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This is a story I wrote with some support from my friend JoJo.
Change is Never Ending. Take that from someone who's been through it for two years. Stacey
Davis, an eighteen-year-old girl, has to keep moving around because of her father's job. She has
not really accepted this decision but she wants to do what is best for her dad and her 3-year-old
twin siblings Shane and Shania. When she moves to a new town, she crushes on her boy
neighbour next door. Will she get him in the end?
Note: I have also uploaded this story on wattpad.com so if you could navigate yourself around the
site you can read the story there too. And be sure to fb-like and retweet it there. And if you have an
account there then vote and comment! http://www.wattpad.com/505948-never-ending-change-
©2011 Skyler Jayne
Prologue .................................................................................................................................................. 5
Chapter 1 ................................................................................................................................................. 6
Chapter 2 ................................................................................................................................................. 9
Chapter 3 ............................................................................................................................................... 12
Chapter 4 ............................................................................................................................................... 14
Chapter 5 .............................................................................................................................................. 18
Chapter 6 ............................................................................................................................................... 22
Chapter 7 ............................................................................................................................................... 24
Chapter 8 ............................................................................................................................................... 28
Chapter 9 ............................................................................................................................................... 31
Chapter 10 ............................................................................................................................................. 34
Chapter 11 ............................................................................................................................................. 37
Chapter 12 ............................................................................................................................................. 40
Chapter 13 ............................................................................................................................................. 45
Chapter 14 ............................................................................................................................................. 49
Chapter 15 ............................................................................................................................................. 53
Chapter 16 ............................................................................................................................................. 57
Chapter 17 ............................................................................................................................................. 59
Chapter 18 ............................................................................................................................................. 63
Chapter 19 ............................................................................................................................................. 66
Chapter 20 ............................................................................................................................................. 70
Chapter 21 ............................................................................................................................................. 73
Chapter 22 ............................................................................................................................................. 78
Chapter 23 ............................................................................................................................................. 82
Chapter 24 ............................................................................................................................................. 86
Chapter 25 ............................................................................................................................................. 90
Chapter 26 ............................................................................................................................................. 93
Chapter 27 ............................................................................................................................................. 96
Chapter 28 ............................................................................................................................................. 99
Chapter 29 ........................................................................................................................................... 102
Chapter 30 ........................................................................................................................................... 106
Chapter 31 ........................................................................................................................................... 109
Chapter 32 ........................................................................................................................................... 114
Chapter 33 ........................................................................................................................................... 118
Chapter 34 ........................................................................................................................................... 124
Chapter 35 ........................................................................................................................................... 128
Chapter 36 ........................................................................................................................................... 132
Chapter 37 ........................................................................................................................................... 134
Chapter 38 ........................................................................................................................................... 138
Chapter 39 ........................................................................................................................................... 141
Chapter 40 ........................................................................................................................................... 145
Chapter 41 ........................................................................................................................................... 148
Chapter 42 ........................................................................................................................................... 152
Chapter 43 ........................................................................................................................................... 161
Chapter 44 ........................................................................................................................................... 165
Chapter 45 ........................................................................................................................................... 172
Chapter 46 ........................................................................................................................................... 177
Chapter 47 ........................................................................................................................................... 179
Chapter 48 ........................................................................................................................................... 184
Chapter 49 ........................................................................................................................................... 189
Chapter 50 ........................................................................................................................................... 193
Chapter 51 ........................................................................................................................................... 199
Chapter 52 ........................................................................................................................................... 204
Chapter 53 ........................................................................................................................................... 208
Acknowledgments ............................................................................................................................... 214
I gazed down at the clear blue waters below me from my private jet. This could possibly be
the last time that I would ever see such a site. Probably not. With dad‟s job, I would be
travelling in more jet planes than a normal 18 year old. We would probably have to keep
travelling from one state to the other. I am used to it … I guess.
My dad is a producer. He has produced many movies and TV ads. Does that make it good for
me? Not really. It has always been hard leaving my friends behind. Especially Erin. I missed
that girl. Leaving her back home was one of the most heartbreaking moments of my life. I
don‟t think I‟ve ever met someone as amazing as her.
My younger twin brother and sister have it easier. They never got too attached to anyone.
They‟re all right with moving from one place to another. “An adventure” as Shane, one of the
twins, would say. It doesn‟t feel like an adventure though. More like a nightmare that would
After a six-hour flight and a two-hour car ride, we finally reached the place that was
supposed to be our „Home Sweet Home‟.
“We‟re here,” dad said as he got out of the car and stretched.
“Oh joy,” I muttered under my breath as I got out too. I took in the view in front of me, a
white duplex with red-tiled roof, a red main door and window shutters. The architecture was
amazing, but it‟s not as if I‟m going to say it aloud anyway.
I open the back seat door, where Shane and Shania were sleeping, to wake them up. As soon
as I opened the door and saw their innocent faces, my heart just melted. They have always
slept in the most adorable way, but this was so cute. Shane was holding on to Shania while
she had her hand around his back, her head on his chest. Their legs entangled and their light
brown hair messed up from the long journey.
Shane and Shania were inseparable. They did almost everything together. They were the kind
of siblings that never fought. Mom wanted to get them two separate cribs to sleep in but they
made a fuss.
What can I say? Every time I think about her I can‟t help but feel a ache of sadness. She does
not live with us anymore. Why? She is in rehab. She was perfectly fine until the twins were
born. Unfortunately for her, Shaun and Shania were colic. It‟s a condition where infants cry
or scream frequently and for extended periods without any evident reason. This usually lasts
for more than three – four hours a day. Mom couldn‟t handle it, especially with two of them.
That got her into depression, stress and heavy drinking.
There was a point in time where she nearly took baby Shane in her hands and was about to
throw him on the ground from the anger and frustration of his screaming. If it wasn‟t for me,
I couldn‟t imagine what would have happened that day.
That was the time we decided to finally put her into therapy in a rehabilitation centre. It was
hard on both mom and dad, but it was necessary. After that, dad started moving around even
more. His production company happened to be a well-known firm. That made it easier to
move around for us.
I carried Shane, dad carried Shania, and we entered the house. The interiors were pretty
impressive too. The crystal chandelier hung in the dining room. The dining table was big
enough for eight people. We didn‟t need a dining table that big. As I walked further on with
Shane in my arms, I noticed a spiral staircase that lead upstairs. Probably to our new rooms. It
was a bit over the top.
I opened the first door upstairs and saw a bed big enough for both the twins to sleep
“I thought I would buy them a bed, they‟re old enough for one. I gave the crib to charity,” I
heard dad from behind me say.
“Great,” I said, “They‟ll love it.”
“Have you seen your room yet?” he asked anxiously.
“No, not yet,” I said as I placed Shane in the bed while dad did the same with Shania.
“You should check it out,” he said as he exited the room with a tiny smile.
I shrugged and followed him out. The room right next to the twins was mine. Dad went
downstairs as I entered my new room, probably to give me some privacy.
As soon as I entered my new room, I fell in love with it. The walls were painted my favourite
shade of purple, a window with a sitting area next to it. My room faced another house. I
looked closer at the view from my window and saw a couple passionately kissing in the
I guess the twins aren‟t allowed to look through my window.
“Stacey Davis, get down here. We‟re going to go out to get dinner,” I heard dad call.
“Coming dad!” I yelled.
When I reached downstairs, I saw that the twins were already awake. The excitement in their
eyes was unmistakable. “How did you find your new room?” dad asked.
“I love it!” I told him, this time the enthusiasm was genuine.
“Great,” dad smiled, “I‟m glad you like it.”
“I wuv my woom too” Shane squealed, his brown eyes sparkled with excitement.
“Me thwee” Shania chimed in.
“That‟s nice! How about we paint it sometime?” I asked.
“Yay,” they squealed.
“What do you‟ll guys want to eat?” dad asked.
“KFC!” Shane exclaimed.
“Sweetie, you‟re not allowed to eat that,” dad told him.
“Fine,” Shania pouted, “We won‟t eat anything.”
“Come on, dad,” I whined, “it‟s our first day here, let‟s celebrate.”
“All right,” he sighed in defeat, “we‟ll eat KFC.”
“Yay!” the twins and I exclaimed.
He shook his head and we got in the car.
As we got out of the driveway and sped down the road, I saw a person with a black hoodie,
coming out of the next-door house. He had his head low as he walked down the street. I
watched out my window as the boy shrunk and then disappeared from my sight.
Ring Ring. I heard my phone ring. Maybe it will stop later.
Ring Ring. Ugh! It‟s 6 am, who in their right minds would call me now? I threw the bed
covers off me and went to lift the phone up. Unknown caller? Maybe I should just disconnect
I answered the call. The background was pretty quite. “Umm hello?” I asked confused.
“Stacey! Darling, I missed you,” I heard her saying. I heard mom saying.
“Mom, why are you calling this early?” I asked as I rubbed my eyes.
“I need you to do something,” she urged.
“What? What kind of something?” I asked confused.
“Get me out of here!” she yelled so loud I had to keep the phone away from me.
“Mom, is everything okay?” I ask.
“Now that Sandra got me vodka, yeaah!” she said enthusiastic.
Vodka? Oh, crap! “Mom, how did you even get alcohol in rehab?” I scolded at her.
“Don‟t talk to me in that tone,” she yelled louder, I winced.
“Mom, stop drinking! There‟s a reason why you‟re in rehab,” I tried to explain.
“Oh so now you‟re going to be the adult and teach me what to do? You ignorant teen!” she
yelled, her words slurring at the same time.
I tried to not let that affect me. “Mom, I‟m going to hang up now,” I told her.
“Err no you‟re not! You‟re going to drive all the way here and get me out of here, got it?” she
said still high on the alcohol.
“Mom, I can‟t! You know I can‟t!” I tried to explain to her helplessly.
“Yes, you can,” she yelled louder now, her voice getting raspy from all that yelling.
“I‟m going to hang up now,” I told her again.
“I‟ll call your dad then,” she said in a weird tone, “If he still loves me he‟ll come to get me.”
“Of course dad still loves you!” I exclaimed.
“Sure he does,” she said sarcastically and hung up.
„I love you too, mom‟ I whispered to myself.
She would do this sometimes. Mom would call occasionally and ask us to “get her out.” And
every time my dad would have to turn her down. It pained dad to do it. My dad, Gary Davis,
the most ruthless person in the corporate world (according to him anyway), was the most
vulnerable person when it came to sending mom to Rehab. Nevertheless, he had to do it. We
both know he did.
I was wide-awake and I‟ll never get any sleep now. I changed out of my pyjamas into my
black hoodie and army shorts. I plugged in my iPod and went out for a jog. Jogging is
becoming a regular pattern of mine. It helps me get rid of stress and anything unwanted on
my mind. It‟s a great distraction.
However, because I was distracted, I was tackled to the ground. I fell flat on my back. My
back didn‟t hurt that much but I wanted to kill the idiot that pushed me. The „idiot‟ was quite
soft. It took me a while to realize that it was a huge teddy bear. Like the size of two suitcases!
The teddy bear moved from my vision and a cute guy came in front of me. He was saying
something I think. His sweet pink fine lips were moving. His blue-grey eyes looked at my
brown ones apologetically at first, then in concern and then in confusion. His hand reached
out to my ear and he removed my earphones from my right ear. “Are you okay?” he asked.
His smooth voice left an impression at the back of my mind. I weakly nodded.
He helped me stand up. His tan hands met my pale ones leaving tingle and heat. That was
something I wasn‟t used to. “I‟m so sorry,” he apologized, “I wasn‟t seeing clearly. I couldn‟t
see right. I was holding this,” he said and pointed at the huge white bear.
“It‟s okay,” I smiled.
“I‟m Benjamin McKenzie. I live in this street,” he said with a friendly smile.
“I‟m Stacey Davis,” I said with a smile too, “I live two houses back there,” I pointed behind
me, “I‟m new.”
“I kind of figured that out,” he smirked at first and then turned concerned, “you‟re gonna be
okay though right? No concussions?”
“No concussions. I‟m fine,” I smiled. I was smiling so much today.
“I guess I‟ll see you around then,” he smiled, “I gotta give the bear to someone.”
“Sure, see you around” I said.
He smiled and walked away. I turned to see where he was going. He walked towards my
house. He stopped by the house next to mine and entered. Could he have been the guy in my
neighbours‟ house? My smile faded. Why did the cute guy have to have a girlfriend?
I went back home and poured myself a cup of coffee that I had just made. I blew over it,
trying to cool it down before drinking it. Coffee was something that also helped calm down
The doorbell rang. I checked the time on my watch – 8 pm – and went to open the door. The
door revealed two people. One a blonde girl with a thin frame, she looked around my age.
Next to her stood a beautiful blonde woman, perhaps her mother, who seemed old but still
maintained her beauty.
“Hey there,” The older woman said, “I‟m Margret Blossom.” She then pointed to the other
girl and said, “This is my daughter Sabrina Blossom. I‟m sure you‟ll make great friends.”
I smiled and said, “Come in, I‟m Stacey Davis”.
They entered the room and sat on our black leather sofas. The way they sat spelt Royalty.
They sat with their legs crossed and put their hands on their knees. They sat with such
“How are you finding it here?” Mrs. Blossom asked.
“It‟s good so far,” I told her, “We just reached here.”
“I would love to meet your parents. Where are they?” she asked.
“They‟re not at home. Dad has gone for a meeting,” I told them simply.
“When will they be back?” she asked patiently.
“Maybe later at night, where do you live? I‟ll ask dad to stop by,” I told her.
“We live right next door,” she smiled. She stood up and said, “Ask your father and mother to
visit us soon.”
“Sure, I‟ll let them know,” I smiled.
“Mom, I‟ll meet you out in five minutes,” Sabrina told her mom.
“Sure, Sabrina,” her mom said and left.
I gave her a shy smile. She returned a cold glare. “I know what you‟re doing,” she told me.
“Huh?” I asked her confused.
“You‟re trying to steal my boyfriend, Benjamin,” she glared harder taking one step closer
than me, her tall frame leaning over me by centimetres.
“I don‟t even know who you‟re talking about!” I exclaimed.
“I saw you this morning,” she said, her voice so icy cold, I had to stop myself from shivering
in fear. “You purposely banged into him this morning,” she continued, “I‟m warning you. If
you ever pull a stunt like that again you‟ll wish you were never born. Got that?”
I nodded weakly. She gave me a fake smile and walked out the door.
I stood there in shock. Sabrina‟s words ran through my head. She accused me of stealing
Benjamin. I just met him. How could she even think that? Were all the people in this
neighbourhood like this? Accusing?
I felt that familiar sting behind my eyes. Why was I even crying? I ran up to my room, not
wanting the twins to see me in this state, and shut the door. I hated this place. Why did I have
to even move here? It doesn‟t make sense. None of it does.
I felt someone tugging my pants. “Stace?” I heard Shane ask.
“Yes sweetie?” I whispered.
“I‟m scawed,” he said, his voice shaky.
“Me too,” I heard Shania say.
I got up and saw them huddled together. I patted my bed and they both climbed in.
“What happened, sweetie?” I asked them.
“My room is scawey. I keep hearing noises,” Shania said.
“Scary noises?” I asked.
“Yeah, banging noises. Monsters are gonna eat us!” Shane said and shivered.
Maybe next time I won‟t watch horror movies – Scream - with them. I gave them both a hug
and said “It‟s okay, nothing‟s going to happen. I checked the room.”
“Are you sure, Stace?” Shane asked.
“I‟m positive,” I smiled, “And if you do see monsters tell them that your big sister is going to
kill them all.”
“We will,” they said and smiled.
I was watching TV, Desperate Housewives, when the twins entered the TV room. “Did you
get bored of playing with your toys?” I asked them.
“I‟m hungwy,” Shania whined.
“Hungry? I just gave you cereal!” I told them.
“We want cookies!” Shane said.
“I don‟t think we have any,” I frowned.
“I‟m telling dada,” Shania said and ran out of the room.
Shane and I followed her and found dad changing in his room. By changing I didn‟t mean he
was naked, I meant he was getting dressed into a suit.
“Another meeting?” I asked, one eyebrow raised.
“Yes,” he sighed.
“Dad, how many more do you have?” I asked sadly.
“Not that many,” he smiled at me, “Don‟t worry too much.”
“Dada!” Shania exclaimed.
“What is it, sweetie?” he asked her.
“Stace is a meano!” she said and crossed her arms over her chest.
“How‟s that?” dad asked her concerned and gave me a confused look. I just shrugged and let
Shania do the talking.
“She‟s not giving us cookies,” Shania complained.
“Why not, Stace?” dad asked me.
“We don‟t have any!” I told him.
“I thought we bought a whole box here. Where did those go?” he asked me again.
“It got over on the ride here,” I told him, averting my gaze so he didn‟t know that I finished it
He pulls out his wallet from his back pocket and hands me 50 bucks. “What for?” I asked.
“Buy them cookies, milk and whatever you want,” dad smiled.
“50 is too much for all that,” I told him.
“Keep it,” he smiled and put on his tie.
“Okay,” I said and turned to the twins who had an accomplished look on their faces. “Which
ones do you want? Chocó-chip?”
“Yesh!” they exclaimed, “Can we come?”
I turned to dad asking him with my eyes. “No, you stay with me,” dad smiled at them.
“I can‟t go with Stacey?” Shane asked with her brown puppy dog eyes.
“No, kiddo, we can watch Barney together!” Dad told them. They jumped with joy and left
“Ask Mrs. Blossom where the grocery store is,” dad told me, “They‟re nice people.”
Sure they were. I rolled my eyes and said, “I‟ll find it myself.” With that, I left the house.
I walked down the road and saw a bakery, a boutique but no grocery store. I walked into the
bakery to ask for directions. That‟s when I heard him saying, “Hey, neighbour.”
“Hey, Benjamin,” I said and looked into his blue-grey eyes. He had such beautiful eyes.
“What are you looking for?” he asked.
“The grocery,” I told him and shrugged.
“I‟ll take you there,” he said coming closer.
Sabrina‟s warning flashed in head. “Umm it‟s okay” I told him, “just point me in the
“I insist,” he smiled, “a pretty girl like you could get lost easily.”
I blushed for a second at his comment and said “sure.”
We walked out of the bakery and started strolling down the street. “So how are you?” he
“I‟m good,” I said, “What about you?”
“I‟m great,” he smiled, “Are you settling in fine?”
“Yeah, I guess,” I shrugged as we entered the grocery store.
“You know, there‟s a community party is in two weeks,” he started, “you should come.”
Did he just ask me out? He has a damn girlfriend! He must have seen the way I struggled
because he said, “bring your family along too.”
“Why are you inviting me?” I asked.
“You need to fit in here. You could use some friends,” he smiled, “I could introduce you to
I picked up two boxes of cookies and told him, “I‟ve already met her, Sabrina, I‟m pretty sure
she already hates me.”
“Why would you say that?” he asked confused.
“Listen, Benjamin, I really don‟t want to get in the way of your relationship with her. She‟s
already made that perfectly clear,” I told him.
“What did she say?” he asked now angry.
I gave the milk, two boxes of cookies and a loaf of bread to the counter and said, “She just
told me to stay away from you. She would ruin me if I even tried.” I noticed how my voice
shook at this point. I also noticed how the girl at the counter was paying attention to our
“Really?” he asked as I paid the cashier. I nodded. “I‟m really sorry she said those things. I‟ll
talk to her about this,” he said and opened the door so we could go out of the store.
“I don‟t mind, really,” I said.
“I‟ll make it up to you,” he said standing in front of me, “I‟ll buy you lunch.”
“I need to get home,” I told him disappointed.
“I‟ll drop you if you want, you live next door to Sabrina right?” he asked.
“I do,” I said as we walked down the street, “and thanks.”
“No problem,” he said and smiled.
“Was that huge bear for her?” I asked.
“It was,” he smiled proudly, “our six month anniversary gift.”
“Six months!” I exclaimed, “That‟s pretty long.”
“I know!” he said with a goofy smile, “I love her.”
“I see that,” I chuckled. I saw my house coming into my view so I said, “I guess I‟ll go home
“Sure,” he smiled, “I hope I see you at the community party.”
“I‟ll think about it,” I said and walked towards my house.
Has anyone ever wondered the synonym of „hell‟? I have one „High school‟. Today‟s my first
day there. I can‟t believe it! I‟ve only been in this town for a week and I‟m already going to
school. I had the twins sleeping in the back seat. I couldn‟t leave them at home alone. I drove
to the babysitter‟s house.
Our babysitter was a bit different. She couldn‟t leave her house because of some
commitments so we agreed to leave the twins at her place. In my opinion it‟s good. At least
she won‟t steal anything from us.
I rang the doorbell. The babysitter opened the door. She was in her late twenties. She had
brunette hair that went below her chest. She also had a cute smile that reassured me that I
made the right choice. She helped me by carrying Shane as I carried Shania. We placed them
on the sofa.
“I‟ll take good care of them,” she smiled.
“You better, Sara,” I warned.
She chuckled and said, “I will. What do you want me to tell them when they wake up?”
“Give them cookies and tell them I‟ll be back soon,” I said concerned.
“All right,” she smiled.
“Tell them to call me if they‟re scared,” I said. Maybe I was being too paranoid. “Or maybe
dad,” I added.
“You worry too much, Stacey,” she smiled, “I‟ll call Mr. Davis if there is any problem.”
“All right,” I said and headed for the car.
I parked the car in the parking lot and entered the hallways. I felt so nervous. What if I never
made any friends here? What if they all hate me? I got my timetable from the reception and
then made my way to my first class, geography.
As soon as I entered the class, I noticed that I was probably the only person to be late. I
knocked on the door to announce my presence. “Welcome to our class,” the bald teacher said.
This caused the class to silence completely. I walked in awkwardly.
“I‟m Mr. Sanchez. Maybe you should introduce yourself?” he asked. Maybe I should hang
myself. The damage seems less.
I nodded and began, “I‟m Stacey Davis. I just moved here a week ago.”
“Welcome, Ms. Davis. I‟ll let you sit next to someone good. It will allow you to catch up on
the 1 month of work that you have missed,” he smiled and scanned the class. I scanned the
class too. No one I knew was in class. Then again, I didn‟t know a lot of people.
My eyes landed on a boy who was sitting alone and seemed to have his head in his hands.
Mr. Sanchez seemed to be thinking the same thing because his head shot up as soon as he
called, “Ryan Gates.”
“Yeah, sir?” the black haired guy asked.
“Ms. Davis, sit next to him. He‟s smart enough to pass,” Mr. Sanchez said. The class
I went and sat next to him. “I‟m Ryan,” he said, “I‟ll try to help you out as much as I can.”
“Thanks,” I smiled shyly, “I‟m Stacey.”
“I know,” he chuckled, “do you have any friends here yet?”
I thought about Benjamin. Maybe it wasn‟t a good idea to mention him. He didn‟t look like
he was a school student. “I don‟t think so,” I answered.
The rest of the class went on as normal. Ryan filling me in on what I had missed before.
It was lunch period and I had no one to sit with. That was just fabulous. In all my classes, so
far no one had really offered to let me sit with them. I paid for my lunch from the cafeteria
and went out to the garden. This place was really quite, which was good for me. I didn‟t have
to face people‟s sympathy of me sitting alone.
“You‟re all alone,” I heard someone comment. I turned around and saw Ryan smiling at me.
I just shrugged and said, “I didn‟t know where else to go.”
He sat next to me and said, “You didn‟t find any new friends to sit with?”
“No,” I replied and took a bite of my chicken sandwich.
“I‟ll sit with you for a while,” he smiled. I guess beggars can‟t be choosers.
“Thanks,” I smiled.
“Tell me about yourself,” he said, “I mean why you joined 1 month late?”
“I moved here a week ago. I couldn‟t join earlier and I would die with stress if I joined after
a month late.”
“Oh,” he chuckled.
“Ryan, man,” I heard someone calling from behind. My eyes met another black haired guy
with blue eyes. His height seemed about 5‟9”.
“What‟s up?” Ryan asked him.
“Your girlfriend‟s looking for you,” his friend said.
“All right, take care of this girl,” he said and pointed at me, “she‟s new.”
“I‟ll do that,” his friend said, “You go.”
Ryan left and his friend sat next to me. “Hey, I‟m Peter,” he said.
“Hey, I‟m Stacey,” I said shaking Peter‟s hand.
“Why did you choose this school?” he asked curiously.
“My dad chose it. Something to do with a respectable reputation,” I shrugged.
I opened my house door and fell on the sofa. I was so exhausted. I had so much homework.
“Tacey?” I heard Shane call. That was his nickname for me.
“Yeah, Shay?” I asked, my nickname for him.
“Why are you sleeping? Is it nap time?” he asked me.
Nap time. Damn, I missed those days. “For me it is,” I told him, “I‟m really tired.”
“Sleep in your room,” he said trying to pull me off the sofa.
“I love you,” I kissed his forehead and drowsily made my way to my bed.
He crawled in with me. “What did you do today?” he asked me. Something in his tone of
voice said „ask me the same thing too‟. Dad had just picked them up from their baby sitter‟s
two hours ago so it‟s probably about that.
“My day was boring,” I said, “What about yours?”
“I made a new fwend!” he said grinning.
“Really? Who?” I pretended to act interested while on the inside I was so tired.
“Her name is Sara,” he says, “She‟s really nice. She watched „Barney‟ with me and Shania”.
“Where‟s Shania?” I asked now worried. She should usually be beside Shane.
“She‟s sleeping in her room,” he said and put his tiny hand on my forehead. He would do that
sometimes to calm me down. It didn‟t work all the time… but it did this time. I smiled.
Today was the community party. I had informed dad about it long ago and he had agreed to
take us. We could make new friends. I could use new friends. Ryan and Peter were all right
but other than them, I had no one else.
I stared into my closet filled with clothes but there was nothing to wear. In the end, I chose a
black cotton strapless dress. It had a sweetheart neckline and it reached above my knees. It
was summer here so my choice wasn‟t bad. The dress was a gift from one of my dad‟s
colleagues. They would gift me things sometimes.
I went to the twins‟ room. Shane wore a blue t-shirt with his black jeans. Shania wore a pink
dress with frills at the bottom. “You look like supermodels!” I exclaimed.
“You look pweety too,” Shania said and gave me a hug.
“Thanks, sweetie,” I told her and squeezed her. “Who helped you dress?” I asked.
“I did, all by myself,” she grinned.
“Liar!” Shane yelled, “Dada helped us both.”
Now that was shocking. I don‟t even remember the last time dad offered to get them dressed.
He called it „women‟s area‟. “Can you ask dada to comb your hair?” I asked him. He smiled,
took his comb and left to find dad.
I grabbed a comb from the dressing table and started combing Shania‟s hair. I could tell that
the combing relaxed her. It always did. “Are you excited?” I asked.
“Yeah!” she said, “Dada says we‟ll make new fwends!”
“Daddy told me that too,” I smiled. I could use new friends.
After I tied her hair in a high ponytail she ran downstairs. I looked at myself in the mirror. I
didn‟t really do much to my face, just eyeliner. I ran my fingers through my brown hair and
gave myself one last look before heading downstairs.
“Baby girl, you look amazing,” dad said.
I blushed and whined, “Dad, stop it”.
“I think I‟m gonna have to stick by you the entire night,” dad said, “To make sure that no boy
tries to steal you.”
“Dad, no boy‟s going to look at me,” I said and grabbed my black pumps and headed towards
“I don‟t want to be taken by surprise later,” he said while putting the twins in the back seat
and then I sat next to them.
“Trust me dad you won‟t,” I sighed. I‟ve never really had a boyfriend before. Why should I
be so sure that I‟ll get one now? Besides, Benjamin is off limits.
We arrived at the venue. To say it was beautiful would be an understatement. This hall had
four outdoor Gazebos, huge buffet spreads, beautiful lighting. In all, it looked like a magic
“Amazing,” I breathed.
“I‟m going to mingle,” Dad said, “take care of these two.”
“I won‟t let them out of my sight,” I said.
“Let them run around if they want,” dad said and walked away.
“What do you want to do?” I asked them.
“I wanna see the entire place,” Shania said.
“All right,” I said and held their hand, “let‟s go.”
We walked around the location. The people here looked rich. Even though they wore
informal clothes, it was visible that they were rich. There was an aura of class around them.
Some sent us a smile while the others ignored us.
I saw Benjamin McKenzie walking towards us. I smiled at him and he did the same for me.
His smile signalled the butterflies in my stomach to start fluttering.
“Hey,” I said.
“Hey,” he smiled and looked down at Shane and Shania. “Who are these two?” he asked.
“Shane and Shania,” I told him and looked at them with pride.
“Hello there,” he kneeled down and shook their hands, “I‟m Benjamin.”
“Hi, Benanin, are you Stacey‟s friend?” Shane asked him.
“I am” Benjamin said, “Are you two her brother and sister?”
“Yesh!” Shania squealed.
He smiled at me and then asked them, “do you have any friends yet?”
“No,” Shane said in a tone which was so sad it hurt me a little.
“You know what?” Benjamin said and put his hand and Shane‟s shoulder, “I have a sister
who wants to make friends. Do you want to meet her?”
“Can I come?” Shania asked.
“Of course you can,” Benjamin said and held her hand.
“Let‟s go with him,” Shane said and started tugging on my hand.
“All right,” I chuckled and the four of us walked together.
“By the way,” Benjamin told me, his blue-grey eyes staring at me, “you never told me you
had a brother and a sister.”
“You never brought it up,” I said while glancing at what he was wearing; a black t-shirt with
white spirals at the bottom along with black jeans. “You never mentioned you had a sister
He chuckled and said, “I guess we‟re even. How old are they?”
“They‟re both three,” I told him.
“Same age as my sister,” he smiled.
We finally reached a place where a girl was collecting rocks. She looked like she was around
3 years old. She has blonde ringlets with brown in it. “Holly,” Benjamin said.
The little girl looked up and said, “Benny! I found cool rocks.” She held out her tiny hand so
that Benjamin could see the rocks.
“That‟s great!” Benjamin said, “I found you new friends. Do you want to play with them?”
“Sure!” she smiled a dimpled smile and pulled Shane and Shania and they started talking.
“Let‟s go someplace else,” Benjamin said. I followed him. “So did you make any new
friends?” he asked.
“Well, not many,” I said, “I guess I‟ll get some eventually.” Wow, I really sounded like a
“You always have me,” he smiled.
“I guess I do,” I grinned.
We stopped next to one of the gazebos. “Can I ask you for something?” he asked.
“Sure. What is it?” I asked back.
“I need you to do me a favour,” he said looking deep into my eyes.
“What is it?” I asked.
“The thing is,” Benjamin started, “I think Sabrina‟s cheating on me.”
“What?” I asked shocked. Honestly, it wasn‟t that shocking. A girl with her personality was
bound to cheat.
“Yeah, she‟s just so distant lately. She always cancels on dates. Her excuses are so lame,” he
“What do you want me to do?” I asked confused.
“You go to her school right?” he asked. I nodded. “Can you do snooping around? Find out if
she‟s seeing anyone else.”
“I don‟t know,” I said unsure. Didn‟t he have other friends? He‟s looked like he was in a
university now so he couldn‟t do the spying himself.
“Please, just this one thing,” he said. I looked at his eye and I only sensed one thing from
him, vulnerability. He was vulnerable. It‟s almost as if he needs self assurance that Sabrina‟s
not cheating on him.
“I‟ll do it,” I sighed as his face showed happiness, “But don‟t expect quick results.”
“Thank you so much,” he said and gave me a quick hug. The hug was really quick but I
enjoyed that entire two seconds.
“You‟re welcome,” I smiled.
“Oh and the dress really suits you,” he smiled.
“Thank you,” I blushed.
“Stacey,” I heard from far. I looked around and saw dad looking at me. He did a hand motion
calling me. “I need to go,” I told Benjamin, “My dad‟s calling.”
“Sure, I guess I‟ll find Sabrina. She said she‟ll come late,” Benjamin said.
“Bye,” I said and walked towards dad.
“I thought I didn‟t have to worry about boys,” dad said and put his arms around my shoulder.
“Dad!” I whined, “He‟s just a friend. He‟s the one that told me about this party.”
“Sure,” he gave me a knowing smile, “Do you want to dance? I don‟t have a partner.”
I gave him a huge smile and said “sure.”
My father was a great ballroom dancer. He had received awards when he was around my age
for ballroom dancing. Whenever I danced with him, I felt like a princess. I was his little
princess. Most girls my age would be embarrassed to dance with their dad, but moments like
these were so rare. I cherished them with all my heart.
While we were dancing, I saw dad looking into distance, at no one in particular, almost like
he was thinking of something… or someone. “Dad?” I asked.
“Yeah, princess?” he asked and smiled after he came out from his daze.
“Are you thinking about mom?” I asked.
He sighed and said, “Yeah, I wish she was here.”
“I wish she was here too,” I said as we twirled round and around. “Do you know when she‟ll
“No,” he sighed frustrated, “she‟s not even helping herself. She keeps falling off track.”
I stood on my toes and kissed his cheeks, “She‟ll come back soon.”
“I hope so,” he said giving me a not-so-convincing strong smile. “Where‟s Shane and
Shania?” he asked worried.
“With another girl. They made a new friend,” I smiled.
“Good, did you make any friends?” he asked me.
“You pulled me away from my friend,” I said giving him a stern look.
“Make more friends, ones who are the same gender as you. I saw some girls your age here.
Do you want me to introduce you to them?” dad asked.
“No, thank you,” I said and then the music stopped.
“I bet they would love to be friends with „the producer‟s daughter‟. You already met
celebrities,” dad pointed out.
“Dad, I fail to call Eugene Levy a celebrity. He‟s old! If I get to meet Robert Pattinson I‟ll
consider myself lucky.” Then the next song started and we started to dance again.
“May I cut in?” I heard someone say.
I turned my head and saw Benjamin. I gave dad a questioning look. He nodded at me - gave
Benjamin a stern look - and then left. “Hey,” I smiled.
