Trouble in Paradise?

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Chapter Twenty

“I love you too, cupcake.”

Cringe.

Blake and Belle were sitting at the lunch table, being way too lovey dovey for anyone to stomach. Jordan and I watched with confusion and disgust as they fed each other spoons of chocolate pudding, which wasn’t very good anyway.

Even Ethan and Xavier were in disbelief of the scene that was unfolding before them. I shook my head and got up, looking around the cafeteria. I spotted Amber walking in, and sitting at a table alone. I walked over to her, saying a quick goodbye to the guys, and sat down. She didn’t have any food, and she was just sitting alone. She gave me a small smile as I walked over.

“Hey,” I greeted, sitting down in the seat next to her. I offered her some of my tasteless chocolate pudding. “Hungry?”

“Not really, but thanks,” she replied. We chatted for the remainder of lunch, talking about subjects and sports that we liked. I noticed Ethan, Xavier and Jordan leave the table due to Blake and Belle’s... I don’t even know what to call it honestly.

“When do we find out about the soccer team again?” Amber asked. I recalled it in my memory.

“Today or tomorrow, I think. We can check the sports board, it will have the list up on there,” I said, throwing the remainder of my gross pudding away and discarding the tray. We walked through the halls to just outside the office of the P.E teachers, right next to the gym entry.

“It’s not up yet,” I said. “It will probably be there tomorrow.”

She nodded, agreeing. “Yeah.”

Just then, the bell rang which signalled the end of lunch. We parted ways and I went to my locker before making my way to class.

Exams are starting very soon, I realised. Crap.


I was at home, studying in my bedroom. My teachers had talked non stop all day about exams coming up, and how they could shape our future. Many just waved it off, but I immediately went into panic mode. I came home and started studying straight away.

A knock on the door brought me out of my studying zone. Christen wasn’t home, I think he had gone to the grocery store to pick up some snacks. I jumped off my bed, pretty much fell down the stairs, and made it to the door. I opened it to see a familiar yet unexpected face.

“Uh, hi Ethan? What’re you doing here?” I asked, seeing Ethan look a little distraught. He stood at my door, a dazed yet worried expression on his face. He held the hands of two little twin girls, who gave me a grin.

“Can you watch them for a couple of hours?” he said abruptly and I almost didn’t respond right away.

“Uh, sure. Everything okay?” I asked, seeing his distressed body language and facial expression. I didn’t ask what happened, it was probably none of my business.

“Yeah, fine. Thanks,” he said, nudging the girls forward until they came and hugged my legs. “Stay with Stef, okay?” he quickly knelt down to tell them before rushing back outside and into his car. I was left standing at the door with a confused face.

I took the girls inside and shut the door before they would get cold. It was getting colder, the sky becoming darker by the second, the calm before the storm. I turned the heater on inside and took the girls up to my room.

“Are you girls hungry?” I asked them, letting them roam around my room while they excitedly looked for something that they could play with.

“Can we have chocolate? Ethan never lets us have chocolate!” Ally asked, her sister jumping up and down at the thought.

At first, I was wary. I mean, who thought it was a great idea to give kids sugar in the first place? But then when I saw their cute faces, I gave in. “Fine, but only a little. Come on.” I took their hands and led them downstairs towards the kitchen. The house was heating up now.

“Hot chocolate?” I asked, realising that we actually ran out of any other types of chocolate. They nodded and grinned, showing their small little teeth that had yet to fall out.

“With marshmellows!”

I’m so dead. Oh well.

I made them both small hot chocolates, putting it into little mugs and adding a few small marshmellows on the top. I made them wait so the hot chocolate could cool down before I let them have a sip.

“Be very careful,” I said, watching them drink it. “Don’t burn yourselves.”

They enjoyed their hot chocolate while I searched in the garage for the old box of Barbie dolls that I had from when I was a child. I knew that it was in here, I just had to find it.

Finally, I found the dusty plastic box filled with dolls, clothes and accessories. I lifted it and carried it out of the garage, placing it in the middle of the living room. The girls squealed and abandoned their hot chocolates, running over to the box and opening it.

They rummaged through it, pulling out old dolls that I had spent a lot of time with when I was a kid. I watched them with a smile as they started playing with them, using their imagination to act out scenes with the dolls.

Eventually, after an hour, they got a bit bored. I turned on the TV and looked around for DVDs that they could watch. I found a couple of Disney movies that we had, putting them on one after the other. Yes, I put on Frozen. Yes, I may have sung along with it. I’m immature, get over it.

The girls fell asleep on the couch, snuggled into the blankets that I had wrapped around them. Three hours had gone past, and still no sign of Ethan. I wondered what the issue was. He seemed upset.

