Quil’s wilful sister is hiding in Seattle. What does she do when she hears screams in the night, finds bloodless corpses in alleys, and faces something from a nightmare? Who does she turn to when she becomes a walking nightmare herself? And why can’t she stop thinking about her childhood best friend?
2. Chapter 2: Build Up
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“Hey Hailey?” she didn’t stop, recognising the deep voice immediately. “Hey, Hailey, wait up!”
She spun around, knowing full well that she was going to be late to English. “Yes?”
“I gotta talk to you. You keep brushing me every time I try,” whined Jeremy.
Hailey tried really hard not to stare at his perfectly defined jaw, straight nose and god-carved lips. Keyword being tried. She couldn’t help it; Zoë was right, the boy was gorgeous. And he smelled great, too. “I’ve been busy,” she explained slowly, struggling to get words out in the right order.
“Yeah. P night is really taking over the school, huh?” he grinned at her.
“Almost as much as one of the Brumby’s games. Look, I gotta go to English.”
“Now wait just a second,” he said, pulling her by the elbow. Her skin seemed to heat at his touch. So hot... She wondered if he could feel the violent heat of her own skin. God, she hoped not. “You know what I want to ask you, I don’t need to say it twice.”
“Um... I, er,” she mumbled.
“Go out with me.”
“C’mon. It’ll be fun. We can go see a movie, or...” he smiled easily at her. “What’s holding you back, Ateara?”
“Sorry. I can’t....,” she said, stepping from his grasp and darting forwards. “I have to go to English.”
She heard his sigh as she rounded the science lab, and giggled.
The Presentation Night was less than five hours away; they had spent weeks and weeks practising. Dylan’s grandparents were coming. Zoë’s family were throwing a party afterwards. Hailey and Dylan’s families had been invited back to their place for dinner. Zoë was doing a scene from Macbeth with her theatre group. She was hoping to be accepted into the Seattle School of the Performing Arts. In fact, so were Dylan and Hailey. P Night was a showcase of the school’s talent; there were scouts every where, from selective performance schools and universities across the country. It was an opportunity and a half; hundreds of important people to watch you succeed. It was also a certain way to screw up your entire career, if you were to fail.
Hailey was nervously biting her almost grown out fingernails. Her last class, English, was dragging. She was at the very edge of her mind, deciding whether it was worth it to ask the batty Mrs Macmillan to shut the hell up. Probably not. When the tedious class finished, she literally ran for the auditorium to help set up. She had put her change of clothes – her jeans and her Blink 182 shirt - in Dylan’s guitar case and was worried she wouldn’t have time to change. Even though she had a good hour and a half.
She was grumpy as she sat at the mirrored booth in the second dressing room. Zoë was fussing over her hair and make-up and trying to dress her up into a pretty little princess.
“I don’t want to look like a beauty queen, Zo,” Hailey had muttered in her annoyance. She hadn’t heard from Quil and didn’t think he was coming. Uncle David most certainly wasn’t. He had an important date with his number one fan: the super hot Toshiba laptop.
Zoë drew her from her stony reverie. “The emo black eyeliner thing is so not stylish. I think it’s pretty.... trashy. If I’m gonna be your stylist, you better start believing me...” she trailed off. She was so preppy.
Hailey moaned for her to drop the weapon she had just brandished. Mascara is not my friend... Mascara is not my friend... Mascara is not my friend..., she chanted in her head. Dammit.
“Look, I know you have gorgeous lashes, but they need a little...” she flicked her wrist, bringing the mascara wand upwards in a heavy sweep across her lashes. Hailey blinked furiously and tried not to let her eyes water. Mascara is not my friend...
She whined and complained until her tiny blonde friend dropped the hair straightener. She did not see any point whatsoever in straightening her jet black hair. Hailey loved her hair. It was her pride and joy, short, spiky and messy at the back with a thick side fringe hanging curtain-like over her brow. It was much too short to even bother straightening. And it was dead flat anyway. Zoë just wanted to play stylist.
“Well what do you want to look like, Hailey?!” she exclaimed in frustration. She must say, she was not the most cooperative of make-up subjects.
“I don’t make up or any of that... stuff,” her lips curled distastefully around the last word as if it tasted foul.
Zoë scowled stubbornly. “You are going to look like a goddess before you leave this room, I swear on Blanket’s grave!”
Hailey sighed. She just had to bring dead animals into this, didn’t she? She was absolutely distraught when that scraggly old tom, Blanket, carked it. Using a dead kitten should so be classed as cheating, or at the very least, extreme manipulation.
“It had better be a rock goddess then,” she surrendered. “And you had better take a photo. I’ll never sit this still again, not until all hell freezes over like Ice Age 2.”
“Isn’t Ice Age 2 the one where all the ice melts?”
She groaned. “What ever, hurry your tiny butt up.”
