All The Words For Red

Red Laurens is used to being the new kid. Used to making friends and losing them just as fast, used to having her heart broken and trampled on, used to having a plan for making friends in the vain hopes that one day it might make it easier.

She thinks Greenwood High will be the same. She is wrong.

With a notorious school wide gossip blog, a whole school full of theatre kids, and friends who attract drama like mrtal attracts, well, magnets, Red has a feeling that her senior year won't stick to the plan either. She is right.

(Cover by Lily Anna)

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3. Lipstick

Autumn had been occupied with Yasmine all week, but it was Friday afternoon when she approached Red. "Hey," she said, leaning against the wall next to Red's locker. "We're all going out to the mall after school today, all us girls. Wanna come?" 

After a moment of contemplation, Red agreed, even though she knew she had to get started on her project for Chemistry. "Awesome!" Autumn squealed, hugging her. "I'll meet you at Hana's locker after school 'kay?" Red nodded and Autumn sashayed away, flipping her frizzy black locks over her shoulder. 

The rest of the afternoon passed slowly, like time was being held back by God himself. 

At long last, the end of the day came and after Red put away her folders which she didn't need over the weekend, she hurried to Hana's locker near the school's front doors. Sakura and Hana were both already there, so Red joined them with a sigh of relief that she wasn't the first arrival. 

"Red!" Sakura squealed, rushing over to embrace her. Red awkwardly hugged Sakura back, before the pair pulled away from her, Sakura giggling. "Autumn said you were coming: I'm so glad! We do this every Friday, but we weren't sure if you'd be up for it or not, but I'm so glad you are!" She grinned again, clapping her hands together. "This is gonna be awesome!" 

Before long, more of the girls appeared; first Celine, then Maya, then Zoya and Yasmine arm in arm, before Autumn showed up, a little out of breath, though no one questioned this. "We ready to go?" Autumn said with a wide, white smile. The others nodded their agreement as Autumn led them out the school towards her car, parked right between Sakura's and Red's. 

In a sudden thought, Red texted her mom to let her know where she was going, not that she thought her mum would care much. She doubted she'd get an answer. 

"Alright," Autumn said. "Do we wanna divide up? Maya and I can take my car, the rest of you go three in Red's, three in Sakura's, 'kay?" The girls nodded in assent. "Cool." 

In the end, Red shared her car with Celine and Hana, while Zoya and Yasmine went with Sakura. "Your car's pretty cute, Red," Celine noted from the back of the car, fixing her lipstick in a silver crystallised compact mirror. 

The atmosphere in the car was, for some reason, a little tense, and Red flickered her gaze to Hana riding shotgun. "Could you turn the radio on or something, Han?" she asked, unable to bear the silence any longer. 

"Sure." A pop song immediately blared through the speakers, and Celine evidently knew it as her mood picked right up. 

"I love this song!" she exclaimed, punching the air and almost dropping her mirror. "Cyrus used to sing it all the time and it seriously got on my nerves but it's actually really good, I think. Just not when my brother's singing it." 

Hana giggled from Red's right hand side. "What's wrong with Cyrus' singing?" she laughed, twisting around in her seat. "It's not as if he sounds like a tortured horse, is it?" 

The pair of them burst out laughing, and Red herself felt the glimmer of a smile on her lips. Maybe the car ride wouldn't be so bad, then, if they managed to have a few laughs. 

"Oh, it's just a left here, Red," Celine said from the back, as Red followed her instructions. Soon enough, they arrived outside the mall. Autumn and Maya were already there and waiting, leaning against the hood of Autumn's car. It wasn't long before the rest of the girls turned up too, and they all entered the mall. 

"First things first," Autumn said, taking charge. "Red, can you come to some clothes stores with Celine and me? Then Maya needs to get that CD for her cousin's birthday, Hana and Sakura are you gonna go with her? Then you can all meet us in Hollister with Red. 'Kay?" 

Zoya and Yasmine exchanged a confused look. "What about us, Autumn?" 

