Trouble in Paradise?

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Chapter Eighteen

After I kicked around the ball for a little longer, I went inside and got started on the stacks of homework that had started to pile up on my desk. Groan.

However, I then got a text from an unknown number:

Its Ethan. I've changed my mind, I don't need, or want, you to look after the girls.

I stared at his text, a little sad since I was getting excited about having fun with the twins. He didn't have to be so rude, jeez. Someone is on their period.

I didn't even text back a reply, I just put my phone away and concentrated on the mountain of homework right in front of me.

The next day was Friday. The soccer tryouts were getting even closer, and I was starting to doubt that I would even make it since I only got back into the actual game itself yesterday. Oh boy.

Anyway, Blake and Jordan came to my locker in the morning.

"Hey S," Blake greeted, leaning against the lockers trying to look cool. Somehow he pulled it off, the girls around us swooning.

"You're crowding my lockers," I informed them.

Jordan shrugged. "It's a natural thing, girls can't get enough of this." He pointed to his 'muscles'. "Right Blake?"

Blake didn't answer. He was staring at something, or someone, in the other direction. We all turned to see a girl walking through the hallway.

She had brown hair that went past her shoulders, hazel eyes and a pretty much perfect figure. She was holding a stack of books and her bag was falling off her shoulder. Even with her failing efforts at holding her things, she still looked like a goddess. Life was unfair. When I fall over or drop my things, I looked like a wriggling slug who's trying to roll its way through life. Sigh.

Blake was staring at her like a dog who had finally found his owner. Jordan snapped his fingers in front of Blake's face, breaking him out of the trance.

"Little Blake just went googly eyed for the new girl," I cooed, pinching his cheeks while I was teasing him. He playfully slapped my hands away, scowling at the ground with a slight blush. God, he was adorable.

"I did not," he muttered to himself, crossing his arms. Jordan and I both rolled our eyes as I closed my locker. The new girl walked into the office, no doubt going down the same path that I did on my first day.

"You like her?" Jordan asked.

"That's impossible. You can't like someone when you don't even know them," I retorted.

"You don't believe in love at first sight?" Jordan said, looking mockingly offended.

"I don't like her. I reckon she's... alright," Blake intervened, breaking up our joking argument.

Jordan leaned over to me. "He wants to fu-"

"No I do not!" Blake interrupted before any bad words could've made an appearance in the conversation.

"Look, just go introduce yourself to her," I told him. "Just be friendly."

"Or you could just f-" Before Jordan could continue his crude sentence, I covered him mouth with my hand.

"Hey, horndog, shut up. That's not how to impress a girl, idiot," I said, making him surely keep his mouth closed.

Blake rolled his eyes at both of us yet he seemed distracted, staring off into the hallway. Jordan and I raised our eyebrows at him.

Before we could say anything, the bell rang signalling the start of class. The three of us parted ways, Blake still looking distracted. Obviously, he was interested in the new girl.

Fast forward to lunch. Jordan had successfully dragged me to their lunch table again, where Ethan and Xavier sat there. Xavier nodded to me and I nodded back in greeting, while Ethan just sat there like a pouting child. He needs to get over the fact that I'm here. Jeez.

I didn't see Blake, but I didn't have to think hard to guess where he was. Surely enough, seconds later he walked in with the new girl clinging to his hip. I fought the strong urge to roll my eyes. That was quick.

"Guys and girl," he said, arriving at our table. "This is Belle."

Xavier and Ethan didn't say anything, but Jordan greeted her.

"Hello," I said, a welcoming yet somewhat forced smile.

"Hi!" her squeaky voice said loudly, nearly making me grimace. Xavier and Ethan however did nothing to stop the grimace that made its way onto their faces. Belle didn't seem to notice. "Lovely to meet you all! I'm sure we will all be best friends!"

So far, I had mixed feelings about this girl. She seemed too... fake.

She sat down next to Blake, her arms wrapped around his arm. Blake seemed to be enjoying the attention, yet every time I saw him look at her a different look would find its way onto his face. I didn't know what to call it, besides a look of admiration.

Seriously, it's only been a day. Next thing you know and I'll be invited to their wedding on the weekend.