“Hey,” he smiled and took my hand. The song „Can I have this Dance‟ from high school
musical played. It was a great Waltz song.
“Where‟s Sabrina?” I asked him.
I noticed that his face fell immediately. I was willing to drop the topic but he answered,
“She‟s not coming. She has a headache.”
“Oh, nothing Aspirin can‟t handle,” I said reassuringly.
“I hope it‟s not just an excuse,” he said giving me a weak smile.
We were waltzing the whole time we were talking. It felt so effortless with us. We waltzed
around the gazebo; the only way I realized that we were dancing was because of the wind that
was blowing through my hair.
In this moment, there was only him and me. His blue-grey eyes looked into my plain boring
brown eyes. His light brown –almost blonde – hair moved with the wind. His arm on my
back, his grip was so firm. I didn‟t have to worry about him dropping me accidently. My pale
hands on his strong arms and our right hands clasped together.
And his lips… his lips looked even more delicious right here. Like a delicious piece of candy
waiting to be eaten. Maybe it was my mind playing tricks on me but his lips came closer.
Almost automatically, I started leaning towards him. Our lips brushed together for a second.
Then, he pulled away. His eyes closed. The tightness in his eyes showed he was annoyed.
“Benjamin?” I asked confused.
“I‟m sorry,” he said and started spacing himself from me.
“For w-what?” I stuttered.
“For the almost kiss,” he said, “I didn‟t mean to.”
„I didn‟t mean to‟ he told me, which was enough to crush my heart. He didn‟t mean to kiss
He started walking away from me, leaving me in complete isolation.
I ran towards the washroom and cried for some time. I felt my phone vibrating through the
pocket in my dress. “Yeah, dad,” I answered, my voice didn‟t tremor too much.
“We‟re going to leave now,” he said, “Shania‟s whining, she wants to go home.”
“I‟ll meet you by the car then?” I asked.
“You can stay if you want, I‟ll pick you up later,” dad suggested.
“No, dad, I think I‟ll come with you. I‟m tired,” I said.
“You sound tired,” he sighed, “All right, meet us by the car.”
I hung up the phone and fixed myself before leaving the washroom. I saw dad leaning against
“Hey, are you okay?” he asked concerned.
“I‟m fine,” I shrugged, “let‟s go.”
I sat in the back seat. I looked at the twins and saw them both upset.
“What happened to you two?” I asked.
“I hate Shania!” Shane grumbled.
“Why?” I asked shocked.
“She told dada to take us home early,” Shane said.
“Why?” I asked Shania.
“Because he was talkin‟ to that girl and he was not talkin‟ to me,” Shania sobbed.
“Holly?” I asked her.
“Yes, I wanted to talk to her too but Shane‟s not lettin me,” Shania said and put her head on
“Shane, let Shania also talk to her next time,” I sighed, “She needs friends too.”
“Stacey, she only my friend,” Shane complained stressing on „my‟.
“Dad, make them stop,” I whined.
“Guys, don‟t give your sister trouble,” dad said, “She‟s tired, let her sleep.”
“Sowie,” Shania said and they both shut up. I gave dad a grateful smile and looked out the
The slow motion of the car gently lulled me to sleep.
I felt my leg dangling in the air. I opened my eyes sleepily and saw dad. “Hey, princess,” dad
“Why are you carrying me?” I asked, my voice croaking.
“You fell asleep in the car,” he smiled and laid me on my bed.
“Sleep tight,” dad whispered and kissed my forehead as I fell into deep sleep.
School again. Have I mentioned how much I despised school? I mean, a week has passed and
I don‟t have a friend I could call my „BFF‟. I went about my normal duties, which consisted
of dropping the twins off at their baby sitters and then went to school.
I sat in Mr. Sanchez‟s class. His really boring, lulling me gently to sleep, kind of class. “So
I‟m giving you the rest of this class to prepare an oral presentation on the topic,” Mr. Sanchez
“Damn it!” Ryan groaned.
“Prepare it with one other person,” Mr. Sanchez continued.
“Awesome!” Ryan exclaimed, “You‟re smart right?”
“Yeah, kinda,” I chuckled.
“However,” Mr. Sanchez said, interrupting our happy moment, “I will pick your partners.”
This time the entire class groaned. “Maybe we can still be together” I added.
“Ryan, you‟re with Landon,” Mr. Sanchez said. Ryan groaned and sat in front. Mr. Sanchez
called out other pairs and then said, “Yasmine Hamdy, you can sit with the new girl, Stacey.”
She smiled and sat next to me, “Hey, I‟m Yasmine.”
“I‟m Stacey,” I smiled and looked at her. She had black wavy (almost curly) hair, light blue
eyes, thin nose and pale white skin, she was really beautiful. She had something exotic and
foreign to her.
“Have you done this topic before?” she asked in an accent that was definitely foreign.
“I think I must have read it once,” I said and then I asked her, “Are you from here?”
“No,” she chuckled, “My family moved here last year from Dubai.”
“Oh Dubai,” I exclaimed, “That‟s an Arab country right?”
“Yeah it is,” she chuckled.
“And you‟re Muslim?” I asked.
“No, Christian,” she chuckled, “Does it matter?”
“No, sorry! I didn‟t mean to offend you.”
“It‟s all right,” she smiled, “you don‟t have much friends here, do you?”
“No, just Ryan and his friend Peter,” I said.
“Well add me to that list,” she smiled, “I‟d love to be your friend.”
I grinned and said, “That would be amazing.”
“Ms. Hamdy and Ms Davis,” Mr. Sanchez said, “I‟m glad you two are getting along but
could you do some work?”
“Sorry, Mr. Sanchez,” Yasmine said.
At lunch, I decided to sit with Yasmine since she invited me to sit with him. Peter came and
sat with us.
“Hello Yasmine,” Peter said seductively.
“Dude, I‟m not interested in you,” Yasmine said and stuck her tongue out.
“Fine, you just lost the opportunity,” Peter said.
“I don‟t care,” Yasmine said and ate her yoghurt.
“Are you two friends?” I asked them.
“Best friends,” Yasmine grinned. I smiled at them.
“Where‟s Ryan?” I asked Peter.
“With his girlfriend,” Peter shrugged.
“I can‟t believe he‟s with her,” Yasmine said as she shakes her head.
“Who‟s he dating?” I asked.
“This girl named Sabrina Blossom,” Peter said.
“Sabrina?” I asked. My neighbour Sabrina? Evil Sabrina?
“Yeah,” Yasmine said, “You know, blonde bimbo, the girl that thinks she owns the place.”
“She‟s my neighbour,” I said.
“I pity you,” Yasmine said with a pitiful look.
“I swear she‟s cheating on him,” Peter said.
“But Ryan won‟t even listen to us,” Yasmine continued.
“Maybe I can try,” I suggested.
“Are you and Sabrina friends?” Yasmine asked.
“No,” I chuckled, “I‟m pretty sure she hates my guts.”
“I guess you can give it a try,” Peter said and smiled.
At the end of the day in school, I got a note from a freshman asking me to follow them.
Therefore, I did follow him and I reached the football field. As soon as we saw Sabrina, the
guy ran away. She saw me and started walking towards me. You know, the kind of walk that
a lion does that makes his prey squirm
“I thought I warned you before,” Sabrina said flipping her blonde hair over her shoulder.
“About what?” I asked confused.
“Benjamin,” she stated, “Stay away from him. He‟s mine.”
“I was never with him,” I told her but my voice still sounded like I was scared - which I was.
“I heard about the community party,” she said angry.
“Oh,” I said softly, “Well nothing really happened.”
“Better not,” she said and then came closer to me and said with a warning, “I swear, if I hear
about it next time, I will ruin you.”
“You can‟t ruin me,” I challenged her.
She smirked and said, “I bet the whole school would love to know about your mom.”
My jaw dropped. “How do you know?” I asked.
“I have connections,” she said giving me an evil smile.
She started walking away when I stopped her by asking, “What about Ryan?”
“What about him?” she asked.
“Why are you dating him too?” I asked.
“Because I need someone to give me company while Benjie‟s away” she said.
“What?” I heard a male voice ask.
I turned around to see Ryan.
“Ryan?” I asked confused.
“You‟re cheating on me?” Ryan asked Sabrina in disbelief, completely ignoring my presence.
“Ry babe, it‟s not like that” Sabrina said and started walking towards him.
“Why would you even ask me out?” Ryan asked. “Why me?”
“I like you,” Sabrina said to him slowly, almost flirtatiously.
“You know what? Stay away from me,” Ryan said and walked away.
“Babe, listen!” Sabrina said and walked away, but not before giving me a warning glare and
What did I just do?
I went home directly since dad said that he would pick up the twins. “I‟m home,” I yelled as I
“Staceey,” I heard Shane said and he hugged my legs.
“Hey sweetie, where‟s dad?” I asked.
“He‟s up. He‟s angry on the phone,” Shane said.
“Why is he angry?” I asked as I carried him in my arms.
“I dunno,” he said and gave me an adorable smile.
“I‟ll go find out,” I said and kissed his cheek. He smiled and kissed mine as I climbed up the
I entered dad‟s room and heard him on the phone yelling. “Listen to me,” he yelled, “We‟re
not taking that deal all right, and the TV ad doesn‟t even have a good script!” Some more
silence and then he hung up the phone after using curses I would have been expelled from
“Dad, what kind of example are you setting for your kids?” I fake scolded.
“I‟m sorry,” he sighed and took a few deep breaths and then continued, “It‟s just some clients
are being annoying.”
I chuckled and put Shane on the floor, “Just watch your language around them.”
“Thanks for the advice,” he said sarcastically and picked up Shane.
“I‟m gonna take a shower,” I sighed and headed out.
After I finished my homework I decided to get some sleep. I almost fell asleep when my
phone started ringing. This person must have a death wish.
“Hello?” I answered the unknown caller‟s phone.
“Hey, it‟s Benjamin,” he said.
“Hi,” I said, not in the mood. Nobody disturbs my sleep. Nobody!
“Are you busy?” he asked.
“I‟m sleeping,” I groaned.
“Oh damn, I‟m sorry,” he apologized.
“It‟s okay, what do you want?” I asked.
“Did you find out anything?” he asked awkwardly.
“About what?” I asked confused.
“Sabrina,” he reminded impatiently.
“Oh her,” I said. Should I really tell him? Maybe I can get Sabrina to tell him herself. That
way I‟m not butting in. I like that plan! “Nothing,” I said to him.
“Nothing? Really?” he asked disappointed.
“I‟m sorry,” I said.
“One more thing,” he said before I could hang up the phone.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“About our kiss,” he started. Did he have to mention it?
“What about it?” I asked nonchalantly. He obviously regretted it and I shouldn‟t make a big
deal out of it.
“There‟s nothing awkward between us right?” he asked.
“Nope,” I reassured him. “Nothing bad between us,” I said.
“Oh good!” he exhaled in relief, “I don‟t want things to be awkward between us.”
“I don‟t either,” I smiled. At least he still wants me in his life.
“I let you sleep then,” Benjamin chuckled.
“Thanks,” I said and hung up immediately. I know it‟s rude, but I was sleeping!
I finally closed my eyes and I was just about to fall into a deep slumber when I heard the door
creak open. “Stacey,” I heard Shania‟s little voice say. I didn‟t respond. Maybe if she realized
I was sleeping she would leave me alone. “Dada‟s calling you to eat,” she said and pulled on
“Shan, go,” I mumbled.
“Okay,” she said and kissed my cheek.
Ten minutes later, I felt my bed shift. I felt someone next to me, dad maybe. I started to
laugh. I laughed so loud because he was tickling me. “Dad, stop,” I said.
“Get up then,” he laughed and continued tickling me.
“Okay okay!” I said and tried to push him off me.
I guess I‟m not going to get to sleep. I smelled pasta, something that was definitely made by
dad. My stomach grumbled and I let my nose lead the way.
I‟m surprised I got sleep last night from all the noises from Sabrina‟s room. It‟s a bit weird that I can
actually hear them. She shouldn‟t do this. It‟s unfair to both Ryan and Benjamin. She probably sleeps
with both of them too. I‟m gonna go talk to her.
Five minutes later I‟m in my shorts and a simple white tee. I knocked on Sabrina‟s door. Her mother
opened the door. “Umm hey, Mrs. Blossom,” I started, “is Sabrina here?”
“She‟s upstairs,” Mrs. Blossom sighed and opened the door so that I could go in.
I really had no idea where her room is so I just climbed up the stairs.
“What are you doing here?” I heard Sabrina ask. I turned around to see her in only a shirt. I would put
my money on Benjamin‟s shirt.
“I need to talk to you,” I told her after gathering up my courage.
“About what?” she asked.
“Ryan and Benjamin,” I said, “You can‟t be with both of them. You have to choose.”
“Oh and let me guess,” she said sarcastically, “I should choose Ryan so that you can have Benjie all to
“It‟s not fair to Ryan either!” I said.
“Listen, girl, unless you want the entire school to find out about your mother you better keep your
mouth shut,” she threatened.
“I won‟t tell him but you better tell Benjamin that you‟re cheating on him soon,” I said.
I heard the door creak. Benjamin came out from the room we were in front of. “What were you
saying?” he asked me.
“Baby, she‟s just lost,” Sabrina said and put her arms around his waist.
“Stacey, what were you saying?” he asked me.
I can‟t tell him, can I? Sabrina‟s blackmailing me. I felt so helpless right now.
“Stacey, leave,” Sabrina said coldly.
Benjamin slowly pushed Sabrina lightly away from him and walked towards me. “Is she cheating on
me?” he asked.
“I can‟t say,” I mumbled and looked at my toes. I took a slight peak at Sabrina. She was smirking.
“Sabrina, are you?” Benjamin asked her frustrated.
“Baby, you know I love you right,” Sabrina coo-ed.
“That‟s what you said the last time!” Benjamin yelled and banged the wall.
“I‟m sorry,” she cringed and started walking towards him.
“Stay away from me, all right,” Benjamin said and walked away from us, “we‟re through.”
“Baby, come back,” Sabrina said. He just shook his head, gave me a betrayed look and left.
Sabrina turned to me and glared, “You‟re going to wish you were dead.”
“It‟s not my fault,” I said and went downstairs.
I walked towards Benjamin‟s house and saw him sitting on his front porch with his head in his hands.
As soon as he heard my footsteps he lifted his head up. “What are you doing here?” he asked. He
didn‟t sound too happy.
“I came to see if you were okay,” I said and went closer to him.
“Of course you did,” he said sarcastically.
“I‟m serious!” I defended, “You looked hurt.”
“You expected me to be happy?” he scoffed.
“No,” I whispered not knowing what to say to him.
“You knew about this didn‟t you?” he asked me. I nodded.
“And,” he continued, “You didn‟t even tell me anything. Some friend you are.”
“I‟m sorry,” I whispered.
“You know who he is, don‟t you?” he asked. I nodded.
“I can‟t believe you!” he exclaimed, “You are the worst friend ever.”
“I‟m sorry,” I whispered and got up, “I promise I won‟t ever interfere in your life again.”
He hates me. I can‟t have him hate me.
I walked halfway down the path, but his voice stopped me. “Listen, Stacey,” he said, “I‟m really
sorry. I‟m just angry right now.”
“I understand,” I nodded not sure where to go from here. I mean do I still walk out? Does he still hate
me? Did he forgive me?
“Wanna grab a doughnut?” he asked, “I need to cool off.”
“I don‟t mind,” I shrugged.
We started walking towards the café. “I‟m sorry I yelled at you,” he mumbled - maybe embarrassed.
“It‟s okay, I‟ve already forgiven you,” I smiled.
“Sabrina should be like you,” he said, “I mean you‟re kind, understanding, smart and great with kids.”
“Great with kids?” I asked amused.
“Yeah, Sabrina ignores Holly. It‟s really annoying. She says that my sister needs to learn manners,”
“That‟s rude!” I exclaimed.
“I know,” he said, “I have no idea why I was even going out with her.”
“Is it the first time she cheated on you?” I asked.
“Fifth time or something,” he said and kicked a stone on the road.
“Wow! Why be with her?” I asked.
“I don‟t know,” he shrugged, “There‟s a thrill of being with a younger girl and she preferred older
“Old? How old are you?” I asked.
“Twenty,” he chuckled.
“Two year gap?” I asked.
“Three,” he said.
We entered the café and sat at a table near the window. “Anyway,” I said trying to distract him from
the topic, “how is Holly?”
“She‟s great,” he smiled
“Shane and Shania miss her,” I said as the waitress came with our cappuccinos.
“Holly misses them too,” he smiled, “although I think that she misses Shane more than Shania.”
“I think so too,” I chuckled and sipped my coffee.
“How about you arrange a play date this afternoon?” he asked.
“I can try,” I smiled.
It‟s afternoon and I‟m getting the twins ready for their play date. “Are you suwer that Holly‟s
gonna be there?” Shane asked excited.
“I‟m positive,” I smiled.
“Will she talk to me too?” Shania asked while combing her dolls hair.
“If you ask her to, I‟m sure she will,” I said kissed her forehead while combing her hair and
tying it into a fountain style ponytail.
“Do I look okay?” Shane asked while running his fingers through his hair.
“You look amazing,” I said and gave him a flying kiss.
“And me?” Shania asked.
“Like a princess,” I said and kissed her cheek.
“Aren‟t you going to tell me how I look?” I asked them with puppy eyes.
“Pwettier than a pwincess,” Shania said and kissed my cheek.
“Pwettier than Shania,” Shane said and stuck his tongue out at Shania.
“All right,” I chuckled, “go downstairs, I‟ll be there soon.”
They ran downstairs.
I quickly put on my eye-liner and lip balm and went downstairs. I put them in the back seat of
my car, fastened their seat belt and got in.
“How long till we reach?” Shane asked.
“I don‟t know,” I said, “but soon.”
Truth is, I think I‟m lost. I have no idea where we are. I‟ve been following signs that lead me
to „Winter Park‟ but we still haven‟t reached yet.
I saw another sign that said „Winter Park‟ and the arrow pointed forward. I followed that one
and finally saw the park. “We‟re here,” I told them and breathed out. They would be so
disappointed if we didn‟t make it.
I parked in the parking lot, unbuckled their seatbelts and we got out. Now all we have to do is
find Benjamin. I sighed. This was gonna be a long day. Maybe I should have saved his
number. It would have been way easier then.
“Stacey!” I heard Benjamin yelling. I turned around and saw him walking towards me hold
Holly on his arms. “Glad you made it,” he smiled, “Holly was starting to get sad.”
“No, I wasn‟t,” Holly said and slapped his cheek.
“We were… exploring the roads,” I said.
“No,” Shania said, “We were lost.”
Benjamin chuckled and said, “Maybe we should all come here together next time.”
“We play now?” Holly asked impatiently.
“Sure,” Benjamin said, kissed her cheek and let her go.
Shane, Shania and Holly went and played on the slides. They were laughing and taking turns
on the slide. It was very cute to watch.
“Do you think they‟ll be best friends?” Benjamin asked me.
“Why not?” I shrugged and went on the swings.
He followed me and sat on the swing next to mine. “Holly doesn‟t have many friends,” he
“The twins don‟t either,” I smiled.
“At least they have each other,” Benjamin said and swung himself up high.
“That‟s true,” I said then I realized that he couldn‟t hear me. “Benjamin! Don‟t swing when
I‟m talking to you!” I yelled while laughing.
He slowed down and said, “You know you don‟t have to call me Benjamin. It‟s too long.”
“Then what do I call you?” I asked. I sure wasn‟t calling him „Benjie‟. It was a bit weird.
“Ben,” he said, “All my friends call me that.”
“I‟m your friend?” I asked dumbly.
“No, you‟re my enemy,” he said sarcastically and rolled his eyes.
“I didn‟t realise we were that close friends,” I said explaining myself.
“Oh,” he said, “We are good friends.”
“It‟s just that I don‟t know a lot about you,” I said.
“Well what would you like to know?” he asked.
“Like what are you doing right now? Education wise,” I asked.
“I‟m in university right now. It‟s like 30 minutes from here,” he said.
“Impressive,” I said, “This is my last year of high school.” I grinned.
“I know,” he sighed, “its Sabrina‟s last year too.”
“Oh,” I said quietly, “I didn‟t mean to bring her up.”
“It‟s okay,” he said giving me an uncomfortable smile. “Tell me something” he asked. I
nodded for him to continue. “Do you know who the other guy is?” he asked.
“Who?” I asked confused.
“The other guy she‟s cheating on me with,” he said.
“Oh,” I sighed, “Ryan Gates.”
“Peter and Yasmine‟s best friend?” he asked.
“Umm I think so,” I said.
“I can‟t believe this!” he said in anger.
“Do you know him?” I asked.
“He‟s my best friend‟s younger brother,” he said in a calmer voice.
“Oh, well I don‟t think they‟re going out anymore,” I said.
“Really?” he asked shocked.
“Yeah, he was being cheated on too,” I said.
“But he should have known I was with her!” he yelled. “I can‟t believe him,” he whispered
after getting a few glares from mothers.
“You should get over her,” I suggested.
“And find a rebound girl?” he asked.
No, choose me. A voice inside my head whispered. “Or a girl in your university,” I said.
“I can‟t do that,” he said, “I still love her.”
“Love comes and goes,” I whispered slowly.
“Like with your parents?” he asked.
“What?” I asked shocked.
“Your parents are separated right?” he asked. I stared at him in shock. Separated? Dad would
never do that to mom, would he? He loves her. “I‟m sorry,” he quickly said after seeing the
look on my face, “My dad was saying that at dinner. Your dad told him that.”
Dad‟s planning on getting a divorce? Why don‟t I know about this?
“It‟s okay,” I said quietly.
“Is it true?” he asked. Was it true?
“Can we not talk about it?” I pleaded as I was almost on the verge of tears, “Mom‟s a touchy
“I‟m sorry,” he said and got off the swing and gave me a hug.
“It‟s not your fault,” I said as I cried on him.
“Maybe you should go home,” he said, “get some sleep, you seemed tired anyway.”
“I can‟t leave the twins here,” I said and looked at the children playing, “they‟re having too
“I‟ll drop them home,” he suggested.
“Are you sure you can do that?” I asked.
He chuckled and said, “Your house is not too far. It isn‟t an inconvenience.”
“I could use some sleep,” I mumbled.
I walked towards Shane and Shania. “I‟m gonna go home okay,” I told them.
“Buh we wanna play,” Shania complained.
“You can play here,” I smiled, “Holly‟s brother Ben will drop you home.”
“Okay,” they said, gave me a kiss and went to the swings.
“I‟ll take care of them,” Ben said.
“Call me if anything goes wrong all right?” I asked.
“I will,” Ben smiled, “Now go home and sleep.”
I hesitated and then said, “Thanks.”
“No problem,” he smiled.
“Can you save your number for me?” I asked and handed him my phone. He typed and gave
me my phone back.
“I guess I‟ll go home then,” I said.
“See ya!” he said.
With that I turned around and left.
I reached home and immediately sat on the couch. I put on the CW and watched „The
Vampire Diaries‟ on it. I felt the sofa move. I turned and saw dad sitting next to me. I still
didn‟t want to talk to him.
“Where are the rest of my kids?” he asked.
“Why do you care?” I asked coldly and increased the TV volume.
“Because I‟m their father,” he pointed out, “Seriously, where are the twins?”
“The park,” I answered.
“Alone?” he asked concern.
“I would never leave them alone!” I yelled at him.
“Is something wrong?” he asked me, coming closer.
“Other than the fact that my parents are getting a divorce, everything is fine.” I gave him a
disappointed look and increased the volume even more.
“Where did you hear that from?” he asked, shocked and confused.
“Not from you,” I said and finally turned towards him, “that‟s for sure.”
“Honey, your mom and I are not getting a divorce,” he said, “Don‟t listen to that crap. I just
told people that we are temporarily separated, that‟s all. Your mom will be back soon."
“You think so?” I asked with hope, forgetting to keep up my grudge against him.
He sighed and pulled my cheeks and then said, “Well, we could all try to stay positive.”
“Dad, I miss her,” I said sadly.
“Me too,” he said and kissed my forehead.
The doorbell rang. I got up and opened it. I saw Ben – since I‟m allowed to call him that –
standing outside with Shania in his hands and Shane next to him. I looked at my wrist watch.
It was 6 p.m.
“You‟re kinda late,” I pointed out.
“They wanted ice-cream,” Ben shrugged and put Shania down.
“You gave them ice-cream?” I asked, shocked. We didn‟t give them a lot of ice-cream.
Probably once a month or once in two months or something.
“Is that a problem?” he asked, confused.
“I had choco!” Shane said.
“Me too!” Shania said excitedly.
“Holly eats ice-cream every week!” Shane exclaimed, “why not us?”
“What‟s a „week‟?” Shania asked me confused.
“Ice-cream is not good,” I told them. I really had no idea why we never ate ice-cream every
“To room!” Shane said and pulled Shania with her upstairs.
After they left, I turned to Benjamin and said, “Thanks for taking care of them."
“No problem,” he smiled, “I guess I‟ll see you around then?”
“You will,” I smiled – in a trying not to grin way.
He did a little hand wave and left.
I‟ll see him around.
It was 10 p.m. That meant going to sleep because of school tomorrow. It was the first
Saturday of the month, which meant story time. It‟s not something to get overly excited over.
It‟s just that we needed a way to tell the twins about mom so that they wouldn‟t ignore her
when she came back. Our method, was telling them a story about her every first Saturday of
Even though this was for the twins benefit, I loved hearing these stories. It reminds me that
mom existed. It reminded me that mom was nice. It reminded me of mom‟s love for me. It
reminded me that she once used to love the twins, too. It reminded me of her.
“Do you know what time it is?” Dad asked the twins excitedly. Although, I knew the
excitement was not real. He dreaded talking about mom. But, it was something he needed to
“No,” Shane, on my right asked, confused.
“Story time?” Shania, on my left, asked.
“You‟re right,” Dad said and patted her cheek.
“About her?” Shane asked.
Shania hit him and said, “Her name is mommy."
“I‟m gonna tell you another story about mommy,” Dad said, giving them a weak smile.
“Yay!” they both exclaimed, excitedly. I gave dad an encouraging smile.
“Tonight I‟ll tell you about Stacey‟s 5th birthday,” Dad said and then giving me a look that
asked for approval. I nodded. “Stacey had just turned 5 years old,” dad started, “And your
mommy and I needed to get Stacey a gift. We weren‟t sure about what to get her so I
suggested that we get Stacey a Barbie.”
“But Stacey doesn‟t have Barbies!” Shane complained.
“That‟s because she‟s a big girl now. Anyway, your mommy said that we should not get her
only a Barbie but something else too. So, your mommy and I went to the children‟s toy shop
and bought her a pink sketch book for Stacey to draw in. We went to a clothes shop next to
the children‟s toy shop and bought Stacey a yellow dress that made her eyes shine.
“We needed something special. Being five years old is a very special day. So your mommy
decided to make her a big cake. It was a cake that could feed 10 people. The cake had a
picture of Mickey Mouse because Stacey loved him so much.
“Your mommy also organised a party. We called all our closest family and friends. We went
to a hotel for her birthday. On that day, everyone Stacey loved came. She got so many gifts
but do you know which gift she loved the most?”
“Which one?” Shania asked.
“The cake that mommy made. It was because your mommy put her heart into baking that
cake. When anyone ate that cake you could feel the love,” Dad smiled.
“You had love cake?” Shane asked me.
“Yes,” I nodded, “and it was delicious."
“When will mommy come back?” Shane asked, “I want love cake."
“I don‟t know,” dad sighed.
“We need to pray for mommy to come back. She‟s gone on a holiday now,” I told them.
“When do we pray?” Shania asked, “I want to see mommy.”
“You can pray now” Dad smiled, “God listens to little children.”
“You mean He‟ll listen to us?” Shania asked excited.
“Of course He will” I said and patted their head.
“Goodnight,” I said and kissed their foreheads.
“Sleepy?” dad asked me concerned.
“Tired,” I replied giving him a weak smile.
“Goodnight, princess,” he said. He kissed our foreheads and left the room.
Before drifting back to sleep I made a quick silent prayer:
Dear Lord, I need my mom back. Dad‟s a great parent but, he can‟t really raise the twins. I
can‟t do it either. I miss her too much. I need her back. I love her. Amen.
School. I always seemed to dread this day. There was a test today and I don‟t think I was
really prepared for it. Ryan told me that if it‟s Mr Sanchez setting the test paper then it‟s
going to be really tough. I understand that he‟s trying to prepare me for what‟s going to
happen, but he didn‟t have to scare me!
I dropped Shane and Shania off at their babysitters‟ and drove to school.
I entered class and sat next to Ryan. We still haven‟t spoken properly since that day. “Are
you prepared?” he asked me.
“Kinda,” I answered, “I hope I pass.”
“Hey, at least you have an excuse to fail, I don‟t.” he mumbled.
“Excuse?” I asked.
“Yeah, you joined late, you‟re allowed to fail.” he winked.
“My dad would kill me if I failed,” I groaned. Soon enough, Mr. Sanchez dropped our paper
on our desk.
I think I just may ace this test. Well, maybe I‟ll pass. Or I could try to bribe Mr. Sanchez into
letting me pass. I mean my dad is a producer. That counts as something, right?
“How was it?” I heard Ryan ask from behind me after the test.
“Good,” I smiled and then shrugged, “I‟m hoping to pass.”
Ryan chuckled and said “I‟ll be lucky if I get a pass mark.” We walked out of the class.
Yasmine and Peter walked slowly towards us. Both of them were grinning.
“What are they happy about?” Ryan asked me.
“I have no idea,” I shrugged.
“Guess what?” Yasmine asked.
“What?” Ryan asked confused.
“I think we‟re gonna ace this test,” Yasmine said.
“How?” I asked.
“I cheated,” she grinned, “off Peter.”
Ryan gasped and asked “Peter, you let her cheat off you?” Peter never cheats!
“I couldn‟t refuse her request,” Peter grinned, “Now that we‟re friends with benefits.”
“What?” Ryan asked almost angry.
“You guys are dating now?” I asked confused.
“It‟s a long story,” Yasmine sighed.
“But I‟ll say it anyway,” Peter grinned, “since she doesn‟t have a boyfriend and I don‟t have
a girlfriend we‟re going to go out with each other.”
“That‟s a stupid reason to go out with each other,” Ryan said.
“It‟s funny actually,” I smiled. Ryan sent me a tiny glare.
“It‟s like you‟re taking advantage of the foreigner,” Ryan said to Peter.
“Well I can‟t help it if the foreigner is so damn hot,” Peter said and kissed Yasmine‟s cheek.
“You flatter me,” Yasmine grinned, “I‟ll go get me something to eat.”
“See you later,” Peter said, “and get me something to eat too.”
“Sure,” Yasmine said, blew him an air kiss and left.
“Seriously,” Ryan said to Peter, “Don‟t use her for the wrong reasons.”
“I‟ll do whatever I want,” Peter winked at Ryan and then turned to me and said, “See you
I smiled and he left.
What was that about?
“What‟s up?” I asked him, “something bothering you?”
“No,” he said and started walking ahead, “just having a horrible week that‟s all.”
“How come?” I asked.
“You witnessed it,” he said giving me a look, “She cheated on me.”
“Are you still going out with each other though?” I asked him after a few moments of silence.
“I don‟t know,” he sighed, “I guess we‟ll be back together if she promises to never cheat on
me ever again.”
“That kinda seems impossible though,” I told him, “Isn‟t it like „once a cheater always a
“She‟ll change,” he said while opening the door for me, “hopefully.”
I sighed and sat next to Yasmine and Peter.
Those two were actually holding hands. I thought they weren‟t into each other.
“Seriously!” I exclaimed, “Why are the two of you going out with each other?”
“We don‟t need an exact reason,” Peter smiled and then winked as he said “Do you wanna
make it a threesome?”
“Umm no thanks,” I said, disgusted.
“I don‟t mind,” Peter winked.
“I do,” Ryan and Yasmine said together.
I looked at Yasmine and noticed her blushing. Blushing? Why was she blushing?
Ryan pulled me away from that table and we walked towards the football field. “Your mood
is messed up,” I pointed out.
“I seriously don‟t understand why Peter‟s going out with her,” Ryan said in frustration.
“Can‟t you just be happy for them?” I asked, confused.
“I have no idea why she‟s going out with him either. She hates him!” he exclaimed.
“Why are you so worked up about it? Someone probably dared them,” I said.
“I‟m not worked up about it,” he said in an attempt to defend himself.
“Who are you worried about the most?” I asked him.
“Yasmine,” he sighed, “She‟s new here, he shouldn‟t do this to her.”
“Do what?” I asked.
“He has this tendency to get bored of a girl and he‟ll dump her in the rudest way possible,” he
“Oh, but I‟m sure he won‟t dump her. I mean, they‟re best friends, right?” I pointed out.
“She still shouldn‟t go out with him,” he grumbled.
There was another tone in his voice I picked up, Jealousy. He was jealous?
“Then who should she go out with?” I asked.
“Me,” he answered almost immediately. Seconds after he realized what he said he looked at
me and tried to explain but I gave him a sly smile. “Please don‟t tell her,” he begged, “she‟ll
laugh at me.”
“She will?” I asked.
“Yeah, she finds people that crush on her pathetic,” he said, “but she doesn‟t realize that
she‟s so beautiful.”
“And where does Sabrina fit into this?” I asked confused.
“Sabrina?” he asked confused.
“Yes,” I reminded him, “You went out with her until recently.”
“I wanted to get over Yasmine” he shrugged.
“Mmm” I mumbled not knowing what to say about this. He wanted to get over a crush and
out of all the people he could have gone out with, he chose Sabrina. He‟s one messed up
“I have an idea!” he exclaimed after a couple of minutes of silence.
“What kind of idea?” I asked, confused.
“I can make her jealous!” he said.
“Where did that idea even come from?” I asked, confused.
