When I was told that we would be moving again, I wasn’t surprised. My mother had been fired from her job for refusing to sleep with her boss. This happened on a regular basis and it almost seemed like it wasn’t going to stop. My mum was very pretty, and I think many men mistook her friendly attitude for the ‘fuck me now’ vibe.
It’s starting to become a running joke between my mum and I, albeit a bad joke. Also, because she was kicked out of her home when she was sixteen because some guy had knocked her up, she never got the chance to finish high school and go to college or university. She had been stuck with shitty part time jobs ever since. Plus having to raise a kid by herself, didn’t exactly help with the costs.
Mum didn’t want to go through the legal side of a sexual harassment case because there was always a chance that it could be widely broadcasted, and she did not want to draw any attention to us because of the issues that I had dealt with in the last year. We did not want my abusive ex-boyfriend to find me. It did not matter that he had been arrested and is hopefully in jail, we didn’t want to risk it.
From the age of fifteen, I had been competing in illegal street racing to help with the rent, bills and shopping. My mum knew this and despite many attempts at protest, she could not convince me to stop. I had always felt responsible for the way things were, because if my mum hadn’t gotten pregnant with me, then we wouldn’t be in this financial mess.
I had already been given the information about where I had to go when I got to the new town. Mum had decided to move to a small town in the middle of no where this time, hoping that she will be able to get a job with a decent manager who will not try and grope her. She told me that she had gotten in touch with her parents, and they had agreed to let us come live with them.
“Shaylin!” Mum shouted at me from downstairs.
“Yeah, I’m coming.” I took one last look around my empty room before grabbing my backpack.
I wasn’t one for being sentimental and emotional, each time we moved, I wasn’t fussed. Maybe it was because I was used to it, maybe I’m just heartless? Who knows?
Once downstairs, we loaded the last of our stuff into Mum’s car. She got in the car while I hopped on my motorbike. I had a Triumph Bonneville Bobber; it had been my dream to have one since the first time I saw someone on one at the tracks in my last town.
It took just under two hours before we drove past a sign which read ‘Welcome to Rose Valley’. I rolled my eyes, almost laughing at the pretentious sounding name, following my mum as she drove further into the town. I knew that my grandparents were some kind of important people in this town, that name kind of giving it away.
As we drove through, I got my chance to look around the town. It was old, almost seemed as if it was over two hundred years old. Since it was a Sunday night, it was quite quiet, however it seemed like it was too quiet maybe. There were not many people on the streets, and I could not see anyone who was under the age of thirty and over the age of twelve. It was like all the teenagers/young adults were missing.
I was becoming more confused, the further we drove. When we arrived at some big iron gates, my curiosity peaked. Is this where my grandparents lived? The gates opened on their own and we drove through, my eyes landing on the big manor house which was situated about half a mile away from the gate.
I couldn’t believe my eyes, it reminded me of a house from a horror movie. It was around three stories of solid dark stone, ivy creeping up the sides. I pulled up alongside my mum and slowly got off my bike, stretching as I did so.
“Uh, mum…” I started as she got out of the car.
“Yeah?” She looked at me expectantly.
“You grew up here?” I pointed at the horror house and she nodded.
A few seconds later, the front door opened and out walked two old people, who I am assuming must be my grandparents. They walked down the steps which led to the front door and I studied them both individually.
My grandfather looked like your typical old man, he seemed sweet almost. He was wearing a sweater vest and a farmer’s hat, a smile on his face. On the other hand, my grandmother looked like a witch from hell. Her perfectly pinned hair and scowl stood out to me.
“Juliet, I am so glad you’re home!” My grandfather said, stepping around my Grandmother to hug his daughter.
“Hey Dad,” she said, hugging him back.
The look on my grandmother’s face gave it away. It was her idea to kick Mum out, what a bitch. She continued to scowl as she watched the interaction between her daughter and her husband before turning to look at me. Looking me up and down, taking in the appearance of a seventeen-year-old girl who was wearing black skinny jeans and a hoodie before she scrunched her face up in disgust.
I looked down at myself, taking in my own appearance. I wasn’t dirty. I tucked a strand of my waist-length blonde hair behind my ear, then looked back up to my grandmother who was now narrowing her eyes at me.
“Shay.” A male voice brought my attention back to my mum and grandfather, seeing the warm face of a sweet old man.
I smiled, not actually knowing what to do before he engulfed me into a bear hug, trapping my arms by my sides. My eyes went wide in shock and I could see my mum walking over to the witch over his shoulder.
“I am absolutely over the moon that you two are here,” Grandfather said, pulling back to look at me. “You are so beautiful, Shaylin. Just like your mother.”
“Oh, uh thank you, erm…” I trailed off, not knowing what to call him.
“Grandad, your cousins call me that, so you may as well,” Grandad told me.
