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I won’t rest until I have her.
When I catch Ava upstairs in my mansion, I barely notice her amber eyes widening with fear…
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“Would you just come on,” Petra nags me for the hundredth time.
She’s always ready before me, and never lets it go unnoticed. We became roommates a little over a year ago, which has been awesome for my social life. Although she’s four years older than me, Petra often feels like a little sister.
We met several years ago after being enrolled in a few classes together at UCLA, then set up a life-coaching practice jointly and then moved in together when we realized our leases were ending the same month. We spent so much time with one another already, it made just sense.
It’s the third time this week she’s pulled me out to an event, when I’d rather curl up in bed with a glass of wine, binge watching crime documentaries on Netflix. I guess I’m a bit of a stereotypical only child, nearly always choosing to be by myself as opposed to being in a crowded nightclub.
“I knew I would come in here and find you like this,” Petra sighs, eyeing me through the reflection of my vanity mirror. Her gray contacts make her look exotic, or so she says. In my opinion, they only make her look older, but I learned the hard way not to attempt to separate her from her false grays.
“Like what?” I snap, knowing full well what she’ll say. Sometimes, being best friends allows us to read each other’s attitudes with ease.
“You’re ready, Ava! What am I waiting for?” She shrieks so loud I cringe. Her mouth is only inches from my ear, yet she’s using her party voice as if there’s already music to yell over.
“I’m finishing my mascara,” I lie. I had completed my make-up about half an hour ago, but not wanting to go out was a good enough reason to delay our departure as long as possible.
Just then, Petra’s phone vibrates, and she smirks, looking at the screen.
“Look at you, grinning like a guilty kid. Is that Jacob?” I ask, peeking over her shoulder, but she hides the phone before I can even catch a glimpse.
“No, not Jacob. He’s so last week,” she says in a mock valley girl accent.
Petra has been my guide into the strange world of the city of angels. She was raised here, and so it all seems normal to her. Coming from a small town just outside Bakersfield, I’m not used to the fast pace, or the ever-changing trends, of such a big city.
In my hometown, there’s one diner that’s been there my whole life, and when you want to go out to eat, it’s the only place to go. In LA, there’s a new restaurant springing up every day, and at least twice a month Petra drags me to a grand opening of the new “it” place. I’m still struggling to get used to it all even though I have been here for years.
“So then who is it?” I wonder, still trying to peek at her phone.
“It’s nothing like that, Ava. Can you please just come on?” She deflects, focusing on my procrastination to avoid answering the question.
“Okay, I just need to pack my purse,” I say, walking into my large closet with my lip gloss and mascara in hand.
Reaching to my top shelf, I pick a black leather clutch purse to match my bandage dress and stilettos. Petra would usually call this a boring outfit, but tonight she seems to be too engrossed in her phone to be the judgmental sister I never wanted.
“You don’t need all this,” Petra groans as she watches me picking items from my regular purse to pack into my tiny clutch.
“I need my wallet, Petra,” I roll my eyes, annoyed by her exaggerated need to hurry.
“No, you don’t. When do you ever pay for things with me?” She tilts her head while resting her hand on her hip before adding, “just bring your license, and you shouldn’t even need that.”
She’s right. Whenever I go out with Petra, I never have to worry about anything. It’s like she has a key to the city, the way she instantly gains access to every major event. She once told me there’s a secret society of bartenders and doormen, and that every kid from the city serves two years in the nightlife to create their own network. From the stories I’ve overheard, I know she was popular as a VIP waitress during her undergrad years at UCLA.
With Petra watching me like a hawk, I throw my license, a couple of bills, lip gloss and a pack of gum into the clutch before giving her the “I’m ready, stop hassling me,” glare.
After quickly typing something into her phone, Petra nods and walks straight out of my room without another word. Following behind like an orderly mentee, I make my way into Petra’s white S-Class Mercedes Benz. The car is too flashy for me even on a normal day. On nights like this one, when she insists on having the top down, I scoff at her desperate ploy for attention.