Big burger bonding.
“You did the right thing.”
Gina and I sat in Big Burger on the corner of Barramundi Parade: one of those generic fast food joints that served as a refuge for poor, angst ridden teenagers like myself.
“You didn’t see him. He looked so cut up.” I sighed into my Coke, wishing to drown myself in the fizzy black depths. The Cory break up had been replaying in my head over and over and over again. I knew Cory wasn’t a bad guy. Why did I break up with him?
“I don’t care what Eliza said. I did not like the idea of you and Cory together. Something about him seems fishy.”
Gina, who was allergic to just about everything on the menu at Big Burger, chewed on her fries, a thoughtful look on her face.
“And he even said that he loved you?” she asked in a flat, dull tone.
“Yea. Maybe I should have been a little nicer about the whole thing.”
“No. Being too nice would have given him the wrong message: that there was still hope.”
We sat in silence for a bit, me sulking and feeling terribly guilty.
Why did he say he loved me? It made no sense. We weren’t even that close and I knew that I definitely did not love him. I didn’t know what love was meant to feel like but I was sure that anything I felt towards Cory was not it.
“He keeps calling me.” I told Gina resignedly. “I have fifty missed calls and I only broke up with him two hours ago.”
“He’ll get the message. You need to be strong. And whatever you do, don’t listen to a thing Eliza says. She’s a hopeless romantic and she’ll try to convince you that you’ve made a terrible mistake. She’ll probably end up telling you that you two are soul mates or something.”
That was an interesting point.
“What if we are?” I sighed dramatically. “What if I just dumped my one true love? How am I supposed to know? I mean, Cory is funny and cute and sweet and he adored me. Am I insane for breaking up with someone like that?”
I suddenly felt cold. The more I thought about it, the more I doubted myself.
“I need to call him.” I said quickly, searching my bag for my phone.
“No!” Gina’s voice was firm as I had a mini freak out. She grabbed my shoulders and peered at me intensely through her glasses. “When was the last time you were happy with Cory?”
I didn’t know what to say. My memory wasn’t chronologically organised. It was like when someone asked me what my earliest memory was and I had no idea because I had tonnes of memories of when I was a little kid but how was I supposed to know which one came first?
“All I know…” I said slowly. “Is that I had been dreading seeing Cory for almost a week now and that’s probably not how a girlfriend is meant to feel about a boyfriend.”
“There you go.” Gina sounded oddly satisfied. She sipped her orange juice thoughtfully. “Besides, you still have Raith.”
My face contorted. “No. Way. I’d rather die.” Actually I probably would die if we ended up dating or something. Not that it was possible. Not that I’ve thought about it or anything.
“Why? He doesn’t seem that bad.”
“Well he’s the complete opposite of Cory. Cory is sweet and laid back and until recently, never fought with me. I’m comfortable around Cory. Raith on the other hand is sleazy, annoying, bipolar, aggressive and never misses the opportunity to insult me.” And he’s death in human form but Gina didn’t need to know that.
“Well maybe that’s what you need.” Gina said thoughtfully. “You and Cory…you two weren’t very compatible. You’re both naturally quiet and had nothing in common. When you were together, neither one of you had a personality. He’d only say and do things to please you and you never cared enough to get to know him or open up about yourself.”
“That still doesn’t mean I should get together with Raith. Raith is the type of guy you have a one night stand with. He’s loud, spontaneous and an arrogant dick. You can’t tolerate him for long periods of time.” I defended.
“But you need someone like that. I know you. You’re introverted. You’re the type of person who’s always bored and never motivated. You would sleep your life away if you could. You don’t care. You’re not passionate. You need someone like Raith to bring out your emotions, to make you act more human and less like an emotionless robot.”
She thinks I act like an emotionless robot?
“That’s not a very nice thing to say.” I mumbled. “Besides, Raith doesn’t even like me and he’d never think of me like that. Look at me. I’m a pimply freak.”
Gina suddenly slammed her fists on the table.
“Just because you have a few zits doesn’t mean you’re ugly!” she cried. “Stop being so self-centred! I’ve had bad skin all my life. I have to wear glasses because my eye sight is terrible. My hair is dry and brittle and I have braces. Stop complaining about the way you look because some people look worse!”
I stared at Gina in surprise. She had never had an outburst like that before.
Gina also seemed surprised at herself because she went red and refused to meet my eyes.
“Sorry.” She said quietly. “It just annoys me when people complain about their looks.”
