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Chapter 23- Hi, Arden

Walking into my house after being in the hospital was strange. I know it is my house, but it also didn't feel like it. There is an almost eerie feeling to it, and I couldn't quite understand it.

I am nervous to face Cassy again. Not really because I am scared of what she might do to me, but what she might do to Charlie or Arden. If she is truly unstable, then anything is possible. Also, I guess I am also afraid that she will try to hurt me again. It's not fun having to rely on people to try and protect and help you, or to cater to your every want and need.

Some people would be in heaven over this, but me on the other hand, not so much. It is weird, because I'm used to doing things myself and depending on no one but myself.

Arden helps me hobble in the house, my eyes glance at the bottom of the stairs, flashes of me withering in pain going through my mind. I shake my head softly before making my way slowly to the couch and plopping down, while Arden gently places my casted leg onto a pillow that he placed on the coffee table.

When he stands, I watch as he glances around, looking for something. Or I suppose, in this case, someone. I'm anxious to see how he reacts to seeing Cassy again. Will he break all over again remembering that pain that he felt? Perhaps he will fall to her feet and confess his undying love for her. Who knows, but all I know, I'm not ready for it.

Charlie makes his way from the kitchen, flopping down on the seat beside me, resting his arm behind my head. He stretches his other hand, presenting a soda with a bendy straw stuck out the top of it for me that I gladly take. Arden snaps his head in our direction. His eyes immediately narrowing and glaring at Charlie, or more specifically, Charlie's arm that is behind me.

"Dude, do you mind? I was about to sit there next to my girlfriend. Move." Arden's voice was flat and annoyed. His gaze never wavering despite the bright grin that appears on Charlie's face.

"Man, chill. You've hogged our girl while I've been here all by myself making sure everything was ready for her to come home." Charlie's grin widens when Arden lets out a small growl of annoyance.

Arden suddenly raises a brow in mockery. "All alone, eh? I figured your dear sister would keep you company." I could tell that he is hiding how he is really feeling behind his joking and teasing, but I couldn't tell how he was truly feeling about it all.

Charlie tenses up beside me, his grin falling off of his face as seriousness takes over. He sits up a little straighter while he clears his throat. "Actually, I haven't seen her since the accident. I've tried to call her out, talk to her, and she just won't appear."

My eyebrows furrow as he says this. That doesn't sound like Cassy. Maybe she is just feeling really guilty about what happened. I let out a soft grunt as I push myself up off of the couch with a little struggle. Before I could straighten myself out, Charlie's hands were on my shoulders and Arden has rounded the coffee table and has his hands on my waist to stable me.

"Whoa, where you think you're going sunshine? You know we are here to help you, we can get whatever you need." Arden speaks softly, his words authentic. I give him a thankful smile as I shake both sets of hands off of me, grabbing the crutch that was laying beside the couch.

"Don't worry dads, I'm just going to change. I can do this myself but don't worry, I'll holler if I need help." I slowly move past them, and maneuver my way up the steps. It was hard and I was breathing heavy by the time I was at the top of the steps. Turning my head, I make sure neither one is watching me then I spin and waddle over to Cassy's room.

Pushing the door open, I take a deep breath, hoping to calm my nerves as I walk in. Messily sitting on the bed, I look around. Cassy is nowhere in sight and I don't feel her presence. I let out another sigh, as I start talking.

"Cassy? Are you here?" I took a moment, just in case she decides to appear even when I knew she wouldn't. So, I continue. "Please, don't hide away. We still need your help to put your stepdad behind bars." After another moment of no answer, I shrug my shoulders in defeat.

Finally, going to my room to do what I have told the boys I was going to in the first place. After changing and hopping back down stairs, I land on the bottom floor with a huff. Finally.

An amazingly delicious scent hits my nose as I breathe in deep to get a better smell of it. Food! I follow my nose to the kitchen and upon entering I let out a hungry sigh. "Man, whatever is cooking smells absolutely divine!"

Both Charlie and Arden spin around, both wearing pink frilly aprons. I didn't bother to hide the giggles as I took in their appearances. I completely forgot that I had those. Both of the boys send me a smirk, as Arden rounds the counter, helping me the rest of the way to sit in a chair so I could watch them.

Charlie leans over the counter holding a spoon that I happily open my mouth for him to feed the content to me. Yummy! The buttery garlic flavor of the creamy mashed potatoes melting in my mouth, causing a moan of delight to slight out. "That is so good! Oh my gosh." I gush.

Charlie grins devilishly as he elbows Arden. "Man, if I can make her moan like that without even touching her, I'd love to hear the sounds you can get out of her." While his words bring a blush to my cheeks, I couldn't help the laughter that erupts from my chest.

Both of the boys follow suit, as laughter fills the air. I smile contently, as I watch both of them return to cooking and watch their playful banter. It was easy to see that they were, and are still best friends. Regardless of the fact that they lost touch with one another after the incident, it is as if no time was lost and they have picked up where they left off.

Suddenly, I fell the room heat up about 10 degrees hotter. Licking my lips, I peak between both Arden and Charlie, to see that three out of four burners on the stove were being used. That must be the cause.

Before I could settle completely back in my seat again, I feel chills on the back of my neck and the heat blowing on my ear. "Isn't this just lovely. The gang all back together again." Cassy spits out beside my ear. Her voice dripping with rage. I let out an audible gasp, making both the boys spin to see what was going on.

I watch helplessly as the spatula slips out of Arden's grasp as he stares open mouthed at Cassy. I glance at her behind me, just to watch as she straightens out, putting on a shy smile and faking innocence. Twirling a piece of hair around her finger as she bites her lips, her eyes drinking in the sight of Arden.

It was deathly silent in the room, nothing could be heard except the sizzling of the chicken frying in the pan. Cassy, let's out a little giggle, before speaking in a chipper tone. "Hi, Arden. Did you miss me?"

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