what if the words in a book could take you to another place - literally?
Chapter Fifteen ~ Tasmin
The doorbell rang. Just before she raced down the stairs, she stole a quick glance at herself in the mirror.
She almost didn’t recognise herself. She was wearing a sleeveless, light blue dress that fell down around her knees, and that swayed elegantly when she walked, due to the silk-like fabric. She wore black leather boots, and a black fishnet cardigan that was draped around her shoulders. Tori had offered to curl her hair for her, and Tasmin was glad she had agreed. Her red hair fell down to her elbows in smooth ringlets, and she had put on some lip gloss and a tiny bit of mascara to top it all off.
“Wow,” she said under her breath. She was an entirely different person.
She ran downstairs and threw open the door. Thalia was there, looking beautiful - as always. Tasmin grinned. Her friend was wearing the outfit she had suggested for her to wear the night of the car crash - the lace throw-over and the blue skirt.
“You ready to go?” Thalia smiled.
“Absolutely.” Tasmin grabbed her bag and walked out the door. “Bye Dad!”
“Bye, Taz!” Her dad called back. “Don’t forget to make good decisions, hon.”
Tasmin rolled her eyes. “Sure. Don’t forget to pick us up after the party!”
“I’ll be there,” he answered. “Have fun!”
She closed the door behind her.
“You look awesome, Tasmin,” Thalia said.
“Thanks. You don’t look bad yourself. You excited?”
“Oh yeah. I haven’t been invited to a super-duper-hot-and-popular-person’s party before,” We laughed.
After picking Natalie up, they arrived at large, white house. Music was blaring, voices were shouting and laughing, lights were flashing - it all looked pretty full-on.
“I’m beginning to doubt we’re going to be able to make it through the night,” Thalia whispered in Tasmin’s ear. She nodded in agreement.
“Let’s stick together,” Tasmin told the two other girls. “That way we have a better chance of survival.” She winked at the others. They laughed.
The trio got out of the car. They thanked Thalia’s mum for driving them and made their way down the white, marble steps to the front door. Natalie rang the doorbell, but the echoing chimes were barely audible over the loud music.
Someone opened the door. It was a boy. He looked to be slightly older than Tasmin, and had dark, curly hair and olive skin that suggested his origins were from somewhere overseas.
“Hey,” he grinned. “How’re you doing? C’mon in...” He opened the door wider, allowing them to enter. The boy nodded at Tasmin as she walked inside, and she felt her cheeks redden.
Tasmin looked around in awe. It seemed like the entire school had been invited. The music was deafening, the lights were blinding, and the talking, screaming and laughing surely would be turning everyone’s throats raw. It was a lot to take in.
“Wow,” she heard Thalia say from beside her.
“Yep,” Tasmin said. “Very wow.”
“Can you see Ashton anywhere?” Thalia craned her neck to look over the sea of heads in front of them. When she couldn’t find him, she shrugged. “Oh well. He’s probably forgotten about me anyway.”
Tasmin remembered back to the hospital, in the real world, when Ashton had come over to be with Thalia. There was no way he would have forgotten about her.
“I’m sure he hasn’t,” Natalie reassured her. “I’ll tell you what - how about you go and find him. I’m positive he wants to see you.”
“And leave you guys here?” Thalia asked, unsure.
“Yeah, we’ll be fine,” Tasmin smiled.
“Thanks, guys. I’ll see you later, okay?” Thalia wandered off, squeezing between elbows and shoulders and all kinds of limbs to get to the other side of the swarm.
“Come on,” Nat linked her arm with mine. “Let’s go get something to eat.”
The kitchen countertop was laid with all kinds of foods. Natalie and Tasmin sat down on the high, leather chairs that leaned against the bench. Tasmin watched as Natalie took a corn chip and dipped it in some salsa.
“You’ve never been to something like this, have you Taz?” she asked.
“Okay, I’ll admit it - no, I haven’t. At least not something this...wild.”
“Wild isn’t the word. The word is exciting. You haven’t lived your teenage life until you attend a hot and popular person’s birthday celebration.”
Maybe the correct phrase, Tasmin thought sourly, is ‘you’ll never live your teenage life if you attend a hot and popular person’s birthday celebration.’
Her mind drifted back to the hospital. Natalie’s pale face. Her family’s devastation. Thalia’s worry. Oliver’s fury. The life Nat won’t have if Tasmin didn’t succeed...
“Tasmin?” Natalie was looking at her.
“Huh? What? Oh...yeah. Well, I guess I’m living it now, right?”
“I guess you are,” Natalie smiled.
Just then, another boy who looked to be slightly older than the girls came over to the bench-top.
“Hey, ladies,” he said. Tasmin could tell by the slight instability in his voice that this boy was not someone she wanted to talk to.
Natalie eyed the boy. “What makes you think that you have the right to talk to us?” Tasmin wasn’t an expert, but she was sure that she could sense a flirtatious tone in Nat’s voice. Oh no...
The boy looked at her and grinned. He reached over to a suspicious-looking jug of some sort of juice and poured himself a glass.
“What’s your name?” The boy asked, taking a sip.
“Natalie,” she replied. Tasmin shifted uncomfortable in her seat. “You?”
“Conor,” he said. Tasmin clenched her fists in anger. This was the boy who had driven Natalie home. It was all his fault. “Can I get you some of this stuff?” He asked, holding up the glass. “It’s good.”
“No, thanks,” Natalie waved her hand. “I’m fine.” Phew.
“What about you? Do you want some?” Tasmin realised Conor was asking her.
“No,” she said firmly. “I don’t.”
“No need to be rude, Tasmin,” Natalie tutted.
“I wasn’t being rude,” Tasmin hissed. “I was being sensible.
Natalie rolled her eyes.
“Come on, Natalie - I’ll introduce you to some of my friends,” Conor said, beckoning for her to follow him out of the room.
“Don’t go, Natalie. Don’t be stupid.”
“Stupid? Tasmin - sensible isn’t going to get you a boyfriend.”
“Natalie, please. Just...do this for me,” Tasmin begged.
“You know what? No. I have been held back from stuff like this my whole school life because of you and Thalia. Because of my loyalty to you. But now, I want to make my own decision because of what I want, not because of...of...of your unpopularity!”
Tasmin was shocked. She had been waiting, fearing for the day those words would come out of Natalie’s mouth - and here they were, flying at the speed of light, shattering her heart into a million pieces.
Natalie seemed to have realised what she had said. She covered her mouth. The pair stood like that - with Natalie’s hand over her mouth and Tasmin’s jaw on the floor - for about seven seconds.
“Hey, Natalie?” Conor asked. “You coming or not?” He reached for her arm.
“Don’t touch me!” Natalie spun around. “I don’t want to come.”
“But you just said -”
“I don’t want to come. Got it?”
Conor shrugged. “Suit yourself.” And walked away.
Natalie walked back to her friend and gave her a lingering hug. Tasmin was still in shock.
“I’m sorry. You know I didn’t mean what I said. I would never chose a life with boyfriends and parties over a life with you and Thalia. I promise.” She said.
Tasmin pulled back, and said, solemnly, into her eyes. “Sisters before Misters.”

Keep Reading

Chapter 16

Chapter Sixteen ~ Tasmin

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