CHAPTER 2

“Another outburst like that and you’ll be taking a trip to the Principal’s office.” Mr. Regan’s threat elicited a few oohs and ahhs from the other students.

Abi had never been so happy to be so embarrassed before.

Once the class had quieted down, Cora texted her again.

 “Well?”

She didn’t reply immediately. Abi had been so antsy about whether or not she would get that email that she hadn’t given Cora’s request serious thought.

Bzzt. Abi glanced at her phone again.

 “Now you have reason to celebrate! Come on, just one party!”

Cora always did this to her, but for the first time, she felt a sly grin tugging at the corners of her mouth. She had waited months for that email and now that it was there, she felt light and…what if she said yes?

Mr. Regan’s large belly grazed the smartboard, knocking two markers to the ground. Abi could tell he wrote them off as a lost cause as he continued his lecture, but she wasn’t listening to him anymore.

Abi had always declined these persistent, almost forceful invitations. But Cora was right, she did have a reason to celebrate now. She glanced at her friend, who lifted her hands slightly in question.

“Live a little.” Cora mouthed.

The class bell rang and Cora immediately perched herself on top of Abi’s desk in one swift movement, the cheap furniture groaning despite Cora’s light frame.

“Well?” She waited a few breaths, but Abi didn’t know what to say yet. For the first time, she wanted to say yes, but now that her dreams were coming true, she couldn’t mess that up. Winning this contest was a stepping stone to her leaving Logan’s Bluff behind.

What if they got caught? What if she were arrested? Any hopes of working at a reputable publishing company would vanish before she ever got started.

“I know that look.” Cora warned. “It’s just one party. You don’t even have to drink…that much.”

Abi stood with her bag, her friend walked backward in front of her down the row of desks.

“I can’t. You know why!” Even as she said this, though, Abi had to bite the inside of her lip to stop a smile from exploding. She wasn’t excited about the prospect of a party. She was excited about that email! Right?

“Yeah, because you want to be miss goody-two-shoes and get into all the best colleges and then rule the entire world.” She lifted one hand to make grand gestures, her many rings clinking into one another as they entered the noisy hallway. They veered the left, toward their lockers.

“Exactly,” she said, matter-of-factly.

Cora gave an exaggerated scoff. “You’re too responsible for your own age. This isn’t the end you know. I still have…” Cora checked the time on her phone. “Twelve hours to talk you into it.”

They reached their lockers and only when Abi’s locker door covered her face did she let the smile stretch to its full width. She had done it!

Months of pouring over that piece had paid off and now she was doing it. She wasn’t just dreaming anymore, it was happening!

“By the way…aren’t you going to say anything?” Cora threw her bright blue hair over her shoulder, ever the one to go heavy on the drama.

“Oh, it looks amazing! I’m sorry—I’m such a terrible friend for not saying anything before!” And it was. Cora’s long hair was a lighter blue at the top that faded to a darker blue toward the bottom. There was a part of Abi that had always been jealous of Cora’s devil-may-care attitude.

Cora pushed the limits but Abi could never seem to let go enough to do that, or be bold enough to pull off something like blue hair.

Beaming, Cora jumped into explaining how difficult it was to get her hair to be just the right shade and how her mom reluctantly had to help her. “It took pretty much all night and I swear my scalp is still tingling.”

 

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