The Body Snatcher - Chapter 7

"dinner with your family?? like me you and your parents"

I read the text that had just arrived from Murphy. I was still riding the high of what had just happened. I had made a plan and executed it to perfection.

And as much as I hated to admit it, that was very much unlike me. See I never really made plans. I didn't think things through. I certainly never had backup plans for my backup plans like I'd just done.

"And Lucas. Are you busy? I can just tell my dad that you're busy" I texted back careful not to deviate too much from how she typed in previous messages.

The next message came almost immediately.

"laura do NOT tell your dad that i'm busy"

"what time?" he texted again

"did you talk about me?" and again.

"Not really, it was last night when you dropped me off" I replied.

I was still sitting in the living looking like I'd just walked out of a dirty magazine with my left toes cold from the saliva.

I decided I needed another shower.

I picked up my heels and made my way upstairs. Took the rest of the outfit off and made my way into the bathroom.

Before I could get in though I heard my phone ding again.

"what time?"

"6 7 ish" I replied. 'Does she say ish?' I thought to myself. Not that I could recall.

"ok I'll be there around 6:30"

"Oh yeah btw we're going out to eat" I remembered and told him.

"what where?"

"I don't know. Just come here and we'll go together"

"I'd rather meet you there"

"Suit yourself. I'll find out and let you know"

"formal?"

"Oh my god, just wear anything"

"fine"

Why was he being so extra? Anyway when I was sure there weren't any more messages, I finally got in the shower. Washing the last bits of Gino off me felt great.

=^..^=

A shower, a meal and a movie later, I got a text from Lillian.

"hey girl what are you up to?"

I checked the time and it was only about 1:30pm. I had atleast 3 more hours before my parents got back and I certainly wanted to hang out with Lillian if that's what she was offering.

I knew I probably should have just stayed in today. The more I interacted with people, the higher the chance of being in another situation like what happened with Murphy last night.

In the end, I decided that Lillian was a new friend and most likely safe. And besides, I had to water this budding friendship... for Laura's sake.

"Nothing really, just watching a movie" I texted back and waited.

Instead of the text back though, I got a call from a number I didn't have saved.

"Girl hi" Lillian's soft voice came through my speakers.

"hi" I responded.

"So you want to come over? "

"Oh sure" I said without hesitation.

"Awesome, I'll send you the address" I swear I could hear the happiness in her voice.

"Okay" I replied smiling not minding that she couldn't see it.

"Just to warn you though, we won't be alone. And do you have a swimsuit? No worries if you don't, you can borrow one of mine" She giggled.

Okay this I hadn't planned for. Still, hanging out with pretty girls in bikinis? What's not to like.

"I think I have one"

"Okay, just texted you the address. Just ring when you get here. Byee" she said finally in a playful manner.

I tossed my phone on the bed and let out a big sigh. Time to get dressed. I knew I could tuck really well, Laura could I mean, and since she was very small down there I could probably get away with a normal bikini but I decided not to risk it.

A mishap would essentially end any chance of a normal life she had so I decided to go with a swim skirt. Bonus points that I could just wear the skirt there anyway. Were they at a public pool?

I slipped on a loose crop top over the bikini top and paired the look with simple flat sandals. From what I could tell, it was quite a hot day outside and felt this would be the most comfortable.

When I was satisfied, I put my phone, a change of clothes and other essentials into a kind of tote bag and I was ready.

How would I even get there? Checking the address on a map, I accepted that I just couldn't walk it. I could order an Uber with my dad's account but then he'd know that I went out. That wasn't the worst thing in the world but I'd just rather not.

Mum's car was in the driveway and she usually kept the key in a tray in the living room. While Laura didn't know how to drive, Eddie sure did. We had a winner.

=^..^=

I unlocked the door of the Mazda CX-5 and got in and only then did it hit me. I hadn't been in the driver's seat of a car since I died. The memories of that night came rushing through. Dodging that car, spinning out of control with the brakes doing little to help.

I briefly considered just ordering an Uber but steeled myself.

'Don't be a bitch' I thought.

After adjusting the seat, I turned on the car and set off following the GPS.

=^..^=

I arrived at a large house 15 minutes later. It certainly wasn't a public pool like I had originally guessed. I parked mum's car behind one of the many cars lining the curb and texted Lillian.

"I'm here"

"Just ring the bell" She responded not even a minute later.

