Darkness Lingers Beneath

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Life is a grueling game of chess. One wrong move could make you lose at checkmate. When it comes to life, there is always a balance; good vs bad. If something really good happens then something really bad must occur to counteract it. If things go off one end too far then tragedy can strike and be debilitating. Sadly, my life is on a scale completely unbalanced. It was a slow descent into darkness, a scattering of events that broke down my spirit. I tried to get better and for a time I had, but then I was knocked down again. I live in a small town twenty minutes out of Madison. Before the last two years I was happy in this place, but after everything that has happened, I feel like I’m suffocating. The start of junior year was the nail in my coffin.

Fantasy / Romance
4.8 8 reviews
Age Rating:

Chapter One

Life is a grueling game of chess. One wrong move could make you lose at checkmate. When it comes to life, there is always a balance; good vs bad. If something really good happens then something really bad must occur to counteract it. If things go off one end too far then tragedy can strike and be debilitating.

Sadly, my life is on a scale completely unbalanced. It was a slow descent into darkness, a scattering of events that broke down my spirit. I tried to get better and for a time I had, but then I was knocked down again. I live in a small town twenty minutes out of Madison. Before the last two years I was happy in this place, but after everything that has happened, I feel like I’m suffocating. The start of junior year was the nail in my coffin.

I walked into the school building to find my friend Claire standing beside her locker. She was staring down the hall at something and didn’t even notice that I walked up to her. I followed her gaze to notice she was staring at a boy. He was tall, handsome from the side profile at least, and muscular with the type of hair you’d see on a model.

I leaned in close so my mouth was next to Claire’s ear, “Who’s that?

My voice caused her to jump sky high. She screamed and flung all her books that she had in her hands onto the floor. People around us gave a glance and just kept walking, but I couldn’t keep it together. I laughed so hard tears came to my eyes. She picked up all her books and looked back at me with annoyance.

“You shouldn’t sneak up on people like that.”

“Well, if you weren’t so concentrated on staring at that boy then you would have noticed me walk up.” I said with intrigue. “Who is the mysterious boy who has caught your eye?”

Claire’s gaze returned to the boy. “His name is Sam Filtz. My uncle helped him move in last week and I, luckily, tagged along that day. I noticed Sam was moving in by himself and so I asked my uncle about him, but he only knew Sam’s name. So I did some research and found nothing. Absolutely nothing. Even his last address is unknown. He’s a complete and utter mystery.”

“Claire, you know that’s stalking right?”

“No, it’s not.” She responded quickly

I scoffed. “You researched this man after meeting him once just because he was moving in alone. His parents will probably come to town within the week or maybe, he has the capability to live on his own. Besides, you looked into private records, Claire. Doesn’t that sound a little stalkerish to you?”

Claire’s cheeks turned bright red. “I am not stalking him, I’m just curious is all. Everyone has a paper trail, but he doesn’t. It’s like he just appeared out of nowhere. And besides, who let’s a 17 year old boy move in on his own? My parents would never and I highly doubt anyone’s parents would. It’s odd, don’t you think?”

“Do you have a crush on him, Claire?”

“No, it’s not like that. He is just...intriguing. There is something odd about him.” Claire glanced into my eyes with a serious look. “When I met him the other day he had this air about him. Like he was dangerous, but I couldn’t figure out why.”

That’s when the bell rang. Claire waved back at me as she hurried down the hall, never taking her eyes off Sam. It was odd to have no paper trail and live on his own at 17, but I couldn’t judge. I didn’t know his story and I wasn’t going to get involved. Claire could be obsessed for the both of us.

I made it to first period with a few minutes to spare. When I entered the room I noticed Sam sitting kitty corner from my desk. When I appeared in the doorway I saw his whole body tense up, like he was in pain. I ignored that odd reaction and took my seat.

My friend, Christina, claimed the seat next to mine, the one directly in front of Sam’s. I turned toward her so we could catch up before class, when I noticed that Sam was staring at me. I’ve seen people stare at me before, but his stare was different. It wasn’t a “you’re cute” stare or “I’m bored, let’s just stare at something” stare, it was frightening. He looked at me like he wanted to eat me; like a lion would look at a sheep.

