"You going to school?"
I nod, "Yeah. Of course."
"Then how about we talk later? Because I think it's going to take awhile."
I shrug. "Sure. As long as you're not going to ditch me."
He grins. "Missed me?"
"You coming to English class?"
"So you have missed me! Don't worry, I'm coming. I'll be sitting in front of you as always and you can continue staring at me."
Raising my eyebrows, I get to my feet. "I think I liked you better with the hood on."
He chuckles. "All about the image hun."
"Well, don't let the image turn you into something you're not."
He smiles, leading me to the front door. "I won't."
Closing the door behind Cameron, I sigh.
How am I going to tell her? I haven't spoken about it with anyone in two years, although anyone who was around here knows what happened.
Just not how I handled it.
Walking into the kitchen, I see Mom sitting, having her breakfast.
"Morning love." I shoot her a smile before rooting around the cupboard for a cereal bowl. "Was she a friend from school?"
"Yeah. Cameron's in my English class. Remember I told you that there was a new girl? Her brother is the captain of the soccer team."
"Ah, yes. And she's your jogging buddy?"
I look at her, confused. How does she know that? "Why do you say that?"
Mom shrugs, "Her cheeks were flushed when she entered, so I assumed she'd been running."
"It could have been because of the cold. But yeah, we are jogging buddies."
"So you're good friends."
"Kind of... I think."
"You know she said the same thing when I asked if she were a friend of yours."
"Huh." Pouring my cereal into the bowl, I sit down opposite Mom and then realize, I've forgotten to get a spoon. "As always." My back's to Mom as she continues.
"She's so pretty in her jogging outfit. Imagine when she wears a dress."
Why the sudden interest in Cameron's attire?
Shrugging, I sit back down. "I wouldn't know Mom. She lives in hoodies and jeans as far as I've seen."
"Really?" Her eyebrows raised, she looks up at me.
"Different, how?" I ask around the cereal in my mouth.
Mom shrugs, standing up. "She isn't like any of the other girls you used to be friends with. They were so concerned with how they looked and if it all matched. They were..."
"Shallow?" I chuckle, glancing at her over my shoulder.
She smiles, "Sort of. Anyway, I need to be leaving for work. Have fun at school. Stay safe." She kisses my head and I watch as she walks out of the kitchen.
"We have a tutoring program that runs for two weeks. It's voluntary but I would like you all to sign up just the same. You will be assigned a third grader whom you will tutor for the following two weeks. The sign up and information sheets are on my desk, please take one of each as you leave." Our homeroom teacher announces, just as the bell rings.
"Girls, look what I got." Dylan holds up his sign up sheet for the tutoring program.
Anna and I glance at each other and she turns to Dylan, holding up hers.
"You too huh?"
"You going to do it?" I ask him as we walk to our first class.
He shrugs. "Dunno. You?"
"It's for two weeks. I don't want to spend my New Year's vacation tutoring a kid."
"Anna," I glance at her, smiling. "Two weeks starting from tomorrow. We'll be done before our break starts."
"Oh." She grins. "I'll think about it then."
"Hey kiddo." Josh slings his arm around my shoulder as Anna, Dylan and I walk to the cafeteria for lunch.
"Hi. What's up?"
"Nothing. What's this?" He reaches for the papers I'm holding. "A tutoring program. You thinking of joining?"
I shrug. "I dunno. Should I?"
He reads the paper and nods. "Yeah. It'll be a nice experience."
"Okay then." I turn to Anna, smiling. "Anna?"
"What?" She narrows her eyes, looking at me.
"You going to do it? It'll be good, helping society."
She opens her mouth to reply and then hesitates. "If I say no, it'll sound bad."
"True." I nod, grinning.
She groans. "Do you see how she corners me into agreeing?" She asks Josh.
He laughs, "She does that to me all the time."
"What are you doing here anyway?" I ask him.
"What? I can't walk with my sister?"
"Did your friends ditch you?" I grin.
"No." He shoots me a look before glancing over his shoulder.
Sighing, I shake my head. "What did you do Josh?"
