Life is normal for 16 year old Lissa Bennett, until the day she starts seeing the future. When images of events that have not yet occurred begin to appear to Lissa for no apparent reason, she and her best friends try to piece together what’s happening and what it means.

When her visions seem to revolve around Daniel, the local ‘loner’ whose brother has gone missing, should Lissa risk everything to help, or leave well enough alone?


5. Chapter 5

Chapter 5

When I arrived home, hours later, I was exhausted. Adam and I had spent a good part of the day researching, on his computer. Like Charlotte, Adam clicked his way through tons of pointless websites that had no real information.

He asked me endless questions, “It says here that involuntary visions often personally relate to the person envisioning them. Did your visions have personal meaning?”

“I’ve told you this, Adam, the visions are completely random. How does Charlotte’s earring have any personal meaning to me?” He’d lost the will to live by the time we finally called it a day. I told him that I’d let Charlotte know that I’d told him everything.

“You don’t have to go through this on your own, Lissa.” He said to me as I left. I was so thankful to have him as a friend at that point.

I walked through my front door and headed into the sitting room, where Stacey was sitting with Jade.

“Oh,” My mother walked through from the kitchen. “You’re just in time for dinner.” I caught my dad shoot me a sympathetic look. We made our way through to the dining room and all sat down at the table. Stacey sat down opposite me and I knew how uncomfortable this meal was going to be. Mum brought out the food and the small talk began as we started to eat.

“So, Stacey, what are your plans for after you leave school next year?” My mother asked.

“Well, I’ve already applied to several colleges,” she replied. “I’m hoping to study psychology.”

“Oh, that’s sounds interesting,” mum beamed. “I’m trying to persuade Lissa to keep her options more open. She’s only applying to the school’s sixth form.” Great, the topic of discussion turned to me.

“I wanted to break away from the school, spread my wings a bit.” Stacey smiled, sweetly. My dinner was going to come back up if she carried on speaking.

“How is your mother, Stacey? I haven’t spoken to her in a while.” The conversation carried on like that for a bit. I tried to tune it out and focus on my food.

After a few minutes, I realised everyone was looking at me. “Oh, say it again?” I said, mouth half full with food. Not my classiest moment.

“I said that you and Adam seem close,” mum said with a knowing smile. I nearly choked on the potato I was currently trying to swallow.

“Oh, God no, it’s not like that,” I caught Stacey looking gleeful at the awkwardness of the situation. “Adam and I aren’t together.”

“No,” Jade said, “Lissa’s seeing Daniel Evans.” Stacey’s face positively lit up.

“I am not with Daniel!”

“Who’s Daniel Evans?” Mum asked Jade.

“He’s that guy I was telling you about the other day, the one whose brother went missing.” Jade didn’t even look at me.

My mother’s face turned stern, “I read that his family are involved with drugs.”

“His father was a drug dealer,” Stacey added. I glared at her from across the table.

“You’re with this boy,” my mother said in a disapproving tone.

“I’m not with him! And for your information,” I shot a look in Stacey and Jade’s direction. “He hasn’t been in contact with his father for years. You can’t judge him on the actions of his father.” Poor dad just sat looking helpless whilst my mother continued to grill me.

“You seem to know a lot about him, Lissa,” mum continued.

“Well, she does sit with him every lunch,” Stacey added, with a smug smile on her face.

I stood up suddenly, “I’d rather sit with him than with you and the boyfriend that you stole from Charlotte!”

“Lissa, really, is there any need?” Mum looked at me angrily. Jade’s eyes widened and I could see a slight look of worry on her face. I walked out and up the stairs, to my bedroom, before slamming the door. Stacey was determined to make my life a nightmare. I couldn’t believe that Jade could be such a bitch, bringing that up. She knows too well how judgemental our mother could be.

It was another hour before I heard talking in the hallway and the front door closing. Five minutes later, Jade opened my door and peered in.

“Go away Jade, I’m really not in the mood right now,” I said, turning away. She stepped into the room.

“I’m sorry, Liss, I was only joking around.”

