dark hair behind the counter.

Paula laughed, before holding out her hand in which we put in the exact change we'd need to pay. "The usual?" she asked, looking down at the money in her hand, mentally counting it to make sure we'd brought enough.

"Of course!" Andy laughed, rolling his eyes, "We'll be at the usual table. And there's an extra five bucks in there, so just get yourself whatever you want!"

Paula laughed, shaking her head, "Of course. The usual." she divided up the change, putting everything in its correct placement.

"So," I groaned, sliding into our regular booth, "Can you believe that in just a little under a year, we'll be Juniors and will be able to drive to school without having to take the bus?"

Our school had this stupid rule that you couldn't drive yourself to school unless you were a Junior or a Senior even if you had a driver's license. They probably thought we weren't responsible enough or some shit until we'd been in high school for two years. Which meant that mine was barely ever put to use. The only reason I was able to drive to the dance was because it was an after school event.

Drake rolled his eyes and he sighed, "You mean you will be able to drive. In case you've forgotten none of the rest of us have driver's license of our own."

I smirked, "Well, that's your own problem. If you guys weren't too lazy to read the book or take the class or at least take the text, you would be able to drive and wouldn't have to come running to me every time you wanted to go somewhere." I rolled my eyes, "I mean really, I shutter when I think about what would happen to you guys if something ever happened to me."

Drake raised an eyebrow, "Something? Like what?"

I shruggled, "Well, like for instance, if that guy who's been kidnapping kids took me. What would you guys do if something like that happened to me?"

"I would find him and break his head open." Drake smiled over at me.

I rolled my eyes, "No, c'mon. In all seriousness. I wanna know what you would do if something like that were to happen to me?"

"I am serious." Drake laughed, he then opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something else, but Melody cut him off with a soft cry,

"No!" she gasped, covering her ears, "Stop talking about that! I can't even think of losing you, Sophie!"

"Whoa," Paula laughed, raising an eyebrow as she brought us our food, "What kind of conversation we having here?"

Andy shook his head, "Definitely not one you wanted to be a part of."

Paula shook her head, turning away, "I'm going to take your word on that one. I don't like the look Melody has on her face so I'm just going to walk away now… walking away."

Normally, Melody would've at least cracked a smile at that, but this time, she didn't even look away from me even once.

"Promise me," she said, her voice slow and serious, "That you will never ever leave me."

I laughed, shaking my head, "Don't worry, Melody. I won't ever ever leave you."