I turned back and tried to ignore his stare, but I could still see his piercing blue eyes from the corner of my vision. Christina noticed my sudden reaction and looked behind her to see the intensity of Sam’s stare. So he wouldn’t hear us, Christina mouthed, “Why is the new kid looking at you like that?”

“I have no idea.” I mouthed back. His look actually scared me. I had never experienced this sense of fear before and I couldn’t pinpoint why I felt so fearful.

My heart began to race in my chest as I peeked back at him. He was gripping onto his desk, almost to the point of leaving handprints. My fight or flight response kicked in and I wanted to run and never stop running, but I stayed put. I shouldn’t be reacting this strongly to a stare and I wasn’t about to let it make me leave. Why was he staring at me? He doesn’t even know me.

“Alright class, my name Mrs. Lindell and I will be your language arts teacher this year. To start things off, let’s introduce ourselves. Say your name and something you like. We’ll start with the left side and go down the rows, starting with you.” She pointed to the first person in the row, which so happened to be Olivia Andersen. The girl whose voice sounded like nails on a chalkboard to my ears.

“My name is Olivia and I like ponies, especially the one my dad bought me for my birthday. It’s pink.” She bragged, standing up and chewing her gum loud enough that I could hear it across the room.

“Thank you, Olivia. Next...”

Then it was a train of sharing. It was smooth sailing until it reached me. It was my turn, but I was so focused on ignoring Sam’s stare that I didn’t hear her. I didn’t realize she said anything until she slammed a ruler onto my desk, causing me to jump in my seat.

“Carly?” Mrs. Lindell asked a little too loudly.

I quickly stood up. “Um...my name is Carly and I like to draw.”

I sat down just as fast as I stood up. Every eye in the room was on me, which just made the whole situation a hundred times worse. Mrs. Lindell was annoyed, but she was satisfied with my answer. “Thank you for finally responding. Maybe next time you’ll respond the first time I ask. Whoever’s next please stand up.”

No one sat behind me, which meant it was Sam’s turn. He stood up without ever taking his eyes off me. “My name is Sam and I love to paint.”

“Paint? What do you like to paint?”

“I love painting portraits. People with green eyes especially. They are sincere, caring, creative, intuitive, and empathic. I love to paint portraits and green eyes are always the most...tantalizing.” Sam explained with his eyes drilling holes into the back of my head.

Mrs. Lindell was satisfied and continued to the next person. I on the other hand stopped functioning altogether because I...had green eyes. I don’t know why he was staring or why he was reacting this way or why he described painting green-eyed people with such a sexual tone, but I didn’t like it. I decided I couldn’t stay in this room any longer; I had to get out now. Mrs. Lindell put on a movie and once everyone was settled, I made my move. I quickly rose from my desk and approached the teacher.

“May I go to the bathroom?”

“Just be fast.” She shooed, returning her attention to the film.

I thanked her and quickly left. I made my way to the girl’s restroom so I would hopefully be alone. I entered and to my glee, no one was inside. I sprayed water up at my face, feeling the water drip down my skin. I needed to snap out of this. What the hell is going on? Am I in some sort of Twilight Zone episode or am I just having a nightmare?

I pinched my arm to see if I would wake up and sadly, I didn’t. I stood there for a moment staring at my own reflection, when I noticed movement from the corner of my eye. I turned around to find Sam standing there. I put on a confident face, even though my heart was racing.

I took my stance. “What do you want from me? You’ve been staring at me for almost an hour with your body tensed in pain. What do you want?”

“I want you.”

Those words made me lose any sliver of confidence I had. He was blocking the only exit and I didn’t have the strength to fight him off. I backed up into the wall as he appeared in front of me, almost too quickly. Our eyes were inches apart and this was the first chance I truly got to look at him. He was pale, dark circles under eyes, lips a faded pink; he looked sickly. Honestly, he looked dead.

His eyes scanned my face like he had never seen someone’s face before. I wanted to say something or even scream, but no words came to my lips. I was absolutely frozen. He moved his head closer to my neck, so close I could feel his breath on my skin.

I grabbed his arm and whispered. “Please, don’t hurt me.”