I turned back around to face her, “Do you not realise that Stacey is going to tell everyone in my year about this? You don’t see what she’s really like, Jade. She’s two years above you in school! Do you really think she’d be hanging around with a third year if you weren’t my sister?”

“You know, not everything is about you, Lissa.” She stormed out, slamming the door shut behind her. She was never going to believe anything I said. I just had to hope that Adam was right and she’d eventually see for herself just what Stacey is like.  

When I checked my phone, I saw a missed call and a message from Charlotte. I presumed Adam must have told her about me telling him about my visions or whatever they were. I dialled her number.

“Lissa, Adam told me that you’d told him! I thought you didn’t want to tell anyone!”

“Char, Adam’s our friend. He’s hardly going to blab to everyone.” Charlotte worried way too much. 

“Well, at least we have help now, trying to figure it out.” She still didn’t sound reassured.

“Anyway, you won’t believe the day I’ve had.” I told Charlotte everything, from the dress shopping to the dinner. She was the perfect listener, adding in ‘that bitch’ when it was necessary. It was dark outside by the time I put the phone down. I realised just how tired I was from not sleeping well the night before. I got changed into my favourite comfy PJs and collapsed onto my bed. Tiredness took its toll and I was asleep within minutes.


By the time Monday rolled around, I was sick of Adam and Charlotte. They were acting as though they were in competition with each other, both trying to crack the mystery of my future telling. I lost count of the amount of times I had to remind them that we were supposed to be working together on this.

My Sunday was filled with constant psychic websites and Adam had even found some strange book about seeing the future. He had it hidden in his text book during Biology class on the Monday.

“This book has more scientifically accurate explanations than all of those pointless websites that Charlotte was looking at,” he whispered to me, on our table in Biology. “It talks about the vibrations of personal experiences and of objects. This could explain a lot if we keep reading it.”

“You know,” I said as I began to pour acid into one of the testing tubes on our table. “As much as I appreciate you trying to help, I’d really like it if you could help me with this.” I held up the test tube. Science was one of his strongest subjects and I was hopeless without him.

“Did you put the right amount of alkaline in there?” He asked, not really paying any attention.

“I don’t know! This is why you should put that bloody book away and help me!” I poured the contents of the test tube into the beaker that was over the Bunsen burner.

“Let me just finish this chapter.” I was going to hit him with that book. I figured he wasn’t going to help me out with the experiment, so I took matters into my own hands. That explained why, ten minutes later, I was sitting in the nurse’s office, once again.

“What happened?” The nurse asked, inspecting my hand.

“I was doing an experiment in Biology and some of the acid mixture spilt onto my hand.”

“It’s only a little burn. I’ll be able to neutralise the area and get some cream on it.” She gave me a look over her glasses. “The messes you kids get yourselves into.”

When I walked out of her office I almost walked straight into Daniel.

“Fancy seeing you here,” he said, flashing me a smile. “What did you do?”

“I burnt my hand during a Science experiment.” Daniel looked like he was about to laugh. “It’s not funny. I’m hopeless at biology.”

“How are you at chemistry?” He asked, his eyes brightening.

“Even worse,” I replied before I realised he didn’t mean the class. I crossed my arms as he carried on laughing.

“What are you doing out of class, anyway?” I asked him, suspiciously.

“I am simply passing on a message to the caretaker.” He held up a note from one of the teachers. “Scared someone’s going to see us and send around a fresh batch of rumours about our class-skipping adventures?” He said, with a wink. God, he was cute when he winked. I laughed and he held his gaze for a little bit longer than usual.

“I best get back to class. Adam was a wreck when I left because I was blaming him.”

“Oh, well, he’s probably planning a candlelit dinner for two to make it up to you.”

I gave him a playful shove, “Leave him alone, you need to stop intimidating him.” Adam barely spoke whenever Daniel was around, I could tell that they weren’t warming to each other.

“It’s not my fault that he can’t handle my awesomeness,” he said with that hint of arrogance that he had most of the time.

“I mean it. I’ve been friends with Adam for years now. You’re going to have to make more of an effort with him.”