They emerged from the dressing room a good fifteen minutes later. Though she would never admit it, Hailey thought she looked pretty darn good. A smoky, glittering purple powder was smudged over her eyelids, the eyeliner making her bright green eyes mysterious and different. Her cheekbones looked as if they were glowing and her dark skin shimmered in the artificial light. No, she would never admit it. Her bubbly best friend had even brought a spare outfit, just for her. Hailey couldn’t have possibly have worn the jeans and shirt ensemble she had planned with a face done up this good. And she had to admit the short black dress was pretty spunky. It was ruffled at the top of her thighs with a big purple bow hanging at her hip. Teamed with fishnet tights covering her legs, shiny black boots that sheathed her calves and more of the fishnet material covering her palms and forearms. Badass. Damn, she did not look sixteen. Zoë had a gift. Not that she would wear an outfit like this on the weekend... But it was a special occasion.
Zoë hugged her and whispered good luck. She was performing much later in the night and didn’t need to get dressed for another two hours at least. She let herself out into the auditorium to find her parents while Hailey waited in the backstage hall for Jemima, who was getting ready in the change room next to hers. Hailey thought about Quil, while she was waiting, and why he hadn’t called. Her half-brother never forgot to call her.
“Oh. My. God. Hailey, I’ve never seen you in a dress before!” she squealed as she emerged from the tiny room, totally shell-shocked. What? Just because she wore jeans and band T-shirts all the time doesn’t mean she couldn’t dress up once in a while. Okay. Correction. Let Zoë dress her up once in a while.
Jem was wearing tight green lycra pants, they looked like they were painted on her skinny legs, and a black halter top with cute silver buckles. Her frizzy red hair was in an ‘up-do’ piled on top of her head, where it balanced, precariously close to toppling and spilling over her freckly shoulders, if not for a few scattered hair pins.
“You look awesome, Jem! C’mon. Let’s go make sure those boys haven’t strangled themselves with their guitar leads.” The two girls linked arms, giggling at the image of Tommy wrapped up in a mess of black, snake-like wires.
The guys were sitting patiently in the room backstage, waiting for them. Dylan laughed openly when he saw what Hailey was wearing. Tommy looked embarrassed and Paul was grinning from ear to ear.
“At least all the males in the audience will clap,” he said between laughs.
“What about me?” pouted Jemima jokingly.
Paul shook his head. “Nah, Jemzie, you wear somethin’ like that every day. You look great, though.” He made a point to look her up and down until the smile returned to her pale face.
“When are we on?” Hailey asked Tommy.
He looked pleased with the change of subject. “We’re on, like, fifth.”
She nodded and sat down beside Dylan to wait. She watched while each performance prepared to go out onto the brightly lit stage. She couldn’t see it, but she could hear the music, or the speech. It was a music, dance and drama evening, essentially. She eyed the jazz girls as they tightened their little outfits and stretched their lean muscles. They were on second.
“Miss Ateara!” her head whipped around in response to her name.
“Miss Ateara!” called the voice she recognised as Mrs Foster’s. She stood up and made her way to the other waiting room.
Mrs Foster was drowned in a sea of adolescents, and looked worse for wear because of it. Beside her were two dark skinned and extremely tall teenagers.
“Seth! Jake!” she squealed and launched herself at them.
Both boys laughed. Jacob Black hugged her to his enormous frame. He was the same as ever.
“Hello, little wolf!” said Jacob, a bright smile pulling at his dark features. She glanced at him for the first time in over a year. Her childhood friend had changed so much. He was taller, older looking. She had to look up to see his face. Hailey wasn’t used to that. She was very tall herself and often found herself looking down on people. She found his dark eyes.
“What are you guys doing here?” she asked, turning to hug Seth. He had to be nearly fifteen now. He was as tall as the other boys. At least a head taller than herself. He smiled hugely at her. She remembered when she used to baby-sit him as a kid. “Where’s Quil?” A strange look passed over Jake’s face.
“He’s real sick,” answered Jacob quickly. “With the mono.”
“The kissing disease? What’s he been doing?” I giggled.
He laughed. “I don’t wanna know. He asked us to come and see you perform. So here we are.”
“I’m glad you came,” she smiled radiantly at both of them. “Are you staying afterwards?”
“No rush to get back. It’s only La Push,” said Seth.
I scowled. “Ugh. Don’t remind me of that place.”
“It’s not that bad,” laughed Jacob. “Anyway, we gotta go get our seats. Good luck, Hailey!”
He started to head back to exit.
Seth smiled at her and followed him, ignoring the gathering crowd of females as he left the backstage area. I grinned and headed back to my friends. Mono. Poor Quil.
“Where did you go?” Dylan asked as I pressed myself into the non existent space beside him.
“My brother’s friends came to wish me luck.”
“So is your brother here?” he questioned. “You’ve been talking about him all week.”
“No,” I said. “He’s sick. Mono.”
“The kissing disease?”
“What other mono do you know?”
We waited nervously, impatiently and uneasily while the other performers entered and then exited the stage. Finally it was our turn.