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Certainly, here's a concise rewrite: Faith Walker embarks on a fateful journey that leads to her abduction. Forced into a marriage with a ruthless man, she grapples with a series of daunting challenges. The narrative sheds light on the daily struggles women endure, but with a dark and suspenseful twist.
"Faith," I heard Kelly's voice yell once again for what felt like the hundredth time.
"Just give me a moment," I shot back, my voice tinged with irritation as I couldn't fathom her impatience. It's not like I was running late; she was ready just unusually early.
With haste, I continued to stuff my clothes into the suitcase, feeling the anxiety creeping in due to Kelly's relentless nagging. I tend to get easily irritated.
A gentle knock at the door drew my attention towards it. My elder sister stood framed in the doorway. I reluctantly tore my eyes away from the suitcase, momentarily interrupted by Paris."Please don't tell me Kelly sent you to drag me out. I already told her I'd be quick," I remarked.
"At last, my nerd sister is getting out of her cocoon," She quipped, dismissing my comment.
I don't understand why she calls me a nerd. There's really nothing about me that fits that description. I'm not a bookworm; in fact, books just give me anxiety. I wasn't exactly a top performer in school either; I'm just an average student.
I do prefer keeping to myself and spending as much time alone as possible. Many people see me as lacking in personality, which makes it difficult for me to make friends. It's not that I don't talk to people, but they just don't find me interesting enough to stick around as friends.
I'm not sure how Kelly managed to stay friends with me for so long.
The only thing people seem to like about me is my appearance. I can't quite understand why I look the way I do, considering my family has a pretty average appearance. At one point, I even entertained some crazy thoughts, like the idea that I might be adopted or that my parents had somehow kidnapped me.
As I grew older and heard people express disbelief that I was part of my own family, it bothered me more and more. One day, I took my parents' toothbrush and sent it for a DNA test.
I know it was an insane move, but I couldn't bring myself to ask them directly. The results came back positive, medically confirming that I was indeed their child, and I had been foolish to doubt it.
Not that I would have done anything differently if the results had been negative. Blood relation or not, I love my parents. They've done so much for me and my sister, and I could never stop loving them. It was just my curiosity about my true background.
Nobody knows about the little stunt I pulled, and I'd like to keep it that way.
"Are you sure you have enough? I have some if you want," Paris offered, her tone serious.I hadn't even realized it when she had approached me.Anyway, getting back to her question, coming from a middle-class family meant that money would always be a concern. We had to be very careful about where those dollars disappeared."It's fine. I don't think we'll have to spend much," I replied, zipping up the suitcase.
"My sister has grown up," she remarked, feigning a wipe of her tears and sniffing lightly.
I rolled my eyes, lips pursed in annoyance. This girl never missed an opportunity to taunt me.
"Shut up, Paris."
Paris wasn't the name our parents had given her. My elder sister was your typical girl who dreamt of finding Prince Charming and going to Paris for her honeymoon. So, she thought it would be a brilliant idea to change her name to Paris. I understood her desire for a perfect happily ever after, but was it really necessary to change her name to Paris?
When I say that it took me forever to get used to calling her Paris instead of Faye, I'm not exaggerating.
She playfully twitched her thick eyebrows, still taunting me with that mischievous grin. I couldn't resist rolling my eyes once more, fully aware that I needed to break the habit of this eye-rolling routine. It was time for a change.
"Let's get a move on before Kelly has a meltdown," Paris declared, grabbing my suitcase and leading the way. I hadn't packed much, so I chose my smaller suitcase over the larger one. I followed her, slinging my handbag over my right shoulder.
"At last," Kelly huffed as she caught sight of me.
My gaze shifted to the suitcase, which seemed larger than Kelly herself as it sat near her leg. She hadn't mentioned anything about settling down there; I had assumed it was just going to be a week-long trip, not a permanent relocation.
"Take care of each other," Paris advised, drawing my attention away from the suitcase.
I turned my gaze from the suitcase to her.
"You sound just like your mom," Kelly commented with a chuckle.
A small, wordless laugh escaped me as I nodded in agreement with Kelly. Paris did indeed sound like Mom.
I could tell she was nervous. I had never been on a trip in my life, not even during my school years when I always managed to come up with excuses to skip them.
"Come over here, both of you," she joked in a motherly tone along with playfully fluttering her eyes. Paris also extended her arms in a dramatic manner.
Without hesitation, Kelly threw herself into Paris's arms. I shook my head and approached them slowly, joining in the group hug.
The three of us erupted into laughter. I wish nothing more than cherishing moments like these forever.