“Why should I, when he doesn’t make an effort to get along with me?”

“Fine,” I said, as an idea came to me. “How about we all do something tonight, the five of us?” He looked at me, sceptically.

“I have work until five thirty but I’m free after that,” he replied with a shrug.

“Well, that’s that then,” I said, as though it were that simple.

I told the others in last period, when the four of us had a class together, “I told him we’d meet him when he leaves work.”

“You didn’t think to ask us first?” I could tell that Adam clearly wasn’t happy. Hayley, on the other hand, was delighted.

“What’s then plan then?” She asked, excitedly.

“I thought we could go bowling.”

Her face fell then, “Lissa, you know I can’t bowl. I’ll make a fool of myself.”

“I can’t bowl either, Hayley,” I reminded her.

“It’s never bothered you before.” Charlotte said, looking at her suspiciously.

“She’s part of the newly formed Daniel Appreciation Group.” Adam said bitterly, speaking a bit louder than intended. Unfortunately for us, Rachel Burton was sitting nearby and hearing Daniel’s name, she glanced over at us.

“Keep your voice down, Adam,” I said, motioning my head in Rachel’s direction.

“If you’re all so besotted with him then you shouldn’t be afraid to talk about—” Charlotte cut him off.

“What is your problem with him?” She asked him, quite fiercely. Adam looked at her, shocked at the tone of her voice.

“I… I don’t have a problem with him.” He stuttered at her.

There was a tense atmosphere between the two of them for the rest of the class. I was so relieved when the last bell finally rang. We agreed to meet just before five thirty, in order to go and meet Daniel. Adam was still reluctant but didn’t say anything and Hayley was still glum about having to bowl. All in all, the plan was going great so far. I could see tonight being a real bonding session.

I had some dinner with the family before going up to my room to get dressed. I was suddenly conscious about what I was going to wear. When it was just the four of us, I never put any thought into what I’m wearing. Why did I care now? I didn’t even like Daniel that way. Did I? I settled on a plain white tee with skinny jeans and my leather jacket. I didn’t look any different to what I usually did but why should it be any different? There was no point in even trying to do anything with my hair. It was flat and plain all the time, even trying to fluff it up wouldn’t add any spice to it. I just added a bit of eyeliner and headed for my door. I refused to have a breakdown in front of the mirror. I headed downstairs and saw my mother in the hallway.

“Where did you say you were going again?”

“Just bowling,” I replied.

“You’re going with Charlotte and Hayley, right?” She looked suspicious.

“Adam is going as well,” her eyes lit up. “Oh, and Daniel is going.” Her lips went into a thin line.

“Are you sure you want to be associated with someone like that?” I couldn’t believe how snobby she could be sometimes.

“Like what, mother?” I challenged her.

“He’s from a broken home. There are plenty of teenagers who go astray and get into all sorts of troubles because of their family background. You hear about it on the news all the time.”

I laughed, sarcastically, “So you’re saying that anyone who isn’t from a picture perfect family isn’t worth wasting your time on? Is that it?”

“I’m not saying it like that, Lissa. I’m just telling you to be careful. You don’t want to get yourself caught up in trouble in your final year of school.” She walked back off into the sitting room and I saw Jade through the doorway. She mouthed a ‘sorry’ at me, knowing all too well that the way she had worded herself at dinner the other night had instantly made our mother dislike Daniel. I grabbed my bag and walked out the front door without another word.

Surprisingly, Adam was the first one waiting at the corner of the street of the sandwich bar where Daniel worked.

“Hey, Adam… You smell nice.”

“Well, gee, thanks Lissa. Do I normally smell like an animal farm?” I was about to ask him who he was trying to impress, when Charlotte came around the corner.

“Hey guys, Hayley not here yet?” I looked at her. She was wearing an uber girly dress, all floral and bouncy. Her caramel-coloured hair was curled to perfection. I looked over at Adam, who was also looking at her. In fact, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. Suddenly, I felt my phone vibrate in my jacket pocket. I took it out and saw that I had a text from Hayley.

