“Cal, are you ready?” Alice asks again.
“Yes.” Another uncertain glance at the door Cathy walked out of, angry and disappointed in me and a knife spears my inside. I might have fucked that one up with my reply to her. I rub a finger over my nose. “Miss Gates?” Alice perks up. If I hadn’t agreed to take her to the clinic, I would have said yes to Cathy’s request. I try not to feel bad. She can ask that Jackson of a guy to take her home. If he can kiss her, then he can drive her home too. “I will appreciate it if you call me Calum. Just Calum.”
“And you will call me Alice?” she asks.
Alice’s eyes say more than her lips do. And it is obvious she’s attracted to me. I grab my water bottle and briefcase. “Yes, Alice. Can we go?”
Together, we exit my office and step into the chill air. It&rsq
I skipped dinner last night. The next day, I grab only an apple from the kitchen and rush out of the house to meet Amelia. When she asks how I got home, I make up a lie about catching a ride with my stepbrother. But in truth, I walked home. How do I tell her she was right? That I turned down his offer to take me home because I did not want to be in the same car with him and his date. He didn’t want to drive me home anyway. And it’s not his fault that our town’s facilities are limited. After school, I lock myself in my room. My plan is simple. Talk to my wicked stepbrother only if unavoidable. My stomach growls again. I bury my face in the pillow and scream into it. The only real meal I ate today was cafeteria lunch. My decision to stay away from Calum is starting to look like a bad one. He’s not the one affected by hunger. I am. Dinner is in an hour. I resolve to show my face for a bit, then grab my dinner to eat in my room. My Samsung phone on the nightstand vibrates, I place it
Calum crosses his arms. His lips quirk in that arrogant smile I want to slap off his face. But with Dani and my dad watching, I have to stay composed. I hide my hands under the table. I already know I’ll hate Calum for the words that will come out of his lips and he proves me right.“Maybe your daughter wants to enlighten us.” I hate him. I hate this food. I mutter something under my breath and the table laughs. Was it funny? I stab the chicken and take a big bite of it to avoid talking to them. “As a matter of fact, Pete, I think I might like one of your teachers.”Oh, God.He is lying, right? Of course not. She called him Cal. He let her touch him without his consent. That’s what lovers do and I’m not his lover, just a silly little stepsister he wants out of the way.Tears swim in my eyes. I’m so stupid. What did I think would happen? That the singing would make us close? That momen
The day rolls by so fast. Soon, it’s Thursday. On a regular day, I’ll be pumped for choir practice but I drag myself out of the bed with second thoughts. What if I cancel? If I do that, then we will never have a reason to talk to each other.As appealing as that idea sounds, my love for music supersedes the desire to ignore Calum.Amelia calls when I’m eating breakfast. Dani made strawberry pancakes. Once the call drops, I put down my phone. Amelia can’t make it to school today. That means, I have to ride with my dad or even worse, Calum. I’ll rather eat sand.Speaking of the devil, Calum joins me at the dining table with a plate of pancakes and a glass of milk. The heat of his body envelopes me. Did he have to sit this close to me? His leg brushes mine and I almost jump out of my seat. He’s tempting me.“Good morning. How was your night, sis? Did you sleep well?” Step. Stepsister. I dig into the
We reposition ourselves without Calum’s help. I am stuck between Regina and Christie. Lord help me because I don’t want to witness another round of favouritism today. I grip the music sheet and try to familiarise myself with the lyrics. It was one of the songs from last year. Diamond High’s winning song.On Calum’s command, we start singing. The lines on his forehead melt away as we progress. For Calum, I think music means as much as it means to me or maybe more. I watch the wand in his hand as he conducts us. He balls his left hand into a fist and the singing dies down.“I want us to try the solo. Anyone wants to try?” Different hands shoot up in the soprano aisle. He ignores all of them and points to me. I poke my chest. “Yes, you. Do you want to try?”One glance at the music sheet and the words I am yet to familiarise myself with and my chest slumps. I don’t want to fuck it up. “No. No, sir.&rd
There is so much information on the internet yet I can’t find anything useful on how to hurt someone evil and hide the evidence. I shut down my laptop and start pacing my room. It’s 4 am on Friday. I’m already up and nervous. Not because of the game but because of the devil’s spawn in the next room.Why can’t Dad kick him out of our house?What if I give Dad a reason to do that?My toe butts into the bedstand and pain explodes in my leg. I hop on the uninjured foot, glaring at the wall separating me from my stepbrother.It’s his fault.A sound comes from somewhere outside my room. I open the windows and the soft glow of the moon shadows my face. I hear that sound again. A chord. A guitar stroke. Calum’s playing his guitar without me. I fall down to the floor and cross my legs under me. My heart tightens.He’s cheating. He’s betraying me.Si
Did they kiss? Did it end at lips touching?The stadium is as crowded as my mind, with wild thoughts and theories of what might have happened with the two teachers after we left. If I’m right, Miss Gates is twenty-eight. Calum is twenty-one. Our relationship, should that ever happen, is more okay than theirs will ever be.Rose and I meander through the crowd to find a seat. Taylor waves and points at two empty seats we rush to occupy. I sink in the seat with relief.“What took you two so long?” Taylor asks. Rose answers on our behalf while I stay mute. “Have you seen Ryan?” Rose giggles. I wish I wasn’t sitting between two of them so they didn’t have to lean forward to talk. Taylor nods to the other end of the stadium where the players are. “He’s there.”Rose follows her gaze to the terrace where some boys from our school are seated and I seize that chance to look for my stepbro
“Did I do something wrong?” Jackson asks for the umpteenth time as he pulls a pair of shorts over his waist. The walls vibrate from the effect of the speakers downstairs. Somewhere along the line, the songs had changed, more people had arrived. I hear the voices of drunk teenagers. Backing Jackson, I change into my clothes. “Cathy, talk to me.” I don’t turn until I’m covered. “No, you didn’t. It’s not you, Jackson, it’s me.” I’m just… I don’t know, experiencing one silly midlife crisis a few days to my eighteenth birthday? Do teenagers experience that? Jackson curves a finger under my jaw and I look up. “I’m just tired, Jackson.” “Some other time then?” My head moves in a nod before I change my mind. He presses a kiss to my forehead and hugs me briefly. “I’ll drop you off.” “No, it’s fine. I’ll walk.” Jackson runs a hand over his face and offers me a shy smile. Feeling out of sorts, I draw a circle on his carpet with my foot to distract myself. “Thanks for tonight.” “Yeah, sure th
There are two important days in this month of February. The first round of the competition, then her death anniversary. I circle the first day of the month on the calendar hanging from the wall. My eyes land on her death date and a tiny pang of pain hits me. I underline the date. It doesn’t get better, losing someone never gets better. You will always miss them. I miss my mum everyday.A knock sounds from outside my door. I wipe the tear leaking down the corners of my eyes. “Who’s there?”“Calum.”Last week Saturday was our first time singing together. If he wants a repeat this Saturday, I am so up for it. A few seconds in front of the vanity mirror and I look better than I did some minutes ago. I open the door halfway and lean on the doorpost. I’m not sure where we are at now. He’s with Miss Gates and I’m still single.“What’s up?” I ask my stepbrother. Calum is wea