“No I should be sorry.” I said seriously. I suppose she was right. I knew I wasn’t ugly. “And to be honest, I think you’re beautiful.” I added as an afterthought.
“Sorry but I’m straight.” Gina said dully.
I stared at her in shock. Then I suddenly burst out laughing.
“Did you just make a joke Gina?” I said with a massive smile on my face. “That’s the first time I’ve ever heard you make a joke!”
Gina smiled a little to herself and I realised that all this time, we had been talking about myself. I had never once asked about how my quiet friend was doing.
“Are you okay?”
She seemed surprised by the question.
“Why? What have you heard?” she asked almost desperately.
“Nothing. I was just wondering if you had any life crises that we could pick apart while we’re together. We haven’t spoken one on one in ages.”
It was then that I realised that Gina was acting quite suspicious, twisting her napkin around her fingers over and over again.
“No there’s nothing I want to talk about.” She said quietly, not meeting my eyes.
“Gina…” I wanted to tell her that I was here for her, that she could tell me anything. I wanted her to know that, as her best friend, any secrets she had were safe with me. But I hesitated because I wasn’t good with this sentimental stuff and then I lost my chance.
“Well Tegan, I need to go. It was nice talking to you.” She said meekly.
As she stood up and left, I felt like I had missed something.
CJ and Coralline decided to leave on Thursday morning so Jess, our mum and I were all up early to wish them a safe trip back to wherever they live.
“Bye dears. I’ll see you soon.” Coralline said, hugging both Jess and I. I crinkled my nose at her flowery old-person perfume.
Then she and my mum started saying their goodbyes and that left CJ, Jess and I standing awkwardly at the door.
“Well it was good to see you again.” Jess said politely.
“You too!” CJ cried, throwing his arms around her.
She gave me a look of disgust and I just gave her a wide smile with a thumbs up.
Then CJ let go of her and looked at me.
“Well…Good luck with everything Tegan.” He said uncertainly. “You should really get your room checked out. Something actually smells really, really bad.”
“Gee, thanks CJ.” I replied sarcastically.
“And say hi to Sabrina for me.”
“Not a chance.”
As they left, I wondered whether CJ was just suppressing the memory of the bones thing. He seemed perfectly fine sleeping in my room. He even seemed to take the whole supernatural thing surprisingly well.
I, on the other hand, was still sleeping in Jess’ room and for some reason she hadn’t been going out at night so I wasn’t alone.
However, as soon as the door closed, Jess turned to me and patted me on the back.
“Well there you go. CJ is gone. You can return to your room now. No more cramping my style.” She meant it as a joke but the thought of sleeping alone in that room made my stomach twist.
“Yea.” I said with a fake smile.
“Kay well I’m going back to bed. See you later.”
Jess stomped back upstairs and my mum went to get ready for work.
I yawned. I wanted to go back to sleep too but I couldn’t sleep in Jess’ room anymore.
I cautiously followed Jess up the stairs and stood outside my room.
This had to be the third time I was dreading this, but it never got any easier.
Instead I turned around and went back downstairs. It was morning. I could put this off until tonight.
Too bad the day passed by way too fast.
I lounged around the house in my PJ’s the whole day, flipping through channels on the TV and eating snacks. However, no matter what I did, the idea of sleeping alone in my room was always at the forefront of my mind. Every time I thought of it, shudders would run through my whole body and I’d have to close my eyes and force myself to stop thinking about it.
Babu may have done it this time. He may have succeeded in destroying my psyche.
The night came before I knew it.
Eventually, when the clock struck twelve and there was nothing to watch on TV, I knew it was time for me to go to bed.
Again I stood outside the door, hyperventilating at the thought of going to sleep in that room and waking up from a nightmare to an even bigger nightmare.
I wanted to get this over and done with but as soon as I put a hand on the doorknob, my whole body started trembling. I couldn’t do it. Not again. It had happened too many times.
I don’t know how long I stood there, staring at the white door and wondering what lay inside. Once again I was helpless. I couldn’t tell Jess what was going on and I had no excuse for staying in her room anyway. I couldn’t sleep anywhere else without arousing suspicion.
“What do I do?” I whispered, resting my head on the door and trying my best not to succumb to the tears already forming in my eyes.
I jumped and spun around to face Raith who was peering at me with a curious expression as he leaned against the banister.
“What do you think?” I snapped angrily. “Babu filled my room with bones. I can’t handle this anymore.”
