I hesitate before nodding slowly. "Yeah I knew."
He takes a step back and stares down the road for a few moments while I study him.
"Umm..." Crap. I did not want it to come to this. "Uh... remember when you... uh, went on that trip with your Mom? Yeah, uh, I... I kind of got worried." Seeing his eyes staring at me steadily, I hurriedly look away. How do I put this delicately? "So I went to your place a-"
"You know where I live?"
"Yeah, I saw you coming out of your house the first day."
"Yeah." Let's hope he leaves it at that.
"So how did you find out? You asked who lived there?"
"Noo... Your neighbor said you were... um, in the hospital. And he said the Smiths. I thought your last name was Rider?"
"Oh. Okay. That explains it. And well, when I realized you, as in the person I jog with, was in the hospital for eleven days, I got worried."
"So you came to the hospital."
"You knew who I was then?"
"Not until I saw you."
He freezes, his eyes locked on mine before he turns away, his shoulders tense.
"Look Daniel, it was stupid of me not to make the connection in the first place when you weren't at school for two weeks, and my stranger jogging buddy disappeared. And I didn't know what I was expecting sneaking into your room, but... I haven't told anyone, if that's what you're upset about."
"Told anyone what? That Daniel Rider isn't stable? That he's suicidal?" He asks, his voice harsh.
I close my eyes, flinching at the words. "No! No one knows that I know you outside school. I barely talk to anyone but Anna and Dylan." I hesitate, measuring his expression. "I didn't know."
"Then what did you think?"
I shrug, "I didn't let myself dwell on it. I was worried, yes, but if I thought about it, then you would know. I was shocked but that's it."
Daniel takes in a deep breath, "That's why you came yesterday. During lunch. You thought I'd hurt myself."
I nod slowly. "Part of the reason."
"And the other part?"
"I dunno. I just came."
He nods, but remains quiet. We stand in absolute silence for a few moments until I glance up at him to see him looking at me, a slight frown on his face.
"Are you upset?"
I nod, turning and looking down the road.
I'm going to be late for school.
"I'm actually glad you're the one who knows."
"Why?" I don't bother turning around, pulling my sleeves over my cold fingers as a cold breeze gusts past us.
"Because I trust you."
"Trust is a big word."
"I know." He sits down on the edge, his legs apart, the hood back up. "Why did you though?"
He pats the sidewalk beside him and I settle down, keeping some space between us. "Why did you come and find out? Why care when I took every measure to hide who I was?"
"You didn't do a very good job. That voice imitation sucked."
He chuckles, "You didn't figure it out earlier."
"So you weren't surprised when you saw me in the hospital?"
"No, I think I was more surprised by... everything else."
"So why'd you do it?"
"I dunno." I shrug. "I guess because..." I sigh, glancing at him to see he's turned toward me. "I don't know. I was just worried."
"Because you care."
It isn't a question.
My stomach suddenly starts feeling queasy and I stand up, looking away. "I dunno. I guess I do."
"If you were worried, then you care. 'Cuz if you didn't then it wouldn't have mattered."
It's silent for a few moments before he speaks again. "So ready to go back? We have school." His voice is light and I turn to him, eyes searching. He turns away, a smile playing on his lips and I follow, a few steps behind as he leads me back.
Standing at the end of my driveway, he hesitates.
"I'll see you in English."
"Sure." I reply, shrugging, trying not to seem bothered.
Walking to my front door, I glance over my shoulder to see him already jogging back to his place. He glances back before turning around the corner and I duck inside.
"Huh?" I snap out of my thoughts as Anna waves a hand in front of my face. "What? Yeah. I'm fine."
"You sure? Did you go jogging this morning?"
"Yeah. Why?" I ask slowly, looking at her.
She shrugs. "You're usually cranky when you don't."
I stare at her, my mouth hanging open. "I am NOT cranky!"
Anna starts laughing and glances over at Dylan. "No need to call the cops. Cameron's back, no one's abducted her."
"You guys," I roll my eyes at their antics, even as a smile stretches my lips. "You two are nuts."
"Anna, what are you doing Saturday?"
"Nothing! Not anymore." She grins, slinging her arm through mine as we walk to our next class.
I smile, glancing at her. "Well, Josh is having his team over for a party before their first game. I don't want to be stuck in a house full of guys, so could you come over?"
"A house full of guys? Duh, I can!" When I chuckle, she turns to me, smiling. "Of course I will. Don't you want to go out instead?"
