’Cause I told you once,
Now I told you twice.
We gon’ light it up,
Like it’s dynamite!
I’m gonna take it all like,
I’m gonna be the last one standing.
~Dynamite- Taio Cruz
By the end of eleventh grade, I had run out of ways to say no.
Which was quite sad, considering most Health lessons throughout high school revolved around different ways to do so.
“I brought my bike today,” I told Kallie Fleming. It was the latest of my oh-so-creative excuses. It wasn’t Kallie that I was trying to avoid- she was my best friend- but rather her twin, Kaden. Who drove her to school because Kallie drove like a blindfolded monkey on drugs.
She shot me a doubtful look, and glared slightly at my poor bike, but relented. “You’re still staying with us, right?” she asked, leaning back against the passenger door.
“My parents are still going to Europe, if that’s what you’re asking,” I replied.
“I still can’t believe you’re turning down Europe!” Kallie exclaimed. I jumped at her sudden enthusiasm. I really should’ve expected how hyper Kallie would’ve been today, but for some reason, I hadn’t. She had always been unbelievably energized on the last day of school, but even after years of friendship, it hasn’t really sunk in yet.
“Yeah, I think I’d rather not be scarred for life. Mom and Dad wanted this trip to ‘rekindle their spark’,” I said, shuddering. Ew. That’s like every kid or teenager’s nightmare. Just the thought of it is mentally scarring.
Kallie mimicked my action. “Okay, that’s gross, but it’s Europe! Hot guys with British accents and stuff, you know?” she asked waggling her eyebrows at me. I rolled my eyes at her, amused and opened my mouth to reply, but another, all too familiar voice cut in.
“Who needs hot guys when you have me?” Kaden said. I whipped around to look at him and was immediately greeted by his infamous slight smirk.
Kallie sighed dramatically. “Hello to you too, my dear twin,” she greeted, a hint of sarcasm buried in her tone. Kaden’s smile grew bigger, which really shouldn’t have been possible, but somehow it was.
“Why are you here already? I was counting on five more minutes of peace,” I said. Cruel, I know, but I was willing to go that far to keep a permanent distance between us. I had expected Kaden to take a couple moments to say goodbye to his friends, and I had been planning to use those five minutes to finish the conversation with Kallie and escape. Obviously, that didn’t work out.
“Aww, Raine, you’re hurting my feelings. I thought we were past this enemy thing,” Kaden teased, laying a hand over his heart and pouting at me. I scoffed and looked away. If only you knew why, Kaden, I thought. Then you would get why I could never get past this ‘enemy thing’.
“In your dreams, Fleming,” I retorted. “Why are you here already?”
“What? I can’t talk to my baby sister-”
“You’re three minutes older than me, Kade,” Kallie cut in, glaring at him, though I knew she wasn’t actually mad. Kallie and Kaden had an interesting relationship. They actually got along most of the time. They were the only twins I knew that did that. Then again, they were the only twins I knew, period.
Kaden continued as if his sister hadn’t spoken. “-and her best friend on the last day of school? You’re staying with us, Raine. Which means you’ll be around me for the summer.” He winked. That caught me by surprise. Yes, I was staying with the Fleming’s, but I figured I wouldn’t see Kaden around much.
I snorted, regaining my composure. “Yeah, but you’ll be out partying, or screwing some girl, half the time.” I replied, forcing the last couple of words out before I could choke on them.
“Actually,” Kallie grinned deviously. “I made him swear that he has to spend at least two thirds of his waking hours doing something with us.”
My eyes widened to the point where I was surprised no one asked if I had some kind of weird medical condition. “You expect me to spend two thirds of my precious summer with, with...that?” I demanded.
Kaden gasped, pretending to be offended. “Hurtful.” He brushed a strand of his blond hair back. It matched Kallie’s hair color exactly and had the tendency to fall over his eyes.
I looked away, before his stupid, mocking expression could get to me. “I should go. I have…stuff.” Wow, most original and believable excuse ever, Raine. Though, in my defense, I did a lot better with scripted lies.
Both of them raised an eyebrow, but didn’t comment on it. Kallie, because she was probably used to my weird behaviour, and Kaden, because he knew the reason and didn’t care. “Come over as soon as you can, okay?” Kallie said.
I nodded. “Yeah.” I pulled my backpack on and wheeled my bike out from the crammed space between Kaden’s car and the Volkswagen parked next to it. I waved at them before setting off, even though they would probably pass me later.
I lived in the same direction as Kallie and Kaden, but not as far. The Fleming’s were very well off –they owned one of the most successful law firms in the world– so they lived on the edge of Sydcot, my town, and Hampton Hills, where the wealthy resided.
I had expected my house to be empty when I got back, but there was still a car parked in the driveway… And suitcases in the hallway. “Mom? Dad?” I called.
Mom appeared in the hallway, a tight smile on her face. “Hi, honey.”
“Wasn’t your flight-” I glanced at the clock on the wall. “-three hours ago?”
“We just lost track of time,” Mom lied.
I blinked. I’m not sure where I got my acting skills and passion from, but it definitely hadn’t been from her or dad –who was strategically avoiding looking at me and mom, by checking the locks on the suitcases. That they had already checked a dozen times last night. “Are you guys not going, then?”
Mom shook her head. “No, we’re leaving now. They put us on a new flight.”