“Unbelievable,” I said, slowly. Adam and Charlotte tore their eyes off each other for a second to look at me. “Hayley decided to go to the sandwich bar. She’s sitting with Daniel right now.”

We walked off down the street, towards the sandwich bar, and walked inside. It was a cute little place. Mostly full of twenty-something’s, typing away on laptops whilst eating. We spotted Hayley and Daniel in one of the far-back booths. We went over.

“Hey guys,” she beamed up at us. “I was going to pass this place anyway so I thought it made more sense to just come and wait in here rather than walk down the street just to come back.” I looked at Daniel. He had a white serving apron on over a black t-shirt and jeans. He stood up and removed the apron.

“I’ll just clock off now,” He said before going behind the bar and disappearing into the back. Hayley stood up out of her seat. She was wearing a short, blue skirt and a low-cut vest.

I raised my eyebrows at her, “Really, Hayley?”

“What?” She said, innocently. “Oh, come on, Lissa. You can’t seriously say you wouldn’t even be tempted to flirt with him, I mean, have you seen those arms?”

Charlotte spoke up, “Have you seen how desperate you look?”

“I’m only having a bit off fun. Besides, it was really awkward, talking to him on my own anyway. We don’t really have anything in common.”

“Vanity, perhaps?” Adam suggested.

“Oh, ha-ha,” Hayley shot him a look. Daniel came back out and I realised, as Hayley had pointed out, that his arms were rather impressive. I must have stared a bit longer than I intended because Hayley elbowed me in the ribs, trying not to laugh.

“Oh, right, are we going then?” I headed towards the door.


I’ll admit it, I really wasn’t the world’s biggest bowling fan, but it was one of the only things that our town had to offer in terms of amusement. We all put our shoes on and headed for our lane.

Adam went first. He was a natural at bowling, making it look easy. Charlotte went after him, also knocking down a decent amount of pins. Daniel went third and got the same score as Adam, who tried not to look annoyed, but I could tell he was a bit pissed off.

Hayley looked at me, “Your turn next, Liss.”

I stood up and braced myself for the humiliation. I took the bowling ball and tried to position myself.

“Your positioning is wrong,” I jumped as Daniel’s voice came from behind me. “Here, let me show you.” I heard him approach and felt him grab my arm slightly. Oh god.

“You need to loosen your arm up a bit.” I glanced over his shoulder at Hayley and Charlotte, who were giggling, silently.

Daniel was going on about concentration. Ha! I couldn’t have concentrated on anything at that point. I was too focused on the fact that he had placed a hand on my waist. He was showing me how to swing the ball properly. He stood back and looked at me, expectantly. I realised that he meant for me to roll the ball now, so I just went for it. And for the first time in my life, I got a strike.

I was so shocked that I just threw my arms out and swung around, not realising that Daniel was walking towards me.

I felt my right hand collide with his face.

“Oh my god,” I saw blood come out of his nose. “I’m so sorry!”

I heard stifled laughter coming from the table and looked over to see Adam and Hayley practically choking back tears. Charlotte stood up and glared at them both before rushing over to Daniel.

“Do you want me to get you some tissue?” She asked him.

“No,” he pinched his nose. “I’ll just bleed all over the floor.” This caused more laughter from Adam and Hayley.

“I didn’t realise you were there,” everyone started to look in our lanes’ direction to see what all the commotion was. “I’ll go see if I can get you some ice or something.”

Five minutes later we were all sitting at one of the café tables with the game left abandoned. Daniel was holding a small ice pack on the right side of his nose and Adam was advising him to lean forward rather than put his head back. It was the most civilized I’d seen the two of them be to each other. Hayley was biting back laughter and Charlotte was looking queasily at the bloodied tissues.

I was mortified.

Hayley came up to me and whispered into my ear, “Trust you to end up ruining his beautiful face.” She began giggling again.

“It’s not funny, Hayley,” I groaned. “Why do things like this always happen to me?”

“Stop feeling sorry for yourself.” Hayley went on. “You’re not the one with the bleeding nose. Hey, at least I got out of having to bowl!”

“It looks like the bleedings stopped,” we heard Adam say from across the table. “You can sit down now, Char.”

