Last week, by overwhelming majority, you chose to sign up for: The lead role. Someone should put that Alexandria in her place! Let’s hope you know what you’re doing…

Chapter 04: I Think We’re Alone Now

You meant to sign your name under the “Tech” column, where it’s reigned supreme for the last three years.  You really did.  But as your hand moved toward the paper, you couldn’t bring yourself to tear your eyes away from Silas’s warm, dark gaze until the sound of someone clearing their throat snapped you out of your hormone-fueled haze.  

You blink.  And that is when you notice your careful cursive — the use of which you think is a dying art form — under the column for “Eliza Doolittle”.  Gulp.  You’ve never been on stage in your life, except to hang lights.  What made you do that?!!!  

You glance up to see Silas smiling at you while biting on his bottom lip.  Oh. Right.  THAT’S why.  Never before have you wanted to be a lip so badly.  What has gotten into you?  Usually you’re too focused on schoolwork and workwork to get caught up in boys — that’s Kayla’s role in your life.  

Kayla.  Kayla is missing.  Kayla is missing, and you’re standing around flirting with the new boy!  It’s like the absence of Kayla has turned your whole world upside down!  If she were here, you would NEVER have signed up to audition for the role of Eliza Doolittle, mostly because she would have, but you were quite comfortable with your supporting role in Kayla’s life.  And it’s time to find out where she is.

“Let’s get outta here.”  You casually suggest to Silas, ignoring Alexandria’s exclamation at being ignored — it must have been her you heard doing the throat clearing — and the way the venom dripped off her words as she read your entry, “Eliza Doolittle?”  Yeah, Lexi, I’m full of surprises, and you slip your hand in Silas’s, leading him back out the door before she can say anything else.

You just signed up to audition for the school play!!!  A flush of euphoria washes over you, followed by a nearly audible GULP.  Because now you’re going to have to stand up on that stage and audition in front of Mr. Crane and Alexandria and Dylan and God and everyone — including this adorable piece of boy beside you — in less than a week!  Where oh WHERE is Kayla when you need her?!!  You miss your BFF so much, you don’t even care that none of this would be happening if she were here.


Fifteen minutes later, you pull up outside Kayla’s McMansion.  It looks both gaudy and cheap without the light of Kayla’s presence around it, and a fresh wave of sadness washes over you.  Where are you, Kayla?

A glance in your rearview shows Silas pulling up in his vintage Land Cruiser.  God, that is a sexy car.  Apart from the abuse of fossil fuels, and all.

You lead Silas around the back of the house, to the window with the broken latch, the one Kayla purposefully broke, so she could sneak in and out at will.  You haul yourself in and gracefully hop down from the dryer you landed on, smiling to yourself as you remember Kayla’s explanation about why the laundry room was the perfect escape.  Kayla’s mom, um, wasn’t exactly domestic.

You lead Silas straight to Kayla’s room, to find it utterly destroyed.  “Oh my god.”  Silas’s voice comes out in a rush.  You understand his concern, because it certainly looks like an act of violence took place in here.  You just know better.  Kayla was unpacking.  You carefully look through her things, noticing her purse on the floor in the corner.  That’s your biggest clue right there.

“She’d never leave intentionally without that.”  You point at the Louis Vuitton Alma BB in Pomme D’Amour.  You remember when her parents sent it to her for Valentine’s Day.  She loved that purse more than anything.  Even though it was ridiculous, and kind of ugly, and certainly not worth fifteen hundred dollars.  “It perfectly represents my relationship with my parents.” Kayla had said to you when you asked why she insisted on taking it everywhere.

You go through it now, noting its contents: wallet, keys, lip gloss, tampon… no phone.

“Her phone’s not in here.” You turn to find Silas staring at a collage of pictures above Kayla’s dressing table mirror.  Most of them are of you and her together.  And Dylan, the creep.

The two of you scour her room, searching for the pink rhinestone-covered iPhone you’re sure would give you answers.  After checking under the bed for the third time, you notice Silas standing in the center of the room, watching you.

“What?”  You ask.  He looks sad as he says, “I don’t think it’s in here, Caitlin.”

“It HAS to be!”  You speak around the lump forming in your throat.

“We’ve looked everywhere.”  He spreads his hands out to encompass the room.  “We’ve looked everywhere twice.”

Your bottom lip starts to tremble uncontrollably, and you turn away to hide your face, quickly brushing away the tears that escape.  “Hey,”  Silas’ voice sounds from right behind you, as a gentle hand on your shoulder turns your around.  You open your eyes to find him inches away, and his hand reaches up to touch your face.  Instinctively you lean toward him… and that is when “Harlem Shake” blares from the area around your feet.  Kayla always insisted on having the latest pop sensation as her ringtone.  You certainly don’t miss “Gangnam Style”.

You and Silas jump apart and frantically search through the clothing strewn about your feet  — clothing you were sure you’d been trhough before — until you feel a pair of jeans, and realize they’re heavier than they should be.  

Hands shaking, you fumble the phone out of the pocket.  “It’s an international number!”  You exchange a quick glance with Silas.  It must be Kayla’s parents.

Do you:

A. Answer the phone!

B. Get the heck out of there! What were you thinking, breaking into your best friend’s house?

C. Forget the phone! Silas was about to kiss you!

Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.