Death and all His Friends

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The Cory crisis.

Raith said the name again during the night.


It woke me from the mists of sleep and I lay awake for a second, wondering what it meant.

I didn’t know who or what Scara was but it filled me with an undeniable dread.

I knew I couldn’t ask him about it. It was just like the ring thing again; a forbidden topic.

So I pushed it to the back of my mind and went back to sleep, wondering how long this peace would last.

Jess didn’t come home that night but when I woke up, I found a text from her mixed in with all the others from Cory.

It just said she had stayed over at Lucas’ house and I shuddered at the thought of what she may be doing over there. However, I decided not to dwell on it. It was her life after all.

Instead, Raith and I tried to make pancakes in the kitchen, which resulted in a tea towel getting set on fire, the fire alarm going off and Raith spraying me with the sink hose instead of the actual thing on fire.

“Well that was certainly exciting.” Raith said, laughing at my expression.

“No it wasn’t.” I growled, shivering and wrapping my arms around myself. “Wait here. I need to change into something dry.”

“Can’t I come too?” Raith asked with a sleazy smile.

I just flipped him off and ran upstairs.

In my room, I quickly got changed but before I left, I stopped and looked at Raith’s black bag.

I could see the corner of the letter sticking out and for a moment I was tempted to take it.

Then I shook my head.

I had been mad at Raith for looking through my text messages. I was not going to be a hypocrite. Nevertheless, I was still sorely tempted.

“What took you so long?” Raith asked when I came back downstairs.

“Nothing.” I said quickly. “I…hey, did you remake the pancakes?”

Raith just shrugged and handed me a plate with two perfect pancakes, some strawberries and maple syrup.

I stared at the dish in surprise.

“You can cook?” I asked in surprise.

“It’s not that hard to make pancakes.” He replied nonchalantly, fiddling around in the drawer for some knives and forks.

“Then what was all that screwing around before? Setting the tea towel on fire?” I demanded.

“I was bored.”

I rolled my eyes but decided that I’d rather eat than argue.

After that, we lazed around the house watching more horror movies and eating the rest of the snacks in the kitchen.

Then Raith helped me with my maths homework which we were meant to finish over the holidays. He wasn’t that good at it but he was better than me so it worked out reasonably alright. We only argued over one question out of the thirty.

Then Gina called me and we discussed what we were going to do for Lizzy’s birthday.

“So you like the tiramisu cake idea?” I confirmed as Raith nodded enthusiastically in the background and gave me two thumbs up.

“Yea.” Gina agreed. “She really likes tiramisu. I was thinking we could also take her out to the mall on a shopping spree and then maybe dinner.”

“Great idea Gina.”

Suddenly the doorbell rang and Raith and I looked at each other in confusion. I gestured for him to open it and deal with whoever was outside.

“Oh have you checked your school emails?” Gina asked as I watched Raith walk over to the door.

“No. Why?” I replied.

“Well the teambuilding weekend is weekend after the first week back.”


Raith had opened the door now and was talking to someone outside. Actually, more like arguing. Curious, I got up and stood next to him, my mouth falling open when I saw who was standing on the other side.

“Gina I gotta go. Cory just showed up at my door.”

“Good luck.” Gina got out before I hung up.

“Tegan, what is he doing here?” Cory demanded. He was holding a massive and probably very expensive bouquet of flowers and looked like he was going to kill someone, preferably Raith.

I couldn’t speak.

Cory didn’t look well.

He was pale and thinner, his skin taking on a weird yellow tinge and his eyes sunken and surrounded by dark circles.

“Well? What is he doing here?” Cory repeated when I was still silent.

“That’s none of your business.” Raith said without even looking at Cory.

That seemed to hit a nerve because Cory suddenly thrust the flowers into my hands and looked like he was going to punch Raith in the face.

“Cory, calm down!” I cried, holding my arms up like I was surrendering.

“So you did leave me for him!” Cory basically screamed.

I flinched and wanted to shake some sense into this idiot.

“Cory, I didn’t leave you for anyone!” I yelled back. “I just didn’t want to be with you anymore. Raith and I are just friends!”

“Then why are you avoiding my calls?” Cory demanded, his eyes wild.

“I just think we should have some time apart.”

“But…but I love you.”

He said it again and I just wanted to die at the heartbreak I saw in his eyes.

Then Raith snorted and slammed the door in his face.