Daniel put the tissue down but kept the ice on his nose. He looked over at me.

“I really am sorry, Daniel.”

“It’s fine,” he said with a gleam in his eye. “But if this thing bruises then it’s your duty to tell everyone that it happened during a make-out session.” Hayley and Charlotte began laughing, even Adam’s lips twitched.

“Seriously, it’s fine.” He winked at me.

He really had to stop doing that.

A group of guys, about our age, walked past our table. Suddenly, Daniel’s face darkened. I turned to look at the guys. One of them stared at Daniel. He was lanky with his hair cropped short. A fleeting look of panic crossed his face for a moment before he turned back to his friends. I looked over at Daniel, questioningly, but he continued to shoot daggers in their direction.

“Maybe we should call it a night?” I suggested. “The game kinda crashed and burned, no thanks to me.” Everyone seemed to nod in agreement so we left the table.

Daniel threw the ice pack away and put a hand up to his nose, tentatively. He winced a bit when he touched it but he acted as though it was nothing. I gave him a sympathetic look.

Once we were outside, we said our goodbyes and headed off in separate directions. Adam and Charlotte only lived one street away from each other so they headed off together and Hayley walked with me and Daniel until she had to go in her direction for home.

“Who were they?” I asked Daniel, curiously, once Hayley had gone.

“What are you talking about?”

“The guys who came into the bowling alley, I know you knew them.”

“They were friends of my brother,” he grimaced as he spoke. “Let’s just say I didn’t exactly get along with them.”

He looked at me, pushing his hair off his face. “The guy who was looking at me was Tyler. He’s known our family for years. His father had frequent ‘business’ deals with mine. My mother couldn’t stand it but she didn’t really get a say in the company my father kept.”

“Do you think this Tyler guy might know something about your brother?”

“I confronted him about it the night after Charlie went missing, swore he knew nothing. He was lying though.”

Even though Daniel acted like he didn’t care, I knew that it was getting to him. It was his brother and he was worried.

I stopped walking and looked right at him, “You will find him, Daniel.”

He studied my face for a moment, his pale blue eyes standing out more than ever in the evening light.

“If he wants to be found,” he turned and carried on walking.

We walked to the corner of my street in silence. When we got there, Daniel turned to face me again.

“Well,” he crossed his arm. “I think tonight went pretty well.”

I looked at the side of his nose. It didn’t appear to be bruised; just a little red. His hair had partially fallen over his face again and I had the urge to push it back. The urge to play with hair all the time was concerning me. I’m not used to male contact. The closest I’d ever got to a guy before was when I made out with Charlotte’s cousin at her fifteenth birthday party. Now that was an experience I didn’t want to repeat. But, still, there hadn’t really been a guy that I’d wanted to spend so much time with. Sure, there were plenty of good looking guys around school, but I never went near any of them. Most of them seemed completely irritating anyway. The experience of wanting to spend so much time around Daniel was new to me. It unnerved me.

I took a step back, “It could’ve gone better, but at least I didn’t break your nose.”

“The whole point of tonight was to get me and Adam to stop throwing daggers at each other. You achieved that, even if it was just for tonight,” he said with a smile.

“Yeah, I guess. I’ll see you tomorrow,” I gave an awkward little wave before turning to walk down my road.

I heard him say a goodbye as I walked. When I got about halfway down the road, I glanced back over my shoulder. Daniel was still there, watching me walk.

Even though I didn’t have the first clue as to why I was seeing glimpses of the future, in that moment, I was glad for it. If it hadn’t have been for my vision of Daniel in the hallway, he never would have spoken to me that morning I was late. I would have carried on not paying attention to him, judging him without even knowing him. 


The next day, I had to wait until second period, history, to see if I had caused visible damage to Daniel’s face.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I walked in and saw that his nose was looking just fine. Surprisingly, he was sitting on the edge of mine and Charlotte’s desk, having a conversation with her. Even though Daniel had been sitting with us at lunch, he hadn’t really approached us in class. He saw me walking over and stood up.