Sam stiffened and quickly backed away from me. My words were like a bucket of ice cold water. His posture changed, his eyes wide with guilt, and he shook like he had fallen in snow. A hand flew to his mouth as he backed away from me with terror. He ran to the door only to turn back with three words. “I’m so sorry.”

He vanished out the door and I just stood there dumbfounded. Now I was even more confused. It’s like he broke out of some trance and completely changed. The bell rang loudly through the bathroom, making me clutch at my heart. I pulled myself together, got my belongings from the classroom, and headed to next period.

The rest of the morning I didn’t see one glimpse of Sam and I was relieved. I didn’t regain my composure until halfway through second period. Claire was right, something about this Sam kid was off. He almost attacked me and then completely switched to a guilty stance. I didn’t know what to think.

When lunch came around, I was feeling good again. I got to my locker and shoved everything inside. When I turned around, I noticed Sam was headed straight for me. Maybe he was coming to apologize, but I was still shaky from this morning. So, I turned tailed it and pretty much ran to the lunchroom. Whatever happened this morning creeped me out beyond anything I had ever felt and I honestly just wanted to forget it ever happened.

I pushed the weirdness down deep and strode into the cafeteria. I looked around and found my friends at our usual table in the back of the room. I got my food and wanted to focus on other things then Sam.

Sadly, the second I sat down, Christina opened her mouth. “So Carly, did you ever figure out why that new kid was staring you down this morning?”

“He was what?” Claire asked, looking over at me with concern.

“Yes, Sam was staring at me all of first period. I still have no idea why.” I looked around the cafeteria to see if he was still staring, but he was nowhere to be found. I was relieved and disappointed. Part of me wanted to never see him again, but another part wanted to know what the hell was going on.

“Is the new kid hot?” Anna asked, leaning forward with a big smile on her face. She loved gossip and cute boys.

I sighed. “Yeah, I guess he’s pretty cute. I wasn’t really paying attention to his attractiveness. I was actually trying to avoid him, but since I was stuck in class, I couldn’t.”

“Did he do anything else than just stare at you?” Phoua worried

I wanted to tell them, but I also had no idea how to even explain what happened myself. Saying something would cause them to worry and I hate making my friends worried for me. So, I lied. “No, he just stared at me in a very odd and long way. Nothing else.”

“I would steer clear of him.” Claire warned, crossing her arms over her chest. “If he was staring at you for that long, that isn’t normal. I would keep your distance until you know more. You don’t want to take any risks.”

Anna tossed a fry into her mouth, giving her input. “He’s just the new guy. Maybe, he was staring at you because he thinks you’re attractive or maybe he’s just odd. I don’t know, but it’s not like he’s the devil. He’s probably just some awkward kid who didn’t know where to look.”

Phoua shook her head. “Even if he isn’t the devil, that’s still creepy. Who stares at someone for an entire class period? Maybe you stare for a minute or two but forty-two minutes of staring at the same person is just beyond creepy.”

I nodded in agreement as pain surged through my head; a normal occurrence for the last nine months. I placed my hand on my forehead, squeezing my temples with my fingers. I gritted my teeth and held my breath. When the nightmares had stopped, the headaches replaced them. They usually happened at night, this was the first to occur during the day.

Christina was the first to notice my pained expression, placing her hand on mine. “Carly, what’s wrong? Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, I’ve just been getting these weird headaches lately.” I said with reassurance. I removed my hand and tried to smile. None of them believed me.

“When did they start?” Claire asked

Claire was my best friend and I don’t think I could ever live without her. She and I were like twins with how similar we truly were. So when I was hurting, she always knew. Like some psychic power she could wield. What made it worse was that I could never lie to her. She always knew when I was hiding something and she always knew how to get it out of me.

Anna became confused. “Why does it matter when they started?”

“Because there could be something seriously wrong with her. ” Claire looked into my eyes, scanning for the truth. “Did they start after the crash?”

I nodded. The crash, that Claire just mentioned, was how my mother died. Nine months ago she had gone to pick me up from a sleepover, but the roads were slippery and we didn’t see the deer until the very last secobd. I lived and she didn’t. Since then I had nightmares every night, but when those stopped, the headaches began.

Phoua worried. “Have you tried going to a doctor? What if you hit your head and something is broken or bruised?”