She shrugged. "Dunno. You can come with us, if you want, I guess." The pair looked at each other before nodding, and the five girls headed off to the right, Maya and the Ito sisters to the left. During the short walk to the store, Autumn and Celine exchanged hushed whispers, things that neither Red nor Zoya and Yasmine could make out, but Red wasn't sure if she cared or not. 

Once they'd arrived in the store, Autumn turned to Red. "We're gonna find you some new clothes, hon." What was wrong with the ones she already had? Red thought with a hint of anger, though she dismissed it. Don't be rude, she reminded herself. Make friends. 

"Oh, okay." 

She sighed. "I don't really have much money with me right now, guys, though. I mean, I'll try them on with you, but I can't-" 

"No Problem," Autumn smirked, pulling a bank card out of her purse. "I've got plenty. Come on. Zoya, Yasmine, you go look at cute dresses for Red. Make them bright - that's your thing, isn't it?" Red nodded, a bit bewildered. "Cool. Celine and I'll come with you to look at tops and bras and stuff, okay?" 

She wasn't sure if she could say no to Autumn. "Sure." Autumn beamed, as did Celine. "Awesome!" Autumn and Celine grabbed a wrist each, dragging Red through the store as Zoya and Yasmine trailed behind. 

Before long, Red was standing in the dressing room, having just pulled on a bright blue wrap off the shoulder top, which stood out against her flaming hair. It fit her just right, and she was somewhat impressed by Celine's sense of fashion. 

"Come out then, Red," Autumn laughed from outside. "Let's see!" With a slight nervousness, Red stepped out from behind the dressing room curtain. Autumn grinned. "You look awesome!" she squealed. "Oh, that fits you absolutely perfectly!" 

With a nod of agreement, Celine stood up. "It really suits you, Red. There's a dress that's kind of similar that Yasmine found, too, if you wanna try it." 

"My treat." A blush climbing up her cheeks, Red nodded. 

"Sure." Celine handed her the dress and Red returned to the changing rooms to try it on. This dress fitted just as well, but it felt somehow... Wrong. It clung to Red's body like a second skin, and she scowled at her reflection. 

"What'd'you think?" Autumn asked from outside. "

"Dunno," Red replied. "It just doesn't feel very me." 

"Let's see." As she stepped out of the dressing room, Autumn nodded. "You look really pretty, Red," she said, tilting her head. "But you don't seem very comfortable." 

"I agree. How about a more flared skirt kind of style? Would that work?" Red nodded. "Perfect. Come on, let's find you something nice." 

It seemed like at least two hours had passed by the time Red left the store in her bright orange top and brown jeans, laden with bags of dresses, shirts, and jeans. Autumn and Celine had even managed to find a pretty bra and thong set that Red liked, even though she wasn't totally sold on the thong. "Okay, next stop," Autumn said. "Food court!" 

The girls cheered and laughed. "I'm actually starving," Hana chuckled, looping an arm through her sister's. "Let's go." 

Over their food court dinner, the girls discussed Red's new clothes, a topic which seemed almost too exciting for the group. "That dress is so pretty," Sakura cooed as Red revealed a pale blue halter neck with red roses on it. "It'll look great on you, Red!" She flushed pink as Autumn and Maya continued a quiet conversation beside her, and Red had to strain her ears to hear. 

"You know," Celine said, leaning over so that her blonde hair almost fell onto her burger, "Haydyn Smith is having a party next weekend. You should totally wear that to it!" After a moment of careful thought, she added, "Or the brownish one you got with the cherry blossoms, that was quite pretty." 

"Mhm." Looking around at all the other girls, Red felt just the tiniest bit unsettled by their attentions, the vivid interest that shine through their eyes. "What are you guys all planning on wearing, then?" 

Yasmine shrugged. "I don't know," she said quite simply. "Probably just a simple dress, like the one I wore to Sofia Cortez's." 

