“I can’t believe my girls are going to college. You’re getting old Kace.” mom said as her and dad were getting ready to leave after helping us move into what was our brothers apartment while they were in college.
“You’re old to babe, they’re our children.” My dad said shaking his head at mom
“I’m only 25, you’re the one that’s 50.”
“Keep telling yourself that sweetheart. Remember if you need anything to call us no matter what time it is and if you’re going out please stick together and don’t be afraid to use the pepper spray I bought you two.” dad said giving us both hugs.
“We know dad.” My twin Acacia and I said at the same time.
“You’re brothers are also a phone call away if you can’t reach us.”
“We know dad.”
“Alright Kace let them finish unpacking.” mom said pulling dad to the door, you’d think with how intimidating our dad looked it’d be a lot harder for mom to move him but he always had a weak spot for his girls.
“I love you both and don’t hesitate to call me if I need to kick some ass.”
“We know dad.”
“I love you both and do your best.” My said looking at us with tears in her eyes.
“We love you guys to.” Ace and I gave them both hugs before they walked out the door, although we weren’t far from home we both had pretty busy schedules and wouldn’t be back home for a few weeks. It was the first time either one of us would be away from home and it was scary but I was ready for the challenge. As well as the opportunity to have a fresh start and forget what happened last year.
“You okay sis?”
“Yeah I’m fine.”
“I know they didn’t say it but if you feel overwhelmed about all this I totally understand if you want to stay at home this semester.”
“I’m fine Ace. I really just want to have a fresh start this semester and not worry about what happened.”
“I know you want to Ari, but it’s not going to be that easy. Don’t bottle things up because that will only make your recovery worse.”
“Okay I won’t, can we finish unpacking so that we can pick up or books from the bookstore.”
“Sure. I’ll text Lyne and see if she wants to meet up with us at the Dinning Hall.”
“I don’t like her.”
“Lyne is cool, it just takes a minute to get used to her personality.”
“You mean her sarcasm gets better, you know she’s only with you because she wants to get with Ryan right.”
“She respects my relationship with Ryan.”
“So he’s your boyfriend?”
“No, he’s my stress reliever/go to date that is off limits to any one else.”
“The way he runs after you is pathetic.”
“He knows what the deal is, I am not interested in a relationship and he respects that.”
“How long will he respect that and begin to expect more from you Ace?”
“He knows he can end our agreement whenever he wants to.”
“If he ended your agreement would you be okay with it?”
“Yes, I’m not a relationship person.” Ace said with a shrug.
“That’s code for I don’t want to actually fall for someone and get my feelings hurt.”
“I’m not afraid of getting hurt, I’m focusing on school right now.”
“I can understand that but you really need to let Ryan go. He doesn’t deserve to be strung along like this.”
“I can understand that. I’ll talk to him. Are you finished unpacking? Lyne said she’s headed to the bookstore.”
“Yes, let me grab my ID. Are we taking my car or yours?”
“We can take mine.” she said grabbing her car keys. After making sure we locked up, we left and headed to the bookstore. While my sister went to meet up with Lyne I went inside to get my books and any supplies I might need for my classes.
“You look familiar.” a girl said coming up to me, as I was standing in the check out line. I looked at her and didn’t recognize her as anyone I hung out with recently.
“I just started here and I have a twin, so you might have saw her outside.”
“No, I saw you at the Triple G party last year.” her friends said looking me up and down
“Maybe.” I said trying to move past her but she stopped me
“You were with Alyssa Gomez and you got her and Luke Peters arrested. I’m surprised you would even show your face on campus. Guess it helps having rich parents that can make all your problems go away.” I could feel myself begin to get anxious and ready to end the conversation.
“Jennifer, leave her alone.” a guy said coming up behind me, I recognized him as one of Knox’s old teammates but I couldn’t remember his name.
“What it’s true.”
“And if it is, it’s none of your business to bring it up.”
“Are you okay?”
I wanted to speak but my anxiety was overwhelming me and it felt like I couldn’t breath. All I could think of was that night.
“Count to ten with me.” I felt him take the basket I was holding out of my hand then replace it with his own. I nodded my head and we slowly counted to ten until I felt a little better.
“You did great. Do you need me to get your sister?” he asked handing me back the basket
“No, she’ll only worry and call our parents. Thank you.”
“It’s no problem, Knox told me to look after you two and I always keep my word. Does this always happen?”
“Only when I think about it or someone brings it up. I thought people would’ve forgotten about what had happened already. How did you know what to do?”
“My sister has bad anxiety and I had to learn how to help her. You sure you don’t want me to get your sister.”
“I’m sure, I’ll just wait for her to finish with her friends.”
“I can wait with you.”
“I know you’re trying to help but I don’t even know your name.”
“I thought you would’ve remembered me, I’m Jacob Kessler. But everyone calls me Jake or Kessler.”
“You were one of Knox’s wide receivers.”
“That’s me. There’s a diner not to far from here, you could tell your sister to meet you there. I’m sure you could use a good milkshake.”
“I would love to but I’m not sure if you’re being nice because I’m Knox’s sister or because you’re a good person.”
“I’m just trying to be a good person. You can even call Knox and ask him about me.”
“Okay.” I pulled my phone out of my purse and dialed my brothers number.
“Hey lil bit, how’s the apartment?”
“It’s great. I ran into one of your old teammates while I was at the bookstore.”
“Which one? He didn’t try to hit on you did he?”
“No, it was Jake.”
“Oh Kessler, he’s a good kid. I asked him to look after you and Ace. I meant to introduce you guys but I’ve been busy with practice and the baby. But you should reach out to him if you need anything. Anyone that Jake hangs with from the team is cool with me. Just avoid my replacement. He’s an ass.”
“Like you were before you met Madison.”
“Yeah, I’m not proud of those days but I’m glad I met Madison when I did. Maddie is in class and Cam’s giving a look that means she wants my undivided attention.”
“Okay, give them both my love.”
“I will and good luck with classes. Call if you need anything. Love you lil bit.”
“Love you to big bro.”
“So?” Jake asked with a raised eyebrow
“He says that you’re cool and that he meant to introduce us earlier. I’ll go pay for my books and we can go.”
“Okay, I’ll wait for you outside.” he gave me small smile, then left. While I waited in line I told my sister where I was going but left out the fact that I was going with a guy. I knew that she would make a big deal out of it and I didn’t want her to. I really wanted my life to get back to normal and the fact that I didn’t freak out when Jake held my hand or offered to hang out with me meant that maybe I was getting a little better.
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