*whispers* do you hear the people sing *slightly louder* singing the song of angry men? *shouting with all the power of dead revolutionaries* IT IS THE MUSIC OF THE PEOPLE WHO WILL NOT BE SLAVES AGAIN!

Hi. I'm alive, beleive it or not. Recovering from a severe head injury (hence my disappearing act!) but alive.

And I think just about everyone got the references in last chapter! I think someone asked for a certain character to make an appearance, so.. .enjoy this long overdue chapter!


"That's not your color, sweetie."

Erica frowned and pulled the fabric away from her skin. She liked this color. Green had always been a favorite of hers. She turned to her escort with questioning eyes.

Mrs. Elton just smiled kindly and rose to her feet, almost gliding over to wear Erica stood by the large mirror. She rested her hand (hardly wrinkled despite her age) on the girl's shoulder and said, "Don't you see? It draws color away from your skin. This dark green… it makes you look sickly. Why don't you try jewel tones?"

"Jewel tones?"

"Lord," Mrs. Elton laughed. "Hasn't your mother taught you anything?"

Erica blinked at her reflection, looking briefly into the mirrored image of Mrs. Elton's crystalline eyes. "My mother is dead," she said shortly.

"I'm—"

"Don't." Erica pulled the shirt over her head, revealing her (new) bra. She hadn't any more shame—she'd already gone underwear shopping with her boyfriend's mother. How much more did she have to lose? "So.. what are those 'jewel tones' you're talking about?"

"Well, sapphire blue, emerald green and the such. And… ruby red. I happen to know that's a favorite of my son's."

As Mrs. Elton hurried off to fetch the same shirt in those strange colors, Erica flushed. Although, she did wonder if Elton would like her in such a vibrant color. It was most certainly one that fit him. However, Erica felt as if she was more a black sort of girl.

Colors don't do well in the shadows.


Elton lay in a daze. All he could see as he tried to sleep was the image of Erica. He'd always found her enchanting, in a way, but now that he'd seen her graced by morning light… he'll never have a better morning. And he never sought after the attentions of his classmates… He never understood what was so special about lips meeting and skin touching.

Until now.

Now it was all he could think about. She was all he could think about.

If only his friends could see him now…

His friends. Shit.

How was he going to tell them that, overnight (well… not exactly that quickly, for this weakness to Erica had been building inside of him for some time), he became a hypocrite. Elton was always scolding Cooper for talking about girls when he could be discussing other things. He scoffed when Marcus wrote love letters to that girl of his.

He wasn't about to become one of them. Elton just couldn't see himself being the type to drone on and on about Erica and her many (and there were many) attributes. He also couldn't see himself as a lovestruck idiot, scratching out every thought and every feeling about her so that he could never forget.

Caught up in his tumultuous thoughts and slightly distracted by his physical pain, Elton neglected to hear the faint buzzing coming from his cell phone. It vibrated into the carpet, Grant's name lighting up the screen. Finally it stopped, only to show the message:

20 missed calls.


The last stop on the Mrs. Elton ("Please call me 'Franny'!") and Erica shopping voyage was to the little jewelry store run by Carina and her father. The moment the little bell above the door rang, the pretty girl at the counter looked up with a smile on her face.

"Eri!" Carina cried. She came out from behind the counter and, much to Erica's surprise, wrapped her in a hug. After a few moments, Erica hesitantly patted Carina's back. It wasn't a delicate hug. Not the type usually exchanged between teenage girls. It was heartfelt and firm. Strong, almost.

"Carina…?" Erica said.

"I saw what you did the other night," she whispered. "You saved my life… Mine and Marcus's. Thank you."

"Erica, is this a friend of yours?" Mrs. Elton's—Franny's—voice pulled them apart.

"Um, I guess. Carina, this is Elton's mom. Mrs. Elton." Erica motioned between the two of them. Franny stepped forward with her hand outstretched. There was a strange look on her face.

"Mrs. Elton is my mother in law. Call me Franny," she nearly whispered. "Say, Carina is a beautiful name. Did your mother come up with it?"

"I don't know, actually." Carina blushed. "I was adopted. But… on another note, Erica has unlimited credit here. Have fun!"

"Unlimited? Carina—"

"Erica, does she remind you of Luke at all?" Franny asked. Erica looked at Carina's retreating back and the glimmering hair that cascaded down her shoulders like a cliché.

"Uh…. Not really, no."

"They have the same eyes," Franny continued. "Just… look."

So she did. The moment Carina turned around, Erica saw it.

At first glance, the resemblance was easy to dismiss. But upon looking closely, Franny was right. Carina's hooded eyes the color of the sky on a cool day were identical to Elton's. They were lined with the same long, blonde eyelashes and they even sparkled with the same sweet potential of intensity. The purple bags beneath the blue eyes were the result of long nights—Elton's from school work and social justice and Carina's from long hours.

Once the eyes fell into place, so did more. Carina had Elton's sculpted cheekbones, but hers were hidden beneath her almost childish cheeks. Her full lips were painted pink but were the same pout as Elton's. Their noses had the same slope. They held themselves the same way. In the right light, they were both sunlight personified.

"Holy shit."

"You see it too." It was no longer a question. However, Franny didn't sound amused at seeing her son's doppelganger. She sounded the opposite—her voice was dewy with the hint of a sob tearing at her throat. When Erica turned to see her more closely, she saw that the woman's eyes—identical to Elton and Carina's—were wet with tears.

"Mrs. El—Franny?"

But Erica was ignored. Franny stepped forward slowly. Her heels clicked on the shiny tile floor and her purse was held in shaking hands. Carina took no notice. Her attention was focused on a paperback novel that was propped up on the counter. Nervous about what was happening (whatever it was, anyway), Erica followed Franny up to Carina.

Once they reached the counter, the girl looked up, seemingly confused. "How may I—"

"Carrie," Franny whispered.

"I'm sorry?"

"Of course, you probably don't remember…" It appeared that she was rambling. "You were so young. Hardly three, I think, last time I saw you. Luke wasn't much bigger. Oh, Carrie…. My sweet Carina."

"Ma'am, I don't—" Carina's voice shook and she appeared to be frightened. She glanced back and forth between Erica and Franny.

"Carina, is there any chance that you remember anything before living with me?" Erica asked slowly. She remembered Elton's mutterings about the hallucination that his mother claimed was his sister. There was a very little chance. Small enough that it almost didn't exist. But it was worth asking.

"Not really," Carina apologized. "I remember.. a lady who wore white. And she sang to me. She was… very beautiful… with long blond hair and—" here she looked up at Franny. "—and blue eyes. Blue like mine."

"What is your adoptive father's name?" Franny's voice was as soft as a breeze. It was hardly understandable.

Carina's lip quivered as she said, "John. But… he told me that he changes his last name a lot. Kind of like that Catch Me if You Can guy."

"I knew a man named John once," Franny sighed. "I begged him to take care of my daughter. Of my little Carrie. My precious Carina."

"Are you the lady in white?" Carina sounded like a small child as she asked. Franny nodded slowly.

Erica felt suddenly as if she was intruding. She crept her fingers into Franny's purse and withdrew her cell phone, quickly stepping away from the (mother and daughter?) pair. She dialed Elton's number and waited.

It took too long for him to pick up. When he finally did, his voice was tired. "Mom?"

"Elton, it's Erica."

"Erica…? What's up? Is something wrong?"

"Uh… Marcus's girlfriend is your long-lost-sister. Surprise…?"


Yay!

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(please?i really hope people are still reading)