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The Betting Game - Chapter Twelve

I watched as he ran a hand through his hair in frustration. His blue eyes snapped to mine. I didn't know what to say. I just turned and walked away...
A Look into the Past...

4 Years Ago...

I ran around the park frantically looking for him. It was getting dark and the heavy rain pouring down didn't help much. I knew he was getting bullied, but I couldn't do much about it... I regret it so badly. I sometimes wish, I was the one bullied and not him. He would hate it if I said that though.

I hated our new school. It was a nightmare, and I knew he hated it too. Asher was always the unsocial one. Although he was always the one who was liked more in our family. The boys at school called him a 'sissy'. Now that I think of it... I think that might be the reason. He was a pretty boy, loved by all the teachers.

I think he hated it too. Every day after school he would sit next to me, his head on my shoulder and silently cry.

"Ami," he would say... "I'm pathetic, right?" He was the only one to call me that. I miss it. I really do.

I would shake my head and hug him tightly. "We should talk to mum."

"Don't! She would get too worried. You know we can't move now. I'll take it for a few more months. Promise you won't say anything."

I did. I pinky promised and that's another thing I regret. Maybe if I had told mum, things would have been different. Right now, running in the park... completely soaked; I called out his name. Some people gave me weird looks as they ran to get shelter from the rain.

That day he'd told me he'd take care of things and finally stand up to them. Between us twins, he was always the calmer and more collected one. He was responsible, unlike me. I think that's why he decided to get things over with. He didn't want all the bullying to affect me too. One of the girls at school told me they weren't going to let him go. He was gonna get beaten up. I called him earlier on and found out he was at the park close to school before the phone hung up. No matter how much I call him, he won't pick up now.

It's been 4 hours. I was getting really worried. I wanted to tell mum, but I didn't want to make things more complicated. After what seemed like forever, I found a group of boys surrounding another boy, which I could make out to be Ash from his boy shorts and blue shirt. A sob escaped as I saw one of them kick him behind the leg, causing him to fall on his knee.

"Why don't you just leave me alone?!" I could hear him shout. He got another punch... this time in the stomach, causing him to double over.

I screamed and ran over to him. "Ash... Ash, are you ok?"

"Stay out of this if you don't want to end up like him," the big fat one said.

"Fuck off!" I shouted. I was angry, really angry. Asher put a hand on my arm and I immediately knew he was telling me to back out of this...

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Present Time...

Monday... I hate Mondays. I practically dragged myself to my first class. Clara kept going on about how she couldn't get her usual morning coffee due to the fact that she had overslept. This is also why we were 10 minutes late for class.

"You owe me a coffee," she half-whined, half-whispered before walking to her seat in a hurry. We both got glares and extra homework later on.

This day passed so slowly... that by the time I was done, I felt so refreshed. I actually skipped right to Tyler's car. Seeing he still wasn't there, I made myself comfortable and sat on the hood of his car. He'll kill me for it later. 5 minutes passed and still no sign of him. I sighed and was about to go look for him, when I heard a really familiar voice.

"It's about time you stop playing around, Jess."

"What about you? Aren't you also playing with that girl? Amelia?"

"Jessica!"

"You said there was an interesting girl who you want to play with. You said that on the night of the party. She was your play toy. So what happened to that?"

Before I knew it, I was standing in front of them, my arms crossed. Tyler had his mouth hanging open. He froze when he saw me and then as if realizing I was here to tutor his brother, unlocked the car and motioned for me to get in.

"Play toy, huh? Couldn't come up with anything better?" I scoffed. I had no right to be angry, because honestly... I'm hurting him way more than that. Besides, he hasn't hurt me in any way. In fact, I got a lot from him. Yet, the idea that he might be playing with me... actually hurt.

"It's true, I thought you were pretty amusing but I never thought of playing you. Jessie thinks stuff up on her own. So, don't let her get to you."

I smiled. "I know. You never really gave me a chance to be your play toy... especially with all the bickering we had going on, and I would never let you play me... not after all the playing you'd done with other girls."

"I don't-"

"Ok, I know. You're not the player people believe you to be. You're a saint. Happy?"

He laughed... he actually laughed! I narrowed my eyes at him and waited for him to finish. "It's not healthy to laugh while driving."

"Yes, ma'am," and he burst out into another fit of laughter. I shook my head at him and looked away, secretly smiling to myself.

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I smiled smugly as I looked at Tanner's test papers. His grades have really improved. Well, now I can brag about being a good teacher.

"So what do you want as a present?" I asked as I pulled my hair up into a high ponytail.

"Marshmallows!"

I nodded happily...

Wait! What? "M-marshmallows? I did promise to do something for you if you improved your grades, but what? Marshmallows?"

He nodded without hesitation. There's definitely more to it. This kid is too smart to let this opportunity go to something he can get anytime he wants. He grinned as if reading my mind.

"I want to sit around a fire with you and Tyler and eat roasted marshmallows."

"Now?"

"Of course not silly. It has to be exactly 12. Midnight... like a camping trip. So, there has to be tents too."

"Tanner... I can't. I'll help get the things ready so you have a camping time or whatever with Tyler, ok?"

He pouted. "No! You promised."

So I find myself calling my mum to tell her I might be late than usual. Exactly when can I get home like that? Tanner was jumping around the house, with the housekeeper on his trail. He forced Tyler to buy the marshmallows and some extra stuff, including a 'huge' cake that looked like a car. You would think he's planning a birthday. This kid really isn't easy.

