Me And My Shadow

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Chapter 5

The final bell rang and it was finally time to go home.

I picked up my bag and headed for the front entrance of the school. To my utter disappointment it was raining cats and dogs, so I quickly pulled out my phone and tried to dial for my mom.

“Mom, it’s raining hard. Can you possibly leave work to come get me?”

“Sorry sweetie, no can do. Is there anyone you can get a ride with?”

I had not yet told my mom about the friend I had made. I didn’t want her to get all crazy and invite her over just to humiliate me. She usually means well, but she’s a typical, overly excited mom when it comes to her kids social lives.

“Yeah, like who? The captain of the football team?” I deadpanned.

“Well I’m busy Cecil. Guess you’re just going to have to walk home in this. Just throw your wet clothes in the laundry room when you get home and I’ll wash them for you later. Gotta go, love you, bye!”

Great.

I shoved my cell phone in my pocket, and then clutched my backpack to my chest, hoping to keep water from damaging anything inside as I headed out onto the sidewalk.

Just as I was about to start sprinting for my house, I heard my name being yelled.

“Cecilia! Over here!”

I stopped and spun around. My eyes scanned over the parking lot and eventually, I saw an old, black camaro pulling up beside me.

The driver of the car rolled down the window and I nearly had a panic attack. It was Eric.

“Need a ride, gorgeous?” He smirked.

I tried to reject his offer, so I wouldn’t seem desperate.

“No, I’m fine. I love walking in the rain.” I immediately turned around and began walking fast.

He sped up and stopped beside me again.

“Come on. No sense in getting all wet. I insist.”

I thought about it and sighed. I walked over to the passenger side and pulled open the door. I rolled my eyes and climbed inside, pulling the door shut beside me.

“You’re lucky I like camaro’s.”

“Beautiful and into cars? Double points for you, Cecil.” He smiled over at me and then laughed.

“You’re keeping some sort of score card for me? That’s a little weird Daines.”

“I like to think of it as a list of reasons why I want to get to know you.” He said effortlessly, as he looked back at the road and began pulling out of the parking lot.

Just as he was about to start pushing on the gas, I heard a girl shriek outside of my window. I quickly rolled the window down and saw a very soaked Layla running to catch up to the car. She yanked open the back door and slammed it shut after sitting inside.

“You couldn’t wait an extra ten minutes for me? Asshole. Oh, but I see you made sure not to forget your woman here.” She teased yanking on my sleeve.

“Shut up Layla, since when am I your chauffeur?” He retorted, a slight smile still on his face.

“Since you promised to give me rides home in exchange for this lovely ride you’ve got here.” She winked at him and then looked over at me.

“Our parents didn’t want him to think that this was all for him and that I couldn’t reap any benefits from it. They’re all about equality.”

We both laughed.

“Well then we must be spiritual sisters, because I’m also reaping these benefits.” We both laughed some more as Eric gave me a funny look.

“Do not call yourselves sisters. Please.”

“Why not? We can be soul sisters.” I joked. Layla sent me a smile and I shot her one right back through the rear-view mirror.

“Because it’s weird and I don’t like it.” He looked back at the road and I couldn’t help but wonder why he wouldn’t like the thought of me and Layla being sisters. I let the thoughts leave my head as quickly as they entered, and began scrolling through my Facebook app.

As usual, nothing impressive is ever on social media. It’s always selfies of girls with quotes as captions, or guys posting about “getting money”, even though they’re usually just sitting behind their screen in their moms house with five dollars to their names. Then there are those Facebook couples who tag each other in almost everything related to love. Where has all of the originality gone in this world?

After putting my phone away, it was then that it occurred to me that I didn’t tell Layla or Eric where it was that I lived.

“Oh, take a right here.” I pointed at Rose street.

“Fourth house on your left.”

We pulled up into my driveway and said our goodbyes. Eric shot me another smile right before I closed the car door and I felt an enormous amount of butterflies taking over my stomach.

I shut the door and walked inside.

We didn’t have a big two-story house like Layla and Eric did. It was just a one story, but still pretty big on the inside. There’s three bedrooms and two bathrooms. We have a decent sized kitchen, but it was missing the island that my mom and I have always wanted. The inside is beautifully painted with reds and yellows giving the entire living room a fall-like feel to it. Fall was my mom’s favorite season. She loved the way the leaves on the tree out front changed colors. The kitchen was a light shade of green, with white wooden cabinets all over the place. The refrigerator was white as well with cards and magnets splattered messily all over the front.

I was the only one home because Brody was still in middle school and they didn’t get out until later in the afternoon. My mom is usually always done with work by then, so Brody never has to walk home from school.

I went to my room and shut the door behind me.

My room was spacious, but I definitely did not have a walk-in closet like Layla. I was starting to get annoyed with how much I was comparing myself to her. Yes, she was beautiful and had a nicer house than I did, but we were pretty much the same. We dressed similar and had the same taste in music.

Our sense of humor was also very much alike. I smiled at the thought. I shouldn’t be comparing myself to her. She’s my friend and the first friend that I’ve had in a long time that I could actually be myself around. My anxiety doesn’t seem to appear as much when I’m around her. I didn’t know why, but I didn’t care either. I was happy to have met someone that I could count on. We’ve only known each other for two days, but it already felt like a lifetime. Friendships like this are a rare find, and I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity.

I also loved the fact that she had Eric as a step-brother. This meant that anytime I went over to her house, there was a small chance of running into him. It was then that I realized this boy was on my mind a lot and I hated to admit the fact that I liked it.

