Chapter 5.

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 I woke next morning to the sun shining brightly through my drape covered windows, warming my pillows and blankets comfortably.

 One would assume that would be a very nice way to start the day, right?

  Too bad that’s not how my day started.

  It was actually raining outside, water droplets pounding against the side of the building, when I cracked open my eyes. Turns out I’d tossed my warm, comfy blankets off onto the floor sometime in the middle of the night, and I was missing one of my fuzzy slipper socks.

 Oh, and to top it all off?

  Not only did I have my laptop taken away last night, but I also had slept in forty five minutes late, which meant that I had exactly fifteen minutes to get ready for school and catch the subway that left at 7:53 am on the dot.

  This, no doubt, was bound to be one surely exciting day.

Fighting back a groan, I practically threw myself out of bed, half crawled my way to the door, wrenched it open, and sprinted for the kitchen. Of course my parents were already gone – New York was the city that never slept – so there was no one there to rag on me for being late as I threw open cupboards in the kitchen, trying to find some breakfast. I settled on a granola bar and a quick class of orange juice, both of which I promptly finished in one minute and nine seconds.

 I realized with dread as I sprinted back to my room that there was no way in hell I was going to be able to take a shower, brush my hair and teeth, get dressed, gather my school work together and shove it in my bag, and then make a dash for the subway all within thirteen minutes.

  To hell with all of this.

   I was going to have to skip a shower this morning and the light dusting of makeup that I usually wore to look at least somewhat acceptable and head off to school. Three cheers for looking unruly in the morning. And besides – the last thing I needed was to get in trouble again after the “little stunt” I’d pulled last night.

 My  parents had been darn furious about my arrival home well after midnight and needless to say, I doubted they were going to lay up on the rules for awhile. Hopefully they’d change their minds. I rarely ever got into trouble. The most I was disciplined for was a couple of bad geometry grades.

 I banged my way out of the bathroom ten minutes later after running a brush through my tangled hair and tugging on a pair of jeans, a long sleeved blouse, and my coat. Interestingly enough, I’d also found the dress and flats I’d been wearing last night – or rather, 27 days in the future – at Archer’s funeral, neatly tucked back into place in my closet.

 It was beyond weird talking about Archer as if he were already dead when clearly, he was obviously alive. The conversation that we’d had yesterday night was still emblazoned firmly in my mind, as well as everything Death had told me.

 One could only hope that today was going to go perfectly fine with nothing at all to through me off track on my mission. Of course, however, that was too much to ask for when you were Hadley Jamison.

 Under normal circumstances, I would spend a bit more time wallowing – somewhat – in self pity about how much my life sucked. But today I just didn’t have the time or motivation for that. So after grabbing all of my school things, throwing them furiously into my bag, I banged my way out of the apartment, quickly locking up behind me, and then took off running.

  Okay, so I probably shouldn’t have thrown my bag around, knocking people out of the way as I tried to high-tail it down to the subway entrance half a block over through the hustle and bustle of the sidewalks.

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