“Phoua, I’m fine.” I said as I looked around the table to realize none of them believed me. “Seriously guys, I’m okay. I’ll just take some headache medicine when I get home and everything will be fine, I promise.”

Before any of them could continue to question me, the bell rang. They reluctantly let me go as we all went our separate ways. Luckily, there were only two classes left and then I could go home. A place I wouldn’t have to deal with creepy guys who stare and get up close and personal when we haven’t even truly met.

The last two classes, art and math, went by quite quickly. With the day I had, I wasn’t complaining. My head felt like it was getting kicked around like a soccer ball, but it was still dull enough for me to play it off like I was fine. I could go to the nurse’s office to get some meds, but I hate doctors and I avoid them like the plague.

When the final bell rang I jumped out of my seat, not caring what the teacher had to say. I threw everything in my backpack and ran outside to my blue convertible. I placed my bag in the trunk when I felt eyes on my back. I turned around to find Sam.

When I looked up into his eyes they weren’t scary like before, they were calm and concerned. His skin was pinkier, eyes a less faded blue, even his lips looked more plump. He didn’t look sickly in the slightest. Whatever was wrong with him this morning was gone now. He looked like a completely different person, oddly enough.

I was about to continue getting in my car when I saw the look on his face. I knew he wanted to speak so against my better judgement, I let him. “You’re Carly, right?”

“Yeah, that’s me and your Sam the creepy guy from this morning.” I said with poison on the tip of my tongue.

Sam winced at my words. “Can I talk to you about what happened? Explain myself?”

“Yeah, I would love an explanation.” I remarked, placing my arms over my chest.

“I think I gave you the wrong impression earlier.” He swallowed the spit in his throat. “I’m sorry that I was staring at you. There’s just something about you that caught my eye. Not in a sexual way, but you look interesting. Different from the other kids, something I haven’t seen in a long time.”

I scuffed. “That stare was not someone looking at another person because they are interesting, you looked like you wanted to eat me. Like a predator does to prey. When people look at interesting people, they don’t have a look of murder in their eyes.”

“I was just hungry.”

“Just hungry?!” I shook my head with disbelief. “Really? How does someone who is hungry follow a girl into the girl’s restroom and try to rape them?”

My comment was a little loud and few people passing gave us some weird looks. They didn’t care enough to stop, but they definitely heard what I said. Sam’s eyes went wide. “I wasn’t going to rape you.”

“Then what were you going to do?”

Sam looked down at his feet, wringing his hands. He sighed loudly. “I had just moved to town last week and I haven’t had the chance to buy much food. So I was really hungry this morning and not in my right mind. I guess I went a little animalistic, but I feel awful about it. Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?”

I didn’t believe one word he just said. No one who is hungry stares at another person like he looked at me and they definitely don’t attack people in the bathroom, but I was being judgemental. I didn’t know his story and I wasn’t going to assume. So, I decided I was going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

“I don’t think hunger causes you to attack a stranger.” I said with a sigh. “But I’ll let it slide. Just don’t go attacking me again and we’ll be hunky dory.”

He was shocked. “You’re going to let it go that easily?”

“I’ve met a few bad people in my life and you aren’t one of them.” I said with honesty. “The look you had on your face when you backed away from me was genuine guilt and fear of yourself. I don’t know what kind of trance you were in, whether it be from lack of food or drugs, but I don’t think you were fully in control this morning.”

“I’m doing a lot better now.”

“I can see that. You looked very sickly this morning, did you get the food you needed?”

Sam looked down at his feet. “Yeah, you could say that.”

Awkward silence ensued and I decided I was going to ask more questions since I had the chance. “Did you mean what you said this morning about painting? Do you like painting portraits of green-eyed folk or was it the lack of “food”?”

His cheeks turned red. “Mostly, the food talking. I do love to paint portraits though. The green eye thing was a little weird, wasn’t it?”

I smiled. “Just a little bit.”

Sam smiled back and blurted out, “I was wondering, to make up for the creepiness of this morning, if you would like to go to a party with me? I heard lots of people talking about it. It’s on the edge of town at some senior’s house. I was wondering if you would go with me?”