The other girls murmured their agreement to this decision, though Red didn't have a clue who Sofia Cortez was. But she didn't say anything. "Oh!" Sakura squealed, scraping her seat back. "I almost forgot: the scripts are ready for the film project!" 

"Seriously?" Zoya squealed. "Let's see!" 

Sakura withdrew eight copies of the script from her bag, passing them around the group of girls. "The cast list and stuff's inside, by the way." Opening the script up, Red was surprised to see her name at the top of the list, beside the character name of Lucy Mill. Below her was Zoya's character of Martina Herring, then Maya's of Hannah McTaggart. The last girl cast was Celine, as Rachel Mondes. And then Cyrus Lyon's name below that, next to the name of Harry Lake. That must be the name of the love interest, Red thought, and then it hit her: it was her love interest. Seriously?

"If it's alright with you guys," Sakura was saying, "I'd like to hold a rehearsal maybe on Sunday afternoon, just for an initial read through all together, you know?" 

They all nodded. "Oh, I'm so excited!" Autumn squealed. "This is gonna be so great, Sakura!" 

Everyone nodded their agreement, as mechanical and in sync as if they were a well oiled machine, and when Red stopped just one second before the others, she felt all their eyes on her, judging, scowling, contemplating. To be fair, the script did seem pretty good, despite the godforsaken songs that Sakura had decided to add in to the script, mostly sung by Red's character. Fabulous. 

---

By Sunday, Red had already read over the script, and was now contemplating what on earth she was supposed to wear to this run-through. Sakura had texted telling her to come to her place for two o'clock on Sunday. From a quick google search, Red had gathered that Sakura and Hana lived around fifteen minutes away from her house, but it was already half past one and Red was running out of time. 

"Oh, fuck it," she muttered, plucking a yellow shirt and faded ripped jeans from her closet. "If it's not right, who gives a shit?" 

Ten minutes later and she was ready: makeup done, hair pulled back, script in hand and keys in the car ignition as Red pulled out of her driveway onto the street. The car ride was actually shorter than Red anticipated and she was there just after ten to two. Hana greeted her at the door to their apartment, inviting her in to the smell of baking cookies and muffins. 

"My mom thought it'd be cool if we made food for everyone, but Sakura and I didn't judge it right, so the stuff's still baking." She smiled. "You can help us ice them once they're out the oven, if you want." 

"Sure!" Red said with a grin. She'd never decorated muffins or cookies before, but from all the books and movies she'd seen and read, it was a pretty fun activity. 

A willowy, tall figure emerged from the living room, sliding a lock of hair behind her ear. "On'nanoko, dekimasu ka-" She stopped abruptly. "Sorry, dear," the woman said. "I didn't realise the girls' friends were arriving so soon. You're Red, correct?" 

"Yes, Mrs. Ito." 

Mrs Ito laughed. "Just call me Kanna, all the other girls do." Kanna placed a hand on her daughter's shoulder, giving Red a warm smile. "It's lovely to meet you, Red. Now, Hana, could you get your sister through here for me? We need to make our guest feel welcome, don't we?" 

"Yes, Mom," Hana said with a smile. "Sakura! Red's here and you're to come through from your room!" 

There was a whirl of black hair and breezy white clothing before Red was enveloped in a hug by Sakura. 

"Red!" she exclaimed. "You're the first one here! Did you find the place alright: was the elevator working? It breaks down quite a lot, you see, and we weren't sure if they'd got around to fixing it this time." Red hadn't even realised there was a elevator, and prayed that it wasn't working so she hadn't climbed up five flights of stairs for no reason. 

"Uh, yeah," she laughed. "I found you alright, didn't realise there was a elevator though." Hana snorted with laughter, flicking pale pink hair behind her shoulder. 

"Told you we should have said to her, Sakura. Don't worry, Red, we'll show you it on your way out." 

Just then, there was a knock on the door and Sakura rushed to get it, revealing the Lyon twins. "Hey," Celine said, striding inside the apartment as if it were her own home. 

