Death and all His Friends

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The best and worst day of my life.

I was sure I was going to die. My heart felt suspended in midair as I plummeted, beating erratically as my body fell away to the whim of gravity. I thought my life was about to flash before my eyes in a pitiful montage. I thought I was going to have an epiphany and suddenly realise that I had wasted the short life I've lived: that I should have done more, cared more, been a better person. I thought I'd think of my mum, my dad, Jess and Gina and Lizzy of all the people who meant so much to me. I even thought I'd declare my undying love to Cory and wonder what our future would have been. However, as I fell, all I could think about was what a bastard that white haired man was. I mean, who did he think he was, showing up in my room, walking on my bed with his shoes still on and then kicking me, kicking me out of my own window?

Oh I was going to haunt his sorry ass. I was going to haunt him so badly that his ugly white hair fell out and his stupid girly face turned gaunt and skeletal out of fear. He was going to curse the day he was born. He was going to beg me for mercy!

And then the strangest thing happened. It felt like I had hit a soft, invisible bed. One moment I was falling, my hair whipping around my face and getting in my mouth like a spindly net, and then I stopped. It was so abrupt that I choked on some of my saliva. I panicked, my whole body paralysed as I hung in midair. And then with a jolt, whatever was holding me up collapsed and I fell again. A scream tore at my throat but the fall wasn't as long as before.

The rush of blue ended abruptly as I hit the ground, landing on my left leg at an awkward angle.

I screamed. I cried. I yelled until my throat was hoarse. And then Jess was screaming and her friend was crying and all these random people from the neighbourhood appeared and started screaming and all I could do was lie there, the grass pricking my face as the shock wore off and the pain cascaded in.

"Tegan!" someone shouted. "Are you okay?"

Oh dear Lord my leg was broken! It hurt so effing much!

"Do I look flipping okay to you?" I screamed back, suddenly aggressive. "God freaking damnit it hurts!"

Stupid white haired man. He was going to pay. He was going down. I will destroy him. Douche.

My mother was suddenly beside me, stretching out my left leg and cooing at me like I was a child.

"Tegan honey, it'll be alright. Let's see, can you move your leg? Where does it hurt?"

"Everywhere!" I shouted, my face going red with anger and pain. He freaking kicked me out the window? Who does that?

"Tegan, try to move your leg!"

I felt relieved when my leg twitched, although the pain was like a raging fire, bringing more tears to my eyes. I rested my head against the lawn, the cold grass soothing against my hot cheeks.

"Does she need an ambulance?" someone asked.

They hadn't called an ambulance? Oh sure, just watch while a poor innocent girl dies on the pavement. No biggie. What the hell?

I glanced up at them, people who I had never seen before; people I had never spoken to before. They probably didn't even know my name. Their faces were all a blur, features already forgotten in my short term memory.

"No, no," my mother was saying. "I think she's sprained her ankle. It's a little puffy but she can move her leg so it's not serious."

Not serious? Not serious? It felt like my whole leg was being stabbed by a thousand red hot knives!

I started screaming and crying out of frustration and everyone took a step back. Maybe I'd finally gone insane. Maybe the fall finally pushed me over the edge, no pun intended.

"Help me carry her into the house Jessica." My mother said to my sister.

Jess came towards me warily, her hands raised like she was approaching a wild, rabid beast. Her friend, a petite, curly haired blond girl, was whimpering beside her, her face a white mask of shock.

I stopped screaming as they lifted me up, my mother supporting my shoulders and Jess holding my legs. Great, trust Jess with taking care of the damaged area.

All the neighbours crowded around the door as they carried me into the house and dumped me onto the old squishy couch. I could hear them all whispering about it, wondering what had happened. Several people even suggested I should be put on suicide watch. I closed my eyes and breathed in the scent of my house: something so comforting and reassuring that it made my frustration ebb away. It smelt of sandalwood and lilies. It was familiar.

My mum started hurriedly reassuring the neighbours that I would be fine whilst Jess and her friend stood over me.

The two of them stared at me, Jess tugging at her ringlets and her curly haired friend chewing her lip. Jess tried to speak but her voice came out croaky. She cleared her throat, fidgeting.