“Raith!” I screamed.

“What? I thought you wanted him to go away?” he said indifferently, shoving his hands in his pockets and looking at me innocently.

“I do but you could have been nicer about it.”

I opened the door again but Cory had already left. As I went back into the house, I had a feeling that the Cory situation was far from over.


I had been lying on the floor in my room reading a magazine with my stereo turned up loud when Lizzy had called me.

Raith was sitting on my bed playing Angry Birds on his iPhone. He had let me play before but the game made me so frustrated that I almost threw the phone at the wall. I liked Fruit Ninja a whole lot better.

“Tegan!” Lizzy screamed from the other end of the phone. “I missed you so much!”

I laughed at her enthusiasm.

“I missed you too.” I replied while Raith had a bit of a freak out over something that had happened in the game.

“Is someone with you?” Lizzy asked eagerly and I blanched.

“N-no.” I said, trying to signal to Raith to shut up. Too bad he was still so into the game that he wasn’t paying any attention to me.

“Die pig!” he started yelling.

“Is that a boy?” Lizzy started shrieking. “Tegan Joanne Michaels, do you have a boy in your room?”

“My middle name isn’t Joanne and no I do not have a boy in my room.” I jumped to my feet, picked up the pencil sharpener sitting on my desk and hurled it at Raith.

It hit him smack on his forehead and he let out a massively loud curse.

“Oh shit.” I muttered as Lizzy proceeded to make my ears bleed.

Who is it? Who is it?” she screeched over and over again.

“It’s just…”

“Is it Cory? Oh Tegan you lucky duck, you should have told me you had company.”

“Uh…actually…I broke up with Cory.”

There was a stunned silence.

“Lizzy? Are you still there?” I asked uncertainly.

I heard some sniffling and my heart sunk.

“Lizzy, are you crying?” I said in disbelief.

“Why didn’t you call me before?” she wailed and my eyes widened even more. “I can’t believe you had to go through your first break up alone!”

“Lizzy, it’s okay. I’m fine!”

“Oh Tegan I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you!” she sobbed. “What did he say? How did he break it off?”

“Actually I broke up with him.”

Lizzy suddenly stopped her weeping.

“What?” she said in a thick voice.

I sighed and told her everything that had happened, well aware that Raith was also listening to the conversation. I should have gone into the other room or something.

By the end of it, Lizzy was speechless.

“Wow.” She said.

“Yea.” I said with a sigh. “I just feel so bad about it.”

“He’ll get over it. We definitely have lots of catching up to do. Listen, you know how it’s my birthday on Monday when I get back.”

“Of course.”

“Well apparently mum and dad said they could stay for another week until they go back to Italy so we’re going to have a birthday dinner for me! You and Gina have to come! Then you can tell me more about this Cory situation.”

I agreed and once Lizzy hung up, I called Gina and told her the change of plans.

Then I decided that it was time to go to sleep.

Mr. and Mrs. Connifer were the nicest people in the world.

They weren’t around often since they were always travelling the world but whenever they came home, they’d always invite Gina and I over for dinner with them, as well as some of Paul’s friends.

This night, however, was a very special occasion since Lizzy was turning 17.

“How do I look?” I asked Raith as I twirled around in front of him.

“Fine.” He muttered, playing some other game on his iPhone.


I grabbed my metre ruler (I don’t even know where it came from) and knocked the phone out of his hand.

“Hey!” he echoed, looking at me in anger. “I was in the middle of making a $200 burger!”

“Skyburger can wait.” I snapped. “How do I look?”

Raith ran his eyes up and down my appearance.

“Fine.” He snapped, reaching down and picking up his phone. “I don’t see why it’s such a big deal anyway. It’s not like you’re trying to impress anyone.”

“It’s not like you have anything to worry about. You could walk around in a paper bag covered in mud and still look like a god.” I grumbled.

“You think I’m that hot eh?” he asked in surprise, giving me a sly look.

“It’s just an observation.” I muttered. “Besides, it’s not about impressing people. It’s just taking pride in your appearance. It’s a confidence thing.”

“You must be pretty shallow then.”

“Society is shallow. Deal with it.” I snapped.

Paul was picking me up so I went downstairs to wait for his car. As I sat on the couch, Jess came out from the kitchen looking pretty upset.

“Tegan!” she cried, looking down at me with her hands on her hips.

“What Jess?” I asked.