"I hope you're not expecting me to cover for you."
"For what?" Dylan asks, glancing behind us.
"Josh was notorious for playing pranks back in New York on students and teachers. I was stuck covering for him half the time if he skipped school to avoid getting punished."
"Hey! That was only once."
"I still had to cover up when you didn't skip school."
He grins before looking over his shoulder once more. "Gotta go!"
As he zips past us and into the cafeteria, I glance back.
"Cameron!" Chester calls out.
"Keep walking." I tell Anna, linking my arm with hers.
"Cameron." Kyle's voice is much lower as he approaches as just as Dylan pushes open the cafeteria doors. A quick glance inside, shows Josh is nowhere in sight.
"Hey. What's up Kyle?" Chester starts speaking at the same time as Kyle and I turn to look at him, "I can't hear Kyle."
He stares at me, taken aback.
"Cam, have you seen Josh?"
I frown. "What do you mean? Shouldn't he be with you at practice?" I ask, looking behind Kyle to see that the whole team has gathered.
Oh, what did he do now?
"No. Someone's..." Kyle chuckles, "someone's pulled a prank. On Chester." Kyle looks at me meaningfully and I bite back a smile.
"It isn't funny." Chester replies.
"Yes, it is. It's just a joke. Lighten up." Kyle turns to me, "So you don't know where he is?"
"Thanks Cam!" He calls over his shoulder as they leave.
"What did he do?" Anna laughs, dragging me into the cafeteria.
"No idea, but I have a feeling we'll find out soon."
"Yeah?" I turn to see Daniel's already seated in his place. When did he get here?
"Could you..." He pauses and shoots me a smile before turning to his desk. Frowning, I watch as he pulls out a sheet of paper from his notebook and writes something down. Folding it, he hands it to me and I take it, shooting him a curious look.
Could you please come over after school? To talk?
Yeah. Sure. What time?
Folding it, I hand it back to him and watch as he smiles, reading.
When can you come?
Raven's staring daggers at us.
LOL, that's part of the reason I chose writing.
And the other part?
He chuckles out loud, seeing me repeat his words, and then quickly turns it into a cough, glancing at the teacher.
"Yeah?" He looks up from where he and Kyle are sprawled out on the couches in front of the television.
Don't ask, I don't know why Kyle literally lives at our place.
"I'm going out yeah? I... I have a project. For school."
"Daniel. So I'm going to be out for a while."
"Okay." He nods. "You want me to drop you?"
"No. His house is on the next block. I can walk."
"You sure. You want some company?"
"No thanks. I have my phone alright? I'll be back for dinner."
"Stay safe!" Kyle calls as I leave.
"Okay Ky. That would be a good idea."
"Who's Daniel?" I hear him ask Josh as I pull on my shoes.
"He's in her English class."
"They have an English project?"
"I dunno man. Maybe. Why you so worried? She's going out. Chill."
"Nah, I'm just asking."
"You're not jealous, are you?"
I cock my head to the side, listening intently.
"Jealous? Why would I be jealous?"
Josh laughs, that understanding, all knowing laugh of his, that annoys me when he does it with me. Cause it usually means he knows something he isn't going to tell me or isn't supposed to know. "Nothing."
Shaking my head, I head out.
The walk to Daniel's place takes about five minutes because I walk as slow as I can.
"Hey. You came." He pulls open the door and steps back, letting me enter.
"Of course. I said I would. It's freezing outside."
"I know. Come on. The fire's on in the lounge."
I follow him inside, to the room with the photographs. Sitting down on the couch, I glance around.
"I like your house."
"Thanks." He smiles, "My mom loves trying out new things so it doesn't have one look for long."
"Oh that's cool."
"Yup." He nods, glancing around.
Biting my lip, I watch him, not really looking forward to what's coming.
I have a very strong feeling it isn't going to be... pleasant.
You better stay strong Cameron. No tears.
"You want something to drink?"
"No, I'm fine thanks."
"Sure? I could make some hot chocolate."
"No. You know how to make hot chocolate?" I grin, trying to lighten the mood.