“It’s alright now. I can’t sense him nearby.” Raith said simply, reaching past me and opening the door.
“You can sense him?” I asked uncertainly as I looked into my room. Nothing was out of place except for the ruffled bed sheets where CJ had been sleeping.
“Yea.” Raith replied. “See it’s totally fine. You don’t have to be afraid.”
He walked into my room and sat down on the bed, looking at me with his head cocked to one side.
I followed him in hesitantly and sat down on the wheelie chair.
I could still see the bones everywhere even though there was nothing here. I closed my eyes and rubbed my temples, trying to take deep breaths. The stench had gotten so much worse. I needed to find out what it was ASAP.
“Raith?” I whispered as my fingers started shaking again.
“Yea?” he asked.
I took another breath and let it out slowly. Just the thought of being alone in this potential hell hole pushed me onto the edge of hysteria.
“Could you please stay with me for a bit?” I choked out. I couldn’t explain to him my absolute fear of being alone in this room. I just couldn’t express it. It was okay in the day when I was conscious and just walking in and out. It was only now that I realised that I’d never be able to sleep alone in here again. At least not until this whole ordeal was over. I imagined Babu watching me as I tossed and turned and it just made me sick.
Raith didn’t say anything for several minutes and so we sat in silence, me with my hands over my face as I tried to control myself.
I didn’t know what I was going to do if he said no. I didn’t even know if it were possible for him to stay since he obviously had other errands to run.
“When you say stay with you…” he began and I looked up quickly.
“I mean when I’m sleeping. It doesn’t have to be during the day.” I got out. I had never felt so weak and exposed and vulnerable as I stared into Raith’s eyes.
He, in turn, seemed surprised.
“Please?” I whispered. “I can’t sleep in here alone. I’m too scared. I just…” the tears were falling from my eyes now and I wiped them away hastily, embarrassed.
Raith sighed and stood up.
“You remember I hate it when you cry.” He mumbled as he approached me.
I nodded and stared hard at the carpet, sniffling and trying to hold on to any remaining dignity.
I looked up and found myself eye to eye with Raith who had crouched down so he was level with me.
“Fine. I’ll stay with you.” He said.
My heart stopped.
I couldn’t describe the feeling I felt as soon as he said those words. It was more than relief. It was more than anything I had ever felt before. I just wanted to hug the boy senseless.
“Really?” I gasped, smiling so much that my cheek muscles started to hurt.
“Sure. But it’s only temporary.” Raith said seriously, raising a finger like he was scolding me. “Only until you sort out the Babu thing which better be soon.”
I just nodded, too happy to speak.
“Thank you.” I got out before bursting into tears.
Raith looked taken aback and retreated, straightening up in confusion.
“What’s wrong?” he asked as I started wailing.
“I’m…I’m just so happy and grateful. You have no idea.” I got out between sobs. I knew I looked like a total idiot but I couldn’t help it.
I don’t think Raith would ever know how happy he made me that night.
He brought me a box of tissues and sat cross legged on the floor next to me as I blew my nose and wiped my face.
“My room really does smell hey?” I said with a laugh, my voice still thick from crying.
“Yea.” Raith replied with a crooked smile. “It’s surprising that you don’t smell bad at all.”
I couldn’t stop smiling as I stared down at his dark hair. He wasn’t looking at me and I hoped he didn’t realise that I was staring at him.
“You do realise why your room stinks so much.” Raith said thoughtfully.
“No. Do you?”
“There’s a dead rat under one of you floorboards.”
I dropped the tissue box.
“What? Ew that’s really gross.”
I wanted to vomit. There was no way that there was a dead rat under my floorboards! Sure the smell had gotten worse but I just assumed there was mouldy food somewhere. Oh God!
“You’re lying.” I said in disbelief.
Raith stood up and raised an eyebrow.
“You sure about that?”
I locked eyes with the annoying boy and we had some sort of staring contest. I could almost imagine old western showdown movie music playing in the background.
“It’s right there.” He pointed to some random spot on the carpet and I cringed.
“Can you get it out?” I asked.
He seemed to pull a knife out of nowhere and knelt down in the direction he had indicated before.
I watched his back as he cut open the carpet in a swift motion.
“Please be careful.” I said as he pulled up the fabric revealing wooden floorboards.
He then jammed the knife through one of them and levered it out.
“Here we go.” He said in satisfaction. “Come take a look.”