“Look, no bruise,” he pointed to his nose. “Guess we’ll have to save that make-out rumour for another time then.”

I gave a sarcastic laugh. Upon closer inspection, I could see that his nose was slightly red, but it wasn’t really noticeable unless you were looking right at it.

Mr Butler walked into the class, then, and I took my seat next to Charlotte as Daniel headed for his own desk at the back of the class.

Lunch was remarkably less awkward than it had been previously. Adam and Daniel weren’t exactly talking to one another, but they were no longer shooting disgruntled looks at each other over their lunches. It was a start, anyway.

I noticed that less and less people were staring at us in the cafeteria. Now that Daniel sat with us on a regular basis, it was no longer hot gossip amongst the other lunch tables.

By the time I got home that afternoon, I was in a much better mood than I had been for the past couple of weeks. I was even feeling positive enough to have a conversation with Jade, though she was cautious not to bring any mention of Stacey into it. We heard mum and dad having a debate in the kitchen. By the sounds of things, it seemed there was a problem with the caterers for Saturday night’s charity event.

“I’ll sort it, Kate,” dad’s voice rang through the house.

“You better, and fast,” mum sounded more concerned than dad.

She was a very proud woman, so everything had to be perfect in order for her to maintain her social status. I was nothing like my mother, personality-wise. I may have gotten her brown hair and brown eyes but I certainly didn’t get her attitude. I was glad of that fact because I found her intolerable sometimes and I knew she felt that way about me.

After dinner, I made my way up to my room and sat myself down in front of my laptop, ready to make a start on some homework. It didn’t take long for curiosity to get the better of me and instead I opened Google. I felt stupid for just typing it in the search bar but pretty soon I was looking through the search results for ‘seeing visions of the future’. None of the websites on the first couple of pages had any information of real value. Charlotte was right about saying a lot of the stuff on the internet was about seeing the future in dreams. In terms of having a vision whilst being completely conscious, there wasn’t much to go on.

There were a few forums on some sites, with people who had also had visions of the future, but theirs occurred after a near death experience or something just as traumatic. I got more and more frustrated with every website I clicked on. Most of the stories sounded completely bogus and once again, I was beginning to question my own sanity. Realising that I wasn’t going to get any answers, I shut my laptop and went to bed.


Saturday morning came around quickly and my parents were up in arms. Dad had apparently managed to get someone else to do the food last minute but mum wasn’t happy with it.

“You should have phoned around more places, Steve!” Mum was pacing around the sitting room. “Serving them sandwiches, they’re expecting a meal!”

“I’m sure they won’t mind, Kate. It is a charity event after all.”

Mum continued to stress, making sure that every little thing was to her satisfaction. Even though it was dad’s event, a lot of my mother’s work colleagues were coming along, so she had a social status to maintain.

Jade was locked in her room, spending the whole day getting ready. I have no idea why, no one of our interest was going to be there. It was mostly going to be older business people who had more money to spend. If Jade had hopes of a young, attractive millionaire, then she was going to be highly disappointed. At 4pm, my mother appeared in my doorway with her hair in rollers.

“Why aren’t you getting ready?” she demanded.

“We don’t have to be there until six thirty, it’s not going to take me over two hours to get ready.”

She gave me a stern look.

“Fine, I’ll get ready now!” I huffed.

I walked over and shut my bedroom door, then got my dress from my closet. I put it on and revelled in how gorgeous it was. I wasn’t, however, looking forward to putting on those heels. I sat down in front of my mirror and stared at my reflection for a while. I dug out blue and silver eye shadows from my make-up kit. I was good at doing eye make-up but I preferred doing it on other people rather than myself. Hayley adored the smoky eyes look I gave her for lasts years Valentines’ dance. If I was going to be humiliating myself in heels, then I decided I might as well look my best when I did.

I put a little powder on my face and then began work on my eyes. I didn’t getting many excuses to play around with make-up so I was quite content, sitting there surrounded by eye shadows, glitter pots and mascaras. By the time I was finished, my eye make-up looked amazing, if I do say so myself. It was a miracle what a bit of eye shadow could do.

