Evelyn Knight stared out the window of the black limo, anxious to get home and see her mother, she picked at her nails in her lap. Evelyn wore her best-looking white blouse, a black leather skirt, and paired with her black stilettos. Evelyn had a thing for style and looking presentable. She always had her makeup done perfectly to where she wasn’t wearing too much or too little. Evelyn also had a classic look to her. Her brown hair was perfectly straight and shiny, her nails were always painted a neutral shade, and she consistently carried her signature scent of Chanel perfume on her. She glanced down at her wrist forgetting the white plastic band was still wrapped around her wrist. She yanked the hospital band off and shove it inside her purse beside her. It was no doubt Evelyn cared what people thought. Especially in this town.
The limo pulled up to the classy, white, and posh mansion her mom purchased a few years ago. It was a minor upgrade from their old house, but not by much. Her mother, Claire, waited by the front door. She was dressed in her business clothes which meant she was about to head to work. Evelyn tried not to look disappointed when she stepped out of the car. After all, she hadn’t been home the entire summer. Claire engulfed her into a hug.
“Hi mom,” she said trying to breathe from the crushing hug.
“Evelyn, sweetie, how are you?” Her mother let go of her to take a look at her. Evelyn plastered a smile on her face.
“I’m good,” she replied.
“I missed you so much,” her mother planted a kiss on her cheek and smiled. “Come inside, you must be exhausted from your flight.” Evelyn followed her mother inside, as her limo driver unpacked the trunk full of her suitcases.
“Listen, I know this is bad timing, but I have to run. I have a big meeting and dinner afterwards. I can’t wait to hear about Europe when I get back.” Her mother grabbed her purse off the table in the entryway and quickly kissed her forehead. “I love you, okay? Be good!”
Just like that Evelyn’s mother was out the door. Feels good to be home Evelyn sarcastically thought in her head.
“Miss Evelyn?” A voice said behind her. Evelyn turned her body toward her house maid, Amanda.
“Amanda!” Evelyn happily greeted her. She had known Amanda since birth.
“How was Europe?” Amanda asks hugging Evelyn.
“Amazing, you would have loved it,” Evelyn smiled.
“Should I make you dinner? Are you hungry?”
“Starved. Thank you, Amanda.” Evelyn grinned and started to walk up the grand staircase up to her bedroom. The house seemed different, maybe a little cleaner, but still the same house. Evelyn pushed open her double doors to her bedroom. Her unpacked suitcases rested at the foot of her king-sized bed which sat in the middle of the room. Warm sunset light poured into her room from the large window near her bed. Evelyn noticed the shopping bags that littered her floor. Most likely her mother’s damage control shopping for her while she was gone.
Evelyn slipped off her heels and searched the room, unsure of what to unpack first. She didn’t feel like unpacking, nor did she feel like she was home. She didn’t feel like herself anymore.
After eating dinner, which Amanda provided for her, she spent the past few hours checking emails, unpacking, and reviewing her class schedule for the first day of senior year on Monday. Evelyn was in fact not looking forward to going back to school. Even though the first day of school was something Sierra, her best friend, and her have always looked forward to. Sierra and Evelyn had been inseparable since birth. They were like the same person. They told each other everything and spent all their time shopping, partying, and having sleepovers. They both encouraged each other to try new things. All their firsts were done together: first time drinking, first time smoking, and first time sneaking out.
When they were sixteen, they both got matching charm bracelets. Every birthday and holiday they would get each other charms to add. Sierra would always tell Evelyn about her family. She always carried the guilt of her mother’s death on her shoulders. Sierra was the sister Evelyn never had.
Evelyn hadn’t seen Sierra the entire summer. Evelyn was worried she had changed or forgotten about her. Evelyn’s fears grew when she tried to call Sierra, and instead of answering in her chirpy voice, the call went straight to voicemail. It was unlike Sierra. The pit in Evelyn’s stomach enlarged as she began thinking about the possible excuses for Sierra ignoring her call. Evelyn finally had enough and turned her phone off for the rest of the night.
Around 6:30, Claire came home and knocked on Evelyn’s door. Claire came in slowly and looked at Evelyn’s state. She was on her bed sorting through her clothes.
“Oh good, you’re unpacking.” Claire sat on the bed and looked at Evelyn.
“How was work mom?” Evelyn asked while folding a pair of jeans.
“It was fine. Listen, I was supposed to tell you this when you got home, but I forgot.”
“What is it mom?”
“The Reed’s annual party is tonight,” she said hesitantly. Evelyn’s eyes widened and her fists balled up. The Reed’s hosted a party every year to celebrate all the kids going back to school.
“Mom-,” Evelyn started to protest, but her mother cut her off.
“I know it’s last minute, but you need to go. No one has seen you all summer. Plus, Sierra will be there, and she would be thrilled if she saw you there.” Evelyn picked at her nails. Evelyn wanted nothing more than to not go to that party. Everyone would be there, asking her questions about her summer, and Evelyn didn’t want them in her business.
“I’ll even help you pick out a dress,” she said.
“No, it’s okay. I’ll go.” Evelyn finally said. She didn’t want her mother’s help.
“Excellent,” Claire said standing up and leaving the room.
Evelyn stared into her massive closet wondering what to wear. She knew bright colors were out of the question. She could not draw attention to herself. She decided black was her best option, but not too black. She couldn’t look like she was attending a funeral, but maybe she was attending one. It felt like her own.
An hour later Evelyn was dressed in a black and gold sequin dress and black heels. She added a diamond choker and earrings to finish her classy look. Her mother was waiting in the limo. She wore a red dress and her hair up.