I stood up uncertainly and bent down to get a better look at the hole Raith had made.
At first I couldn’t see anything except darkness so I moved a little closer and squinted, almost gagging when I saw the carcass of a rat.
I screamed. I screamed so loud I made my own ears ring. Then I bolted as far away as I could, horrified by what I had seen.
“Shut up!” Raith yelled, laughing at my reaction.
“That is so disgusting! Get rid of it! Get rid of it!” I cried, pointing at it in fear.
Raith went over to the window and pushed it open. Then the rat started floating.
I screamed again and covered my eyes.
“Don’t get that thing near me!” I shouted as Raith chuckled.
I peeked through my fingers and saw the rat go flying out the window.
“It’s gone now.” Raith said calmly.
I sighed in relief and let my hands fall from my eyes.
“Oh wait! There’s another one running towards you!” Raith suddenly cried.
“What? Where?” I shrieked, trying to jump onto the chair and falling instead.
Good God the ground hurt like a bitch.
“Just kidding.” Raith snorted, his eyes twinkling as I cursed rubbed my sore shins.
“Not funny.” I grumbled, watching him replace the floorboard and carpet. “The smell should go away now, right? Geez, why didn’t you tell me about the rat before?”
“I thought you knew.”
I rolled my eyes.
Then I walked over to my cupboard and pulled out my sleeping bag and a spare pillow.
“You can sleep on the bed.” I told Raith as I unrolled the sleeping bag on the floor.
“Aren’t you generous, letting me sleep on a blood soaked mattress.” Raith said with false sincerity, bouncing up and down on the bed.
“I know I am. I ought to be a saint.” I replied, flashing him a wide smile as I puffed up my pillow.
“So you’re sleeping now?” Raith asked as he watched me crawl into the sleeping bag and lie down with a sigh.
“I’m tired.” I mumbled, my voice muffled by the pillow. “Switch off the lights.”
As soon as I said it, the lights flicked off and I jumped a little. Stupid Raith showing off his stupid supernatural powers.
I heard Raith settling himself on the bed and I wondered if he could actually sleep.
“Can you actually sleep?” I voiced my thoughts.
“If I want to.” Was the answer.
I frowned at the vagueness but decided to let it slide. I owed him enough just for staying here.
I rolled my shoulders and blinked a few times. Then sleep came quite easily and I think I was out by the third blink.
I slept effortlessly during the night.
Having someone else there really made me feel better.
I did, however, wake up several times, freaked out that maybe Raith had left me and I was alone and defenceless against killer angels. Nevertheless, each time I woke up, I could make out Raith’s silhouette facing away from me on the bed.
At one point in the night, I heard him laugh in his sleep and the sound made me smile so much I felt like such a creep. Then he mumbled a name; something like ‘Scara’. That certainly wiped the smile off my face but soon enough I just feel asleep again.
When morning came, I woke up to the sound of crunching.
“What the flip?” I mumbled, still groggy as I opened my eyes.
I yawned and sat up, my eyes widening when I saw Raith lying on my bed eating a packet of chips and drinking a 2L bottle of Coke.
“Did you raid my fridge?” I asked angrily as I glared at him.
“I got bored.” Raith replied, still focussed on reading something.
“What are you doing?” I said, standing up and walking over to the bed.
“You really suck at maths.”
I snatched my maths notebook off him and held it to my chest.
“That’s private.” I shouted.
“Your maths book is private?” he asked with a raised eyebrow, popping another chip into his mouth.
“Yes.” I said seriously, putting it down on my desk with all my other untouched schoolwork.
Then I looked around for my phone to check the time since my clock had broken about a year ago.
“Have you seen my mobile?” I asked as I shifted around piles of scrunched up paper, a mouldy text book I thought I had lost two years ago,and a big roll of old socks.
“I threw it out the window.” Raith said casually, resting his cheek on his hand as he watched me walk around.
I ran to the window and looked down. It was a massive drop to the ground. My phone probably smashed!
“Well your boyfriend kept calling and texting you and it kept waking me up so I threw it out the window.” Raith said as if it were a normal thing to do.
“It would have been easier to turn it off.” I said through gritted teeth. “And he’s not my boyfriend anymore.”
“Oh. That would explain some of the messages.” Raith said with a crooked grin.
“You read my messages?” I exclaimed. Oh Lord this boy made me want to rip my hair out.
