Expecting Love

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Summary

Seventeen year old Everly's life has just been turned upside down, and it's all thanks to her twin brother, Evan. After a drunken prom night gone wrong, Everly and her family have two new members; Evan's girlfriend, Chelsea, and their unborn baby! To escape the harsh town, Everly's family travels to the new town of Beverly, where Everly meets popular school boy Damen Reeds. Hesitant to become just like Chelsea, Everly refuses Damen's advances yet he pursues relentlessly. Will history repeat itself?

Genre:
Romance / Drama
Author:
Shreya
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
4
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
13+

Chapter 1

“GUESS WHAT”?

I turned my head to the sing-song voice by my head. Riley’s energetic blue eyes searched me excitedly and quickly, as if she was in a rush to explain her new-found secret. I cleared my throat and dropped my pencil on my desk.

“What”? I asked. Riley took a glance behind her, to make sure Mrs. Havers was still helping Donovan, before leaning in conspiratorially in my ear. I sighed and leaned closer. Riley was short, that was no secret, but I was (am) the shortest in math class, though I’m not too proud to admit it.

“You know Max Hilton?” She asked, grinning so widely I thought she had been electrocuted. I stole a sip of water from my bottle and nodded, swiping my tongue over my upper lip.

“Yeah. What about Max?” I asked. Riley giggled again, but stopped at a sharp cough from Mrs. Havers. She ducked her head and I chuckled into my water. Riley glared at me, her dark eyeliner making her blue eyes pop wider. She wrung the spiky bracelets on her hands nervously.

“Well? What about Max?” I repeated. She looked back nervously at Mrs. Havers and I turned my head with her. Mrs. Havers wasn’t looking at us. She was talking quietly with Ms. Symlye, one of the gym teachers. I turned back to Riley, who was very obviously copying my notes.

“I’ll...tell you at lunch. Kay? I’d rather not get in trouble again with Mrs. Havers,” she said. I raised my eyebrow, a talent I had gained from years of practice in front of my Mom’s make-up mirror.

“You really interrupt me to tell me some special secret about Max, but then you don’t?” I asked, my voice now taking on the tone of an irritated huff. I puffed the dark pointy bangs my Mom insisted on me getting out of my face and poked Riley’s chipped fingernail with my led pencil. Riley giggled and tapped my head gently.

“Get some work done Everly. We’ll talk at lunch” she said. She dropped her head on her desk and sighed contentedly, scratching her paper aimlessly. I sighed. Typical Riley. She always keeps the good secrets for lunch. Even then I can’t hear a word she says because it’s so loud in there. It’s not like the safety officers try to do anything anyway. Last I heard, they fighting to see if Ariana Grande was actually pregnant or if it was just a false news thing.

Teachers have a bad habit of doing that. Talking behind our backs. Ever since I was in first grade, all the teachers I knew, even some I didn’t know, always talked about their stupid school gossip behind me. Even if it’s about other students, like Donovan’s parents’ divorce or Riley’s mother’s heart attack, it’s always behind me.

Maybe they know I’m listening, which is probably why they’ve never talked about me. They’ve talked about Evan, my twin, but never me. Never about shy, hoodie girl Everly. Always football and basketball star Evan.

Don’t get my wrong. I love Evan. He’s the best brother a girl could ever ask for. But...he’s not the best son. He doesn’t like our parents, apparently, and is always going behind their backs. He got a buzz cut against Mom’s will and secretly smokes. I know I should tell my parents about it, but I just can’t. I can’t rat Evan out like that, especially after all he’s done for me.

I giggled to myself, hearing Mrs. Havers gossip about her night with her husband to Ms. Smylye. Riley shot me a glance out of her corner of her eye and I shrugged, biting the hook on my pencil and continuing to copy the notes on the screen.

“Damn it” I cursed quietly. I smudged the mistake I had written in my notebook. “You’re supposed to be x! Not y”! I reached under my desk for my pencil case, hooking my pinkie to the key chain dangling from the side. I yanked my hand up and the case plopped onto my binder with a small thump. My heart stilled and I glanced up at Mrs. Havers. She didn’t even turn in the direction of the sound. Instead, she continued her conversation with Ms. Smylye. I sighed and wiped a fake sheet of sweat from my forehead. I then chuckled maniacally and zipped my case open, tossing my ID on the desk to search for my tiny green reading eraser.