Wait, cousins? Mum never mentioned anything about having a brother or a sister. But then again, she didn’t mention anything about that fact that she was filthy rich and grew up in a mansion either. My eyes flickered up towards my mum who was standing with her own mother, I was slightly pissed she kept all of this from me. But with the way her mother was acting towards her, I couldn’t blame Mum.
I had been too busy being pissy with Mum to realise that Grandad had been chatting away to me, only catching the last of what he had said.
“- they will be home later on to meet you; I know you will love them!” I smiled, just agreeing, assuming that he was talking about the family I am yet to meet.
He ushered me inside, instructing a maid (I think) to get my stuff. Grandad marched me straight upstairs and towards a bedroom which was on the right side of the house. Opening the door, I almost stopped breathing at what I saw.
The bedroom was almost as big as our last place. There was a king-size bed in the middle of the room with what seemed like a thousand pillows stacked against the headboard. Around the room was dark oak furniture set which consisted of a vanity table, desk, set of drawers and a wardrobe.
Grandad mumbled something about the bathroom being down the hall and letting me settle in then promptly left the way he came. I cautiously stepped into the room, taking it all in.
Holy shit, this is where I would be living from now on? I wasn’t used to having this much space in a house, let alone my own bedroom. I walked towards my bed, dumping my backpack on it. I considered what the bed would be like then in the most lady-like manner possible, I launched myself onto the bed, sinking into the pillows. Damn, this was soft. My eyes started to droop closed.
I checked my phone to see that it was now half five, I had just woken up from a nap that I did not realise I had accidentally had. I decided to get up and go socialise with this so-called family of mine.
The moment I stepped out of my room, I walked smack-bam into something solid. Falling backwards on my arse, I glared up at the walking tree to find a pair of deep blue eyes staring down at me, the eyes belonged to the most gorgeous guy I had ever seen in my life. He held out his hand and helped me up.
I grabbed onto his hand, noticing an intricate weaving of black ink travelling up his arm, it disappeared under his short-sleeved t-shirt and I thought for a moment about where the tattoo stopped.
“Sorry,” I mumbled, staring at him. God, I hope he wasn’t a cousin.
“Kasper, where did you go?” A girl, who looked familiar, rounded the corner.
She was very pretty, about my height with shoulder length auburn hair. She had on a white short-sleeved school shirt and a tight black mini-skirt. She gave me a look of disgust when she noticed that my hand was still in Kasper’s.
“And who are you?” She asked with annoyance lacing her voice.
The number of things that I wanted to say to her were endless, but I had a feeling that it would not be taken well by my grandmother. So, I simply told her my name.
“Oh, so you’re the cousin.” Just like Grandmother, she looked me up and down then scrunched her face.
“Uh, yeah… I guess I am,” I said and took my hand from Kasper’s, walking towards her. “What is your name?”
“Addison.” The tone of her voice was very matter of fact. She seemed as if she was the mini clone of our grandmother.
I stood face to face with her, looking her up and down also. I gave her a fake smile then pushed passed her to head downstairs, distinctly hearing a scoff from behind me. I tried to be nice, but she didn’t take it.
“Oh, Shay! I’m glad you’re down!” My ears pricked up at the voice of my mum who had noticed me coming down the stairs.” Come meet everyone.”
Mum grabbed my arm and dragged me into the living room. I looked around the room at ten pairs of eyes. I pulled on the sleeves of my hoodie, scrunching the ends up in my hand. Grandad looked at me with pride while my grandmother looked at me with annoyance. A man, a few years older than my mum, stood up.
“Shay, nice to meet you. I am your uncle David.” He held out his hand for me to shake, which I did. “This is my wife Ellen and my youngest daughter Aria.”
Uncle David gestured to a woman who mirrored my grandmother’s expression, her perfectly manicured nails tapping against her leg. She offered me half a smile. Aria, on the other hand, was positively beaming when she looked at me, her big green eyes wide.
“You’re very pretty, how old are you?” Aria asked.
“Um, thank you. You are too.” I smiled at the small child. “I’m seventeen, how old are you?”
“I’m seven, almost eight,” she said with confidence.
Moments later, Addison and Kasper entered the room. I looked at my grandmother briefly and saw her smile which almost caused me to faint from shock. When I turned back towards the pair, I found that Kasper was staring at me, giving me an unreadable look. There was something about him that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, something dangerous yet exciting.
“Oh Kasper, I didn’t know you were here,” Grandmother said, making it clear that we were not a relation.
“Yeah, sorry Mrs Rose. Addison and I were just finishing off a school project,” he said. “But I better get going, Dad wants me home for tea.” Lucky bastard gets to leave.
He said his goodbyes and left, the door closing loudly after him. Before anyone could say anything else, the door opened and closed again. Followed by a voice full of apologies.
