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Chapter Thirteen
Charlotte's Secret
(Friday Night)

"Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."
~ Ephesians 5:17, 18 ~

Somehow, Charlotte managed to keep her date with Darren Hayes a secret from her relatives. When Friday night finally came, Charlotte was relieved to find that most everyone in the house had somewhere else to be that evening. With little difficulty, Charlotte snuck out of the house and met Darren outside, just as his car pulled up in the driveway. She quickly jumped into the car.

"Let's get out of here!" Charlotte whispered, half in panic that Grandmother Janice, (who was the only one who did not have somewhere else better to go that evening), should catch her.

"We are going to live tonight!" shouted Darren, not comprehending Charlotte's fear of being caught. Darren started up the car, and pulled out of the driveway. Charlotte anxiously watched the house as they drove away. No grandmother was to be seen at the front door or the windows. Breathing a sigh of relief, Charlotte leaned back in her seat. It was then that she realized she was riding in an expensive, black convertible.

"You own a convertible?" asked Charlotte, in amazement. Darren, seeing that his date was impressed, decided to make the most of it.

"I thought black would suit tonight. It was either this or my red corvette, but I thought that would be a little overdoing it," bragged Darren, "don't you think?" Charlotte, not wanting to look stupid in front of Darren, only nodded. She couldn't understand why Sherri had made such a big deal over her going out with someone who had his choice of expensive cars to drive. Figuring that everyone at school must have been wealthy to call Darren unpopular, Charlotte decided to keep quiet about her own uncertain financial status. "Ever been to a rave?" asked Darren, opening a small bottle with one hand and taking a swallow.

"Sure," lied Charlotte, again not wanting to sound like the inexperienced debutante that she was. "All the time."

"The ultimate experience!" shouted Darren, excitedly. "I guarantee you haven't been to a rave like this one! Nobody DJ's a rave like Chris Stevens! He is the absolute best! I've seen him attract crowds upwards to 200 people! It's the ultimate experience!" howled Darren. He shook the small bottle, and after testing it to see that every drop was indeed gone, he tossed it out the window. Charlotte heard the glass bottle shatter as it hit the pavement. The biggest party she had ever been to was when Charlton had taken her to a large benefit dinner to raise funds for an endangered species of Spotted Owl.

"What were you drinking?" asked Charlotte, noticing that Darren looked angry that his drink was all gone.

"Milk," he replied, changing lanes to pass a car.

"Oh," replied Charlotte, pretending to understand. Darren laughed at Charlotte's ignorance.

"You have no idea what's going on, do you?" mocked Darren. "I have serious doubts that you've ever been to a rave in your life!" Darren glimpsed Charlotte's face in the mirror. Her expression said it all. "I thought so!" he gloated.

continued on next page...
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