I took another deep breath before walking to the door to do as I'd been told.

"Hi, honey. My, my, aren't you pretty" The woman who had answered the door said with a big smile "Just walk through that door and out the back" She added pointing to a door at the end of the hallway behind her.

"Thank you, Mrs. Miller" I assumed. She seemed nice.

I admired the house as I walked through it. High ceilings and modern furniture. I gawked at the beautiful chandelier when I passed by an ajar door that showed the living room.

"Tell Lily there's some extra sandwiches in the kitchen" she called from the behind me.

"Okay" I sounded back.

=^..^=

The backyard was a gorgeous open space with pleasing decor and a swimming pool taking up most of it.

My eyes glanced around to all the kids there. 7 in total. Interestingly I only recognized Lillian and two other girls from our school. 1 girl and the 3 boys present were all strangers to me.

"Hi" I said shyly when one of the girls spotted me.

"Laura!" Lillian squealed as she ran up to give me a hug "Glad you could make it"

The hug felt nice and genuine and I just let myself get sucked into it.

"You look so pretty" she told me "And I just love your hair"

"Thanks" I blushed

"Come meet everyone" She said pulling me towards the rest of the group.

"You know Cassie and Emma" They both waved at me as she said that.

"that's Ronnie and his girlfriend Fiona" she pointed to the couple who were sharing a pool lounge chair in an intimate pose.

"That's my brother John and that's Damian" She gestured to two boys sitting on the farthest lounge chairs.

It wasn't hard to figure out which one was her brother. They had the same black hair with his styled in a taper.

Damian though had my full attention. A singular earring and a crew cut complimented his pretty face very well. His best feature by far was his body. Rock hard abs and a beautiful V shape that wouldn't have been amiss on a runway.

He wore nothing except a tiny pair of shorts that showed an outline, a hint of the package stored underneath.

"Hi" I said again while Lillian led me to a free lounge chair beside her. Although everyone there had their swimsuits on, the pool itself lay undisturbed. The closest to it being Cassie and Emma who sat on the pool edge with their legs in the water.

"Your mum said there's more sandwiches in the kitchen" I whispered to here as I took a seat.

"Okay" she acknowledged "Are you hungry?"

I shook my head just before Lillian handed me a non-alcoholic beverage. Another downside of being a kid.

"Lil, you didn't introduce her" John said.

"Sorry hi I'm Laura, nice to meet you" I said.

"Likewise" John said with a smile. Not so much as reaction from Damian.

"Did you bring a suit?" Lillian whispered to me.

I replied by taking off the crop top to reveal a bikini top that matched the skirt I had on "Ta da" I mouthed.

"I heard Valerie asked you to try out?" Cassie asked... or was she just telling me.

Girls really do talk. I guess it made sense. Cassie was on the squad after all.

"For real?" Lillian asked.

"Yeah but I don't know if I want to do it" I responded.

"Why not? You totally could" Cassie said convincingly.

"Of course you'd say that" Lillian told her jokingly.

"What do you even have against the cheerleading anyway?" Cassie asked.

I glanced over to John, Damian and the couple who were engrossed in their own conversation.

"Lily doesn't like organizations" Emma chipped in. Emma was the mutual friend between Lillian and Cassie. Emma and Lillian had known each other forever. When Cassie's family started coming to the same country club that Emma's did, they became friends out of necessity.

"No I don't like organizations that create unnecessary divisions and cheerleaders are all about that"

"What does that even mean?" Cassie asked seemingly confused.

"Let's change the subject" Lillian said and without waiting for approval she continued, "For what it's worth, I do think you should join though".

Lillian and Valerie weren't exactly tight so that was a bit surprising

"As long as you don't become stuck up afterwards and we can still be friends" She added.

Cassie looked like she was going to say something but didn't. I wondered why Emma wasn't on the squad either. If I had to guess, I'd say even though she was pretty, she wasn't exactly thin like the other girls.

"How do you guys all know each other?" I asked cutting into the other conversation.

"Oh Ronnie and Damian are my buddies from college" John said.

College boys. I kinda got that vibe.

"Right" was my only response. Everyone seemed to just be lounging and drinking but that water looked amazing.

Slipping off my sandals I decided there was no time like the present. I walked up to the edge of the pool, took a deep breath and with a little hop, I dropped in.

