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?”
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
Fifteen seconds later, Calum flips the bedside lamp. Shadows fall over his face and top. He is wearing a black singlet that exposes his nipples.“Fine,” Calum says. “If you want to stay here, we have to talk about something else. Deal or no deal?”“Deal,” I answer but I have no idea what we can talk about. Well, I do but I’m not sure he will like to hear it. I cross my legs under me and he mimics my position. We sit, facing each other without saying a word. “So…” I draw circles on his bedsheet. “What to talk about?”“What’s your issue with seatbelts?” His fingers circle a spot on his knee. My chest tightens as he looks on in anticipation of a reply. “Your dad told me already but I would like to hear it from you.”I hear the sadness in his voice and I don’t want that. I don’t want Calum’s sadness or pity.When yo
Amelia is skipping school today. Again. For the third time this year. I dump my phone on the vanity after her call and massage my forehead.It’s becoming a norm and it’s worrisome.I open my WattsApp group to see Amelia hasn’t informed them of her absence. She told me first because she’s my ride to school. I skim through the other messages. Taylor thinks having Boys Code is not a bad idea. Rose will make the logo and get back to us with an update. I shove the phone into my purse and continue fixing my face. If Amelia will not be in school today, then I’m stuck with Dad. I haven’t seen Calum yet and I’m not sure I want to ask him for a ride. I don’t want to push him. I’d rather we take things slow and steady.The voice behind my door grabs my attention. I drop my comb on the dresser. Another knock pushes my feet towards the door and I yank it open. Calum lowers his hand raised to knock.<
In Jackson’s dictionary, later must mean the end of school because he’s waiting for me at the door of my last class. One look at him through the glass and I’m tempted to stay back in the class.The last student leaves. I follow suit. Jackson beams as he collects my backpack. It’s a sweet gesture that doesn’t feel so sweet right now.“Are you going for rehearsals?” he asks.We start down the noisy hallway with his hand hanging loosely around my waist. Every time I push his hand, he brings it back. Doesn’t he get it? Where’s Rose? I need her to get me out of here.“Yes, I am.”“Good. I’ll walk you.”I stop walking. “You don’t have to.”Jackson blinks down at me in shock. I seize the chance to grab my bag from him. Hurt registers on his face and I almost feel bad for him. But I already told him,
The next day, when Calum is driving me home, I murmur, “Amelia didn’t come to school today.”Today is the fourth time she’s missing school. Dad said her mother called to inform him on all occasions. She left messages on our WattsApp group. Rose and Taylor think it’s just a sickness like Amelia said but I think it’s something more. Something she doesn’t want to tell us.“I’m worried,” I say. Stroking my shorts, I wait for him to speak. “But she told us she was fine.”That we didn’t need to check on her when Rose suggested the girls come over to her house this weekend. Calum reduces his speed, I don’t mind his pace because it gives us more time together.“Will it be okay to check on her?” I ask.Cars zoom past us in a hurried frenzy, raising a gentle breeze in their wake that rustles my hair. Resting my head on the window, my eyes c