Mum opened my door and poked her head in, “Are you not doing anything with your hair?”

There was no pleasing the woman.

I grabbed my curlers from my draw and waved them at her. She rolled her eyes before walking off again. I plugged in the curlers and waited for them to heat up. I hated curling my hair; there was just no point in it. It took forever to do and then it would flatten within an hour anyway, no matter how much hairspray I used.

Once the curlers were heated, I attempted to add a few loose curls to the ends of my hair. I examined myself in the mirror. The curls did make my face look softer. I added dark red lipstick for contrast, to complete the look. I checked my phone and saw that I had another half hour before we were due to go so I put the heels on and practiced walking around my room.

I really was a pathetic excuse for a girl. My knees kept bending awkwardly as I walked in them; it looked like I’d had an unfortunate accident in my pants. I was so tempted to just put my black ballet flats on.

I practiced walking round a bit more and I was starting to stand up straighter. Proud of my achievement, I attempted to walk down the stairs. I had to take it one step at a time but I made it to the bottom without any casualties. I put my phone in the blue clutch that my mother had bought for me the other day.

She was standing in the sitting room, fixing dad’s tie. She looked classy as ever in a long, tight-fitting, peach dress. Jade walked down the stairs with a lot more grace than me in her even higher heels. Anyone who didn’t know us would think that she was the older sister.

“Your hair looks gorge,” she said to me. “You should curl it more often.”

Her dress fitted her perfectly and was extra dazzling with a sparkling sliver belt. Her also dark brown hair was pulled up into ponytail of curls.

Our mother noticed us, “Oh good, you’re both ready!”

Ten minutes later, we were in the car and on our way to the town hall, where the auction was being held. It was decorated beautifully and each circular table had a small bunch of purple, pink and blue flowers placed in the centre.

The only other people there when we arrived were dad’s colleagues who had been helping him organise for the event. There guests weren’t due to start arriving for another fifteen minutes. A couple of waiters were placing plates of sandwiches on the buffet table. Dad went over to the stage and started to test the microphone, since he was hosting the event.

Mum, Jade and I placed ourselves on the table closest to the stage that had our seating cards on. Mum was out of her seat the minute the guests started to stream in. My Aunt Joan arrived a few minutes later and Jade and I were beckoned over to greet her. As I got out of my seat, I stood awkwardly on my heels and collided with one of the waiters.

“Sorry,” I apologised and looked up at him.

It was Daniel.

He looked at me and realised who I was, “Lissa, you really have to stop throwing yourself at me or you’re going to end up injuring more than just my nose.”

I just stared at him for a moment, surprised to see him. “What are you doing here?”

“I am working, what’s your excuse?” I pointed to the stage, where my dad was currently standing.

“That’s my dad,” Daniel looked over.

“So he must own Fictous Publishing then?”

“Yep, my dad loves his books.” I took a moment to look properly at Daniel.

He was wearing a waiter’s suit, complete with a black waistcoat. It looked good on him, really good on him. I looked back up at his face and realised he was surveying me. I felt heat creep into my cheeks. He was opening his mouth to say something when I heard my mother calling me over. I looked at Daniel, apologetically, before walking over to her. Jade was looking at me, slightly open mouthed.

“Who was that?” mum asked curiously.

“That’s Daniel,” I replied. She narrowed he eyes.

I greeted Aunt Joan and she asked me a few conversational questions. I’d never really gotten along well with her. Being my mother’s older sister, she’s just like her but more uptight. I managed to escape after some small talk and went back over to my seat.

Daniel was pouring wine into glasses on the table nearest to mine. As he walked back to the buffet table, he smiled at me. I was surprised by how happy I was to have him here. My happiness was short lived when I caught my mother sending disapproving looks from across the room, where she was talking to a colleague.

As the guests started to sit around the tables, my dad made his way back over to the stage. I gave him discreet a thumbs-up before he walked up the few steps. As he began tapping the microphone to check it was on, I heard the double doors open as a couple of late arrivals made their way inside. I looked over and my stomach dropped.

It was Stacey and her father.

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