Me And My Shadow

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Chapter 3

The day dragged on until it was finally time to go home.

“Hey, wait up!” I heard someone yell behind me. Turning around, I saw that it was Layla.

“Hi.” Was all I could get out.

“Don’t act all weird now. By the way, I never got your name.” She looked at me, waiting for my answer. I kept telling myself to run. Just run away before she knows what a hassle I am to deal with. Does this girl realize that I’m a lost cause?

I finally let my thoughts subside as I quickly blurted out, “Cecilia.”

“Well, Cecilia. Do you want to come over to my house? Maybe we can work on some homework together?”

Holy crap. Did she just ask me to go over to her house? No one has ever asked me to hangout outside of school before. I don’t know what I did to deserve all of this special treatment, but I can’t say I didn’t like it.

“Oh, um, sure. I mean, if you want. We don’t have to though.”

I let out a short sigh. Could I be anymore annoying?

“Oh Cecilia, I love your modesty. Let’s go, I don’t live far from here.”

We walked for what seemed to be about twenty minutes. Of course, Layla went on and on about herself while I just walked silently and listened. She told me all about how her and her family moved here when her mom got married a long time ago, but she transferred to Summerton High because of some weird new school zone rule. She told me how she inherited a new step brother when her mom remarried, who drives her crazy. She mentioned that he also went to our school, but that he probably skipped today as usual. He was the very definition of a slacker in her eyes.

Hm, where have I heard the word slacker before?

Layla told me how her mom works at the local supermarket as the store’s manager. She used to be the store manager at the supermarket in their old town, but transferred to this one when they moved. I can see why Layla would love the fact that her mother is a store manager, because anytime she goes into the store, her mom lets her pick out anything that she wants. She told me we could go there whenever we wanted, and I wouldn’t have to pay for any candy. Perks of having Layla Richards as a friend, I suppose. I surely wasn’t going to complain, though all I really wanted was a friend, nothing more.

When we finally made it to her house, I was stunned. Their home was beautiful. Two stories, with four bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms. Everyone got their own room, plus a spare guest bedroom. The outside of the house was a forest green color, with white trimmings. The inside was very spacious, with sleek black leather furniture. The kitchen was breathtaking with granite counter tops that matched the stainless steel appliances. There was an island in the center of the kitchen lined up with different spices used for cooking. Both my mom and I could only dream for a kitchen this massive. I envied her even more.

Just as I finished gawking over Layla’s kitchen, I felt myself fall backwards onto my butt, followed by something big beginning to lick the side of my face. It wasn’t until I opened my eyes that I saw a huge Dalmatian dog with her tail wagging like crazy. All I could hear was the laughter of Layla from behind me.

“Abby! Leave her alone you nut job, she didn’t ask to be tackled! Sheesh!” Layla was trying to catch her breath in between laughs.

“I’m so glad that I amuse you.” I said with a straight face.

It soon faded when Abby came back for more attention. The truth is I love dogs. We used to have one. He was an all black lab named Rocky. He had super long hair that was always in a tangled mess. We had to put him down due to an illness he caught that prevented him to use his legs. Carrying him to and from outside just to go to the bathroom got old fast, and the doctors said that he wasn’t going to get any better, only worse. He was thirteen years old, and they were surprised he had made it as long as he did.

I gave Abby a lot more love and then finally got up.

Layla was fixing us a snack, so I immediately walked over and sat on one of the stools next to the island. I was a little socially awkward, so I didn’t like to be left alone in places that I had never been to before.

“You know, you could go up to my room if you wanted.”

Layla was looking at me with her famous grin, and I noticed she was more so telling me, than suggesting.

I gave a weak smile, trying to hide the redness that would soon sneak onto my face, as I got up and headed for the stairs.

I got all the way up the stairs when I realized that I didn’t ask her which door was her room.

I bit my lip and decided to just try one, knowing that no one would be home, because Layla said we were the only ones here.

I grabbed the doorknob and pushed the door open, without thinking, and without remembering that Layla had a step-brother.

“Hey! Get out of here!”

