More than a story

Haley Cavendale's first English assignment in a new school is about Edward Scissorhands. A tale of love and loss, no more. But elements of the film soon become apparent in Haley's life when she befriends an outcast who shows her a different side to the story...

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13. Celebration

My first impression of the party was better than I had expected. Multi-coloured balloons hung from every door and streamers snaked from the ceiling. The buffet table was piled high with delicious snacks. And most of all, I had a date!

Romeo had picked me up as promised, holding a single red rose. The gesture was romantic, but his driving was definitely too reckless for my taste! He had a car, but I wasn't convinced he has a license to drive it. Still, we got here in one piece, and he opened the car door for me like a proper gentleman. I couldn't stop smiling. Even the sight of Jade, looking like a supermodel in a simple green gown, didn't dampen my spirits. I danced with everyone, even Riley. For once, I didn't feel like the outcast. I was almost considering being nice to Jade.

Almost.

I ate too many cupcakes, but danced off the calories. I could feel the blisters burning my feet, so I slipped off my heels and continued to dance. It felt like there was something in the air, something intoxicating that made everyone smile. I downed another cocktail and laughed at jokes that weren't funny. I sang at the top of my lungs to songs I didn't know and danced with strangers. Everything felt so fun that I almost forgot all of my worries.

Almost.

I noticed that Jade didn't have her usual glare glued to her face. Sure, it was a party, but she was probably planning something wicked. I kept glancing at her, but the smile remained stuck on her face. It was unnerving to see her this happy - she was always grouchy. What was she up too? I shook my head and dismissed the thought as the DJ blasted out another track. I searched for Romeo, but I couldn't find him. Where was he? But I forgot about Romeo when someone handed me another drink. I brought the cup to my lips. Something sweet, definitely alcoholic. I smiled devilishly and gulped it down.

                                                                       ***********

A few hours later I headed out to the garden. The grass was lush beneath my feet, and the perfect sky was punctured with stars. I felt an arm around my waist.

"Romeo," I giggled, squeezing my eyes shut and spinning around to kiss him. I was vaguely aware that the thumping music in the background had faded, but it didn't matter. It felt like nothing else mattered in that moment. But a shrill voice pierced my ears too soon.

"RILEY!" I pulled away from Romeo, scanned the crowds for Riley, eager to see Jade tell him off. But I couldn't see him. I glanced in confusion at Rome- oh. Riley was standing in front of me. Riley was the person I had just kissed.

Oops.

Jade lashed out and slapped me round the face. She screamed at Riley. I rubbed my cheek and blinked back tears. But the look on Romeo's face hurt more than the slap. He was standing alone , and he could barely meet my eyes.

What had I done?

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