“Why are all the chips gone? And where did the 2 litre bottle of Coke go? And the ice cream? You’re going to get so fat if you’re the one eating it all!”

I glanced upstairs where Raith was probably still lying, playing with his iPhone. I told the moron not to eat all the food but it looks like he just couldn’t help himself.

“Just ask mum for more money so you can buy more snacks.” I said. Jess stamped her foot angrily and then stomped up the stairs like a child.

I just rolled my eyes. Then there was a knock on the door and I opened it only to be tackled by Lizzy.

“Tegan! I haven’t seen you in so long!” she exclaimed, her blonde hair flying in all directions.

“You too!” I replied. “Happy birthday!”

I handed her the present I had wrapped up and she squealed and hugged me even more.

“Come on! Gina’s waiting in the car!”

We approached the car and I instantly realised that we were all going to be a bit squished.

Sitting in the front two seats were Paul and Josh. In the back were Gina and, to my disgust, Lucas.

“Yea, we’re going to have to try to fit four in the back.” Lizzy explained as she opened the door and waited for me to get in.

Now that was going to be awkward.

It was a tight fit as Lizzy, Gina, Lucas and I tried to get comfortable. It didn’t help that no one was talking and Lucas started whistling some annoying song.

“Could you stop that?” Gina snapped after Lizzy started joining in.

“But it’s the latest Britney Spears song!” Lizzy protested.

Thankfully we arrived at the house before the two of them could start arguing and as soon as we walked through the huge ornate doors, I could smell something amazing cooking.

“What are we eating?” I asked Lizzy

“No idea but it smells good!”

As we walked through winding hallways towards the dining room, Lizzy’s ugly dog trotted up towards us and started growling and nipping at people’s ankles.

“God Lizzy, can’t you just keep the thing in your room?” Paul complained.

“No! She needs to get out and exercise.” Lizzy whined, picking up the thing and hugging it to her chest.

“I kicked it the other day.” Lucas said casually while Josh high fived him.

Lizzy just ignored them and lead us into the massive dining room.

Mr. and Mrs. Connifer were already waiting for us at the table and they both stood up and beamed when we entered.

“Tegan! Gina! It’s lovely to see you two again!” Mrs. Connifer exclaimed coming up and giving us both hugs.

“And Josh, I trust you’re taking care of my boy here.” Mr. Connifer said in a booming voice, patting Josh on the back and the shaking Lucas’ hand. “And this must be Lucas.”

We all sat down and suddenly all the awkward tension disappeared.

Mr. Connifer started telling us stories about all the things he’d seen in Italy and Mrs. Connifer went on about how proud she was of Lizzy and how pretty Lizzy had become.

Lizzy loved and respected her parents. I could see it on her face. Even though they weren’t around often, they always visited whenever they could and they had such a close relationship with their children.

I really envied the family that Lizzy had.

The rest of the dinner was simply amazing. The food was great and the conversation light and uplifting.

The only issue was that I was sitting directly opposite Lucas who, for some reason, kept giving me sleazy looks which was wrong since he was dating my sister. Why oh why had he become the third musketeer in Paul and Josh’s little duo?

Towards the end of the night, a massive cake was brought out, wheeled on a cart by waiters that I didn’t know the Connifer’s even had.

“It’s a three tiered cake.” Mrs. Connifer exclaimed proudly. “The first layer is cheesecake, the second chocolate mouse and the third tiramisu.”

Everyone’s mouths watered at the sight of the masterpiece and we all hurriedly sang happy birthday to Lizzy so that we could eat it.

However, despite our eagerness, the thing was too big for even eight people to finish. There was so much left over that I ended up taking some of it home.

When we were all getting ready to leave, Lizzy hugged everyone, even Josh which was a little awkward. I realised that she actually wasn’t mad at him at all, which wasn’t really fair. If she was angry at Sabrina then shouldn’t she at least be angry at Josh too?

“Thank you so much for coming Tegan and Gina!” Lizzy cried, hugging us both last and swaying back and forth. “We have to get together for a long chat soon!”

We agreed and then got into the fancy car that was going to drive us home curtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Connifer.

We all waved out the window at Lizzy who was still beaming with joy before the car carried us away from the bright lights and festivities of the Connifer Estate.

“Your sister likes to talk about you a lot.” Lucas told me as we all sat in silence.

“Yea right.” I replied.

“No seriously. She really looks up to you.”