“I would have suggested a brighter color, but I guess this will do,” she said referring to Evelyn’s dress as Evelyn entered the car. Evelyn ignored her mother’s harsh words and sat down. The limo started to move, and Evelyn tried to sit still. Her mother’s eyes were glued to her phone. Evelyn desperately wanted to get out of the car. Her fingers played with the charms that hung from the silver bracelet on her arm and anxiously looked out the window.
The limo slowed to a stop and the door opened. Claire put her phone down and got out of the car. Evelyn followed her out. One of the Reed’s many hotels loomed over them. Evelyn followed her mother through the glass doors into the lobby and down the grand staircase. The ballroom in the hotel was filled with people. Evelyn and Claire made their way down the stairs and were instantly greeted by Jack and Nikki Reed. Nikki engulfed Evelyn in a hug.
“I’m so glad you all could make it.” Nikki’s million-dollar ring dug into her shoulder. Nikki released Evelyn and hugged Claire.
“Claire how is business,” Jack asked.
“It’s going well,” she smiled. Jack turned to the side to greet his son and daughter. Mackenzie was dressed in a short silver dress. Her strawberry blonde hair was curled in waves. Austin stood next to her in a tux, and he was staring at Evelyn.
“Evelyn, I heard you went to Europe. How was it?” Jack asked. All eyes turned to her.
“It was great. It’s beautiful in the summer,” she managed to say.
“Well, I’m sure you kids can’t wait to get back to school,” Jack smiled. Nikki laughed a little too loudly. It was obvious she was drunk.
“Shall we have a toast?” Nikki suggested as the waiter with champagne on the tray approached us. Evelyn’s mother agreed and she handed Evelyn a glass. Evelyn stared mindlessly into the glass debating her choices.
“Cheers,” Jack said, holding his glass up. Evelyn held her glass up. Her hand shook as she held it, but no one noticed. She brought the glass to her lips and tipped the glass back, but before the bubbling liquid could touch her lips, she took it away from her mouth and looked around to see if anyone noticed. Evelyn would not risk her sobriety not when she worked hard all summer to this point. Mackenzie downed her glass in one sip, but that didn’t surprise Evelyn.
Jack and Nikki started talking to Claire while Evelyn looked around to search for Sierra. She spotted Sierra’s brother Sterling standing near the bar. Evelyn left the Reed’s and her mother and headed towards him.
“Evelyn,” Sterling said setting his glass down.
“Sterling, do you know where Sierra is?” Sterling eyes didn’t meet her eyes.
“Probably getting drunk or high. Shouldn’t you be with her?”
“I just got back today,” she replied. Sterling rose his eyebrows.
“Europe, right?” Evelyn nodded her head. “Well, good for you.” Sterling took his glass of champagne and walked away. Evelyn leaned against the bar and caught sight of Austin talking to Noah Taft while sipping his champagne.
“Well, well, well, look who it is. Missed you over the summer, Eve,” Taylor Taft said behind me. Evelyn slowly turned to face her.
“Did you really? I’m touched,” Evelyn said.
“No not really. I had a pretty great summer without you and Sierra,” she said. Evelyn’s eyebrows knitted together.
“What do you mean? Where was she?”
“She went to go stay with her rich Grandmother in the Hamptons. Boring, right?” Taylor said lazily sipping her champagne. Evelyn looked around the room.
“Do you know when she’s coming back?”
“I assume before school starts. Didn’t you know she went away?” Evelyn shook her head. “Sterling didn’t tell you?”
“No, he didn’t,” Evelyn said with an edge to her voice.
When the party finally ended, everyone got in their limos and headed home. Evelyn and her mother were sitting in their limo when the limo came to a stop.
“Why are we stopping?” Evelyn’s mother looked towards the front of the car.
“There’s traffic ahead, ma’am. Looks like a wreck.” The driver stated calmly. Evelyn twisted her head to the window. Her freshly manicured finger rolled the window down and she stuck her head outside. She could see the distant blue and red lights lighting up the woods on either side of the road. Evelyn suddenly got a sick feeling in her gut. Her hands mindlessly reached for the door handle. She opened the door and got out of the car.
“Evelyn, get back in the car. You’ll freeze.” Her mother scolded her. Evelyn stared into the distance, not caring about the cold biting at her. It was better than sitting in the cramped car. The sound of another car door opening caught Evelyn’s attention. Austin got out of the car behind her. He seemed to have the same sick feeling. The sound of a car door slamming echoed in the street. Evelyn watched as Anthony Ames and Sterling started running towards the lights. Evelyn felt like she was going to be sick. Her heart started to race as she walked towards the accident. She soon broke into a sprint. Her mother and Austin’s voices blended behind her.
As Evelyn approached the accident, a stretcher with a person covered in a blanket was being rolled into the medical vehicle. Police officer scame in every direction from the woods. Evelyn’s eyes drifted to the arm that dangled out of stretcher. A silver charm bracelet hung lifelessly on the wrist. Everything stopped moving for Evelyn. She heard her mother gasp behind her, and Evelyn’s eyes filled with tears. Her best friend was lying on that stretcher, and she was dead.
Evelyn turned and collapsed into her mother’s arms as a sob escaped her throat. Evelyn squeezed her eyes shut and desperately tried to wake herself up from this terrible dream, but it was not a dream.
Shelby Hunt is a Creative Writing major at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. She is currently a junior and enjoys writing any kind of fiction genre. She also loves to read and write in her free time.