**Special Chapter Preview**
-- 3 Years Ago --
“Only two more days to go!” I squealed to Angelique, who was giggling through the phone. She had returned from a dull winter holiday in Switzerland and was super jet-lagged.
My 14th birthday was coming up, and I couldn’t wait! It wasn’t going to be a huge gathering like it used to be when I was a kid. I grew out of it and preferred a simple gathering with close family members.
But what I’m excited about was the fact that my cousins, Damien and Brendon, were going to join it too. I haven’t seen them for ages, not since they transferred to another high school for boys only. Their sister, Alex, was one of my beloved cousins and is also my classmate. We were always competing to be the best in class, but in the end, one of us has to give up - mainly her because I was the stubborn one.
“Girl, is it because of your hot cousins?” she chuckled. Angelique always found them cute and macho, which I found disgusting, but true, however to me they were like my brothers. She had only met them twice.
I’ve always wanted a big brother but got a little one instead, who was a pain in the ass sometimes. So Damien and Brendon were delivered to me in lieu and they were just as great as having them as real brothers.
Both are twins; Damien being the older by a few minutes to Brendon, the younger. However, not all twins have the same personality. I would say that these two are unique and I find them exciting to be with.
To make the matter even funnier their personality matched their names - in my view. Damien was the bad boy twin; in short, he was quiet, smart, can be mean at times and cold to other people (that’s what girls who tried to court him used to say back when I was in primary) but most of all, he had this serious aura all the time.
And Brendon well - he was the total opposite.
This twin was the outgoing unit, like his Mom. Damien got his character from Uncle Jackson, his Dad. He was the master at pranks, always goofs around, and got into trouble, but was still smart in studies— if I say so. He used to be a very loud child and gets along with everyone he meets. The fun, dreamy and carefree brother. But just on the safe side - don’t underestimate him - it can get pretty ugly if you managed to piss him off.
Alex was a mixture of her parents - just a tad too much of Uncle Jackson’s genes.
Back when we were little they used to always protect me from bullies and treated me like another sibling. We were that close.
Since Alex was a few months younger than me and was mostly not bothered to play with her brothers, they would play with me. I had amazing times with them and we acted more like best friends.
But the time has to come when everyone grows up and soon the baby birds had to leave the nest. Except I hadn’t been ready. I didn’t like it when the twins left for high school. I was 9 years old back then and got upset when they had to leave and firmly refused to listen to them explain. I even stopped communicating with them when they came over because I was absolutely mad.
Eventually, I had to come to terms and shortly grew used to them, only seeing me on special occasions or holidays.
Now, they’re 18 and coming back to New York for my birthday. They had never missed one.
I was ecstatic.
“Yep,” I chuckled. “And I’m pretty sure they’re up to something because they mentioned a plan about some surprise they wanted to show me. I question what that is.”
“Oh, I bet they’re going to bring you somewhere, you’re always talking about traveling,” she suggested interested. “Can I come too?” I couldn’t help but laugh hard. Ever since Angelique was introduced to the family, she secretly had a crush on Damien. Of course, she would. Who couldn’t resist the guy?
“Of course, man! It won’t be complete without you.”
“Gosh. Thank you so much Gab!” she screamed. I rolled my eyes.
“Yeah, but let’s see what their plan is,”
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY GABRIELLA!” They wished, clapping loudly.
They all came. My grandparents, uncles and aunts, my cousins, and of course Angelique, my best friend.
“Congrats on becoming 14, Gab! Jeez, I can’t believe you’re turning into a young lady and so fast,” Damien chuckled giving me a big hug. Brendon followed by Alex.
“Thank you, everyone, for making it today,” I glowed.
The party began and soon it was time to dance. I saw Angelique dancing with Brendon and it was hilarious. Those two had the same personality and they fit to be in the circus.
“Yo, Lily! Mind if I have a dance with you,” Damien asked, striding towards Angelique whose eyes were wide open. The twins knew of her crush on him, but she didn’t know that. And the fact that I had given away her middle name, thus the glares being directed towards my head.
Brendon smirked at her and suddenly twirled the poor girl towards his twin. Damien caught her waist smoothly and asked her again. She was flushing madly and shyly nodded. Soon the music turned slow and oh dear - Angelique was a scarlet mess.
I stared dreamily at them and made my way towards a balcony, away from the blaring noise.
“You miss him, huh,” Brendon asked, surprising me. I stood at the edge of the balcony, eyeing the city.
Yes. For every birthday that passed, I remembered him. Always wondering how it would feel like if he was here.
“Unmistakably,” I muttered, staring gloomily at the sky. “Every single day.”
My cousin shook his head.
“I thought we made a deal here years ago to forget him and leave him in peace,” he chuckled and I glared at him. “Ok, not funny, I get it. But seriously, it’s been so long, are you sure you’re not going mental?”
“You know me better than that, Don.” I grimaced, sighing deeply.
“No, no, don’t you sulk now, sis, I’m sorry for questioning. You’re the birthday girl today, and you’re not smiling much,” he stated, watching the city too. I peered at him for a second. He and Damien may be twins - but they are almost nothing alike and since they’re not identical twins, I can easily identify them because of their hair color.
“I don’t know Don...the feelings in me just won’t go away, after all these years, it’s still so unyielding.”
“I’m not shocked,” he chuckled.
“It just won’t give up! It still lives on as if...Leander is still alive,” I exhaled. The cold February air twirled my hair around its fingers sending chills down my spine as it pinched my neck. “I know you think I’m crazy but I just won’t give in. I know he’s in a safer place now as I’ve always included him in my prayers, every night.”
Brendon gave me a sympathetic look and swung an arm around my shoulder. I knew he dislikes seeing me like this.
Then, he gave me an actual piece of advice.
“Follow your heart, it’s always right as long as you know too,” he whispered, hugging me tight. I burst out chuckling. He asked in confusion, “What?”
“You! It’s just - it’s hilarious when you start acting all serious, but like if you were Damien I would concede but-” He cut me off with a quick disappointed look. Oops. I think I hit a nerve there.
“Just because he’s the more serious brother doesn’t mean I’m not too. It hurts me as a man,” he grumbled making me laugh again.
“You’re barely 4 years old. What are you talking about?” I joked still laughing before looking back at him. Oh-oh. I knew that look anywhere.
“Run.” He chuckled evilly, swiftly unwrapping me from his arm. I squeaked and dashed out of the balcony.
I screamed, giggling as I ran past my family members. I had to hide, but there was nothing in there I could crawl into, and ended up hiding behind Damien.
“Whoa, is Donny at your tail again?” he asked laughing.
“Yes, now shush and let me hide!” I hissed.
“Come out, come out where ever you are,” I heard Brendon call out.
“I know you’re in here somewhere birthday girl,” he continued. It soon turned silent and I knew they were watching us. I heard chortles from my family.
“GOTCHA!” Brendon shouted making me fall onto the carpet.
“N-No, no, please stop!” I cackled, rolling on the ground as his fingers attacked my sides and tortured me. The whole room erupted in radiating merriment. “You won, Donny, now p-please stop!” I swear I was going to explode. I hate it when he does that to me.
“I think you should stop, Don, her face is turning crimson,” Damien warned and Brendon instantly pulled his hands back. I groggily stood up and gave him the stink eye.
He smiled sheepishly and shrugged his shoulders.
“Oh, I’m getting vengeance, big cousin, and you won’t see it coming,” I said managing to give him a sinister smirk.
“Oh, we’ll see about that.” He gave me an equally ominous smile before opting to run back to the balcony.
“Hey, come back here, coward!” I screamed, scrambling after him.