I sat on my bed with my best friends listening to them go on and on about the upcoming dance. They each had a bottle of my nail polish in their hands, and they were debating over which color would go with each of their dresses. However, I couldn’t focus on the conversation because my mind kept drifting back to wherever my dumb ass sister was. My parents had been absolutely livid for the last three days and I was afraid they were gonna turn their anger onto me if she didn’t come home soon. God it was just like her too. She just had to go and run away and ruin my birthday. Melody had always been too needy and self-centered, and it was really frustrating. I just wanted to have a nice party and she had to mess it up like she always did.
“Hey Ver, did you hear me?”
I looked up to see all three of them staring at me with questioning looks on their faces. Obviously, I had missed something important because Shelby raised her eyebrows in a ‘you going to say something now’ kind of way that always irritated me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my girls but sometimes they made me as frustrated as my sister did. Sometimes I wished I could just dump them all and get new ones but no one else in our stupid highschool, hell let alone our town, were good enough to hang out with.
“Yeah, sorry Shelly. What was it you were saying?” I asked, picking up a bottle of pink polish and swiping the brush across my pinkie as I inspected its color.
“Well we were all wondering if Liam had asked you to the harvest ball yet?”
“Yeah, like how did he do it? I bet it was all cute and stuff, you two are always so adorable together I would be shocked if anyone else won Harvest queen and king.” Brittany chimed in.
“Oh, um… well not yet.” I looked at my friends a little sheepishly.
I knew Liam was going to ask me to the dance, the dude would be dumb not to but I had been trying to avoid him the last few days at school. For some reason I felt a little guilty about what happened with Melody last week. I mean I only wanted her to get grounded, maybe punished a little so I could get out of my chores but I kind of felt like her running away was all my fault. I loved my sister, kind of. When we were younger we were really close. I don’t know what changed, besides me getting popular and her kind of being a loser, but we were never really that close anymore. The last few days I missed her and I didn’t want to have to talk to Liam yet and tell him how I wasn’t feeling the dance anymore. Not until my sister came home.
Apparently my lack of elaboration annoyed my friends because they all leaned in as if to tell me to keep going. “Guys, don’t worry. I bet he’s just waiting to find the perfect moment to ask. He’s probably trying to come up with the most romantic way ya know.” I continued, deciding to paint the rest of my nails with the pink polish.
That seemed to appease them because the three turned back to each other and continued babbling about the dance. Leaving me to my thoughts. I don’t know how much longer I could do this, act like everything was okay when it wasn’t. It was starting to eat away at me. Made it hard to enjoy anything. My parents had told me not to say anything when they noticed Melody missing and the conversation that morning kept replaying in my head like a secret that just wanted to break out.
“If anyone asks where your sister is, just say she’s sick at home. We don’t want anyone asking questions or getting suspicious. Your mother is going to contact her brothers to see if they can find out where she’s run off to now.” My father told me as he came into my bedroom where I was getting ready.
“Mom has brothers?” I had asked him as I set my brush back onto my vanity.
I didn’t understand why they were in such a panic this morning when we all woke up and found that Melody wasn’t in her room. It wasn’t the first time she snuck out to go to Elizabeth’s but I don’t think my parents knew that. If they did they’d probably have nailed her window shut ages ago. I also didn’t understand what he meant by brothers. Mom always told us she was an only child and that her parents died years ago before we were born. Why had she lied to us all these years.
“That’s not the point, Veronica. You need to do as I say right now, it’s important.” My dad continued. “Now promise me you’ll tell people Melody is sick. Promise.”
He looked at me like he looked at Melody and it made me a little scared. Normally I was his baby and he always had a softness in his eyes but today his stare was hard and cold.
“Yes dad, I promise. If anyone asks I’ll say she's sick.”
I watched my father leave my room in a hurry without bothering to close the door behind him. When I walked over to shut it my eyes rested on the open door across the hall. My sister’s room was a mess which was so unlike her. Normally she kept it prim and tidy, like a suck up. Earlier my parents were tearing their way through it and neither one bothered to put anything back to where it belonged. The sight unsettled me a little. Something was wrong. Their hushed whispers all morning, the tornado of a room and now my father making me lie. Definitely wrong. Nausea clawed its way into my stomach as I shut my door and went back to fixing my makeup.
I picked up my phone again, hitting redial. I was pretty sure I called Melody like a hundred times already but she never answered and I was starting to get really worried. She was my best friend and I knew how her family treated her. Part of me wondered if they did something really awful and hid her away somewhere so she didn’t say anything to anyone. Not like she would. I had been telling Melody for years that she needed to tell an adult at school about her parent’s abuse but she always denied anything being wrong. ‘They just don’t know how to show their love Lizzy,’ or ‘It’s nothing I can’t handle on my own.’ She’d always say to me when I’d try and convince her. Voicemail again. Damnit.
Throwing the phone onto my bed I let out a frustrated groan. Maybe I should just go over there and demand that her parents let her downstairs to see me. Miss Murder absolutely hated any kind of scenes that made her family look less than perfect and if I stayed long enough she would have to let me in. I looked at my phone again. Part of me prayed it would just ring and I would see the dumb photo I took of Melody last year when we were recreating twilight in the woods flash across my screen. But there was nothing except a black screen and deafening silence of my room.
I sat on my bed next to the phone and started to cry. It had been three days. Three days without any communication from my best friend, my soul sister and I wanted to scream. Veronica had gone and told everyone that Melody was sick and that her parents thought she might have some rare disease that could infect the rest of the town but I knew she was lying. That skanky bitch lied about everything. She was the reason Melody rarely got anything she wanted. She was the she-devil incarnate and now I understood what Melody was always talking about. Looking over to the photo of the two of us on my nightstand I picked up the frame and held it against my heart.
“Please, for the love of everything sacred and holy let me just talk to my best friend. Please.” I begged out loud.
Leaning back against my head board I clutched the photo as tightly as I could, tears running down my cheek. Something happened to her. I just knew it. Almost as if answered by god himself my phone started to vibrate and I jumped, letting the photo fall to the floor. In a scramble I picked up my phone to an unknown number. I stared at it, disappointed. Of course it wasn’t her, how could it be, she would have returned my calls already if she had her phone. When the phone stopped vibrating I went to toss it on my bed again but the same number flashing across the screen made me pause. It couldn’t be could it?
“Hello?” I asked as I answered, apprehension nagging at the back of my mind.
“Lizzy, it's me.”