You Can't Escape By: annabelle wong

Lake Street is Aria’s and my favorite plaza in Nova Valley, California. Aria and I have been best friends ever since we met each other in third grade and discovered we both loved fashion design. We just recently got an summer internship at Teen Vogue, ten minutes away from our Nova Valley apartment. It's a temporary internship but will go great on our college applications to Princeton. We currently go to high school in Iowa in the middle of nowhere.

“Are we there yet?” Aria complains.

“Aria, enjoy the sunshine of Nova Valley. It won't last long.” I explain.

“It's so hot.” Aria fans her face with her hand. I scoff.

“Finally.” We’re there at Caribou, where everyone from Teen Vogue works on their assignments. We settle into the cafè and the baristas welcome us with a sample of almond cheesecake.

“Ooh, thank you.” I take one for myself and one for Aria but she just ends up stealing both. “Thanks so much, Aria. Now let's find a seat.” Caribou is always PACKED but half the time, people don't buy anything they just sit and work with their free wi-fi.

“Aria Fields and Vanessa Atkins!” A loud voice speaks from behind us. We turn around and it's Jenna Hastings.

“Jenna!” I exclaim, not happily. What is she doing here? I mouth to Aria. Jenna goes to our high school in Iowa and this summer was just supposed to be our break from her. “What are you doing in Nova Valley?”

“I'm going to a wedding and my dad just decided to buy an apartment and have us stay here the whole rest of the summer!” I forgot to mention something, Jenna’s filthy rich.

“Oh, how fun.” I say sarcastically but not enough for her to understand.

“So, have you been in contact with Wren? You know, from our old high school.” Of course I remember. Wren is still my boyfriend but Jenna and half the school think we broke up at the end of the year.

“Yeah. We’re, um, still together.” I laugh uncomfortably.

“Really? Because he's been hanging out a lot with someone else.” Jenna uses no filter. She hands me her phone which is pre-scrolled through Wren’s Instagram.

“Who. Is. That.” I grab Jenna’s phone and show it to Aria. She just shrugs.

“Call him.” Aria grabs my phone from my purse and hands it to me. I take it from her and explain to her that Wren and I never call each other. We actually blocked getting calls from each other just in case our friends would ever try to prank us or something.

“Text him.” Aria puts in my password and starts typing, how’s your summer going?, and sends it. “You haven't texted him for that long?” Aria makes a concerned face at me. This time, I shrug.

good how about you, Wren feels no need to use proper punctuation.

Fine, have you been doing anything lately?

No, why

Just pondering, it autocorrected. Wondering.

“Why is he acting so secretive?” Aria asks right in my face.

“He's not. He just asked why. “ I'm acting a lot more chill than I feel.

So have you been hanging out with anyone lately, Aria steals my phone.

Noooo… why do u ask?

Just wondering, “Aria, stop saying just wondering!” I laugh.

Okay.

“Wren is hiding something, I know it.” Aria and I finally give Jenna back her phone and go home.

***

Days have been going by, and I haven't texted Wren at all. Who could he be with? Could it be that girl who was his lab partner and said they had “chemistry”? Funny joke. Maybe I just tell him what I think, I think.

“Let’s go through all of the girls that it WOULDN’T be. Not saying that you're not good enough but you were lucky to land Wren.” Has Jenna shared her non-filtered language with Aria?

“Thanks so much. How about we call him on your phone?” I say to Aria.

“Good idea!” She finds his contact and calls his number.

“Hello?”

“Hi Wren, this is Aria Fields.”

“Uh, bye.”

“Wren,” Aria’s trying to get his attention back. “Vanessa’s breaking up with you!” She blurts and hangs up the phone.

“Aria. What. Did. You. Do.” I say in a scary, calm voice. She runs off and I'm too tired to catch her.

“I've texted him so many times but he still hasn't responded.” I tell my mom.

“Yeah, so I just saw Wren and he said he was sorry and the girl he was with was his aunt’s exchange student from France.” She explains. Oh.

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