Abandoned Lives

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Chapter 2: Candi

After hours of searching stores and picking out furniture and accessories, I’m almost too exhausted to even want to put it all together. We had to grab a couple of window unit air conditioners to keep it cool until they can get here to install the central heat and air, as well. Chris took us to a huge store that had appliances and cabinets… hell, a little bit of everything. We found a huge fridge with an ice maker and side by side doors, with a freezer drawer on the bottom. The stove I got is gas hook up, with 5 burners on it. Both are black. That store even had people that are coming out tomorrow to install my central heat and air and my cabinets in the kitchen.

At the furniture store, I got a new living room suit: big, cushy couch and chairs in a dark brown suede material. Oval shaped glass topped coffee table and end tables and a huge flat screen TV complete the living room. We also managed to get a washer and dryer and outfit two of the other bedrooms. I wanted to make sure Cam had somewhere to sleep, since he’s staying here at least the first week I’m here. He says he doesn’t feel comfortable leaving me here alone. I think it’s a twin thing. At least, I hope that’s his reasoning. He can’t seriously be THAT worried about my safety. I lived in New York City alone for years, for God’s sake.

My exhaustion drops away after we get everything in the house and set up, being replaced by excitement. I’ve only ever rented apartments or lived with our parents. I’ve never owned my own home. So, this is making me giddy.

I walk back into the living room, where the boys are sitting at either end of the new couch, feet propped on the table, heads leaning against the back. I walk over and smack Cam’s foot, “Get your feet off!” Apparently, I startled them because they both jump up like they’re about to go after someone. After I laugh at them for a minute, I continue, “We have furniture now but no food. We need to grocery shop.”

They both groan and drop back down before Chris says, “Nope.”

“What do you mean ‘nope’? There’s no food! I’m hungry.”

He looks at me, rolls his eyes, and then closes them again. “I already ordered pizza.”

Now he’s got my interest, “You know a place that delivers out here?”

“Nope.”

“UGH! Can you please elaborate?”

He smirks at me. Freaking smirks! “But it’s more fun this way.” Guess my death glare works, though because he blows out a breath and says, “Fine, be that way. I ordered while you were being all girly.” He pauses and raises an eyebrow, “What’s up with that, by the way? You’re not a girly girl. Why the hell are you suddenly acting like one?”

I growl, “Pizza, Chris.”

He smiles, “One of us has to go pick it up. I volunteer one of ya’ll. I’ll even pay.”

Cam doesn’t even open his eyes, just raises his hand, says “Not it” and goes back to playing dead.

I have no intention of going out right now. Yes, I know that I just worked them half to death on my house. But, still… I’m the damn girl. I should at least get some kind of perks from that. Plus, torturing them is fun.

With a grin on my face, I smack Camden’s foot again, “So, you’re ok with me going then? Alone? At night? In an area I don’t know?” I shrug when he opens his eyes to glare at me. “Ok, then. I’ll be back later.”

Before I make it to the door, he’s grabbing my keys out of my hand and slamming out the door. Do I know my brother or what? Cam may be exactly the same age as me, but he has that whole big brother thing down. Some would call it being manipulative and lazy. I call it making sure my brother doesn’t realize he sent me out alone and freak the hell out. He would have totally noticed it right after I left and he would have blown up my phone like crazy the whole time I was gone.

I sit down in Cam’s spot and Chris rolls his head towards me, “So you said there was a bunch of stuff in the basement?”

I nod, “Yeah, a lot of furniture and stuff. Why?”

He shrugs, “Well, no point in sitting here waiting for Cam to get back. You wanna go down and see what you got? You didn’t get everything you’ll need today. Some of it might be salvageable.”

“Good idea. But…”

“But?”

“It’s creepy as hell down there.”

He tsks at me and shakes his head in disbelief, “Such a girl. How did I not know this about you?”

I shrug, refusing to look at him. He’s right, though. Since the shit happened in New York, I’ve been really skittish about everything. Time to suck it up. After all, if Cam decides to go home I’ll be living in this huge house alone. Just the thought is giving me the creeps, so I push it away and stand up.

“Come on, then. Let’s check it out.”

We go back down in the basement and it’s just as bad as I remember. I’ve never know that basements were this cold. I’m surprised I don’t see my breath in front of my face. When I question Chris about it, he just shrugs and points out that it’s underground. That makes no sense to me, but whatever.

Neither one of us feels like going through all that crap, so we head straight for the furniture. I gotta say, there’s a lot of awesome old stuff down here. I find a really big dining room table with matching chairs. It’s oval shaped and, once the dust is cleaned off, it will be gorgeous. We set it aside so that Cam can help Chris get it upstairs tomorrow. There’s no way in hell I can even lift one side of that thing.