“Why is it called a ’reading eraser”? Riley hissed at me. She leaned over my desk, smiling sheepishly as she copied my notes. Her braids spilled over my desk and onto my strewn papers.

“It used to have the word ‘READING’ printed on it. But then...” I shrugged, my face turning flush. “In eighth grade...I may have scratched it off during a test..?” Riley looked mildly confused.

“Why is that so embarrassing?” she asked. “I scratch my erasers all the time”! I licked my peeling lips. I didn’t like chap stick, or any type of lip-balm. It made my lips feel oily, so this was the price I had to pay for it. Honestly, it wasn’t as bothersome as most think it is (like my mother). It just hurts to peel it off.

“I thought I was gonna fail that quiz. And I meant to give Evan that eraser” I said. Riley barked a small laugh.

“You? Fail? Yeah, right. No offense Everly, but you always say that. Then, when you pass, you become the object of my dry sarcasm which in turn deeply offends your brain” she said. I giggled.

“Since when did you expand your vocabulary?” I asked. Riley waved her hands in front of her face mysteriously.

“It’s called reading...and Mr. Jeffers” she said. I looked up at her from the corner of my eye as I erased my paper, smiling.

“What are we reading”? I whispered. Riley reached under her desk and surfaced back up with a new copy of Of Mice and Men. I wrinkled my nose.

“That book? Really?” I asked. Riley frowned, glancing at the cover. She twisted the book in her hands, searching for the object of my scrutiny.

“Yeah...what’s wrong with that?” she asked.

“Nothing really. It’s just that I already read it”. I lowered my voice as Mrs. Havers walked by our desks. “Evan gave me his copy when he read the book”.

“Does Lennie die”? Riley interrupted. I paused, my mouth half-way from answering before I glared at her. Riley laughed, embarrassed.

“What? Can’t blame a girl from trying” she said. I exhaled a long breath.

“Yeah, but if Mr. Jeffers found out I gave you the answer to that he’d think you were cheating” I said. Riley huffed.

“It’s not like I would’ve told him or anything. I just would’ve known the right answer” she said.

“And how would he think you found out the right answer”? I asked. Just as Riley opened her mouth to answer, the sixth period lunch bell rang. I smiled smugly at Riley and reached under my desk again to collect my books.

“Don’t forget! Slopes and Functions quiz tomorrow”! Mrs. Havers yelled as we all crammed out of the door and made a break for our lockers. I sped walked to catch up with Riley, who was spinning the lock on her locker.

“You sure do take your time during lunch period” I noticed, sliding into the empty spot next to her. I fumbled with my combination as she pried her door open.

“Stupid jam” she muttered. Then, she turned to me, throwing her binders into her locker. She grabbed a couple of notebooks that we needed for our last two classes and slammed the door shut.

“Yeah. I mean, it’s not like we get in trouble for being late. All the safety officers ever do is gossip by the door. A kid could skip lunch entirely and nobody would care”! Riley turned to look at me with a devilish grin. “You wanna try?” I gave her a deadpan look and threw my books into my own locker, pausing briefly only to stuff my math notebook into my backpack. I took my LA and French notebook out and grabbed my lunch from above my bag. I slammed the door shut.

“Nah. I’ll pass” I said “I need to keep my good reputation, after all”. Riley snorted.

“Oh of course” she flourished me with a bow “Angel at school, Demon at home. Nobody can ever tell”. I laughed.

“I’m not that bad at home” I defended. “I’m actually the quiet one at home. Even my Mom gets irritated with it”! Riley chuckled.

“Serves you right” she said. I glared at her, turning my face briefly to smile at the security guard, who nodded at me.

“Suck up” Riley muttered. I snorted.