I turned to face him, which wasn’t hard since I was sandwiched between him and Gina in the middle back seat.

“Doesn’t it make you uncomfortable dating someone three years younger than you?” I asked him bluntly.

“She’s hot, she likes me and honestly, I would have asked you out if you hadn’t been taken.” He winked at me and I made a face.


Gina and Josh just stared at the both of us in shock but before I could start yelling at the freak, the car stopped and he got out.

“See you later Tegan.” He said smoothly before slamming the door.

“Who does he think he is?” I yelled to no one in particular as the car started moving again.

“That is pretty disturbing.” Gina said flatly.

Josh just stared awkwardly out the window, probably praying that the car ride would be over soon.

Once we got to my house, I cooled down a bit and wished Gina and Josh goodnight.

Then I went back up to my room to vent.

“Seriously Raith, don’t you think it’s wrong?” I asked the boy as we both sat on the floor sharing the left over cake I had taken from the dinner.

“Well…” Raith began, a spoon in his mouth.

“Well what? He’s totally just taking advantage of her! God, why is Jess so naïve?”

“I think she’s old enough to take care of herself. If she wants to hang around with him then just go with it. He’ll get bored of her eventually. This is really good cake by the way.” Raith ate two more massive spoonfuls and smiled serenely.

I just shook my head.

“He’ll hurt her. I just hope this stupid relationship doesn’t last too long. He’s such a creep.”

I reached down to take another spoonful of cake and found the plastic container empty.

“Hey!” I cried, glaring at Raith.

“What? It was really good.” He muttered, not meeting my eyes.

I threw my spoon and him and probably would have thrown something else if he hadn’t put his hands up in surrender.

“Relax, relax.” He said, smiling at my brooding face. “Besides, this came for you while you were out.”

He held up another massive bouquet of flowers and I felt dread.

“It’s from Cory isn’t it?” I moaned.


“What am I going to do about him?”

I lay down on the ground and stared at the ceiling. The stench from the dead rat had thankfully started to dissipate and it made such an improvement to the atmosphere of my room.

“He seems quite attached to you. It’s actually a little scary.” Raith said as he put the Tupperware with the two spoons onto my bedside table and lay down on the bed.

“I just can’t figure out why, or how to get him to leave me alone. I think I need to get a new phone number so he’d just stop calling me!”

“He might back off if you give it some time.”

“I sure hope so.”

It was quite helpful having Raith around. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, Raith actually wasn’t a bad guy. These past few days with him have actually been quite fun.

“Hey Raith.” I said as I stood up and turned off the light.



“For what?”

I curled into my sleeping bag and sighed.

“Just being here and listening to all my crap. I know you probably have billions of other things you want to do and I didn’t even ask you to stay with me during the day but I really appreciate it and um…just thanks.”

He didn’t say anything for a while but just as I almost slipped off to sleep I heard him say “No problem.”

Lizzy, Gina and I got together on Wednesday to tell each other about all the latest developments in our lives and then to go shopping for dresses for the upcoming dance at the end of the teambuilding weekend.

“Who knew Cory could act so…controlling.” Lizzy said as we sipped our slushies and looked at the dresses on display in one of the shop windows. We had been kicked out of the store for coming in with drinks so we were just chilling outside until we finished our beverages.

“Yea. And now he’s sending me flowers everyday with ‘sorry’ cards.” I replied, staring lovingly at a beautiful floor length silk black dress with silver embellishment. I’d never be able to wear it but it’s nice to dream.

“He must really want you back.” Gina commented.

“Maybe you should give him a second chance?” Lizzy suggested.

Gina turned to her with her mouth wide open and her drink almost falling out of her hand.

“Are you crazy!” she cried. “After the way he’s been acting towards Tegan, I’m surprised she didn’t dump him at the fete!”

Lizzy looked a little disheartened.

“They made an adorable couple though.” She said quietly.

I wasn’t really paying attention to the conversation anymore. I was more focussed on ogling the price tag of the black dress. It was two hundred dollars. Maybe I should come here with Raith and see if he could get me a discount.

“I wonder if there’s a theme for the dance.” Lizzy said as she threw her empty cup into the bin. Gina and I did the same and the three of us re-entered the store.

“They would have told us by now if there was.” Gina said matter-of-factly.

“They might tell us at school.” I commented, running my hands through the soft material of several dresses.