"I'm going to get you some ice." She said really loudly and slowly, over exaggerating her lip movements.

"I fell out a window. I'm not deaf." I snapped. She just flinched, looked embarrassed and skipped off into the kitchen.

Her friend offered me a nervous smile.

"I'm Tracy. You have a nice house." She said in a wispy voice, looking around at the white wall paneling and the wooden floor in the living room.

I smiled in return. She seemed nice, for one of Jess' friends.

"Thanks Tracy."

There was one of those semi-awkward silences that always happen when two people have just met.

"A-Are you alright?" she asked suddenly, looking seconds away from bursting into tears.

I was momentarily shocked. Did I really scare her that much? I mean, I suppose I did fall out a window.

"I'm fine. Don't worry about it." I didn't know what else to say to comfort her and Tracy went back to gnawing on her bottom lip.

By the time Jess returned with some ice, Tracy's lip had started bleeding from all the nervous chewing and I watched in amusement as she squeaked as a bit of blood ran down her chin.

"Oh my God! Tracy you're bleeding!" Jess screamed when she saw her friend.

"I know! I know!" Tracy cried in response before running from the room wailing.

"Oh dear." Jess said to me as she dumped the ice on my ankle. "She gets very emotional. You shouldn't have scared her like that. What were you doing, idiot?"

"What do you mean?"

"How did you fall out the window? You're not that stupid."

I narrowed my eyes at my sister.

"Go. Away." I said bluntly.

Jess sniffled and ran after her friend. I felt a little bad. Jess was probably trying to be nice. Some days she succeeded but other days she failed. Like today.

"Well that's all settled." My mother said, slamming the door of the house. "They were all so worried about you. Aren't you glad we have such caring neighbours?"

She kneeled down beside me and had a look at my ankle. She tapped it several times and pursed her lips. It almost made me laugh, watching my accountant mother act like a doctor.

"It doesn't look serious. How strange. You fell from quite high up." She mused.

I frowned. I hadn't forgotten about that moment when something had stopped my fall. What had happened? How come no one else had noticed it.

"It's a pity your dad isn't here." My mother continued talking. "That man really needs to spend more time at home."

I didn't say anything. Things were a little tense between my mother and father. Every since the incident five years ago, my dad had been burying himself in work. I hardly saw him these days. Sometimes I missed him but I was getting used to it. We all deal with pain in different ways.

My mother stood up and sighed, her usual perfect hair dishevelled and messy. There was a strained look on her face as she looked at me and I realised that perhaps she was seeing something more than just me lying on the couch.

"Tegan." She said slowly, her voice rough and cracked. "You have to promise me never to do that again."

I wanted to curl into a ball and die at the pain I saw in my mother's eyes.

"Please." She said again, pleading me.

I swallowed and tried to blink away the tears in my eyes.

"I'm sorry mum." I said. "I'm really sorry."

She gave me a sharp nod and cleared her throat, suddenly back to the business woman I've known all my life.

"I'll make you some soup. You just lie here and rest."

She turned sharply on her heels and disappeared into the kitchen. I let out the breath I was holding, suddenly feeling terrible.

I put my hands over my face and tried to control my breathing as each intake of air made me quiver with overwhelming emotions. It wasn't the fact that I had almost died. It was more the thought of how my family would react if I did die.

And it was all the white haired man's fault!

About two bowls of soup later, I was still fuming about the white haired man.

He should be glad I didn't die because then he'd be haunted for the rest of eternity. But then again, being alive meant I could do him physical harm.

I was concocting a plan of upmost brilliance when I noticed a figure appear next to the TV.

"You didn't tell me."

No. No no no no. He wasn't meant to still be following me. Why was he still showing up? I thought it was over!

"What are you doing here?" I hissed.

I glared up at him from my position on the couch. He was leaning against the TV, his hands casually in his pockets. He had the hood of his dark jacket up but I could still see his face.

"You didn't tell me." He repeated.

"Tell you what?"

"That he saw you."

I tried to sit up but struggled a bit, the empty bowl of soup falling from my lap and onto the hard wooden floor with a clatter.