“Serves you right” I shot back. I weaved though the crowd of bustling kids hustling for seats before Mr. Yoon got here. I raced to the farthest table from the door, by the trash cans: Table 10. Nobody ever sat there, since it was by the trash, but Riley and I saw it as an opportunity to be lazy and not have to get up when it was time to throw the trash away. I snagged the closest seat to the gym door and Riley leveled me with an unimpressed look.

“Seriously Everly? You do realize we don’t fight for that seat anymore. Especially since Thomas Dustin sat on it”. Riley smirked and I almost jumped out of my seat. Thomas Dustin used to be the popular boy in our school, until one of his girlfriends caught him picking his nose during lunch. Riley and I were freshman’s when it happened so we sat in the opposite cafeteria, but when we got to being Juniors, I made sure I never sat in Thomas Dustin’s seat.

That is, until today, with my rush to get into the lunchroom. The irony was that Thomas went on to Harvard and is on the path to becoming a pediatrician right now.

“So what did you want to tell me in math?” I asked. Riley dropped her books with a loud thump onto the table and dragged the chair out opposite me. I didn’t say anything. Riley liked to be dramatic, something I was used to. I was unwrapping my sandwich when she leaned in again, just like in class. I picked the tomato off my sandwich and frowned at her.

“So?”

“I told you-You said you remembered Max, right?” She asked.

“Yeah, so?” Riley leaned back in her chair with a satisfied huff.

“He’s becoming a Dad”. I nearly dropped my sandwich in shock. I looked up from my tin foil and set my sandwich down.

“Really? Who’s the lucky girl?” I asked. Riley giggled and I frowned.

“Don’t you dare tell me that it’s you Riley or I will throttle you” I threatened. Riley put her hands up in defense.

“NO! Gods no! I wouldn’t dream of sleeping with Max. However..“, she nudged her head in the direction of table 9. Popular girl Sidney was sitting alone quietly with her tray on her lap and her head in her hands. Her friends, who were obviously talking about her, kept casting judgmental glances her way, which she ignored.

“How did that happen?” I wondered.

“How was the baby made?”

“NO! I know that! I meant how did Sidney go from being popular to having no friends? And she’s a smart girl. How did she get roped with someone like Max?” I sighed. “Should we go talk to her?”

“If her friends can’t do it, why should we even try?” Riley asked. “Besides, maybe she just wants to be alone right now. I know I would.” I nibbled my bottom lip in thought.

“Everly?”

“Huh?” I looked back at Riley, who was standing from the table. “I’m gonna go get lunch...“, she looked sadly at Sidney. “Maybe you should talk to her. You are a good listener anyway”. I could only manage a nod, watching somberly as Riley went up to buy her food. I turned to look back at Sidney, and saw that she had company.

Max slid up to her table and they talked quietly for a couple of seconds, before Sidney pushed him away roughly. I hid my gasp by biting my sandwich and luckily neither of them paid any attention to me. Max seemed to be pleading with Sidney and she kept refusing, until finally, she slumped over and began to cry. Max rubbed her back and whispered something I couldn’t hear and she nodded. I smiled. They looked so cute. Even in the crisis at hand they were still willing to support each other.

“What are you smiling so goofy at?” With a loud smack and crunch of foam, Riley set her tray down and looked in the same direction I was. I shrugged, humming quietly and throwing my tin-foil wrapping away.

“It’s just that-Max and Sidney, through everything that’s happened to them, they’re still together and supporting each other”, I said. Riley hummed in agreement.

“I’m not sure about the ‘together’ part, but definitely supportive. Max and Sidney, though they try not to show it, are very much in love with each other”, she said.

“I guess it’s just reputation they try to uphold”, I said, licking the cream off an Oreo cookie. Riley noticed my sigh and took a sharp sip of her tomato soup.

“You know” she began “You haven’t dated anyone since Freshman year, after that rough break-up with Liam”.

“He physically and emotionally abused me Riley” I said, almost a bit too sharply. I recoiled immediately.

“I’m sorry” I murmured. “Liam’s just a tough subject for me. Two years of dating gone down the drain, y’know”. Riley squeezed my hand, smiling sympathetically.

“I don’t really know how you feel” she said “but I feel for you. It’s not easy to move on from a break-up-“!