I shake my head, grinning. "Josh wants me there. You know, for a reason to kick the guys out if things get rowdy."
Anna narrows her eyes, "Could your brother get anymore perfect?"
I laugh, "Don't jinx it!"
When a shadow casts over my desk in English, I'm already 99% sure who it is before I look up.
Putting my pen down, I look up and see Daniel standing in front of me.
He smiles, "Hey. Can I talk to you for a moment?"
"Sure." When he takes a step back and doesn't start, it clicks. Getting up, I follow him out of the class as Raven and her gang walk in, Chester leaving her by the door before hurrying to his class. "What's up?"
He fiddles with the zipper on his jacket. "I wanted to apologize for my behavior this morning. You weren't judging me, and I just sort of became defensive. I'm sorry."
I shrug, "It's alright."
"And thank you."
"What for?" I ask slowly.
He smiles, "For not judging. For keeping it to yourself."
"Daniel," I shake my head, "it's alright. Your secret's safe with me. Don't worry alright?"
He frowns, looking at me closely. "What's wrong?"
I shake my head, looking over my shoulder just in time to see the teacher walking in. "We've got to get to class."
I slip into my seat just as the teacher turns to the class and Daniel quickly follows.
"What did I say?"
The note lands on my arm as I take notes of the lesson. Lifting it up, I unfold it and see the cursive writing. Glancing up, I see Daniel watching me.
Looking back down, I scribble back a reply and hand it to him as he holds his hand out when the teacher's back is to us.
Raven's eyes are boring into my face as I turn back to the teacher.
"Nothing? U sure about that? You seem upset. I'm sorry."
Reading the note, I tuck it into my file and look up at him. He raises an eyebrow and I shake my head before turning back to the teacher.
"Cameron!" As I'm hurrying out of class, Daniel calls me and I hesitate by the door. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing." I smile, looking at him questioningly. "Why would you think something's wrong?"
"I don't know. You seem... distant?"
"Over what?" I ask, laughing.
He studies my expression before nodding. "Alright. I'll see you around, I guess."
I watch, confused, as he walks away.
Wait a minute.
Is he upset with me now?
"So, who was that guy I saw you within the cafeteria? The one who Chester was going to get into a fight with?" Josh asks, Saturday morning as he, Kyle and I get ready for the party, setting out the snacks and all.
"Yup. If that's his name."
I shrug, "He's in my English class."
"Oh. So you guys working on a project together or something?"
"No. Why do you ask?" I glance at him, emptying the bag of chips into a bowl. Kyle's busy taking out all the drinks but I'm sure he's listening closely. His eyes flick up toward me every few seconds.
Josh shrugs, "I dunno. I was just surprised to see you with him."
"He's just a friend." I reply, shooting both boys a look.
Josh nods but I notice the smile playing on his lips and roll my eyes.
Yes, Josh, let's celebrate. Your little sister is talking to a guy! On her own! Yippee!
As the bell rings, I sigh. "Okay. I'll be upstairs in my room."
"What? No! You can stay." Josh frowns, looking at me.
I shake my head. "I'd rather not. As much as I enjoy your and Kyle's company."
Josh grins. "Come on. You don't need to join us. Just stay."
Sighing, I sit down on the stair I'm standing on. "Okay."
Kyle opens the door and the first one in is... Chester.
I hold back the urge to roll my eyes, expecting his tail girlfriend, Raven, to walk in after him.
"Hey man! Glad you could make it."
"Hey." He smiles but then his eyes move over to me. "I thought no chicks allowed."
"Girls." Josh corrects him, his voice firm. "And this is my sister, Cameron."
"Hey." I shoot him the smallest smile I can, before looking at Kyle, who's grinning.
"Hi. I'm Chester."
"Nice to meet you... Chester."
"Come on in." Josh leads him inside, leaving Kyle and me alone in the hallway.
"Isn't the tiger on the Cheetos chips named Chester?"
Kyle bursts out laughing and I chuckle, watching him.
"What? Isn't he?"
"Yup." Catching his breath, he grins, his eyes sparkling. "You really are something Cam."
"Why, thank you." I reply, pulling on a British accent.
He grins, turning and pulling the front door open as the bell rings.
I think I say, "Hey, I'm Cameron, Josh's sister... Nice to meet you." About ten times in the next 15 minutes. A lot of guys loiter around in the hallway, talking to Kyle and trying to include me in the conversation but I just smile, not interested in small talks.
"Hey there, gorgeous."
Okay, they better not be talking to me.
I'm the only girl here, of course they're talking to me.
