“So Ace?” I heard Roxanne call out my name once we had stepped out of my car.
As we stood in the school parking lot, my eyes followed both Roxanne and Cole as they strolled over towards me. Once Roxanne positioned herself in front of me with Cole right beside her, she tilted her head and eyed me questionably.
“Did you talk to your dad about...you know...that ghost woman that’s been hanging around you recently?”
“Really?” I scoffed indifferently, giving her a blank glare. “You’re going to ask me that now when we’re just getting ready to enter the building?”
“Hey! It didn’t cross my mind until we got here!” Roxanne retorted with a hardened gaze. “I had work last night and had chemistry and physics homework to work on that took me almost all night to finish! So excuse me for not being completely awake enough to ask in the car.”
I let out a loud sigh, realizing that there was no use arguing about it now. “Yes, I did talk to my dad about her yesterday when he got home.”
“So?” Cole eagerly asked as I met his worried gaze. “What did he say about her? Could that ghost have some sort of connection to you?”
Furrowing a brow, I gave him an odd look, “How do you-” My face lit up with realization, “Oh!” Glancing at Roxanne, I replied, “I take it Roxy told you about it?”
“Well, yeah.” Roxanne roughly returned with a blank stare. “This isn’t exactly something that should stay hidden, at least not with our family. So,” She ushered me to get back to the topic at hand. “What did he say?”
“Ha ah! Would you look at that!”
We all jumped at the abrupt voice and whirled our attention to spot Chester and Samantha walk towards us with three other teens following close behind them. One was a boy who appeared to be around fourteen years of age, he looked to be around five feet and eleven inches tall. He had dirty blonde hair and brown eyes and looked almost identical to Samantha, at least face structure wise. The second one was an African American girl who appeared to be at least thirteen years old who looked to be about five feet and five inches tall. She had long black hair that were up in pigtails and had brown eyes. The last one was an African American boy who looked to be around fifteen years old, he almost reached Chester’s height only he was an inch or two shorter. He had buzz cut black hair and chocolate brown eyes.
“We arrived at the exact same time as these awesome folks!” Chester greeted with excitement. “How cool is that?”
“U-Uh, y-yeah.” I managed to reply, still thrown off guard by their sudden presence. “It certainly is.” But I widely smiled, “But you guys definitely startled us there though.”
“Yeah.” Roxanne agreed after getting over her own shock. “We totally weren’t expecting you guys to suddenly show up.” She pointed towards the building, “You guys are usually in there by now.”
“Well, we would have been.” Chester snapped a glare at the preteen girl. “If my darling little sister, Chloe, hadn’t taken so long to get ready.”
Chloe returned the glare. “Hey! It wouldn’t have taken so long, if....” Hurling her heated gaze up at the fifteen year old, she scolded, “Noah hadn’t slept through his alarm clock again and took his shower when it was my turn to use the bathroom.”
“Hey don’t yell at me!” Noah shot back angrily. “I had a long football practice last night and a whole ton of homework and studying to do. So excuse me for being exhausted. But you could have gone without putting the stupid make up on your face for one day! Honestly, that’s what took so freaking long!”
“Oh, I hear ya, Noah.” The blonde boy next to Samantha intervened as his expression filled up with annoyance. Pointing at Samantha, he complained, “It takes Sam almost two hours to get all done in the bathroom.”
“Dylan!” Samantha gaped out, appalled by his confession. “I do NOT take two hours.”
“Uh, yes you do.” Dylan retorted back in a snotty tone. “I’ve time ya sis so I know how long you freaking take!”
Samantha snorted, giving her little brother a mean death glare.
“Uh...okay....” Roxanne chimed in, feeling a little awkward. Clasping her hands together, she meekly went on. “So, sounds like everyone had a fantastic morning. But how about everyone cools their jets and let’s head inside, it’s kind of getting a little chilly just standing out here.”
“What?” Cole reacted with shock and slight betrayal. Catching his sister’s questionable gaze, he scooted up to her and whispered so only her and I could hear him. “But what about-”
Roxanne hurled him a glare, signaling him not to finish that sentence. “We’ll talk about it after school!”
“Talk about what after school?” Chester quizzed curiously with an arched brow.
“Huh? Oh! It’s just something silly.” Roxanne hastily reassured with a quick wave of her hand. Patting her brother’s shoulder, she lied, “Cole and I were talking about the chores mom gave us to do when we got home. So really, it’s nothing serious.”
The group eyed her strangely.
“Uh...alright...if you say so.” Samantha replied in an odd tone. “But yeah, let’s head inside.” Glancing up at her boyfriend, she mentioned, “I’m sure Taylor is waiting her bus should have been here by now.”
“Alright.” Chester gestured his hand towards her, “Lead the way, Sam.”
Samantha merely nodded before continued to walk towards the school building. Chester, Chloe and Noah soon followed in pursuit and Dylan stepped up to Cole.
“Come on, Cole.” Dylan ushered Cole along. “I need you to tell me how to get to the next level in that game you told me about. I just can’t get past this level!”
“Uh, um, s-sure.” Cole replied before casting Roxanne and me a glance.
His expression caused Roxanne to roll her eyes with minor frustration. She shooed him, “Go, go would ya! Like I said we’ll talk about the chores later.”
After a few seconds, Cole released a defeated sigh, understanding he had no choice, but to walk away from our previous topic. He then allowed his friend to lead him towards the school building, while Roxanne and I followed the crowd.