I immediately slammed the door shut and began cursing to myself. Figures that I would open the wrong door and there would be a guy standing half-naked in the center of the room with a towel wrapped around the lower half of his body.

I tried to rush to another door, not caring whose room it was. Before I could pull the second door open, the door that I had just closed, swung open.

There he was.

His beautiful, deep brown eyes glared at me and all I could do was stare at his chest that he left shirtless. His brown hair was wet and messy, but somehow it looked just perfect. I could feel my cheeks burning as I tried to look anywhere but at his glistening abs.

“If you wanted to see me naked, all you had to do was ask.” He eventually said with a smirk, his previous glare nonexistent on his face.

Great, he was going to be one of those guys. An egotistical ass.

“Sure, in your dreams maybe.” I tried to act as if his comment hadn’t affected me, but I failed miserably.

“What’s your name?” He asked curiously, his eyes never leaving my own.

I could feel a lump starting to form in my throat, but still managed to push my name out. Despite this guy’s arrogance, he was beautiful and I didn’t want him to know that he affected me in the slightest.

“Cecilia, if you must know.”

“Well, Cecilia...” He began as he walked over to me and leaned in. I could feel his breath on my neck as a shiver ran down my entire spine, “Next time you come barging in, make sure you at least knock first, or better yet, make sure you’re half-naked as well.” He winked and then began laughing as he walked down the stairs.

I heard him yelp after the sound of a punch. Apparently Layla had heard what he said and told him not to bother me anymore.

It was one thing to make a friend so suddenly. It was something entirely different to know that she had an incredibly hot step-brother.

I eventually pushed open the second door and knew right away that it was Layla’s room. The walls were painted a deep purple and there were rock posters stuck all over the walls. She had a queen-sized bed with a black comforter set and big fluffy pillows. There was a small black desk off to the side of the room with all of her makeup lined up perfectly. There was a door at the back of the room, which I assumed was her closet. A walk-in closet, might I add. It was stocked with tons of clothes that hopefully, I could borrow someday.

“Don’t mind Eric. He’s just a royal pain in my ass.” She shrugged her shoulders and then plopped down onto her bed, letting out a sigh.

“Um, that’s your step-brother?” I finally asked after two minutes of silence.

“Unfortunately. His dad wooed my mom and ever since, they’ve been inseparable. I know what you’re thinking...” She trailed off.

“I wasn’t thinking anything.” I looked down at my shoes again.

“Yes you were. Trust me Cecil, if you had seen him at the age of thirteen, you would see him totally different now.” Layla laughed.

I rolled my eyes, but I could still feel my body tense up at the thought of his name. Eric. His full name was Eric Daines. Layla told me that he purposely didn’t have a middle name. Of course he didn’t have a middle name, that boy was far from ordinary.

“So how old were you when your parents got married?” I asked curiously.

“I was twelve when the marriage happened, but I made sure to keep my last name in remembrance of my father, because the judge asked me if I wanted to change my last name to Daines.”

“In remembrance?” I asked with a frown. I could just barely see her eyes start to glisten.

“Crap, I’m sorry Layla. It’s none of my business.”

“No, it’s okay. We’re friends, and I feel comfortable around you for some reason.” She gave me a weak smile. “He um, passed away in a car accident. A drunk driver was speeding down the road one night and didn’t stop at the stop sign like he was supposed to. He died instantly.”

“I am so sorry, I never would’ve asked if-“, but she instantly cut me off.

“No, don’t be sorry, I was six when it happened. I didn’t understand most of it at the time. I miss him all the time but I know he would’ve wanted my mom and I to be happy.” She eventually smiled at the thought.

“Larry is great. He fixed my mom’s broken heart.” She said proudly.

“I’m sure he’s wonderful.” I smiled back at her. She walked over and gave me a hug, then went and sat at her desk.

“So, ready to tackle these fractions?” We both sighed in response.

“Or, would you like to tackle Eric instead?” She said with a wink.

My eyes widened as I leaned over and punched her arm playfully.

This girl was going to be the death of me, I just knew it.

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