Cyrus straightened behind her a little, taking a hand through his hair. "Kon'nichiwa, Kanna," he said with a polite smile, bowing to Kanna. 

"Kon'nichiwa, Cyrus," she said back with a smile. "Goodness, have you grown? You seem at least three inches taller than you were last time I saw you." 

Cyrus just chuckled. "I'm sure I haven't, Kanna, but it really only matters if I'm taller than Celine." 

As Kanna laughed, Celine scowled at her - much taller - brother, punching him in the arm. "So, Sakura," Celine said in a loud voice, casting a pointed glare in Cyrus' direction. "What is it that you want us to do?" 

At this, Sakura jumped to attention, and Mrs Ito took it as her cue to retreat back to her own bedroom. "Well, obviously Zoya, Maya, Red, Cyrus, Mackenzie and you are all in acting roles, so you guys just have to read through your scripts and work bits out with accents and such. Then I'll chat with the others about their roles, 'cause Autumn's doing makeup and we need to co ordinate that with Yasmine too. But really, this is just an excuse to hang out." She smirked then, cast a thoughtful glance at Cyrus and then continued, "Without the presence of Jason." 

There was a general shudder passed around the group then, and Red felt obliged to join in. "Jason's a dick," Celine announced in a bitter voice. "I mean, I get that Yasmine loves him and all that jazz, but he's a complete dick really. Don't know how you put up with him, Cy." 

He laughed. "I don't even, half the time. If it weren't for Mackenzie stopping me, I would honestly punch him." A scowl crossed his face for a moment, though it was gone as quick as it had came. "But anyway. Today's about the film, right?" 

Sakura nodded, though a smirk graced her features. "Do you want to head on through to the lounge?" 

"Sure," Celine shrugged, as the five kids made their way into the Ito's lounge. It was a nice room, black and white in a modern style that left Red longing for her home back in Miami. It wasn't long before the others started trickling in - Zoya and Yasmine, then Autumn, Maya, Lucas, Jiu, and Mackenzie and Mark. 

The Itos' lounge was almost full by the time they all squeezed inside, perched on the edges of coffee tables and the arms of chairs. "Okay," Sakura said as she stood up, a slight tremble in her voice. "You've all got your scripts, right?" Everyone nodded. "Okay. Um, if you all want to start like, reading through from the first scene, that'd - that'd be great." So they did. 

Until Mackenzie smelled a hint of smoke in the air and Hana screeched and dashed through to the kitchen to pull out a tray of burning cookies and ashy muffins. "Crap," Sakura cursed, waving a towel around at the smoke alarm. "Crap, crap, crap!" 

"What's going on here?" Kanna asked in a shrill voice, eyes widening. "Have you two burnt the snacks?" 

"Yes," the sisters murmured, flushing pink. Beside her, Red heard Cyrus snort, but his face grew serious again as Celine glared at him. 

Kanna sighed. "Whatever will I do with you two? Look, just too them in the trash once they've cooled. And make sure the gas is off as well, could you? And open the door and the windows, for goodness' sake, or we'll all suffocate!" 

The two sisters bowed their heads as Kanna retreated back to her room, smiling at their friends as she left. Once the door had closed, they all burst out laughing, Hana and Sakura included. 

"We're in so much shit once you guys leave," Hana laughed. "I think Mom's gonna kill us." 

"Nah, she'll just make us think she will then tell us to like, clean our room or something," Sakura giggled, just as the smoke alarm went off. 

Hana's gaze flickered to the clock hanging on the wall. "Guys, I hate to be rude, but it might be helpful if you go soon. It's almost five anyway, and we gotta clean this ... Shit up." 

"It's fine," Autumn laughed, leading everyone back into the lounge with a smile and a sashay. "We'll see you tomorrow, alright hon?" 

She embraced Hana, then Sakura, before packing her script back into her bag, cueing the others to all follow suit. 

