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 schedule.
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 them together.
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 thing.
"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 else.
"Totally," I said and found that I felt better simply by telling Ethan about my nerves.
"Don't be," Ethan said. "Ariel's okay. Really."
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, "Yes."
"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 about that.
"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 feels important."
"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, "Yeah. Bye."
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 milkshakes. Right?
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Adventures in Murder Chasing will be available on Amazon, B&N, Itunes, Smashwords and more as of July 8th, 2013! Happy reading!