Me And My Shadow

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Chapter 12

Before I knew it, it was Saturday night.

I haven’t talked to anyone since Friday afternoon. My mom had tried to come into my room and talk to me numerous times, but I just ignored her. She thought it was just that time of month for me, but I couldn’t tell her that it was about a boy. Not only would I get the whole ‘birds and bees’ lecture, I would also be asked a million and one questions that I just really didn’t have answers to. I love my mom, but I didn’t want to tell her everything about my life. Some things were meant to be private.

Besides, if I had told my mom what happened with Eric, she would’ve wanted to know how I met him. The obvious answer would have been school, but then I would’ve had to explain how I met him through Layla. If I told my mom that Eric was Layla’s step-brother, she would never let me spend the night at their house again. Over protective? Definitely.

I received a few concerned texts from Layla. I hadn’t messaged her back as of yet. My phone was on the speaker doc, playing Pandora. The Fray Radio and Coldplay Radio were my two favorite stations. For hours, I switched back and forth between the two whenever a song came on that I didn’t feel like listening to.

The last song was over, and the next one began playing. I heard the melody and instantly frowned. Only Hope by Switchfoot was now booming through my speakers and I quickly slid off my bed pulling my phone from the speaker doc.

I stopped the music and exited from Pandora.

Thanks a lot, Switchfoot.

I tapped my messenger app and saw ten unread messages from Layla and of course, two from Eric.

He was texting me all day yesterday after our little confrontation at school. He told me he was sorry, but I didn’t care. He was only apologizing to make himself feel better. It became clear to me that he didn’t care about me at all like I thought he had. It was all just an act. I felt pretty stupid, to be honest.

I opened Layla’s conversation and read her messages.

Layla: Hello, earth to Cecilia...

Layla: Are u ignoring me cause of Eric?

Layla: I’m sorry he hurt u, but please don’t take it out on me.

Layla: Do u want me 2 come over? Maybe we can have a girl’s night at ur place.

Layla: I can bring kettle corn. U said it was ur favorite!

Layla: We may have just met, but I am not afraid 2 blow ur phone up...

I had to give this girl props because she was indeed persistent.

I clicked on reply and finally responded to her.

Me: Hey.

I figured I’d spent enough time sulking. I didn’t want everyone to think that this had hurt me as bad as it did. I mean, he bad mouthed me in front of his jerk friends. What teenage guy didn’t do that? I know he was only doing it so he wouldn’t seem whipped or whatever, but still, he could have put it in a nicer way. I wasn’t ready to accept an apology until I fully thought he was being sincere. Texts were not sincere to me.

Ding.

Layla: It speaks! Or... txt’s. (:

Me: Very funny.

Layla: Oh, c’mon. It so was.

Me: What’s up?

Layla: Let me come over. We need 2 talk. Plz?

I did want Layla to come over, I just didn’t know what to say to her. I didn’t want her to try and bring up what happened with Eric. I just wasn’t in the mood to talk about it.

Another thought crept its way into my mind, my mom. She would be all over Layla asking her questions and trying to get involved in everything that we did. I didn’t think I was ready to go down that road.

Oh, who am I kidding?

Me: Sure, just let me ask my mom.

The fact of the matter was, I needed a friend. Despite the many voices in my head telling me to lock myself away all weekend, I needed someone to talk to about everything.

I walked into the living room where Brody was watching a lame football game.

“Where’s mom?”

“Check outback. I’m no one’s keeper.”

I hated how much things had changed between us.

I walked out of the back door and saw my mom lying on the hammock. She used to come and lay out here all of the time, but recently stopped. I was happy to see her out here again.

“Hey mom.” She had a glass of wine in her hand and a cookbook in the other.

“Hey sweetie, what’s up?” Her voice was happy. That made me smile.

“Do you think I could have a friend over for the night?” I asked with ease and was not at all shocked by her response.

“Of course! Is it Layla? I’ve been dying to meet her!”

“Yeah, it’s Layla. Please don’t embarrass me!” I tried my best not to say it, but I had to make sure she didn’t say anything weird whenever Layla comes over. She’s the first friend I’ve made in a long time and I didn’t need my mom scaring her away.

“Oh please, Cecil. When have I ever embarrassed you?” She shot me a grin as she got up from the hammock.

“Let’s go get some fun board games out, or maybe we can do make overs!” You could clearly tell how happy she was that I had made a friend. I couldn’t tell her that I needed to talk with Layla about some things alone. Instead, I used this as an excuse so we wouldn’t have to talk about Eric. I just wasn’t prepared to hear whatever it was that she needed to tell me.

“Sounds great. Let me text her back.” I walked back inside and into my room.

I picked up my phone and saw an unread message, from him.

Daines: Cecilia, I understand if u hate me. I will b @ the tracks 2 night @ 8. Plz come? It’s important.

Ugh. Why was he doing this to me? Of course I wanted to see him. I missed his smile... Wait, what was I saying? He had totally made me look like an idiot at school and I couldn’t let him get away with it that easily.

Me: Srry. Plans 2 night.

I deliberately told him I had plans, but didn’t tell him who with. I didn’t want him to know that he had got to me. I know that he would’ve eventually put two and two together and figured out that my big plans were having Layla come over. I just wanted to freak him out a little. Make him feel what I felt when he rejected me. I wasn’t usually one to be spiteful, but I figured I would just give it a go this once.

The response I got was not at all what I was expecting.