“It wasn’t moving on that was hard Riley” I interrupted “it was picking the pieces up from my life all over again. Liam controlled me. Everything that I did. It felt weird to continue life again, but I’m glad he cheated on me”.

“However you feel Everly” Riley mumbled, but I could see a smile peaking on her mouth.

“Before the bell rings” I said, noticing we only had ten minutes left “How are you and Jessie? Did she come out to her parents yet?” Riley lit up and nodded excitedly.

“Yeah! And guess what?! They support her! Just like my Mom does! We can really be together Everly”! I smiled at her eagerness.

“Congratulations! When’s the wedding?” I teased. Riley blushed.

“W-Wedding? Give me a break Everly!” She spluttered, embarrassed. I chuckled.

“C’mon Riley. I’m your best friend! I’m obviously going to tease you!” I chided. Riley laughed.

“Yeah...you are” she said, sighing at the end. I smiled at her.

“Thanks Riley”. As if on cue, the bell rang and chairs were flung back with loud scrapes as kids began running to their next classes. “Come one.” I threw my paper bag into the garbage and gave my hand to Riley, which she took. “Let’s go face Mrs. Laurie and Language Arts”!

*****

“Where’s Evan?” Dropping my boots by the door, I wandered into the dark kitchen, where Mom was humming by the Air Fryer, her headphones locked in place. She swayed back and forth by the sink, where it looked like she was chopping up vegetables for dinner. I snapped a picture to send to my Dad.

“Mom”! I called louder. My Mom jumped, evidently startled. She leaned over the white kitchen island to her computer. I watched her click the pause on Spotify and slip her headphones off. She smiled tiredly at me, coming over to hug me on the stool.

I got most of my traits from my Mom. Everybody that we met said that. While Mom’s hair was much shorter, we both had dark black hair. Her hair just barely brushed her shoulders, while mine touched my knees. They were so long I had to tie it into two ponytails.

Mom and I both had bangs. Mine were spiky and kissed my eyelashes gently while Mom’s were thick and straight. We both had light chocolate brown eyes, which is what Dad said he’d fallen in love with. Our brown eyes.

While Dad and Evan were both tan skinned, Mom and I were a bit darker. We both had a dusting of brown, making us look more middle-eastern. It made sense, since Mom was from Mumbai.

“Hi Everly,” she said, kissing my forehead. She moved her things so I could empty my bag. “How was school?”

“It was...interesting...” I said slowly, opening my folder for her to see. Mom was paranoid I’d go into bad company like Evan, so she always checked my things right after school and was always with me when I cleaned my room. It wasn’t annoying really, just...a big invasion of privacy.

“Interesting? How? What happened?” Mom inquired. She sifted through my folder, tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear. I flushed, unsure of how to tell my Mom this kind of thing. Then again, she was my best friend. She understood me better than Riley!

“You know Max, right?” I asked, stumbling to the boiling pot Mom directed me to. She hummed.

“That boy you said was dating Sidney Hopkins? What about him?” Mom asked. She placed the few papers of work that I had on the table and handed me a sharpened pencil. I turned the stove off and plopped onto the stool by her. She flipped through the papers.

“Hm?” She asked.

“He..uh...he’s getting a new family member”, I said, slipping over my words. Mom frowned. She reached over to stir the soup before turning back to me.

“A sibling? At this age?” She said disapprovingly. I shook my head.

“No. Well, it is a baby...just his”, I said quietly. Mom immediately shook her head, her brow creasing.

“A baby?! At this age? No no! That’s not right!” Mom fussed. I sighed, writing my name slowly on my English paper. While she fussed, I might as well begin my essay, due Friday. If I finish it today, I’ll have three days of free English period.

“Do their parents know?” She asked.

“I don’t know. Riley just told me today,” I said. “What do you think about it?”

“I can’t say for sure baby”, Mom said. She took four bowls out from the cupboards and placed them in a row on the counter. She took the ladle from the island and began rationing the soup into the white glass bowls her sister gave us. “I don’t think seventeen is old enough to have a baby, but then I’d be considered a hypocrite. You know”.

“No.” Confused, I set my pencil down and Mom stiffened, as if she’d just revealed something she hoped to keep a secret. “Mom?”