Rolling my eyes, I look up from my phone at the feet standing in front of me and swallow a smile as I recognize the sneakers.
I turn back to my phone. "Hey Dylan."
When there's no reply, I look up and see him grinning.
"How'd you know it was me?"
I shrug. "Wild guess? Your sneakers gave you away. And what are you wearing?" I ask, looking at his hoodie and shorts.
He shrugs, "Thought I'd sport your look today." He sits down on the step below me, smiling. "What do you think?"
"It's the new you." I reply, deadpan.
"I'm glad you agreed. I'm planning on going hoodie shopping now."
"Fantastic. Feels so nice to know I've made a difference."
"I can imagine, you must feel so... powerful."
I nod seriously. "Without a doubt."
As he turns to look toward the door, I can see him fighting a smile and laugh quietly.
"Oh! We match!" Anna exclaims and I look up as she walks through the door.
"Okay. Here's the plan. We bag her and take her upstairs. There are too many guys here today, I don't want her to go crazy." I murmur.
Dylan chuckles,"I like it. You got a bag?"
"No." I shoot him a look. "What? I've got to do all the thinking? You can carry her."
He grins. "Yes ma'am."
Cameron and I enter her room with the drinks and snacks, and see Anna walking around, taking it in.
"You don't have much in your room." She says, glancing at Cameron.
Cameron raises an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
"Nothing personal. No photos, no posters, nothing to give away your hobbies."
As we place the food on her desk, Anna comes forward.
This is the first time she's wearing something that isn't girly and doesn't have matching accessories. Her light pink hoodie over gray jeans actually looks good on her.
She looks pretty in everything as usual.
"So, what's this about? You guys trying to make a point?"
"What?" I turn to Cameron, taking the can of Coke she holds out to me.
I chuckle, glancing at Anna. "We just thought it would be cool."
"Yeah, we look like we belong in some cult." She jokes, smiling.
I watch as she sits down beside me on the bed.
Cameron... She's different. The first day I met her, I was wondering what exactly Anna was thinking. I mean, not in a bad way. The girl barely talked! But I guess that was just me judging things before I got to know them. Or the fact that Anna and I weren't alone anymore.
More of the former.
But she's opened up like a billion times more than compared to three months ago.
She actually laughs now.
She's sweet. She's like those type of people you rarely find, who are all sarcastic and at times moody, but underneath it all, it's because they really care.
Of course neither Anna or I know what happened to her to make her that way. Last time I talked to her brother he said some things that made me think that whatever it was before, Cameron had been a fun, easygoing girl. And since then, I've been sort of on a mission to bring her back.
"Hey. The DAC cult."
"What's that?" Anna looks at me, confused.
"The Dylan/Anna/Cameron cult?"
"Why is Anna's name after yours?" Cameron asks, smirking.
"Uh... dunno. It could be the DCA cult."
"No, there has to be a reason why you want Anna's name after yours." She raises an eyebrow and I feel my cheeks start to heat up.
"He's a Grammar freak. Probably for the vowel in the center. Trust me Cam, he actually thinks those things through."
"So? What's wrong with that?" I demand, turning to Anna, pretending to be upset.
She grins. "I didn't say anything was wrong, did I?"
There's a knock at Cameron's bedroom door and we all turn toward it.
"Cameron?" A male voice calls.
"That's not Kyle or Josh."
"It sounds like Chester." Anna says.
Cameron rolls her eyes and stands up, but I jump up and gesture for her to sit as I walk to the door. Unlocking it, I pull it open just a bit so that he can't look inside the room.
"Can I help you?"
"Who are you?" Chester's voice changes, his eyes accusing.
Oh, I'm the one in trouble. You know, 'cause sneaking up to his friend's sister's room isn't wrong.
"What do you want?"
He tries to see past me but it's useless. "Where's Cameron?"
"Busy. How'd you get up here? None of the guys are allowed up. Does Josh know?"
His eyes narrow dangerously but he doesn't reply, instead turning around, he walks away and I watch as he heads back down.
I didn't tell Josh that Chester had sneaked up, even though Dylan literally pushed me to it.
Josh would not have taken it lightly. I doubt Kyle would have either and Fortridge's soccer team would have been one player short for their first game.
I had, however, promised Dylan I'd tell my brother if it happened again.
On the other hand, Daniel had disappeared once more. But this time I knew he wasn't hospitalized because he was still coming to school. He just didn't go jogging and didn't attend English class anymore.
How did my life here suddenly get so full of guys?