“Do you want to know what he said?” Raith asked as I pulled open my cupboard and pulled out some clothes. Once again the weather had decided to have a change of heart and become freezing.
“Not really.” I replied, trying to decide if I should wear a dress or jeans.
“It was just sappy stuff about how much he loves you and can’t live without you. You really broke his heart.”
I slammed the cupboard shut and spun to face him.
“I did not break his heart.” I stated clearly. “I don’t know why he’s so attached to me anyway. It’s not like he was in love with me or anything.”
“You never know. Just ‘cause you didn’t like him that much doesn’t mean he wasn’t in love with you.”
“We’re too young to know what love is anyway.” I grumbled. “I’m getting changed in the bathroom.”
“Why?” Raith asked with a seedy look.
I just made a strangled noise and slammed the door in his face. That boy really needs to learn something about boundaries.
It was Friday that day which meant Lizzy was coming back from her trip in about three days.
That gave me just enough time to look for a birthday present and also go buy a cake with Gina.
“So what are you going to buy your hot friend?” Raith asked as we walked to the bus stop.
“I have no idea.” I said, rummaging through my purse to make sure I had enough money for the bus. “I don’t have to pay for you right?”
“Nah it’s alright.”
I rubbed my hands together, hoping the friction would make me at least a little bit warmer.
The sky was a beautiful clear blue today and it didn’t look like it would rain but it was still unbelievably cold. Even the trees looked a little sad without any leaves or flowers as we walked along the street and stopped at the bus stop.
“Do you think she’d like make up?” I asked Raith as I waved down the approaching bus.
“I don’t know. She’s your friend.” Raith said disinterestedly, throwing his hands in his pockets. He was only wearing a thin black jacket, white shirt, jeans and converse today. I didn’t know how he could stand the cold.
We both got on the bus and sat towards the back, me at the window seat so I could look at the scenery and hopefully get inspired.
I really hated choosing presents to buy for people. It was just so hard and I was always scared that they might not like it.
Raith was busy picking at a tear in the seat which wasn’t helping at all.
We eventually got to the city centre and after making Raith press the stop button five times before the bus driver actually stopped, we got off and walked to the mall.
For some reason it was really crowded and we just stood there in the middle of the mass of people on the ground floor.
“Aren’t you going to do something?” Raith asked me after a while, looking bored.
“Well…I don’t know where to start…” I said uncertainly, chewing my lip as I looked at all the busy shops. Everything was so freaking expensive here.
As I was looking around, a blonde head caught my eye and I blanched.
“Oh crap! It’s Cory!” I gasped, running into the nearest shop which turned out to be a newsagency.
I hid behind a postcard stand and gestured at Raith to follow me since the moron was still standing there scratching his head and looking confused.
“What is your issue?” he asked as he joined me behind the postcards.
“I don’t want Cory to see me okay?” I said, feeling quite nervous. Once I had found my phone in the garden and read some of the messages he had left, I decided that seeing Cory at the moment was a really bad idea.
The two of us huddled there for a few more minutes, ignoring the annoyed stares the store assistants were giving us.
“Is he gone?” I asked when I realised that I couldn’t see my ex anymore.
“Raith, you’re meant to be helping me here!”
We both glared at each other before turning back to the front and checking that it was safe to come out.
“Okay, we’ve got to do this quick so we can get the hell out of here.” I said quickly, making a dash out of the newsagency and into the clothes store opposite it.
Raith followed much more slowly and I wanted to scream in frustration.
“He’ll recognize you Raith!” I hissed at him once he was at my side. “You gotta be faster.”
“I still don’t understand why you’re so agitated.” Raith muttered, looking annoyed.
I ignored him and started my search for the perfect outfit for Lizzy amidst all the shiny, pastel coloured clothing.
In the end, I bought her a cute skirt, some patterned stockings and a CD. I was quite proud of my purchases and ended up getting a discount after Raith flirted shamelessly with the shop assistants.
“I should take you shopping with me more often.” I told him after we walked out of the store with a 20% discount and the phone numbers of three different girls.
“This face does come in handy.” Raith said with an arrogant smirk.
I rolled my eyes but couldn’t keep the smile off my face. It was nice of him to do that for me, even though he probably only did it for his own amusement.
“I’m hungry. Let’s get something to eat.” I said, my eyes glued to food court.
We ended up eating cheeseburgers and fighting over the fries.
“I bought a large one so we could share!” I cried as I pulled the paper bag closer to me.
