Somebody is brushing hairs from his forehead. Then nudging his shoulder. 

"Cedron, wake up," a voice tells softly.

A female voice. 

He is feeling confused. There's no female person in their home. Then who is it?

He tries to open my eyes, but can't, because sunlight is hitting me. Who the hell opened the damn curtains of the damn window?

He raises his hands to cover my eyes, but something is in them. Something muddy.

Wait...I'm not in home, am I?

"Cedron," that voice tells again. 

I snap my eyes open.

A sharp face welcomes me.

I adjust myself in a seated position, glancing around. Who is this girl?


He squints at the sunlight, not feeling as panicked as others should be. 

"Who are you?" He looks at her blue eyes. 

That was a wrong question. He should have asked, "Where am I?"

"I can ask you the same question," she replies cooly. 

He yawns, staring at his hands which are covered with soil. So do his clothes.

Where is Ross?

"You're not the fast who slept here all the night." She sits beside me, glancing oddly.

"What time is it?" He asks.

"Five o'clock."

I let out a breath of relief that I still have an hour. My mother usually wakes up at six.

"It's my spot. You shouldn't be here." I say coldly, feeling slightly suspicious. 

"I don't think so. You can't own a mountain."

I stare at him. I am trying to guess what his deal is. I've never seen him before and I should be angry and I should tell him to stay away from me. How does he know this place, anyway?

But I don't ask anything. 

Instead, I watch the sunrise. I let the light touch my skin, my feelings, my mind. The whole sky is now a mixture of red and orange. And a little yellow. 

And a little pale blue.

And so artistic.

"You cried," The guy says playfully. "You have dry tears in your cheeks."

I sigh, "I did."

"Weird. Because I don't cry."

"To forget about my Dad. But this mountain reminded of someone special to me." I whisper, touching the tears in my cheek. 

He slowly takes my right hand, tracing the faint scars in the knuckles. 

From yesterday. 

"What are you doing?" I frown slightly. 

"You punched somebody earlier. Glass, right?" He tells, examining 

I shrug, "They don't long last."

He doesn't question about it, but I think I should tell a little. 

"Don't think, I am a psycho. I just had a bad temper." I don't take my hand back, it feels good. But is it right? Why am I holding his hand? He's a stranger.

"I know you don't know me. But I do know you." He speaks as a matter of fact. 

"Sure you do. You woke me up by calling my name, remember?"

"Right. I guess that's the part when other people say their name. So, my name is Mahone. It's nice to meet you, Sam." He shakes my hand.

I look at him. Sunlight is touching pale skin, making his black hair shine. My eyes look down at his lips, pink and wet. Why the warmth of his hand feels right?

Stop it, Sam. Be careful. Ask him how he did find this place. Ask him what he's doing here. 

I inhale the fresh morning air and slowly take my hand from his. I brush my hands to wipe the mud away, needing water. 

We make eye contact. 

"How did you find this place, Mahone?"

A little smile appears in his lips. "A friend of mine told me about this mountain. So I came here to examine if it was really beautiful as he said. And I found you. You should thank me, Sam. If I didn't find you, you could slip away from the top."

"You're no fun." I frown. 

"Like you." He replies. 

He casually avoided my question.

"So...who is the friend?" I ask cautiously, though I know that he would lie.

He looks away from me, focusing on something distant. "We all got our past, Sam. All of our memories aren't happy. Some of them are sad. Black. Haunted. Brutal. Stabbing. Sometimes we try to forget them, to get rid of them. I am not talking about me, Sam. I am talking about you. I believe, you keep some black memories. You act strange and mysterious and don't wanna share them with anyone. I know your father is missing and you're hurting so much. And I also know you don't believe anyone. You don't believe someone could make feel you better if you let them be close to you. You're sad and you're not trying to find happiness from a little something. You're pretending, Sam. You've been pretending to be happy for a long time. And you don't try to be real happy."

I am speechless. 

Who are you, Edwin?

We sit there in silence for a while, staring at each other, hearing the melodic sound of birds, feeling the breeze. 

"Aren't you gonna yell at me?" he suddenly grins.

I shake my head. "No. Because you're not entirely wrong. But you should know something."

I lean towards him until his face is inches from me. I look directly in his burning green eyes and inhale deeply. 

"Don't behave like you know all the shit about my life," I say in a hard tone. "Otherwise, you'll be sorry."

"Can I say a last thing?"

"What is it?" I wiggle my eyebrows. 

His fingers touch my jaw, then chin.