I conversed with Jordan for most of lunch, Xavier and Ethan talking between themselves while Belle and Blake flirted quite obnoxiously. Even Jordan was starting to get irritated, especially when Belle would burst out in laughter that sounded like Medusa and a whale had a kid.

Okay, removing that image from my brain forever.

Anyway, finally the bell sounded and everyone got out of their seats and headed for class. Jordan's expression was of relief, while Blake was just staring at Belle as they walked together. He was obsessed.

As I was at my locker, an announcement came over the speaker which asked for me to go to the principal's office. A few smartass kids yelled out, "Oooh."

"Really original," I sarcastically yelled back to them, hoisting my bag on my back and heading for the office. A voice in my head was wondering as to why I was being called to the office, I hadn't broken any rules lately. At least, not that I was aware of.

When I got there, the office lady looked up. "You have a visitor, he says he knows you, a cousin?" she said, inclining her head towards the door where a familiar face stood.

"Christen?" I asked, my voice raising. I walked up to him and grabbed his arm, dragging him outside where no one was listening.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing here?" I partially yelled. "Your mother thinks you're missing! She called the damn police!"

Christen looked like shit. He was dirty, his hair a mess. He looked like he hadn't changed his clothes in days, and he desperately needed a shower.

"Stef, I need your help," he said in a small voice, his eyes trained on his shoes. He didn't look up. His voice sounded... sad. And scared.

This was very unusual.

"What happened?" I asked, lowering my voice down. He seemed like he didn't want to be yelled at, so I would simply listen.

"I'm in a lot of shit," he said, sighing and seeming defeated. He rested his faces in his hands. "I'm in trouble."

"Why? What did you do?" I asked, genuinely worried yet a little curious. He may be an asshole, but he's still family.

"There's a group of guys after me," he said. "I owe them money, but I can't borrow money from anyone. I can't get a job, and my mother can't find out. I have nowhere to go. Please help me," he pleaded.

My mouth was open a little with shock. I sighed. "God, Christen, what have you done?" I asked out loud. "Fine, just stay at my house for a bit. My parents aren't usually home, but if they are you can just stay in my room or something. They never go up there, okay?"

Relief flooded in his eyes, along with a look of joy. He then hugged me, something that I was in no way expecting. "Thank you so much. I'm sorry."

I rolled my eyes, a small curve of a smile making its way onto my lips. "No problem, idiot. Now I'll take you home, c'mon," I said. I texted my mother to tell her to call the school. explaining that I didn't feel well and that I was going home. She didn't reply, so I had no idea if she actually did it or not. Oh well.

Christen and I walked home, talking about various topics that were in no way related to each other. We talked about movies and TV shows, and then started arguing about whether or not books were better than movies. Don't even get me started on that one.

He was actually a nice person to talk to. I know that he used to be horrible to me, but he seemed to have cleaned up his attitude at least towards me.

We arrived at the house, my parents seemingly still at work. I opened the door and let him inside. "Go get some clothes and take a shower, you smell worse than the boys locker room at school. And boy, that's saying something," I said, making him chuckle before he went upstairs to his old room that probably still had his things there.

I got a text from Jordan, complaining that I had left him alone to deal with Romeo and Juliet. I told him to suck it up, and that I hadn't been feeling well.

Christen came back downstairs half an hour later, looking and smelling a lot cleaner.

"I want pizza," I declared, grabbing my phone and ordering pizza from the nearest pizza place. Christen set himself down in front of the TV and I turned it on.

"What movie do you wanna watch?" I asked, having not had a movie night with someone in a very long time.

"Pirates Of The Caribbean?" he asked hopefully, searching for it in the pile of DVDs that we had stacked up next to the TV.

"Hell yes!" I said, helping him find it. Soon, we found the DVD and put it on. Seconds later the pizza arrived, and I took the steaming box of goodness into the lounge room where Christen had successfully made a pillow fort.

Yes, this is the same guy that drinks at parties and probably does drugs. Christen had a soft side.

I put the pizza box in the middle of both of us, and we settled on the pile of pillows. The movie started playing and we both spent the whole night rewatching all of the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies. It was overall really fun. We ended up falling asleep on the mountain of pillows. That night we weren't cousins, but brother and sister.

Funny, I had always wanted a sibling.

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