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She hadn't realized it was possible to feel the darkness. That it was possible to feel so alone. That it was possible to be filled with so much pain but yet so much peace.
That it was possible that she was still alive.
“You!” she shouted, pointing an accusing finger at Vivie. “You!”
“Suck it up, Nicole!” Vivie shot back, glaring daggers at her archenemy.
“Why don’t you, Vivianne?” Nikkie retorted.
Younger sisters! Vivie fumed. Why couldn’t Nikkie just leave her alone? Vivie was fourteen, a good three years older than Nikkie the immature.
Okay, so maybe Vivie wasn’t that mature herself. She was still a kid at heart. She still had stuffed toys in her room that she shared with Lissy, and she enjoyed acting just to make life difficult for people. She didn’t talk much to guys, and she had had a boyfriend two months ago only to rebel. Then she realized that she was being stupid because they had never hugged or held hands, and she frankly didn’t like him anyway. But really, she didn’t play games with people and mess up people’s minds like Nikkie did!
“Nicole! Vivianne! I don’t want to hear you arguing! Understood?” Cerina, their mother, called from downstairs. “Vivianne, stop bullying your sister!”
Nikkie made a face at Vivie, and she resisted the urge to punch her sister. Nikkie and her stupid games. They really could get on Vivie’s nerves! Of course, she usually made sure Nikkie didn’t know this, but she cracked sometimes.
Besides, Cerina was totally biased. It also had to do with the fact that Vivie was the oldest child, but Cerina had this… spot for Nikkie. She pretty much overlooked everything that Nikkie did. On the other hand, Cerina was extremely strict with Lissy and especially Vivie. It hadn’t been so bad last year, but it was steadily getting worse. Maybe it had to do with growing up.
“Vivianne! Don’t get yourself grounded!” Cerina shouted from downstairs. Gosh, this was unfair! Why couldn’t her mother ever get that Nikkie had a strange habit of provoking people?
“Vivianne!” Nikkie mimicked from her room, her blond hair whipping around her face.
“Shut UP, Nikkie!” Vivie hollered and slammed the door shut. As if to make a point, it banged against the wall loudly and made the walls tremble. In exasperation, she huffed a sigh and whirled around to see her younger sister. “Hey, Lissy,” she sang to her thirteen-year-old sister, who was giving her a wide-eyed look before she answered.
“Hey yourself. Nikkie’s being killer again, huh?” Lissy asked, crossing her long legs on Vivie’s bed, adjourning to hers. Lissy hung out a lot with Vivie, with them being closer in age. Maybe it would be more normal if the two girls fought a little with each other over petty things. That not being the case, Vivie had no trouble being relatively close to Lissy… most of the time.
It was just that Lissy was just so freaking perfect without seeming to try hard. Her hair was always neat, her side of the room immaculate, she got the best grades she could, the perfect child. Sometimes, Cerina would compare the two, where there really was no comparison. Lissy would be Lissy, and Vivie would be herself. Apparently, her mother’s mind didn’t work the same way Vivie’s did. Vivie was relaxed, while Lissy and Cerina tended to be more uptight.
“What do you think, Lissy? That she would lay off me for once?” Vivie wondered aloud, giving Lissy a pointed look. “Gosh!”
“Okay, okay!” Lissy backed off. “Calm down. My mistake. I dig how Nikkie makes you so testy nowadays. I don’t blame you for that.”
“Thanks for feeling my pain,” Vivie sarcastically shot back.
“You’re welcome,” Lissy sweetly acknowledged, not affected by Vivie’s tone. “At least Mom’s not on my back yet,” Lissy grinned, looking Vivie in the eyes. That was one of the best features about her sister.
Lissy had thin, almost auburn like Vivie’s but brown hair faintly streaked with chestnut brown from when she had recently colored it. Her bony frame was tall, and her face gaunt. Usually, Lissy’s expression could cheer up people any day. But that was Lissy for you. Vivie both hated and admired her sister more than half of the time, even when they were getting along.
She was so innocent. Lissy was definitely more innocent than Vivie- she hardly even understood sarcasm sometimes. Vivie had no idea how a teenager could be so… pure. She was selfless and sweet, even to the people that were mean to her. True, Vivie was sort of the same way, but she wasn’t exactly selfless… at least, she wasn’t every second of the day.
“Good for you, Lissy. When Mom cools down and Nikkie’s out of sight, we’re out of here.”
Vivie crept over to the door, keeping her distance. The door creaked open slowly, and Vivie whispered to Lissy, “The coast is clear.”
“Awesome.” Lissy followed Vivie’s lead, and the two girls grabbed a key and their cell phones.
“Whew! Mom must be upstairs. I’ll drive,” she hastily added. “I’m almost fifteen, and I can drive if you’re in the car with me. I just need to find Mom’s purse and take the key.”
“YOU’RE gonna drive?” Lissy screeched, looking truly horrified.
“Well, yeah! I need Mom’s license, okay? I’m tall enough, and-”
“I get your point, rebel. It’s not safe!”
“Why do I care? Gosh. You annoy me like heck sometimes, girlie!”
“Okay, fine. YOU may not care, but I do!”
“Don’t â€˜Lissy’ me. Can you JUST call Angie and ask her to swing by?”
“Fine.” Vivie marched to the phone and dialed up her best friend Angela Yzcheck. It wasn’t like Angela was going to mind. Angie picked up on the first ring.
“Hey. Is it you, Viv?”
“Yeah. Can you do me a favor and swing by to get me and Lissy to the dance?”