It was a matter of minutes before Celine, Cyrus, and Red stood just outside the Itos' apartment door, having just bade their friends goodbye. "Hana said you couldn't find the elevator earlier," Cyrus said with a smirk, as they made their way along the hall. "D'you want us to show you the way?" 

"Uh..." 

Celine rolled her eyes. "I don't know about you guys, but I'm just gonna take the stairs. That elevator freaks me out." 

"Suit yourself," Cyrus shrugged. "Red?" 

"Uh..." On the one hand, she wanted to go with Celine, because Celine was, well, a friend. But in the other hand, Red really didn't want her thighs to burn off from going down all those stairs. "Sure. I'll come with you, Cyrus." 

"Splendid." He smirked, and mock saluted Celine. "See you in a few, sis." 

As Celine rolled her eyes, Cyrus grabbed Red's wrist and she felt a tug in her stomach that was not unfamiliar to her. "Come on, Red." 

Through a maze of corridors they went, until they found a dead end with two silver elevator doors. Red stare at Cyrus. "How in God's name did you remember the way here?" 

Cyrus shrugged. "I'm awesome like that." 

"Uh huh?" Red smirked at him and a smile broke out on Cyrus' face, bright like the morning sun. She pressed the button at the side. "Let's just get in." 

"Whatever you say," he smirked, following Red inside the elevator and leaning against its steel wall. "You know," Cyrus said, pressing the button for the ground floor. "My sister says you're going to Haydyn Smith's party next weekend with the girls." She nodded, unsure of where this conversation was going. "I usually don't go to those kinds of parties - they're more Jason and Jackson's kinda thing - but Celine for some reason really wants me to go." He placed one tan hand at the top of the wall, smirking, and Red felt a strange sensation in the pit of her stomach, something like anxiety but not quite there yet. "D'you think I should?" 

Red spoke slowly, and she could hear the slight tremor in her voice. "Dunno. Personally I thought all your group were into the partying scene." She looped a strand of soft ginger hair around her finger, smiling her sweetest smile. "Maybe it'd be a good chance for y'all to learn how to communicate with other people." 

To her surprise, Cyrus laughed - not quite the intended effect, but it was a reaction nonetheless. He leaned down the tiniest bit so that their eyes were level, and grinned, speaking in a low voice. "Well, Red, I think we're communicating just fine here. Don't you?" 

"Uh huh? Then what was I trying to say?" God, how long could an elevator ride be? Had Cyrus even pressed the right button? "You were tryna say that you would absolutely love it if I came to the party." He smirked, winked once before he drew away from Red just the slightest bit. "And don't tell me I'm wrong here." 

Damn. Red wanted to grin, but those words were somewhat familiar to her, overheard from another conversation, another town, another time. A boy and a girl; one taken, one not; one wanting the other, one thinking of their morals. 

"And you?" she asked in a feeble attempt at confidence. "Do you want to go to the party?" 

"If you're there?" Cyrus grinned, running a hand through his hair as Red noticed the almost golden flecks in his chocolatey eyes. "Absolutely." 

The elevator dinged and the doors opened. "This is us," he said, and Red did not fail to notice the slight tremble in his voice. "After you." 

As it turned out, Cyrus and Celine's car was parked just behind Red's outside, and Cyrus' sister was already waiting for them, leaning against the shotgun seat's door. "You two took your time," she drawled, winking at Red. "Find the elevator alright?" 

"Perfectly," Cyrus grinned. As he walked around the car to get to the driver's seat, he smiled at Red. "See you at school, Red," he smirked, then ducked down into the car. 

It took a moment for Red to get in her own car, then pull away in the opposite direction from the Lyon twins. Racing through the LA streets, she turned the radio up, blaring some love song about hopes and dreams that Red thought could never be anybody's reality. 

Just after she arrived home, she got a call through from Hana. Picking up her phone, she panicked for a moment as to whether or not she'd left anything at the Itos' apartment or not, but she couldn't think of anything. "Hey," crackled Hana's voice from the other end of the line. "I see you went to the elevator with Cyrus, then?" 