“It doesn‟t matter,” he said in excitement, “If I make her jealous then she‟ll realise that she
likes me back, too.”
“And what if she doesn‟t like you at all?” I pointed out.
“She has to like me back,” he said with determination, “I have a gut feeling about this.”
“You‟re weird,” I said, “How do you plan on making her jealous anyway?”
“I was thinking,” He said shyly, “we pretend to go out.”
“Me?” I stared at him in shock.
“I couldn‟t think of anyone more perfect,” he said and winking.
“I hope this isn‟t some sick way of asking me out,” I said.
“This isn‟t, now let‟s go back there and pretend to be a couple,” he said and pulled my hand.
While walking from the football field to the canteen where Yasmine and Peter were, Ryan
explained everything to me. „Everything‟ included the way he was going to behave, the way I
was going to have to behave and finally the way his plan was gonna be successful.
“Can‟t you just talk to her,” I asked, “without me getting involved?”
“No,” he said and put his hands on mine.
“I want to let you know that I think you‟re weird,” I said.
He grinned and said, “That‟s why you love me.”
I sighed and said, “You owe me big time.”
The next week at school was weird. Especially with the weird looks I got from Yasmine and
Peter. I forgot to include the daggers I got from Sabrina. So far, I have successfully managed
to escape Sabrina. I didn‟t need her right now.
“We need to talk,” I told Ryan, “I don‟t know if I can do this any longer.”
“Why not?” he asked.
“It‟s weird!” I exclaimed.
“What‟s weird?” I heard Mr. Sanchez ask. He was, no doubt, picking on us.
“Huh?” I asked.
“What‟s weird about, Mr. Gates?” he asked again.
“Oh nothing‟s weird about him,” I said cheesily. I heard a couple of awws.
“Then what were you two discussing?” he asked and stood next to our desks.
I said, “It‟s kinda personal,” while Ryan said, “our next date.” Ryan said that while looking at
Yasmine. I earned a glare from her.
“Well maybe the two of you would like to discuss your date in detention later?” Mr. Sanchez
“Anywhere with her,” he grinned at me and glanced at Yasmine.
I sighed and stared at my textbook.
“I think it‟s working,” he whispered.
“Us getting detention?” I asked him, furious, “It worked for sure.”
“No, not that,” he said and smiled at me, “I think it‟s working on Yasmine.”
“Good for you,” I said, “and bad for me.”
“Don‟t be like that,” he said rubbed my shoulders with his hand, “it‟ll all be worth it at the
“You owe me a large pepperoni pizza,” I muttered.
“Anything for a good friend,” he said and gave me a genuine smile.
I sighed and got back to listening to Mr. Sanchez – who was pretty close to giving me
detention, for more than just today.
When it was lunchtime, I was about to go to my table, when Sabrina cornered me. I‟m gonna
die! I thought. “Do you have some kind of personal pleasure stealing my men?” she asked.
“No-” I tried to tell her but she continued anyway, “Do you like experiencing pain, because
you know you‟re asking for it?”
“What pain?” I asked dumbly, “I have no idea what you‟re talking about.”
“Stop it,” she said, bored.
“What do you want?” I asked her.
"Leave Ryan alone,” she said.
“Does that mean I can go after Benjamin?” I asked, in mock delight.
“No,” she said frustrated, “it means stop taking things that were originally mine.”
“They both hate you, you know,” I smirked.
“They don‟t,” she glared, “they‟ll both come back to me soon. At least Benjamin will.”
“They‟re both gonna reject you anyway,” I said and walked away as I saw Ryan coming
towards me. Where did that energy in me come from?
“What did she want?” Ryan asked, as he put his arms around my waist.
“She‟s curious about us,” I shrugged.
“She looked angry,” he said.
“Forget about her,” I said, “For how long do I have to pretend to be your girlfriend?”
“This week maximum,” he smiled, “I think she really likes me back.”
“What if you‟re reading the signs wrong?” I asked him.
“At least I tried,” he smiled.
We sat down at the lunch table and saw that Yasmine and Peter weren‟t there yet. “You can
drop your hand now,” I pointed out.
“I kinda like it here,” he grinned. I gave him an I‟m-so-not-kidding look and he dropped his
Yasmine came and sat across from us, alone. “Where‟s your boyfriend?” Ryan asked,
“He decided to skip school. Some of the seniors are coming to help the teachers with our
career choices or something like that,” she said, while eating some of her Arabian salad.
“Why did Peter leave?” I asked.
“He owes them money or something,” Yasmine rolled her eyes.
“You know, I don‟t have any debts,” Ryan boasted, “I also would never have left my
Ryan lightly kicked my leg. I yelped and gave him a confused look, while he gave me an
urging look. “He‟s a great boyfriend,” I said, cheesily taking Ryan‟s hint.
“Good to know,” Yasmine half-smiled. She muttered something in Arabic and continued
eating her salad.
“Can I try some of your salad?” I asked, politely.
“Sure” she smiled and gave me some.
“This is amazing!” I exclaimed. It was the most delicious salad I have ever eaten! Ever!
“Thanks,” she smiled, “I could use the salad to burn all that extra weight.”
“You look fine,” Ryan told her.
She smiled – almost blushed – and said “Thanks, but I‟m trying to fit into this dress which is
“Why don‟t you get a bigger dress?” I asked.
“I have the biggest size!” she said.
“Don‟t wear the dress then,” I suggested, “because you‟re fine the way you are.”
“You are fine,” Ryan smiled.
I gave him a weird look. Did he just call her „fine‟?
“I mean she‟s perfect the way she is,” he scrambled, “she‟s perfectly fine.”
“Good to know,” Yasmine chuckled.
“I got a new guitar by the way,” Ryan told me.
“That‟s awesome,” I told him.
“No, you‟re awesome,” he said and kissed my cheek.
“Umm thanks...” I said, unsure and picked up my cupcake.
“No problem,” he said and kissed my neck.
“Crossing barriers,” I whispered.
“I want her to be jealous,” he whispered back.
“It‟s working, so you can stop now,” I whispered back, when he kissed my neck.
He sighed, kissed my cheek one last time, pulled away and said “Next time.”
I hope there‟s no next time.
„Getting over you‟ by David Guetta blared from Ryan‟s phone. He stared at the screen and
said, “I gotta take this call.”
“Sure,” I smiled and he left the table.
I looked back at Yasmine who was concentrating on her salad. This was so awkward.
“So … How‟s Peter?” I asked.
“He‟s good” she smiled and ate her salad.
“Tell him I said hi,” I said politely.
“Don‟t you have him on facebook?” she asked me, “Tell him „hi‟ there.”
“Umm okay,” I said, awkwardly.
I looked around for someone – or something – to make this place less awkward. With my
luck however, my eyes landed on someone approaching us who would make this situation
even more awkward. Benjamin.
A light smile played across his lips as his sparkling eyes found mine. I smiled at him too.
“What are you doing here?” I asked him curiously.
“I‟m helping out Mr. Sanchez for the student-teacher day,” he said simply and sat next to me.
“Oh thank God it‟s you and not some other nerd in our class,” Yasmine explained.
“Thank you?” Ben said unsure.
“I was saying it for my benefit. I can‟t stand those seniors with the glasses who always pick
on the less intelligent ones,” Yasmine complained.
“Good to know,” Ben chuckled, “You‟re friends with Peter right?”
“I know him,” she nodded.
“Where is he? He owes my friend 40 bucks” he said.
Yasmine chuckled and said, “Well, he‟s hiding from you.”
Ben chuckled and said, “Tell him we‟ll look for him.”
“Sure,” Yasmine smiled.
I saw Ryan walking towards us.
“Hey, Benjamin,” he said and held out his hand for Ben to shake. He gave me a look and
shook his hand.
“Hey, Ryan,” Ben said to Ryan and then asked me, “I didn‟t know you two were friends.”
“They‟re more that just friends,” I heard Yasmine whisper with venom.
“You have a boyfriend and didn‟t tell me?” Ben asked me with hurt written all over his voice.
“It‟s just that,” I started and looked at Ryan and said, “We didn‟t tell a lot of people.”
“But you‟ll have been roaming around and touching each other whenever you had the
chance,” Yasmine pointed out.
“If you didn‟t want to tell me,” Ben said, “You should have just said so.”
“I‟m sorry,” I said, “I swear I‟ll explain everything later.” I didn‟t want him to be upset with
me. I needed him in my life. My attraction towards him now was stronger than ever.
“So you used to date Sabrina too?” Ben asked, anger lingering in his voice.
“I did,” Ryan nodded.
“But why would you do that?” Ben asked now completely angry, “I thought everyone knew
we were going out.”
“Everyone heard about how you cheated on her too,” Ryan said, his voice calm but
something told me that he wasn‟t.
“I never cheated on her. She‟s the one who always did the cheating,” Ben said while talking
deep breaths in an attempt to calm himself down.
“She came crying to me!” Ryan yelled.
“She probably faked it!” Ben yelled.
“Is that why you went out with her, Ryan?” I asked quietly.
“No,” he said now looking at me, “I was using her to get over someone I have a crush on.”
“And now you‟re with your crush,” Yasmine said in mock delight, “now you have a happy
“No,” Ryan turned towards her, “I still don‟t have you.”
“Me?” Yasmine asked taken back.
Ben just looked confused.
“Yeah, you!” Ryan said, “Do you know how difficult it is to be around you and not tell you
every day that you‟re beautiful?”
“Why were you trying to get over me?” Yasmine asked, “I didn‟t fit your needs?”
“You did Yasmine! You did, you don‟t even like me back,” Ryan said lowering his voice at
“I do like you back,” she whispered, “I hated it when you went out with other girls.”
“I noticed,” I scoffed.
They turned to me and glared. “Privacy?” Ryan asked.
“Sure,” I said and walked away from the table with Ben.
Ben and I walked side by side towards the basketball court. “I think I should be really upset,”
I finally said.
“How come?” He asked confused.
“My boyfriend just confessed he liked someone else and told me to give him privacy,” I told
“Oh,” he said suddenly concerned, “are you gonna be all right?”
I chuckled and said, “I‟m fine, we were just pretending anyway.”
“That‟s great,” he smiled. “Is that why you didn‟t tell me?”
“I forgive you,” he grinned.
“Thank you so much,” I said sarcastically, “I was thinking of killing myself if you didn‟t
He chuckled and steered me by pulling my hand and dragged me towards the basketball
“Play with us,” he stated.
“No,” I said. The court did seem inviting, but it has been a year since I played.
“I‟m sure the guys won‟t mind,” He said giving me an encouraging smile.
“Then I would love to,” I grinned.
Around eight tall and well-built guys approached Ben and I. “Who‟s she?” the guy with the
blonde surfer hair asked.
“This is Stacey,” Benjamin introduced, “my neighbour and friend.”
“Hey,” the surfer hair guy with crystal blue eyes said, “I‟m Rocky and behind me are my
“She‟s playing with us,” Ben told Rocky.
Rocky bursted out laughing and said, “Are you sure you can play? You‟re a girl”.
“I play fine,” I defended myself.
“I‟d like to see that,” one they guys behind Rocky called out.
“Let‟s make this interesting,” Rocky grinned.
“How?” I questioned.
“Whoever gets 10 points first win. Five in each team,” Rocky said.
“And how is that „interesting‟?” Ben asked.
“Well, if her team loses she has to kiss everyone playing on the court,” Rocky grinned.
The entire team? I paled. “No way,” I protested.
“If you wanna play, that‟s the rules,” Rocky smirked.
“What if I win?” I asked.
Rocky bursted out laughing. When he saw my glare towards him, he said, “All right, if you
win our friend Ben here will kiss you.”
“Why do I have to kiss people?” I asked.
“Dude, pick something else,” Ben told Rocky.
“I ain‟t budging,” Rocky snickered.
I sighed and said, “I‟m in.”
The guys behind him cheered. “Let‟s do this,” Rocky smiled, “You can be with Ron, Mike,
Kell and Ian.”
Four tall – and extremely hot – guys approached me. I didn‟t know who was who but they all
had black spiky hair. Two of them had blue eyes and one of them had a chiselled jaw.
“Can you shoot?” one of them asked me.
“Hey! I‟m better than you think I am,” I said.
“Good enough for me, let‟s do this,” he smiled.
We took our positions on the court and the game began. The one with the chiselled jaw from
my team passed me the ball. I dribbled it towards our basket but Rocky stole the ball from me
and passed it to Ben. “You‟re amateurish,” he commented.
“Shut up,” I grumbled and walked forward and saw Ben shooting and scoring.
The guy with the blue eyes passed me the ball and said “pass it to Ian”. Now who is Ian? I
looked around for someone who was open. I saw the one with black eyes open so I passed it
to him and he scored a three-pointer.
So we were winning 3 – 2. I‟m being optimistic.
“We‟re making this easy for you,” one guy from my team said.
“Thanks,” I said giving him an awkward smile.
It‟s been 10 minutes and we‟re losing by 1. The overall score is 9 – 8. If our team scores one
more shot we win. The one with the blue eyes passed me the ball. I dribbled it and saw that I
was clear. I swallowed and threw the ball into the basket.
It went in. It went in! We won! I don‟t have to kiss anyone! I did a happy dance, in my head
of course. “You‟re actually good,” Ben commented.
“Thanks,” I grinned.
“So you won,” Rocky said while standing in front of me.
“I did,” I grinned, “so I don‟t have to kiss anyone.”
Ben handed me a sports drink. I opened it and drank it. “Oh you still do. Did you forget our
I chocked on the drink. “What?”
“Yeah,” he chuckled, “Now that you won, you have to kiss Ben.”
“You don‟t have to do it,” Ben said as I handed him back the drink.
“A deal‟s a deal,” Rocky said in a sing-song voice.
“Fine,” I sighed.
“You don‟t have to do this,” Ben repeated again.
“Hell yeah she does,” someone screamed.
Hell yeah I do.
“Do it,” I whispered.
He smiled and put his arms around my waist. I stood on my toes because he was taller. He
bent down and kissed my lips. His sweet lips just lingered there for a while. I guess he was
waiting for me to make the first move. So I did. I started lip-locking with him. He continued
to do the same. Our lips were in sync. Maybe this was lust taking over but I had to do this. I
licked his lower lip asking for access. He smiled but didn‟t grant me access. He slowly and
reluctantly pulled away.
“Wow,” he breathed. I blushed.
“How was he?” Rocky asked playfully.
“Well, Ben didn‟t have bad breath,” I joked. He smelled –and tasted – amazing.
“Good to know,” Ben chuckled. I bit my lip and looked aside.
“Stacey,” I heard someone yell. I turned around and saw Ryan calling me over.
“I guess I‟ll go,” I said with a tiny smile.
“I‟ll see you later,” he smiled. I smiled – in a trying not to grin way – and walked towards
“Did I miss something?” Ryan asked me with a slight smile.
“No,” I said quickly and looked away while I let the blush take over my face. I touched my
lips and smiled. He kissed me. I kissed him. He was amazing!
[Ben’s point of view]
I watched as she walked towards Ryan. “She‟s hot,” Rocky commented from beside me.
“Shut up,” I muttered. I watched her laugh about something with Ryan, as they walked
towards their classes.
“Great kisser too,” Rocky grinned, “You gotta admit that.”
“She is great,” I grinned.
“And how hard are you crushing on her?” Rocky smirked.
“Dude, knock it off,” I said, while giving him a shut-up look.
“Admit it,” he grinned and then started singing, “You like her.”
“Maybe I do,” I bit my lip.
“Ben and Stacey sitting on a tree,” he started singing, “K-I-S-S-I-N-G!”
“Grow up,” I muttered, wishing he could just shut up. Stacey probably didn‟t feel anything.
To her, it was probably just a kiss. She probably kissed a lot because she was wonderful. To
me, the kiss was amazing. She was so gentle, unlike Sabrina. Her lips were soft and not
sticky – she didn‟t wear lip gloss.
“You‟re thinking about her, aren‟t you?” Rocky chuckled.
“Maybe,” I blushed.
“Wow, even Sabrina didn‟t get you to blush,” Rocky mentioned while he took off his jersey.
“She probably did,” I said, defending Sabrina.
“Dude, you need to get over Sabrina, she doesn‟t deserve you,” Rocky said, while searching
for a spare shirt in his gym bag.
“I know,” I sighed, “I just don‟t wanna use Stacey in the process.”
“You won‟t be using her if you already like her,” Rocky pointed out.
“What if she doesn‟t like me back?” I asked him.
“Dude, she thought you were a good kisser!” he said.
“I think I better go to class,” I said.
“Dude you‟re always late to class,” he chuckled.
“I‟ll go wash up. I‟m a teacher now,” I grinned.
“Sure, and if Stacey‟s in your class, you better be decent. No one needs another teacher-
student relationship,” he poked.
“Dude, nothing is gonna happen between us,” I said.
“If you‟re worried about Ryan, I can take care of him for you,” he said, while cracking his
I chuckled and said, “They‟re not really together, just pretending. I‟ll think about me and
“Seeing her in your dreams?” he asked.
“Of course not,” I lied. I did dream of her occasionally.
I entered the class. “Nice of you to finally join us,” Mr. Sanchez said.
“I was caught up with something,” I told him.
“Or someone!” I heard Shaun yell.
“Wassup!” I yelled at him.
“Long time, dude!” he yelled back.
“Now that you have acquainted yourself with your friends, Mr. McKenzie, I would like to
start the class,” Mr. Sanchez said.
“I‟m sorry,” I apologized.
“Hand out these papers,” he said and handed me a set of papers.
I took the paper and handed it to my friends. I got a couple of smiles, grins, blushes –
surprisingly from Stacey too – and pats on the back.
“Why don‟t you start off the class, Mr. McKenzie?” Mr. Sanchez asked.
“We‟re gonna talk about Metamorphic rocks?” I asked him. He nodded and urged me to
continue. “Some examples of metamorphic rocks are marble and slate. They‟re formed
because of volcanic activity”.
“Describe to us how volcanic activity causes the formation of rocks,” Mr. Sanchez inquired. I
explained how volcanic activity caused rocks to form. I‟m surprised I actually remembered
At the end of the class Mr. Sanchez came up to me and said “You‟re a good teacher.”
“Thanks,” I smiled.
“Can you take over detention for me?” he asked.
“Do I get paid?” I joked.
“No,” he said with a straight face, “but it does go into your resume.”
[Stacey’s point of view]
I walked into Detention with Ryan. He seems to hate detention, too. Especially since his
girlfriend Yasmine‟s not going to be there.
“I hate you,” I told him, while taking a seat at the end of the class.
“Don‟t be like that,” he said and sat in the seat next to me, “I hate it, too.”
“I‟m here because of you!” I exclaimed, “I‟m missing a very important television show!”
“Just catch the re-run,” he nonchalantly suggested.
I gasped and said, “I cannot catch the rerun of „Vampire Diaries‟! It is season two for crying
out loud! The re-run will be next week!”
“Watch it online when you get home,” he shrugged.
“That‟s pirating!” I cried.
“Everyone does it,” he pointed out.
“Well, I don‟t want to go to jail,” I pouted.
“I‟ll download it for you as a piece offering,” he offered.
“And watch it on my small, crappy laptop? No thanks,” I grumbled.
“I‟ll burn it on a CD for you,” he offered again, this time with a pleading look.
“I hate you,” I mumbled.
He sighed and then said, “If I burn it on a CD, then you can watch it on TV and pause it
whenever you feel like it just to see they guy who plays „Damon‟ shirtless.”
I thought it over and then grinned, “I love you!”
“I‟m sorry, I can‟t hear you,” he smiled.
I scanned the room and saw that everyone was talking so they wouldn‟t hear that I was going
to say “I love you oh so much!” When I finished the sentence, the entire room was quiet. I
even heard a couple of gasps. I looked towards the front of the class and saw Ben with Rocky
staring at me with shock. Ben looked confused too.
“Sorry,” I mumbled and lightly blushed.
“It‟s all right,” Mr. Sanchez smiled. He smiled? “I‟m going to be out for a while so Mr.
McKenzie and Mr. Peirce will take over”.
Some people whistled. Mr. Sanchez turned to Ben and said “Make sure no one leaves the
“Got it,” Ben half-smiled.
Mr. Sanchez picked up his briefcase and left the classroom. The entire class cheered.
“So when can you give me the episode?” I asked Ryan.
“How‟s tomorrow?” he asked.
“Awesome!” I exclaimed.
“Aren‟t you going to proclaim your love for me again?” Ryan smirked.
“Shut up,” I said and lightly slapped his arm.
“Hey!” Rocky shouted from the front of the class. I looked at him. “No foreplay in class”.
“Shut up!” I yelled back and rested my head on the desk.
Five minutes later, I heard footsteps approaching us. I lifted my head up and saw Ben and
Rocky approaching towards my table.
“Hey Stacey,” Rocky grinned.
“Hiya,” I said.
“So Ben here is going to have a huge party on Friday,” Rocky started.
“I am?” Ben asked, confused.
“Yes, you are,” Rocky said and patted Ben‟s back.
“I am,” Ben sighed.
“Do you wanna come?” Rocky asked with a smirk.
“Not sure” I hesitated.
“Ben‟s going to be there,” Rocky grinned.
“Well, I assumed that he was going to be there since it‟s his house,” I said sarcastically.
Ben chuckled. “We have booze,” Rocky added.
“I‟m not a booze kind of girl,” I told him.
“Please?” Ben asked, “Since I‟m having a party you might as well come.”
“I don‟t know, I‟ll have to ask my dad,” I said, still a bit unsure.
“Tell me by tonight,” Ben smiled.
“I will,” I smiled back.
“Oh and can Holly sleepover at your place on Friday?” he asked.
“Of course she can,” I grinned.
“Awesome,” he smiled.
“When does detention end?” Ryan asked.
“An hour,” Ben replied as he glanced at his watch.
I started getting uncomfortable. “Um, I need to use the washroom” I told Rocky awkwardly.
“Someone needs to accompany you there,” he said in a teacher voice.
“I‟m not going to run away!” I exclaimed.
“And how do I know?” he asked suspicious.
“Please?” I asked.
“Ben, go with her,” Rocky said and pushed Benjamin towards me.
“Why me?” Ben asked shocked.
“I need to make sure no one else escapes from class,” Rocky said and then said in an urgent
tone, “Besides, don‟t you need to talk to her?”
“Fine,” he sighed and then turned to me, “Let‟s go.”
I half-smiled and followed him out of the class.
“Can I run away now?” I chuckled, once we were close to the washrooms.
“Nope,” he grinned.
“I‟m bored,” I whined.
“Me too, but we can‟t just run away together now, can we?” he asked.
I would love to just run away with him, I thought. I needed to stop thinking about him in the
“I‟ll wait for you outside,” he said as we reached the lady‟s room.
“I won‟t take long,” I promised and went in the room. I did my thing, washed my hands and
face; and left the washroom.
Ben wasn‟t there when I looked around for him. I heard a locker slamming from far away. I
walked towards the noise and saw a blonde girl, kissing a guy against the lockers.
“Bree, stop,” The boy the blonde-haired woman was kissing, said with a familiar voice.
The blonde-haired woman chuckled and said, “You still like to call me Bree. That‟s adorable.
I love you for that.”
Those two familiar voices. Benjamin and Sabrina. Benjamin and Sabrina making out. The
same Benjamin that kissed me a few hours back.
“Do me a favour and leave me alone,” Benjamin said.
“We should get back together. I know you still love me,” Sabrina cooed as she kissed his
neck. When she kissed his neck, I got a good look at his face. His eyes closed, his face filled
with content. Almost like, he was enjoying it. I turned around and made a second trip to the
washroom. I needed to let go of tears where no one could see me.
I splashed my face with water again. I looked at my now red eyes. I feel so cheated on. He
said that he didn‟t like Sabrina anymore. He said that he wanted to get over her. Why did he
do that? Why is he enjoying the pleasures she was giving him?
Most of all, why am I crying? It‟s his life, he‟s allowed to do as he pleases. If Sabrina pleases
him, he should be with her.
Why can‟t he realize that she‟ll just break his heart again?
I splashed more water on my face and wiped it with a tissue. I needed to be strong. Let him
make his own mistakes. He‟s obviously not going to choose plain me over beautiful her.
I took one last look at myself. Satisfied at how my eyes didn‟t look as red as few minutes
ago, I headed out the washroom.
I saw Benjamin stood outside the door, leaning against the locker, pretending as if nothing
happened. “Why do you girls take so long?” he asked, with a tiny smile.
“Sorry,” I said giving him a small smile.
We walked towards the class.
“So you‟re coming on Friday, right?” he asked.
“I‟ll think about it,” I said. I shouldn‟t go. Sabrina‟s gonna be there. She‟ll probably rub it in
my face that she‟s back with Benjamin.
“Please?” he asked in an adorable voice, “You‟re the reason Rocky wants this party.”
“Me?” I asked, confused.
“Yeah, he wants to be friends with you so he‟s doing it via party” he explained and then
“I‟ll really think about it,” I said and shuddered. Rocky is such a player that it freaks me out.
“He‟s really not that bad,” Ben said, “He‟s a great friend.”
“I‟ll come if you promise he won‟t try hitting on me,” I said.
“Don‟t worry,” he chuckled, “he‟s not into you in that way.”
“I guess,” I shrugged.
Benjamin‟s party is only a few minutes away and I still can‟t find anything to wear. I scanned
my closet thoroughly and finally settled on a dress that Benjamin may like. The dress was a
red strapless dress that reached my knees. I curled the edges of my hair earlier to give it a
„party‟ look. Benjamin stopped by earlier and dropped Holly off. The kids watching were
movies now. I applied some mascara and eye-liner and I‟m ready to go….
… only my date isn‟t here yet.
The doorbell rang and I raced down to open it. Only to find that dad had reached there before
me and to see Peter at our doorstep.
“You ready to go?” Peter asked me, once I went out the door.
“Where are you going?” Dad asked me.
“Benjamin‟s party...” I said, slowly.
“Why didn‟t you tell me you were going?” dad asked.
“I thought I already did,” I said, nervously, “I‟m sorry.”
“I want you back before midnight,” Dad said and let me go out the door.
“I love you,” I said. I kissed his cheek and pulled Peter away from my house.
Once we were closer to Sabrina‟s house, Peter asked, “Is your dad strict?”
“Depends,” I shrugged, “I‟m gonna get a lecture when I get home.”
“Good thing I dropped off the drinks first, before picking you up,” he chuckled.
“Drinks? As in Alcohol?” I asked, curiously.
“Yup and some Coke and stuff, too,” he grinned.
“I‟ll take the Coke then,” I sighed.
“Aww, come on, babe,” he said and put his arms around my shoulders and said, “Smirnoff is
my best friend.”
I gave him a tiny glare while saying, “First of all, Smirnoff is my worst nightmare. Second of
all, don‟t call me babe.”
“Fine then,” he pouted, “I‟m not going to tell you that you look sexy in that dress.”
I blushed and grinned, “You‟re allowed to say that.”
Once we were a couple of steps away from Ben‟s house, Peter commented, “Sabrina lives
between you and Benjamin?”
“She does,” I replied.
“You have my condolences,” he chuckled.
“Thanks,” I laughed quietly.
Peter went up to the front door of Ben‟s house and rang the bell. The door swung open,
revealing college students partying. “Whenever you‟re ready, babe,” Peter held out his hand
I grinned and said “Let‟s do this.”
We stepped into his house. Wow this place was packed!
“Let‟s get something to drink!” Peter yelled in my ear and started pulling me towards where
I‟m guessing is the kitchen.
We reached where there was a table filled – when I say filled, I mean it – with bottles. Peter
searched and found a beer bottle and a Coke. He handed me the Coke and said, “Hold it for a
I shrugged and held it. He opened the caps of both the bottles. He then poured some beer in
my bottle and then poured some of the Coke –and beer – from my bottle into his. He repeated
this pattern almost five times and handed me my Coke.
“Here you go,” he grinned and gulped down his drink.
“I said I didn‟t want alcohol!” I protested.
“I‟m drinking a whole lot more than you, so stop complaining!” he said.
“Fine,” I grumbled and gingerly sipped my coke. Funnily, it didn‟t taste that awful.
“Wanna dance?” he asked.
“Sure,” I smiled and followed him onto the dance floor.
Once we reached there – and started dancing – he asked “You remembered our deal right?”
I sighed and recited, “Yes, if you see a hot babe you ditch me and if I see a hot guy I‟m
allowed to ditch you too.”
“Awesome!” he exclaimed and gulped down another drink.
Soon enough, his beer finished. “I‟m going to get another one,” he said into my ear and left.
I sighed and rested my back against the wall. I closed my eyes and sighed.
“You made it,” a familiar voice said, seductively in my ear.
“I did,” I said annoyed and opened my eyes to look at Rocky.
“Why are you always so agitated around me?” he asked, curious.
“Stop being weird with me,” I said and poked his chest.
“Wanna dance?” he asked and slowly pulled me towards the dance floor.
“Sure,” I shrugged.
As we reached the middle of the floor, „Buttons‟ by the Pussy Cat Dolls played loud on the
speaker. I groaned. Why did this song have to be played? This was my song!
I swayed my hips from side to side.
“You like this song?” Rocky asked.
“Love it!” I exclaimed and let the music take control of my body. Well, not completely. I held
Back in 2006, I was high on Coca Cola and danced without a care in the world. After I
danced to this song, I looked at the boys around me and saw their lust filled eyes. I shuddered
at the memory.
“Stop holding back!” Rocky yelled in my ears.
“It‟s better for the both of us!” I yelled back.
“It‟s more fun if you let go,” he replied. I nodded and slowly let go of myself. I allowed the
music take over me completely. I swayed my hips and moved my hands into the air.
Soon enough, the song got over. I looked up at Rocky and saw his face filled with
“What?” I asked, confused.
“You‟re so damn good!” he exclaimed.
“Thanks,” I chuckled.
The song switched to „Smack That‟ by Akon featuring Eminem. Another great song. I looked
at Rocky and he grinned. “What?” I asked.
“One more dance,” he begged.
“Sure,” I sighed and drank more of my Coke. I finished the bottle so I threw it in a nearby
“And let me put my hands on your hips,” he said. I looked at him, carefully. “Please?” he
asked. I sighed and nodded.
He grinned and put his hand on my hips. I ignored him and swayed to the music. He turned
me around so that my back was on his front. He slid his hand so that his palms rested on my
When we reached the chorus of the song, Rocky asked me, confused, “Why is your leg
I stared at him like he was an idiot and then realized what he meant. “Is there a room where
He smirked and said, “How about Ben‟s room? It‟s got a nice bed.”
I glared at him and said, “My phone‟s vibrating!”
“Oh,” he said and pulled me away from the crowd. As we climbed up the stairs, he asked,
“How is your phone on your thigh?”
“I‟m wearing shorts,” I replied simply, as we entered a dark room. He turned on the lights
and I saw a surprisingly clean room with the exception of a table being covered with books.
“Do whatever,” Rocky said, walking out of the room and closing the door behind him.
I lifted up my dress and picked up my phone from my pocket.
“Hello?” I answered the call and sat on the bed.
“Hey, Darling,” I heard mom answer.
“Mom!” I exclaimed in excitement.
“Where are you?” she asked.
Was she drunk now, too? “At a party...” I replied, carefully.
“And dad let you?” she asked, shocked.
I sighed in relief and then chuckled, “Kinda, he‟s gonna give me a speech when I get home.”
She chuckled and said, “Typical. How are you?”
“I‟m good,” I smiled, “How are you?”
“I‟m okay,” she replied, tired, “I‟m sorry about my call before.”
I smiled once more. She did this a lot, too. Whenever she called drunk, she‟d always call
back to apologize.
“It‟s okay,” I said, “You know I‟ll always forgive you.”
“You‟re the best daughter in the world!” she exclaimed.
“Mom!” I blushed, “I‟m just being me.”
“How are the twins? Do they remember me?” she asked.
“They don‟t remember you. But dad and I remind them of you,” I informed her.
“Good,” she said, satisfied, “I‟m really sorry.”
“Stop apologising!” I told her.
“I‟m such a horrible mother to them!” she exclaimed.
“Mom! Shut up! You‟re awesome. I miss you,” I told her.
“I miss you, too. I‟ll try to come soon, all right?” she promised.
I nodded and said “Sure.”
The door creaked open and a guy with short black hair came in. He sat next to me and started
drinking from the bottle in his muscled hands. He was so good-looking!
“Come back from rehab soon, all right,” I said into the phone.
“You‟re going to hang up?” she asked, disappointed.
“I‟m sorry but I need to go,” I said and then suggested, “Call dad.”
“All right, I love you,” she said, with so much love.
“I love you, too,” I said and hung up.
I turned towards the blue-eyed hunk and asked, "What are you staring at?”
“You have a friend in rehab?” he asked.
“Yes,” I told him, I‟m not going to correct him.
“Awesome!” he exclaimed, “They have alcohol there!”
He is drunk, for sure. “No, they don‟t” I said.
He pouted and said “That‟s too bad. I ran out of mine.”
“It is,” I said, awkwardly.
“You‟re pretty,” he grinned, while staring at my legs, which were crossed.
“Thanks,” I smiled.
“Do you wanna get laid?” he asked, with the same grin.
“No,” I replied and got up.
He caught my arm and pulled me back down. He said, “It‟ll be fun!”
“No, thanks,” I said and tried to remove his arm.
“I‟ll do it slow,” he whispered in my ear.
“No!” I exclaimed, “Let go of me!”
“You‟re no fun,” he pouted and started kissing my neck. How do I get him off me?
“I‟ll pay you to stop!” I said.
“No,” he mumbled and continued, “You smell great.”
“I‟m not,” he said and he came close to my face. He sniffed my mouth and said “See, I don‟t
I sighed and said, “That‟s not how it works."
He shrugged and continued kissing my neck. I was about to kick him in his „area‟ when the
door creaked open.
The door squeaked open revealing Benjamin in black shorts and a white vest. “What‟s going
on?” Ben asked.
