Here it is! An excerpt from ADVENTURES IN MURDER CHASING (Funeral Crashing #3)!!!!!!
Ethan Ripley was my boyfriend. Officially. The first person
I called and told was my ex-best friend, Ariel Walker. I knew she wouldn't be
jealous, exactly, but maybe it would impress her a little. Besides, we had to
make plans to meet up for peanut butter banana milkshakes.
I was even more impressed that Ariel agreed to meet me
slightly less than two weeks later on a Saturday afternoon. It was prime
weekend time and Ariel was making room for me in it. Of course, she did owe me
her life. I had just saved it and gotten hurt doing it. I mean, I had only
gotten out of the hospital two weeks ago. So, yeah, I had taken a major risk to
help my ex-bff. She should make room for me in her crowded social
I knew it probably didn't mean too much and that Ariel was
probably just being grateful, but I'd take what I could get. Truthfully, I was
kind of excited about meeting up with her. We hadn't had peanut butter banana
milkshakes since our freshman year of high school. I was a junior now, so it
had been at least two years since we had actually hung out as friends. I
wondered what it would be like. Then the worries started. Would it be awkward
and horrible? Did we have anything to talk about? Well, I had Ethan and she had
Troy, but that was kind of complicated. I mean, I had gone on a date with Troy
before Ariel did and she had gone after Ethan before we had started going out
so getting into detail about them might not be a good thing. At least it was
only milkshakes. Worst case, we only had to spend the time it took to drink
Still, I found myself dressing to impress. I knew Ariel saw
me every day at school, even though we mostly didn't talk or acknowledge each
other, but I wanted to look nice for meeting up with her. She was popular and I
sort of felt like I had to dress to her expectations. Of course, I didn't have
tons of designer clothes, but I had at least a couple of cute tops. I had made
it a point to go shopping since starting to date Ethan. I wanted to look good
for him, so I was starting to exchange some of my T-shirts for cuter, sexier
shirts. It was a plus then that I had something to wear to hang out with Ariel.
It took me over an hour to get ready. I don't know why
exactly, but I really felt like I had to look perfect. This was important. I
called Ethan on my way there. My nerves were starting to go crazy. Did it mean
anything that Ariel and I were having milkshakes together? Did she want to be
friends again? Or was this just Ariel's way of saying thank you for saving her
life and that was it? Or did almost dying change her view of our friendship?
Like maybe it had gone from not important to a regret or something? Maybe I was
getting way ahead of myself. Maybe Ariel just wanted a peanut butter banana
milkshake and I was the only other person that she knew that liked them. Yeah,
my brain was totally going haywire about this whole meeting up with Ariel
"Hey," Ethan said on the other end of my
cellphone, interrupting my rambling train of thought.
"Hey," I said back, smiling to myself, and
automatically relaxing at the sound of his voice.
I totally like liked my boyfriend. Butterflies exploded in
my stomach just hearing his voice. I wished I could kiss him, but he was at his
house and I was in the car. Sigh.
"You on your way?" Ethan asked.
He knew what a huge day it was in my life, "Yeah."
"Nervous?" Ethan asked after I didn't say anything
"Totally," I said and found that I felt better
simply by telling Ethan about my nerves.
"Don't be," Ethan said. "Ariel's okay.
It was easy for Ethan to say. He hadn't been dropped and
replaced by Ariel with new bffs freshman year like it was no big deal. Plus,
Ethan was popular. Everyone liked him. He had been best friends with his
friends Dave and Mike since kindergarten and he had just kept gaining more and
more friends along the way. He was super lucky in the friend department. I
didn't have that problem. I was known as the funeral crashing graveyard girl
teen sleuth. Actually, there were probably even more colorful adjectives added
into that by now, but I had stopped keeping track. I was who I was. My
boyfriend like liked me either way. That was good enough for me.
"Do you think..." I started and then stopped,
suddenly feeling nervous about asking my question out loud.
"What?" Ethan asked.
"Do you think that Ariel and I could ever be friends
again? Like really?" I asked.
It had been the thought running and running through my head
ever since Ariel said she wanted to hang out. I just needed another opinion. I
knew it was probably stupid, but...