“I hope it’s not something crummy like last year’s end of year dance theme.” Lizzy added.

All three of us groaned.

“Jungle Fever.” We said at the same time. It was quite an awful theme. The hall had been decorated in every shade of green known to mankind. Even the drinks were green. I don’t know whose idea that was but it was a fail.

“I think a dark blue dress you suit you Tegan.” Lizzy said as her eyes lit up at all the pricey but beautiful gowns. “And a black one for you Gina.”

“What about you?” I asked Lizzy, mentally calculating how much money I had to spend on a dress. I still had around a hundred dollars from the fete and an extra fifty that my mum had left for Jess and I this morning.

“I’m thinking a pastel colour. Maybe a very baby blue or a soft teal. Oh I’m so excited!”

Lizzy basically thew dresses at Gina and I and shoved us into the change rooms before we could even protest.

Then we had our private little fashion show, much to the annoyance of the sales lady.

When we were done, we left the store about $400 poorer. My dress had only cost $62 since it was on special. Gina’s was a little pricier at $89 but Lizzy’s was the most expensive, costing $330.

It was beautiful though; a floor length, peach strapless masterpiece with impeccable detail. Lizzy was actually surprised it wasn’t more expensive.

Gina had a shorter, simpler black dress that ended a little above her knees and had a cute one shoulder design.

My dress was similar to Lizzy’s; it was strapless and floor length. However, unlike Lizzy’s, my dress was a dark blue and the material quality wasn’t as special. The reason it was so cheap was because it was second hand and had a little tear near the bottom that you couldn’t even see unless you knew it was there. I didn’t mind though. I was quite happy with my purchase.

“Good job you guys.” Lizzy said proudly as we wandered the rest of the mall aimlessly.

We walked past a patisserie and I stopped to look at the cakes. Raith would probably like that big chocolate and caramel tart.

“What are you doing Tegan?” Gina asked curiously as I opened my bag and pulled out some money.

“I’m buying that cake.” I said, pointing at the tart.

“But why?”

“Yea, do you know how many calories are in that?” Lizzy added with a disapproving look.

“I like cake.” I tried to defend.

“Since when? I thought you weren’t into sweet things that much?” Gina argued.

“Well lately I just feel like some cake.” I said quickly, hoping they’d drop the subject.

To my relief, they soon lost interest in my sudden craving for cake and I decided that if I ever bought desserts for Raith again, I’d probably have to do it alone.

“Aw! Look at those puppies!” Lizzy cooed as we passed a pet store. “I want one!”

“You already have one.” Gina snapped. “It peed on my shoe the other night.”

“Maybe Princess Zefernini needs company?” Lizzy said sweetly.

I was about to contribute to the conversation when someone suddenly grabbed my elbow and pulled me away.

“What-” I turned and, to my horror, saw that it was Cory who had decided to take me away from my friends.

“Let go!” I shouted, ripping my arm away from his grip and backing away from him.

“No Tegan. You have to listen to what I have to say.” Cory said desperately. We were standing in a little alcove near the ATMs and for a second I was speechless as I looked at my ex boyfriend.

I couldn’t believe it. He looked worse than he had been the last time I saw him. His eyes were bloodshot, he hadn’t shaved in about a week and his clothes were all crinkled like he had been sleeping in them.

“I need you.” Cory cried, grabbing my hands in his. “I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. All I can think about is you.”

“C-cory.” I tried to make him let go but his grip only tightened.

“I’ll do anything Tegan. Anything! Just take me back.” He started crying and I choked, the guilt eating at my insides.

“Cory, what’s wrong with you?” I asked softly.

“I don’t know! I just need you. I can’t believe I ruined what we had. Please Tegan! I’ll die without you!”

This was freaking me out. Cory looked on the verge of insanity but I still couldn’t be with him. There was nothing there anymore. I felt absolutely nothing for him.

“I’m sorry Cory.” I said, removing my hands from his and trying to turn away.

I got two steps before he grabbed my arm and yanked me back so hard it hurt.

I’ll kill myself Tegan. I swear to God I will.” He screamed in my face, a deranged look in his eyes.

“Stop it!” I yelled back, shoving him away from me. “God, get a grip Cory! Leave me alone.”

I ran before he could do anything else. I knew people were staring. I knew everyone had heard us yelling. I didn’t care. I just wanted to get the hell out of this place.