"Samlin Greenham, you've a huge secret."

I don't answer and grab my jacket and stand up. "See ya at school, Edwin."

My brain is racing. 

Does he know something about Lynn?

I just found them in the bleachers. 

Emilia, Jake, Lucas, Maria. My friends. 


What is he doing here with them?

But at first, let me introduce with my other friends. I was usually friendly with most students (except blockheads) in my school. But things have slightly changed after my father was missed. 

I met Lucas Parker when I was in elementary school. He's not fully American, his great-grandfather was Red Indian, so he's somehow still connected with them. He's funny, good looking and crazy to be an actor. He's also a very bad student and sometimes I have to tutor him (not free, of course).

Lucas was my second kiss, but after a year, he found he was gay. Didn't matter, really. 

  Maria Brandon-Greenham and I grew up together. She's my cousin, a month younger than me. Even if we grew up together, we were often quarreling. She's not someone who is easy to talk. I guess, her parents' divorce hurt her pretty much and made her behavior rough. Emilia is sweet to everyone, even to Maria. Four years ago, when I first met Lynn, for whatever reason, Em didn't like him that much, but Maria used to love hanging out with him.

I sigh.

"Hey, Stranger!" Lucas waves his both hands at me, grinning. "Long time no see."

"Hey." I say to everybody and take a sit beside beside Edwin. "Really, Lu? I thought I saw you in the morning."

"I don't think so. When?" he shoves some chips in his mouth. 

"When you were looking for your crush's underpants. Remember?"

Emilia giggles, offering me a coke. "You didn't return my texts last night, Sam."

"Oh...I've not power on my phone yet." I take a sip of coke and pull out the phone. 

"I guess my Oesophagus is blocked." Lucas grips his neck, wide-eyed. 

Edwin hasn't looked at me yet, which I am hoping. Actually I'm slightly angry at him. He hands Lucas a bottle of water. "Drink some."

Jake looks absorbed in his book. 

Maria seems lost in her thoughts. 

"Where were you last night?" Em asks me in a low tone. "Your eyes are bloody red."

"I know." I hesitate.

She knows. She knows where I go when I need to distract myself from pain.

"He's not coming back, Sam. It has been almost three years," she tells me softly. 

"I know."

"Did something happen?"

"Police of Belèm found a body near of the hotel. Where Dad was last seen. They are taking the skeleton for autopsy." I shrug. "Doesn't matter much, though. I don't believe it's true."

She pulls me for a hug. "I don't believe, too."

"What are you two whispering?" Jake finally looks up from his book. Such a nerd.

"You don't wanna know." Emilia gives him a playful smile, leaning towards him.

"I think I do," he replies. 

"Oh Lord!" Lucas rolls his eyes as two fried eggs. "Jake, they were talking about their experience."

"What experience?" he looks confused. 

"Well, you know," Lu gulps. "When you do. I mean, when you do...stuff in...."

"Shut up, Parker!" Maria snorts, "You guys are disgusting." Then she mutters something under her breath about couples. 

Em gives Jake a kiss in his cheek. "Are we disgusting, honey?"

He pats her cheek a little. "No, we aren't."

"Ugh!" Maria snorts again, then looks away. 

Edwin doesn't talk anything, eyeing us curiously with attention.

After giving Maria a intense glare, Lucas suddenly hisses. "Shhh! Here comes the football team. Look at them!"

I turn and my mind immediately becomes mad, when I see Michael's smirky face. 

"So what? They aren't gods, are they?" I frown. 

"Er....Lucas is having a crush on Michael," says Jake, wearing his spectacles. 

I turn to Lucas, a bit speechless. 

"Why him?" I demand to know. 

He puts his hand on his head and lets out a frustrated sigh. "I don't know. He's so hot."

I glare at Michael, who sits with his teammates. He catches my eye and winks. 

"Damn you, Mikey," I murmur. 

"You should've done something to him. After he cheated on you." Maria tells and sips her energy drink. 

"Like what? Shitting on his head?"

She spits her drink after hearing me.

Edwin covers a laugh beside me. He's new here, so he doesn't know about her temper. 

"So, Mr. Canadian," Maria turns to him. "Can I know what's so funny, please?"

He exhales. "Sam said something funny. You didn't laugh doesn't mean I couldn't laugh."

Now I laugh. This boy has some guts. There's is a lot of guys who don't like her. Her bad temper is the prime reason, I think. I put my hand on his and squeeze. "Say no more."

"Why not? Let him speak," she looks at me with anger.

