Chapter Twenty Three
“Vivian, can we talk?” my father asked the following day. I was alone in my room sketching different pieces for my upcoming semester final.
“You’re here and I can tell you won’t leave until you get it off your chest. So talk.” I said flatly gesturing to an empty seat next to my desk.
Dad looked around my room before reluctantly sitting down. I turned a blind eye and continued sketching. My room was a complete mess because I had wads of paper thrown everywhere. Every idea I had for a piece looked great in my head, but on paper they were as bad as the 2016 presidential election.
Because let’s face it, it’s pretty bad. A good portion of Florida is convinced that Ted Cruz is the zodiac killer. Hilary is dabbing for votes. Bernie is hotline blinging. Then there’s Trump—do I even need to start with Trump? OUR KIDS WILL HAVE TO LEARN ABOUT THIS ELECTION!
But back to my point, ’My designs are as bad as the election….
“I wanted to talk about family-” dad said breaking my odd reverie.
I scoffed and put down my sketchbook. “Really? I thought you wanted to talk about politics. But please, go on.” I replied in mock interest. Dad sighed and closed his eyes as if gathering his patience.
“Vivian please, your sarcasm is only making this hard.” he pleaded.
“That’s what she said.” I chuckled. Dad looked at me flatly clearly not amused. “What?”
“I want to talk about family because what you said was true. We were never a family.” he admitted downcasting his dark brown eyes in shame. “Your mother and I have always been consumed by our jobs. Then we went through our divorce and became consumed in that. The very last thing on our minds was you kids and I want to apologize.” he sighed.
“You weren’t there….why do you want to be here now?” I asked the question that had been burning my mind since they arrived.
“Your mother and I were going to Boston to spend time with you. Then the administrators told us you returned to Virginia and we couldn’t pass up the prefect opportunity.” he explained to me.
“What are you talking about?” I raised my eyebrow.
“I may have not been the best father but I am a pretty observant person. When Sawyer said you left the night after I-“
“The night after you hit me?” I narrowed my eyes at him in pure bitterness. Dad met my eyes with remorse and regret and I couldn’t help the small part of me that wanted to forgive him.
“I will never do that again and I hate myself everyday for it. But I think Sawyer hated me even more. Because when he told your mom and I that you left, he looked so heartbroken. That’s when I realized how much you two meant to each other.” he said with a small smile when talked about Sawyer and I.
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Because I can’t blame you for icing out your mother and I. We deserved your wrath. But Sawyer doesn’t and I know you haven’t spoken to him in months. Whatever you have against your brother, I think you should work it out.” he advised me.
“Why do you care?” I frowned.
“Because you said you can’t mend something that wasn’t there. Pumpkin, what you and your brother have is a family. That’s worth mending.” he said honestly and in that statement, I knew it held nothing truth.
Maybe dad wasn’t such a horrible person. Sure he had his flaws but he was trying to make amends, not for himself but for us. For Sawyer and I.
He was right. What I had with Sawyer was worth saving. My brother was all the family I ever had. Our relationship was worth fighting for. I don’t know who I am anymore. At least, not without Sawyer.
“I see you need some time alone.” Dad grinned proudly. He reached over to hug me but stopped short, deciding against it.
I think I surprised both of us when I made the move. Without thinking I wrapped my arms around him and squeezed him tightly.
I didn’t forgive him, but I was ready to. And that counted for something.
“Thank you…dad.” I mumbled into his shoulder.
I searched for Sawyer high and low after I burned myself out on work. My dad was right-which is as rare as Halley’s Comet. What I needed right now was a family and for me, Sawyer was it.
I blamed him for putting me in a position that made me uncomfortable. But I have to put on my big girl pants and sniff the febreeze because I had the right to say no. I was wrong to solely blame Sawyer.
“Hey, do you know where Sawyer is?” I asked my mom who was getting an early start on the thanksgiving turkey.
“Didn’t he say anything to you? He’s picking up Nicky right now. Apparently she wanted to spend thanksgiving with your brother.” Mom explained. I scrunched my face in disgust.
“Gross!” I cried out dramatically. “Did her family finally try to roast her for thanksgiving? Is that why she’s seeking refuge in our home. If so, I suggest we deport her back to California.”
“Vivian, I don’t like her either but she is your brothers gremlin- I mean girlfriend. Plus it’s the holidays so please be kind.” Mom stressed-though she looked like she wanted to laugh. I read her loud and clear though.
She wanted me to be completely snarky and sarcastic when Nicky came. I dig it though….
“You have my word Madre.” I winked skipping out of the kitchen.
“Why did you wink? I don’t like the wink Vivian!” she cried out but I completely ignored her.
Without thinking I immediately grabbed my running shoes and headed out. I hadn’t had a good run in ages. It usually helped clear my mind and right now I had a lot on my mind.