Raith and I sat on the floor of my room, sharing the chocolate tart and looking out the window at the setting sun.

The sky had turned a bright peachy shade with oranges, pinks and purples all blending and melting together like watercolours in a painting. The sun cast its dying rays of light into my room through the open window, the golden beams illuminating both Raith and I as we watched the fluffy clouds float by on a sea of colour.

“Sunsets are overrated.” Raith said as he ate about a quarter of the slice in one spoonful.

“I like the moment after the sunset when the sun is gone but it’s still sort of light so the sky turns a nice dark blue and you can see the stars coming out.” I said thoughtfully, licking my spoon.

“You’re a bit of a romantic.” Raith commented.

I didn’t reply and tried to eat more of the tart before Raith could finish the whole thing.

“I’m going to get so fat if I keep eating desserts.” I said with a laugh.

“Here, I’ll eat it for you then.” Raith pulled the cake box away from me and I made a sound of protest.

“No!” I yanked it back and stuck my spoon in. “Besides, won’t you get fat?”

Raith raised an eyebrow.

“Actually, I won’t. I don’t know how it works but our image is preserved for eternity, no matter what we do.”

“Really?” I asked curiously. “So you can’t grow your hair or a beard or anything.”


“What if you cut your hair?”

“Well…” Raith tapped his bottom lip with his spoon thoughtfully. “I think the hair grows back until it looks like what it was originally.”

“I see.” I said, stretching my arms above my head with a sigh. “So if I cut your arm off with a chainsaw, you could just regrow it or something?”

“Actually, I’ve never tried that.” Raith snapped. “Don’t get any ideas.”

I was silent for a bit, conjuring up scenarios of me chasing Raith around with a chainsaw.

Then something else occurred to me.

“Hey, if you eat so much…doesn’t that mean you have to…um…” I suddenly realised what an awkward conversation topic this was, especially when we were eating chocolate.

“Have to what?” Raith asked, cocking his head to one side.

“Um…you know…go to the toilet?” I turned red and wanted to beat my head in with my dessert spoon.

Raith’s eyes narrowed.

“You really want to talk about this?” he asked with a look of distaste.

I shrugged. He might as well answer since I brought it up.

“Well no. I don’t know where all the food goes but uh…no.”

I felt my cheeks heating up and I coughed nervously. Desperate to change the topic and stop Raith scrutinizing me, I told him about what happened at the mall.

“Sounds like he needs psychiatric help.” Raith said once I’d finished my story.

“Can I do anything? Am I being selfish for not giving him another chance?” I asked, clearing away the empty cake box and spoons.

“He seems to be taking this to a very extreme level. I still think you should avoid him at all costs so he gets the message.”

Raith stood up and climbed onto my bed.

“I suppose.” I told him, taking out my phone and looking at my home screen. I had blocked Cory’s number but I was still getting text messages.

“Seriously, that boy is totally harmless.” Raith added, also taking out his phone and playing another game. “Just forget about him.”

“I guess you’re right.” I said softly, trying to put Cory out of my mind.

Besides, what’s the worst that could happen?

I didn’t want the holidays to end.

During that last week, Raith and I went grocery shopping and ended having a race to see who could complete the shopping list first. It ended up being pretty embarrassing running up and down the aisles looking for free ranged eggs but I had fun nonetheless.

We then went shopping again so I could buy some heels to go with my dress. We made sure to keep a look out for Cory and Raith managed to get me a free clutch as well as a 30% discount on the shoes, thanks to his powers of persuasion.

“What are you going to do with all those phone numbers?” I asked as we left the store.

“I’m making a scrapbook.”

At my sharp look, Raith snorted.

“Just kidding. Besides, this iPhone doesn’t have a SIM. I just use it to play games and take pictures.”

We also tried to go school supply shopping but got kicked out of the store after Raith gratified the folders by writing ‘Tegan is a babe’

I was flattered but not impressed.

I also had a life outside of the time I spent with Raith.

Gina, Lizzy and I spent a lot of time together and I told them about what had happened with Cory when I had run out on them. They were just as concerned but like me, had no idea what to do about it.

Then, at night, I’d share dessert with Raith and we’d have deep and meaningful discussions about anything.

It was no surprise that I was disheartened when I woke up on Monday morning ready to face school.

I knew it’d be bad. Not only did Sabrina now know that I’d been stalking her, but Cory was also having a meltdown. Oh, and I had to tell Buff Man about Jess and Lucas.