Then once we entered the main entrance of the building, Cole, Dylan and Chloe went over towards the junior high side of the building. Noah met up with some of his friends and went down one of the high school halls and Chester and Samantha turned down a different hall.
Knowing Roxanne and I needed to split up momentarily, I let out a soft sigh and turned my smile to Roxanne. “Guess I’ll see you-”
However, I didn’t get the chance to finish when Roxanne snatched my arm and pulled me towards the girls bathroom. “Wait, what? Roxy what’s going on?”
“We’re heading to the bathroom.” She bluntly answered, not looking back at me.
“I get that! But, why?”
“So we can talk about what your dad said privately.”
“What?” I gaped out, but then eyed her, “But didn’t you say that we would talk about it after school?”
“We will! We’ll talk to Cole about it after school, but I want to talk with you about it right now. I only said that because obviously Samantha, Chester and their siblings were present. I also thought they would have stuck around us a little longer.”
“But, don’t you think Cole would cause a big fuss if we tell him that you already know about it?”
“That’s why I don’t plan on telling him about this early meeting.” Roxanne peeked back at me, “This will just be a secret between us.”
I merely exhaled as I allowed her to pull me into the bathroom. Once inside her and I scurried into the larger stall and locked it. We set our book bags down and met each others stares.
“Alright, Ace.” Roxanne crossed her arms and leaned up against the stall. “Tell me everything he told you last night.”
Nodding, I went off into my explanation. As I told her everything my father informed me about my cousin’s face lit up with utter shock with every word that I said to her. When I was finished she just stared at me completely thunderstruck and didn’t say anything for a moment.
“Whoa.” She finally said after her long pause. “That’s...that’s definitely a lot to take in.”
“I know.” I muttered indifferently. “The majority of it I still can’t believe, even though my parents have tons of proof.”
“I take it you’re talking about you being a Telekisor practically your whole life?”
“Yes! I mean that was the last thing I was expecting dad to reveal.”
“Yeah.” Roxanne looked away and murmured. “Same here.”
Noticing her tone and her lack of surprise, I gave her a questionable look. “Okay, why are you acting less shocked than me? When I found out I practically yelled, but you,” I pointed at her, “are being very nonchalant about this.”
My cousin grunted with uncertainty and rubbed the back of her neck.
She sighed roughly, “Well, I guess if Uncle John is finally coming clean then I should as well.”
“Finally?” My heart stilled at that one word, I raised a brow and asked cautiously. “What are you-” I suddenly gasped as a thought dawned on me. “Wait! Don’t tell me you knew about this?”
“Yes, Ace, I knew about it.” Roxanne confessed with sincerity in her tone. “Actually everyone on our moms’ side, the Richmen’s, all knew.”
“What!?” My eyebrows shot up. “You...you all...knew? But why...why didn’t you-”
“Say anything? Your dad told you why, it was because your parents asked us not to. Everyone was still pretty sore about the whole incident and considering how your parents reacted it was hard not to say no to their request. But I won’t lie. It was insanely hard to keep that type of secret from you, especially recently. But we did what we thought was necessary.”
“Yeah.” I looked away. “Mom and dad said the same thing.” I guess I should have figured that.
“Well, actually, to be honest….” Roxanne spoke in a tone that caused me to raise a brow at her. “The only people at that time on the Richmen side of the family that knew about you, your dad and Luke were our grandparents, our moms’ brothers, my mom, Cole and me.”
“Really?” I gawked at her.
“Yup, although Cole and I weren’t supposed to know about it. However, we accidentally found out when we were in the 3rd grade. We caught you and Luke practicing with your powers when we were up at your family’s cabin.”
“How was that an accident? Sounds like we were just careless.”
Roxanne shrugged, “I guess it was both. Your dad took Cole and me fishing that day while you and Luke helped out at the cabin. Then when we came to shore Cole and I heard you and Luke in the woods and found you there practicing.”
“Oh, well,” I propped my hands on my hips, “that probably made things awkward.”
“No, not really. Although, Cole and I were shocked but we bounced back pretty quickly and thought it was the coolest thing. I mean, come on.” Smiling, Roxanne spread her hands like it was no big deal. “Finding out that three of your favorite relatives have magic? That’s the coolest thing in the world to a kid and Cole and I were no exceptions to that.”
I bobbled my head in agreement, “Can’t argue with that.” My face wrinkled with concern, “So...how did the others find out?”
“You mean our cousins, our uncles’ wives and my dad? Well, they found out when that kidnapping incident happened.” Roxanne pointed at me, “You were kidnapped when we were all hanging out at Joannes Park in Green Bay. Your dad wasn’t there because he was helping a friend out or something along those lines. But everyone on the Richmen side was at that park. So when that creep came and grabbed you everything kind of had to come out in the open.”
I groaned, getting a vibe of what happened that day. “Ah, so Luke and dad had no choice but to expose us?”
“How else were they going to get you back?”
“That’s true.” Cautiously, I asked, “So, how did they take it?”
“Well, our cousins, like Cole and I, thought it was the neatest thing. But our older cousins, my dad and our aunts were in complete shock. I’m not sure if they even knew what to think at that time. I mean, you spend your whole life thinking that magical beings are just plain fictional people, but then you find out that they aren’t?”
