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
Someone is knocking on my door. I respond by burying my face in my pillow. I know it’s my dad and he will go away after a few minutes. He’s the only one who knocks this early on a Sunday morning. He must be going to church.I don’t understand why he keeps going there when God didn’t save his wife. Mum died on the spot and his God did nothing to save her.Without meaning to, I listen to the sound of his car driving away. A knot tightens in my belly and I ball my fists on the bed. Dad will go to church and pray to a God that never answers prayers.When the sound of the car completely fades, I get out of bed. I step out of my room a second after Calum does, we eye each other. “Hi,” I say.“Hi.” He steps closer but there’s so much space between us. “Cathy, are you okay?” My head starts shaking but I stop and start nodding. It’s normal for me to feel this way a few days t
CALUMThey found me. It was only a matter of time but it happened faster than I thought it would.I place my ringing phone down and finish up the rest of my buttons. A door opens and shuts quietly and my heart sighs. Cathy is still ignoring me.She has been since she walked out on me and locked herself in her room yesterday. I want to be okay with her silence because it means less contact with her but my body craves her in ways that are illegal. With Cathy, I don’t want to only get down and dirty, I want to lay in bed and cuddle, talk about silly little things, laugh and tease her. I haven’t rolled a blunt in a week and it’s because of her.She calms me.Her voice. Her singing. Her annoying existence.I love it and I hate it. I hate to love it and there are so many reasons why. She’s my stepsister. My mum’s happiness comes first before mine. I can’t mess up what she has with Pete. Mum
I snatch the cards from Amelia when Calum leaves. What could be on it? Amelia is also waiting for me to open it but I don’t. I want to do it in private.“What was that all about?” Amelia asks. She drives us to school without getting a single word out of me. I shove the cards into my bag once she’s parked. Amelia adjusts, pushing one leg over her seat. “I thought you two were now getting along.”“We were.” I flex my fingers in front of me. Calum’s mood switches are unpredictable. Amelia is still waiting for an answer. I sigh again and rest my head on the window. “He was teaching me how to drive and he refused to put on his seatbelt.”“Oh,” is all she says.“Yeah.” Silence wraps us in a chokehold. Tears cling to my lashes. I hate talking about it. It makes me sound like a brat. Still seated, I open my door and inhale feverishly. I feel my bag fo
Whatever Calum saw in that note was bad. So bad he didn’t come out for dinner last night. I drag myself down for dinner but Calum is not at the table. Second night in a row. Dani doesn’t mention it, neither does Dad. We finish dinner in silence. Dani excuses herself and returns with a flask.“I’ll give it to him,” I say before she sits.They both cock their heads towards me. “Are you sure?” Dani asks. “You two haven’t been–”On the best of terms? Well, her son apologised. Plus, he owes me ice-cream and a duet.“We are cool now,” I answer. Dragging the flask to myself, I offer both of them a smile. “But we will be cooler if I take this up to him. Okay?”“Okay,” Dani agrees but Dad doesn’t look convinced. “If he doesn’t want it, that’s fine.”“Okay.”Dan