“Then why aren’t you sharing them?” Raith retorted, pulling the bag in his direction.
“Because you just ate three handfuls in about three seconds! That’s not fair!” I yelled, trying to pull the bag back.
We both tugged at it for about a second before there was a ripping sound and the bag tore in half, chips flying everywhere.
“Well are you happy now?” I demanded, pulling bits of potato out of my hair.
“No.” Raith spat, looking grumpy as he scowled into his Coke.
Then he reached towards me and carefully picked a chip out of my hair.
“Mmm tasty.” He said as he popped it into his mouth.
“Gross.” I whined, making a face.
“Go grab me a chocolate sundae.” He said as he finished his drink.
I gritted my teeth in annoyance but stood up anyway and purchased two ice creams and two large fries to make up for the one we had spilt everywhere.
When I came back to the table, Raith was staring at the couple a few tables away from us who were passionately making out.
“Ew.” I said as I sat down and looked at them too.
I heard a few giggles behind me and turned around to see a table of four girls who were staring at Raith.
I looked back at the boy who was still staring at the couple, completely oblivious to the fan girls ogling him behind me.
I started eating my sundae, dunking some fries in it because it tasted really good like that. I was surprised when Raith started doing the same.
I was about to ask him something when the high pitched giggling of the girls interrupted my thoughts and distracted me.
I frowned and glared at my sundae, wishing they’d just shut up. So what if Raith was attractive? It didn’t mean they had to act like attention seeking idiots.
“Feeling uncomfortable?” Raith suddenly asked and I looked up to find him watching me with an amused expression.
“Just annoyed.” I said, gesturing to the girls behind me.
Raith looked over my shoulder and as the amount of giggling increased, I deducted that the girls must have noticed he was looking at them.
Then, to my horror, Raith stood up and walked over to them.
“Oh God.” I muttered, hiding behind my bag of chips and turning so I could see what was happening.
“Hey girls.” Raith said charmingly, leaning on one of the empty chairs at the table and giving the girls a dazzling smile.
They all went red and I think one almost swooned.
What the flip was he doing?
“Would you mind doing me a small favour?” he asked.
“Sure!” they all squealed. I was pretty sure those morons would dance naked for him if he asked them to.
“Could you take a photo of me and my beautiful girlfriend?”
I dropped the bag of chips I was holding and fries fell all over the floor. The girls also looked like they had been hit by a train.
What. The. Flip? Girlfriend? Did he say girlfriend? Was he crazy?
Raith pulled an iPhone out of his pocket and gave it to the girls before turning back to me and winking.
I didn’t move. I just sat there, my mouth hanging open like a fish.
Raith then walked back over to me and gave me a funny look.
“Come on. Stand up.” He said as if I had a mental defect.
I did what I was told mechanically and turned to face the girls who were holding up the iPhone with sour looks on their faces.
“Get that look off your face Tegan. We’re meant to be role playing.” Raith whispered in my ear as he stood next to me.
“G-girlfriend?” I managed to get out.
“I wasn’t being serious. It’s the only way they’d leave us alone. Now smile.”
I hurriedly fixed my expression and smiled just as the girls took the photo.
Then I sat back down and went back to demolishing my sundae, looking regretfully at the chips I had split on the floor.
Raith returned to his seat opposite me and started eating this sundae, looking at the picture on his iPhone.
“Are you mad at me?” Raith asked after a minute of silence.
“No.” I snapped.
“I’ll share my chips with you.”
I looked up and saw that he had pushed his bag of chips towards me.
After a moment I decided that I’d accept the peace offering. I didn’t really know why I was so mad in the first place.
“Fine.” I gave him a smile and took some fries to dunk in my sundae. “Can I see the photo?”
Raith slid the phone across the table and I had a look at it.
It was actually a really good picture and I was surprised at how happy both Raith and I looked standing comfortably next to each other.
“I can’t believe you have an iPhone.” I said as I slid it back to him.
We continued to eat the rest of our dessert in silence and every now and again I’d stare at the couple making out.
“That is really, really disgusting.” I said after a while. “I wish they’d just find a room or something.”
“Watch this.” Raith suddenly said with a mischievous look in his eyes.
I kept staring at the couple and suddenly jumped as the large cup of Coke right next to them exploded, black soft drink and ice going everywhere. The couple broke away in shock and the guy fell off his chair.
I knew it was an incredibly mean thing to do but I just couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing. I laughed so hard that tears started streaming from my eyes and my stomach hurt.