“Yeah, right.” I lowered my gaze, “That would not be an easy thing to digest.” Just like me finding out I’ve been a Telekisor my whole life.
“But,” Roxanne softly sighed and grinned, “they came around, well obviously, considering they’re still willing to hang out with your family.”
“Right, so I imagine my dad and Luke were able to ease their minds?”
“Pretty much by showing and reassuring them that him and his family mean no harm and won’t hurt anyone unless they have to. He used that creep as an example.” Her expression abruptly fell. “However, the only person who took a little longer was my dad.”
“Your dad?” I murmured softly, but I then bobbled my head when I thought about it. “Well, I guess I can see that, Uncle Roger always seemed like the type of guy who wouldn’t adapt to something like that very well.”
“Nope, not in the slightest. My dad had always been very protective of my family so when this arose he didn’t take it too kindly. So after the whole situation was over my dad wouldn’t let mom, Cole and me out of his sights. He wouldn’t even let us hangout with your family unless he was present.” Her face hardened at the memory. “That irritated me more than anything, since that caused me to not be able to hangout with you as much, considering how much he worked during that time.”
“Oh, so that would explain why I hardly saw you during that school year after that summer.” I confirmed as the memories of that year came rushing back. “I honestly thought you just had a lot of after school activities going on. You and Cole had signed up for a whole bunch of them that year.”
“Well, there was a bit of that but the majority of it was my dad.”
“But he obviously came around.” I reminded. “Otherwise you wouldn’t have moved down here with us.”
“Yeah, even though he was still cautious about your family. But I guess he began to rely on your dad more than he would admit, mainly for protection purposes.”
“Ah, so he began to see my dad’s family as safety nets?”
“Basically, especially after dealing with that kidnapping creep. Something like that would scare any sensible parent, even one as thick headed as my father.”
“Definitely can’t blame him for that.” I smiled, “But I’m glad it all worked out in the end.”
Roxanne returned the smile and nodded, “Me too! Anyway.” She shifted her body a little bit against the stall. “So your dad is thinking that the ghost and that creep that attacked you played a part with your powers suddenly reappearing?”
“That’s what he’s assuming, which is making him a little uneasy. Although, the ghost he’s not highly concerned about, since to my dad is seeing her more as an ally than an enemy.”
“Really?” My cousin gawked at me. “So she’s not someone to worry about it?”
“Well, according to my dad, not to that degree. He’s seen that ghost around even before I was born and she’s done nothing but watch and help him and his family. She even helped them find me when I got kidnapped.”
Nodding, I answered. “That’s why my dad is viewing her as an ally and may once again just be trying to help us. So if she unsealed my powers then it’s signaling him that something’s coming, which is why we still need to keep our eyes on her so we can determine what she’s warning us about.”
Roxanne groaned in detest. “Don’t like the sounds of that though, regardless if she’s an ally.”
“I know, mainly because if she is warning us about something my family and I are wondering if it has anything to do with that guy who attacked me.”
“What! Are you serious?”
“Dead serious, since she appeared the same day that he did. However, if she is warning us about him and if it’s possible that he’s the one that unsealed my powers then it means two things. That we are either dealing with a very powerful special person or he’s part of the group that sealed my powers in the first place.”
Immediate fear glistered in my cousin’s gaze. “You...you can’t be serious?”
Grunting in dismay, I merely nodded. “Yes, very.”
“Oh...oh boy....” Roxanne now looked very distraught by this information. Anxiously, she combed her fingers through her black and blue highlighted hair. “That’s...that’s something I didn’t want to hear, heck it’s something I don’t even want to consider.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean.”
“But damn! If that’s the case.” She eyed me strictly, “I really hope your dad starts teaching you some defense moves with your powers. Seriously, if that guy turns out to be the culprit then you are DEFINITELY going to need it.”
“Well, dad has plans for me to learn some defense moves tonight. So looks like you and him are on the same page.”
“Good!” Roxanne released a loud sigh of relief. “But....” Determination came back into her gaze, “Maybe I should teach you some of mine.”
“Yours?” Chuckling lightly, attempting to lighten up the mood, I commented. “Like blowing your breath on someone like you did to that one guy in the mall over the summer?”
“Yes and it worked like a charm too!” Her face hardened as it all came back to her. “That guy just wouldn’t take no for an answer so I remembered that I had something with lots of onions and garlic and I blew on him.” She spread her hands and shrugged, “He finally left me alone after that, so that technique works.”
“Yeah, as long as you had something to eat that really stinks.”
“Don’t worry, Ace.” Roxanne patted my shoulder with a wide grin. “I still have a whole list of normal defense moves I could teach you. So you won’t be limited to just that one.”
Humorously, I rolled my eyes. “That’s good to know. I just hope I’ll be able to pull them off quickly enough, since my first course of action is to run.”
Roxanne opened her mouth to reply when the bathroom door swung open. We heard heels clicking their way from the door and to what we assumed was the wall of sinks.
“Ugh! Can you believe those two?” A very familiar female voice practically roared with irritation.
“I know! We were just trying to be friendly and they go and treat us like that?”
Roxanne and I groaned in detest when we recognized the voices. It was Alivia and Jenna and we could hear them digging into bags most likely fixing up their make up like they do every morning before classes begin.
“Lovely.” Roxanne muttered so only I could hear her. “They certainly picked a perfect time to show up.”