“We‟re gonna get laid!” he exclaimed and continued kissing my neck.
“No, we‟re not,” I cried out and tried pushing the guy all over my neck away but he wouldn‟t
Ben sighed and said “Dan, get off her.”
“No,” the guy over me said.
Ben walked over and peeled him off me. “Thanks,” I mumbled and got off the bed.
Ben pushed the blue-eyed guy on the bed so that he was sleeping. “See you tomorrow
morning,” Ben told him.
“No,” the guy whined.
Ben stood near the door and asked me, “Let‟s go?”
I nodded and walked out the door and waited for him to close the door.
I walked with him till we reached a balcony. He opened the door and I walked. He sat on the
bench and asked me to join him. “Did he try anything more with you?” he asked.
I shook my head and sat down next to him. “You came just in time,” I told him.
He smiled and said, “He probably wouldn‟t have gone far anyway.”
“What do you mean?” I asked confused.
“He‟s probably already passed out now,” Ben chuckled.
“Oh,” I whispered. I didn‟t know what to feel right now. I was so scared … now I‟m so
“Are you okay?” he asked and slowly put his arms around my shoulders. I nodded as an
answer. “You‟re quieter,” he commented.
“I‟m sorry,” I apologized and sighed, “I‟m just … shaken up.”
He rubbed my shoulder with his hands and said, “I‟m sorry he did that. He doesn‟t mean it.”
“Huh?” I asked confused. He was defending rapist guy?
“He‟s a good guy. He‟s just unstable when he‟s drunk. We usually need to keep an eye on
him,” he explained.
“Okay,” I said. I didn‟t understand him but if he says that guy is good, then he‟s good.
“He‟s my best friend,” he continued, “I‟ve known him for a long time. With his conscience,
he‟ll apologize first thing in the morning and I won‟t even have to force him.”
“Are you sure?” I questioned timidly.
He smiled and kissed my forehead “I‟m positive.”
„Think of something else‟ I told myself. My cheeks started burning up. He kissed my
“Do you have a curfew?” he asked after a few minutes of silence.
“Before midnight,” I told him.
He chuckled and said “you better get home then.”
“I like it here,” I mumbled honestly.
“It‟s 12:15,” he stated.
“Oh crap!” I exclaimed and got up.
I lifted my dress up slightly to remove the phone from my pocket. The time showed ‟12:16‟.
I‟m so dead.
“I‟ll see you tomorrow,” I told him and headed out.
He followed me. “I‟ll drop you home,” he said.
“I can go by myself,” I said as I ran down the stairs.
“I insist,” he said as he opened the front door.
I walked quickly – almost ran - down the road. “You don‟t have to do this you know,” I said.
“I want to,” he smiled.
“You‟re nice,” I grinned as we reached my house.
“Thank you,” he smiled.
I rang my door bell. The door opened revealing dad in a robe. “See ya,” Ben waved and
I waved back and turned to look at dad‟s angry face.
“You‟re late,” he stated.
“I know, I‟m sorry,” I apologized. He stepped out of the door and came outside.
“Why are you late?” he asked.
“I kinda got caught up in the party,” I said.
“You‟re grounded,” he stated, “for two weeks.”
“Dad!” I whined.
“Three weeks?” he questioned.
I put my head low. “Two would do fine, can we go in?”
“No, we‟re gonna stand out for a while and talk,” he said.
“But it is cold,” I whined and rubbed my arms.
“Cover up next time,” he pointed out. I sighed.
“So ... mom called me,” I said.
“Really?” he asked shocked.
“Yeah, she called to say „hi‟ and stuff,” I told him.
“How did she sound?” he asked.
“Almost normal, a bit guilty, didn‟t she call you?”
“She did, I just wanted to know what she sounded like to you.”
“What you talk about with her?” I asked.
“We spoke about the twins, you, my job, and her struggle,” he listed.
“Anything about when she‟s coming out?” I asked.
“No, she‟s restarting the 12-step program,” he said.
“From the beginning?” I asked with shock.
“Yeah, but she has a nurse with her 24/7 now so she‟ll less likely to fall off track,” he said.
“That‟s nice,” I whispered.
“I‟m gonna go early in the morning for shopping, I‟ll bring breakfast too,” he said.
“Okay,” I yawned.
“Let‟s go in,” he put his arms around my shoulder. I nodded.
I woke up to the sound of constant bell ringing. “Ugh!” I quietly groaned and carefully got up from
the bed. I took one last look at Shane, Shania and Holly who were sleeping on my bed and went to
open the door.
As I casually walked down the stairs – while ignoring the continuously bell – I tied my hair up in a
messy bun and straightened my pyjama tank top and shorts from last night.
I opened the door and saw the guy who was kissing me last night standing on my front porch with
freshly plucked flowers. I looked behind him and saw an irritated Ben.
“What do you want?” I asked while my voice was still groggy.
“I‟m sorry,” he apologized sincerely, “I didn‟t know what happened to me last night.”
“Of course you didn‟t, you were drunk,” Ben interrupted, annoyed.
The guy handed me the flowers, perhaps daffodils. “I don‟t want them,” I told him as I watched the
dirt fall down piece by piece from the flower onto the floor.
“I said I was sorry!” he whined, “I promise I would never do that to anyone.”
“I still don‟t want those,” I pointed at the flower.
“Great!” Ben exclaimed, “mom‟s gonna kill me for that.”
I sighed and said, “Let‟s bury it back.”
“Does that mean you forgive me?” the guy asked.
I shrugged and said, “Sure.”
“Awesome!” he said and hugged me.
“You like touching, don‟t you,” I muttered as he got off me.
“Kinda,” he grinned.
“Is Holly still asleep?” Ben asked me.
“Yeah she is,” I smiled.
“Should I take her now?” he asked.
“Nah, let them sleep,” I said, “The twins will wake up in like half an hour.”
“Fine,” he sighed and followed me out of my house and towards his.
The guy extended his hand out to me and said, “I‟m Daniel Gates, Ben‟s best friend.”
I shook his hands and said, “I‟m Stacey Davis, his neighbour.”
He gave me a surprised look and said “I finally get to meet you.”
“Finally?” I questioned.
“Yeah! Ben talks about you a lot,” he said and stressed on „a lot‟.
I tried to act unmoved by what he just said. “Really?” I asked.
“Totally,” Daniel grinned.
We reached Ben‟s house and he told us to go to the backyard while he searched for something to dig a
hole with. Daniel and I slowly walked to Ben‟s backyard. He sat next to the daffodils patch which had
a hole in it and started digging with his hands.
“Wait till Ben gets a shovel or something,” I said.
“I can do it with my hands,” he replied, “wanna join me?”
“No, thanks,” I said, “It‟ll go in my nails.”
He turned to me and smirked, “you‟re worried about your nails? Typical girl!”
“Shut up!” I exclaimed, “I just don‟t want to get my nails dirty. Is that too much to ask?”
“Probably,” he smirked. He took some dirt in his hands and rubbed it over my arms.
I groaned and dug some dirt with my hands and rubbed it all over his face.
“You got your nails all dirty,” he pointed out and stuck out his tongue.
“Kid,” I muttered and started digging a hole with him.
“Who are you calling a kid?” he asked as took more dirt and rubbed it over my face.
I spat out some of the dirt that went in my mouth and glared at him. “Game on!” I yelled as I pounced
on him and covered his shirt with dirt.
He groaned and pushed me so that he was on top of me. He covered my shirt with dirt and threw some
down my shirt.
“Dude!” I heard Ben yell.
I turned my head to my right and saw an angry Benjamin.
“She started it,” Daniel said and pointed at me.
Ben raised his eyebrows and said, “Then explain why you‟re on top of her.”
Daniel looks at me for a second and gets off me. “She tackled me so I tackled her back,” he replied.
“Liar!” I exclaimed, “I wanted to wait till he got the shovel but you went ahead and started by
yourself and started bullying me.”
“Bullying?” Daniel questioned.
“Yes, bullying! How else do you define „covering a defenceless girl with dirt‟?” I questioned.
“Calm down!” Ben said.
“She started it,” Daniel mutters.
“Stop acting like a kid,” Ben says as he hands Daniel the tiny shovel and says “put the flower back.”
“Fine!” Daniel exclaimed and turned to dig a hole with the tiny shovel.
Ben approached me and asked, “Are you okay?”
“I‟m fine,” I shrugged, “I just have to get all this dirt off me before I get home.”
“Impossible,” he chuckled.
“Your friends are mean,” I pouted.
“No, they‟re not,” he laughed showing his amazing set of teeth.
I stared at him blankly. “Rocky and then Daniel. Do you have other friends who are not perverts?” I
“Yeah,” he smiled, “you.”
“Other than me?” I asked while smiling.
“Umm,” he looks up and thinks. While he looks up I can see the way the sun rays make his hair seem
softer, almost cotton like. His jaw set in a thin line and his entire face … the face of an angel.
“Can‟t think of any,” he looks back down at me.
“You need to get out more,” I joked.
“I guess,” he said giving me a tiny smile, “do you want me to help you get that dirt off you?”
“Sure,” I smiled, “thanks.”
He turned to Daniel and said, “We‟re going inside.”
“You‟re ditching me?” Daniel asked.
“You plucked the flowers, Dan,” Ben reminded him and guided me inside.
We climbed up the staircase and finally entered what seemed like Ben‟s room. He turned the lights on
of his bathroom and then said, “I‟ll get you a clean towel; you can wash your face and hands and
I nodded. As soon as he left I used some of the hand wash soap and tried to remove the dirt from my
face. It obviously didn‟t work. There are still few traces of dirt. It looked as if I had gotten bruised. I
opened the tiny cabinets on top to see if he had any face scrub. He had none.
“Are you done?” Ben asked from outside the door.
“You can come in,” I yelled. When he did I asked “Do you have any face scrub?”
He scrunched up his face, “Face what?”
“Face scrub? To get this dirt off properly,” I said.
“I don‟t think we have any,” he shrugged.
I groaned and said, “I‟ll never get this off.”
“I‟ll help,” he said and wetted the towel.
“What are you going to do?” I asked suspiciously.
“I‟ll scrub it off with the towel,” he said and slowly approached me.
“Will it work?” I asked confused.
“We can try,” he shrugged.
“Fine,” I said reluctantly.
I sat on the edge of his bathtub and waited for him to get the dirt off of me. He put his left arm behind
my back to support me from falling. He lifted the wet towel to my arms and started scrubbing it off.
And boy did it hurt while he did it.
“It‟s going!” I exclaimed happily.
“It is,” he smiled.
Once he was done with both of my arms I wiped my arms with a dry towel while he rinsed the other
towel. He came back to me with the soaked towel and put his arm behind my back. He slowly started
wiping my cheek. He removed his hand from my back and used his left palm to hold my face and he
took two, maybe three, steps closer and started wiping my cheek.
This closeness, this gesture, our positions, couldn‟t feel more intimate than it already is. My breath
started to quicken as soon as I realized how little the gap was between us. His eyes concentrated on
my face and my eyes concentrated on him. Concentrating on his mesmerizing features. His blue-grey
eyes looked at my face with pure astonishment.
As soon as he was done wiping my face, he dropped the towel to the side and brushed my lower lip
with his thumb. He did it slowly, intimately. I needed his lips on mine. He leaned in closer. A little bit
closer and took in the shock in my eyes. I leaned in closer to and then …
“I wanna be a billionaire
so fricking bad
Buy all of the things I never had
Uh, I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen”
My ringtone. Our moment, ruined by this song.
He pulled away, took three steps back and stared at me with shock. He mumbled, “I‟ll let you
get that,” and walked away, leaving me alone in the room.
I squeezed my eyes, annoyed, and answered the call.
“Yeah, dad?” I asked.
“Where are you?” he asked, his tone mildly upset.
“Umm where are you?” I asked.
“At home, where you are not.”
“I‟m just at Benjamin‟s place.”
“He needed my help with gardening.”
“Fine,” he sighed, “Come home for breakfast. You can call Benjamin too”.
“His friend is here too. Do I call him too?”
“Yeah, his friend can come too.”
“All right, see you in five minutes,” I said and hung up the line.
I sighed, took a couple of deep breaths and walked out of the bathroom. I walked down the
stairs and saw Ben talking to Daniel. I didn‟t understand what they were talking about but I
heard Daniel say “in love with the girl next door.” My heart stopped.
He still loves Sabrina? I thought he was so sure that he was over her. Maybe back there in the
bathroom he thought I was Sabrina. He missed doing that to her. He missed mesmerizing her
with his charm and personality.
What does Sabrina have that I don‟t? I chuckled at myself, at my stupidity. Everything.
Better body, better looks. She probably has a better personality that she only keeps reserved
for Benjamin. I need to get over him.
“Ben!” I yelled.
“Yeah?” I heard him walk closer and ask me with concerned eyes.
“I‟m going home,” I said.
“Oh” he said disappointed, “sure.”
“You guys wanna come?” I asked hopeful.
“Sure” Ben lightly smiled.
“Can I come too?” Daniel asked.
“Sure,” I smiled.
“Awesome!” Daniel exclaimed, “your dad is a producer right?”
“Umm yeah,” I said, “why?”
Ben groaned, “He wants to fulfil his dream of becoming an actor.”
“You wanna be an actor?” I asked amused.
“Yes, I do,” he stated.
“I doubt my dad will be able to help you though,” I shrugged as we headed towards my
“I‟m gonna try my luck anyway,” he grinned.
“Sure,” I rolled my eyes.
“Oh and I‟m sorry,” he said in a hushed tone so that only I could hear.
“For what?” I asked.
“For covering you with dirt. I should think twice before doing things,” he apologized.
“Don‟t be sorry” I smiled, “it was fun.”
He grinned and said, “I like you. Can I have your number?”
“Why?” I asked confused.
“Well” he explained, “since you‟re obviously part of „the gang‟, I could use your number.”
“Who else is in this „gang‟?” I asked curiously.
“Rocky, Benjamin and I,” he said.
“No girls?” I asked.
He smirked and said, “It‟s an all exclusive group. Consider yourself special.”
“Okay!” I said excited and gave him my number while he gave me his.
I opened the door to my house and let Ben and Daniel in. “We‟re home” I yelled.
“In the living room” dad yelled.
I told them to follow me.
As soon as we reached the living room I saw dad speaking on the phone. “Hold on,” he said
into the receiver, “she just reached.”
“Who is it?” I asked.
“Speak to her yourself” he said with a smile in his voice.
I looked at him confused and answered the phone. “Hello?”
“It isn‟t that expensive to call me once in a while you know,” a familiar angry voice replied.
“Erin!” I exclaimed.
“I swear you‟re richer than me! You should be the one to call me once in a while,” Erin
yelled. My best friend yelled at me. I grinned.
“I‟m sorry!” I exclaimed, “Now would you stop yelling at me?”
“Fine,” she sighed, “I just missed you.”
“I missed you too!” I said, “Hold on for, like, five seconds.”
“Sure,” she said.
I turned to Daniel and Benjamin and said, “I gotta take this call. Daniel mentioned wanting to
talk to dad so you can do that now.”
“What is it about?” dad asked Daniel.
I gave them a tiny wave and walked into the kitchen.
“Where were we?” I asked into the phone. I missed my best friend.
“Me missing you,” she replied, “I have no friends.”
I scoffed. Erin not having friends was like zebras having only black stripes. It was
impossible! Erin is one of the most social people I have ever met. I used to feed off her
confidence whenever we went to parties.
“No really!” she said, “All these people here are so fake. You were the best.”
“Were?” I questioned.
“Yes, were! You moved away, now you‟re the worst,” she said dramatically.
“Meano,” I said and stuck my tongue out.
“Stick your tongue out one more time I‟ll come there personally and cut it off,” she
“Well, at least you‟d come here,” I smiled. She knew me too well.
“Anyway, how‟s the neighbourhood hottie?” she asked. She was probably grinning.
“Well he‟s single, but I think he still loves her,” I sighed.
“Aww, you should probably wear those skinny jeans I got you,” she suggested.
“Clothes won‟t fix my problem! You‟re such a bad adviser,” I told her.
She gasped, “Take that back!”
“Nope,” I said, “we had a moment today.”
“A moment?” she asked confused.
“We almost kissed” I confessed.
“And then what?” she asked after a gasp.
“Dad calls and Ben runs away,” I said while staring at the ceiling.
“Ah damn!” she sighed, “next time you ignore the phone all right?”
“He probably thinks I‟m some weirdo chick,” I exclaimed, “I hate me!”
“Who made the first move?” she asked.
“Him,” I whispered.
“He likes you” she said in a sing-song voice.
“Well either that or he thought I was his ex,” I said in a monotonous tone.
“You‟re so pessimistic!” Erin exclaimed, “I would spank you if I were there.”
“Whatever,” I said, “let‟s talk about something else. How‟s your mum?”
“She‟s good. She misses your mom‟s company. How is she by the way?”
“I have no idea,” I sighed, “She‟s sane one moment and insane the next.”
“She‟ll be all right soon,” she said reassuringly, “how are those little angels I promised to
“Shane and Shania are great too. I don‟t think they remember you though,” I sighed.
“Hate you!” she exclaimed.
I heard some yelling in the background from the phone. Erin sighed and said “I gotta take
care of business. Promise you‟ll be good?”
“I promise. You take care too, all right? I miss you.”
“I miss you too. Bye” she hung up.
I went back to the living room. I heard Daniel and dad discussing something. Something
about an acting gig. “What‟s going on?” I asked.
“We should go,” Ben said, “we have a test tomorrow and I haven‟t even started studying
“Wow!” I exclaimed, “Then you better get on track.”
“I‟ll just take Holly and we‟ll get going” Ben said.
“Sure,” I smiled.
“I‟ll wait down here,” Daniel told us.
“Yeah,” Ben said, “be right back.”
I walked up the stairs and he silently followed. I opened the door quietly and noticed that the
twins were still asleep. He slowly walked towards my bed and gingerly lifted Holly up. He
whispered something in her ear and she immediately relaxed against him.
“Thank you for letting Holly sleepover,” he said genuinely.
“I‟m sure the twins had fun too,” I smiled.
He smiled and walked down the stairs and towards the door. “I‟ll see you around,” Ben said. I
nodded with a faint smile. Daniel did this weird handshake thing with me and left.
I sat on my couch and ate the donut that dad got me. I could hear the Nokia SMS tune from
my phone. I checked it and saw a message from Daniel. It read:
Hey Stacey! Sorry „bout the whole mud thing. Forgive me? Your dad‟s awesome btw!
I chuckled and replied:
Heya Daniel! It‟s ok. It was fun …. Kinda. See ya later. And yeah .. my dad‟s awesome :D
What did my dad do to him to be so awesome? I wondered.
In art class I received a note from one of Sabrina‟s friends. It was a warning message. She
wrote “I warned you, now pay the price”. This scared me. What if she tells the entire school
about mom? I‟m not embarrassed about mom, no, I love her. But Sabrina can‟t do this. The
entire school cannot find out about her. Mom would be horrified. I know she would be.
I slowly walked down the halls and observed my surroundings. There was the usual chatter
among them. No strange looks from the other people. Good sign. She hasn‟t said anything
yet. I walked towards my usual lunch table and saw Sabrina walking away from it.
My stomach dropped. Sabrina told them. She‟s telling people individually. She‟s … evil. She
smirked as she saw me. She took a few steps in front closing the distance between us and
said, “I‟m being easy on you.”
Easy? I was about to ask her what she meant but she walked away. I made my way to the
table and sat gingerly. I noticed how they were suddenly silent. Ryan and Yasmine were
whispering to each other and Peter was … well he was quite too. He was picking his yoghurt.
It was an odd sight.
They know. She told them. She told them.
I needed to break the silence. “What‟s up?” I asked cheerily.
“Nothing,” they muttered and continued doing that they were doing –which was nothing.
“Wasn‟t the math test just horrible?” I asked, trying to change the topic.
“Uh totally!” Yasmine exclaimed.
“I wish Mr. Fox dies!” Ryan muttered.
“Don‟t worry,” Peter chuckled, “there‟s someone out there already plotting his death.”
“Really?” I asked.
“I mean look at the amount of kids he‟s tortured in his life,” Peter pointed out.
I bursted out laughing.
And then it became quite again. Why are they being so quiet?
It was so confusing but then suddenly I got it. I realized why they were so silent. The answer
is so obvious. They don‟t want to be friends anymore. I mean who would right? They
probably think that I drink too. Or worse, Sabrina may have told them that I‟m doing drugs as
“I gotta go,” I announced and got up. After hearing no protests from them I walked towards
the football field and sat on the bleachers. The cheerleaders were practicing their routine and
the football players were training.
I heard footsteps from my right and I turned to see who it was. Peter casually strode towards
“Hey,” he said as he sat beside me.
“Hey,” I said in a monotonous tone.
“What did we do to offend you?” Peter asked.
“Huh?” I questioned.
“You left the table all of a sudden,” he said and came a little closer to me.
“I thought you guys hated me,” I mumbled.
“Why would we hate you?” he asked.
“When I sat at the table you guys were quite. And that never happens,” I pointed out.
Peter sighs and then confesses, “We were trying to act as if nothing happened. Sabrina told us
about your mother.”
“What exactly did she say?” I asked.
“She said that your mother is in rehab because she‟s an alcoholic and a druggie,” Peter said.
My heart stopped. Not only did Sabrina tell them the truth but she also made it sound worse.
“What else did she say?” I asked, my voice shaky.
“She said that you used to steal from your mom‟s supplies and use it,” Peter said.
I took a good look at his face and saw pity in his eyes. I could not handle that.
“It‟s all lies!” I exclaimed, “well most of it anyway.”
“Which parts?” he asked carefully.
I took deep breaths and looked into his eyes and started, “my mom only drinks alcohol. She
got obsessive over it when the twins were born.”
He slowly wiped the tears from my eyes and said, “You don‟t have to say more. I‟m sorry.”
“Sorry for what?” I asked.
“Sorry for making you cry. I didn‟t mean to do that,” he said sincerely.
“It‟s all right,” I weakly smiled.
“Do you wanna join them back in the canteen?” Peter asked quietly.
“No,” I shrugged, “I like the quietness here.”
“All right,” he sighed and didn‟t move.
“You can go you know,” I said. I didn‟t want him to be here because of me.
“Nah,” he smiled, “I‟d rather be here and make sure you‟re okay.”
I smiled and said, “Thanks. You‟re a great friend.”
“Well so are you,” he said while ruffling my hair.
“Hey!” I whined and covered my head with my hands to block him from messing it further.
“Hey!” he whined back while laughing.
The bell rang signalling the end of lunch time. “Do you still want to hang out here?” Peter
asked me with a concerned smile.
“As much as I hate Math, I think we should go,” I said giving him an encouraging smile.
“All right,” he grinned and stood up.
“I like your dimples by the way,” I said while pulling his cheek.
“Don‟t touch the babe magnet,” he said playfully and we walked to our classes.
After the horrible day in school, I picked up the twins – who were still asleep – from Sara,
their babysitter, and drove home.
On the way, I saw Shane waking up. “Where am I?” he asked.
“We‟re going home sweetie,” I smiled.
“But we were watching Bolt!” he exclaimed with an angry look across his face.
“Shh, you‟ll wake Shania up,” I whispered.
“I don‟t care!” he yelled stubbornly and crossed his arms across his chest. “I want to go back
and watch Bolt with Holly!”
“Holly?” I asked. My interest levels rose up.
“Yeah, she was there too,” he said shyly.
“She fell asleep,” I said and parked the car in our drive way. “And so did you and Shania.”
“Noo!” he exclaimed with remorse.
I got out of my car and opened the back door for Shane to get out. “Maybe next time, Shay,”
He blushed as he hopped out of the car and ran inside the house. I chucked and carefully
carried Shania in my arms, her head resting on my neck. I locked the car with the automatic
keys and walked into the house.
With Shania in one arm, I walked into the kitchen and heard dad talking on the phone. “I‟m
always happy to help” he said into the phone. He was sitting at the dining table. It was a piece
of furniture that no one really used for dining.
I took out a mango juice box for me from the fridge and waited for dad to disconnect the
phone so that I could ask him who he was talking to. His reply would obviously be „a client‟
but I‟d ask him anyway.
He hung up the phone and took Shania from my arms. “Who were you talking to?” I asked
“Daniel,” he said - almost with pride, “he‟s a great kid.”
“Why?” I asked suspiciously.
“He wanted a tour of a real life set, to see what shooting is like,” he said.
“And how does that make him a great kid?” I asked, my tone of voice had a hint of jealousy.
“Because he wants to get into the production line,” he said and then gave me a pointed look,
“Something you wouldn‟t do.”
“Dad, I told you!” I said with an eye-roll, “I‟m not into the production line.”
“What about acting?” he asked.
“I gave it a try remember” I said and sat down next to him. “The director told you to keep me
away from him because I was that horrible.”
“Maybe you‟ve improved,” he said with a little bit of hope.
I sighed and looked him in the eye and said, “I don‟t want to be a producer, and I‟m more
into the hotel industry.”
“Who‟s going take over the business after I pass away?” he asked me in an almost serious
I lightly punched his shoulders and said, “Don‟t say that. And even if that happens, you have
Shane and Shania.”
“They‟re too young,” he complained.
“Dad!” I whined and pouted.
“Fine,” he sighed.
My eyes turned to Shania who seemed to be mumbling something. “What is she saying?” I
“I have no idea,” he stated and kissed her forehead.
Her mumbles seemed to get more audible. She kept mumbling „no‟ over and over again.
Soon she started sobbing. I looked at dad worried. He got up and started pacing. He rocked
Shania slightly and whispered calming words – I‟m assuming – into her ears.
“She‟s fine now,” he reassured me.
I gave him a tiny smile and walked in the television room.
The movie I was watching ended so I decided to do my homework. When I reached upstairs I
saw that Shane was entering my room. I snuck up behind him and closed his eyes with my
palms. “Guess who,” I said in a high pitched voice.
“Sara?” he asked confused.
“No!” I said with my normal voice and kissed his cheek, “it‟s me!”
“Stacey!” he exclaimed and wiped the kiss I had just placed a few seconds ago.
“Why are you in my room, kid?” I asked and sat on my soft bed.
“I wanna ask you something,” he said softly.
“Ask me what?” I asked confused and patted the space beside me on my bed.
He walked slowly and climbed on the bed. “What is it, Shay?” I asked him.
“I wanna tell someone that I like „em buh I don‟t know how” he mumbled and looked at me
“Well it depends” I told him, “is it a boy or a girl?”
I knew the answer to this one already, but I wanted to hear him say it. “Girl,” he blushed and
he played with his fingers.
“Oooh,” I exclaimed happily and kissed all over his cheek, “you‟re becoming a big boy.”
“Don‟t do kissy,” he said and wiped his cheek for the second time. Maybe he‟s growing up
too soon, I thought, he used to like me kissing his face before.
I chuckled and said, “Well who is she?”
“Holly,” he said in a conspiracy tone.
“She‟s a lovely girl,” I grinned.
“Help me, pweese,” he said and used his puppy dog eyes look.
“All right, well you should first give her a tiny gift and tell her that you like her,” I told him.
“How tiny?” he asked interested.
“Chocolates should do the trick,” I smiled.
“Are you suwer?” he asked, uncertain
“If a boy gave me chocolates and told me that he liked me, I would be really happy,” I
“Thank you, Stacey,” he said and kissed my cheek, “you‟re the best sista in the whole wilde
“Aww, thank you,” I grinned.
He smiled at me and ran out of my room. I chuckled at sat at my desk and started doing my
It‟s been a week since Shane asked me for my help and I didn‟t notice anything happen. I
walked towards the television room and saw Shane and Shania watching Spongebob.
I sat next to Shania. She gave me a big grin and climbed on my lap. “What are you doing?” I
“Watchin TV” she smiled.
“How is your friend Holly?” I asked her.
I noticed her smile fade. “At her home. Ask Shane” she said with jealousy.
“You don‟t like Holly?” I asked her.
“She is why Shane don‟t play with me,” she complained.
“I play with her,” Shane commented.
“No, you don‟t! You no like me anymore,” Shania yelled at him, a tear fell down her cheek.
“Aww honey, don‟t cry,” I said and wiped her cheek. “Shane still likes you” I reassured her
and then turned to Shane and asked her to reassure her, “Right, Shane?”
“I love you, Shania” Shane said and gave her a hug.
“Fine,” she sniffed and hugged Shane back.
Dad just entered the house and sat with a heavy sigh on the sofa. “Long day at work,” he
“Can I get you anything?” I asked.
“A chilled beer would be nice,” he said. I glared at him. “I‟m kidding! Jeez,” he said and
shook his head.
“Get me cold water or soda or something,” he told me and switched the television channel
from cartoons to the news.
“I was watchin that!” Shane said stubbornly.
“And now you‟re watching the news,” dad said and watched the television set.
I shook my head, disproving of the way dad was behaving with the twins. Maybe he just had
a hard day at work.
I took out a bottle of soda from the fridge and walked back to the television room. I handed
him the soda and sat next to him.
“Hard day?” I asked.
“How‟d you guess?” he asked.
“Your behaviour,” I said and watched the news. Something about Wikileaks latest release
was going on TV.
“I‟m sorry,” he said and huge gulp from it.
After a couple of minutes dad said, “I have this meeting next week.”
“Oh?” I said with a tiny bit of interest.
“It‟s out of this town, I‟ll be gone for a couple of days,” he said.
“So the twins and I are gonna be alone?” I asked confused.
“Well kinda, I could ask the Blossoms or the McKenzies to check in on you once in a while,”
he said kindly.
I shook my head and said, “Sabrina Blossom doesn‟t like me, you can‟t trust them.”
“All right then, I‟ll let the McKenzies know that I‟m leaving later,” he said. I nodded.
After a few seconds of silence I asked, “So what about this meeting?"
"Nothing much," he replied and stared at the news that showed the stock market and the
fluctuating stock rates. Boring.
"You‟re going to be away from here for 5 days and the meeting is about 'nothing much'? Dad,
I'm not buying that."
"Its confidential business, Stacey," he sighed, "It‟s a movie deal that I can't talk about."
"Will you call?" I asked.
"Every day," he said with a tiny smile and kissed my cheek.
"Fine," I smiled.
"Dada, I need chocolates," Shane announced.
"For what?" dad asked.
"I want!" he exclaimed stubbornly.
"Why do you want it so bad?" dad asked.
"I just do!"
"Do you know anything about this?" dad asked me.
"I may have a clue," I smirked.
"Does he need the chocolate?" he asked me.
"Chocolates might help his problems. Kit Kat" I said. Shane grinned at me.
"There might be some in the fridge," dad told us.
Shane giggled with joy and ran to the kitchen. He returned back a minute or so later and
pulled my hand "Open!" he said. I got up, opened the fridge door and gave him two kit kat
bars. He hugged me and went upstairs, probably to his room.
I woke up at 6 am today because dad was leaving for his meeting in the morning and I didn‟t want to
miss saying goodbye. The twins were still asleep, they would make a fuss if they saw dad leaving.
I gave dad a warm and tight hug. “I‟ll miss you,” I said into his chest.
He kissed my head and said, “I‟ll miss you too, princess. Let me go now.”
I chuckled and let him go. He ruffled my hair and said, “I‟ll message you when I land.”
“You won‟t call me?” I pouted.
“You‟ll be in school then. I don‟t want to disturb you during your education,” he explained and
dragged his Navy blue cabin suitcase towards his car. He put his suitcase in the trunk and walked
towards the drivers‟ seat.
“Take care,” he smiled and sat inside the car, “and don‟t throw parties while I‟m gone.”
“I‟m not that kind of girl,” I smiled and waved.
“Sure,” he winked and drove off.
“Bye!” I yelled at the car driving away.
I walked back inside. It was too late to go to sleep again and too early to get ready for school so I
decided to watch some TV. It being 6:30 am meant that there was nothing on TV. There was a
cooking show on the food network so I watched that.
“I wanna sleep” Shania whined.
“You can sleep once you reach Sara‟s house,” I told her, “Just change your clothes and go to sleep
back in the car.”
“Kay,” she pouted and ran to her closet to take out her clothes.
I shook Shane lightly causing him to groan. “Wake up,” I whispered in his ears.
“No,” he mumbled and turned away from me.
I grinned and said, “We‟re going to see Holly. Get up.”
His eyes flew open. Even though his voice was groggy, he asked excitedly, “Now? Really?”
I chuckled and said, “wash your face and get dressed.”
He grinned and walked towards their bathroom. Both he and Shania loved to brush their teeth on their
own sometimes. It made them feel older. Dad thought that it was signs that they were gonna be
After I got dressed for school in my black jeans and blue Simpsons t-shirt, I dressed Shania and Shane
into the clothes they picked out and put them in the back seat of my car.
“We gonna see Holly?” Shane asked.
“We‟ll see her in the night, I have to go to school now,” I told them as I started the car.
“Where we going now?” he asked confused.
“Sara‟s house,” I smiled.
“Okay,” he said in a gloomy tone and looked out the window. I dropped them off at Sara‟s house. I
am really starting to trust that babysitter.
After I was done with my homework that was given to me in school today, I went into the twins‟
room to check on them. Shane was on the floor playing with his toy soldiers and Shania was on the
bed playing with her teddy bear. Shania seemed like she was talking to the teddy. I climbed on the bed
and sat next to her.
“What are you doing, Shan?” I asked her.
“Talkin to Frankie,” she said and hugged her brown teddy bear.
“What about?” I asked and sat closer to her.
“Tellin her my secrets,” she smiled.
“Oooh secrets,” I grinned, “Tell me too.”
My smile faltered. That hurt, I admit. “Why not?” I asked her confused.
“You don‟t tell me yours,” she mumbled and started petting Frankie.
I bent down and whispered in her ear, “so if I tell you my secret, will you tell me yours?”
She grinned and nodded. “Hmm, let me think,” I told her. Could I really tell her a secret? Maybe I
could tell her an insignificant one.