“I-You remember how I told you that if you ever see your grandparents to not talk to them?” Mom asked weakly. It’s as if she realized she couldn’t keep this a secret anymore.

“Yeah...so?” I asked. Mom licked her lips.

“I was sold into marriage when I was thirteen”, Mom said quietly. The atmosphere in the room changed suddenly. It became tense and thick. I felt like I was being strangled in it, so much that I took a deep breath to make sure I was still breathing. Mom noticed and walked over to me. She pushed my papers away and I made a small whining sound in the back of my throat. Mom smiled fondly and took my hand. “Come on. You’re Dad is in the living room. He’ll help me explain this”. She turned her head away and I could tell the gears in her head were spinning, but I chose to remain quiet. I followed her down the red hallway to the tiny living room that we had.

Dad was lounging on the couch in his pajamas. He had his reading glasses on and was probably scrolling though SlipDeals on his computer. He glanced up at me and smiled, patting the empty space next to him.

“Hi Forever”, he said, using my nickname. I smiled at him and sat down.

“Hi Dad”, I said. Mom sat across from us and gave my Dad a glare, which made him close his laptop quick.

“What’s wrong? Is everything alright Everly? Neha?” Dad asked, his voice now taking a worried tone. Mom smiled at him to reassure him that everything was going to be fine, but it was still tight.

“Why don’t you start by telling your Dad what happened at school. What did Riley tell you?” Mom pressed.

“Riley? Your girlfriend?” Dad asked.

“Dad!” I blushed and Dad chuckled. Mom wrinkled her nose and I almost stopped laughing. Was she not okay with a girl dating a girl?

“I’m kidding kiddo. I know she’s dating some other girl...Jessie? Right?” I nodded. “Okay. So what happened to Riley?”

“We were eating lunch when she asked me if I knew Max,” I repeated, just as I remembered that Dad didn’t know any boys I knew. I swallowed my pride and turned to look him in the eye. i was met with wiggling suggestive eyebrows. I groaned.

“Dad”! I whined. Mom giggled.

“Nicholas”, she admonished “Let Everly finish speaking, non?” Dad grumbled, but he still nodded for me to continue.

“Thank you”, I breathed, to which my Mom nodded. “Anyway, Max is this really popular boy at school and he’s dating Sidney, the popular girl. Turns out they are expecting a baby”. Dad, who was lifting his coffee to his lips, put it down slowly, his eyes gradually widening.

“What?” He asked. I was hesitant to continue at the tone of his voice, but I spoke nonetheless.

“Um...well...Sidney’s pregnant?” I said again. My Dad remained quiet for a few moments, then, of all the ways to react, shrugged!

“Okay, so what does this have to do with us?” He asked.

“Mom was telling me that she was sold into marriage at thirteen”, I said. Dad looked at Mom, and she nodded.

“She was”, Dad said. “Her husband was ten years older than her and only needed her for children. He had a harem of wives. I was visiting India when I met your mother on the streets ten years later. Long story short, we fell in love, had you and your brother, and eloped with the help of my parents and her sister”.

“Really? You eloped?” I asked. Mom shifted in her seat, but nodded.

“Yes, we did. When I came to the United States you and Evan were born and I had broken ties with my parents”, she said.

“Do you have any other kids?” I asked hesitantly. Thankfully, Mom shook her head.

“No. He tried, but I always avoided him”, she said.

“Does Evan know?”

“No. You’re the only one we’ve told so far”, Dad said. I nodded.

“Okay...so why are you telling me all this? Is it a warning?” I asked.

“Kind of. It’s to say, be careful who you trust and what you do with that person”, Mom said. “I’m not telling you not to date, you’re old enough for that. I’m just saying be careful”.

“And use protection”, Dad added. I blushed.

“Dad”! I whined again. Dad laughed and ruffled my hair.

“Kidding! But seriously. If you ever think of doing that...” Dad trailed off and I blushed.

“Nicholas”! Mom scolded.

“What?!” Dad demanded. “She’s seventeen almost eighteen Neha! She’s going to do it at some point!”