“Hey! Sorry I’m late, I was with Luca.” A good-looking boy with auburn hair and green eyes who was my age rounded the corner and came into the living room, his face lighting up when he saw me.
“Dustin, you’re late,” Grandmother said.
“Yah Gran, I know, and I said I was sorry.” The sass radiating from his tone was dangerous.
Dustin turned his head away from the witch and walked right up to me, a big smile just like Aria’s was planted on his face. I could feel an instant warm and friendly vibe radiating from him as he engulfed me into a hug before moving over to hug my mum.
“So, as you could have already guessed, I’m Dustin, this disappointment of the family,” he said, sarcasm lacing his voice.
I gave him an odd look, trying to understand his meaning. But I didn’t get a chance to ask before Gran (as it turns out the witch was called) started to ask where he had been all weekend.
“I legit just said I was with Luca,” Dustin said, turning to face Gran, to which she scoffed in disgust.
“Why must you go around this town and embarrass us by parading that disgusting relationship of yours,” she snapped.
I looked at her wide-eyed. Did she just say what I think she just said? How was him being in a relationship with this Luca disgusting? I’m really starting to not like this woman.
“When you stop parading around town with such a sour look on your face, then maybe I’ll consider it – oh wait, no I wont.” The entire room stood in silence as we watched Dustin and Gran exchange comments.
Dustin span on his heel and walked out of the room, mumbling something about Gran being a heinous bitch. Ellen nearly spat her drink out and Mum coughed to cover up the fact that she was trying not to laugh. Grandad and Uncle David had stayed quiet, and little Aria was pretending she hadn’t heard. I looked at Addison who was still glaring at me; rolling my eyes, I looked away.
The room fell silent for a moment. What the hell had my mum brought me into? It almost felt like I have been transported back a hundred years. I’m sure Gran would have no qualms about putting any of those who pissed her off to death.
“So… I’m just gonna… yeah.” I made my way towards the living room door.
“Shaylin.” I froze when I heard the first word my grandmother said to me, slowly turning to look at her. “You have been enrolled in the same high school as your cousins starting tomorrow, uniform already in your room. Don’t make a fool of yourself.”
I cleared my throat and nodded, making a break for it up the stairs. Once at the top of the stairs, I noticed Dustin standing there waiting for me. He smiled brightly when he saw me.
“So, that’s the happy family,” he said.
At first, I wasn’t sure what to say and neither was he, so we completely burst out laughing. I was almost unable to process what had just happened downstairs and I, for sure, wasn’t going back down tonight.
Dustin motioned for me to follow him and I did, he led me past my room to the room next to it, opening the door. I walked into a standard teenage boy room. There were many photographs up around the walls. Some of him with a small group of people and others of just him and another boy, who I can only assume is Luca.
“Is that Luca?” I asked and Dustin nodded. “Damn, how’d you find a guy that hot?”
Dustin grinned, “just lucky I guess.”
We sat down on Dustin’s bed and just like mine, I fell into the pillows. Were all beds in this house made of clouds or something?
“So, what’s with the witch from hell down there?” I asked, causing Dustin to roll his eyes.
“Oh, I don’t know. Seems like she’s had a stick firmly placed up her arse for most of her life. However, she loves that twin sister of mine. But she come’s from Satan’s nest just like Gran,” Dustin said.
“You guys are twins?!” I knew that the shock was clearly placed on my face, unable to hide my bafflement.
“Yeah… I mean couldn’t you tell?” He raised his hands to cup his own face and pout his lips.
“I mean, you’re way prettier than she is,” I said.
“Girl, don’t worry, I know.” He waved his hand.
We spent the next few hours getting to know each other, he told me about the new school that I would be going to and that all his friends were going to love me.
For the short amount of time that I knew him, I felt that I had come to trust Dustin. He seemed genuine and kind, which is why I asked him if he knew anything about the racing. His eyes lit up when I asked.
“Oh my god, you race? You mean that’s your Triumph outside?” Dustin‘s reaction reminded me of kid with a sugar high. “Luca races too, we go to the races almost every night, that’s actually where we were all weekend.”
“Yeah, everyone goes. It may be illegal, but the police know about it and let it happen. They really don’t care. Its literally where everyone from school hangs out,” Dustin explained.
Oh, so that’s why the streets were completely bare today when Mum and I were coming through the town. I found it slightly odd that the police never did anything to break up the races. In fact, I found this whole town slightly odd, even some of my family.
We talked for a while longer before we realised it was after midnight and I made my way through to my room. I changed into my pyjamas and snuggled into the mass of pillows which were on my bed. Finally letting myself relax and fall asleep into this crazy new world.
Hey guys, hope you liked this chapter! If you did, could you please like, comment and review. Also, I have a Twitter page for my writing where I will put up author notes or where you could ask me questions about this book - @writinghelps