“Don‟t tell anyone I told you this, okay?” I started. She nodded rapidly. “You remember when I told
dad that the box of cookies went missing by magic?” I asked. She nodded slowly. I whispered quietly
in her ears “I ate them”. She looked at me in shock. I fought back a grin.
“Really? You ate „em?” she asked me in shock.
“Yes, but don‟t tell anyone. Promise?”
“Pwomise” she smiled and kissed my cheek.
“Good, your turn,” I prompted.
She sat on my lap and whispered in my ears, “I don‟t like Holly.”
I had suspected this. “What? Why?” I asked shocked and confused.
“She only talks to Shane, she doesn‟t talk to me,” she exclaimed with a tiny pout.
“Do you want me to do something for you?” I asked her concerned.
“What can you do?” she asked curiously.
“I can talk to her and tell her to talk to you,” I suggested.
“Really?” she asked with a hint of joy.
“I would do anything for you,” I told her.
She grinned and kissed my face. “You love me, right?” I asked her for fun.
“Yes!” she exclaimed.
“Good,” I grinned and planted kisses all over her face causing her to giggle.
“Tacey?” I heard Shane ask timidly.
“Yes, sweety?” I asked him.
“Where‟s dada?” he asked.
“Umm, he‟s gone to the shop. To buy some things,” I told him.
“Okay. I wanna see Holly, you promised!” he whined.
“We‟ll go in a while, okay?”
“No! Now!” he yelled.
I sighed and said, “Fine, go pick out your clothes.” He jumped with excitement and picked out a green
t-shirt and his jeans. I dressed him up. I turned to Shania who was still talking to her bear.
“Shan?” I asked. She let out a tiny sigh and ran to her closet too. She picked out a pink dress with
random flower patterns at the bottom. I put on the dress for her. She had a glum face on. “I‟ll play
with you if Holly doesn‟t, all right?” I promised. She gave me a tiny smile and hugged me. Shane
combed his hair on his own while I helped Shania with her hair.
“One day I comb my own hair,” she said determined.
“And you‟ll do it better than Shane,” I giggled and kissed her cheek. She laughed and hugged me. I
wish she didn‟t get jealous all the time. It‟s not good for her.
When we were all ready we walked down to Ben‟s house. I really hope that he was at home, because
if he wasn‟t, then Shane would be very disappointed.
I rang Ben‟s doorbell. He didn‟t answer the door bell the first time so I rang the door bell again. I
heard a distant „I‟m coming‟ annoyed yell from Benjamin. Shane bobbed impatiently.
Ben opened the door with a surprised smile and said, “Hey, what are you guys doing here?”
“Are we disturbing you?” I asked concerned.
“Nah, not really. What is it?”
“Shane wanted to see Holly,” I stated.
That earned a chuckle from Ben. “Come on in,” he said and opened the door wider.
Shane ran inside. Shania looked at me expectedly. “I‟ll tell him,” I reassured her, “you go in with
Shane.” She smiled and walked inside.
I was still standing outside. Ben stared at me. “You wanna come in?” he asked.
I laughed and nodded. I walked inside and waited for Ben to shut the door. “Can you do me a
favour?” I asked him nervously.
“Anything,” he smiled reassuringly.
“Whenever Shane and Holly hang out, Shania feels left out. Do you mind telling Holly to involve
Shania too? I kinda promised her that I would tell you to,” I told him timidly.
“I can do that,” he nodded and then gave me a smile that spread across his face.
“Thank you so much!” I grinned and was about to give him a hug, but I held back. “It means a lot to
“I understand,” he smiled, “Do you wanna stand here all day? I have company.”
“Company? Was I disturbing anything?” I asked him confused.
“No,” he laughed, “you know these people.”
“All right,” I smiled and followed him as he walked towards his living room.
As I entered the room I saw Rocky and Daniel watching TV on the black leather couch. Daniel had
blue and orange paint on his face. Rocky beside him laughing out loud. “Dude, stop it!” Daniel said in
an annoyed tone.
“Your face is funny,” I commented from behind Ben.
“When did you get here?” Daniel asked confused.
“She just dropped by,” Ben answered and sat next to Rocky on the couch.
“What happened to your face?” I asked Daniel and stood next to the couch as there was no place to
“Holly decided to paint my face,” Daniel said and got up.
“Where are you going?” Ben asked him.
“I‟m going to wash my face,” he replied.
“Aww, come on!” Ben joked, “Holly worked so hard on your face”.
Daniel gave Ben a cold glare and walked out of the room.
“He loves her,” Ben chuckled.
“Well who wouldn‟t, she‟s a cutie!” I said and sat where Daniel was sitting before.
“Your brother has a thing for her, doesn‟t he?” Ben asked, he had a knowing smile on his face.
“He does, it‟s so cute to watch” I grinned.
“Aww! A McKenzie and a Davis in love with each other, how adorable!” Rocky exclaimed.
In that moment, Holly came running down with a KitKat in her hand. “Benny, open!” she exclaimed
and threw the chocolate at Ben.
He stared at the chocolate confused and asked her, “Who gave this to you?”
“Shane,” she replied and then her face turned scarlet.
“It‟s all melted,” Ben pointed out, “you can‟t eat this, not now.”
“Buh Shane gave it to me!” Holly whined.
“I‟ll put it in the fridge, you can eat it later” Ben told her. She quietly nodded. “I think we have more
chocolates that you can share with Shania and Shane too.” She smiled a big smile, something she
shared with Ben. He carried her in his arms and walked out of the room.
“So it‟s just you and me,” Rocky said seductively. I moved a little away from him. He chuckled and
asked, “What are you doing nowadays? I barely see you.”
“Going to school,” I laughed, “My exams start in a month.”
“Scary,” he commented and switched the TV channel. Now, instead of watching The Simpsons, we
were watching MTV.
“Yeah, but just a few more months and then no more school!” I exclaimed and threw my hands up in
the air in joy.
“Well true, but then you have three or four more years of university,” he pointed out.
I dropped my hands to my legs. My smile faltered and I said “did you have to kill the mood?”
“I‟m just telling you the truth,” he chuckled.
Then awkward silence fell.
“Tell me something,” Rocky started.
“Depends,” I replied.
“Do you have a crush on anyone?” he asked.
“Maybe, maybe not,” I said casually. I tried not to blush, maybe it was working. I could give this
acting thing a shot!
Rocky grinned and leaned in closer. “I promise not to tell anyone who he or she is,” he promised.
“It‟s a he!” I exclaimed. Why would he think I liked a girl? There‟s nothing wrong with liking girls,
it‟s just that I didn‟t like girls and I wanted him to know that in case Ben suddenly falls in love with
“So you do like someone,” he mused.
I groaned. How could he trap me?
“Maybe I do,” I admitted, “but it‟s not like I‟m gonna tell you who he is anyway.”
“Why? Is it me?”
“You? Eww! Heck no!”
“That hurt!” he exclaimed and rubbed his chest with his palms in circular motions.
“But it isn‟t you,” I told him.
“Is it someone I know?”
“I‟m not telling.”
“Fine,” he sighed. He got down on his knees in front of me and put his hands on my thighs. He said,
“I promise not to tell another soul about your answer.”
“Do you promise to never bring it up ever again in your life? This should stay between us only okay?”
I laid the terms. Why was I doing this?
He grinned, “I promise to forget about your answer the second you say it.”
“Swear on your mother‟s grave?”
“Yes! For crying out loud just tell me who he is already!” he exclaimed frustrated.
“Fine, it‟s no one,” I said with a tiny smile.
He groaned, “You made me promise all of that for that answer?”
I grinned and nodded.
Daniel entered the room and sat next to me – on my left. “Why is he proposing?” he asked me.
Rocky looked at Daniel and said, “She won‟t tell me who she likes.”
“You can tell us who you like,” Daniel said and put his arms on the sofa behind me.
I groaned, “What is with you two?”
“You‟re part of the club right?” Daniel explained, “So we feel like we should know that.”
“And how do I know you won‟t go running to tell him that I like him?” I asked.
“I‟m assuming we know this guy,” Daniel stated. I mentally kicked myself. I should have framed my
sentence differently. “Seriously! I won‟t tell anyone. It stays between three of us.”
“We can keep secrets. Trust us,” Rocky reassured me and squeezed my thigh.
“All right,” I sighed, I guess I could tell them. “You know this boy.”
“Is it Ben?” Daniel asked.
I gasped, how could he guess so fast?
“Is it?” Rocky asked as he leaned in closer to my face. I slowly, but reluctantly, nodded.
Rocky grinned and said, “Thanks for telling us.”
“You won‟t tell him right?” I asked worried.
“You can trust us,” Rocky grinned and sat next to me, on my right.
“I‟ll hate you forever if you open your mouth,” I told them.
“We love you too much to make you hate us” Daniel said and pinched my cheeks.
A few seconds later, Ben walked in and looked at us suspiciously. “What were you guys talking about
while I was gone?”
“Nothing” Daniel said casually, “We were waiting for you.”
Now I understand why dad was so proud of Daniel, that boy can act!
Ben looked like he was about to ask more but he was interrupted by Shania. She entered the room and
looked at me with her big brown eyes. Her mouth was smeared with chocolate.
“What is it, sweetheart?” I asked her. She seemed shy in front of me. It was explainable; she had
never met Daniel and Rocky before.
I got up and walked with her outside the room. I saw a room that looked like a kitchen and walked in.
I lifted her up and sat her down on the kitchen counter. “What is it?” I asked.
“I got choco on my face,” she giggled.
I laughed and patted her cheeks. “You‟re a naughty little girl,” I said and kissed her cheek. She
grinned. I saw a tissue box beside a green fruit bowl that was filled with fruits. I wetted the tissue and
wiped her face as she held still for me.
“You shouldn‟t eat put chocolate all over you face,” I scolded at her.
“Shane and Holly has choco on face too” she told me innocently. I wiped her face with a clean tissue.
I searched for a dust-bin for me to put the dirty tissues in. I found one under the sink and dumped the
tissues in there.
“Holly is playing with me,” she said.
“Good for you” I smiled, “See, I told you she‟s a nice girl”.
“She told me Benny‟s friends are sleeping here today.”
“Can we sleep here too?” she asked me.
“No, we can‟t. We‟re not invited” I told her.
“But I wanna sleep here!” she stressed. “Tell Ben!”
“Tell me what?” I heard Ben ask.
“Nothing,” I quickly said.
Ben walked towards us and pinched Shania‟s cheek, “What‟s up?” he asked her, concern written all
over his face.
She seemed a bit shy for a while but then she answered him, her volume still low, “I wanna sleep here
Ben cracked a smile and looked at me. “Holly told her that Rocky and Daniel are sleeping over,” I
explained, “She wants to sleepover too.”
“I would love for you to join us,” Ben told Shania. Shania grinned. “But there‟s no place here for you,
not today,” he told her gently. She frowned. “Do you want to sleep over tomorrow?” he asked her.
Her frowned turned into a smile once again, she nodded. “We can call Stacey and Shane too, okay?”
he asked. She nodded again. Ben chuckled.
“You‟re okay with that, right?” Ben asked me.
“I am. I just don‟t want to impose on any plans you have,” I explained.
“You‟re not imposing,” Ben smiled, showing off his dazzling teeth.
It took me a second to reply, maybe two, as I composed myself and not let my attraction for him
affect the way I spoke to him. “G-great” I replied.
“Tacey?” Shania asked me innocently.
“Yeah?” I turned to her.
“I wanna go home,” she told me.
I walked closer towards her and patted her cheek. “What‟s wrong?” I asked.
“Nothin,” she told me and looked down.
I put my finger under her chin and raised her head slightly. “Did something happen?” I whispered so
that only she could hear me.
She shook her head, making her curls bounce, and said, “No.”
“You can trust me,” I told her, still keeping my voice low so that Ben couldn‟t hear.
“I jus wanna sleep. Shane is playin with Holly and they‟re giving me less to play. Shane is not playin
with me,” she whispered, her eyes were a little bit watery.
I nodded and kissed her cheeks, “We‟ll go, all right. Do we take Shane too?”
“Only if he wants to,” she replied with a smile.
I smiled and turned to Ben, “We‟re gonna go back home now,” I told him.
“Why?” he asked concerned, “Is everything okay?”
I nodded, “everything is fine. She‟s just sleepy.”
“Okay,” he said, still not sounding convinced.
“I‟ll go see if Shane wants to come too,” I told him. He nodded and I went upstairs. Shania would be
okay down there. Ben would make sure she was all right. I trusted him that much.
I entered Holly‟s bedroom, she was playing with Shane. They were playing with kitchen toys.
“Stace!” Shane exclaimed. Holly gave me a tiny wave.
“We‟re going now,” I told Shane.
He pouted. “But we just started playin kitchen-kitchen!” he whined.
“You can continue tomorrow, okay?” I told him.
“No!” he said stubbornly. Holly looked sad.
“I‟ll give you fifteen minutes okay?” I told him after thinking it over. If Shane was actually moving
forward with his relationship and telling the girl he likes that he likes her, who am I to stop him?
He grinned and hugged me.
I made my way down the stairs and walked in the living room. Ben had Shania in his arms. She
looked comfortable so I didn‟t offer to take her away from him. He didn‟t look like he was in pain
carrying Shania so I let it slide.
“Where‟s Shane” Ben asked.
“I gave him fifteen minutes more,” I told Ben, “they just started playing „kitchen-kitchen‟.”
Daniel laughed, “I used to play that when I was a kid.”
“Me too,” Rocky said and then grinned. “I used to play „doctor-doctor‟ too. Let‟s play it now. Stacey,
“No,” Ben replying coldly while I sent him a tiny glare.
“Relax,” Rocky laughed, Ben joined him.
A while later, Shane came into the room hand in hand with Holly, both of them still had chocolate
smeared over their mouth. “Can I come tomowow?” Shane asked Ben.
“Of course you can,” Ben smiled at him, “You can sleepover too. Shania is going to be here.”
Shane looked at me and asked, “Can I sleepova too?”
I laughed, “Yup, we‟re all gonna sleepover here.”
“Can we join?” Daniel asked from behind.
“Heck no!” Ben told him, “You‟re already staying over tonight.”
Daniel pouted, I admit that it looked adorable, and asked, “Please? We‟ll behave.”
Ben scoffed and said, “Yeah right.”
That was when I decided to leave. “I think I better go now,” I told Ben.
“Sure,” he said and handed Shania back to me.
After I had Shania in my arms, Shane fussed, “Carry me!”
“I‟m carrying Shania, I can‟t carry you too,” I told him.
“You always carry her,” he pouted. Shania didn‟t seem to want to walk.
“Need a hand?” Ben asked with a tiny smile.
I nodded. He took Shania from my arms, she went willingly, and I carried Shane.
“Happy?” I asked him.
He nodded and kissed my cheek. There was probably chocolate on the side of my face. Ben chuckled
and said, “Let‟s go”. Holly was following us but Ben told her “Stay with Danny.” She smiled and sat
on Daniel‟s lap.
We walked towards my house. “Thanks for doing this, you‟re a life saver sometimes,” I told Ben.
“Hey, I promised your dad I would help you if you needed anything,” Ben smiled.
“Thanks,” I smiled, not knowing what more to say.
He helped me till my house and then with a smile he left.
I put the lasagne in the microwave and then washed Shane‟s face. He still had chocolate on his face.
“I‟m hungwy,” Shania said anxiously.
“Me too,” Shane joined in.
I heard the ting from the microwave. I put plates in front of them and served them a scoop full of
lasagne. I served too scoops for me and kept it back in the fridge.
“I‟ll tell you a secwet?” Shane asked with a big mouthful.
“Finish that from your mouth, then tell me your secret,” I scolded.
He quickly swallowed it and said, “I know you like Benny.”
I coughed on my lasagna. “W-what?” I asked.
“I know,” he giggled, “Shania told me.”
“Why would you think that?” I asked them.
“You like him,” Shania giggled, “We know, we know.”
“I do like him,” I told them, “but not in the same way Shane likes Holly.”
“Really?” Shania asked disappointed.
“Really,” I lied. It‟s best they didn‟t know the truth.
I packed the twins and my clothes in my back pack and went to the twins‟ room to see if they
wanted to go now. Honestly, I wanted to go right away. I can‟t believe I‟m going to sleepover
at his place. Well obviously I can‟t sleep in the same bed as him. That would be awkward.
They were already all dressed up and standing by the door. “Are you ready yet?” Shane asked
in a whiney tone.
“Yes yes,” I told them and ran down the stairs. They both laughed as I did that.
Sooner than you know it, we were on Ben‟s doorstep and Shane was asking me to hurry up
and ring the bell. Ben opened the door and smiled at them. They ran inside and probably went
to wherever Holly was. I walked inside and asked him “Where do I keep my backpack?” I
“I‟ll keep it in my room,” he said and I handed him my back pack.
I made my way towards his TV room and sat on the couch waiting for him. I noticed a couple
of DVDs on the coffee table. I gingerly picked up the Inception and read the back of the
DVD. “Do you want to watch that?” Ben asked me.
“Sure,” I smiled.
“I‟ll just put a movie for the kids in my parents‟ room, and then we‟ll watch this,” he told me.
I nodded and he walked out of the room.
I patiently waited for him to come. When he came back, he grinned at me. “Your choice of
movie is good,” he said.
“Thank you,” I grinned back.
“Do you want something to drink?” he asked.
“Coca Cola would be great”.
He smiled and left the room.
A movie with Benjamin McKenzie, the guy I am crushing on, sounds good. Who am I
kidding? It sounds amazing!
He returned with two cokes and a bowl of popcorn.
“Are the kids okay up there?” I asked him concerned. I was starting to feel that it was selfish
of us leaving them there alone.
“They‟ll be fine, the door is open. I told Holly to run down if she needed anything,” he
“Good,” I said relieved.
“Let‟s watch Inception now,” he grinned and put the DVD in the DVD player. I relaxed and
thought about the movie and not about how close he was sitting next to me.
The screen blacked out and the movie was over. “Wow,” I said amazed by the movie.
“I know,” he said, just as amazed as me.
“The movie is so freaky and cool,” I turned towards him and said.
“I know. Leonardo DiCaprio played the role well.”
“He‟s hot,” I grinned.
“Him? Seriously? I don‟t even feel intimidated by him,” he told me.
“You take that back!” I gasped.
“Nope,” he grinned. I didn‟t know how to retort, so I threw popcorn on his face.
He scowled and threw popcorn back at me. Then we were fighting with popcorn.
“He is so charming! I‟m in love with him,” I said mockingly. His blue-grey eyes turned angry
for a second and then he stubbornly threw more popcorn at me.
I threw some back at him. He said, “You‟re wasting popcorn!”
I laughed and said “We‟re behaving like children.”
“It was fun though,” he grinned.
“Yeah,” I grinned back and ate the popcorn that was lying on my chest.
“Do we go upstairs and check on them?” he asked, changing the topic.
“Yeah, we better,” I smiled. I drank some of my coke and I went upstairs.
When we reached his parents room we saw Shania staring at the remote and Shane kissing
Holly‟s cheek. “Did the movie finish?” Ben asked them.
“Long back,” Shania said, dragging the „long‟ part.
“Why didn‟t you tell us?” Ben asked her and said at the edge of the white double-bed, “I
could have put another one for you.”
“We want to watch this one again,” Holly said. Shane and Shania nodded.
“Are you sure? You just saw this one” Ben asked them. They all nodded. Ben chuckled and
replayed the movie again. “Do you want biscuits?” he asked them. Holly and Shania nodded
their head. Ben turned to me and asked me to stay here with them, I agreed.
“What were you doin down?” Shane asked me.
“We were watching a movie too,” I smiled.
“Which one? Spongebob?” Shania asked.
“No, we were watching a big children‟s movie,” I told them.
“Can I watch?” Shane asked, “I‟m big too.”
“You can watch this movie,” I told them, “Benny already put it for you.”
“Okay,” Holly said sadly and looked at her hands.
“It‟s a funny movie,” Shane told Holly reassuringly. She smiled at Shane and kissed his
cheek. I smiled.
Ben entered the room and gave Shania the plate of biscuits. “Don‟t drop any crumbs,” he told
“We won‟t,” Shania said and carefully ate the biscuits.
“So, Shane,” Ben casually stated, “What are your plans with my sister?”
I stared at my hands not wanting to laugh. “Huh?” Shane asked him confused.
“You like my sister right?” Ben asked. Shane nodded. “Then are you going to marry her?” He
I bit my lip, fighting my urge to laugh. “No,” Shane said confused, “Marry is for big people.”
“Are you going to take care of her?” Ben asked Shane. Shane nodded confused.
I decided to put my little brother out of misery and said, “Ben, we should leave them alone.”
“All right,” Ben agreed. I got off the bed and walked towards the door.
“You should take care of the girl you love and treat her like a princess,” Ben told Shane.
“At least I told the girl I loved that I like her!” Shane retorted.
I stared at Shane in confusion and surprise. Was he referring to me? I gave Shane a silencing
look and told Ben, “Let‟s go watch another movie.”
“Sure,” Ben said, I couldn‟t fathom the emotion in his voice.
Once we were downstairs, I sat on the couch and asked Ben, “What movie are we watching
He smiled and said “your pick.”
“It‟s your house, you choose,” I told him.
“You‟re the guest,” he said and sat next to me.
I ate popcorn and randomly chose a movie. I chose the move Letters to Juliet starring
I handed him the movie. He looked at it in confusion and then put it in the DVD player. He
probably didn‟t want to watch the movie because it sounded like a chick-flick.
During the movie, I started to feel sleepy. Ben must have noticed that because he asked, “Do
you want to go to sleep?”
I shook my head and said, “I‟ll wait till the movie ends.”
“Do you at least want to lie down and watch the movie?” he asked.
“Umm sure,” I said confused and looked around for a place to sleep.
He pulled a cushion from behind him and put it on his lap. He gestured to his lap.
“Are you sure?” I asked him and let out a tiny yawned.
“I offered,” he said with a tiny smile.
I nodded and slowly put my head on the cushion and spread my feet in front. “Thanks,” I
“Anytime,” he grinned and touched my head. It wasn‟t meant to be intimate, it was a relaxing
gesture. I turned towards the TV and watched the movie.
“Tell me if I‟m too heavy,” I warned.
“I can handle you. You‟re not that heavy,” he chuckled. I could feel him vibrating with
“Okay,” I said in a tiny voice. Soon I found myself sleeping peacefully in Ben‟s lap.
I felt a heavy weight on my stomach. I tried to push it away but it wouldn‟t budge. I slowly fluttered
my eyes open and saw Shane sitting on my stomach.
“What are you doing?” I asked while blinking. My vision was hazy.
“Get up! It‟s Mornin‟. Benny‟s makin pancakes,” Shane said jumping on my stomach.
I groaned in pain and asked, “Is it morning?”
“Yes,” he said and poked my shoulder. When did I fall asleep? The last memory I had was sleeping
on Ben‟s lap and watching the movie. Oh crap! I fell asleep on his lap. I looked around and saw that I
was in his room.
“Where did you sleep?‟ I asked him.
“In Benny‟s pawents room” he told me.
“Where did Benny sleep?” I asked.
“With us,” Shane smiled and tugged on my hand.
I sighed and got up. I found his bathroom and brushed my teeth with my pink toothbrush. I guess Ben
must have taken it out from my bag and put it there.
I walked downstairs and entered the kitchen. I saw Ben cutting up pancakes into tiny squares for
Holly and the twins.
“Look who is up,” Ben smiled as he saw me.
“What‟s the time?” I asked him and ran my fingers through my hair.
“11 AM,” he told me.
“Damn! I‟m sorry,” I apologized, “Do you need any help?”
“I‟m an expert at these things,” he grinned, “I don‟t need your help.”
“If you say so,” I mumbled and sat down on the table.
Shane poked the pancake square with a fork and put it in his mouth. “See, I eatin on ma own,” Shane
said and giggled.
“Good for you,” I smiled. I saw Holly and Shania eating the same way.
“How many do you want?” Ben asked me.
“Two would do fine,” I told him. He nodded and got back to the stove.
He returned five minutes later and placed the perfectly round pancakes on my plate. I grabbed some
maple syrup from the table and poured it over the pancakes.
“Aren‟t you going to eat?” I asked him.
He nodded and put 5 pancakes on his plate.
“I‟m sorry for sleeping on you,” I muttered, embarrassed, and stuffed my mouth with pancakes.
He chuckled and said, “It‟s all right, I didn‟t mind.”
I swallowed the pancake and said “no, it was wrong of me. You‟re allowed to push me off next time”.
He smiled and ate his pancakes. With a mouthful, he said, “next time I‟m letting you sleep on my
“But it‟s awkward,” I whined.
He chuckled and said, “You look cute when you‟re asleep.”
I rolled my eyes and said, “That‟s stupid.” I being cute when asleep was impossible to believe.
He looked like he wanted to say more, but he stayed quiet and ate his pancakes.
When we were done, he took our plates and put it in the dishwasher.
“If you need any help, let me know,” I informed him.
“I‟ll let you know,” he replied with a smile.
“All right, I need to go to a friend‟s house to study. Are you going to be okay with them?” I asked
remembering Ryan‟s invitation to study at his house.
Ben seemed hesitant when he replied, “sure.”
“Or you could drop them at Sara‟s house. She will be okay with it,” I told him as I remembered Sara
offering to help me out.
“I‟ll do that when they become too much to handle,” he smiled.
“I can drop them now if you want,” I told him, suddenly feeling guilty that I was putting too much
burden on him.
“Calm down, girl! I can take care of this,” he reassured me and put his hand on my shoulder.
I nodded. I said goodbye to the twins and left the house with my things.
I knocked on Ryan‟s front door and waited for him to open it. The person who opened the door
completely shocked me.
“Couldn‟t get enough of me, eh?” Daniel said with a tiny smirk.
“What are you doing here?” I asked him confused.
“I live here,” he said as if he was stating the obvious.
“I swear I got the right address!” I said as I saw the address that Ryan gave me on my cell phone and
it was the same place I was.
“Maybe it was fate,” he said cheesily.
“Shut up! Does Ryan live here?” I asked, maybe he was visiting Ryan or something.
“You‟re here for him?” he asked a bit shocked. “He‟s upstairs.”
He opened the door and let me in.
“Upstairs where?” I asked him.
“In his room, I‟ll show you,” he said and I followed him as he walked towards the stairs.
“Why do you live with Ryan?” I asked him confused.
“I don‟t know if anyone told you this, but we‟re brothers,” he said, dropping a huge bomb.
“What?” I exclaimed in shock, “how?”
“What do you mean how?” he asked amused.
“No one told me about it,” I mumbled embarrassed.
“Aww, it‟s okay. I‟m sure Ryan would have told you eventually” he said and pinched my cheeks as
we climbed up the stairs.
I slapped his hands off and mumbled, “Whatever.”
He laughed and knocked on the door of a room. “That‟s his room. Call me if you need anything,” he
“Sure, thanks,” I smiled and waved as he walked to another room.
The door opened revealing Ryan with messed up hair. “You‟re here!” he said surprised.
“You called me, I came,” I smiled.
“Come in, Peter isn‟t here yet. Just Yasmine,” he said and opened the door.
When I entered the room I saw Yasmine sitting on the edge of the bed. Her hair seemed a bit unkempt
too. “Was I disturbing something?” I asked cautiously.
“Of course not!” Yasmine exclaimed and ran her fingers through her hair.
“We were waiting for you and Peter so that we could get started,” Ryan said and closed the door.
“What were you two doing in the meanwhile?” I asked with a tiny smile.
“Umm nothing much,” Yasmine said and a huge blush appeared on her face.
“Sure,” I said, not believing her for a second.
I sat down next to Yasmine on the bed.
“Why don‟t we start with Mathematics?” Ryan suggested.
“Aren‟t we going to wait for Peter?” I asked.
“We‟ll start with the basics, he can catch up this way. Besides, we can always go over it next time, we
have 6 more days of holidays,” Ryan said and got his big Math text book from his desk and threw it
on the bed. He brought out his calculator, a notebook and a few pencils and threw them on the bed
“Make yourself comfy,” Ryan told me and sat on the bed.
After 15 minutes, Peter walked in the room and sat on the bed. “What are we doing?” he asked
“Trigonometry,” I replied nonchalantly.
He groaned and said, “Let‟s do this.”
It had been an hour and I got an SMS. I opened the phone and saw that it was from Ben.
The text said: Hey, I dropped Holly, Shane and Shania at Sara‟s house. Just wanted to let you know :)
I replied: Sounds great, thanks for letting me know :)
I could hear Peter, Yasmine and Ryan solving a problem in the background. I waited for him to reply.
A second later he replied with: You‟re welcome. I was wondering ... do you mind having another
sleepover thing? The kids wanted it and it would be fun :)
I immediately replied: It‟s a great idea. We can do it at my place. When are your parents coming
“Umm Stace?” I heard Peter ask.
I lifted my head and noticed all of them staring at me. “What?” I asked suddenly self-conscious.
“Who were you texting?” Peter asked.
“A friend,” I said and I could feel myself smile.
Yasmine grinned and asked, “Who is this friend?”
“Just a friend,” I replied and tried to calm my smile down.
“Then why were you grinning like an idiot while replying?” Ryan asked, he had a tiny smile on his
“I wasn‟t,” I said trying to convince them.
“You‟re smiling like an idiot now,” Peter pointed out. He reached out and touched my cheek and said
“You‟re blushing too.”
“I‟m not!” I said and covered my cheeks with my hand.
“Who is he?” Peter asked.
“Or she?” Ryan asked. When everyone gave him weird looks he said, “Just to be sure.”
“No one, really. Just a friend,” I said, trying to convince them.
“I don‟t believe you,” Peter stated and snatched my phone from my hand. At that second, Ben replied.
“Who‟s Ben?” Peter asked in a sing song voice.
“The guy I was texting,” I told them at last.
“Is Ben, Dan‟s friend?” Ryan asked.
“That would be him,” I told them.
“If it was only him why couldn‟t you tell us?” Peter asked with a huge smirk.
“Can I have my phone back?” I asked.
“Nope,” he grinned, “I‟m going to read his message out loud.” I groaned. He grinned further and
started reading the message. “My parents will be back in 2 days. Your place sounds fun. I guess we‟ll
be there at around 9. Don‟t worry about the kids, I‟ll pick them up from Sara‟s later. I‟m catching up
in my studies too and I need complete silence. The twins, Holly and I will see you at your place soon.
Take care. I‟m sorry, but he‟s coming over at your place?” He looked at me.
“Yes, and he‟s welcome anytime. Can I have my phone back please?” I asked.
He tossed my phone back to me and said, “Sounds like this Ben guy means something to you.”
“Well yeah, his sister loves my brother and we‟re good friends,” I said trying to get them off the topic.
“And do you like him?” Ryan asked me.
“It doesn‟t matter,” I replied, “Can we get back to studying now? Our exams are next month!”
“Nah, I like talking about this Ben guy,” Peter teased, “Is he cute?”
“I guess,” I tried to shrug and act cool, “I can set you up with him, he‟s single.”
“Oh he‟s single, good for you,” Yasmine winked.
“But I thought you and I were going to go out,” Peter said with a frown, his eyes said that he was
“Oh my Gosh!” I exclaimed, “Can we lift the focus off me and on Math?”
“All right fine, but only because we love you,” Yasmine grinned and put her head down on the book.
Peter laughed at the book and then read the question “If the distance of Benjamin from a tower is 100
m and the angle subtended by the top of the tower with the ground is 30
, what is the height of the
tower in meters?”
“It doesn‟t say that!” I exclaimed.
Ryan laughed and said “It actually does!”
I looked at the book and noticed that Peter was reading it correctly. This was going to be a long day.
The door bell rang twice. I ran down the stairs in excitement. I heard tiny thumping sounds from the
door, no doubt that was Shane trying to kick open the door. I opened the door and Shane, Shania and
Holly ran inside without looking at me.
“They‟re an impatient bunch of kids, aren‟t they?” Ben chuckled and walked in. He settled his duffle
bag near the shoe rack.
“Yeah, they are,” I smiled and shut the door after him.
Ben sniffed the air and asked “Do I smell pasta?”
I gave him a nervous smile and said “Yes, I made that for dinner. Is that okay or do you want
something from a restaurant?”
He grinned and exclaimed, “Are you kidding? I love pasta. I‟ll eat all of it.”
I punched his arm lightly and said, “keep some for the starving children and me please?”
“I‟ll think about it,” he said and walked into the dining room.
“Wait here while I find the starving children,” I joked and walked upstairs towards the twins‟ room.
Once I got there, I opened the door and found them taking out toys from the toy chest. “It‟s dinner
time now. Play later,” I told them.
“But we wanna play now!” Shane whined.
I knelt down and gave him the „big brown eyes puppy dog‟ look. “But I made pasta for you,” I told
him softly and frowned.
He pouted and then kissed my cheek. “We go eat now, then we play,” he smiled, as if he was trying to
make me happy again, and kissed my cheek again.
I nodded and said, “Okay, let‟s go.” He smiled and caught my hand and pulled me out the door. I
turned around and saw Holly and Shania following us.
We entered the dining room and they climbed up on the chairs. I had already laid out the plates and
cutlery for them and put the bowl of pasta on the table so I didn‟t have to do much. Ben was already
sitting on the table.
“Can we eat now?” Ben asked eagerly.
I laughed and said, “You don‟t have to ask, just dig in.”
He grinned and put 3 big spoons full for him. I put tiny portions for Shane, Shania and Holly and then
served myself too. The kids were able to eat it with a spoon. Halfway through, Shane started using his
fingers and picking up the pasta.
After an hour we were done with the food. Ben had taken all the kids to the washroom to wash their
faces. I decided to do the dishes now so that I had more time to spend with him later. Dad bought a
dishwasher for me but I never knew how to use it, so I do the dishes manually. I was done with the
pasta bowl and plates so I moved on to the spoons. I picked up the silver spoon and washed it
carefully making sure that I got all stains out.