“Sure. Why not?” Vivie imagined her smiling. Vivie had skipped a grade in school and had met Angie, then Lillie Coit the month before. Angela liked being called by either name, just like Vivie liked to be called Viv or Vivie. Just not Vivianne.
Lissy gave Vivie another look. She had to admit she was properly chastised. What was it about Lissy that made Vivie obey her, even though Lissy was a good year younger than her? It was something that Vivie would never quite understand- Lissy was more complicated than she seemed.
“Okay, Angie’s coming. We’ll wait for her outside.”
“Goody.” Lissy opened the door and both girls went outside. Angela pulled up moments later.
“Hey, Vivie. You didn’t tell me Lissy was coming.”
“Oh, sorry,” Lissy mumbled.
Why was she apologizing? It was so annoying to Vivie when her sister apologized for no good reason.
“Don’t be. It’s great to see you! Besides, I was just joking.”
“As usual,” Vivie grinned. “Take her away, Ange.”
Angela gunned the engine for fun. Her cell phone rang. “That would be mine,” Angela explained unnecessarily. “It’s just Mom. I’ll return her call later.”
“Sounds good.” Vivie laughed. Lissy made tittering noises from the back seat. As much as Vivie loved Lissy, her sister could be exasperating. Maybe Lissy was more mature than Vivie. Lissy would make a good mom and a bad one at the same time, what with that tittering noise that agitated Vivie to no end. Vivie ignored her.
“Mom worries about me way too much. It’s SO annoying!” Angela complained.
“My mom’s on my back constantly about Nikkie,” Vivie found herself telling her friend.
“Well, speaking of her, does your mom know where you are?”
“Nope,” Vivie quipped.
“NO?!” Lissy shrieked from the back. Angela nearly halted from shock. “Vivie! How could you?”
“I told her last week! It should be good enough!”
“Vivianne, of all people you would know that Mom isn’t so good at remembering things.” Lissy lectured. She sounded just like Cerina when she said that. Vivie hated it.
“Lissy!” Vivie yelled, almost standing up in the small car. “Don’t rub it in!” Vivie hardly ever forgot anything and used it to her advantage… maybe even too much. Lissy, on the other hand, wasn’t exactly book-smart.
“Touché,” Vivie heard Lissy mutter, but it seemed that for the time being she was being left alone.
“Guys? Would you not argue in my car?” Angela’s tense voice pleaded, her jaw tight. Oops… not a good thing for a young driver. “You two can be deafening.”
“Sorry,” Vivie mumbled, too shamed to look Angela in the eye. She probably wasn’t used to the noise. Angela didn’t have any siblings.
“Yeah. Sorry,” Lissy echoed.
The rest of the ride was pretty much silent except for Angela’s attempts at conversation. Vivie hated having Lissy tag along, but no one else knew that. She resented Lissy’s constant presence sometimes. At least Lissy wasn’t as much of a nuisance as Nikkie, but that didn’t mean that Vivie didn’t wish for more personal space.
“Aw, Mom, I want to go! Lissy got to go, and Carson can drive me!”
“I can call up Cerina and ask her if she allowed that.”
“Go ahead.” Lisette Fisher knew she would get her way. Carson actually wasn’t old enough to drive quite yet, but he was just shy of fifteen and extremely tall. He could get away with it.
“They allow middle-school kids at high school dances?”
“It’s Fillmore, Carson.”
Carson rolled his eyes at Lisette. She loved him to no end, even though he was forever crushing on Lissy. He was nicer to her than he needed to be, and Lisette used that.
“Lisette, you know I don’t have a permit yet.”
“You can still-”
“You’re just like Lissy,” she complained. Lissy Rivercreek was Lisette’s childhood best friend, but Lissy could drive Lisette close to insanity sometimes.
“Should I take that as a compliment or an insult?”
“Urgh, Carson, you are so stupid.”
“Okay, I take that as an insult!”
“I would be worried if you didn’t.”
Marisah Fisher put the phone down. “She seemed surprised at first, but then she discovered that they had left without telling her.”
“Cerina suspected that it was Vivie. Vivie is a boatload of trouble. I’m glad you choose to be friends with Lissy instead.”
Truthfully, Lisette just saw Vivie as rebellious, but she didn’t understand Vivie. She knew that Vivie didn’t dislike her, but other than that she was a mystery. Carson was only two months older than her. But Lisette was going to take advantage of that.
“So can I go?”
“It’s a good thing that Vivie didn’t drive.” She gave Lisette a pointed look. “Carson should be driving either.”
“I may not be as reckless as Vivie, â€˜Set, but I’m afraid it’s illegal for me to drive.”
“Don’t call me that!”
“I’ll drive you guys there.”
Lissy made a face later on in the ride. “Mom’s calling.” She pressed the talk button, then hit speaker. “Hey, Mom.”
“Elisabeth Shellianne Rivercreek, where are you?”
“With Vivie and Angela,” Lissy answered innocently. Vivie glared daggers at her sister. Boy, if looks could kill.
“So I see. Why didn’t you mention this to me before you left? And why didn’t Vivianne answer her phone?”
Vivie pulled out her phone. One missed alert, she read. Darn!
“Well, Vivie told you last week that-”
“And I said you guys could go? I’m an idiot. Well, I’m not going to ruin this for Angie.” Vivie sagged back in relief. “But you two have to take care of Nikkie sometime next week.”
“Don’t â€˜aw, mom!’ me. Have fun, and get back home in one piece,” Cerina sarcastically answered. She hung up.
“That went real well,” Lissy meekly whispered in her high, squeaky voice. “Right?”
Vivie was too angry with herself and the rest of the world to say anything. It was her turn to clench her jaw. “Don’t talk to me right now.”