Giving up, I lay back down and turned my head so I could see Raith.

"Are you talking about the white haired creep? Because I am going to hurt him."

Raith looked amused.

"Yea Babu has that effect on people." He said, straightening up and walking towards me.

"Babu?" I snorted. Well Babu better watch out.

Raith walked behind the couch and leaned forward, resting his head on his hands so he could look down at me. It freaked me out a little but he didn't scare me as much as he should, damn hormones.

"So who's Babu?" I broke the silence.

"Sabrina's guardian angel."

Raith waited for my reaction, a deadly serious look on his face.

I didn't know what to say. How did he expect me to react to that? Was he joking?

"You're a freak." I said nervously, my mind a blank.

"Yea I know. But you're the nerd."

"Shut up. How would you know?"

"I don't, but you're getting all defensive about it."

"Because it's not true."

"Right."

I frowned. He was in an awfully good mood today. He was actually not threatening me. But…Sabrina's guardian angel? What was that supposed to mean?

Do you believe in heaven?

At the time I had no idea why he would ask something so random, but now…

So do you really think there are angels and demons and ghosts and spirits?

I remembered how frustrated he had looked when he asked me. I wouldn't give him a straight answer because I didn't know.

Could Raith be an angel? Insert hysterical laughter here. I've gone insane haven't I?

Sure he's not normal. Sure he might even be some sort of supernatural thing. But an angel?

I sat up, this time succeeding in staying up right. At my sudden movement, Raith jumped back, putting at least three steps between us.

"You really don't want me touching you, do you?" I snorted, rolling my eyes.

"I have my reasons. I know it's hard to resist, me being hot stuff and all."

Huh?

"You're insane. And you're not that hot."

Suddenly he moved forward, his face close.

My heart rate sped up as I stared into those eyes, my fingers digging into the back of the couch. Oh man. Is it possible that he was even more attractive up close? Those eyes were heaven.

"Told you."

He returned back to his spot and I closed my eyes, grimacing.

"Whatever, retard."

"Prude."

"Jerk."

"Tease."

"Ass wipe."

"Slut."

"Dude, you can't call me a prude and a slut at the same time."

"Well I just did."

"Douche." I muttered. God he frustrated me. "Why are you so chatty today? And why are you still following me around, you stalker?"

"Believe me, I wouldn't be here if I had a choice."

He walked around the couch and sat on the unoccupied chair next to it.

"What are you talking about?" I grumbled.

"Didn't you notice?" Raith asked with a lazy yawn. "Babu is trying to kill you."

At that exact moment, the doorbell rang and Jess came tumbling down the stairs.

It didn't surprise me to find Raith gone but his words still lingered in my head.

"Babu is trying to kill me?" I whispered to myself. Well that did make sense. He kicked me out of a window after all. But…aren't angels meant to be nice? Wait…was I starting to believe Raith's nonsense about guardian angels? Maybe I'm dreaming all this up. I should talk to the school councillor.

"Tegan!" Jess was suddenly at my side, jumping up and down, her curls bouncing all over the place.

"What?"

"Cory's at the door!"

"Cory?"

I spun around, twisting my neck as I looked at the door. It was closed.

"How do you know? You haven't even opened the door yet. If this is a joke-"

"Ugh, I looked through the window. Duh!" Jess rolled her eyes and I wanted to punch her annoying little face.

"I think he's here to visit you. I think he likes you."

"What?"

"I'm 100% certain. Believe me, I'm an expert on these things." she burst into giggles and I remembered the heated moment in my bedroom. Let's just say my face turned the same shade as Mars.

"How would you know?" I snapped suspiciously.

"Oh Tegan." Jess draped a hand across her forehead dramatically. "You can't hide things from me. I saw you trying to sneak him out of the house the other day."

Oh lord.

"Relax." She laughed at my stricken expression. "I'm going to open the door now. Get ready!"

Get ready? Get ready? What, are we going to war or something?

I started scowling as I heard Jess screech "Cory! Hi!"

"Hi Jess. Is Tegan alright? I heard the neighbours saying she fell out a window."