Blowing out a breath, I cross the road toward the Smiths residence.
I'm going to get through this once and for all.
I ring the doorbell and when there's no immediate reply, knock on the door.
It opens a few moments later by a tall, beautiful brunette.
Is this his mom?
She doesn't look a day over 25.
"Hey. Is Daniel in?" I ask, smiling.
She smiles, nodding and stepping back. "He is. Why don't you come in?"
"Thank you." Stepping inside, I leave the cold out as the warm air envelopes me.
"Come into the kitchen. He's just on his way down for breakfast." I follow her inside, glancing around. The house is beautifully furnished and as we walk past the lounge, I see dozens of photos on the mantle.
I want to see those pictures.
"You're a friend of Daniel's?"
"Yeah, sort of. I think. I don't really know if he thinks of me as a friend actually. My name's Cameron."
She smiles, turning to me. "Joyce. It's great to meet you."
She glances behind me and I turn around to see Daniel standing in the doorway.
"Hey." I slide off the stool and face him.
"I'm going to go get ready for work. It was nice meeting you, Cameron." Joyce says, leaving the kitchen.
"Same here." I shoot her a smile.
"What are you doing here?" He asks softly once his mom's left.
"What's going on?"
"Nothing." He shakes his head, walking toward the refrigerator.
"Okay, I get it that we're not close. You can avoid jogging with me, fine, but why are you skipping class?"
"No Daniel. I don't understand. I told you I'm not going to tell anyone."
"I know. I know you did. I haven't let anyone into my life for two years. I..." He looks at me and shoots me a small smile. "I guess I'm scared."
"I get it. I swear I do. I was scared too, but... I took the risk, didn't I? I opened up to you. And I'm not saying that you should open up to me. It could be anybody. It's just... liberating once you've got it off your chest. When you know you can share it with someone."
He nods, thinking it over. Looking down, he pours some juice into a glass and pushes it toward me before getting one for himself.
"Can I share it with you?" His voice is low, his eyes down.
"Yeah, if you want to." I reply slowly.
It's a couple of seconds before he looks up.
Replies to Comments
Mar - Thanks! You write? That's amazing! Yeah, I'd love to read your stories. What are they called?
PH - I'm glad you're enjoying it! Thanks so much. Haha yeah, I know what you mean, even I'm finding it hard to let go of Until You haha. Yeah, Josh is amazing. He's like the big brother I always wanted lol. I dunno, I guess the whole 'it needs to be better than Until You' is getting to my head? I dunno. Haha YES, I miss your Jacob, lmao. Do I have to move on? Why? I'm not ending it, don't worry! The drama is all just starting and I'm excited to see your reactions! I've started writing another story, Battle of the Hearts, haven't posted the next chapter yet 'cause you haven't commented. Check it out if you like! I have a feeling you're going to like it once the story progresses. Thanks a lot!
BriBri - I dunno! But Cameron's made it clear, she likes Kyle as a brother so we're gonna have to see. I know what you mean! Just hang in there... there's someone special waiting for you to sweep you off your feet.
Praiser - Thanks so much! Haha yes, they're great together... as siblings! Thanks!
Kid - Thanks!
Emo-Ish - Thanks!
Sharp Eyed Girl - Yeah, unfortunately.
Eyz - Thanks!
Gtg - Thanks a lot!
'Ello - Hey, thanks a lot! Glad you and your sister are enjoying!
Just Me - Hey! Hope you're enjoying!
Shiny - Hey! Happy to see your comment! Am glad you enjoy it! Thanks.
Emj - Lol. Thank you!
MayJuneJuly - Haha, I know you love them. Thanks a lot hun! Yeah, well, it was because of the whole hospital situation, not who he was. You'll see in this chapter. Alright, I will! Enjoy!
Dazzle - Well, it was that she didn't notice or recognize him... In the hospital, she knew it was Daniel, but before that she never consciously gave it a thought. I guess she liked the fact that she could talk to whoever it was personally, and not know that he was the guy she's opened up too, get me? Hope you enjoy!
Anjana - Thank you SO much! Am ecstatic that you're enjoying it! Great to read your comment as usual!
Honey - Hey! Thanks! Glad you're enjoying! Oops... my bad. They're the same person. Sorry, I had different characters in mind at the beginning! Enjoy!
Ange - Thanks a lot! Okay, I'll keep it in mind!
Emma - Thanks a lot! I will, and I'll try to post more often after the tenth... promise!
Last Chances - Chapter 815 comments please!
By Sammer A