"Uh, yeah." Was this really important? 

"Look, I get that you might like him, and honestly I don't blame you, Red. But I just..." She sighed through the phone. "Jiu says that Cyrus tends to mess around a lot. Never goes too far, but he knows how to get what he wants and when he gets it, he's satisfied and he stops." What exactly was Hana going on about? "I guess what I'm tryna say is... Be careful. He's a nice enough guy, Red, but just make sure you don't get hurt." Red could almost hear Hana's kind smile. "You're my friend. And maybe Celine's better suited to giving out advice about Cyrus, but... You're my friend. And I don't want to see you get hurt. Okay?" 

This was a bit of a load to process, but somehow Red got it. She wasn't stupid; she knew what she was doing, and she would not let herself get hurt, not by Cyrus, not by anyone. No one would be allowed close enough to her. It was a rule she'd been disregarding as of late, but maybe it was time to remember it. 

Sill, maybe she could make room in her heart for Hana, maybe Sakura. They were friends, that's what Hana had said. Friends. Plus, she had the whole of her senior year with them, didn't she? 

---

Cyrus Lyon's carpet was wearin as thin as his sister's patience. "I told you, Cyrus," she huffed as he turned tumultuous thoughts over in his head. "It's not worth worrying about, honestly." 

"You just don't understand, Celine," he huffed. "You've never like anyone like this before." 

"What, I've never been in love? Please, Cyrus; we both know you haven't either." 

He was somewhat taken aback by his sister's words, though maybe he shouldn't have been surprised. "Oh, really? Personally, I think I've been in love plenty times, Celine." 

She rolled her eyes. "Whatever. Mama says you're to come downstairs anyway; dinner's ready." 

"Tell her I'm not hungry." It wasn't a total lie... He wasn't ravenous, but then his stomach's rumbling maybe gave him away. 

"It's escargots, Cy," Celine pointed out. "You're always hungry for escargots." 

"Not today," he lied. His stomach rumbled again. 

Celine rolled her eyes. "Come on," she huffed, grabbing him by the wrist and dragging him downstairs. "Mama and Papa'll be waiting for us." 

And sure enough, they were. Mama gave Cyrus a scolding look when the twins entered but she didn't say anything. Their little sister, Sofie, sat in her place at the head of the table, smiling to herself as she tucked in to her escargots. "Mama, can you please tell Cyrus to stop sulking?" Celine asked, as simple as if she was asking Mama to pass the bread rolls. 

"That depends, Celine. What is it that he's sulking about?" 

"He thinks he's in love again." Cyrus didn't miss the mirth in Celine's voice. 

"I see," Mama said at the same time as Papa asked, "Girl or boy?" 

"Adrien!" she scolded, swatting her husband on the arm. "But please, Cyrus, do tell?" 

Cyrus sighed. Why did his parents always have to be so invested in his personal love life? "She's a girl. Just started at our school, senior. Her name's Red Laurens." 

"And of course, Cyrus is 'in love' with her," Celine drawled. 

"Celine, with all due respect, you don't know how it feels. You've never been in love." 

"Makes two of us," she quipped, stifling a giggle. 

God, she could be annoying. "This is bullshit," Cyus muttered, quite forgetting the presence of Sofie. 

"Cyrus Adrien Lyon!" Mama scolded, standing up from the table and scraping her chair back with unnecessary violence. "Watch your language around your little sister!" 

"Mama, I - " 

"No," said his mother, folding her arms across her chest. "You know the rules, put a dollar in the jar, and you'll be doing all Celine's dishes tonight as well." 

"But Mama-" 

"Make that tonight and tomorrow night." 

Cyrus huffed, accepting defeat. "I'll go get started on mine now," he grumbled, fishing around in his pocket for a dollar. 

"Good plan," Celine said with a laugh, earning a glare from Cyrus. 

"Oh, do shut up, Celine." 

She just grinned, of course.

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