He grins. "Haven't you heard? My hot chocolate is famous around here."
I laugh. "No way! Why did you never told me?"
He smiles. "So do you want some?"
"Nah, I'm cool."
He nods, "Okay."
I watch as he walks over to the fireplace mantle, and looks at the photographs.
"You know I had a brother?"
"Really? No, I didn't."
"Yeah." He lifts a photo frame up and walks back to me. Sitting down beside me, he holds it out and I take it.
It's a photograph of Daniel and another dark-haired boy.
Unlike Daniel, he's got brown hair but they share the same hazel brown eyes. Both boys are smiling as they look at the camera.
"Craig." I look up to see Daniel staring ahead, a small smile on his lips. "He was always the life of the house and when we were together, it was just crazy."
"He looks a lot like your mom."
"Yeah," turning to me, he glances down at the photo. "Craig looked like Mom. And I..." Standing up, he retrieves another photograph, "I look like Dad."
"Yeah, there's a really strong resemblance." I look down at the blond man, who's got a sturdy build, and an easy smile on his face.
He nods. "Yeah. Craig was my twin."
I stare at Daniel, shocked.
He doesn't look like someone who has a twin.
Not that people who have twins look different.
"Um. Whoa. I didn't know."
"Yeah. We were really close."
"What happened?" I ask softly.
Daniel sighs, standing up. "Two years ago, there... there was an accident." He takes in a deep breath, his back to me. "We were driving out of town. Dad had gotten tickets to a football game as a surprise. Mom opted to stay home so we left early morning. You know how the road to the next city is all... you have to drive through this valley that's all full of small twists and turns?"
"No, I've never gone downtown, much less left the city."
Daniel nods, turning back again. "Well, Dad lost focus for a second and a car came flying around the corner." I flinch as the image flashes through my brain. "It smashed into the front." His voice is rough. "Dad.. Dad..." Seeing his shoulders hunch, I walk over to him and place a hand on his arm, squeezing it gently. "He died immediately. Craig was sitting in front and he was injured... badly." It's silent for a few moments and a shiver runs down my spine as I try to imagine myself in his position. "I had a few bumps, but I was fine. The ambulance took twenty minutes to arrive and I was half out of my mind by the time. Craig was moaning in pain and I had to keep him from looking at Dad. The ambulance arrived and Craig was flown to a hospital in a helicopter. Dad was taken in the ambulance and I went with them." Daniel takes in a ragged breath, lifting his tear-filled eyes to mine. "Mom was hysterical by the time we arrived. Craig had been admitted but the doctors said his chances of survival were thin, that even if he did live, he wouldn't be able to move. He died three days later. He didn't even know that Dad was... gone."
"I'm so sorry." I murmur as he drops his head down.
"What eats me up... the one thing that tortures me is that I was with them. If they couldn't live, why me? Why not take me instead of Dad? He meant the world to Mom. And Craig? Craig had his whole life ahead of him. He was talented, he would have made something of himself. I don't understand how I should continue to live after..." He lifts his eyes up to mine, tortured, and it's like a knife's been drawn through me heart.
"Daniel... you can't do anything." I say softly as he stares up at me. "Would your Dad have liked to see you like this? Is this what Craig would want you to be doing?"
"But it's the only way I can cope with the pain."
"By hurting yourself?" I ask softly, ducking down to look at his face.
"I used to think, Mom hated looking at me because I looked so much like Dad."
"But... Daniel, is it better that she has you? What if she lost all three of you in a day? Who would have taken care of her?"
He looks up at me and musters up a small smile.
"Hey, look. Everything happens for a reason alright? You're going to be fine. I know it hurts. I can't imagine how it must be to lose a twin but I know I can't live without Josh. And well, I don't have a father, but losing someone you look up to hurts. But... can I ask you something? Do YOU think this is the right way to handle it?"
He shakes his head, dropping his eyes. "I know it isn't."
"It hurts your Mom. It hurts you. Your Mom loves you Daniel and you've got tons of friends who love you too."
"No I don't."
"Yeah, you do. At least people who admire you."