I also hadn’t been awake this early in two weeks so my voice sounded like a thirteen year old boy going through puberty.

Reluctantly dragging myself out of bed, I got changed in the bathroom, washed my face, fixed my hair and came back to my room to find Raith lying on his back whistling some annoyingly familiar song.

“Are you whistling Britney Spears’ new song?” I snapped, remembering Lucas doing the exact same thing.

“Um…nah…” Raith said quickly, looking a little sheepish.

I snorted and left to go eat breakfast. As usual, Jess was sitting in the kitchen talking on her mobile and looking as pretty as a picture.

“I know! That like, totally sucks.” She was saying as she saw me come in. I hadn’t seen her in a while since she had been spending way too much time with Lucas.

I made myself some toast and cereal and listened to her conversation.

“Yea he’s totally sweet. He buys me things and takes me out to all these expensive restaurants. Ugh he’s just amazing.”

“Ugh he’s just amazing.” I imitated her in a high pitched voice as I ruffled her hair and sat down opposite her.

She gave me an annoyed look.

“And his house is a freakin’ mansion! It’s crazy.” She continued.

“My name is Jessica Michaels and I only date guys who live in mansions and buy me things.” I said in a whiney, high voice.

“Shut up Tegan!” she cried. “Just because you have the hots for Hershel!”

“I do not have the hots for Hershel!” I yelled back.

We both glared at each other before bursting into laughter.

“Yea, I’m still here. Don’t worry I was just talking to my stupid sister.” Jess said, giving me a sickly sweet smile.

“Don’t forget to put in your suppository Jess!” I said really loudly, also giving her a smile that was all teeth. “And that ointment for the fungus infection!”

Jess looked at me in horror before throwing a piece of toast at me and standing up.

“No, no, no I don’t have a fungus infection!” she hurriedly assured her friend as she ran from the breakfast table.

I chuckled to myself and continued munching on my food until Raith appeared in front of me and made me drop my toast into my cereal.

“That wasn’t very nice.” He said as the front door slammed, signally the departure of my sister.

“We’re always like that.” I informed him, rescuing my toast and eating it even though it was a little soggy. “She knows I don’t mean it.”

I decided to leave for school after that and it felt nice with Raith by my side. It didn’t nearly feel as lonely, although I never really realised how alone I actually felt until I had company.

“Ah, I remember the school days.” Raith said with nostalgia as we both walked down the footpath in the early morning sunshine.

“I can’t wait til it’s over.” I commented, shifting my backpack straps on my shoulders so they wouldn’t dig in as much.

“What are you planning to do after?” Raith asked, actually sounding interested.

I stared at my scuffed shoes for a bit as I walked.

“Well I want to move to a bigger city…” I said slowly. “Go to university and study…something. I’m not sure what but I’ve still got a year and a bit to figure it out.”

To be honest, I hadn’t given my future a lot of thought. I suppose it was getting to that stage where I should be making plans for what I wanted to do after school. The only problem was that I had no idea what that was.

We walked on in silence after that, both of us thoughtful as our feet carried us past picture perfect houses all lined neatly in a row.

The footpath gave way to a T-junction and I saw my school up ahead, standing tall and formidable with its barred, wrought iron gates and tall green hedges.

We crossed the road quickly and stood side by side in front of the large wooden post adorned with the words ‘Kensington High School’ in big, bold, black letters.

“Hey, I won’t be around tonight because I’ve got something to do.” Raith said suddenly.

I looked at him quickly and I think the fear must have shown on my face because he looked agitated.

“I’ll probably be back halfway through the night.” He swiftly added as I tried to calm my expression. I didn’t want to seem so needy but I had come to rely a lot on this dark haired moron.

“Yea that’s fine…” I said, trying not to think of sleeping in my room alone. Maybe I’ll just stay up tonight until Raith gets back.

“Tegan…” Raith began and I heard the strain in his voice.

“No, it’s fine Raith.” I said quickly, trying to convince myself as much as I was trying to convince him. “I think it’s time I grew up a little. I should be brave right?” I offered him a shaky smile and he smiled back.

“You’ll be fine Tegan. He won’t hurt you. I promise.”

He held my gaze for a moment before turning away a little uncomfortably.

I swallowed nervously but forced myself to put on a brave face.

Then Raith left me and I walked through those big ornate gates of Kensington High.

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