I merely nodded with a blank expression.
“I swear! Did Zane really have to be so rude? We were just trying to start up a conversation, one that we thought they would enjoy, and he just barks at us!” Jenna continued to complain.
“Right?! Then there’s Tyler-” Alivia began.
“Argh! Don’t even get me started on him! What he did-ugh! That still has my skin crawling.”
Roxanne and I snorted in unison, getting a vibe of what happened.
“Those two just can’t take a freaking hint, can they?” Roxanne whispered to me with a blank glare.
“No, they can not.”
But what on earth did Tyler do? This is honestly the first time I’ve heard them talk like that about him.
“I seriously cannot believe he dared to ask us where Reggie was.”
“I know right!? Actually, ever since he came into the building it sounds like he’s been asking everyone if they saw her.”
“Why though? Seriously, just why? Why would he waste his time looking for that bookworm when two amazing and beautiful girls are standing right in front of him?”
“Yeah, really what’s with that?”
Whoa, what? Tyler’s been looking for me? Why?
“But I swear, I have no idea what that Reggie is doing but she better cut it out!”
“Totally! Or else we’ll teach her a thing or two!”
Roxanne and I lowly scowled and tossed each other a glare.
“Pfft, yeah right.” Roxanne roughly murmured. “I would like to see those two idiots try.”
“But I’m glad Stephanie wasn’t there or else she would have had a field day with it.” Jenna gladly praised.
“No kidding. Do you know if she’ll be here at all? She didn’t come on the bus this morning.”
“What makes you think I know? I’m not her keeper or anything, but let me just say this if she’s not here today then I’ll be one happy camper.”
“Same here, since we will finally have a day of peace without her being snitty about everything we do.”
“Right? Oh!” Aliva suddenly gaped, sounding like she had just noticed something. “We should probably get out of here. I still need to drop my bags off at my locker. Are you all set, Jenna?”
“Oh, let me just put my lip gloss on!” Jenna hastily replied, digging into her bag. There was a small pause before we heard her smack her lips and put something back in her bag. “Alright! Let’s get going.”
We heard the girls pick up their bags and walk towards the bathroom door. Once they had left that was our cue to finally pick up our bags and come out of the stall.
“Wow, what wonderful friends those three are.” Roxanne scoffed, glaring over at the bathroom door. She propped her hand on her hip. “Really, if those three hate each other that much why are they even hanging out with one another in the first place?”
“Beats me. Although,” I cast my cousin a worried gaze, “I must admit I’m a little worried about Stephanie. She has been missing a lot of school recently that’s making me wonder if she’ll even graduate.”
“Pfft so what! That’s her problem if she doesn’t graduate that’s on her own darn fault.” With her face narrowed on me, Roxanne crossed her arms. “Really, Ace, don’t worry about drama that doesn’t even concern you. You have too much on your plate right now to worry about that snobby brat.”
I sighed softly, “Yeah, right.”
“Anyway, so,” Roxanne raised a brow with curiosity, “why would Tyler be looking for you?”
“Truthfully, I have no idea.” My face wrinkled with my own puzzlement.
“Hm...guess you’ll have to ask when you see him. Oh!” Her face lit up as a thought came to her. A bright smile appeared as she clapped her hands together and asked me eagerly. “So? What did your parents say?”
“Huh? About what?”
Roxanne’s head jerked back, apparently stunned by my answer. “Um, duh! About you hanging out with Tyler this Saturday?” Another thought came to her as she asked with suspicion, “You did ask them, right?”
A sharp gasp escaped me, gently I slapped my head. “Oh, yes! Yes, I did! Oh my gosh I can’t believe I had almost forgot about that.”
“Oh, honestly.” Roxanne exhaled loudly. “How could you forget something like that? But, I guess...” She rubbed the back of her neck, “with what transpired last night I can’t really blame you for that. You had other major things on your mind.”
“Yes, I did.” I released a soft breath before I grinned. “But I didn’t forget to ask my parents about Saturday. That was the first thing I talked to them about.”
“Oh? So what did they say?”
“That nothing major was planned and that they gave me the okay to hang out with Tyler.”
“Oh, booya!” Roxanne raised her arms with excitement. “That’s so awesome! So what did you and Tyler decide to do on Saturday?”
“Huh?” I gave her an odd look. “Uh, no, Tyler and I haven’t-” A thought came to mind as I smacked my forehead. “Oh shoot!”
“What?” Roxanne abruptly asked with alarm, “What’s wrong?”
Swinging my bag to the front of me, I unzipped one of the compartments and dug my hand inside. As I dug into my back, I revealed in dismay, “I think I know why Tyler’s looking for me!”
Confused, my cousin raised a brow, “What are you-” The realization dawned on her. “Oh, no, Ace! Don’t tell me you actually forgot to call him last night?”
“I did! I really became a klutz on this one!” Pulling out my cell phone, I turned it on, since I had shut it off before I went to bed last night. Once it was loaded I groaned with regret when I saw my screen.
Roxanne grimaced when she heard me. “Got missed calls from him?”
“Yes, one missed call and three text messages.” Feeling ashamed, I leaned my forehead against my phone. “I’m so horrible!”
“Wait a second!” Roxanne caught my attention as she pointed her finger at me. “When did he call and text you?”
“Well,” I scanned my phone, “the call was from this morning, but the texts were from last night.”
