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Vivie had managed to calm down by the time Angela pulled up in front of Fillmore High. Lissy climbed out when Angela had found a parking space.
Angela was giving Vivie a look, as if to ask if Vivie had cooled down yet, not that she couldn’t tell. “You good, Viv?”
“Never been better. I’m feeling great.” Vivie managed to work up a smile. Angela shot her usual good-natured grin at her like a cat.
“We can still have a great night. I won’t be dancing or the works and such, but we can still hang out and chat a bit on some well-deserved time.”
“You’re lucky. I’ve got two sisters, and you’re an only child.”
“That isn’t such a blessing, Viv. I can get pretty lonely, as you know.”
“How’s that possible when you have friends like me?” Vivie coyly asked. Angela covered her mouth.
“True!” she gasped between breaths. “Gosh, Viv. You know how to turn the tables on me, don’t you?”
“Not funny, Angie. Come on, let’s get inside or we’ll never get out when we need to.” In truth, what Angela had said was her absolute favorite thing to do.
“Spoken just like Vivie,” Angela sighed. The two girls enjoyed each other’s company often, although Vivie was known to sneak up on Angela more than half of the time, scaring her half to death. As Angie liked to say, she often got the living daylights scared out of her.
“We’re just going to hang out, right? I’m not up to actual dancing,” Vivie nervously whispered.
“Of course!” Angela hissed. “Are you crazy? We’ve been over this a million times, for goodness sakes!”
“Okay, okay,” Vivie managed. In truth, she was getting nervous- another one of her odd idiosyncrasies. There was absolutely nothing to be worried about. Lissy, on the other hand, usually held her cool.
Lissy bounded ahead of the older girls, then halted in her tracks. “Hey guys! You better keep up with me, or Mom’s going to have a fit!”
“No kidding,” Vivie muttered under her breath, “although she already has.”
“Hey. Cheer up. Let’s have some fun, okay?”
“Sure. Lissy, wait up. We can’t keep up with you the whole time!” Bouncy perky Lissy was just strange that way.
When the three finally managed to get inside, Angela poked Vivie. (More like jabbed her.) “I need to use the bathroom.”
“Me too,” Lissy echoed.
“I’ll wait,” Vivie offered. Not like I have a choice, she sullenly told herself. Vivie was not the most patient of people- once again, that was more of a quality that Lissy possessed.
“Sure. Thanks. We’ll be right back.”
Vivie was more than ready to begin to dive in when she felt her body jerk back. She squealed, sounding more like a girl than she ever had in her entire life. Vivie was a complete tomboy, but when she screamed, she gave away that side of her that she didn’t particularly like- the frightened one that needed to depend on someone. “What are you doing?” she shrieked in a shrill voice. “This isn’t funny!”
But it wasn’t Angie or Lissy. The person, whoever it was, clamped a hand over her mouth tightly, almost so tightly so that it was difficult to breathe. Vivie choked a little. “You’re coming with me,” a voice gruffly hissed. Vivie tried to respond and tried to free herself. Why wasn’t anyone helping her? Was she that invisible? She was starting to remember things from the past- things she had hidden for a long, long time.
The person was dragging her away now. In one last attempt, Vivie prepared to wrench herself away, but the person forced her around, keeping a hand on Vivie’s and using the person’s body to nudge her forward.
“I don’t want to hurt you. We’ve got to move along more quickly. There’s a lot to do, and you need to be back before someone makes a big deal out of nothing.”
Luke Farrior saw his ex-girlfriend at the dance and wondered what she was doing there. Vivie had made it clear that she had sworn off boys for at least a year, and it had been only two months. He himself had remained single after the breakup. But he could always find another girl.
It felt strange that his best friend Carson Fisher wasn’t tagging along with him. But Luke supposed that it had been for the best. Carson was starting to drive him insane- mostly because Luke had been envious of him. Sure- Luke had his own car (which he had been given on his sixteenth birthday) and was spoiled to death. But all he really wanted was to find love. He didn’t care where it came from. He just craved it.
But Luke had seen Vivie kidnapped and wasn’t going to just let it go. Even if Vivie was a black belt, he was still worried about her. He quickly took two tickets and ran out after where he thought he saw her disappear.