“Well not now”! Mom huffed, leaving the room. Once she was gone, Dad sighed and reclined on the sofa.

“Whenever you’re ready” he said “As long as I approve of the boy”.

“Dad! I’m leaving”! I huffed, Dad’s laughter trailing after me as I stormed out to the kitchen. Once there, I resumed my spot on the stool. Mom was cooking quietly in her corner, and for some reason that scared me more.

When I said my Mom and I were alike, I mean that we are actually alike. As in, everything we do is completely the same. So whenever Mom is really quiet and thinking, I know that she’s plotting. And that isn’t always a good thing.

“Mom? Where’s Evan?” I asked suddenly.

“Evan? He’s...” Mom paused to think, and I knew I caught her brooding, as much as she doesn’t like to admit it. “He’s with Chelsea, last I heard”.

“Alone?” I asked, knowing better to leave Evan alone with a girl. We were the stereotypical twins. Devil and Angel. Good=Me. Bad=Evan. Basically, he was the biggest playboy HavenTown had ever seen.

“I don’t know Everly.” Mom sighed tiredly and wiped her hair. “When it comes to your brother, I don’t know what to expect with him. He should be coming home by dinner, though”.

“Why do you let him do what he wants Mom? He’s not an adult yet. You can still help him,” I said, and Mom knew I was talking about Evan’s cigarette addiction.

Ever since he was a teenager, Evan’s been addicted to cigarettes. I didn’t know about it until a couple of years ago, which kinda hurt, because I thought he told me everything. When he told me, I didn’t know what to do, until finally, I confessed to my Mom. She and Dad tried to get Evan to quit, and for a while, he did.

But everything changed when he met Chelsea.

She was a year younger than me and was most definitely a punk girl. Everything about her was black. She wore dark black eyeliner and eye shadow on her dark skin. She didn’t wear lipstick, but she did like to outline her catlike green eyes. She usually wore black bra’s with a grey jacket and grey pants. She wore black boots with a white fluff on top, and white was probably the only bright color she wore.

She had short hair, which she kept stringy and loose. Her bangs were held up by a white headband and she wore striped bland cuffs. From what Evan told me, her parents were alcoholics and never really in her life, so I could understand where the Gothic look came from.

Evan didn’t look as bad. He had a buzz cut and Mohawk. His hair was brown, like Dad’s, but he dyed the tips light green. Maybe it was to remind himself of Chelsea’s eyes. He wore ripped grey jackets and sometimes didn’t even wear a shirt. It wasn’t like there was anything to see underneath. Evan wasn’t the model he thought himself to be. In fact, unlike me, he had a small pooch to his stomach.

He often wore black khaki’s and sneakers, matching the Gothic look Chelsea carried with herself. He had a sharp jaw and blue eyes, which is why I called him Dad’s clone.

I didn’t have a straight jaw unless I pushed my head up. If I kept my head straight, there was a slight sag in my jaw, but it was only slight. I was always told I was skinny, and nobody ever mentioned my discreet extra chin.

Mom furrowed her brow as I spoke. She knew I knew she was guilty about not helping Evan with his addiction, but there are only so many times before a person gives up on another. Mom and Dad had given up on Evan a long time ago, and it didn’t seem like he cared.

“Everly, I-!” Mom and I both jumped up at a loud bang and Dad came running into the kitchen, half expecting one of us to be on the ground by now.

“What happened? Who was that?” Dad asked quickly and worriedly, but neither Mom nor I had an answer. We all snuck into the back room by the steps, where Evan and I left our shoes from school. There, we caught Evan and Chelsea, who were both trying to scurry up to Evan’s room.

“Evan!” I yelled. Evan and Chelsea froze on the steps, and Evan turned to look at us slowly, a hand wrapped around a black duffel bag that most definitely not ours. I frowned.

“What’s wrong? Is everything alright?” Dad asked.

“Why are you hiding? Come and eat something,” Mom offered. Evan glanced at me briefly before turning to Chelsea. They exchanged knowing looks, before Evan leaned over the wooden railing and slumped. For the first time in my life, I thought Evan was going to cry.

“Dad...Mom...I messed up”.

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