“And you’re just checking them now?” She scolded. “Why didn’t you notice them last night before you turned your freaking phone off?”
“I don’t know! Normally I would have done that, but last night I was just so tired after my dad’s lessons and after watching those home movies. I know that doesn’t excuse this, but that’s just how it happened.”
Roxanne paused for a second before she released a loud sigh. “Well, there’s no use getting all upset about it. What’s done is done and there’s nothing we can do about it. But,” She snapped her fingers towards the bathroom door, “I’d suggest that you go look for him and talk to him.”
I jerked my head up and hastily nodded, “Right!” Stuffing my phone back into my backpack, I readjusted my bag on my shoulder and rushed towards the door. I opened it, but glanced over at my cousin, “I’ll talk to you later.”
Roxanne merely smiled with an amused expression. “Good luck!”
With that I dashed out of the bathroom and ran down the hallway. “Is he at his locker? If I remember right his locker is over by the language art rooms.”
Once I made it to that hallway, I stepped around the corner and stood there. Scanning the area, I learned that he was not there. I groaned, “Did he possibly go to mine?” I glanced up at the clock to notice the time. “Or maybe he’s already in his classroom?”
Exhaling, I turned to walk back the way I came. “Guess I’ll catch him later. I have to get myself to class as well.”
But man! I feel completely awful about this. I hope he’s not mad about it...although I don’t think he would be, but you never know sometimes.
“Huh? Ah, Regina!”
My head shot up when I heard the familiar male voice call out to me. There stood Tyler as he came around the corner of another hallway that extended into both the middle and the high school.
He rushed towards me. “There you are! I’ve been looking all over for you.”
“I’m so sorry!” I immediately reacted, instinctively bowing my head.
“What?” Tyler replied, sounding very stunned by my reaction.
“I’m sorry that I didn’t call you last night! I got caught up with something and I totally forgot. I also just noticed your messages, oh my God! I’m so sorry!” I squeezed my eyes shut not daring to look up at him.
I heard Tyler grunt. “Regina, don’t bow your head like that, it’s really unnecessary.” Raising my gaze, I met his eyes as he lightly scolded me. “Really, you’re making it sound like I would literally bite your head off for this. I’m not like that you know.”
Tyler raised his hand, signaling me to stop. “Relax, Regina, I’m not mad. If anything I was more worried than angry.”
“Worried?” That word surprised me, not to mention it made my stomach flutter slightly. Puzzled, I tilted my head and asked, “Why?”
“Well, since you hadn’t contacted me,” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I was beginning to wonder if your parents really did have plans or maybe your parents didn’t approve of this.”
“Oh, no!” Hastily, I shook my head as I waved my hands. “It’s actually the opposite. My parents assured me that they had nothing planned for Saturday and they were very thrilled when I mentioned that I wanted to hang out with you.”
His eyebrows rose in astonishment, “Really?”
“You bet!” Smiling, I meekly chuckled, “So I was just being absent-minded.”
Tyler stood there still in awe, but soon smiled pleased with my answer. “Well, that’s certainly good to know. To be frank I wasn’t sure how your parents would feel about this. But I guess I was all worried for nothing.”
“Nah, don’t worry about it. So,” Tyler turned and pointed down the hall that he came from. “Let’s head to your locker and discuss what to do for Saturday.”
Happily, I nodded, “Okay!”
“Oh! This is so exciting!” Samantha practically squealed with joy as we walked into the lunchroom. She grabbed my arm, “Who knew this day would come that you would arrange to hang out with a guy.” She pretended to cry as she whipped away a fake tear. “Ah, you’re growing up so fast, Reggie.”
Lightheartedly, I rolled my eyes.
“I know!” Taylor chimed in from the other side of me. Her expression was beaming as she exclaimed, “To think that we would be able to witness this day. To be frank, I thought this wouldn’t happen until college.”
“Aw, come on you guys.” I gently argued. “You guys are acting like Roxy, Cole and my parents when I told them this. Is this really that big of a deal? There’s more to life than meeting guys you know.”
“Duh, of course we know that!” Taylor retorted, still smiling. “But it’s always a good thing to make new friends.”
“Absolutely!” Samantha agreed with an assertive nod. “It’s always good to increase your circle.” She tossed a smile up at her boyfriend whom was walking right beside her. “Now Chester has a male in the group to talk to.”
“Hey.” Chester chuckled. “You’re making it sound like I have none, which you know is false.”
“I know, but now when you hang out with me and my main girls you’ll have a guy to talk to.”
“Hm I suppose I can’t argue with that. Although, don’t get me wrong I love being with you and you girls, but-”
“I know, it’s always good to have another guy around to talk about manly stuff with.”
Chester smiled affectionately, “Glad you understand.”
Samantha returned the stare, wrapped her arms around his one arm and snuggled it. The two were silent as they went off into their blissful moment.
Smiling, Taylor and I rolled our eyes before we looked at one another.
“So,” Taylor went back to the previous topic, “what are you and Tyler going to do?”
“He’s going to meet up at my place and we’ll hangout there.”
“Yup, that’s the plan.” Another male voice merrily chimed in.
We looked over our shoulders to spot Tyler walking towards us.
“Oh.” I acknowledged as I turned to face him with a smile, “Hey, Tyler.”