I couldn’t stop thinking about earlier today when he offered me a ride home. He didn’t have to do that. He could’ve pretended that he didn’t see me, and continued driving home. He stopped though. Who knows, maybe he was just being nice because I’m Layla’s friend. He did seem to flirt with me a lot though, but I definitely didn’t plan on telling him to stop anytime soon.

I walked over to my bedroom window and pulled back the black curtains. The rain had stopped.

I picked up my earbuds and plugged them into my phone, placing one into each ear. I pulled my hair up into a messy ponytail and slipped on my Converse.

I grabbed my house key and shut the front door behind me, making sure to lock the door.

I tapped my Pandora app and clicked on The Fray Radio. Their song Heartbeat blared out of my earbuds and I smiled having loved this song. I then began walking down the sidewalk, heading toward the tracks.

When I finally reached the tracks, I stopped and sat down. I let James Blunt play from my earbuds as I softly sang along.

“Yes she caught my eye, as we walked on by,
She could see from my face that I was,

fucking high and I don’t think that I’ll see her again but,

We shared a moment that will last till the end...”

I was about to start singing the chorus when I heard a noise coming from one of the bushes nearby.

I quickly jumped to my feet and turned towards the rustling leaves. The bushes were moving and I was a little scared. Who knows what could come popping out. It could be a vicious animal or a homeless person asking for money. I stepped toward the bush and cleared my throat so whoever or whatever it was couldn’t sense my fear.

“Who’s there?” I asked. I pulled out my phone and said, “Show yourself before I come over there and kick your ass!”

I heard a familiar chuckle and the next thing I knew a tall figure jumped from behind the bush causing me to fall backwards on my butt. Once I opened my eyes, I looked up and saw his beautiful face staring back at me. He was laughing, of course. I nearly died from a heart attack and he was laughing as if I had just told him the most hilarious joke on the planet.

What a jerk.

“What the heck is your problem?” I yelled while pulling myself up. I rubbed my butt since it hit the corner of the tracks, while also wiping off some dirt in the process.

“Take it easy there, killer.” He said in between laughs.

“This isn’t funny, you ass.”

Eric walked over to me and spun me around by my hand, looking over my body carefully.

“You seem fine to me. No harm, no foul.” He smirked at me and then let go of my hand. For some strange reason, it felt good when he was holding my hand. There was a spark that I couldn’t quite explain.

“I may seem fine, but you are about to be far from fine.” I glared and then darted towards him. I hoped he was going to run away from me, but instead, he stayed put and planted his feet to the ground scooping me up as I ran right into his arms. He spun me around with a smile on his face and then placed me down.

“You’re cute when you’re mad.” He laughed.

“Don’t try to compliment me now, Daines. Don’t worry, I’ll get you when you’re least expecting it.”

“Oh but my dear Cecilia, I’m always expecting you.”

He shot me another grin and I saw a flash of light inside his brown eyes as he beamed at me. I wanted nothing more than to pounce on him and plant a kiss on those soft, pink lips. I had to keep my thoughts to myself. I wasn’t going to let him think that he had a hold over me. I didn’t want to give him that power. I was still skeptical of him all together. He was too good, too perfect, especially for me.

One thing I knew I needed to find out for sure though, was what his true intentions were.

“What are you even doing here? No one knows about this place.” I honestly wanted to know how he found it, more importantly, how he found me.

“Well, if you must know, I was driving over to a friends house when I saw you walking. I yelled your name, but you didn’t turn around. I sped up behind you and saw that you were listening to your phone, so I decided to mess with you and follow you.” He looked down at his shoes for a moment, losing his confidence, and then looked back up at me.

“So you’re stalking me now?” I asked with a grin, “Aw, how cute. My own little puppy dog following me everywhere.” I teased.

“I’m not a stalker, Collins.” He gave me a stern look and all I could do was smile. I supposed he noticed me calling him by his last name, because he started calling me by mine.

Only Hope by Switchfoot started playing in my earbuds, since I still had one in my ear.

“What are you listening to?” He asked, looking at my face.

Apparently hearing the song made me light up. I was embarrassed and didn’t want him knowing what I was listening to, because then he might think that I was listening to it for him, as off as that sounds. There goes the crazy scenario’s I was talking about before.

Before I could come up with a lie, he walked over to me and grabbed the other earbud, sticking it into his ear.

“Oh, I love Switchfoot!”

He looked over at me and smiled. This wasn’t his normal grin or smirk, it was a sincere smile and for some reason, it made me feel things that I had never felt before.

“And I lay my head back down,

And I lift my hands and pray to be only yours,

I pray, to be only yours,

I know now you’re my, only hope...”

The lyrics of the song almost seemed perfect. We held a gaze on each other as we sat down side by side against one of the fences. The silence was beautiful.

It needed no words.

We let Pandora play for what seemed to be hours, but it had only been two.

“Crap, what time is it?” I asked while holding my phone up, pressing the unlock button.

“Dammit, I’m going to be late!” I sighed while exiting Pandora, putting a stop to the music.

I was about to run off when I felt him grab my wrist.

“Wait up. Let me give you a ride. My car is in the store parking lot right around the corner.”

“I uh... I can’t. I’m sorry.” I had no idea what possessed me to turn down another ride with Eric. I didn’t want our time together to end, but I also didn’t want anything more to happen. I couldn’t bring myself to allow it. No matter what I felt for this boy, I couldn’t show it. Keeping my feelings inside was something I was an expert at and I wasn’t ready to tear down the wall that I’ve worked so hard to build up. Not yet.

I ran off without second-guessing, leaving him standing there behind me. I ran faster and faster, not looking back. There was no way he was going to talk to me again after ditching him so quickly.

God, I’m an idiot.

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