With my winter final coming up, I needed to come up with a stellar winter look. Lately I’ve been struck by the creative block. Everything I made just didn’t satisfy me. It would either be too much or not enough. I couldn’t find the inbetween.
Then there was my talk with Sawyer. I didn’t quite know what to say to him. But I knew it was time to forgive and forget. However, I was still nervous he wouldn’t want to talk to me. I had been cruel to him, so cruel-even I wouldn’t forgive my actions.
My legs pounded against the private road leading away from the house. With no destination in mind I just ran.
I ran past my driveway. Down the hill my house rested on. Into the small town that Sawyer called home. Past skyward park where Blake and I talked about everything and anything.
“Hey! Hey wait up!” I heard a faint call. I abruptly stopped as I recognized her call off the bat.
Sophia ran up to me clad in running clothes. But even at her worst, she still looked beautiful. Her blonde hair was tied back in a messy ponytail and her skin was glistening from the workout but she still looked stunning. There was no question why Blake and my brother fell for her.
“Oh hello.” I greeted her with a welcoming smile. In the back of my mind I reminded myself that as far as she knew, I was a stranger to her. She had no idea that the Sawyer she met in the beginning of the school year was actually me.
“Your Vivian, Sawyer’s twin.” she smiled putting her hand out, “We haven’t actually been properly introduced. I’m his friend Sophia Pierce.”
I shook her hand and smirked at her knowingly. “Friend is a little too causal, don’t you think? I thought you and my brother had a flirtation-ship.” I raised my eyebrow. Sophia blushed but quickly smirked at me as something she thought of clicked.
“The same could be said with you and my brother.” my eyes widened as she insinuated that Ty and I were more than friends.
“W-what are you talking about? Your brother and I are only friends.” I retorted growing flush.
“Oh please, my brother is not that friendly. Plus he talks about you all the time.” she rolled her eyes, “I guess you can say the King twins have something over us Pierce kids.” she sighed.
I didn’t want to believe that Ty liked me in that way. He was too good for me and I didn’t deserve his friendship let alone a relationship with him. Did I even feel the same?
Sure Ty was a looker. He was a total package for any ordinary girl. But I was nothing ordinary and I always thought of Ty as friend….right?
“Where are you heading?” Sophia asked snapping me out of my Ty bubble of doom.
“Not sure, I just felt like running.” I shrugged. Sophia nodded and walked alongside of me.
“I know the feeling. Sometimes I just randomly go for a run and I end up burning out after an hour. But that usually only happens when I have something on my mind. Do you have something on your mind?” she asked hesitantly and I didn’t blame her. She probably only knew me as Sawyer’s sister who went ape shit on him and left without a second thought.
It wasn’t exactly the most inviting idea of me. Sophia could think that I’d lash out at her in a lightning second.
“I was thinking about how much moving changed everything. Who I was in California isn’t who I am today.” I spoke softly, ashamed of how much I had strayed away from myself.
“What do you mean? I know being a new kid is difficult, I mean Sawyer was pretty odd when he first moved here.”
I narrowed my eyes at that. I was only odd because I had to constantly friendzone Soph. But she totally didn’t know what I meant.
Not that I expected her to. Trading places with your twin isn’t exactly relatable.
“Y-yeah, I guess being a new kid is different for everyone.” I muttered lamely. “Well all this running is exhausting. Do you want to catch a late lunch? My treat.” I sang playfully shifting gears away from my perpetual awkwardness.
“Ooh there’s this diner that Ty and I always go to. We could-“
“Uh, I was thinking more like Bermuda burgers.” I cut in as I realized the diner she was referring to was run by a sexist pig. Not to mention I wasn’t exactly welcomed there.
“I’m cool with that.” she shrugged tugging my arm as we headed to the holy meca of all greasy foods.
“Dear Ghandi, this burger is soo good.” Sophia hummed bitting into her burger again. My eyes rolled to the back of my head as I experienced a food-gasm.
“My can’t my life be as food- I mean as good as this burger.” I groaned throwing my head back dramatically.
“You couldn’t be more right-”
“Back off Pierce! I didn’t do anything!”
“Keep your fucking distance, I know okay! Stay away from her or so help me god!”
“Did that sound like…?”
“Yeah, it sounded exactly like Blake and Ty.” I hissed. Together, Sophia and I looked over our shoulders and were surprised to find Ty and Blake in a heated argument.
“What is up with them? They used to never be like this?” Soph hissed so only I could hear.
“I don’t know, but that’s why I’m here.” I admitted.
“What?” Sophia frowned confused. I sighed and slouched further into thw booth.
“Ty seemed really upset when he visited me in Boston. While he was sleeping I talked to Blake. He didn’t tell me why they’re on bad terms but he’s willing to mend his friendship.” I filled Sophia in.
“Well he doesn’t look too willing now.” she whispered pointing at the boys.