"The van came to a halt right in front of us, and to our surprise, no one offered to help us load our suitcases. We circled around to the back, where the trunk had already been opened. Kelly and I quickly stuffed our suitcases inside, and the door closed slowly.
"Hey," Jaime, who was in the driver's seat, acknowledged as we entered.
"Hi," Kelly and I both replied simultaneously.
We walked further inside the van and found the last unoccupied seats. I couldn't help but think that my backside would need a good massage by the time we reached our destination, given all the bumps in the road.
Kelly better be the one to give me that massage; after all, I'm stuck here all because of her.
"Did you know she was coming?" I asked, nodding toward a familiar face seated a few rows ahead, my gaze fixed on the passing scenery outside the window.
Kelly's silence spoke volumes. Clearly, she hadn't informed me, probably fearing that I would refuse to join her.
Janet had been a childhood friend, but in our second year of high school, she had chosen to associate with the popular crowd. There was nothing wrong with that, but Janet had started making snide comments about us and the other less popular kids. She had undergone a complete and utter transformation, becoming someone we no longer recognized.
I would never admit it aloud, but I feared that Kelly might follow in Janet's footsteps. Kelly had started to behave similarly, seeking validation from the popular kids. Although her goal was to get close to the most popular boy in college, Colten.
The man she is crushing so hard.
I try to comfort myself that not everyone is Janet and even if she happens to be like Janet, then it is still a good thing for me. It's better to be alone than being with fake companions.
"I couldn't resist reaching for Kelly's hand, a strange sensation tingling inside me. My sudden action made her raise an inquisitive eyebrow, silently asking what was on my mind. I stretched my lips into a smile and shook my head. Kelly returned my smile.
My gaze shifted once more to the window, and I noticed a door I had never seen on a van before. It had to be customized. Rich kids.
"Hey," a deep voice interrupted my thoughts.
I turned to see Colten, smoking weed. In fact, everyone in the van seemed to be either smoking or drinking. I felt Kelly stiffen beside me.
"Do you want some?" Colten offered, extending the half pipe he was smoking.
I couldn't believe Kelly's audacity when she tried to reach it. I knew she had a crush on him, but was this really the way to get his attention? Anger welled up inside me like never before.
"No, thank you. We don't smoke," I interjected before she could reach for the pipe.
Ignoring her icy glare, I maintained my composure, keeping my gaze fixed on Colten.
Colten nodded before making the same offer again. "How about a drink?"
I wanted to scratch his face with my nails. Couldn't he take the hint that we weren't interested?
"No, thank you," I replied, my tone unchanged.
Colten's eyes remained on me, and my expression stood impassive. The corner of his lips curled into a smirk before he turned forward, muttering an okay.
"Why were you so rude to him?" Kelly whispered.
Even in a hushed tone, her annoyance was palpable. I might have thwarted her chances of getting closer to him, but I couldn't let her throw herself at him like that. My anger rose anew.
I don't understand why, but Colten has always rubbed me the wrong way. It's like it's his aura or something.
Despite being inside the moving van, I still wasn't sure if joining this trip had been a good idea.
I remained unaware of these people's intentions of inviting Kelly on this trip all of a sudden, with the condition that she should bring a friend. Kelly had agreed impulsively, solely because Colten had personally called her. I still cannot digest it considering he had never acknowledged us before. Something fishy was definitely going on, and I tried to warn Kelly, but she wasn't willing to listen.
As if under a spell, she was determined to go on this trip and had emotionally blackmailed me in the name of friendship. Despite my reservations, I couldn't deny her for long, given how persistent she was.
Coming out of the thought, I chose to remain silent, continuing to gaze outside through the window. Something told me that this trip would be one hell of a ride that we'd never forget.
"Jaime, are you certain this is the correct route? It feels like we've been driving for an eternity. It shouldn't have taken this long to reach the cabin; we should have arrived or at least been close by now," inquired Jaime's girlfriend, seated in the passenger seat.
I didn't know her name, since she wasn't from our college. The only reason I knew she was his girlfriend is because I had seen her on campus, passionately kissing him without a care in the world.
Returning to her question, I couldn't help but concur. We were supposed to be on our way to the cabin, but it felt like we had taken a wrong turn.
"Don't worry, we're on the right path," Jaime reassured his girlfriend.
Seconds later, seemingly out of nowhere, the van sputtered and the engine let out a mournful sigh as it died down. The van's previously muted engine fell silent, and the air grew eerily calm, devoid of even a hint of a breez
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