We manage to get the chairs upstairs, along with a few smaller tables to put around the house, before Cam gets back with the food. He immediately crinkles his nose up at us. “You guys are covered in dust. What the hell did you do to my sister, dude?”

I roll my eyes, “We were in the basement. Food, then we can take a shower.”

By the time we’re done eating, it’s pretty late, so Chris decides to just stay the night instead of driving the hour back home. Especially since he already said he’d help out tomorrow and it would be pointless to do all that driving tonight just to have to do it again in the morning. Everyone heads off to their respective rooms and showers.


Something startles me awake. I’m not sure if it was a noise or just a weird feeling, but I have that heart pounding terror going on from being jerked out of a deep sleep. Seeing something move out of my peripheral vision, I look over towards the door. There’s a shadow of someone walking out the door. What. The. Hell!

I jump up and go running out, following them, fully intending to yell at Cam or Chris, whichever creepy ass was just in my room. But when I get to the hallway there’s no one there. The closest room to me is Cam’s, so I ease it open and he’s lying there sprawled out asleep. I know what he looks like when he’s faking it and this is not it.

Closing the door back, I creep over and ease open Chris’ door. He’s asleep, completely tangled in his bed sheet. There’s no way he would have had time to get back in there and get his covers like that before I got in here. I close the door and turn around, leaning back against it. Now I’m really freaking the fuck out. What if someone’s in the house? I can definitely take care of myself, but I’m not willing to traipse through a dark house that I’m not completely familiar with, looking for intruders.

I turn back around, opening Chris’ door, and go in, shutting it behind me. I lean over, shaking his shoulder, whispering his name. His eyes pop open and he looks at me like I scared the shit out of him.

He rubs his hands over his face, “Candi! What the hell? Why are you in here?”

“I think someone was in my room.”

He jerks to sitting so fast he almost head butts me. “What?!?” He jumps up, throwing his covers aside, “Wake your brother.” And he starts going to my room.

Cam has pretty much the same reaction. They both check my room thoroughly, Chris hands me a hammer, and they lock me in, with instructions not to open the door for anyone but them.

After about an hour, there’s a knock at the door. I refuse to get up and answer until I hear Cam’s voice, “It’s us, Candi. Open the door.”

When I do, he says, “Are you sure you saw someone?”

“Of course I’m sure. I woke up and there was somebody walking out of my room. I went and checked to see if one of you was messing with me but you were both asleep. I swear, Cam! There was someone in here!”

He shakes his head, but Chris is the one to speak up, “The doors and windows are all locked. We checked every inch of the house. There’s no one here.”

“I KNOW they were here!”

Chris reaches over, grabbing my arm, “Hey, ok. Calm down. Maybe they had time to get out and lock the door behind themselves.” When Cam looks at him skeptically and opens his mouth, Chris shakes his head at him, turning back to me. How about one of us sleeps in here with you tonight? So you’ll feel safe. In the morning, we’ll call a locksmith and have all your locks changed. Will that work?”

Reluctantly I nod. I know it’s not the best time for this, but I just noticed that Chris is standing there in nothing but his boxer briefs. Holy hell, he’s hot! We’re just friends, though, so I’m not going there. “Cam can sleep in here. He’s slept in the bed with me before.”

The guys both nod and Chris turns to go back to bed, but I call out, “Hey.” When he turns back to me, I smile, “Thanks.” He nods again and goes back to bed. It may sound weird that I want my brother to sleep in my bed, but it’s a twin thing. I feel safer with him in here with me. It’s apparently been that way since the day we were born. According to our mom, they bought us each our own cribs and set us up in a room together, but neither of us would sleep apart. I cried more than Cam, but there was no way I was separating from him. Which is why I keep thinking it’s possible he’ll stay here, instead of going back. He won’t admit it, but he can’t leave me by myself any more than I could him.

I think, deep down, I took that into consideration when I was looking for a new place to live. He never was that much on living in the city, preferring to stay at our Hampton’s house most of the year. But he still doesn’t like to be without any people at all around. Knowing that was exactly what I wanted, I tried to make sure the house was big enough that he could bring people to him if he wanted and he could fill it with as many toys as he wanted. He already called dibs on the basement, if we ever get it cleaned out. He says he wants to set up a “man cave” down there. When I pointed out that he said he was going back to the city, he shrugged and said that it would still be here for when he visited.

Looks like that king sized bed will turn out to be a good purchase tonight, too. Cam is freaking huge and he sleeps like he’s fighting. I know the routine, though. Anytime anything happened to one of us as a kid, we’d climb in each other’s beds for comfort. More recently, he stayed at my apartment in the city, making sure I was ok. I grab my body pillow and put it between us. I’m not concerned about rolling onto him in the night. I just prefer not to have a black eye in the morning.

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