“Boo,” I heard a whisper in my ear. I knew it was Ben. I could feel him breathing on my neck.
I quickly turned around and said, “You almost scared me.” But that came out as a shaky whisper. His
face was very close to mine. His nose almost touched mine. I could feel his breath tickling my lips. I
didn‟t know what his eyes looked like because I was only focused on his lips. Before my instincts
could take over, I turned around and stared at the sink.
“Don‟t sneak up on me like that,” I said, also surprised that my voice sounded casual.
“I‟m sorry. Do you need any help?” he asked.
“I‟m almost done here anyway,” I told him. He took a few steps backward, much to my relief.
After I was done with the dishes, he asked, “Where do I sleep?”
I thought about it and said, “Well my dad has a huge bed. I think all five of us can fit in it”.
With a tiny smirk he asked “Are you sure Mr. Davis will be okay with us on the same bed?”
I shook my head in disapproval and said, “Rocky is rubbing off on you. I don‟t know what my dad
“He‟s my best friend, of course he‟s rubbing off on me,” he grinned showing all of his teeth.
I let out a tiny groan and asked, “What about me? Don‟t I rub off on you?”
He smiled and said, “When I‟m with Rocks and Dan, I become a warm hearted person like you.”
“You think I‟m warm hearted?”
“Of course I do. I‟m sure everyone thinks the same.”
“If you say so,” I shrugged.
Shania walked in the room. “I‟m sweepy,” she said with a low voice.
“Sleepy? Now?” I asked her confused.
“It is almost 11 pm. Maybe we should put them to bed,” Ben suggested.
I went closer to her and asked, “Are you sleepy?” I was concerned because I thought that maybe
Shane and Holly weren‟t playing with her.
She nodded and said, “my eyes are closing.”
I smiled and said, “I‟ll brush your teeth and then we can go to sleep.”
She smiled and nodded. I held her tiny hand and we walked up the stairs together.
I took out her small Barbie toothbrush and brushed her teeth. I didn‟t need to instruct her to spit as she
“We‟re all going to sleep in one bed,” I told her.
She grinned and said “okay.”
I walked into the twins rooms with Shania and saw Holly and Shane holding hands. I reluctantly said,
“It‟s time to sleep.” They looked at me and frowned. “Shania already brushed her teeth. She won.
Who wants to be second?” I asked them excited.
“Me!” Shane and Holly exclaimed together.
“I‟ll take Holly,” I heard Ben said from behind me.
“Yay!” Holly exclaimed and ran towards Ben. He lifted her up and spun around causing her to giggle
and her hair to fly. He chuckled and walked out.
“Coming?” I asked Shane.
“I wanna put my PJs on!” he said.
“Which one?” I asked him excited.
“The ellow one, with the green stars,” he exclaimed.
“Hmm, where did you put that?” I asked him.
He ran to his closet and pulled out the pyjamas that he was talking about. He handed it to me.
“Let‟s change before they come,” I told him. He nodded in delight. I removed his jeans and the blue
shirt that he was wearing. I put on his pyjamas in a hurry and soon I was done.
“We changed before they could come,” I told him. He smiled as if he won the Nobel Peace Prize. I
mentally sighed, wishing that life was as simple and carefree as he thought it was.
“Me next!” Shania exclaimed.
“Go choose which one you want,” I said and pointed at her closet. She ran and took out a simple pink
dress. I smiled and took the dress from her. I removed the green dress she was currently wearing and
put on the pink dress for her.
“Are we going to sleep now?” Shania asked.
I nodded and said, “Yes, after I brush Shane‟s teeth too all right?”
She gave me a tiny nod and went towards her teddy bear.
I carried Shane in my arms and we went to the bathroom. I put Shane on the sink and took out his
Spider-man tooth brush and brushed his teeth, he held still for me. After he was done, I wiped his face
and he ran to his room. I decided to brush my teeth too.
I walked towards my room and saw Ben looking at the books on my shelf. “What are you doing?” I
He shrugged and said, “Just checking out your books. I already brushed my teeth by the way.”
“You‟re such a good boy,” I said in fake pride.
He grinned and stuck his tongue out.
“Let‟s just go to sleep. I‟m exhausted,” I yawned.
“All right,” he smiled and followed me out of my room.
When Ben and I got to dad‟s room we saw that the kids were already on the bed.
“Supwise!” they yelled together.
“Wow! Thank you,” I told them cheerfully although I was confused as to what they surprised me
“We came on the bed before you,” Shania giggled.
I giggled too and said, “I was so surprised!”
Ben chuckled. I gave him a tiny smile.
“You sleep on the extreme left,” I told Ben, “and I‟ll sleep on the extreme right.” He nodded and went
on the left of the bed. I put the lights off. I walked in the dark and slowly crawled on the bed.
“Goodnight,” I told them.
“Goodnight,” I heard Ben say with a chuckle.
“Nightynite,” Shane and Shania chorused. I chuckled. I closed my eyes, said a quick prayer hoping
for mom to come back and went to sleep.
Boom. I heard a noise and woke up. I opened my eyes and saw that it was still dark. Where did that
sound come from? I turned around and saw that Shania, Shane, Holly and Ben were in the bed. Who
could be making those noises?
I was about to get up when I heard the door knob turn. My heart started beating fast.
Ting. It sounded as if something metal fell on the ground and was rolling around. I got a very fierce
smell and my eyes started closing on me. No matter how hard I tried to fight the smell, I fell asleep.
I was awake, but my eyes weren‟t open yet. The bed I was on felt harder, this wasn‟t my bed,
but it wasn‟t dad‟s bed either. My hands and legs seemed stuck together. I couldn‟t move it
apart. I opened my eyes in a flash and saw an unfamiliar environment. Where was I?
I looked down at my hands and saw that my left hand was handcuffed to the bed post. My
legs were handcuffed to each other too. I scanned around and saw a man, around the age of
25, typing something on his cell phone. He looked at me and then continued typing
something fiercely into his phone.
“Where am I?” I asked him.
“Shut up,” he yelled and went back to typing.
I looked around and saw Shane and Holly sleeping beside me. I thanked heaven that they
weren‟t tied up like me. They were sleeping peacefully. Where were Ben and Shania? Why
were we here?
I had so many more questions but when a man in a leather jacket walked in, I stayed silent.
“So the princess is finally up, eh?” he said and came closer to me.
“Where am I?” I asked afraid. Something in me was telling me to be terrified of him and that
he was going to harm me.
“Somewhere far away from your daddy,” he replied calmly. “Sit upright,” he instructed.
I did as he said and asked, “why am I here? Why are they here?” He sat on the bed next to
“You‟re my hostage,” he replied calmly.
My jaw dropped. “Ho-hostage?” I stuttered, “Why?”
“I‟ve given you enough answers,” he said and got off the bed. “I‟ll check on you in an hour”.
“You cannot keep us here! You need to tell me what you want from me!” I exclaimed.
His calm façade faded, his expressions hardened when he said, “I‟ve told you enough. Don‟t
test me and make me hurt you because I can do that.”
I nodded quickly and said, “Sorry.”
“Good,” he said giving me a sinister smile and left the room.
The man at the door still didn‟t look at me, he continued typing into his phone.
I stared at the handcuffs and wished it disappeared. I felt like a criminal when I did absolutely
“Would you tell me what‟s going on here?” I asked the guy at the wooden door.
“No,” he replied coldly.
I was so confused and no one would tell me what was going on.
I saw Shane stirring in his sleep beside me. His eyes were fluttering open. “Go back to sleep,
sweetie,” I cooed in his ear, “It‟s not time to wake up yet.” He smiled and went back to sleep.
With my free right hand, I patted his back till he fell into a deep slumber. I breathed a sigh of
relief. I didn‟t know, or have, the answers to anything he would ask me.
After a long while, the mean man with the leather jacket who was talking to me earlier
walked in and sat next to me on the bed. I decided to study his features. He had long black
hair and green eyes. He had stubble too. He would have good looking if he didn‟t have scars
over his right eye.
“When will the two kids wake up?” he asked me, “They‟ve been asleep for too long.”
“I don‟t know,” I replied quietly.
He became angry. “You don‟t know when they‟ll wake up? They‟re your brother and sister
for crying out loud!” he yelled causing me to flinch.
He thought Holly was my sister? Maybe I shouldn‟t correct him. Shania was probably safe
out there and it was best that way.
“I-I don‟t know, maybe in a while,” I told him scared.
He thought it over and said, “I guess only you can do for now.”
“Do what?” I asked carefully.
He handed me a phone and said, “I want you to call your father.”
I nodded, dialled dad‟s number, and gave him back the phone. He smiled, an unkind one, and
put the phone to his ear. He put his left hand on my leg and started moving up and down it. I
didn‟t dare shake him off, no matter how uncomfortable it felt.
He smiled in satisfaction and asked, “Is this Gary Davis?” After a pause he continued, “I
called to say that I have your son and daughters. Check on the boy who was with them, he‟ll
be able to reconfirm that. I‟ll call back soon.” He hung up.
I decided to try my luck. “Why are we here? Why did you kidnap us? My father is a kinda-
famous producer, he can report you to the police and make sure that the whole world knows
that you are evil,” I said.
He thought it over and then laughed as if I had said the funniest thing on earth. I looked at
him in confusion. Didn‟t he understand that I had power over him? He turned serious and
said, “I have the people your father values the most with me. I can to anything bad I want to
you and your siblings therefore making me more powerful.”
“I don‟t like you,” I muttered.
He grinned and said, “No one really does and that‟s why I love doing this, babe.”
“Don‟t call me babe,” I told him.
He leaned in closer and said harshly, “I can call you whatever I want.”
I turned my face away from him and looked down. His breath smelled awful. This made him
chuckle in satisfaction.
“Are you hungry?” he asked. I nodded.
He smiled and said, “You‟ll get something to eat when the little children wake up.”
I looked at him in shock. He just grinned and left the room. Bastard! I couldn‟t wake them
up. I didn‟t want them to wake up till we were back home. I could give up food, for them. I
didn‟t want them to face this mean man.
As if the devil heard my thoughts, Holly stirred around. I closed my eyes and prayed that she
didn‟t wake up. I prayed for us to get out of here too. Holly tossed and turned around. I
lowered myself, with difficulty, so that my lips were near her ear. I sang “Hush, little baby,
don't say a word, Mama's going to buy you a mockingbird. If that mockingbird won't sing,
Mama's going to buy you a diamond ring”. She had a tiny smile on her face. I continued “If
that diamond ring turns brass, Mama's going to buy you a looking glass. If that looking glass
gets broke, Mama's going to buy you a Billy goat. If that Billy goat won't pull, Mama's going
to buy you a cart and bull”. I stopped off after hearing her tiny snore.
I smiled. I missed when mom used to sing me this song. She used to sing it to when I was 8
and I used to be mad at her because I thought that I was too old to be sung to sleep. Now I
take it back. I wish she would still sing to me. I miss her sweet voice.
The man at the door chuckled. I looked at him and saw that he was looking at me. He kinda
had a nice smile, I noticed, although his bald head gave off a dangerous vibe.
“What‟s so funny?” I asked confused.
He smiled and stated, “Don‟t you understand that if you put them to sleep, you‟ll never get
anything to eat?”
“I don‟t want to eat,” I told him determined, “I don‟t want them to wake up now. They‟ll only
wake up when we reach home.”
He shook his head and said, “you silly girl, you don‟t know? You‟re not going to be home
My jaw dropped. “When do I get to go home then?” I asked scared.
“Maybe in three days or more,” he shrugged, “depends on how co-operative your father is.”
“What is going on between you people and my dad?”
“Can‟t say. I have already told you too much.”
“Please,” I begged, “I need you to tell me what‟s happening. I feel so confused.”
He thought it over and then said, “You‟ll find out when you need to find out. I‟m not going to
be the one to tell you.”
“Please,” I asked.
He didn‟t reply, he just stared at his phone and typing. I sighed and went into a sleeping
position. Maybe this was all a bad dream and I just need to wake up.
I didn‟t get any sleep. I couldn‟t get any sleep. Many thoughts evaded my mind. I wondered
if I did something bad, legal wise, to be kidnapped. I didn‟t recall doing anything bad. I never
drank alcohol or broke the law. Maybe I crossed the road when the lights for the cars were
green and maybe I didn‟t use the zebra crossing but I‟m sure tonnes more people do it. Why
do I have to be punished for it? The twins did absolutely nothing; they‟re too innocent to be
I thought about what they said about my dad. I really hoped my dad wasn‟t involved in
anything illegal. Dad wouldn‟t do anything illegal, it would ruin the reputation of his
production company and he works hard to make sure it stays successful. Unless dad took
some loans from people other than the bank in the beginning of his career and didn‟t pay
them back. But that doesn‟t make sense. Dad has enough money to pay off loans and maybe
offer people loans.
Something in my mind clicked. Maybe that‟s it. They‟re kidnapping us because they want
money from dad. That made complete sense. I just hope they don‟t demand too much money
from dad. He started from scratch, mom sacrificed her sanity for him.
In the beginning, dad was almost never home and mom was really sad about it. I worked hard
at making her laugh or even smile that beautiful smile of hers. I was thirteen then, but I still
tried. I think she recognized my efforts because I saw her be strong after that.
Then a year later, the twins were born and she was happy. At least I thought she was. We still
moved around a lot and she and dad still fought. Shane and Shania cried a lot too. All three
factors making mom drink excessively.
I wanted to hate Shane and Shania for existing. It was their fault mom was away from me.
But then again, they did nothing wrong. They didn‟t want mom to go away, even if they
didn‟t know who she was and how much she should mean to them. Sometimes I wish I could
have been a better daughter to her. I keep wondering that maybe if I helped out around the
house or even spoke to her with respect, maybe she would have been here.
I sighed. Erin told me not to dwell on these things. Maybe I should take her advice once in a
while. I missed Erin and her wise words too. Erin has also sent me an SMS a few days back.
It said that if I was still crushing on a person for more than three months then I was in love
with them. I have been crushing on Ben for more than three months, maybe seven months,
and I don‟t think I‟m in love with him. But I know that my feelings for him won‟t go away.
I then remembered that Holly was here. Ben and his entire family probably hate my family.
He won‟t even consider being my boyfriend. He will probably never want to see my face ever
again. This thought made me want to cry. It sounded outrageous and over dramatic but I can
deal with him not liking me the same way I like him but I could never handle him giving me
glares and hating me. I needed him in my life and after this I‟m sure he hates me.
But if he doesn‟t hate me, seems unlikely though, I‟ll tell him that I like him. I‟ll follow
Erin‟s advice. If he didn‟t hate me before, he would hate me now. At least I would have tried
though and I won‟t say what if. I‟ll be going to college soon, maybe I‟ll find a guy better than
Ben. It seems like an impossible mission, but it is what I will have to do. I needed to choose a
university too. It would depend on Ben‟s decisions. If he hates me then I‟ll choose a
university far away from him. If he doesn‟t hate me, I‟ll choose one near him.
Again, I remembered Erin‟s words, she told me not to base my decisions on someone else. It
didn‟t matter if the person was a boy I liked or my parents. My life‟s decisions should be
based on what I want to do. I needed to choose a university that provided excellent education
and was going to benefit me career wise. If it weren‟t for Erin, I would probably be in dad‟s
company. She thought me to follow my ambitions and I love her for it.
My mind would have wandered around more, but I heard the door open. I kept my eyes shut.
I heard murmurs among the man at the door and the other mean man who tried to feel up my
leg. I continued keeping my eyes shut and hoped that Shane and Holly had their eyes shut
too. The door shut with a bang causing me to wince. After listening to the room, I determined
that there was no one else in the room other than the guy at the door.
I felt the cheap fabric that I was on shift. I felt a tiny weight holding my hand and tugging it. I
didn‟t want this to happen. I flickered open my eyes and saw Shane‟s brown confused eyes
look into my eyes. He asked me the question that I didn‟t want to answer. What was I gonna
“Where are we?” he asked me curiously.
“Go to sleep, sweetie,” I told him, hoping he would listen to me.
He looked at me stubbornly and said, “I wanna go home. Where is Shania?”
“I can‟t tell you this right now,” I tried to explain, “can you just sleep?”
“No!” he exclaimed and folded her arms across his chest.
“Please?” I asked him.
“No! I wanna see Shania and I wanna eat!” he exclaimed childishly.
“But Holly is here, why do you want Shania?” I asked him.
“I love her! Where‟s she?” he asked.
I sighed and said, “She‟s not here, okay? She‟s at home, we‟re not. We‟ll go home soon,
“Where are we?” he asked me confused.
“A secret place. We have to wait for dada to come and pick us up,” I told him.
“Tell dada to come fast! I‟m hungwy” he whined.
“I‟ll tell him when I can, okay?”
“Fine!” he huffed and went back into a sleeping position.
“Don‟t be mad at me,” I whispered to him. He didn‟t reply.
I sighed and closed my eyes.
More than scared and worried, I was bored. There was nothing to do here. Nothing but wait
till dad does whatever they tell him too and comes to collect us.
I heard the door open. “I know you‟re awake,” I heard a voice say. I recognized that voice. It
was the mean man talking.
I opened my eyes and looked at him in the eye. “What do you want?” I asked annoyed.
“Don‟t you want to eat anything?” he asked, “I have food for you. Delicious food.”
Shane‟s head shot up. “Food?” he asked curiously.
A sly grin spread across the mean man‟s face. “Yes boy, food. Do you want some?”
Shane eagerly nodded and said, “Yes, pwease?”
The grin on the mean man‟s face widened further. “You‟ll have to wake up the little girl next
Shane turned towards Holly and shook her violently. “Shane, don‟t!” I yelled at him and
“Buh if she wakes up we have food!” he exclaimed to me.
I sighed not knowing what to do. Shane didn‟t have to shake Holly one last time. She blinked
her eyes open and looked at me confused. “Where am I?”
“Uh, not home,” I told her.
“This boy has food,” Shane told her and pointed at the mean man.
“Me no hungwy,” Holly whined and poked Shane‟s chest.
“If she stays awake, you get food,” Mean man told Shane.
“Pwease? I‟m hungwy!” Shane told Holly.
Holly let out a tiny sigh and said, “I‟ll eat a little bit.”
“Bring us food, now,” I told him though gritted teeth.
“Sure, babe,” he said and walked away.
He returned fifteen minutes later with a plate with a hand full of French fries and a burger. He
put it on the bed. “Wait ... that‟s it?” I asked him confused. He made such a big deal out of
food and this is all we get?
“I think you forget that you are a hostage and not a guest. This is all you‟re getting for now,”
“You woke them up for this?” I exclaimed, trying to calm down.
He ignored what I said previously and said, “I‟ll come back to collect the plate in half an
hour. I‟ll take it back whether it‟s done or not done.”
He walked out of the room. The guy at the door stared at his phone again.
I sighed and stared at the plate in front of me. How did poor people do this? I only had one
option. I tried to break the burger into two and I divided it between them. They picked up a
piece and started eating. The way they were munching it seemed like they were starving for
days. I almost felt guilty for wanting to eat the burger too.
I ate a French fry and that was enough. I was hungry but I could let that hunger die down.
They needed food more than me. I helped them eat the burger by holding it for them. Fifteen
minutes later they were done with their share of the burger and they started eating some of
“Did you eat?” Holly asked me timidly.
I nodded and said, “They gave me a separate plate when you were sleeping.”
Holly smiled and took more fries. “Where‟s Benny?” she asked.
“He‟s at home. He‟s buying chocolates for you,” I told her. Ben could give her chocolates
when we get back, it wasn‟t too expensive.
The thirty minutes was up and the mean man came in. “I hope you all ate well, you are not
getting more food anytime soon,” he said.
My stomach dropped. I haven‟t eaten anything, except a French fry, since last night. He gave
the plate to the guy at the door and waited on the bed till he left the room.
“I‟ll call your father in a while. You may even get to talk to him,” he said casually.
I smiled happily. “What is your name?” I asked curiously.
“Why would you wanna know that, babe?” he smirked.
“Just tell me!” I exclaimed.
“How about sir?”
“Your real name please? I would call you sir if I had any respect for you. I don‟t,” I told him.
He leaned in closer so that his face was in front of mine. He exhaled on my face causing me
to flinch because of his cigarette breath. I tried to look away but he caught my face roughly in
his hands and harshly said, “You listen to me, all right? As long as you‟re here, I am the boss
of you. That means that you treat me with respect. Got it?”
I didn‟t want to nod, but he tightened his grip on my face. I reluctantly nodded, much to his
satisfaction. He grinned and said, “If you keep up the good behaviour, maybe I‟ll go easy on
you.” His face didn‟t move. I could still smell his foul breath. With on hand still gripping my
face, he leaned in closer and started smelling my neck. “You smell good,” he mumbled.
I felt disgusted that he could do this to me and I was so helpless. He pulled away and said,
“I‟m going to bring a few things.” I slowly nodded and he walked out of the room.
There were only three of us here now. “What secret he telling you?” Holly asked.
“He was telling me his favourite colour,” I said after a few seconds of thinking. I tried to
calm myself down and force myself not to cry. I had to stay strong for them but it was so
difficult to do it. I felt so violated, I couldn‟t even look at myself.
Out of nowhere, Shane hugged me. “If that boy is a meano then I break his bones,” he said
I hugged him back with one arm and said, after laughing, “Do you even know where his
bones are?” He nodded unsurely but he didn‟t let go of me.
The mean guy walked in with a phone in one hand and a knife in the other hand. I gulped.
Why did he bring a knife?
He sat on the bed and looked at me. I didn‟t want to look him in the eye so I looked at my
feet, my feet that were handcuffed.
Shane released me and sat next to Holly. But before Shane could go, I whispered in Shane‟s
ear, “Make sure he doesn‟t do anything to Holly, okay? You need to protect her.” He nodded
and kissed my cheek.
“Look at me,” he instructed.
I looked at his chest and he said, “This is how it is going to work. You are going to dial his
number and then give me back the phone. I am going to say some things and give the phone
back to you. You‟re going to talk to him for a minute and then give me back the phone. I
make a deal with your father. When completes his end of the deal, you are free to go.”
I nodded. “Good,” he said and handed me the silver Nokia phone. I typed dad‟s phone
number and gave him back the phone. I waited patiently, wondering what dad was doing at
this moment. “Hello, Gary,” he said calmly.
I heard muffled yelling. He smirked and said, “Your children are awake. I bet you want to
talk to them and make sure they are okay.” The man who was at the door earlier walked
towards me and held both my hands together, behind my back, so that I couldn‟t move it
He gave me the phone. “Dad?” I asked unsure, the phone balanced was between my cheek
and my shoulder.
“Stace? Princess, are you all right?” dad asked concerned.
“I don‟t like it here,” I whimpered honestly.
“Honey,” he sighed, “I‟m going to get you all out of there, okay? I‟m going to try my best.”
I nodded and asked, “Why am I here, daddy?”
“Remember that movie deal I was telling you about? It‟s something like that. I‟ll explain
when you guys are here, okay?”
“I don‟t wanna be here. They‟re not nice to us,” I told him, trying to control my tears. My
eyes flashed at the man in front of me. He started gingerly playing with his knife. He poked
the tip of the knife and waved his hand, a motion that meant that he got pricked by the knife.
“Tell him what I‟m going to do to you,” he told me as he came closer towards me, the knife
still in hand.
“Daddy, he says he‟s going to do something to me,” I told him scared.
“Did they do anything to Shane and Holly?” he quickly asked.
“No, they‟re safe. We‟re safe. I just don‟t like the vibes this place gives,” I told him. This
made the man in front of me smile in satisfaction. Almost as if he wanted me to be
He put his palm on my left bare leg and rubbed up and down it. I tried to pull my leg away
but he caught it. “Tell him,” the guy taunted and moaned so that I could hear him.
“Dad, his hand is on my leg. He‟s moving his hand and down on my leg,” I told dad.
“What? Tell him to stop!” dad yelled angrily.
“I don‟t think he will,” I said afraid.
He grinned and held his knife in one hand and held my leg with the other. “He has a knife,” I
“He said he wouldn‟t hurt you. That Bastard!” dad exclaimed.
“The knife is on my leg,” I told him. The knife grazed my skin at first. The knife was cold
and didn‟t do much. He ran the knife over my leg the second time, increasing the pressure,
this time it pricked a bit. I tried to move my hands so that I could take the knife away from
him, but I couldn‟t.
“Dad, tell him not to do this,” I said in defeat. I was unsure at what these people were trying
“What are you doing?” Shane asked us.
“Nothing, little boy. I‟m drawing,” he said and continued running the knife up and down my
leg. He increased the pressure, causing it to cut my skin. I could see the blood fighting to
come out of my skin.
“Dad, he cut my skin. It‟s bleeding,” I panicked, “It‟s bleeding. It hurts, it hurts so much,
daddy. Tell him to stop it, please!”
“Give him the phone, I‟ll tell him to stop,” dad reassured me.
I nodded and told the guy, “Dad wants to talk to you.”
The guy grinned and snatched the phone away from me. The knife was still on my leg, the
pressure was still there, the blood was still coming out.
“Yes, Gary?” he asked patiently. There were loud voices, dad‟s loud voice. He increased the
pressure on the knife, causing me to gasp, and said, “Do you want to yell at me when I‟m
causing harm to your daughter? Besides, she shouldn‟t have worn shorts yesterday. Poor her,
I‟m creating scar on her sexy bare legs now.” He sighed and said, “Fine, I‟ll stop. But you
have to do something too. Don‟t sign the contract.”
He removed the knife my left leg and started grazing my right leg. He all of a sudden
increased the pressure of the knife cause blood to pour out, more than my left leg. I could
smell my blood. “No, there is no other way to settle this,” the guy said stubbornly.
“Stop! Please!” I gasped and pleaded with him.
He smiled a sly smile and said into the phone, “Do you hear that? Your daughter is begging
me to stop. I can smell her blood too. If I was a cannibal, I would definitely lick the blood out
from her legs.”
I shuddered and swallowed back what was threatening to vomit out. “All right, I‟ll stop,” he
said a removed the knife and put it on the bed next to him. I let out a tiny breath of relief,
only a tiny one. “This is what you need to do. You will walk into that boardroom and refuse
to sign it. Say the project isn‟t worth it. Convince them that it is a fail and walk out. I have
my spies there so I will find out about it. Once that is done, I‟ll let the three of them go.”
“Good, I‟ll check back on you later,” he said and hung up.
The man, who was holding me, let go off me and walked away without a single glance. The
man in front of me grinned, as if he accomplished something. “What?” I asked, my voice
came out as a whisper.
“Nothing,” he replied, “I‟m going to put you to sleep now.”
I nodded and went back into a sleeping position.
“Aren‟t you going to ask me how I‟m gonna put you to sleep?” he taunted.
“How?” I asked. I didn‟t have anything in me to fight this monster.
“Sleeping gas. It‟ll put you right to sleep,” he chuckled and walked out.
My leg was still stinging. Shane crawled over and looked at me concerned. “What happened?
What they doin?” he asked.
“Nothing,” I said giving a tiny smile, “let‟s go to sleep, okay? I‟m tired.”
“Buh what were they doin?” he asked.
“Nothing, we were talking to dad and asking him to pick us up soon,” I told him and closed
my eyes. I was so exhausted, it was as if all the energy was sucked out of me.
“Okay,” he said and kissed my forehead. I smiled a little, only little, and drifted into sleep.
I tossed around and felt a softer bed, softer than the one the kidnappers kept me on. A softer
bed? That was strange. Maybe he shifted us to a better bed. Maybe whatever the deal was
with dad is done and he‟s coming to pick me up. My feet didn‟t feel restricted. I felt someone
caress my back. I let out a tiny whimper, but I didn‟t protest. He would do bad things to
Holly, Shane or me if I did.
“It‟s okay,” I heard a whisper in my ear and the caress got softer. The voice sounded like dad.
I opened my eyes and realised that I was probably on the couch in front of our TV, on dad‟s
lap. I tossed so that I was looking up at him. “I‟m home?” I asked confused. Maybe this was a
He smiled and said, “yes, you‟re home.”
I tried to sit up, but I found no energy to do so. “Bu-but I was handcuffed to the bed,” I
“You‟re home now. You‟re safe,” he reassured me.
“I‟m not safe here!” I panicked, “they kidnapped us from home.”
“They won‟t kidnap you again,” he said soothingly and brushed my hair with his fingers. “I
took care of it.”
“How? Why did they kidnap me in the first place?” I asked him, feeling a tiny bit relaxed.
“I was about to sign a movie deal about LibeRebels. They‟re a gang that are responsible for
several bomb attacks. It was a movie exposing them,” dad explained.
“But why did they kidnap me?” I asked.
“They did it so that I wouldn‟t sign the official contract to start the project,” he said.
“How is Holly?” I asked.
“She‟s good. She‟s at home with her family. Today we‟re going to spend time as a family,”
he smiled and kissed my forehead.
“Where‟s Shane and Shania?” I asked while looking around.
“They‟re in their rooms playing,” he told me.
“Can we not stay here?” I asked feeling insecure.
“Why?” he asked.
“I don‟t want to stay here anymore, please!” I begged.
He pulled me up from my sleeping position and hugged me. “It‟s gonna be fine, Stace,” he
I cried into him and said, “I don‟t wanna be here. I don‟t feel safe anymore.”
“Do you wanna go live in a hotel for a while?” he asked me. I nodded. He kissed my
forehead and said, “Why don‟t you take a bath and then pack your things while I go pack the
I nodded and tried to stand up but I felt weak. I did get up though and I slowly walked out of
the hall and climbed up the stairs and into my room. I picked out long loose denim jeans, to
cover up my scars, and a simple black t-shirt.
As the water filled up in the tub, I slowly peeled off my clothes and threw it in the basket of
dirty clothes. Dad asked me to leave to door unlocked so after I went into the tub, I pulled the
shower curtains to hide me.
When the water touched my skin, it started stinging. My legs hurt so much. Why did he have
to slash it?
I was alone now, I let the tears pour out, and let myself feel pain. I felt broken. I didn‟t want
to go anywhere. I just wanted to stay in a room where no one could hurt me. Home wasn‟t
safe anymore, I was kidnapped from home. I couldn‟t stay here anymore.
There was a knock at the door. “Stace?” dad asked unsure, “Are you okay in there, princess?”
“Yes,” I answered hesitantly. I took the soap bar and used it all over my body, in attempt to
make me feel clean again. I rinsed myself and walked out of the bathroom after wiping
myself and changing clothes.
I packed a few more clothes, and some undergarments too, into a tiny backpack and went into
the living room where dad and the twins were. I saw Shania there and ran to her and hugged
her. “I missed you!” I told her.
She giggled and said, “I miss you too.”
“Ready to go?” dad asked.
I nodded and said, “more than ready.”
He smiled, carried my bag, and walked out of the house. I caught Shane and Shania‟s hand
and walked out of the house. I sat in the front seat of the car while the twins sat in the back.
“Where are we going?” Shania asked confused.
“A hotel,” dad told them, “we‟ll live there for sometime.”
“Okay!” Shane said enthusiastically, “will it be another adwentuwer?”
Dad chuckled and said, “Maybe, but a very small adventure.”
“Small is good,” Shane mused. I bursted out laughing. He sounded so experienced, the way
he said it.
“Small is very good,” dad said with a smile in his voice.
Dad stopped the car. I looked out of my window and realized that we had arrived at our
destination. There was a big sign that read “Hotel La Villa Des Artistes.”
“Is this place pricy?” I asked dad, I didn‟t want him to spend a lot of money if we‟re going to
live here for long.
“It doesn‟t matter,” he smiled, “if you want to stay out of the house, we‟re going to stay
somewhere good.” I gave him a grateful smile and got out of the car. I opened the door of the
backseat and the twins came out.
“Are we at the hotel?” Shania asked. I nodded.
“Why don‟t you wait inside while I pay the valet?” dad suggested.
I nodded and held my hand out to the twins. “Let‟s go,” I said.
They caught my hand and together we entered the grand lobby. “Are we gonna be here
forever?” Shania asked me curiously.
I looked at her and said, “I hope so.”
“Mommy lives here in hotel?” she asked.
I sat her down on one of the lush red sofas and asked, “Why are you asking?”
“Because you said mommy‟s coming soon. She here?” she asked.
“No, Shania, she‟s not here. She doesn‟t live here. She lives far away. She‟ll come soon to
see us,” I told them, “Then she‟ll live with us forever.”
“Does she know this is our new home?” she asked.
“Umm no,” I answered confused.
“Buh how will we ever see her if we live here?” Shania whined. I thought about it. Maybe
she had a tiny point. What if mommy came home but there was no one there?
“Okay, we‟ll stay here for a little while. And then we‟ll go home,” I said reluctantly. She
grinned and kissed my cheek.
I didn‟t want to go home no matter how many things I‟m leaving behind. I don‟t feel safe
there anymore. The only thing pulling me there is Benjamin.
Dad, Shane, Shania and I were in the big elevator, going up to our hotel room. Our luggage
was not with us, it was with the bell boy who was already upstairs in our room setting up the
“How long are we here?” Shane asked dad.
“We have to go back before mommy comes home!” Shania reminded dad.
“We‟re here until Stacey tells us to go,” Dad told them.
“I don‟t wanna go home,” I whispered to dad.
“You have to before your school starts,” dad said, “We can stay here four days maximum.”
“Can‟t you re-check in?” I asked.
“Maybe I can, but I won‟t,” dad said in a scolding tone, “I‟m not going to let this fear take
“But Dad!” I whined.
Ting. The door opened and dad exited without a word. I groaned and followed him out.
We walked into our room, room 204, and I gasped in surprise. This room was beautiful. It
had a king side bed with 4 brown pillows, 2 small and 2 big, and cream sheets. The bed was
brown too. The lamp shades next to the bed were white.
“I hope you enjoy your stay in the presidential suite,” the bell boy said with a polite smile.
“Thank you,” dad said and gave him a tip. The bell boy grinned and left our room.
“What do you think?” dad asked me.