Daines: Ur such a liar. I know Layla is coming over. Don’t shut me out plz. Layla told me she doesn’t mind if u come meet me 4 a little. She said she would cover 4 u.

Layla was in cahoots with Eric. I felt a little uneasy. Why wouldn’t she let me know ahead of time? Well, at least I knew exactly what we were going to talk about once she got here.

Me: Don’t call me a liar. I do have plans. I’m going 2 have a talk with ur sister, Daines.

I don’t know why I called him Daines. I didn’t want him to think I was forgiving him that easy. I guess my fingers spelled out the name and hit send before I could think about it. Thanks a lot, brain.

Daines: Cya 2 night, Collins. ;)

Wonderful.

About twenty minutes later, I heard a knock at the door. Before I could walk out of my room, I heard the door swing open.

“Layla! It’s so great to meet you!” My mom was clearly overjoyed.

“Thank you! It’s nice to meet you too, Mrs. Collins!”

“Please, call me Renee!” My mom replied with a smile. She hated the fact that she never changed her last name back to her maiden name once her and my dad split. Whenever someone called her Mrs. Collins, she got a little mad, but since Layla was my new friend, she didn’t really let it show that it had bothered her.

“Right, of course! I love that name, by the way.” Layla said with an apologetic smile.

“Well, don’t just stand there. Come on in! Cecil!” My mom yelled for me, but I was already behind her.

“Thanks for making me temporarily deaf, mom.” She shot me a glare as Layla walked inside laughing.

“Thank you for having me over. Your home is beautiful.” Layla gave my mom a sincere smile and my mom gave her one back. When we got into the living room, Brody was still in the same position watching the same football game.

“This is my lame little brother, Brody.” I said boringly.

“Yeah, love you too sis.” He hissed back sarcastically, and then waved over towards Layla keeping his eyes fixed on the TV.

“Hey.” Was all she said back.

I rolled my eyes in his direction and turned to my mom who was waiting patiently for us to join her with some board games that she had pulled out of the hall closet.

“Hey mom, I need to talk to Layla for just a few minutes alone, is that okay?” I didn’t want to hurt my mom’s feelings, but I needed to get to the bottom of the Eric situation.

“Oh, sure. I’ll just wait here.” She gave a half smile and went back to reading her cookbook from earlier.

Layla knew why I wanted to talk to her. You could tell because looked a little nervous while I followed her to my room.

“So, Cecil... you look great!” She said and I knew she was trying to avoid the conversation we were about to have.

“Don’t even. Sit.” I demanded.

“Now Cecil, before you start yelling... I only did it because I love you!” She pleaded.

I laughed and threw a pillow at her.

“Why are you in cahoots?” I asked glaring her down.

“Well ya see... What had happened was... Okay I have no excuse. I am in cahoots. In my defense, it is only for your own good!” She smiled.

“How so?”

“He’s really sorry, Cecil. He’s been beating himself up ever since yesterday. He even stayed out at the tracks until midnight last night waiting for you to show up, thinking you would. Which by the way, thanks for not telling me about the tracks.” She looked down at her feet.

Great. Eric blew my secret spot. I can’t be mad though. He waited for me all night. No boy has ever done anything like that before just to get me to talk to them. It made me feel all weird inside.

A good weird.

“I’m sorry Layla. I didn’t keep it from you because I didn’t trust you, I kept it from everyone because it was the one place I could go to be alone. My anxiety sucks, and sometimes what helps me is being by myself. It gives me a chance to clear my head and not have to worry about talking to anyone or explaining anything. It’s not some secret spot for only Eric and me. Honest. He followed me one day, and well, I’m sure you know the rest.”

I gave her a sincere smile and sat down next to her. She smiled back and hugged me.

“I believe you. So, are you going to go meet him tonight?” She asked.

“I don’t know, should I? He was such a jerk yesterday. How do I know he won’t do that again the next time he’s around all of his stupid friends?” I was looking down at my feet now. The smile slowly escaped my face and I felt Layla’s eyes fixed on me.

“I know he ruined your trust. He told me he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make things right. He really wants to be with you. As in, boyfriend/girlfriend!” She jumped up, causing me to laugh.

“We could potentially be sisters in the future!” She got off the bed and stood me up, grabbing me by the hands.

“You have to go! I will cover for you.” She stared at me waiting for an answer.

“Even if I did want to go, how would you cover for me?” I was honestly thinking about it. There’s no way my mom would believe that we would be asleep on a Saturday night at eight.

“Hm... We can tell her that we want to go see a movie. She can drop us off at the movie theater. It’s only two blocks from the tracks, right? You can sneak over to the tracks while I watch the movie. Then, you can come back to the theater before your mom picks us up.”

It was almost too brilliant. The only thing that I was worried about, was my mom asking to see the movie with us. I didn’t want to leave her out by telling her no, but I really wanted to see Eric. Maybe she would understand that I just wanted to be with my friend. Hopefully she’ll forgive me if we promise to stay up late with her after we get home, so we can play those board games.

We walked back into the kitchen where my mom was organizing some of her books. She looked up at us and instantly smiled.

Great.

I knew she was going to get upset whenever we ask to go to the movies alone. I had to do it though. I needed to see if Eric was serious about us or not. I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to have my very first boyfriend. Especially since this was Eric Daines: the most beautiful boy I had ever laid my eyes on. I hated that I had to lie to my mom though. I could feel the sweat starting to roll down my face.

I looked up at my mom and tried to control my breathing.

“Hey mom...”

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