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Vivienne went home in hurry. That was the only place she had wanted to be, at home with her head under the covers. As she walked up to her front door, she began to panic. Her mind was suddenly preoccupied by what she would tell her parents about where whereabouts last night. Vivienne decided they would never believe the truth. At best, they would believe she was doing drugs. In truth, she didn't really believe what she had seen that night. Maybe, if she got some sleep this would all turn out to be a dream.
As Vivienne made a fist to knock on the front door, she found it ajar. She felt her heart suddenly skip a beat. What if the monsters had found her parents? She rushed in through the door, ready to be greeted with the gory remains over her beloved family. However, her concern was quickly interrupted as she tripped over a pair of fancy patent leather heels.
"Can you watch where you are going, you little klutz?" Janun yelled from the living room couch. "I don't need this right now!"
"Viv!" Her mom yelled from the kitchen. "Are you finally out of bed? Your pancakes are about to get cold."
"Yeah, mom." Vivienne stuttered. She didn't know whether to be relieved or angry that her parents hadn't even realized she had been missing. "I've been out of bed for a while. I went outside for a walk."
"Out for a walk? On a Saturday morning? Please, Viv, don't tell us you have a secret boyfriend too," her father added as he nonchalantly continued to read the newspaper. "No, Janun, you can pout until your lips fall off. The answer is NO. You are not going that party with this gangster boy."
"Julian isn't a gangster. If you gave him a chance you would know!" Janun retorted. "I hate you! I hate you all!"
"I'm not hungry, mom." Vivienne said, sheepishly. She started to sneak up the stairs, out of the hurricane of screaming in the living room.
"You won't let me see him because of Vivienne." Janun screamed and threw a remote control into the stairwell banister. "You think just because a gorgeous boy takes any interest in me he has to be bad news. Just like her little red-headed prince. All I know is that if I got kidnapped by Coral City, I would never come back!"
"Janun," Vivienne said. "Please."
"Viv," her father said and continued to hide his face in the newspaper. "Just ignore her. She's being hysterical. You can take a twenty out of my wallet and go grab a burger at the diner with your red-headed prince if you want. Janun, put down that lamp!" Her father's tone was playfully sarcastic and that was just setting Janun off even more.
Vivienne chuckled a little as she continued up the stairs. Janun continued to wail from downstairs. As Vivienne sat down in the safety and comfort of her room, her fingers found the cameo necklace Blake her given her in her pocket. She had no idea how it got there or who had placed it there. Her parents thought handsome, dorky Julian was a monster. If they knew about the monsters in their other daughter's life.
The high school in Remin was surrounded by forest. It had been calming to Vivienne when she first started school to by surrounded by so much green. In Ignias, everything was made of concrete and marble. The buildings were all stacked onto of each other to squeeze use out of every inch of space. Remin, however, was built low to the ground and they shared their houses with the beetles, ants and spiders.
Vivienne never liked bugs but now there was something else lurking inside the forest for her to fear. Suddenly, the swaying trees didn't calm her. They were hiding a deep dark secret, just up the mountain. She was so preoccupied with thinking about the hungry beasts in the woods that she didn't even see Zissa gliding down the hallway, toward her.
"Watch where you're going, loser," Sam yelled and slapped Vivienne's books out of her hands. She kicked Vivienne's Calculus textbook across the hall and ran away laughing. Vivienne knelt down to gather her things. She could hear the girls whisper to themselves as they gathered around and watched.
"What is she wearing? Is there a hole on her elbow?"
Vivienne immediately shifted her books to cover the hole. The only clothes she had were Janun's hand-me-downs. She had lost of her things since they left Ignias. This fact hadn't bothered her at all. Not until now. As Vivienne stood up and ran away, she suddenly wished that she remembered to brush her hair that morning. Catching a glimpse of herself on a shiny surface in the school trophy case, she realized they were right. She looked like the bastard child of a storybook witch and a bridge troll.
Vivienne thought about going to the bathroom to undo the giant knot in her hair with the period bell rang. That sound meant she was supposed to be in her next class by now. Vivienne sighed and found the nearest down stairwell.
Her next class was Music Appreciation. It had the unfortunate distinction of being in the basement. Vivienne supposed the school was expressing its lack of appreciation for music by holding the class in the windowless, dark, and damp basement. One didn't need natural light in order to appreciate Mozart or Bach. At least she couldn't see the haunted forest from that particular room. But, as Vivienne quickly realized, having Zissa and her gang waiting by the classroom doors was a threat enough.
"Hey, where's your fat-headed boyfriend?" Zissa asked with a smirk on her face. "What were the two of you doing in the forest alone, anyway?"
"I hope you guys are using protection." Sam added and erupted in giggles.