Luke was tall and athletic, with hazel eyes and brown hair. He also knew that he was immature, but what could he do about it? That was the way he was. He was also spoiled and didn’t deny it and knew that he hurt people at lot with words- people like Vivie. She wasn’t weak, she just didn’t resist when people stepped on her. And Luke felt terrible for taking advantage of that. He wanted to atone for that.
Vivie had broken the rules to go out with him, however- she wasn’t allowed to have a boyfriend until at least sixteen, preferably, as her mother had said, “Not until college.” But Vivie had a rebellious side too, and he knew that part of the reason that she said yes was because she needed a way to rebel against her mother without her knowing or getting in trouble. After her father’s death, he had seen that Vivie’s mother had gotten impossibly strict. Even almost a year later, it didn’t look like Cerina Rivercreek had relented.
Out of breath, Luke searched for Vivie but didn’t see her. It was too dark for him to make out her auburn hair and average sized figure. Frustrated, he searched the houses and heard voices when he pressed himself against the white one.
He leaned in and tried to listen. But he couldn’t hear anything. Luke gave up on that and began trying to decide what he should do.
Vivie felt herself being sat into a chair, then the click of the lock that sunk her heart. “Your name, please,” the stranger requested.
“Like I’m stupid enough to give out that information,” Vivie mumbled.
“Listen up. I’m not out to hurt you. It’s just you and me in here. Now, the faster you cooperate, the faster you get out.”
Sighing, Vivie realized the only way to do this was to trust this stranger. “Vivianne Rivercreek.”
“Well, at least I know I’ve got the right girl,” the stranger mused. “I can’t tell you my name yet, but I have to explain. There’s a strange inner power inside you, and you’ve got to let it out. Your city- our city is going to be hit hard with natural disasters. They are supposed to start very soon, and the only way that anyone’s going to survive is if you realize this.”
“How do you know this?”
“Vivianne. Please. Just wait. Before each of these natural disasters hit, you’re going to know. Your loved ones are not guaranteed safety. When you receive the information, you have to start alerting people. They come in sequential order.
“What’s the first one?”
“How do you know I should be chosen for this job?”
“Vivianne.” The voice was a woman’s… and it was surprisingly gentle. “I’ll keep in touch. Now you need to go back.”
Luke heard a car engine and looked up. He recognized the car and its passengers- Marisah, Carson, and Lisette Fisher. He made a face as he thought Lisette’s name. She hadn’t helped by spreading the gossip. In fact, she and Selene Quincy had informed practically every person in the whole school- everyone except Vivie’s own little sister, who probably still didn’t know.
He doubted that Carson had seen him and guessed that the two were going to the dance. Luke was slightly surprised that Lisette was also going, but he thought that he had seen Vivie’s sister there as well. Besides, there weren’t that many high school kids and Fillmore had a relatively low crime rate.
So why had Vivie been kidnapped?
The door opened, and Luke purposely flung one ticket at Vivie’s shoe. She saw it and picked it up. Luke saw the other figure come out and snuck behind them and followed. But the second figure had disappeared.
By the time Vivie returned, Angela and Lissy were there with worried looks on their faces. “Vivie! Where have you been? We’ve been worried sick!”
Vivie turned. The woman was nowhere in sight. Now that was strange. She opened her mouth to speak. “I-”
“Mom’s going to be real ticked, Viv,” Lissy hissed in a low voice. “You’re crazy. What on Earth were you trying to do, worry us to death?”
“You got that right. I don’t know how to explain this.”
“Then don’t,” Angela suggested. “You’re back. But don’t pull a stunt like that on me again. If I hadn’t known better I would have thought you have intentionally run off!”
“Can we just forget it?” Vivie testily asked, thinking through her ordeal. There was no way she wanted to relieve it, or any way that she would. It was hard to comprehend that it had actually happened. And an earthquake? That was impossible in North Texas…
“Sure thing,” Angela replied, ignorant to what Vivie was thinking about. “Come on.”
And so they chatted the rest of the night away. Lissy spotted someone she knew, leaving Vivie with Angela. Vivie saw Angela wave to someone and felt her jaw drop when she saw who it was.