I take a deep breath. "Are you trying to pick a fight with me, Maria?" I ask her calmly. 

"No. I just wanted you to know that sometimes you're annoying."

Lucas whistles. "I guess we were talking about Michael."

"Screw you, Lu." Me and Maria say in unison.

I don't get the fact why Maria dislikes me that much. She's been disliking me since our childhood. Maybe I'm getting used to it.

Jake gives us a worried expression. 

Emilia says nothing, because she knows us.

Edwin is typing on his phone, like it's a life-depending competition. 

Maria is sipping her drink, quiet. 

Lucas mouths to me, "Sorry!"

I glance at my schedule. Now, it's time for my swimming lesson. I let out a breath and stand up briskly.

"I have swimming class. Bye, guys."

Jake pulls out a pair of goggles from his bag. "Wait, Sam. Are these yours?"

I stare at them for a while. There's a white letter written on them, 'S'.

"Looks like mine. What were they doing in your bag?" I raise an eyebrow. 

Jake laughs. " I found them beside the pool. You left yesterday in a I took them." He glances at Edwin.

He knows we went together to swim.

"Thank you, Jake." I give him a genuine smile and take them. I can't deny the fact that he still cares about me. I can tell that from his touch. His hand lingers with mine for a little longer. He's gazing at me with something. 


I can't be yours, Jake.

I inhale and slowly brush his hand off. I bite my bottom lip and look at Edwin. 

"You coming with me?" I ask.

He examines my face for a while, a teasing smile tugging in the corner of his mouth. 

"Sam, are you free tonight?" Em asks. 

"Maybe. Why?" 

"We can hang out tonight. Girls night."

"Sure. I'll text you. Bye."

I am gripping his hand tightly, sitting beside the pool, my legs in the water. 

"What is it, Sam?" he asks hesitantly. "My hand hurts. You're scaring me!"

"Explain." I say in a stone tone.

"Explain what?" He tries to pull his hand from my grip, but I think I'm stronger than him. Though he proves me wrong, he just freed his hand. Then, he's strong, too.

"Jesus!" he breathes heavily. "Explain what?"

"The. Words. You. Said. To. Me. In. The. Morning." I separate each word. "I've been thinking about that."

"Oh, come on. I didn't mean what I said. I didn't think about that. I just said."

"So, you didn't cyber-stalk me, then?" I'm starting at him. I don't think he's speaking the truth. 

He hesitates for a moment, then says, "I didn't stalk you. You're famous, a high school athlete. I just read about you in Internet, nothing else."

"Tell me about your friend who showed you that mountain." I ask him.

He sighs, spreading his legs on the floor. 

"I can't tell you, Sam. Not until I find it's the right time."

I scowl at him.

"Does it have to do something with me?"

He looks up at me, frowning. "Of course it has. And I have every reason to dislike you. I can't answer your question, Sam. Sorry, but you can't force me."

I stand up, my fists clenched.

He stands up, too.

"Well, Edwin Peter Vanidestine. Since you're so direct, I'd like to tell you something. Don't pretend that I don't know anything about you. Maybe I really don't, but now you've got my attention. I don't like people who hide secrets behind my back. My friends seemed to like you. If you've good intention, then fine, hang out with them. But if not," I lean into him until we're eye to eye. "We'll find out soon."

Bloody hell.

"You annoying goggles," I mutter. 

I lost my them again. What is wrong with them? Because of the 'Edwin' thing, I couldn't take the swimming lesson. I was so angry, confused and lost, so directly came home. And I'm guessing I can't make the afternoon lesson, too. I'm not used to swim without goggles, when I'm with many students. And another reason, despite I've been swimming for many years, I don't see well in water. 

Now, what?

Did I really put them in bag when Jake gave?

Honestly, I can't remember. 

Wait, maybe I have another pair. 

I walk hurriedly to the storeroom and start to search. I first reach to the shelf where I put my old sports items, but I've bumped into something. 

I swallow, gazing at the curtain. 

I take a deep breath and put the curtain away. 

Dad's piano. 

"Samlin, time for your piano lesson!" My father knocked at my door.

I put my phone on the table and sighed. I didn't want to play that day. Because Michael was having a party in his house that night and I wanted to go there. 

I opened the door and faced him.

He was a journalist in profession, but in mind, he was a pianist. My father was the eldest son of the Greenham family, which is one of the most ancient family of the local community. His parents, I mean my Grandparents are still strict and moody, but I've always had a good relationship with them. They live in the manor, inherited from our ancestors, though I never knew why my father didn't live with them. 