“I love this place! Can we live here forever?” I asked dad.
He shook his head and said, “You know my reply to that.”
Shane climbed on the bed and said, “It‟s soft!”
Shania climbed on the bed too and started jumping on it. “Come Tacey!” she said.
“I‟m too big to jump,” I told her and sat on the bed.
“I‟m a big girl too,” Shania said and continued jumping.
“You kids have fun, I‟m going,” dad said and walked away from us.
“No!” I yelled afraid.
“What?” he asked me confused.
“Don‟t leave us alone,” I begged.
“I‟m just going to the washroom,” he said unsure.
“Please?” I asked him for the last time.
He sighed and said, “Shane, look after your sisters and make sure no one hurts them, okay?”
“Is this big boy job?” Shane asked.
“Yes, it‟s a very big boy job” dad replied.
“Okay!” Shane exclaimed excited and sat on my lap.
Dad walked away, and I watched him do that in fear.
“Don‟t be scawed, I save you! Dada says I‟m big boy now!” He said.
I smiled and said, “Really? Well then I should listen to the big boy, right?” He nodded.
Shania got off the bed and walked towards the mini-fridge. “Where are you going?” Shane
“I wanna see in the draws!” she said and tried to open the mini-fridge. Shane grinned and ran
to her. Together they both pulled open the door and looked inside the mini-fridge.
Shania took out a bottle of orange juice and gave it to me. “Open!” she said.
“We can‟t open this, it‟s not ours,” I told her and got up to put the bottle back in the fridge.
“But this is our home!” Shania said and tried to block my path from the fridge.
“No, we cannot take these things. They‟re expensive!” I tried to explain.
Dad walked back into the room and said, “What‟s going on?”
“She wants to have juice from the mini-fridge,” I told dad.
“There‟s nothing wrong with that. It‟s harmless.”
“But it‟s expensive!”
“You wanted to stay here forever, but you don‟t wanna drink the juice because it‟s
expensive?” dad asked in disbelief.
“Fine,” I told dad. I gave him the juice and sat on the bed angrily.
Dad poured the juice in the glass and gave it to Shania. He poured more into another glass
and gave it to Shane, who happily took it.
“Want some?” dad asked me. I shook my head. “Let‟s eat. What do you want to order,
Stacey?” he asked.
I picked up the wooden menu and looked through it. Everything was so expensive so I settled
on a club sandwich. Dad ordered a club sandwich too. He would share the fries that he got
with the club sandwich with the twins.
The bell boy returned with two big plates of club sandwiches. I took my plate and started
eating the sandwiches hungrily. I hadn‟t eaten in a day, my stomach greedily welcomed the
food given to it.
“Slow down, Stace,” dad said amused.
“I‟m hungry,” I stated and continued eating. When I was done with the sandwiches, I started
eating the fries. Soon, I had wiped the plate clean.
“Do you want more?” dad asked.
I shook my head and said, “No.”
I turned on the TV and started watching the news. Shane and Shania were jumping on the bed
next to me. They claimed they weren‟t hungry, so they didn‟t eat.
There was a knock on the door. I looked at dad in confusion. He got up and went to open the
door. Dad returned with a smile on his face. “You have a visitor,” he said.
“Who?” I asked confused.
“Me,” I heard a familiar voice say.
And then, Ben‟s face entered my vision. “Hey,” he smiled. He looked amazing.
“Hey,” I replied breathlessly. A million questions ran through my mind. What was he doing
here? What did he want from me? Why was he here?? How much does he hate me? That shirt
looked great the way it clung onto him.
“I wanted to see how you were doing,” he explained and came closer to the bed. Immediately
feeling self conscious, I covered myself with the blanket.
“I‟m good, thanks for stopping by,” I told him with a tiny smile.
He walked closer towards the bed and said, “I wanted to talk to you.”
“I‟ll leave you two alone,” Dad said.
“Dad, no!” I exclaimed.
“I‟ll be in the lobby, I‟ll take the twins so you have privacy,” dad stated. Shane and Shania
ran towards dad.
“Don‟t leave me,” I told him, my voice shook at the end.
“I have my cell phone, call me if you need me,” dad smiled and walked out with the twins.
I heard the door click and then I looked back at Benjamin. I temporarily felt embarrassed for
showing him that I felt weak. I took a closer look at him and noticed something off. He didn‟t
have that glow about him that he usually had. He also had dark circles proving that he didn‟t
get much sleep. My guilt increased.
“Why are you here?” I asked him quietly. If he came here to yell at me, he should just get to
“I came to see if you were okay. I was worried about you,” he simply said and stood at the
edge of the bed.
“Why? Don‟t you hate me?” I asked him confused.
“Hate you? Why would I hate you?” he asked confused as well.
“Because your sister got kidnapped and it‟s all my family‟s fault. You should hate my guts,” I
explained, half expecting him to yell at me because he was glad that I realized my mistake.
“I‟m not mad at you. Maybe the day Holly got kidnapped I was quite mad at your dad, but
not anymore. It was a misunderstanding and a misfortunate thing that happened. It‟s no one‟s
“Oh,” I said quietly, “what about Holly? How is she?”
“She‟s fine. She didn‟t even realize that she got kidnapped. We‟re not going to bring the topic
up ever again,” he smiled.
“Good,” I said. He didn‟t hate me, which was very good.
“Can I sit next to you?” he asked me. I nodded and he climbed on the bed and copied my
position and sat next to me. “You know, you should be the one hating me. Not the other way
around,” he stated while staring at the blank TV.
“What?” I asked dumb-founded, “Why should I hate you? You did nothing wrong.”
“Yeah, I did. I should have heard when those kidnappers came to take you. I could have
fought them off. I should have protected all of you,” he said, I could tell that he meant it. The
self-hatred was clear in his voice.
“They used a sleeping gas,” I stated, “Dad told me that. I think I heard them entering too, but
I couldn‟t fight the smell. It‟s not your fault. It never was.”
“I‟m sure there was something I could have done,” he frowned.
“Nope, I was meant to be kidnapped. Shane and Holly didn‟t deserve it, but they got
kidnapped too. There was nothing you could have done. Maybe you could have broken off
your friendship with me before, then Holly would have been safe,” I told him.
“Shania would have gotten kidnapped. Out of the whole thing, I‟m glad that Shania wasn‟t
kidnapped and I would never stop talking to you,” he said and looked me in the eye.
I nodded and gave him a tiny smile.
“So were the kidnappers tough?” he asked.
“I don‟t think they did anything to Holly or Shane,” I told him and played with my
“What about you? Did they do anything to you?” Ben asked concerned.
“I don‟t wanna talk about it,” I whispered. I looked at him and he gave me a pleading look.
“They handcuffed my legs together. One hand was handcuffed to the bed, the other was free,”
I recalled. I told him what happened in a monotonous tone. “The guy was mean to me. He
kept taunting me. Sometimes he would be calm, sometimes he would yell at me. He had
I shuddered. I then remembered how he sliced my leg. I wrapped my arms around myself and
shook back and forth in order to calm myself down. “H-he leaned in and taunted,” I sobbed,
“he smelled my neck and commented on it. I‟m so disgusting.”
I felt arms around me. I immediately stiffened, thinking it was the kidnapper. But it felt
warm, I recognised that it was Ben‟s, and I let go of myself and hugged him back. He rubbed
my back soothingly. “He ran his hands up and down my l-l-legs and moaned,” I cried.
“That bastard!” Ben whispered, “Don‟t worry, your safe. You‟re completely safe. They can‟t
touch you here. They won‟t touch you ever again.”
“I felt so helpless, Ben,” I cried, “he just touched me, and I couldn‟t do anything to stop
He pulled away to look me in the eye. He promised, “I swear if I ever see him, he is going to
have to pay a visit to the hospital. I‟m going to beat him up so bad that he‟ll never even think
about looking at a girl. Okay?”
I nodded and asked, “Would you really?”
“Yes, any guy that even touches you, or even looks at you, inappropriately is dead meat,” he
I pulled the covers off me and rolled up the jeans material of my right leg. I heard him gasp
as my scars were now exposed for him to see.
“He did this to you?” Ben asked in disbelief. I nodded. “He is definitely dead meat,” Ben
I rolled the pant back down. “Can you tell Dad that I don‟t wanna go home? I don‟t feel like
it‟s safe anymore,” I told him.
“I‟ll tell him,” Ben nodded, “But I‟d feel lonely without you.”
“I have no awesome neighbour. Holly‟s love doesn‟t live close by, she‟ll be heartbroken.
Your school is incredibly far from here,” he listed.
“I‟ll think about it,” I sighed.
Ben‟s phone started ringing. He took out his phone and replied to the person.
“Who‟s that?” I asked.
“Rocky,” he smiled and put his phone back in his pocket.
“Okay,” I smiled back.
“Your exam is in two weeks, have you started studying?” he asked casually.
“Umm kinda. I was supposed to use this week to study but change in plans,” I shrugged.
“The bed is nice,” he commented.
“It‟s bouncy,” I said and bounced a little.
He laughed and said, “Yeah, I guess so.”
“You‟re so lucky that you get to stay in the presidential suite,” he told me while fidgeting
with the lamp that went on and off at his touch.
“I know!” I exclaimed, “I‟ve never stayed in a presidential suite before!”
“Never?” he asked shocked.
“Never,” I stated.
“I‟ve never stayed in a presidential suite either.”
“I‟ll ask dad if you can stay here with us. I‟m sure he wouldn‟t mind.”
“I can‟t stay here. I just came to visit you. Holly needs me right now. I‟ll go soon.”
“Oh,” I said disappointed, “okay, sure.”
After sitting in comfortable silence for a while, there was a knock at the door.
“I‟ll go get it,” I got off the bed and almost reached the door when I realised something. What
if it was the kidnapper at the door? What if they tracked us down and found us?
I turned to Ben and said, “Maybe we shouldn‟t open the door.”
He nodded and got off the bed. He walked towards me and held out his hand. I stared at it in
confusion. “Let‟s open the door together,” he smiled.
I put my palms on his. He tightly caught my hand together we walked towards the door.
“Nothing so far,” he smiled and turned the knob.
“Ask who the person outside is!” I urged. I didn‟t want the door to be open.
“It‟s okay, I recognise the knock,” he smiled and opened the door.
“Hey!” Rocky and Daniel exclaimed.
“Hi, what are you doing here?” I asked confused.
“We‟re here to see you!” Daniel exclaimed and came inside.
Rocky followed him. “What were you two kids doing before we came?” he asked.
“Just talking,” I told him.
“Then why are you two holding hands?” Daniel asked.
“Just because this is the Presidential Suite, it doesn‟t mean that you should hold hands, make
out and see each other naked,” Rocky smirked.
I let go of Bens hand and said, “We didn‟t do anything,” trying to shift the topic.
“Yeah, shut up,” Ben stated and stood beside the mini-fridge.
“Can I get a hug?” Daniel asked me.
“Why?” I asked confused.
“Because I want one,” he stated.
“Sure,” I shrugged and hugged him. The hug was oddly comforting.
“Feel better?” he whispered.
I nodded and said, “A little, thanks.”
“No problem,” he whispered and let go of me. He smiled and sat on the bed.
“Can I have a hug too?” Rocky asked.
“Why?” I asked him confused.
“How does Danny get one and I don‟t?” Rocky asked and did a tiny pout. He didn‟t look as
cute as Daniel when he did it, but I smiled anyway.
“Fine,” I smiled and hugged him.
After the short hug, he said, “I got you something.”
Daniel cleared his throat and said, “We got you something”.
“What did you get me?” I asked them surprised.
“Chocolates,” Rocky said in excitement and produced a box of Fererro Rocher, the one with
“You didn‟t have to get me this!” I exclaimed in happiness.
“We wanted to,” Rocky said and sent a wink at Ben.
“Is it from all three of you?” I asked him.
“Well, Ben would kill us if we said that it was his idea and he‟s the one who insisted on us
buying this, so I‟ll say it was all three of our ideas,” Rocky grinned.
“Umm,” I didn‟t know what to say to that. I turned to Ben and gave him a grateful smile.
“Thank you. I love chocolates.”
“You‟re welcome,” he smiled.
There was another knock at the door. Why are so many people coming here?
I walked towards the door and then turned around to see Ben. He gave me a reassuring smile.
Feeling safer, I opened the door.
Yasmine ran in and hugged me. “I‟m so glad you‟re safe,” she breathed and hugged me tight.
I pulled away and saw Ryan and Peter near the door. “How did you find out?” I asked her.
“Ryan told me,” she said.
I looked and Ryan and gave him a questioning look. “Dan told me,” Ryan quickly said,
realising that I didn‟t want them to find out.
I turned to Daniel, “I‟m guessing Ben told you guys,” I stated.
“I wanted to talk to someone about it and so I called up Rocky. I told him that it was okay if
Daniel found out. I didn‟t think he would tell Ryan about it,” Ben tried explaining. He
I sighed and asked “Who else knows?”
“Sabrina may know,” Daniel admitted slowly.
My face paled. “How did she find out?” I panicked. If she knows, everyone will find out.
She‟s still out to get me.
“There were black SUVs outside your house. She must have guessed something,” Ben
“And I may have mentioned it to her,” Daniel mumbled.
“You what?” Ben yelled, “Why are you even talking to her? You‟re supposed to stay away
from her!” Rocky and Ryan looked alarmed as well.
“She talks to me,” Daniel shrugged, “she‟s nice to me.”
“How about she‟s nice to you so that she can get to me?” Ben suggested, his tone still angry.
Ryan seemed like he was about to say something but Yasmine squeezed his hand, making
him shut up.
“Stop thinking about only yourself,” Daniel yelled back, “what if she likes me?”
“Does it matter?” Ben asked, “You stay away from that hoe, all right? If you value our
friendship, you‟ll stay away from her!”
They were about to step in each other‟s personal space when Rocky stood in between them.
He said, “This isn‟t the place to argue about this. You have an audience.”
Ben and Daniel‟s body relaxed and they gave each other an apologetic look.
“Good,” Rocky coaxed, “now hug.”
Ben extended out his hand and Daniel took it. They then pulled each other into a hug. Ben
whispered something to him, I watched his lips move, and Daniel nodded and gave him an
understanding smile after pulling away from him.
In order to ease the awkward tension, I grabbed the chocolates from Rocky and opened the
box. “Want one?” I asked Daniel.
“Yes!” he exclaimed and took two.
“The chocolates were for you only,” Ben told me. He sounded disappointed.
I held up the box at him and said, “I‟m sharing, do you want one?” He looked like he was
gonna argue but he smiled and took a chocolate.
I gave it to Rocky and said, “Pass it around.”
“Nah,” he grinned and ate one. Yasmine walked over to Rocky and snatched the box from
him and passed it to Ryan and Peter.
I heard a ting and the front door slowly opened. Shane and Shania ran inside. Dad looked
taken back by the amount of people in the room.
“Hello,” he greeted them with a polite smile.
“We just came to check on Stacey,” Yasmine told him, “we can leave if you want.”
“You can stay,” dad smiled.
“Thanks, Mr. Davis,” Yasmine smiled. She then spotted Shane and Shania and walked
towards them. “Hey there, I‟m Yasmine,” she told them.
“I‟m Shane,” Shane said while straining up.
Yasmine took the hint and kneeled down. “Who‟s this pretty girl next to you?”
“Shania,” Shane replied.
Yasmine looked up at me and grinned. “Are you two brother and sister?” Yasmine asked
“Yesh!” Shania exclaimed.
“Stacey is my sister too,” Shane told them. I sensed pride in his words.
“Oh,” Yasmine pouted, “Stacey‟s my sister.”
Shane and Shania both came running towards me and hugged my legs. It caused temporary
pain but I held back a painful hiss. “My sister,” Shania claimed. There was laughter in the
“Umm Stacey?” Peter asked carefully.
“I need to get back home. Mom needs me to get her some stuff,” Peter said disappointed.
“All right,” I smiled.
Yasmine stood up and said, “He‟s my ride. I gotta go too.”
Ryan gave me an apologetic look and said, “I better go too.”
“It‟s okay,” I smiled. I was disappointed that they were leaving but they had to go.
“Give me a ride too,” Rocky told Peter. Peter nodded.
“You guys are going too?” I asked. Why was everyone all of a sudden going?
“Sorry,” he said giving me a sad smile, “I need a ride to Dan‟s place, my car is there.”
“Okay,” I nodded.
“That means I have to leave too?” Daniel pouted. Rocky whispered something in his ear and
a look of realisation was painted on Daniels face. He nodded and said, “all right, I‟ll go too.”
I turned to Ben and asked, “are you gonna go too?” I mentally smacked myself for sounding
so disappointed when I asked him that.
The corners of his lips tugged upwards as he said, “I guess I could stay for a while ... for
“Thank you,” I beamed.
“We should go now,” Peter urged.
“Okay, thanks for coming. It really means a lot to me,” I smiled.
Yasmine hugged me and said, “I was really worried about you. I‟m glad you‟re safe.”
“Thanks,” I hugged her back and closed my eyes. It felt so genuine.
Shane looked at Yasmine as she pulled away from me and asked, “Are you going?”
“Yes, I am. Do you want me to come back soon?”
“Yesh!” they exclaimed.
She chuckled and kissed both Shane and Shania on the cheek.
Soon, Yasmine, Ryan, Peter, Daniel and Rocky walked out. Shane and Shania insisted on
watching TV, so dad put it on for them. There were no cartoons, so they watched a children‟s
movie instead. I couldn't recognise the movie but it looked like it was released before I was
"Can I talk to you? Privately?" Ben asked me.
"Where?" I asked him confused.
"The balcony," he said. I nodded and then we both walked towards the balcony.
"What's this about?"
We stood in the balcony and he closed the doors. I was more surprised that dad let us go
alone in the balcony than Ben asking me to talk to him privately. Then again, dad must trust
"I'm worried about you," Ben stated as he looked at the view.
I followed his gaze and asked, "How?" There were glass buildings. I looked down and saw a
few trees. It was just an empty parking lot below.
He turned around and gave me a look I couldn't decipher. "You're not yourself anymore," he
"Did you expect me to be all happy after being kidnapped?" I asked him. I wasn't completely
outraged by his question, but I didn't see his point.
"Look, Stace. I get it." he stated, "I know that being kidnapped was a terrible experience for
you and that guy who kidnapped you is going to be dead if I ever see him ... but."
"But what?" I questioned.
"But, you're not yourself anymore. What happened to that girl who was strong and
independent? What happened to the girl that started raising up her twin siblings at the age of
16? What happened to my best friend?"
"What do you expect me to do?" I asked him. He shocked me with his words. He saw me as a
strong and independent girl? I was so broken on the inside. Even before I met him.
"If you can, get past this experience," he suggested.
"I can't, he's still out there! What if he kidnaps me and rapes me?" I asked him, expecting him
to understand my point of view.
"He won't. He doesn't have a reason to. He got what he wanted from your dad," Ben
"Does someone need a reason to rape, Ben?" I asked with one eyebrow raised.
"He won't rape you," he said determined.
"How can you be so sure?" I yelled in frustration.
He thought about it for a second and then said, "The secret agents are searching for him."
"Secret Agents?" I scoffed, not believing him for a second.
"Fine, there are no secret agents," he sighed, "What do you want to hear?"
"I wanna feel safe again," I whispered.
"Can't you just assume you're safe and move on?" he begged.
"That won't help anything," I told him.
"Well, you should know how much your father is sacrificing for you. He spent thousands on
tracking you down. He gave up a million-dollar movie deal. He booked a presidential suite in
a 4 star hotel for you to stay in while you're emotionally fragile and he is probably willing to
do more. Your father would spend all his money to make you feel safe. Can you live with the
fact that he is spending all the money, which he worked so hard for, on you?" he asked.
I hung my head low in shame and whispered, "I guess not."
"I know, it's difficult but you have to stay strong. You have it in you. You'll feel better about
yourself in the long run," he said. I nodded, my head was still low. "Besides, you always have
me. If you need I'll give you strength to help you get past this."
I nodded and said, "Thanks".
“It sucks that you are a Harpaxophobic,” he mumbled.
“Har-what?” I asked confused.
“Harpaxophobic,” he chuckled, “it‟s when you live in constant fear of getting robbed or being
kidnapped in your case. I‟ll help you get through this though. I‟ll do everything it takes.”
“That would be nice,” I smiled a bit, “thank you.”
"No problem," he smiled. He glanced at his watch and said, "I need to get back home."
"Bu-but you just got here," I told him. I sounded whiney, but I didn't care.
"Holly needs me. I need to stay with her for a while," he explained. I nodded. He smiled and
stretched his hand out to tuck a few strands of my hair behind my ears. "Don't worry about
anything, everything is fine now. You're safe," he reassured me with that smile I loved so
"Thanks for talking to me," I said meaning every word.
"You don't need to thank me. I did it because I wanted to. Oh and please don't tell your dad
that I told you about the money he's spending," he said. I nodded and reassured him that I
He walked towards the door and opened it. I took one last look at the view of buildings and
followed him back into the room. I saw dad sitting on the bed next to Shane and Shania. "I'm
gonna leave now, Gary," Ben told him. They were on first name bases now?
"So soon? All right, thanks for coming," dad told him. There was something in his tone of
voice which implied that he was thanking him for more. I mentally shrugged it off.
"I'm always happy to stop by," Ben smiled and walked to the door.
"Bye, Ben," I smiled.
"I'll see you soon, Stace," he smiled back and walked away. I don't remember him ever
calling me 'Stace', but I like it.
I walked back into the room and sat on the bed. “What did he want to talk to you about?” dad
“Nothing,” I mumbled and looked in front. The children movie was still going on.
“He said he wanted to talk privately. I think I would like to know why he wanted to talk to
you in private,” dad stated. So he was bothered about me being alone with Benjamin.
“It‟s a secret. He made me promise him that it would stay between me and him. I'm not going
to break that promise. Drop it!” I told him. I promised Ben I wouldn't tell dad and I'm not
going to break that promise.
“Shh!” Shania exclaimed and continued to stare at the screen. That must be a really good
He sighed in defeat, "all right," he said.
After watching him flip over 12 channels in a minute I asked, “Dad? How long are we going
to be here for?”
“For however long you want, till your school begins,” dad whispered to me. He smiled at me.
It was a reassuring smile telling me that he would take care of things. I didn't want him to
take care of me all the time. I'm 18, I can take care of myself. Well... except if I get
“Can we leave tomorrow?” I asked him. I didn‟t want to waste away all his hard-earned
money on a hotel room.
“Tomorrow?” he asked shocked.
“Yeah tomorrow. Maybe in the night,” I suggested, “okay, maybe not in the night.”
“Tomorrow afternoon?” he asked.
I shook my head, “no, not that soon. Maybe, it might be too late but tomorrow is too early.
It's dangerous at night," I blabbered.
He sighed, "Stacey, do you want to go back home? You still have your fear."
Shaking off all of my instincts I said, "yes, we can't stay here forever we can leave in two
days, in the afternoon.”
“Are you sure?” dad asked.
“I‟m kinda sure,” I said and looked at my hands. I rested my head on his shoulders.
Shane punched my ankle to get my attention. I looked at him confused. "I'm watchin movie,
don't talk," he yelled and turned back to look at the screen.
I'm trying to be strong. I'm trying to be the same independent person I was before. I'm trying
to be the girl that Ben wants me to be. But I don't think I would feel safe anytime soon. I
wouldn't be able to protect the twins if I couldn't protect myself. I've failed.
Dad quickly hugged me and said, "it's okay." He said that soothingly, as if he was talking to a
little girl who just had a nightmare. “Okay, I‟ll let the hotel manager know tomorrow,” dad
smiled. I nodded.
“Dad? Does mom know we got kidnapped?” I asked him. I hope mom doesn‟t find out. If she
did, she might resort to drugs again and that‟s not something we want right now.
“No, she won‟t find out about it either,” dad stated firmly.
“How come?” I asked confused.
“Because, I‟m not gonna tell her and neither are you. Got it?”
I nodded. “I hope someone else doesn‟t tell her,” I prayed.
“Me too, princess. I hope you don‟t hate me.”
“Why should I hate you?”
“I‟m the reason why you‟re traumatised,” dad said with guilt.
“I could never hate you, dad,” I smiled and hugged him.
“Thank you,” he said and kissed my cheek.
"I don't want to live here at all, but I have no choice, do I?" I asked, my voice sounded a bit
"Not right now you don't. But I'll tell you what, why don't you graduate from school, you
only have 1 month left of it anyway, and then we leave this place?" Dad suggested.
"Y-you mean, move away from here?" I asked confused. He nodded. "I guess that wouldn't
be too bad," I shrugged.
"I'll look for some new projects as soon as we check out of this hotel. I forgot to bring my
laptop while rushing," he said.
I smiled. "I'm going to go to sleep," I told him.
"All right, princess, sweet dreams," he smiled and patted my head as I lay myself to sleep.
I smiled and closed my eyes.
I wasn't really sleepy, I just needed some time to think. My eyes being closed was the best
way to think to myself. I liked discussing with myself about what I was feeling. It was a
personal therapy. Maybe this personal therapy might help me get over my harpaxophobia.
And then during all my thinking, I fell asleep.
It had been 3 days since we were living in the hotel and I decided that we should leave the
hotel. As much as I didn't want to go home, the guilt of the amount of money dad was
spending on the hotel per day got to me.
"All set?" Dad asked.
"Yes, dad," I replied and pulled the zip on my suitcase, closing it.
"Why are we goin‟, dada?" Shania asked dad.
"We're going back home. Our mini vacation is over. Dada has work to do and he cannot do it
here," dad explained to her. She still looked confused.
"Don't you miss your toys?" I asked her.
She thought about it for a while, her brown eyes looked up in thought. She looked back at me
and exclaimed, "Yesh! Frankie left his comb at home!"
"I bet Frankie misses it a lot! We should leave then," I told her. She nodded.
"Should we leave now?" Dad asked me.
I pushed back the little voice in my head that kept warning me about the dangers in our house
and said, "Let‟s go. You can't work from here."
"That's the spirit!" He said and walked out of the room.
The bell boy put our bags on a golden trolley and he left the room too. Shania and Shane
rushed out of the room too. I guess that just leaves me. I took careful steps and walked out of
the room. Leaving this hotel is good, dad won't be that affected and I would get to see
Benjamin again! I hope Ben will be happy when he sees me.
"What are you smiling insanely about?" Dad asked confused.
"No one," I quickly said.
"Okay," he chuckled. He took my hand and gently walked me down to the lobby. I took a
look at his face. His eyes were creased with tension. Was I partly causing it?
It was almost evening. After what felt like hours of driving, I could recognise our
neighbourhood. I saw my house from far and I had mixed feelings. I was happy that we were
reaching home but I was scared that we were nearing a place that didn't feel safe anymore.
"Are we there yet?" Shane whined.
"Yes, Shane. We're home" dad told him.
"Yay!" He and Shania exclaimed.
As soon as we stopped in front of the house, I didn't feel too good. My breathing came out
uneven and I started feeling unwell. I started to hyperventilate.
"Dad," I said. My voice came out as if I was being chocked.
"What is it?" He asked worried.
"I don't think I'm ready, dad," I whimpered. I tried to keep my voice strong, but I don't think
it works anymore. I can't be strong anymore.
"Nothing is going to happen, I'm there so no one can even come close to you," he reassured
I nodded, but the feeling was still there.
Dad opened the door with his key and the twins ran inside. I stood below the front steps. I
couldn't go inside.
"Stacey," dad sighed, "come in, there is no one here except us."
"I'll come inside later," I told him. I knew he didn't believe me so I looked around for an
excuse. I immediately laid eyes on one, Ben. "Ben's coming," I smiled.
He looked around and saw Ben. He sighed and went inside.
I patiently waited for Ben. He waved and I waved back and grinned. How could I not grin
when I see him smile? He has a nice walk too, it's so confident. When I realised that I was
probably drooling, I looked at my nails and started fidgeting with them.
"You're here!" He exclaimed as he came closer.
"I had to, some day or the other," I shrugged.
"Aren't you going to go in?" He asked.
"You just got here, how can I go in and leave you outside," I lied.
He examined my face for a second and then stated, "You‟re avoiding your house, aren't you?"
"What?" I scoffed, in a guilty way, "no I'm not! Why would you think that?"
"All right, let's go in then. I'm thirsty and I could use some water."
"You can go in and get it. You know where it is," I said. I wasn't going to go in at any cost.
"Stacey," he sighed, "you have to come inside."
"I can't," I struggled, "I thought I was ready, I guess I'm not."
He came closer and caught my hand. "You changed. The girl I knew was fearless and would
do anything to protect and take care of her siblings. I miss her," he said. I could tell that he
was disappointed in me.
"I haven't changed!" I exclaimed.
"Prove it. Come inside with me and find a box of cookies and give it to Shane and Shania to
eat," he challenged.
I looked up into his eyes. He wasn't backing down from his challenge. I didn't want to do it, I
didn't want to let him down either. I was so confused.
He squeezed my hand and said, "I'm here for you". He stood on the steps and said "let's go."
I slowly climbed up the stairs and asked "I'm here. Now you can go in and get your water or
He shook his head and let go of my hand. I looked at him confused and scared. He stood
behind me and put his hands on my shoulder. "Open the door and walk in," he instructed.
"The door is already open," I chuckled as I looked at the open door. He let go off me and
closed the door. He walked back, put his hands softly on my shoulder, and said, "Now open
the door and walk in."
He gave me a little push and then I walked forward. I put my hand on the door knob and
slowly walked in.
"Good girl. Now go to the kitchen and find some cookies," he said.
"You go do that. I'll stay right by the entrance," I said and ran towards the door.
"No, Stacey," he groaned, "you are going to walk in that kitchen right now."
"But I don't want to," I whined.
"Stace," he said in a disappointed tone.
I didn't want to disappoint him. I sighed, "okay fine, but come with me please?"
"You need to do this on your own, Stace," his tone of voice didn't change.
"Please? Just this once?" I begged.
"Fine," he sighed, "just this once." I gave him a grateful smile.
With my hands in his, I walked towards the kitchen and opened the door. Dad was already
"Can you pass me the cookies?" I asked him.
"No," Ben interrupted, "get it yourself, Stacey."
"Is something going on?" Dad asked confused. His eyes flashed to our linked hands but he
seemed to ignore it.
"Nope," Ben replied, "she's just going to get cookies for the kids by herself."
"All right," dad said in a confused tone, he took a soda from the fridge and walked out.
"Go grab the cookies," Ben said.
I nodded and walked towards brown cabinet where we kept the cookie jar. I held the jar tight
and asked, "next what?"
He smirked and said, "Next, we find those adorable kids." I nodded. "Was that scary?" He
asked in a scolding tone.
I looked down and said, "I guess not."
"Good," he smiled, "now let's find the twins and give them cookies." I nodded and walked out
of the kitchen, he was very close to me, so that was good.
I guessed the kids were probably upstairs so I stood at the bottom of the stairs. Ben didn't say
anything. He just stood beside me in silence.
"I think they're in their room," I told him.
"Aren't you going to climb up the stairs?" Ben asked.
"Yes, I am," I said and slowly climbed up the stairs. I heard his footsteps follow me.
"Isn't this easy?" He asked.
"Not that easy. You didn't have someone slice your leg," I muttered. Then I realised what I
said and froze. I started to hyperventilate. "I can't do this," I struggled, my voice came out
I felt him hug me from behind. "I'm sorry," he whispered caringly. I turned around and gave
him a proper hug, with the jar of cookies tightly held in my hand. "I'm so sorry," he
whispered again, "I didn't mean for you to be this scared."
"Please don't make me do this," I whispered, my heart started calming down.
"You're already here, no turning back," he said. He pulled away a little and looked me in my
tear-filled eyes. "I believe in you," he smiled.
I fully pulled away from him and smiled at him. He was an amazing friend. I didn't want to
lose him, even if it meant not telling him that I had feelings for him.
"What do I have to do now, Benjamin?" I asked him in a formal tone.
He chuckled and said, "Find the twins and I'll tell you your next task."
"Okay," I nodded and walked towards the twins‟ room. I opened the door and saw that they
weren't there. "They're not here," I panicked.
"Calm down, they might be in other rooms," Ben told me as he rubbed my arms soothingly.
I nodded. I was just overreacting. I needed to stop overreacting like this. I bet Ben thinks I've
lost my mind. Well, maybe because I have lost my mind.
I cleared my head and said, "Let‟s go find them". He smiled and ushered me to lead the way.
I walked towards my room and saw no one in there either. My room looked different
somehow. There was something off about it. I opened my closet door and saw it perfectly
organized. My study desk was organised too. My bed was properly made up.
"What's wrong?" Ben asked me confused.
"Someone was here. My room is clean. Too clean," I explained in a state of shock.
"Maybe your dad hired someone to clean it," Ben suggested.
I took deep breaths and made myself believe what Ben just said. He was probably right
anyway. I was freaking out over nothing, again.
"Let's go find them, maybe they're in dad's room," I told Ben.
He smiled and walked out of my room. Without a second glance, I walked out of my room
and headed to dad's room.
I slowly opened the door of dad's and saw the twins fighting over Frankie, Shania's teddy
bear on the bed.
"Mine," Shania yelled at him and pulled the bear.
"No, why you talking to him?" Shane yelled back and pulled the bear.
I immediately rushed in and put the cookie jar on the floor. I sat on the bad and tried to pry
their hands away from the bear. "What is going on here?" I asked in a stern voice.
Shania glared at Shane. "She's talking to the bear," Shane grumbled.
"So what?" I asked.
"My Frankie," Shania exclaimed again, "I do what I want."
"No!" Shane exclaimed.
"Give me Frankie," I instructed.
"No," Shania whined.
"Shania," I gave her a stern look.
She groaned and let go of the bear.
"You too, Shane," I said.
He groaned too and let go of the bear.
I took Frankie and hugged him. This bear used be mine. His name was Maxie. Shania chose
the name for him now and I let her.
I looked at them and then asked Shania, "Why are you fighting with Shane?"