I furrowed my brows. “You stare at me all morning, attack me in the bathroom, and you then ask me to go to a party with you? How do I know you’re not an axe murderer or something? I could get in the car with you and never come back.”

“This morning I made you feel uncomfortable and that is not the first impression I want to give.” Sam apologized with sympathy. “I am new to town and I want to make friends. Besides, I could be an axe murderer, but you’ll never know if you don’t give me a chance. Please, I scared you this morning and I feel awful about it. Give me a chance to make it up to you.”

I bit my lip in thought. This morning honestly scared the bejeezus out of me, but now Sam was a completely different person. I could tell he looked sorry for what happened, even though I didn’t fully believe his low on food story. I knew Claire was ify of him and so was I, but sometimes you have to take risks.

“You’re gonna have to convince me.” I said with a small smile.

“Convince you?” He asked in confusion.

“The party is in four days. So give me reasons why I should say yes. Tell me more about yourself. We can meet at the picnic table over there after school.” I said, pointing to the table a few feet from my car. “That way I know who I am dealing with. You wanna make it up to me, I’m gonna have to know more about you.”

Sam was silent for a moment before slightly nodding. “I think that can be arranged.”

“Glad to hear it.” I said, opening the car door and peeking back out at him. “See you tomorrow, Sam.”

“See you tomorrow.”

I started up my car and I was off. I looked back to see Sam was gone. His sudden disappearance was odd, but I didn’t think much of it as I drove home. I don’t know what it is about Sam, but he’s different. It’s like he flipped a switch, one moment he is terrifying and the next he is a shy kid. It could all be act and I could get to know him, only for him to murder me or something, but I don’t think that was it.

I had this thing, a superpower you could say. I can tell when others are lying, maybe it’s the look in their eye or their way of speaking, but I can tell. And Sam, wasn’t lying. He truly felt awful about this morning and wanted to make it up to me. I didn’t believe one word of food being the cause, most likely drugs, but he didn’t seem like an awful person.

Claire, wouldn’t be happy since she thinks he’s dangerous and honestly, he might. I could be a lamb hanging with a lion. For all I know, he could be a murderer or rapist or whatever, but I don’t think he is. Something about him told me he was a good guy, even if he acted strangely.

I pulled into my driveway, glad to be home and away from drama. I got one foot in the door and my stepmother, Amy, noticed me enter. “You look happy. Did anything interesting happen today?”

“Yeah, you could say that.”

Amy was nice, but I didn’t really like her. I didn’t hate her as much as my younger brother Ethan did, but I still disliked her. My dad got married only four months ago; less than six months after mom’s death. I understand that he wanted to make our family the way it used to be, but it just feels too sudden. We didn’t even have a year to grieve before he moved on; before he changed everything.

“Is this about a boy?” Amy asked, putting on her “tell me everything” face.

I looked toward her with a nod. “Maybe, but I’m not sure yet. We’ll see how this week goes. I’m going to my room.”

I started up the stairs as Amy yelled after me. “Okay, dinner will be done in two hours. Don’t forget!”

I made my way to the second floor when I heard whispering coming from Ethan’s room. I peeked through the crack in the door to see him whispering into his phone. Whatever he was talking about he didn’t want anyone else to hear. I cupped my ear with my hand and tried to listen in.

“How much? That’s more than last time, almost double. You know I need that...I’ll get it...see you tonight. ” Ethan whispered

He hung up on the other line, which meant I had to skedaddle. I moved away from the door and got about a foot down the hall when the floor creaked. Ethan’s door swung open as I turned around to face him. He looked annoyed. “How much did you hear?”

“Who are you meeting tonight?” I asked walking into his room. Ethan wasn’t the cleanest person and you could tell the instant you went into his room. The place was a disaster zone. It was filled with dirty laundry, video games, and literal dirt. I don’t know if he’s ever cleaned it, but it seemed like he hadn’t.

“It’s none of your beeswax. Now move out of the way.” Ethan said, grabbing his jacket and pushing me to the side. I had a feeling I knew what he was about to do, but I didn’t want to judge until I knew.

“Ethan, don’t.” I said grabbing his wrist as he turned to walk away.

He looked down at my hand and back up at my face. “Get off me, Carly...Or...”