Thanks God that my father didn't inherit the   'I'm-rich-and-powerful' attitude from them. He was that kind of father, with whom you could share everything. He was worth of so much respect. He was mid forty, yet looked younger. 

But at that night, I was kinda mad at him.

"Can we not play tonight?" I asked him.

"Why? Are you not feeling well?" He searched my face worriedly. "I thought we would practice a different, softer pitch tonight. And give more attention to the accidentals."

"Dad....I can't."

"Are you going out?"

"Michael is having a party tonight. I told him I would go." I said, a little frightened, because I knew Dad had a thing against the parties. 

He released a long breath, slanting at the doorframe. "So, you really like him, huh?"

I thought for a while. "I guess, I do."

"You play piano well. You even achieved awards in some competitions. Now, you're evading your lesson for this kid? Going to a party in his place?"

I frowned. "He's my boyfriend, Dad. And I'm only skipping one piano lesson. Why are you making a big deal out of this?"

My father sat on a chair, holding his arms across the chest. "Fine. Since we're so honest with each other, what if I tell that I saw him with a girl today inside an alley? Are you still going to him?"

I blinked, not understanding. "It could be his sister. Or any of his female friends."

"If you say he was kissing her any of his female friends, then fine again." He turned to his piano. 

I was really shocked then. I was feeling stupid. Dumb. Angry. Clueless. 

"Why are telling me this now?" I shouted. 

He didn't turn. "To prove you wrong. That kid is playing with you. You should stop wasting time with him and focus on your study."

"And focus on playing your stupid piano? Aren't you telling this?" I pointed at his boudoir grand piano, glaring. "Aren't you, Dad?"

He turned to me, so shocked. That piano meant so much to him, but I hurt him. 

"You hate piano?" he whispered. 

I couldn't stop the angry part of myself. 

" didn't give me much choice," I said these words before slamming my door. 

After a minute, I heard him stop in front of my door. He said quietly,

"You can go wherever you want, Cedron"

I covered my face with a pillow, crying, regretting. Oh God, what had I done?

I opened my door silently after an hour. It looked like Mom still hadn't come home, maybe she had a night shift in the bank.

The entire house was dark, all lights were off.

Was Dad asleep?

I didn't think so.

I quietly passed the drawing room and entered the balcony. I took a deep breath. 

He was there, sitting on his easy chair. 

I slowly took a seat beside him. 

"Good night," he gave a small smile.

I swallowed. "I am sorry, Dad."

I didn't look at him, I focused my eyes on the floor. I'd never had yelled at me before. I was feeling so sad. So small.

"I didn't mean what I said." I whispered the common sentence when almost everyone says that, when they are sorry. I bit my lip hard to not to cry, remorseful. 

"Come here."

I slowly put my head on his shoulder, inhaling his scent deeply. This was my father. Who always forgave me when I did something improper. He brushed my hair gently. 

"It's okay." He said after a minute. 

I moved my head from his shoulder, looking at his face. "You're not mad at me, then?"

My father laughed. "How can I be mad at my little daughter? Who wants to be a butterfly?"

I giggled. 

We sat there in the dark calmly, feeling the autumn breeze, hearing the sounds of night. Then my father spoke,

"But one day you'll understand the pain, when I am not around you anymore."

"Don't say these things, please."

"Okay. Anyway, I am going to Belèm tomorrow. Maybe I won't be able to back for a while."

"In Brazil? Near of A****n, right?" I asked.

"Hm. Belèm isn't a famous city, though our chief editor gave me a serious assignment."

"What is it now? Gold smuggling? Nature protesters? Illegal chemical garbage?"

"It's a kind of secret task. I can't tell you. Like you secretly hate Maria, but pretend you don't," he laughed. 

I blushed a little. "That's so not true. I don't hate her. Hey, Dad, don't change the subject. Where are you gonna stay, by the way?"

"At Forte do Castalo. It's an old fortress in that town. Don't worry, I'll be back soon."

But you didn't come back, Dad.

I brush my fingers on the keys of the piano and start to play. My fingers are moving spontaneously through the keyboard, the sound becoming louder. 


Fingers move more quickly. 

Why didn't I realize the beauty of this harmony before? Where was it hidden? Why didn't I feel the waves in my heart before?

I suddenly stop.

I rush to the leaving room, standing in front of our family photo. I place my fingers at the image of my father. 

Then I whisper,

"I am sorry, Dad. Can you please come back?"

Related chapters

Latest chapter Protection Status