I stayed motionless as I let myself sink lower and lower.

This was about as different of an experience as I could imagine. 2 months ago I was a regular guy living my best life. My buddies and I had been thinking about starting a business together. Now I was a 16 year old girl in a pool with college boys waiting for me to resurface.

It was reassuring that none of them was giving me the time of day though. I don't know if I'd have had this much restraint when I was their age.

I loved how the water dulled the sounds of the outside world allowing me to be filled with my own thoughts. Bubbles occasional passed through my lips destined for the surface.

How long had I been down here? Her lung capacity must have been much less than mine had been because I was already feeling the strain. Time to go.

I kicked the water beneath my feet and slowly ascended until my head broke through the surface. I took a deep breath and laughed.

"Find anything down there?" Damian asked.

I blushed, took another breath, held it in and went beneath the surface again. This time my peace was disturbed by another pair of feet breaking through the water barrier.

Damian. I watched as he slowly descended to my level looking me in the eyes. I stared back. The distorted rays of sunlight bounced on his chest even underwater.

Since when did I start looking at boys like this? Why did it feel normal?

My thoughts however were interrupted by multiple sets of feet breaking the water barrier. I rose to get some air and saw everyone except the couple now found themselves in the pool. Damian arose not long after me. His eyes still trained on me.

When John pushed water with his palm and splashed it in his sister's face, he began a frenzy of water splashing and screaming teenagers.

I don't remember how it had started, maybe one of the boys had challenged the other but soon we were racing from one edge of the pool to the other having the time of our lives.

Sometime later, John I think it was had done a backflip into the pool. When Cassie had captured it as a really cool photo, it had given rise to our next activity. With each picture that Cassie or Emma or someone else took of me, I found myself getting closer to them. And I think them to me as well.

This went on and on until slowly but surely every last one of us had become exhausted and regained their original places on the lounge chairs.

I had had so much fun. More than I expected. Damian, John, Ronnie as well as the rest of us girls talked and laughed so much that you would have thought we had been long time friends.

Eventually, Lillian had brought up Murphy at which point I remembered the dinner. Checking the time to see 5:12pm, I realised I had to get going before my parents got back and found a missing car.

Lillian told me I could change in the pool house which I did and said my goodbyes.

Damian had offered to drop me off but unfortunately I had to tell him that I'd driven there to the surprise of everyone.

Still he walked me to the car and stood there till I left effectively subverting all my expectations that he would ask for my number.

The driveway was still empty when I got home to my relief. I got out of the car making sure to readjust the seats. As I walked into the house, I reminisced about the day I'd had. But it wasn't over yet.

=^..^=

I texted Murphy the address of the restaurant as I sat in the backseat of my father's escalade with Lucas.

"Okay I'll be on my way" he texted back.

"Dress fancy" I sent back before turning my focus to the world flying by me.

It had been around 6:40pm when my parents returned and nearly an hour later when we left the house so it was dark now as we rode to the fancy restaurant my dad had chosen.

Mum had basically dressed me herself picking largely from the outfits she'd bought me the night before.

The loose satin blouse tucked into a knee length skirt was both young and chic. Somewhere along the line, I had lost my aversion to these kinds of outfits. Eddie would have been horrified by what he'd seen in the mirror but this me wasn't and that scared me.

All this time, I thought I had been changing Laura but I started to realise that maybe she'd been changing me just as much.

The restaurant was fancier than I expect with a lush amount of greenery and warm colours.

"Oh Peter, this place is beautiful" Mum exclaimed. I agreed. The elegance was obvious. I briefly wondered about the price tags on the menus but smiled when I remembered I didn't have to worry about that.

We were met at the door, asked for the name of our reservation and escorted to our seats at a beautiful corner table with exquisite views of the world outside.

There certainly were some perks about my predicament. Very little chance I'd have been able to eat at a place like this in my old life.

Lucas preoccupied with his iPad didn't make much fuss so most of the attention fell to me. They'd ask me questions like "how was school?" which I usually dismissed with a one word answer.

Mum would occasionally tell us about work or about a particularly annoying customer she'd had. I watched as she touched his arm and laugh at his bland jokes. Sometimes I'd smile at these shows of affection and catch myself when I realised that he never reciprocated any of them.

Their relationship was a lie and I had to do something about it.

=^..^=

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Another one down :) Thoughts? I look forward to hearing from you.



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