“Or what?” I threatened with a serious tone. “I know you’re going out and doing something you shouldn’t. Whispering into the phone about meeting someone for something you have to pay for. Are you doing drugs again? Honestly Ethan, you said you quit.”

When my mother died it hit him the hardest. Ethan and mom were best friends and losing your best friend is a tragedy. So instead of grieving, he didn’t want to feel anything. Taking drugs was his way. I thought he had stopped, but it looked like he had lied, again.

“I’m not taking drugs, okay!” Ethan screamed, pulling his hand from my grasp. Ethan was usually calm and quiet, but the Ethan that was looking at me right now was anything but. I don’t know if it was drugs or just loss, but he was different.

“You are, aren’t you?” I asked feeling a bit of disgust. I hurt every day because of my mom’s death, but not once did I turn to drugs. That was the easy way out and I’m happy I didn’t go there. If I would have been as frightening as Ethan was right now then I’m glad I didn’t go that far.

“I’m not taking drugs.” Ethan turned his back to me. “It’s something else. Something different. You would never understand. I’m doing this to make my life better. Can’t you just leave me be?”

“I just don’t want you getting hurt.”

“I know what I’m doing. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.” He made his way downstairs without looking back at me once. He walked out the door and slammed it shut.

After sighing in frustration, I headed for my room, but instead of peace and quiet, Saige decided to appear. Saige was my younger sister, starting sixth grade this year. She might be young but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t smart. She knew just the way to get under your skin and whenever you had a conversation, she wanted to know all the details, even if it meant blackmailing you to get them.

She was just like Christina but so much worse. If Christina didn’t get her way she would wait until later and give you time to think. Saige wanted to know right at that moment or bad things would happen. One time she super-glued my hand to a doorknob because I wouldn’t tell her about a conversation I had with Claire. She was a very devious little girl, but she was my sister, what could I do?

Being her nosy self Saige asked, “What were you two talking about in there? I heard yelling.”

“Nothing you need to worry about. Now run along and do your homework. I need some relaxation time.” I said trying to walk past her, but of course, she wasn’t going to budge.

Saige crossed her arms. “I will find out why you and Ethan fought. I promise I will. I am quite the investigator when I try to be.”

“Have fun with that, now go do whatever it is you do.” I said as Saige vanished back into her room.

I finally made it to my room and the silence was bliss. I planned to get some Aspirin for my headache, but I needed a minute to just lay on my bed. I fell on the bed face first and was out like a light. Next thing I know its pitch black outside and rain is beating against the windows. I sit up with instant pain. My headache had doubled its intensity tenfold.

When I got to my wobbly feet I heard Amy yelling my name, “Carly, dinner’s ready!”

“Coming!” I yelled, walking down the stairs as slow as possible.

Every step made the headache echo through my brain, like thunder in the rainstorm outside. I made my way into the kitchen to see Ethan and Saige already sitting at the table. I swerved around the table and searched through the cabinets for Aspirin. After I took the meds I sat down in my regular spot next to Saige.

“What are we having for dinner, Amy?” Ethan asked, glaring at me as I took my seat.

Amy brought a giant bowl to the table. “We are having chicken alfredo.” Chicken alfredo has always been my favorite and Amy knew it too. It was a dish I could eat for every meal of the day and I would never complain.

“Where’s Dad?” Saige asked with a mouthful of noodles, slurping them up quickly. She always did that when she ate noodles. Maybe she just liked the noise or the fact that it annoyed everyone else because she slurped everything, even soda. Saige was an odd child, but I wasn’t much different.

Before Amy could explain my dad’s whereabouts the front door opened and closed. We all looked in that direction to hear him walk into the house, throwing his shoes on the mat. With a smile and a hand patting his stomach, he strode into the kitchen. “I’m here and I’m ready to eat!”

My dad was a tall man, about the size of an average moose, but I loved him anyway. My dad was the kind of dad who wanted to know everything about us, a best friend of sorts. He was awesome until you made him mad and that’s when he got frightening.

He once caught Ethan doing drugs, which, of course, pissed him off. To stay away from dad, Ethan locked his door. Dad tried to get it open, but Ethan had locked it tight So, he mustered up the strength to literally punch a hole through Ethan’s bedroom door. My dad’s hand was broken, but it taught Ethan to never do drugs in the house again.