I let the girls sleep while I packed up their mess. I cleaned the hot chocolate mugs and then went upstairs and grabbed an old backpack that I no longer used.

I grabbed the dolls and things that the girls had played with the most, putting it all into the backpack for them to take home. I had nothing to do with them, so the twins could play with them all they like. Christen had gotten home sometime during that, and I explained why the girls were here. He went to his room so that he wouldn’t make any noise and wake them up.

About an hour later, the doorbell rang again. Ethan stood there, looking like shit.

“You okay?” I asked. “Want to come in for a bit?”

“No, I’m fine. Where are the girls?” he asked, cutting me off. I rolled my eyes and led him inside, showing him the couch that they girls slept on. They hugged each other while they slept, and I saw a loving expression come across Ethan’s face as he watched them.

He lifted Ellie up as I lifted Ally. We carried them in our arms, making sure they didn’t wake up. We got them to the car quickly, the cold air nipping at our arms. We placed them in the back, using a blanket that Ethan had in his car to warm them up.

“Wait!” I said, rushing inside and grabbing the backpack that I had left by the door. I gave it to Ethan and he peered inside. He nodded his head in thanks before putting it in the back with the girls. We said our goodbyes before he left, and I went back inside before I got sick from the cold.

Damn. What was all that about?


Back to Calculus the next day, Jordan and Blake behind me. Thankfully, Belle wasn’t in this class so we could actually speak to Blake now without him being interrupted by his lovely girlfriend. Sarcasm alert.

And then, Xavier walked in. He wasn’t in this class. He sat down in the only spare seat next to me, and I raised an eyebrow.

“Miss me that much?”

He rolled his eyes, flashing a small grin. “You wish.”

“Not really. The opposite in fact,” I retorted, my lips curling upwards at the corners.

Our small bickering war was interrupted by Jordan and Blake’s bickering war, behind us.

“If you put a chicken nugget in a blender, would it taste the same?”

“Yes!”

“But how do you know?”

“I..I..” Jordan couldn’t think of an answer.

Xavier groaned. “I can’t believe I got put in a class with those idiots,” he stated.

“Same here,” I said, causing Blake and Jordan to simultaneously narrow their eyes at us.

“Hey! That’s not nice,” Blake pouted.

“Go complain to your girlfriend,” Xavier replied.

“I will!” Blake crossed his arms. We all rolled our eyes at that.

The teacher started talking, and we all had to shut up from that moment. Eventually, when the lecture was over, we were left to do our work while the teacher read the newspaper. I started scribbling down the answers, as Xavier also did.

However, the bickering behind us started up again. Xavier and I groaned in sync this time, turning around to see what the new problem was.

“What now?” I asked, looking at them expectantly.

“He stole my pencil,” Jordan said, pointing to Blake who now held two pencils. Despite us seeing this, he tried to hide one behind his back.

“No I didn’t.”

“Yes you did!”

“No I didn’t!”

“Shut up!” I said, interrupting their war.

“What she said,” Xavier interjected, inclining his head towards me.

“Just give Jordan back his pencil, Blake,” I told him, which he did by throwing it across the room, narrowly missing the bin.

I sighed. “Children. My friends are children.”

“You got that right,” Xavier agreed, going back to writing down the answers to the questions that we had to complete. At the end of the lesson, I had successfully finished my work despite Jordan and Blake arguing like two year olds over a piece of chocolate.

I met with Amber after class was over, saying goodbye to the boys. I couldn’t help but notice that Xavier and I had been talking and having an actual conversation. He almost smiled as well. Interesting.

“Let’s go to the gym, we can see if we made it,” she said, leading me to the sports board that we had visited yesterday. Thankfully, we saw the sheet of paper that was clearly titled ‘Girls Soccer Team’.

Our eyes went down the list, searching for our names. Amber spotted hers, pumping her fist in the air and hollering. The students around us gave her a look but she didn’t care.

I kept looking until I spotted my name on the list, and I grinned widely, terrifyingly close to doing a victory dance. Unfortunately, I didn’t bless the people around me with that dance today.

Amber and I high fived. “There is a meeting at lunch today at the field, I’ll see you there,” she said as the bell rang, signalling the start of our next classes. We said goodbye to each other and walked in opposite directions.

I walked with a smile on my face to my next class, excited about the next couple of weeks.

I bumped into Jordan in the hallway, and he noticed my now creepy smile. “What’s going on? Why are you looking so happy, yet terrifying?”

“Is that a nice way of telling me that I have a creepy smile?” I deadpanned.

He laughed. “No, seriously. What happened?”

My smile was back now. “I made the soccer team!”

He grinned. “That’s great!” he said, giving me a small hug. We both then realised that we were going to be late for class, so we bid our goodbyes and rushed to our next class. I swear to god, I better not be late.

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