Mia was absent at school the next day, which meant I was left alone to my thoughts.
After Gabriel had questioned my sanity about the stranger in house, I had practically kicked him out. It was so frustrating, and quite frightening, to learn that I was possibly being stalked and he didn't even have the heart to believe me. This meant that I didn't have anyone I could talk to about it. I could never tell my mum, she'd make a massive deal out of it, calling the police and giving me a curfew. How stupid would I look if it turned out I had hallucinated it?
Gabriel entered the room without looking at me, taking his usual seat at the front. I glared at his back, willing him to turn round just so he could see how pissed off I was.
'Hailey!' Rosanne snapped beside me. Rosanne thought of herself as Mia's stand-in for when she was absent. She was the type of girl who would cling to popularity by her fingernails. It was so painfully obvious that she tried to be like me; she had styled her hair the same and had taken up wearing the same perfume as me. It wasn't flattering, just quite ridiculous. Still, I smiled sweetly.
'Didn't you hear me?'
She sighed in exasperation. 'Are you coming out tonight?'
'Where to?' I said, not really that interested.
'A group of us are heading to Zero Gravity.'
'The new club?' I arched an eyebrow. 'We're not eighteen.'
'So?' she shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly. 'We look eighteen, that's the point. Besides, a group of us have fake I.D's.'
'Who's a "group"?'
'Well, there's me, obviously, you, if you decide to show, Tara, Nat, Oliver, Dan and Rose.'
Gabriel shifted in his seat to look at me, trying to be discreet about it by facing the window but failing miserably. He was frowning very slightly, as though troubled by Rosanne's words. Although there's no way he could have heard us. Still, he looked anxious. I looked at him, waiting for him to face me directly.
'Hailey?' Rosanne persisted.
His gaze flickered to me. Maintaining eye contact with him, I watched his eyes burn in an emerald rage as I agreed. Why would it affect him so much? I was perfectly entitled to have fun.
'You're more than welcome to invite the new kid if you want,' Rosanne said, following my line of sight.
I shook my head, making it plainly obvious to him and said rather loudly: 'I'd prefer not.'
* * * *
Why was I going to a club on a Tuesday night?
I wondered briefly if I had only agreed as a spontaneous desire to make Gabriel jealous. Because it's obvious I had made him jealous. It was quite amusing to watch, but now I was left with the predicament of a lack of outfit and lack of I.D. Should I dress slutty so they'd let me in? Or would that be too obvious?
I sighed, facing my clothes on the bed.
My phone beeped with a text and I instantly grabbed it, thinking it was Mia. Maybe she could help with my situation. However, I found out it was Rosanne.
are you ready? we're nearly at yours xo
I quickly tapped back a reply.
What a lie. I'd best hurry.
I decided on the short black dress I had worn for my party a few nights ago, straightening my hair and lining my eyes with black kohl and mascara. Just a slick of lip gloss and a spritz of perfume and I was ready. Luckily for me, my mother had decided to head off to another meeting for work which was a good job really so she wouldn't see me dressed so provocatively. I left a note for her saying that I was staying round Rosanne's house and went to wait outside.
It was a cool night and I considered fleetingly whether to head back inside for a cardigan, when Rosanne's sleek car pulled up at the top of my drive.
I slid into the back seat, right beside Oliver. Rose was sat on the other side and Dan was in the front beside Rosanne.
'Where's Tara and Nat?' I questioned.
'They're gonna meet us there. Obviously there wasn't enough room in here for us all.'
'Hey Hailey,' Oliver smiled.
'Hello,' I smiled back. Between you and me I think Oliver might have had a little crush on me. There was no way anything could happen between the two of us though. Don't get me wrong, he was handsome, but I had always thought of him as a brother in the five years that I had known him. His eyes were definitely his best feature, they were a pale blue with little flecks of gold that lit up in the sunshine. His hair was always tousled and was a very dark blonde, framing a pale face.
He was the type of guy who thought any girl would be his, at his demand. He was confident, a little arrogant, but could be ever so sweet once you got beneath his tough guy act.
'You look really nice tonight.'
'Thanks,' I couldn't stop the blush at his compliment, despite the awkward situation.
Rose soon claimed his attention. I'd have to remember to thank her later.
We pulled up ten minutes later in a desolate road with blank shop windows and graffiti decorating the drab walls in bright, vivid colours.
'You're going to leave your car here?' Dan asked in disbelief.
'I've left it here plenty of times,' Rosanne shrugged. 'It's no big deal.'
The walk to the club was short, the line however was much, much longer. It took us precisely 45 minutes to get in, and I had obviously dressed the part, as nobody asked for any I.D. The first thing I noticed as soon as I entered, was the heat. It hit like a concrete wall, from all the sweating bodies grinding closely together on the dance floor. It took my eyes moments to adjust to the drastic change in the light conditions, strobes in every colour flashed in a rhythmic pattern, blindingly mesmerizing. The music pounded through the walls, along the floor, seeming to explode straight through me. I couldn't even hear my own thoughts.
And it was amazing.