“How was your first day of school, Carly?” Dad asked, sitting down in the chair across from me.

I knew my dad probably better than he knew himself and I knew he wasn’t going to stop looking at me until I actually said something. What was I going to say? Hey dad, I met a boy today who stared at me, attacked me, and then asked me to a party? If I did say that I think his head might explode. He would find Sam’s address and probably kill him. So, I just went with a common phrase.

“It was good.” I said shoving noodles into my face, almost choking on them.

“Tell me more.” Dad insisted

I shoved more noodles into my mouth. “Well, I didn’t get any homework today. Every class was boring, except for art. I hung out with my friends at lunch and that’s about it”

“Sounds like an experience.” Dad laughed as he turned toward my sister. “Saige, what about you?”

“Well, we got to know each student and I met some new people. The teachers were all cool, except Mrs. Karl who yelled at me for sharpening my pencil while she was teaching. I mean I get it, but the way she talked to me was uncalled for. The rest of the day was fun. Well, as much fun as you can have at school, I guess.” Saige explained

Amy wanted to join in so she motioned toward Ethan. “How about you Ethan, anything exciting happen at school? Make friends, have an exciting class or learn something new? I would love to hear about it.”

“Why would I tell you? All you are is my mom’s replacement.” Ethan snapped

“Ohhh...” Saige said quiet enough so Dad couldn’t hear her.

Dad was furious. “Do not treat Amy like that. She is trying her best to be a mom for you and the girls. Apologize.”

Ethan scuffed, “I will never apologize because I’m speaking the truth. She’s a replacement. Why else would you marry her so soon after mom died? You married her so you could get over your grief. I didn’t get that luxury and I am stuck with that pain every hour of every day.”


Ethan stood up in his seat. “Don’t Ethan me. Today I got beat up by kids twice my size. If mom were here, she would have seen it a mile away and came to my aid, but you haven’t even noticed. If you cared you would have seen my black eye or that I was limping. If you knew what I wanted or felt, you would have known that. This horrible woman blocks your senses!”

Dad screamed causing Saige and I to jump. “Go to your room right now!”


Ethan ran from the room and slammed his bedroom door. Amy began to cry, my dad cuddling her and telling her she was amazing and that Ethan just didn’t see it yet. Saige and I started for the stairs now that everything had gotten really, really awkward.

“We’re gonna go upstairs and get some rest before school tomorrow.” I said as Saige and I made it to the bottom of the steps. “Sorry about Ethan, goodnight.”

Neither Amy nor dad said anything as we escaped the tension thick kitchen. We walked up the stairs together then we went our separate ways. I went into my room and she went into hers. I remember hitting the pillow and then everything went dark.

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Further Recommendations

Andrea: G ood sto ry wan t to ke ep read ing

alicewevers1234: Absolutely love it cant wait for the rest

Laura: Love it want to read more good writer keep it up

Madalena De Melo Sousa: Great story! Loving the writing. The plot is interesting and can't wait for her to meet Santiago. I've heard ab this story so I'm curious to see if it matches what people said ab it 😁

Lypse: Amm... I don't know where to begin... 🤔 The concept of the story was pretty great 👍 I was into it but... the chapters short and most of them was written about was "adult" stuff. The plot went really fast (too fast for my taste). Wish there were more story telling about the events that happend not...

Ramamani Mc: Very professional approach of the characters to make the client feel better.This is for western world. over all very arousing romantic..

Elsje Bradford: Really loved it!!

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Ranmini Wijesinghe: Beautifully written . Things like that can happen in real life .... nice work ! Good luck

bellalouise28: One of my current favourite reads. I honestly love this book so much, it’s not rushed it’s perfect. The story line is so captivating that I read it in 1 day I couldn’t put it down. Such an amazing story 💕💕

Maddy Swanston: As usual an awesome read. Such a talented author. Thank you. Now for number five

Maddy Swanston: Absolutely loved book 2 now for number 3.once again thank you. 🌺

Margarita: Beautiful story, with a lot of emotions, I just love it!Really good writer direct to the point, making the reading enjoyable and making the reader feel the emotions of the characters.Cheers

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