“Quit it Tegan, people are staring.” Raith said as he tried not to laugh too.
“We should get out of here.” I said between gasps of laughter.
We decided to walk home since it had become warmer and sunnier while we had been in the mall.
I wanted to stop at the abandoned train station before going back to my house so we ended up sitting on the rotting wooden benches looking out across the empty train tracks.
“What kind of cake should I get?” I asked Raith as I peeled off the price tags on the clothes and CD I had bought.
“Shouldn’t you ask your friend that?” Raith answered, leaning back and chewing on a lollypop that he had found somewhere.
“Yea but let’s brainstorm first.”
I stood up on the bench and stretched my arms out wide like I was embracing the sky. Then I walked across it and leaped onto the bench next to it.
Raith watched me as I walked and jumped across the other benches, thinking of cake ideas.
“I really like cheesecake.” I said thoughtfully.
“Isn’t it more about what she’ll like?” Raith asked as he lay down on the rotting wooden seat with his hands behind his head and his eyes closed.
“But Lizzy won’t eat most of it because she’ll think she’ll get fat.”
“Does she like cheesecake?”
“She prefers chocolate. Maybe a cheesecake with a chocolate biscuit base!”
“I really don’t care.”
“You should. I’ll share some with you if you help me with ideas.”
That seemed to get his attention because Raith suddenly sat up and put on his thinking face.
“What about tiramisu?” He enquired. “Or a caramel chocolate tart? Or a black forest cake? Or some macaroons? I love that shit.”
“You’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth don’t you?” I joked, jumping off the last bench and walking along the edge of the platform next to the rusty train tracks.
“Maybe.” Raith said, slightly embarrassed.
I made a mental list of all the different type of cakes that I could discuss with Gina and then tried to figure out what to eat for dinner.
“Can you cook?” Raith asked as we started to walk back home.
“Not very well but if I don’t do it, no one else will. Jess’ cooking is about 1000 times worse than mine. She’s not coming home for dinner tonight anyway. She sent me a text. It’s also Friday so my mum won’t be home until really, really late.”
When I got home, I decided that I couldn’t be bothered to cook so I ordered some pizza and Raith and I sat on the couch to watch some TV.
“Just out of curiosity…” I began once there was an add break in Futurama.
“Do you stalk me?”
Raith gave me a ‘wtf’ look and I went red.
“Well I mean…there have been times when you seem to have known what I’ve been doing which is just really creepy so I just wanted to know…” I trailed off and was glad when the doorbell rang.
The pizza guy looked surprised at how happy I was to see him which meant he tried to leave as soon as possible, abandoning me once again in the awkward situation with Raith.
“So do I stalk you?” Raith asked me as he broke the garlic bread in half and tried to cram all of it in his mouth.
“No I don’t stalk you. Sorry to disappoint you.”
I munched on some pizza and tried not to look too embarrassed.
“But sometimes I show up and you don’t realise I’m there.” He added.
I choked a bit.
“That’s basically stalking!” I cried, throwing a piece of onion at him.
“No it’s not! When I realise that you’re busy I just leave!”
I glared at him.
“How do you know where I am?” I asked, moodily taking large bites of my pizza crust.
“I hope this doesn’t sound creepy.” He muttered. “But since I’ve taken a little part of you… I can sense when you’re nearby.”
I choked again.
“Oh God you’re not going to try and kill me are you?” I gasped. “To make that part complete?”
“No! It’s nothing like that. It’s nothing major either. It just means that…I feel connected to you.”
It was an interesting way of putting it and it didn’t scare me nearly as much as it should.
“You’re a weird one Raith.” I said as we finished off the pizza and started watching The Grudge.
“You too Tegan.”
The rest of the night passed in a blur.
Raith and I went back to my room before Jess and my mother came home and spent the remainder of the night trying to figure out who could make the best dying cat noise like the little kid from The Grudge.
Then I went to the bathroom to wash up and get ready for bed.
When I returned, a big black bag seemed to have appeared out of nowhere with what I assumed was Raith’s stuff.
He was reading what looked like a letter when I opened the door but as soon as he saw me, he shoved it back into the bag.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Nothing.” He mumbled, not meeting my eyes.
As I turned off the light and climbed into my sleeping bag, I felt a little seed of doubt creep into my mind.
I guess it hurt me that even after all the bonding we had done today, Raith was still keeping secrets from me.