"Oh she's fine, she's fine."

I peaked at them from my position on the couch. Ew. Jess was making kissy faces at the poor boy.

"Could I see her?"

"Sure, sure come on in!" Jess led Cory towards the living room and sat him down on the chair where Raith had been sitting.

"I'll leave you two alone." Jess sang melodiously. As she left, she mouthed I told you so at me. Geez. She was probably going to eavesdrop on us from the kitchen.

"Uh…hey Tegan." Cory said with a smile once he saw he had my attention.

"Uh…h-hey Cory."

Oh geez, what was he doing here? Not that I didn't appreciate it but I didn't really know him that well…

"Are you alright?"

He looked at my leg which was propped up on the arm of the couch.

"Yea. It's just a sprain. The swelling has gone down a little." I gave him a reassuring smile, my chest suddenly tight with nervousness.

"Well I'm glad you're ok. I was really scared when I heard that you fell. What were you doing?"

I was kicked. It was attempted murder you see.

"It was an accident." I shrugged. I was awful at coming up with good lies.

We sat in an oddly tense silence for a bit until Cory suddenly cleared his throat.

"So I was wondering…" he began. I searched his face, confused at how seriously nervous he appeared.

"Hmmm?"

"I was wondering…whether you'd like to go out some time."

What?

"With you?" My mind went into shut down mode.

"Yep."

I froze. Was Jess right? Did he like me? How do I tell? What do I do? What do I say? What if he didn't mean go out go out and he just meant go out as in just friends. But how do I know? If I acted like he was asking me on a date and he wasn't then I'd be so embarrassed but then again what if he thinks I'm rejecting him if I just treat it like a friend thing. But we're not even friends! What is this? Oh jeez he's looking at me. Oh jeez it's been ages. Think, brain think. Don't have a meltdown now! Not now!

"As in…a date?" the words barely escaped my lips before I blushed furiously.

Cory nodded uncomfortably and I felt so lame. I was not good at these situations. I'd never had a boyfriend before. And wow, I couldn't believe that Cory was the one who asked me out. I always thought it would be the chubby kid with the acne that I sat next to in science.

It took me a moment to realise that I hadn't said anything for about 1.346 minutes and Cory was beginning to look agitated.

"Yes!" I said quickly, unable to stop the huge smile spreading on my face. Oh my God I was dreaming! This had to be the best day of my life! Who cared if some psychotic pretty boy angel tried to kill me! Who cared if some mentally unbalanced freak was still stalking me! Cory Worthington, the sweetest, cutest and most adorable guy in the whole of Kensington High, just asked me out!

I couldn't help the giggle that escaped my lips that sounded uncannily like a noise Jess would make as I beamed at Cory.

He beamed back at me, his smile conjuring rainbows and unicorns in my vision.

"Well I need to get going. I'm supposed to mow the lawn." Cory winked at me before standing up and smoothing down his jeans.

"Okay. I'll see you at school." I said in a daze, feeling so light and buoyant that I swear I'd start to float like a hot air balloon.

As Cory left, I lay on the couch, a huge, goofy smile on my face.

Cory liked me! Me! Tegan Michaels!

I had to be dreaming. How could my life suddenly change so dramatically? Only last week I was the girl in the background. I didn't go out, I didn't do anything remotely interesting, and I had zero love life. I was like an extra in a movie. And now? Now I was going out with Cory! Cory!

I smiled even more, a hysterical laugh bubbling up from my throat. Then, for some twisted reason, Raith intruded upon my thoughts.

My smile immediately faltered and a scowl appeared on my face.

I punched one of the cushions on the couch.

No brain! Raith = bad. Raith was basically the opposite of Cory. He was…well…I didn't know what he was and that was precisely the problem. Maybe it was the mystery that made me think so much about him but that was it. I mean, sure he was attractive; incredibly mind-blowingly attractive, but there was something dark about him. Something that I did not want to get involved with.

I shuddered, remembering how it felt when he tried to strangle me. Sure, he had been acting nice today but I couldn't trust him.

Yes, getting involved with Raith in any way was not a good idea at all.


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