They were now glaring at each other. Then in one swift movement Ty shoved Blake. However he wasn’t having it because Blake brought his fist back and connected it with Ty’s nose.
Ty quickly reacted by throwing a punch at Blake’s jaw. He staggered back and tenderly touched his jaw before locking eyes with Ty again.
Then all hell broke loose. Both boys were attacking each other and Soph and I were numb in shock.
Finally I snapped out of it as I ran towards them. Sophia followed on my heels and tugged Tyson back who had been on top of Blake.
“Stop it!” she screamed to deaf ears as he tried to pull away from her.
“Let me go Soph, he deserves everything that’s coming to him!” Ty growled menacingly. It was like a flashback to my first impression of him. Before he knew I was a girl he was ready to beat me up. For the first time since I’ve met him—I feared Tyson. And I didn’t like it.
Blake gained his strength back and looked ready to kill Ty. However I quickly reacted and pinned his shoulders back on the ground. Blake seemed shocked to find me straddling him. In all honestly this was not how I expected my peaceful jog to end.
“What the hell is wrong with you two-“
“We can explain!” they chorused together when I snapped angrily at them.
“Oh you better! You two dimwits ruined Sophia and I’s lunch. No one ruins Bermuda burgers for me!” I cried out angrily.
Fact: I care more about my food than why those two were fighting.
Fact: They are going to pay for my food.
“Umm Vivi?” Blake said hesitantly. I snapped my eyes back to his fear stricken blue ones in rage.
“C-can you maybe get off me? People are watching….” he trailed off letting his eyes wander towards the restaurant filled with customers watching us.
“Not now pretty boy!” I snapped angrily, “Now explain why you two primadonna’s were fighting like two middle aged women at a cosco sale?”
Ty grabbed me by the waist and pulled me off of Blake. I glared at Ty and wiggled out of his arms. But his grip on me was tight.
“Let go Tyson!” I screamed flailing in his arms.
“Fine.” Ty huffed dropping me on my ass.
“Jackass.” I grumbled glaring daggers at Ty.
I got up and held out a hand to Blake. He took it and stood up with me. I have no idea what crawled up Ty’s ass and died. But it needs to resurrect and find a new address.
“What the hell is wrong with you Pierce!” I snapped taking Sophia’s arm and pulling her after me.
“Vivo wait-” Ty sighed pulling my free arm back. I stopped and glared at Ty. I didn’t like this side of him. The angry and rude Tyson was not the guy I befriended.
His blue eyed softened just the tiniest bit. I did feel bad for him—but Ty needed some space to cool off before I could talk to him.
“Go home-” I paused and looked at Blake who was watching me intensely. “Both of you.” I added before following Sophia out of Bermuda burgers.
Together we walked to my house with nothing said. The fight was intense and it was big. Something had changed between those two. Whatever is it though, I’m not sure I’ll be able to fix it.
Sophia looked deep in thought as well. No doubt questioning what had happened to the two boys she had grown up with. I caught her curious gaze land on me a couple times but I chose to ignore it.
She probably thought I’d grow angry again.
Finally after what seemed like a lifetime, we reached my house. I took notice of my both my parents cars gone. They probably went out for drinks.
Be it as it may, they didn’t hate each other. They sucked at the married life. But when you take off those wedding rings and sign those divorce papers, they are like two peas in a pod.
I’ve learned to not question it anymore.
I pushed open the door to my house and was surprised to find Nicky straddling my brother. On instinct I cried out and covered my eyes.
“My sweet virgin eyes!” I cried.
“Nice to see you too hag.” Nicky’s snarky voice resounded. I gagged and faked vomited, that’s Vivi sign for Skankzilla is in the proximity. Usually triggered when Nicky is around.
“Icky Nicky, I would say nice to see you but then I’d be lying. So what happened? Did your parents pay you to go away again.” I replied sarcastically. Nicky glared at me then turned to my brother and pouted.
“Baby,” she whined pawing at my brothers shirt. “your sister is being mean again!”
I waited for Sawyer to chastise me like he usually did, but his mind was elsewhere. His hazel eyes had zeroed in on Sophia who was watching Nicky and Sawyer silently.
Sawyer opened his mouth to speak but Sophia shook her head. He stopped and watched her walk out of the house. I made a move to chase after her but Nicky’s nasally voice stopped me.
“Is she one of your skank friends? She looks like one.” she cackled flipping her blonde hair in my face as she shoved past me.
“Don’t fucking talk about her like that!” Sawyer snapped at Nicky before chasing after Sophia.
Nicky and I watched in silence as Sawyer ran out. A small smile fleeted my lips as Sawyer chased after the right girl now.
“Did I say something wrong?” Nicky asked dumbfounded. I rolled my eyes and skipped towards the stairs happily before I paused and looked back at Nicky.
“Oh honey your whole existence is wrong. Watch your back skankzilla, your days are numbered.” I laughed joyfully before bounding the stairs to my room.