He smiled and nodded, acknowledging my greeting. But averted his interest towards the others. “Things have been a little tense at my house these past few weeks. Both of my parents have had some rough few days at work and Zane and my sister Kailey haven’t been very chummy either. So I figured to give them some space and get out of the house for a couple hours.”
“Well, that certainly makes sense.” Chester replied with light sympathy.
“But really!” Taylor huffed up. Crossing her arms, she gave Tyler an irritated glare. “Are Zane and that sister of yours still being little cranks?”
Tyler spread his hands, “Because they wanna be.” He then released a rough exhale. “Truthfully, they are the main reasons why I’m looking to get out of the house a bit more. I’m really getting tired of hearing Zane and Kailey’s constant complaints.”
“Well, that’s perfectly understandable.” Samantha assured him before a hopeful smile appeared. “So? Does this mean we’ll be seeing you a lot more? Now that you’re friends with Reggie?”
“Yup, as long as you guys don’t mind me hanging out with you all.”
“No, of course not.” Chester gladly returned with a smile. “We’ve already considered you a friend a while ago. So you’re more than welcome to join us.”
Very pleased, Tyler replied, “Thanks.”
“Alright!” Samantha clapped her hands together. Grinning, she snapped her fingers towards the lunch line, “Now, shall we go get our lunch?”
“Yes! I’m starving.” Chester agreed.
The three then began to walk further towards the lunch line.
“Does anyone know what’s for lunch anyway?” Taylor asked the two.
“If I remember correctly it’s meatloaf with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables. There’s also the baked potato bar and of course the salad bar.” Samantha answered her.
“Ugh, the main lunch doesn’t thrill me. I might just go for the baked potato.”
“I’ll go for the salad.”
“Again? Jeez, Sam, were you a rabbit in another life or something?”
“Hm, that could be, since I do love rabbits very much. I do have two pets that are rabbits.”
“You do realize I was joking, right?”
“Duh, of course I know. I’m just teasing.”
Chester merely chuckled while Tyler and I stayed back and humorously shook our heads.
Suddenly realizing something, I arched a brow and looked over towards the entrance of the cafeteria. “Wonder where Roxy is? Usually she’s here by now.”
“Hm, maybe she went to the restroom?” Tyler suggested with a mere shrug.
“I...suppose?” I replied with an odd tone, still unsure about it.
“Well,” Tyler made the motion to walk, “let’s go get our lunch, I’m sure Roxy will show up soon.”
I nodded, “Sure.”
“Why are you doing this!?”
Tyler and I literally jumped and we both whirled around to spot my cousin and Zane over by the lunchroom entrance. The two were glaring each other down with one of the harshest glares I’ve ever seen them use. They stood directly in front of one another with their fists clenched to their sides.
“Oh, great.” Scoffing heatedly, Tyler’s expression hardened on the two. “What did that idiot brother of mine say this time?”
My eyebrows rose, but I remained silent.
“I just don’t get you! Why are you being such a jerk?” Roxanne continued to shout.
“Hey! You’re the one that started this!” Zane blasted back. “You could have kept your mouth shut, but no you had to keep talking!”
“Well, excuse me, Mr. Crankypants!” Roxanne roared, propping her clenched fists on her hips. “I was just trying to lighten you up, so you could start talking to me so we could be friends.”
“Well, has it ever crossed your mind that may be I didn’t want to be friends! I don’t want them!” Zane shot back. He then practically screamed, “I don’t need you! I don’t need anybody so just leave me the heck alone and stay out of my face!”
I caught a glimpse of Roxanne’s body trembling with her fists clenched back down at her sides. I could tell by her expression and her body language that she was snarling with fury and she also looked hurt by his words.
“Fine!” She sneered through her teeth. Roxanne screamed, “Have it your way you a-hole!” Whirling around, my cousin stomped towards Tyler and me. However, she didn’t even look at us as she stormed past us with her flamed up glare on the ground.
“Roxy.” I whispered with immediate concern as my eyes followed her.
Chester, Samantha and Taylor’s eyes had also followed her as she sat down at our table. They then tossed me a glance, mentally asking me if they should go by her. I gave them an uncertain look, even though I wanted to run right to her this second, however it might be a good idea to give her some space. I know that’s what she wants to do, otherwise she would have stood in line with the others or pulled one of us along with her if she wanted to talk to someone right now.
“Damn.” I heard Tyler softly curse. Looking up at him, he still had his glare on Zane. “He can’t seriously be thinking about keeping up with this?”
Tilting my head, I eyed him curiously. However, again, I stayed silent and looked over at Zane. My heart sunk when I saw Zane still by the cafeteria entrance with this very pained expression. Almost like he didn’t want to say those things. But if that’s the case why did he say it? Unless I’m reading too much into it...although I’m kind of doubting it.
I then tensed up when I caught Zane glaring at me. But then hurled his piercing gaze over at Tyler who merely returned the hardened stare. The two continued to eye one another as Tyler slowly lowered his arm down in front of me.
Surprised by the gesture, I looked up at him. “Tyler?”
Tyler didn’t say anything. He just kept his gaze on his twin brother who’s glare became harsher when he saw Tyler’s arm move in front of me. But in a split second, Zane gave us his snorting expression, turned his attention away from Tyler and ventured to his lone table.
Tyler exhaled, when Zane finally escaped his view. “Jeez!” He rubbed his templates, “What a pain.”