"Raven doesn't count." He mumbles and I laugh softly.
He's coming back.
One step at a time.
"I'm not talking about Raven."
"Then?" He turns his shining eyes up to mine and it's a moment before I can answer.
"Me, for example. You're right. I do care about you. That's why I came looking for you."
"When you were my anonymous jogging buddy? Because you listened, because you understood and didn't judge. When I found out you were Daniel?" I shrug. "I guess the whole concept I had of you in my head, when I was able to put a face to it, just made it... so much more wonderful. Look at you Daniel. Girls crush over you and watch you when you walk down the hallway. They're eager to help you and are on the verge of fainting if you talk to them. And instead of being this conceited, arrogant guy everyone else would expect, you're gentle, kind and understanding."
"So, you're saying..."
"That if you continue hurting yourself, then I'm going to kill you."
He chuckles, "No, that's not what I wanted to hear."
"Um, I'm late, I have to leave?"
He smiles, shaking his head. "Nah, that's not it either."
"I can't think of anything else you would possibly want to hear Daniel Rider."
"How about a yes?"
"To what?" I ask, narrowing my eyes.
"To being my friend?"
"We're already friends."
"To letting me drop you to school tomorrow?"
"Uh... my brother drops me."
"So? Not even once?"
"Well..." I bite my lip, imagining the look of pleasure on Josh's face.
I wouldn't live down the teasing.
"What? Too many questions?"
"Yeah. Kyle was already suspicious about the whole project thing."
"Are you and Kyle...?" Daniel trails off, watching me.
I shake my head. "No, just friends. Strictly. Nothing more."
"Oh, okay." He reaches for my hand and holds it in his. I look up at him, biting my lip. "Okay, how about hanging out during the weekend? If you don't have any plans?"
"Um..." I watch him, chewing on my bottom lip and see the disappointment setting in his eyes when he thinks I'm going to say no. "Sure. Wait that's not what you wanted to hear. Yes."
He grins. "Sure works too."
Gently pulling my hand back, I glance at the clock.
"I really do need to be heading back."
"I'll come with you. It's started to rain."
"No!" He raises a hand, leading me into the hallway. "I'm coming." Pulling on his leather jacket over his long sleeved shirt, he gets a big black umbrella out.
Replies to Comments
Eyz - Yup
Emo-Ish - All was revealed in this chapter! Hope you enjoyed!
Just Me - Yup, yup!
PH - Am glad you're enjoying! I know, Kyle definitely likes her and they would be cute together in a way. Let's see! You're very welcome! Haha yeah, I haven't posted it up yet because I was busy studying, but tomorrow hopefully! Hope you enjoy. Thanks!
Janet - Aw, thank you so much!
Dazzle - Thanks SO much! My exam was great, thanks! And I'm ecstatic that you're enjoying!
Emj - Thank you.
MayJuneJuly - Glad you're enjoying hun! I know, they're just too cute together! I'm really happy you're liking it so far. Love you too.
Mar - Okay! Done with school so I'm going to start reading! Thanks!
Praiser - Glad you've enjoyed it! Yup, yup things are moving along for Daniel and Cam... let's see what's going to happen next! Thanks so much!
Em - Hey Em! I'm super glad that you're enjoying it! Hope it keeps you hooked! It was great to read your comment! Lol, I agree with you there! Popular girls get on my nerves too. Thanks!
Plz - Sorry for the delay!
BriBri - Haha, I know right? Josh will flip! But Chester so deserves it.
A Sethi - Aw, thank you so much! It really means a lot! I'm really glad you're enjoying the stories! And I will most definitely read your story and comment!
Finished my exam and I'm done with high school! You know what that means? I can fully concentrate on writing! (That's unless my Mom has plans to keep me busy in the summer... let's hope not!) Oh, and reading! Everyone who's asked me to read their stories, I'm on it! I promise and I will comment under "Sammer" ... really excited to read all your stories! Thanks for the amazing feedback and I'll do my best to post as often as possible!
Last Chances - Chapter 915 comments please! Enjoy!
By Sammer A