“Oh. That’s good?” I had no idea what to say when they were in the middle of a fight.
She pulled me into a hug. “We’ll see you in three weeks, okay?”
“Make sure you call at least once a day.”
“Be careful and don’t make any stupid decisions.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to come?”
“Ok- Yeah, I’m sure.” I quickly changed my response as her questions sunk in.
“Maria will be with you guys, right?”
“Yes,” I lied, with a hopefully convincing nod. In reality, I had no idea whether the Fleming’s housekeeper would be there. Hopefully her and Dad didn’t check.
Mom squeezed me tighter before letting me go. Dad, always her opposite, gave me a loose, quick hug and affectionate pat on the head. “Bye, Kiddo,” he said.
I wave from the door until they were out of the driveway. After they were gone, I ran up to my room and grabbed the last of my things, shoving them into my backpack. Most of my stuff was at Kallie’s already, and if I was missing anything, it wouldn’t be hard to just come back and get it. I’d have to come back halfway through July to see if RHS –a theatre school I had applied to– had replied anyway.
I took one last glance around the room, then shut the door.
When I got to the Fleming’s a familiar car was parked in their driveway. Clark William’s car. And Annabelle Jackson had probably come with him as well. The two of them were practically attached at the hip. It was both undeniably adorable and unbearably nauseating.
I pedaled past the car and parked my bike in the garage, then went to check if they were still in the car.
And they were making out.
I rolled my eyes and rapped on the driver side window. Clark pulled away and shot me a glare. It wasn’t intimidating, though, hard as he may have tried, because there were lipstick smears all over his face.
“You got some…” I trailed off, gesturing to his face. He continued to glare at me, but a pink flush was creeping up his cheeks. I could see Annabelle squirming in the passenger seat, trying to smother her giggles. I grinned, gave a half wave, then walked up to the front door, leaving the couple to clean up.
They’d probably take a while.
I rang the doorbell. My key was somewhere in one of the bags I had brought over earlier and I didn’t remember the twenty something pin that was the alternative.
Kallie answered a moment later. “Yay, you’re here,” she said. “Have you seen Clark and Bells-?” she cut herself off when she noticed the car.
“Oh, Kal, Clark is-” I let the sentence die when she ignore me, stomping to the vehicle. I watched as she opened the door and yanked Clark out.
It was hilarious.
Even Annabelle, who had gotten out when Kallie had yanked out her boyfriend, was laughing. Clark hadn’t gotten the chance to rub off the lipstick. If anything, there were more stains now than before. He was scratching furiously at his skin as Kallie tugged him forward, but the dark red smears weren’t coming off.
Bells trialed behind them, using the reflective screen of her phone to fix her make-up, and of course, reapply her lipstick.
“I don’t know why you bother anymore,” I told her as we walked into the house.
Kaden and Brett Hastings –Kallie’s boyfriend and Kaden’s best friend– were watching TV in the lounge. Both guys took one look at Clark’s face and burst out laughing. It took them a couple moments to stop feeding off their friend’s humiliation.
“Hey, the label said it wouldn’t rub off,” Annabelle protested, capping the tube of lipstick and pocketing both it and her phone.
“I don’t think that applies if you’re playing tonsil hockey for ten straight minutes,” Kallie said dryly.
Clark was still trying to rub off the makeup.
Unsuccessfully, I might add.
Looks like it really didn’t rub off, but in a totally different way.
“So, I got the best idea ever!” Kallie exclaimed, clapping her hands together. I grimaced, looking back at her. Kallie’s ’best idea ever’s were usually diabolical.
“I don’t like that sound of that,” Clark joked.
Kallie glared at him, “Shut it, lipstick.” This seemed to silence him. “Anyway, for July, we would have a bunch of challenges, and guys against girls, and losers are the winner’s slaves.”
What? Even though I had been friends with Kallie since we were toddlers, I still sometimes had trouble understanding her. It was worse when she was excited, because she tended to cut words out, and almost slur them together.
Kaden seemed to be the only one to understand what his sister was saying. “Hmm, that’s actually not bad,” he said.
“Wait, explain it again, but slower,” Annabelle instructed.
“We’d have partners-” she started. Okay, I’m fine with that as long as it’s someone I’m comfortable with. Oh wait, that’s not gonna-
“I want Annabelle!” Clark cut in.
“I call Kallie!” Brett added. Oh god, wait does that mean...
Kaden smirked at me, “Looks like you’re stuck with me, sweetheart.” I groaned and buried my face in my hands.
“As I was saying,” Kallie continued loudly. “You’d have partner, and your partner would be your slave if you won. You and your partner would compete against each other,” she explained. “For example, if I win, Brett’s my slave. For any challenges we have, him and I will be doing the same thing and whoever does it better gets a point for their team. In any team games, Raine and Bells are obviously my teammates. We’ll have a white board for the points. Team with most points at the end of July wins.” She paused and looked at us. “What do you think?”
The guys had been grinning since the ‘slave’ thing. “I’m fine with it,” Clark said.
“We are so winning this.”
All eyes turned to me.
I was the only one who hadn’t spoken yet. I bit my lip. “I guess I’m fine with it too.”
Kallie squealed. “This is going to be awesome,” she said. She looked over at the guys. “Get ready to go down.”
Kaden laughed and matched his sister’s glare.