“Don’t worry about it, Regina. It’s nothing that you need to worry about.” He turned and motioned to walk away, but kept his eyes on me, “Anyway, let’s go get our lunch. I would like to have something in my stomach before next hour.”
“Uh, right!” I hastily nodded.
Tyler took that has his cue to finally stroll over towards the lunch line. I instinctively glanced in Zane’s direction. He had a bagged lunch with him and even though the other half of the table had a good amount of people, none of them dared to look or sit by him. He just sat there by himself as he ate his sandwich.
Groaning, I couldn’t help but feel bad for him. He did look kind of lonely over there, regardless of what he told Roxanne.
“Hey, Regina!” Tyler called out, snapping my attention. He ushered his hand towards himself, “Come on.”
“Ah, coming!” I gave Zane one last glance before I exhaled and rushed over towards the line.
The next two hours went by and luckily there were no further incidents. The only annoying situations that me, Tyler and our friends had to deal with was Zane’s irritated glares and Roxanne’s grumbling mood. But compared to what has happened around here recently, those issues were mere mosquito bites.
It was now seventh hour, which was study hall for Tyler and me. We sat at one of the tables in the library, I was writing my notes for A.P History and Tyler worked on his math homework.
I reached a certain point in my notes before I let out a soft sigh and propped my chin on my hand. Once I was settled in that position I continued to write.
“Is something on your mind, Regina?” Tyler abruptly whispered.
“Huh?” I met his wondrous glance. “Uh...no.” Furrowing a brow, I asked him oddly, “Why would you ask such a thing?”
Pointing his pencil in my direction, he replied. “That’s the fifth time since study hall started that I’ve heard you sigh like that. Not to mention you’ve had this gloomy, spaced out expression.”
Tyler nodded, “So what’s on your mind?”
I paused for a second before I opened my mouth.
“No talking in the library!” An abrupt, strict feminine voice hollered.
We both jerked and whipped our attention to spot the school librarian’s hardened expression. Tyler and I merely grunted as we went back to what we were doing. However, I heard some soft ruffling of paper over in Tyler’s direction.
Sneaking a glance, I noticed that he had a new notebook out and was writing in it. He must have felt my puzzled gaze because he suddenly looked up. Then quietly he pushed his notebook in my direction and pointed his pencil down on the paper. I looked down and noticed that he wrote a message. It then dawned on me of what he was doing, so I grabbed the notebook and turned it so I could read what he had wrote.
Knowing what he was motioning us to do, I wrote back. “I guess what happened at lunch with Roxy and Zane is still bothering me.”
Tyler’s eyes lit up and nodded when he read my message. “I see, yeah, that definitely wasn’t pleasant. To be honest, it’s still bothering me a bit.”
“Oh good, I’m not the only one. But I would imagine that Zane’s been in your face about it? I know he’s given you lots of glares and has pulled you away from our group when we scattered to our separate classes.”
“A little, but it’s nothing that I can’t handle. This isn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.”
Instinctively, I let out a rough sigh as I shook my head. Taking note of Tyler’s raised eyebrow, I confessed. “I just don’t get those two. Why is Roxy being so persistent about Zane? Even though she told me yesterday it was to make our friendship with you flow easier. But I don’t know, she’s making this WAY too personal.”
Tyler exhaled, sharing my expression but replied. “I’m sure she has her reasons.”
“I don’t doubt that, but this is just so unlike her. Usually when she tries to befriend someone with an attitude like Zane’s, if they show no signs of budging she doesn’t persist after two attempts. She usually just walks away, shrugs it off and in a few minutes, sometimes hours, she’s back to her happy self. But that’s not happening this time and I just don’t get why.”
Tyler grunted when he read that. “Maybe she just can’t believe that someone related to me could be this headstrong?”
My face wrinkled with uncertainty. “Maybe? I don’t know, again it’s just alarming me a bit. Also, if you don’t mind me asking, what is Zane’s problem anyway? Why is he so against making friends?”
Tyler’s face fell slightly and wrote back. “He has his reasons, actually both him and Kailey have a very valid reason for being the way that they are. Unfortunately, I can’t get into the details, but all I can say is that they are afraid.”
Afraid? Afraid of what?
“They, actually my whole family, had experienced a few incidents that has left a big impact on their behavior. An impact that has caused them to be both afraid and mistrusting of people.”
My heart sunk, feeling both alarmed and curious. That does make sense, nobody develops behaviors like that unless something major happened. But...just what happened? What were these incidents that caused both Kailey and Zane to feel this way? I know it’s not my place to ask and Tyler himself said he couldn’t get into the details, but...I can’t help but wonder about it.
A thought suddenly jolted to the front of my mind as I wrote back with concern. “Should you really be doing this then?”
Tyler was taken back by the question, he then eyed me questionably with a raised eyebrow.
I clarified. “Are you sure you want to hang out with me and my friends? If Zane and Kailey are dealing with something like this then shouldn’t you be staying by their side?”
His face lit up as it dawned on him. Shaking his head, he wrote back. “Yes, I’m sure, I want to be friends with you guys. But don’t misunderstand, this doesn’t mean that I won’t defend or rush to Zane and Kailey’s side if they desperately need me. I also want to help them, however, I don’t think this is something that I can particularly help them with. They are the ones that need to find the initiative to move forward.”
Bobbling my head, I took that into consideration.