For the next few hours we had drinks ready, some snacks made, and Tyler had actually gotten a cake shaped like his own car and lots of marshmallows. He even put up a tent without complaining. All I did was help make orange juice.

"Tyler really cares about him. The little master... Tanner. Whatever he wants, Tyler makes sure he has it," the housekeeper said as we both sat on one of the benches in the backyard. The place was huge but pretty empty, unlike the front. There were only a few benches and a place fit for a barbecue.

"Tyler... actually does everything Tanner asks him to? He has a soft side too?"

"It might be hard to believe but when he was younger, he was called a weakling, because he was nice to every person he met. His father is a strong businessman. He taught him to be tough and ruthless. He told him that if he's nice to people who won't benefit him in the future, it would just be a waste of time. By time, he stopped caring like usual, but even now... you can tell that deep inside he still has that warm side. Tanner is his only family member that has been there all along. Ever since Tyler turned 6, all he went through was sadness. His parents would mostly be away like now. He never got a 'Happy Birthday'. He spent every one of his birthdays alone in his room. The point is, he's trying hard to keep Tanner happy, so he won't feel the same loneliness, and I think he's doing perfect at it."

I looked at the ground and sighed. I'm not the only one going through hard times, yet, all I've ever thought was that I was probably the most miserable person on the planet. At least I had a mother who cared for me, and friends who were always by my side. Tyler must be feeling really lonely. People don't really care about him for who he is... they only want him for his popularity and money. Well, Jason seems to be an exception but does he know what Tyler's been through? I cocked my head to the side, "Why did you tell me all this?"

"Tyler never stayed home when a tutor was around," she smiled. "Most of them came for him you see, but the moment he found out you were the new tutor he seemed to lighten up a little. I could tell he was glad. He must really trust you, is what I thought, but that's not all there is to it. It's like-"

"Mia! Help me over here, will you?"

My head whipped to the side where Tyler was sitting cross-legged on the ground, a fan in his hand while he tried to start up a fire. I looked over to the housekeeper who nodded for me to go. I ran off to his side and took the fan from his hand. "Hot?" I asked.

He smiled. "Obviously. You sit there doing nothing and I do all the work, why shouldn't I feel tired and hot? What were you talking about anyway?"

"You start the fire. I'll get the marshmallows and when you're done... I'll fan you, ok?"

He sighed. "Sounds good, but why are you-"

I ran off before he could finish. My heart at the moment was beginning to feel very fragile. I was torn between telling him everything and just forgetting about it, but how can I ever tell him that I was planning on hurting him since the beginning?

I saw big blue eyes stare at me all of a sudden, and I jumped back. "Tanner?"

"You're spaced out. Hurry, I want to eat!" He grinned, while grabbing my arm and pulling me back out with him. "I got the marshies."

"M-marshies?"

Another grin. Well, of course. 'Marshies' must be his new name for marshmallows.

It was rather fun though. All three of us sat together around the fire. Even Tyler could now feel the cool breeze and had decided against the fan. We kept passing on funny stories about things that happened at school, avoiding scary ones so that Tanner won't get nightmares or anything of that sort. He's only 7 after all, even if he has a smart mouth. I looked over at Tyler who was listening intently to Tanner's stories which by the way came from the cartoons he watched. This guy who he seemed so intimidating and annoying at first, turned out to be one of the most kindhearted people I've met. I know he's hurting deep down and the fact that he's still so strong makes him an amazing person.

Two hours later, Tanner was sleeping on my lap... snoring softly. I looked at my watch and my eyes widened. 3 in the morning! No wonder I was starting to feel sleepy too. I looked over at Tyler but he only moved to carry Tanner and lay him down in the tent.

"Sorry, your legs must feel numb," he whispered.

I shook my head, "It's fine," yet the moment I moved, I winced and stayed in my place so the numbness would go. "I need to get home. We have school in like... 4 hours."

"Yea, sorry about that too," he got up and took his car keys out.

"You don't have to. You need to rest, and Tanner-"

"You expect me to let you walk all the way home at 3:30 in the morning? Stay over then."

I opened my mouth to say something, but immediately closed it. Enough playing around. "I'm walking home Tyler. It's not like it's really dark anyway. I'll be home by 4, so I don't need-"

"Why are you so stubborn? It's just a 10-minute drive, why do you have to make such a big deal out of it? Do you seriously hate me or something?"

I watched as he ran a hand through his hair in frustration. His blue eyes snapped to mine. I didn't know what to say. I just turned and walked away. Well, at least Tanner enjoyed his day.

"Mia!" He grabbed my arm and pulled me so hard, I went and smacked into his chest. He wrapped an arm around my waist and ran his hand through my hair. "I'll drive you home." That was his final decision and I wasn't getting out of it. I slowly nodded, feeling trapped between his strong arms.

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Hey Guys,

Sorry for the later than usual post... again. I'm just starting to get a little busy lately. I'm supposed to be away now, but the whole traveling thing got canceled so I'm also in a kind of bad mood. So, comment whatever is on your mind. I need to see your comments to feel better.

Oh... and,

Since you guys wanted to know about Asher, I put part of what happened with him in this chapter. I'll probably write the rest in the coming chapters. If it's not clear; he's Mia's twin brother.
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Published: 7/12/2013
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