The Girl in the Red Dress
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Next: Chapter Two
The Girl in the Red Dress - Bella's Life

"Bella! Are you dressed yet? Mr Landgraab will be here any minute, and I want you to look respectable and neat!"
I sigh and work my way to the wardrobe. I'm not sure why Mom was making such a big deal about Mr Landgraab coming over. Why is he coming over, anyway? And why is it so important?
Flinging open my wardrobe doors, I take out my red formal dress. Needless to say, red is my favourite colour. I wear it every day, in dress form, top form, jeans, shorts or skirt form. In my hair, on my wrists, around my neck...well, you get it.
My dress is tighter than before- a sure sign that it's too small. Oh well. It'll have to do for now.

"Bella! Brush your hair then get down here!" Mom yells again. I glance at myself in the mirror. No need to brush my hair, it's fine enough already. I'm just ready to go down the stairs when my phone buzzes. It's Mortimer, my best friend since kindergarten. We're at the beginning of the senior year. What does that say?
I press "Answer" and hold the phone up to my ear.

"Yes, Mortimer?" Mortimer sounds excited.
"Bella, guess what?"
"What, Mortimer? Make it quick, Mom and Dad have something important on, and they need me." Mortimer laughs. "Just listen, Bella! I got that job at the science department! It'll look great on my cv!"
I smile. "Well done, Mo. Okay, I gotta go, Mom's calling me. See you later?"
"Sure. Bye."
The phone goes dead. Time to go downstairs.

***
"So, Geoffrey, do you have any news about the Altos?"
Geoffrey Landgraab sighs and shakes his head at my dad, Simis. My dad looks shocked, and slightly disappointed. My mom, Jocasta tilts her head, willing Geoffrey to continue. My brother, Michael, is bored and is texting non stop on his phone. I don't know who he's texting though, because he never used to bring home friends from school. Maybe someone from his old track team? Too bad we didn't go to the same school, or I might know.

"Hey, Mom, can I go out? I'm meeting up with a friend soon." Michael asks innocently. Mom glares at Michael. Michael stares right back at her. He's going to be leaving for college soon, (he took a year and a half gap year) so he doesn't care if he gets in trouble. But for some reason, I don't think that he should be acting up today. I think that today is important to Mom and Dad. Once again, I'm not sure why. Mom opens her mouth, but Dad puts his hand on her arm. "It's okay, Jocasta. Let him go. Actually, Bella, you go too."

Michael glances at me. I raise an eyebrow questionably. Then Michael shrugs, and scoots back his chair to get up. "C'mon Bella, let's go."
I stare at him. Doesn't he think that this is slightly weird? Michael sighs. "Fine then. I'll have to force you." he grumbles, and he grabs me arm and yanks me out of my chair and out onto the porch.

"Don't you get it? We'll split up, have fun, and Mom and Dad won't care because they're too busy with Sir Royal Landgraab. So, you call Mortimer and hang out, and I'll call my friends and hang out." Michael grins, raising an eyebrow and nodding at me. I don't have time to protest before he drags me into his car and drives me up to Mo's house.
I don't know what's going on, but before I can call Michael back, he drives away, leaving me in the Goth's driveway. And just my luck. It starts to rain.

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