“So the best I can do is sit back and let them come around when they are ready.”
“Will they be okay though?” I questioned. “I know they haven’t been pleased about you wanting to branch out.”
I heard Tyler snort roughly and replied. “Those two have no say in what I choose to do, no one in my family has a say. I follow what I know is right and I feel that becoming friends with you, Roxy and the others is the right choice.”
My cheeks heated up, feeling very flattered by his words. I read on. “But don’t worry too much about Zane and Kailey, I know that they’ll come around. This can’t last forever and they know that as well, even if they don’t want to admit it. But for now I’d say just give them some space and let them work it out.”
Sympathizing with Tyler, I wrote back. “I guess that makes sense. Although, it’s not like we have much choice in this matter. But I’ll make sure to explain this to Roxy, maybe if she hears this she’ll cool her jets and leave him be for a little while.”
“I’m sure she will.” Tyler reassured me. “Roxy may be headstrong at times, but she does strike me as the type to understand when it comes to a situation like this.”
“Yeah, right.” I murmured softly, lowering my head slightly as I remembered that. Propping my chin up on my palm, I met his gaze again. “She is like that.”
That’s when I finally noticed Tyler’s t-shirt. It was a red short-sleeved shirt with the word “Strikers” designed boldly in the center. I was flabbergasted, because I immediately recognized the word and design.
“That shirt....” Pointing at him, I asked, “Where did you get that shirt?”
“Hm?” Glancing down, Tyler pinched some of the fabric. “This? I got this from my aunt and uncle when we visited them a couple weekends ago. Their youngest daughter had a soccer game when we saw them so everyone who went received this t-shirt, since they wanted everyone in the family to support my cousin.”
“Soccer?” My eyebrows rose as a thought struck me. “Do they by chance live in Green Bay?”
Tyler’s head fidgeted and eyed me with his own shock. “How did you guess?”
“Roxy played soccer when her and I used to live in that area. Actually, she was part of the Strikers soccer club because she lived on the east side of Green Bay, since there were only two soccer clubs for kids one on the east side and one on the west side.”
I nodded, “Yup, so I kind of had a blast to the past for a moment.” I smiled brightly, “But what a small world that is.”
Tyler meekly chuckled, “Yeah...no kidding.”
I arched a brow, finding his reaction strange. However, I shrugged it off. “So, do all of your relatives live in that area? Or is it just that one family?”
“Uh...no.” He shook his head slightly. “All of my dad’s side of the family lives up in the Green Bay area.”
“Whoa, seriously?” My head jerked back in surprise, but my face lit up with astonishment. “Cool! So does mine, all my dad’s and mom’s families are in that area. Wow, haha, what are the odds of that?”
“Got that right.”
“Second warning!” The librarian scolded loudly, causing the both of us to jump. We whipped around to see her glare and pointed at us. “If I have to warn you again you’re going back to your classrooms! Understood?”
Gasping, I clasped my hands over my mouth and laid my face on my textbook.
Oh man! I can’t believe I forgot about the notebook. Oh, this is so embarrassing! Getting scolded twice? That’s so unlike me, usually in the library I’m as silent as a mouse. But...I just couldn’t help it, I really got caught up in our conversation.
A hand tenderly rubbed my head. Once I felt that suddenly my thoughts disappeared as I looked up and found Tyler smiling sympathetically at me. He then tapped his pencil onto his notebook, wanting me to read what he had wrote.
“Don’t be so embarrassed.” He reassured me. “If it makes you feel any better I had also forgotten about this notebook for a moment. We’re both guilty here, so don’t get hung up about it, okay?”
My face softened as I smiled, appreciating his comfort. Nodding, I mouthed, “Thank you.”
He merely nodded and without another word the two of us went back to our homework.
Suddenly an imaged flashed into my mind of a preteen boy who’s face was still blurred out. All I could see was a joyful smile and a red short-sleeved “Strikers” t-shirt.
“Haha! How cool is this? Who would have thought that both of our cousins would have ended up on the same soccer team?”
A sharp pain abruptly pierced through my head, causing me to grimace softly. I then shook my head, riding myself of the image as I rubbed the side of my head.
“Hm? Regina?” I heard Tyler say softly with concern. Glancing over at him, I watched him as he gently grabbed my hand that I had on my head. “Hey, are you alright?”
“Huh? Oh, yes, yes!” Hastily, snatching my hand away from his grasp, I waved it with reassurance. “I’m fine! I just developed a slight headache, that’s all.”
He eyed me with uncertainty. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, yes, I’m sure. N-Now....” Stilling peeking over at him, I motioned to go back to my notebook. “Let’s get back to our homework before we get yelled at again.”
Tyler merely groaned, but I ignored him as I went back to my notes.
Again an image appears, one that feels so distinctively familiar that I just can’t shake it off and just like the others...it won’t disappear from my mind. Why? Could this be one of those signs that dad had mentioned last night? That the ghost woman is bringing back my memories? If so could it be possible that these images...are memories? Memories from six years ago? It would make sense, especially to why they feel so familiar.
But then if they are...why is it that Tyler and Zane had sparked a few of them? It can’t be a mere coincidence can it? Also why is it that with each passing day and the more I’m around Tyler and Zane their presence has become more and more...familiar? The feeling has become even stronger since I started seeing those images. Why? Is it possible...that I’ve met them sometime before? But...that can’t be...right?