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Janun was sitting by an oak tree in wait. She wasn’t alone, though. There was a tall, hunky, dark haired boy with her sister. Watching her sister blush and giggle with the boy’s every glance, Vivienne suddenly understood why Janun was so upset at the idea that they might have to run away again. Janun was in love.
And why shouldn’t she be? The boy looked like he belonged in a magazine. No, even the hot throbs in the most lustful movies couldn’t match the looks on that boy. He had a jaw that went on for miles, shoulders that belonged on a Greek god, and a laugh that belonged to an angel.
Vivienne had to admit, she was jealous. At least Janun was getting what she deserved, what every girl deserved, a love story wasn’t marred by death and horror.
As Janun turned and caught sight of Vivienne, her glowing smile turned into a glower.
“My baby sister is here,” Janun said with a sigh. “She has to come with us. Let’s go, Julian,” Janun said, tugging at his arm. “I am starving for some popcorn and cotton candy.”
The carnival was taking place in a meadow a short walk away from the school. All the lively revelers of all ages amid the twilight forest were a sight to behold. There was a fortune-teller stand, funnel cake cart, dozens of lively rides, and even a tent containing a petting zoo. Most spectacularly, were the fall colors on the trees lining the carnival. It was as though the forest wanted to be a part of the joyous affair and colored all the trees in vibrant reds and oranges.
Remin wasn’t a large town and Vivienne realized with dismay that most of her class were there. Vivienne decided to keep her head down and follow her sister and Julian closely to keep from being recognized. She wished she had stayed home instead of being a hardcore third wheel.
Julian and Janun got into line for the Ferris Wheel which was surprising to Vivienne because she though Janun had a lifelong fear of heights. She also noticed that each car only had enough room for two people, which meant that she would be sitting alone.
“So, you girls picked your dresses for the ball yet?” Julian asked nonchalantly. He pulled a glasses case out of his pocket to reveal a pair of wooden spectacles. He placed those on his face to get a better look at the giant Ferris Wheel. Vivienne didn’t even know how it was possible but the geeky glasses actually made him look more dashing and handsome. It was like he was a bookworm trapped inside the body of Adonis.
“I have but I think my sister is probably sick of balls by now,” Janun said sarcastically in Vivienne’s general direction.
“I don’t see what the big deal is,” Vivienne replied, trying to act cool. “It’s just a costume party right? Maybe I’ll just put on a black dress and go as the color black.”
Julian chuckled at that. “I keep forgetting you two are new here. It’s more of a coming of age party around these parts, like a debutante’s ball.”
“Janun is right, that doesn’t sound like my kind of scene at all,” Vivienne replied. She caught sight of Zissa and her crew out of the corner of her eyes. There were about six or seven pretty girls with shiny hair and miniskirts in the group. Nicole was with them, so was Sam. They were giggling and showing each other pictures on their cell phones. In the blink of an eye, they all headed into the tent that was marked the Fortune Teller. Vivienne felt a pang of jealousy. What she wouldn’t give to have a pack of friends again, or even one good friend?
“You might meet some new friends there,” Julian suggested. “Maybe even a nice boy.” He said with a wink at Vivienne. She blushed despite herself. “The people in this town are a tight knit group. Going to the ball would help them see you as one of their own.”
“Yeah,” Vivienne said with a sigh, thinking of the events in the locker room. “I doubt I will ever really find good friends here. I’ll always be an outsider.”
“Do you really think so?” Julian asked with a chuckle as he wrapped his arms around Janun. She was beaming as though she was having a rapturous moment. Well, Janun was settling in this town just perfectly. “You might find you have more in common than you think. ”
They were coming to the front of the line. A rusty Ferris Wheel car with chipped green paint screeched to a stop in front of them. “Why don’t the two of you take this one?” Julian asked. “I can take the next one.”
“But I want to ride with you,” Janun whimpered, clutching Julian’s well-toned arm. She shot Vivienne a dirty look.
“Yeah,” Vivienne quickly interjected. “I don’t want to go on the Ferris Wheel anyway. The two of you lovebirds go. I’m going to go check out that tent over there.”
Vivienne ran away from them before they could stop her. She ducked into the nearest tent which was the Timber Wolf den. Inside, there was a large hay-filled cage with five sleepy, bored wolves. As Vivienne studied them, she felt largely underwhelmed.
“So you like wolves, eh?” a husky male voice asked from the darkness.
Vivienne struggled to see his face but he was wearing a hood. All she could tell was that he was large. His hand, which was clenched around a bar of the wolf cage, was meaty. A glimmer of a gold ring shone around his pinky.
“Do I know you?” Vivienne asked.
The man chuckled and turned his face toward her. He had a scar over one side of his face and his eyes shone yellow. Vivienne took a step back. She had a distinct feeling of danger emitting from him.