Ethan paused on the other end of the line and then said,
"Why?" I asked.
I was kind of surprised at Ethan's response. I mean, in my
head I was at war because for some reason, I couldn't seem to decide what
exactly I felt about Ariel regarding our friendship or lack thereof. Still,
when asked the question I had just posed about me and Ariel ever being friends
again, I expected most people to say: "No way!" or "Never!"
or "When hell freezes over!"
"Well, you guys do have a lot in common," Ethan
said, as if it was that simple.
"Like?" I asked.
I desperately tried to think of anything that Ariel and I
had in common anymore. I couldn't think of one thing. Well, besides the fact
that it appeared that we both still liked peanut butter banana milkshakes.
"You're both stubborn," Ethan said.
"Ha, ha," I said, sarcastically.
"What? It's true," Ethan said. "And, besides
that, well, you both care a lot about each other."
"What?" I asked.
Ethan had blindsided me. Ariel cared about me? What? When?
In junior high? Sure. Maybe now that I had saved her life? Sure. But before?
When she dumped me for a new set of friends and started making fun of me? I
didn't think she cared so much about me then.
"I just think it's more complicated than you
think," Ethan said. "She gets mad at you. You get mad at her. Sounds
like all that getting mad at each other means that something's still there to
get mad about."
Maybe Ethan was right. I had always thought it was weird
that Ariel sought me out. She didn't have to do that. Most of the student body
left me alone to do my weird graveyard girl funeral crashing stuff, but Ariel
wouldn't. That was kind of interesting. Maybe a part of her missed me. That
brought me to a horrifying thought. Did I miss Ariel? Yeah, I couldn't think
"Are you freaking out?" Ethan asked when I had
been lost in my thoughts and quiet for a full minute.
"Maybe," I hedged, not wanting to admit to it.
"It is just hanging out and drinking milkshakes. One
step at a time," Ethan said. "No pressure. Nothing to lose, you know.
And you can call me as soon as you're done."
"Thanks," I said to Ethan.
I felt my nerves calm down a little. Okay, just one step at
a time. Milkshakes first. Friendship and all that, worry about at a later date.
Wow, I so like liked Ethan. He was the best boyfriend ever. He knew just what
to say to make me feel better.
"You're welcome," Ethan said. I heard the
strumming of his guitar.
"Are you working on your music?" I asked.
"Oh, yeah," Ethan said. "I have a tune in my
head and I'm trying to work on it. I'm planning to hit the open mic at Wired
next week and I want to be ready. I know it's just an open mic, but yeah, it
"I can't wait to see you perform!" I said.
"Thanks," Ethan said. "I really want the song
to be perfect."
"It will be," I said. "Okay, you go work on
that, then. I'm almost there anyway."
"Okay," Ethan said. "Bye then. And call me
after. I'd like to hear how it went."
I hesitated for a moment, stopping myself from saying
something that I suddenly really wanted to say and instead just simply said,
I ended the call and took a deep breath. Whoa. I had almost
said the words I love you. Whoa. Double whoa. What was wrong with me? We had
only been dating a few weeks and it was way too soon to say those words. I
mean, I definitely like liked Ethan, but love? That was a big deal. Sure, we
had been through a lot, but...whoa. It was a really, really big deal to say
those words. I'd have to be careful. I mean, I didn't want to end up in one of
those awkward moments where I said it and Ethan looked at me like, "Um,
yeah, you're okay. I like you and stuff." That would be the worst thing
ever, like mortifying beyond belief and soul crushing. I mean, I love... I
mean, I like liked Ethan. Yeah, I just like liked him. What was wrong with me?
It had to be Ariel ex-bff nerves. Yeah, that was it.
I was almost glad to arrive at Wired, so I wouldn't have a
chance to think more about Ethan and the big L word. I mean, we had just become
boyfriend and girlfriend. It was way too soon to be thinking about that. Right?
I almost wanted to ask Ariel, but I wouldn't. I so didn't trust her not to blab
my dilemma to Ethan. Ariel and I weren't rekindled bffs yet. It was just
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