"Because he called Frankie stinky!" She exclaimed and looked down stubbornly.
I turned to Shane and asked, "Now why did you call Frankie stinky?"
"Because he is," Shane said and punched Frankie.
"No punching, Shane. What did he do to you?" I asked.
"Shania loves him, not me," he grumbled stubbornly and looked down.
"Do you really think that?" I quietly asked him. He nodded. "Did you tell her that you think
that?" I asked. He shook his head. I turned to Shania and asked her, "Do you love Shane?"
She nodded. I looked at Shane and said, "See, she loves you. Don't pull her toys next time."
"But she only talks to Frankie, not me," he whined.
"Maybe because you always talk to Holly and not her. You should talk to Holly and Shania.
The three of you should be best friends," I explained to him.
"Sowwie," he mumbled and looked down.
I messed up his hair and said, "Go tell her that."
Shane climbed over me and hugged Shania, while he was on my lap. "I love you," he told
her, "I sorry for not talkin' to you."
"It's okie," Shania giggled.
I heard the door close. I looked up and saw Ben smiling near the door.
"What?" I asked him confused.
"You're in the room where you got taken," Ben smirked. I let that sink in. Before I could
react, Ben said, "and you're perfectly safe here. The twins were safe here. You're safe now."
"You promise?" I asked insecure.
"Well of course, I see no reason why you should be in danger anymore. You are good to go,"
I ran to him and tackled him to a hug. "You're the best," I whispered.
He seemed taken aback by this but he put one arm around my waist and stroked my hair
slowly. "I believed in you. You can do anything you set your heart to," he said. He seemed to
have a smile in his voice, like he was proud of me.
"Thank you," I whispered. He patted my back twice and pulled away. He did it in a friendly
way which made me doubt whether he did like me. I didn't want to ruin this friendship where
he helped me out a lot.
"Are you gonna be okay?" He asked me. Concern was etched all over his face.
I wasn't too sure. I knew I should be scared, but maybe there was nothing to be scared of.
"Maybe," I said unsure.
"I'll drop by tomorrow too," he suggested, and then quickly added, "if you want."
I smiled and said, "I would like that." I giggled in my head.
"See you tomorrow then," he said awkwardly.
I nodded and said, "I'll come with you down."
"Sure," he grinned and turned around. He sounded happy. I guess he really wanted me to safe
We walked down the stairs together. "So umm, do you have your best friend back?" I asked
"Do you mean if you are back to the way you used to be?" Ben asked amused. I nodded.
"Well, my best friend isn't there yet, but she's making the effort," he grinned.
"Good to know" I grinned.
We reached the front door. "I'll see you later" he smiled. I smiled back and closed the door
after he left.
I walked upstairs to dad's room and saw dad walking into his room.
"Hey, Stacey!" He said when he saw me.
"Yes, dad?" I asked confused. We never greeted each other around the house.
"What did Ben want?" He asked.
I sighed. Didn't he trust Ben? "He just came by to check up on me," I told dad.
"How are you now?" He asked cautiously as I entered his room.
"I'm better, I guess," I shrugged.
"Good" he smiled. "You have to go to school tomorrow.”
"What? Why?" I asked confused.
"Since this is your last days of school, the teachers wanted to have a talk with the whole
class," he explained.
I nodded and said, "all right."
He picked up a Shania in his arms and asked me "can I ask you for a big favour?"
"What is it?" I asked even more confused. Dad never asked for favours.
"Can we keep this incident from your mom? Please don't tell her about you and Shane getting
kidnapped!" He begged.
I nodded. "If she asks, I'm not going to lie about it," I stated clearly.
"Fair enough," dad nodded and kissed Shania's cheek. She giggled.
As I was getting dressed for school, I saw Peter's car in my drive way. He was standing
outside his white Nissan car. I quickly rushed downstairs and opened the front door.
"What are you doing here?" I asked as I walked towards him.
"I was wondering if you wanted to carpool with me," he said. He seemed unsure about my
"Since when did you start caring about the environment?" I chuckled.
"Since I didn't want to go to school alone," he smiled.
"Why? Ryan and Yasmine are not going to come?" I asked him.
"They're going to bunk to go on a date," he rolled his eyes, "please don't leave me alone."
I sighed and said, "all right, I'll come to give you company." He beamed. "I was going to
come to school anyway, you didn't have to come here," I chuckled.
"Well I came, so get dressed quick," he said.
"You can come in if you want, it's hot out here," I told him. He nodded and followed me
inside my house.
I led him to my bedroom and instructed him to sit on my bed while I changed in the
bathroom. "Can I look through your drawers?" Peter yelled.
"Of course not!" I yelled back at him while I was putting my jeans on.
"Well come out fast! I'm bored!" He said, he stretched the word 'bored'.
"One more minute!" I exclaimed and quickly brushed my hair. I tied it in a loose ponytail and
walked out of the bathroom.
As soon as I stepped out, he whistled. "What?" I chuckled, "I'm only wearing a t-shirt and
"I was whistling because you finally came out" he said.
"Finally? I was in there for 5 minutes! You're so impatient," I shook my head.
"Are you ready or do you have more things to do?" He asked impatiently.
"I'm done, I just need to pack my bag. What do we need to take?" I asked.
"Nothing. Just a notebook and a pen," he shrugged.
My school bag was lying near my bed so I took it and said, "let's go."
"Did you pack it?" He asked.
I shrugged and said, "I'm sure there might be a notebook and a pen in here somewhere."
"Good enough for me," he smiled, "let's go."
We walked down the stairs and towards the front door.
Dad passed by the front door and saw us. "Are you both going together to school?" He asked
"Yup," I smiled.
"Good," he smiled at Peter.
"Let's go," I told Peter and pulled him out of the house.
We drove to school in Peter's car. On the way there, we listened to Breaking Benjamin. And
of course, he kept pulling my leg. He kept saying that I loved them because the lead singer's
name is Benjamin and I loved all things with the name "Ben" in it.
We reached school and hurried to the main hall room. We were told that our class had to
meet there. We found a seat at the back of the room and watched people walk in.
"So..." Peter trailed off in an attempt to start a conversation.
"So what?" I asked him amused.
"So, how are you?" He asked. He looked genuinely concerned.
"I'm fine," I smiled, "why do you ask?"
"I was concerned. You seemed shaken up the last time I saw you," he told me.
"I'm fine, I guess. I'm getting there," I half-smiled. He was being really sweet. Even though
he had player side, he seemed more natural like this. I liked this side of him.
"If you need anything, I'm here for you," he smiled.
"Thank you," I nodded and gave him a tiny hug.
He pouted and said, "that hug was so tiny. I didn't even feel the love."
I laughed and smacked his arm after saying "shut up, Peter."
"Make me," he said and stuck his tongue out.
We heard the door close. Our principal stood in front of the class and remarked, "I don't see
"That's because they were smart enough to bunk," Peter muttered. I chuckled.
"I have an announcement for you all," he announced. All of us listened eagerly. "As you all
know, we usually have a graduation before the exams. This time it won't happen. This is
because the school board says that only those that get above 50% in all subjects will be able
to graduate. The ceremony will be held two weeks after your exam ends. You will get your
results within a week after your exams. This will hopefully encourage you to aim high for
your exams. Does anyone have any questions?"
There was silence.
"Okay then," he stated, "you may go back home to study since the exam is next week.
Dismissed." He walked out of the room. He always reminded me of Hitler.
"Now what?" Peter groaned.
"Didn't you hear the warden? Its study time!" I said.
"But I don't want to study," he whined.
I got up and said, "We have no other choice but to go home and study. I want to get good
grades to get accepted in a university."
"Can't your dad just bribe the head?' Peter asked in a duh tone.
"Of course not!" I exclaimed, "That‟s cheating!"
Peter shook his head and walked out of the class. I rushed out of my seat to catch up with
"So what's the plan?" I asked him.
"We can go get a cup of coffee to get us started," Peter suggested.
"Since you're my ride, sure" I shrugged.
We walked towards his car.
We drove to the second best ice cream parlour in town. They sold coffee too. Once we
reached there, we stay near the counter. The table was for two people.
"Did you have to get this table? People will think we're on a date!" Peter exclaimed.
I scoffed. "No they won't!"
"If I miss a shot with a girl, you have to make up for it," he said.
"You're just looking for an excuse to ask me out!" I exclaimed.
"Maybe," he winked, "I read somewhere that women are more attracted to men if they're with
someone". He paused to think and then grinned, "this seating arrangement might work.” I
rolled my eyes.
We ordered our coffee and drank it slowly.
"So have you started studying?" Peter asked me.
"Not much," I frowned, "I didn't really have time for that. Why? Are you done with it?"
"Well yeah," he struggled, "but I don't feel ready."
"I'm sure you'll do fine," I smiled and sipped my coffee.
"Are you sure? The teachers make the exams sound so difficult. It's stressing me out," he
said. He did sound stressed out.
"Drink your coffee," I told him. After he did, I said, "The teachers just say that to make us
study harder. The exam is easy!"
"How can you say that with so much confidence?" He asked confused.
"Ben told me that," I told him. He bursted out laughing. "What?" Now I was confused.
"Nothing," he said as his laughter died down. "You'll believe anything he says, even if it is
"He would never lie to me!" I said on the defence.
"How can you be so sure?" He asked.
"Because he has never lied to me before!" I exclaimed.
He chuckled and said, "feisty about him, are we? I didn't mean to strike a nerve."
"You didn't," I recovered, "I just don't like people talking bad about my best friend."
"But I'm your best friend too!"
"You know he's different."
"Of course I do," he winked.
I sighed and drank my coffee.
After we finished our coffee, we got up and I told Peter that I needed to go home to study. He
willingly dropped me off.
I opened the door of my house and went to the kitchen to get something to eat because I was
Dad was cooking something in the kitchen. "Y-you're cooking?" I asked in a state of shock.
"Yes. Is something wrong with that?" He asked me. He seemed confused.
"You haven't cooked in ages!" I exclaimed.
He shrugged and said, "I didn't have the time before. I have some time to spare now."
I dropped my school bag near the door and walked towards dad. "What are you cooking?" I
"Lemon chicken," he said as he chopped the spices and threw it in a pan.
"Wow," I said in amazement, "I can't wait to try it!"
He looked genuinely taken aback. A wave of realization washed over him and then with a
smirk he asked, "what do you want?"
"Nothing!" I exclaimed, "I don't say things like that! Why would you think that?"
"You don't ever encourage my cooking," he pointed out.
"Really? Maybe I do it in my head."
"I appreciate that," he smiled, "so what did they say in school?"
"Oh, just to remind us that the exams are next week and the graduation ceremony will be in
three weeks. After that I had coffee with Peter."
"With Peter?" I nodded. "All right, by the way, Benjamin stopped by,” he mentioned.
"What? And you're telling me this now?"
"I didn't think it mattered," he shrugged.
"Well, is he gonna come back?" I asked anxiously.
"I told him that he didn't need to. He worries way too much about you."
"I guess he does," I said sheepishly, "just don't stop him next time."
"Worry about that later. I want you to go up to any room and study for your exam."
"Now," he said. I didn't dare disobey him so I turned around and went to my room. I guess he
did have a point, the exam is next week so I better be prepared.
It was the last day of exams. I wrote the answer to the last question. There was five minutes
left. I didn't want to check the answers again so I put my head down on the desk. My mind
started singing 'I'm free! I'm free!' I got a tune for it too. It sounded a bit like the tune of
"One minute left," I heard the nasally female teacher announce. I never really knew her name.
After she announced that, I heard a couple of gasps and then the pens started scratching the
table faster. I chuckled in my head.
After what seemed like a long while later, the teacher told everyone to put the pen down. I
grinned and sang „I'm free!‟ in my head. I tapped my foot anxiously as I waited for the
teacher to collect our papers and to tell us that we can go home to enjoy our summer
After a while, the teacher let us go.
I quickly walked out of the class and packed my belongings. I felt someone tap my shoulders.
I turned around and saw Ryan grinning. "We're free!" I exclaimed.
"Totally!" Ryan exclaimed and hi-fived me.
"So what plans do you have?" I asked him.
"Why don't we all get a pizza or something?" Ryan suggested.
"Sounds awesome!" I exclaimed.
"I know I'm awesome," I heard Peter say from behind me.
I laughed. Yasmine found us and said, "Can we get out of here? It's so crowded here!"
"Sure," I smiled.
Together we walked out of the class and towards our car. "Why don't you leave your cars at
home. We can all go in mine," I suggested, "it'll be fun and we'll be saving the environment."
"Okay sure," they said and sat in their cars.
I followed Yasmine home first. Ryan and Peter had already left for home. After she parked
her car she came to my car and said, "I'll just tell my mom I'm going out with you guys." I
nodded and watched her walk inside her house.
I put on some music and sang along to it while I waited for her to come out. She rushed to my
car. "Can I drive? We'll reach a lot faster because I know their house."
"Sure," I smiled as I climbed to the passenger seat. She grinned and sat in the driver seat.
She stepped on the gas and then I realized what she meant by 'fast'. She was speed driving.
"Why are you trying to wreck my car?" I asked her.
"Would you relax?" she chuckled, "we're here." She stopped the car in front of Ryan's house.
Ryan and Peter were together.
I sighed in relief and asked Ryan, "Can you drive us? Your girlfriend just tried to kill me."
Peter laughed and said, "That‟s why we never let Yasmine drive."
"A warning would be nice," I grumbled as I got out of the car and sat in the back seat.
Yasmine sat at the back with me and exclaimed, "Come on! I'm not that bad!"
"I thought I would never live to see the day!" I exclaimed. Peter sat in the passenger seat.
"She's not that bad. I like my car rides fast," Ryan winked at Yasmine. She giggled.
I rolled my eyes and said, "Let‟s go eat some pizza!"
Ryan sat in the driver seat and started up my car. He was a better, and slower, driver
compared to Yasmine.
I looked out of the window while they were discussing about the exam. I wasn't really into
I noticed the nice cars that drove past us. While we stopped at a signal I noticed a family
outside a flower shop. It looked like they were waiting for a taxi. The father had walked into
the shop and only the mother and the 5 year old girl was standing. The mother had the little
girl in her arms and she was singing to her. The little girl giggled as the mother kissed her
cheek. I don't know for how long I was staring but my eyes started to sting. I rubbed my eyes
and noticed that it was wet. I quickly wiped away my tears and focused on my breathing.
Why would I all of a sudden think of mom? I guess I missed that. I was so jealous of that
little girl. She had a mother, the twins and I didn't.
Jealousy was a bad thing though. That little girl deserved a mother to take care of her and be
with her. That little girl deserved a mother to teach her right from wrong. The husband came
out of the shop and handed the flowers to the mother. She laughed and gave him a quick peck
on his lips and smiled. The husband seemed pleased with his gift choice and smiled. He
deserved to see his wife too. They waited in joy together. A car stopped in front of them and
they entered in. I wish I had that family.
The car moved and within a few minutes we were in the parking lot of Pizza Hut. I snapped
out of my daze filled with memories and wishes and stepped out of the car.
We paid our share for the pizza and walked out of Pizza Hut. "You can drive us to Ryan's
house," Yasmine suggested, "We‟ll hang out there now."
"I wish I could," I started, "but I can't leave the twins at the babysitter‟s house forever.”
They sighed and the Peter said, "Okay, drop us off at Ryan's."
I nodded and sat in the driver's seat while Peter sat in the passenger seat and Ryan and
Yasmine sat in the back seat.
I dropped them off at Ryan's house and then drove to Sara's house.
I rang on her door bell. She opened the door and gave me a warm smile. "The twins are
asleep, do you want to take them now or wait for them inside?"
"I think I better take them," I told her, "dad would probably be mad at me if I left them at
your place when I was free."
She nodded and went inside. I stood near my car and kept the door open. She came with
Shane in her arms and handed him to me. I put him in the backseat and buckled him up. Sara
came back with Shania and handed her to me. I put Shania in the backseat next to Shane and
buckled her up too.
"Thanks," I smiled. She nodded as I sat in the car and drove off.
I put them on the bed and walked to the kitchen. I had noticed that my house phone had two
messages. The first one was from dad:
Hi, I'm not going to reach home early at 4.
Well that was short.
The second message was from Erin, my best friend:
Hey, girl! I'm super bored and free today. Call me when you get this.
I called her from my cell phone and went to my purple room.
"Stace!" Erin exclaimed as she answered.
"Hey! My exams are finally over! I'm done with high school," I said back.
She laughed and said, "Good. When are you coming here?"
"I'm not too sure," I shrugged.
"But I miss you! I can't believe I'm going to miss another birthday of yours."
"My birthday isn't till next month!"
"I already missed your 17th and 18th birthday, don't make me miss your 19th too!"
"I'll think about it."
"Think? You're getting on a plane and coming here one week before your birthday!"
"I'm not making any promises."
"Is this because of Ben?" She asked.
"What do you mean?" I asked her confused.
"Now that you're with Ben, I'm not so important anymore," she sighed.
"You know you're more important than any friend I'll ever have! Besides, I'm not really 'with'
"Why? He doesn't like you back or did you two break up," she asked concerned.
"I didn't exactly tell him that I like him."
"Why not? He needs to know that you like him!"
"What if he doesn't like me?"
"What if he does like you? Look Stace, I've never seen you like anyone as much as you like
him. You have to give this a shot."
"I don't want to lose him," I told her.
"And you won't! If he doesn't like you back, tell him you still want to be friends with him. If
he's a jerk and doesn't listen to you then forget about him."
"He's not a jerk."
"Then you won't lose him. You have to go over to his place right now and tell him."
"Right now? He could be busy studying!"
"I don't care. You march over there right now."
"I can't leave the twins all alone at home."
She groaned and said, "While you wait for your dad to come back, make yourself look pretty
and then you're walking over to Ben's house and speaking your heart out to him."
"When does your dad come back?"
"At 4-ish" I told her.
"So you have an hour to make yourself look pretty. I'll call you in two hours. By then you
better have told Ben about how you feel."
"Or else I'll tell him myself."
"How are you going to do that?"
"I sent him a friend request as we speak. Look, I love you but you need to follow your heart
and you need a little push."
"I'm not liking you so much right now," I muttered.
"You're about to love me in two hours."
"I know you will. I'm gonna hang up now and let you prepare."
"All right," I smiled, "bye."
"Bye," she said and hung up.
I sighed. What is she making me do?
I went to my room and quickly got dressed into my black skinny and a grey t-shirt with black
paint splattered over it.
I combed my hair and tied it in a high ponytail. It made me look more mature. Maybe he'll
see that I'm not a kid and he'll like me. I put some eyeliner on and looked at myself in the
mirror. I looked good enough to impress him but not overdressed to make him think I was
going to a party.
Dad arrived sooner than I thought. He saw me and asked, "Where are you going?"
"Ben's house, just to say hi and tell him that my exams are over," I told dad.
He looked at what I was wearing and he said, "Dressed like that?"
I nodded and said, "yes and I might go to the park later too."
"Dressed like that? Is he joining you?" He asked.
"No, but I can ask him too," I said.
Something in dad's mind clicked and he smiled. "No problem, be careful."
I nodded and headed out of the house.
As I walked towards his house, I started to get nervous. What if everything goes wrong?
What if I lose him? What if I lose Rocky and Daniel along with him too?
Sooner than I wanted, I reached Ben's house. I walked up to the front door and rang the bell. I
wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans and waited for Ben.
His mother opened the door. She smiled at me. "Is Ben here?" I asked her. My voice cracked.
She nodded and went inside. Ben had his mother's smile, I realised.
He came out almost seconds later and smiled. The same angelic smile his mom had. "Hey!"
He said. He looked at what I was wearing and asked, "Are you going out somewhere?"
"Hi, can we talk?" I asked and ignored his question.
"Yeah sure," he said uncertain, "what is it?"
"Let's sit on the porch," I said and sat on the steps of his porch.
He sat down next to me and said, "You‟re making me nervous. Is something wrong?"
I'm making me nervous too, I thought. I took a deep breath and started telling him what I felt.
"I need to confess something. I feel like I've been holding back a big secret from you. A lot of
people now know about it and I want you to find out about it from me and not someone else."
He interrupted me and said, "It's okay. I know what you want to tell me. Sabrina told me."
I paled. Sabrina told him? She's definitely trying to sabotage me. I breathed and said, "What
do you think? Of me?"
He smiled and said, "It's ok! Your mom being in rehab is no big deal. She's human and it‟s
okay for her to make mistakes. And you're still a great person."
I was confused. "Clearly I've been holding back more than just one thing from you," I
"What are you talking about?" He asked me. He was confused as well.
I sighed. "I'll tell you but please don't stop being friends with me," I warned.
"What?" He asked almost appalled, "I'll never stop!"
I took in deep breaths and then started, "I have kept this from you for so long but I guess I
can't keep it away from you forever. I want you to hear this from me and not from anyone
"I like you. I like you more than a friend would. I didn't want you to find out because now
you won't look at me the same way you normally would. I didn't want to ruin things between
us. I don't know if I can change the way I feel about you, but I like you. Maybe even more."
Ben stared at me in shock.
"Aren't you going to say something?" I asked.
"Are you serious?" He asked in a state of shock.
"Yes, I am," I told him.
He sat in silence and stared at me. I freaked him out, I knew this was a bad idea.
I got up and decided to go to my walk home so that I can get my car and drive to the park.
When I started walking halfway, I heard him call out my name. I ignored him and kept on
He appeared in front of me in an attempt to stop me. "What?" I asked in a cranky tone.
"You really mean that? Do you really like me?" He asked.
I kept my head down, "I do, but if you don't like me back then we can go back to being
friends. I promise I won't let my infatuation with you get in the way of our friendship again."
He chuckled as he put his finger under my chin and lifted my head up. He smiled and bent
down to brush his lips against mine for a second. He looked back into my teary eyes and said,
"I don't think we can go back to the way we were. I have a little secret too. I like you. I like
you a lot."
I smiled and threw my arms around him. I buried my face in his chest as he tightly put his
arms around me too. His heart was beating really fast, faster than it should have been. Was I
causing his heart to flutter?
"Thank God you like me back!" I exclaimed.
He pulled away and wiped my tears with his thumb. "I'm sorry I made you cry," he
I shrugged and just smiled. I feel like I just won the lottery.
He then started to frown.
"What's wrong?" I asked him.
"You ruined it. I was gonna tell you that I liked you in a super romantic way," he pouted.
I laughed and said "it's okay. Do you want to be my boyfriend?"
"No," he stated.
"What?" I asked confused.
"I am going to be the one to ask you out and I'm going to do it in the super romantic way I
had planned," he said like a stubborn child.
I took two steps away from him and said, "Well okay. You don't get to touch me then."
He frowned and said, "Fine, I'll have to resist your temptation."
"You have a nice laugh. Like the sound of wind chimes," he commented. He said it like it
was a secret he kept from me and he finally could tell it to me.
I blushed furiously and looked down.
"Ben!" I heard his mom yell. I turned around and saw her at the door. She sounded like she
was warning him. She smiled at me and then went inside.
"I have to go," he sighed, "I still have an exam to study for unlike you."
"When is it ending?" I asked.
"This Friday, then I'll be free to be with you all day."
"Unless the guys wanna do something, then you have to share me with them."
I sighed and said, "I don't like sharing you but okay sure."
He chuckled, "I'll call you when I can."
"Okay," I grinned. He kissed my cheek and went home.
I walked - no, I skipped - home. I sat in my car and drove towards the Winter Park. I can't
believe that he liked me back all this time.
By the time I reached the park, my phone started to ring. I looked at the caller I'd. I lifted it up
and answered, "It hasn't been two hours yet, Erin!"
"I know," she answered sheepishly, "I'm only trying to speed things up."
"You don't have to speed things up. I've already spoken to him," I told her. I kept my voice
"And?" She asked impatiently.
"He likes me back!" I shrieked in joy. Luckily I was in the car so no one heard me.
She shrieked along with me and then said, "Do you love me now?"
"I love you so much!" I exclaimed.
"Good!" She said, satisfied, "I'm so happy for you!"
"It would have been really embarrassing if he didn't like me back, don't you think?"
"I was already convinced that he liked you back," she stated.
"What? No! I would have noticed if he did!" I protested.
"No, you thought that he confused you for his ex and I've seen that girl and you two have
nothing in common."
"Well, I love you anyway."
"I know," she said. I knew she was grinning in cocky way.
"But we're not really dating. He wants to ask me out later in a super romantic way. After his
exams. So I'm still single. I didn't have to tell him, he was going to tell me about it as soon as
his exams ended."
"Think about it. He probably has more respect for you know," she suggested.
I shrugged, "I guess so."
"I gotta go now," she said, "I have a party to get prepared for."
"All right, take care," I said.
"You too," she said and hung up.
I was about to get out of the car when all of a sudden my phone started to ring. I saw that dad
was calling. "Hey, dad!" I answered. I sounded perky.
"Come home quick!" He instructed.
"I have an emergency meeting. Come home quick" he said.
"Fine," I groaned and hung up the phone.
I started up the car and drove back home.
The next day, dad had to go to work again so I had to stay at home and look after the kids.
"I'm bowred," Shane said as he sat on my lap.
"Watch TV with me if you're bored," I told him. I switched the channel to Disney so that they
could watch something fun.
"I wanna sit on swings!" Shania told me.
"Swings?" I asked her, "We don't have any swings."
"The park!" Shane told me.
I sighed and lifted Shane up. "Let's get dressed so that we can go to the park fast," I told
Shania giggled and ran out of the room.
"Fast, Stacey!" Shane urged.
I chuckled and went after Shania to their room.
I put them in the car and fastened their seatbelts. "Let's go!" Shania exclaimed.
"Okay okay," I chuckled.
We arrived at the park. I unbuckled their seatbelt and took them out of the car.
"You remember what I told you, right?" I asked as I locked the car.
They nodded together and chorused, "don't talk to anyone except Stacey and Stacey's
I nodded and said, "Good, now hold my hands so that you don't get lost."
They quickly held my hand and we walked inside the park.
As soon as they spotted the swings the dropped my hands and ran towards it. I went behind
them and pushed the swings. I had one hand on Shane's swing and the other on Shania's
"Higher!" Shania exclaimed.
I pushed her swing a little bit higher. I pushed Shane's higher too. They both started giggling.
I smiled as I watched them swing. It looked like so much fun.
After a while they wanted to go on the slides so I followed them as they ran towards the
They started to get tired of the park and they wanted to go home. I held their hands and
walked out of the park and towards the car.
On the way to my car, they started asking me random questions like 'why can't we eat
clouds?' And 'why don't we have a park in our house?' among others. They were so innocent.
As soon as we entered home, the twins ran up to their room. I washed my hands because it
I then heard the doorbell ring. That was weird. Dad won't come home till after an hour. I
walked towards the door and looked through the peep hole. There was a woman outside. She
wasn't looking at the door, she was looking down at a suitcase next to her. Who was she and
why was she here?
Something in me told me to open the door, and so I did. "Can I help you?" I asked her
politely as I didn't want to offend her.
She looked up and smiled, "I missed you so much," she said.
I stood there in shock and stared at her.
She seemed nervous. "Aren't you going to let me in?" She asked quietly.
I had the biggest smile on my face ever after I realised what just happened. "Mom!" I
exclaimed and hugged her tight.
"Stacey," she breathed as she hugged me back, "you've grown so much."
"I missed you so much, mommy," I cried, "I missed you every day. I'm so happy you're here."
"I'm glad I'm back too," she said, "I'm so sorry I had to go away. I'll make it up to you. I
"Just don't leave me again," I told her as I let go of her.
"I won't. I promise," she smiled.
I took a good look at her. She still had those grey eyes that I remember. Her face was still
beautiful with her slim nose that I always wish I had. She still had her beautiful smile that I
know dad missed.
I could tell that she was taking me in too.
I heard footsteps from upstairs.
"Do you want to meet the twins?" I asked her excited. She nodded and she went to grab her
suitcase from outside as I went to the twins rooms.
As I entered their room, I saw them playing with their toys. "You guys," I started to get their
attention, "do you remember mommy?"
"The lady from the stowies?" Shania asked.
"Yes, the lady from the stories. She's downstairs and she wants to meet you!" I told them.
They looked really excited. "Follow me," I smiled.
They held my hand and I took them down the stairs.
"Mom," I called out.
We saw her in the kitchen. She walked towards us and looked at the twins in pure awe.
"Give her a hug," I whispered to them.
As the twins ran to her, mom kneeled down and held her arms out to receive them. They
hugged and the twins didn't even look uncomfortable.
I walked towards them. Mom looked at them carefully and commented, "You two have
grown so much."
"I'm a big boy!" Shane told her proudly.
She laughed and said, "Yes, you are. A very big boy."
"What about me?" Shania asked.
Mom looked at her with pride and said, "You‟re so beautiful." Shania giggled.
"Where's my gift?" Shane asked mom.
I quickly stepped in and scolded, "Don‟t ask her for gifts, it's mean!"
"Sowwie," they chorused.
"I came here as soon as I could to meet you two," mom told them.
"Okay," Shane smiled and kissed mom's cheek. Shania copied Shane and kissed mom's
My phone started ringing. I answered the phone. "Hey, dad!"
"What food do you want me to order?" He asked.
"Umm, food?" I asked and turned to mom.
"I'll cook," mom whispered, "but don't tell him."
"Yes, Stacey, food. What do I order for you?" Dad asked. He seemed like he was in a hurry.
"I'll cook," I told him.
"Really?" He asked confused. He thought I would want to celebrate my new freedom with
takeout every day.
"Yeah, from now onwards, no more outside food," I said and grinned at mom.
"Uh okay," he said unsure and then hung up.
"You're really going to cook?" I asked her. I didn't bother to hide my smile.
"Of course I am!" She smiled, "I missed out on so much. I am going to spoil you all rotten by
cooking you the best!"
"Yay!" I exclaimed and hugged her, "do you want me to help you?"
She stared at me in confusion, "you ... want ... to cook?"
"Yeah. Why is that hard to believe?" I asked. It hurt a little.
"You've always hated cooking! Your dad had to force you to help me in the kitchen!" She
"Oh, I've been cooking a lot since you left," I told her sheepishly.
"Good," she smiled, "when is Gary going to come back?"
"In an hour," I told her.
"Okay, I think I can make pasta in the meanwhile," she suggested and then asked, "He still
likes pasta, right?"
I nodded to reassure her.
"I'll have a quick shower first," She told me, "are my clothes here?"
I nodded and said "come with me, it's in dad's room."
I decided to set up the dining table while mom made final touches on the pasta. Shane and
Shania came running into the kitchen.
"I want food!" Shane exclaimed.
"Wait till your dad comes home," mom told him.
They turned to me and asked me the same thing with their eyes. I shook my head and said,
"No, you have to listen to mom."
"Why?" They whined.
"Because if you listen to dad, you have to listen to mom too," I told them.
"Okay," Shania said and went upstairs. Shane followed her.
I looked at mom and saw that she was upset. "Mom?" I asked as I walked towards her,
"They hate me, don't they?" She said as she hastily wiped away her tears.
"Mom, of course not!" I exclaimed and hugged her. I didn't realize I was taller than her. I
"What?" She asked suspiciously.
"I'm taller than you!" I giggled.
She pulled my cheek and she was about to walk away when the door bell rang.
"Wait in the kitchen. I'll send him in!" I told her and pushed her in the kitchen. She chuckled
and went in.
I opened the door and let dad inside the house. "How was your day?" I asked him cheerily.
He looked agitated. "Fine," he muttered and put his briefcase on the floor.
"Dad, breathe! You're going to love this day! I have a huge surprise for you!" I told him.
He sighed and then sniffed. "Is that pasta? Your mom's recipe?" he asked me.
"Maybe," I winked, "let's go in the kitchen and eat right now!"
"I need to shower first," he told me.
"But, dad!" I whined, "I made it with so much love!"
He sighed and said, "All right, let's eat now!"
"Yay!" I said and followed him into the kitchen.
Dad stood like a statue as he saw mom standing near the kitchen counter. "Hey, Gary,” mom
said as she nervously fidgeted with her nails.
"A-Alex?" dad stuttered.
"I came back, love," she smiled.
"Is that really you?" He asked her shock.
"Yes, love," she chuckled.
Dad turned to me and asked, "You see your mom in front too, right?"
I laughed and said, "you're not hallucinating, dad."
He walked slowly towards her and caressed her face. She closed her eyes for a second and
then looked at him with love.
"I missed you so much," he told her and hugged her.
"I missed you too," she cried.
This seemed like a personal intimate moment for them so I walked out of the kitchen and
upstairs to the twins' room.
"Is it eating time?" they asked me.
I nodded. They were about to run out but I stopped them. "Listen to me." I said, "This is very
important. You have to be nice to mommy, okay?"
"Why?" Shania asked.
"Because she loves you both so much. If she loves you, you have to love her back too," I told
"How do we love her back?" Shane asked.
"You know how you're nice to me?" I asked. They nodded. "You have to be like that to her.
She's going to take care of you from now on so you be good. Okay?"
Shane nodded. Shania seemed unsure.
"Let's go down to eat," I told them. They grinned and ran down.
I smiled. I closed my eyes and sent God a quick 'thank you' prayer and went down to eat
some of mom's food.
I walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. Everyone was already seated. "What took you
so long?" dad asked. He had the biggest smile I had ever seen. His usual tired look faded.
Well not entirely, but most of it was gone.
"I didn't take long!" I said and sat at the table.
"Bless your food before eating," mom instructed.
"We do that every day!" dad scoffed. He was lying, of course, but I nodded along with him to
make it more convincing.
She rolled her eyes and said, "Just eat."
Shania giggled and ate her pasta with her small fork.
The day I dreamed off is finally here. Mom's back and we're eating her cooking at a dining
table. I felt really happy.
We finished our lunch. Dad unwillingly went back to work. We were watching TV. Well, the
twins were watching TV, mom and I were talking.
"Tell me about your friends here," she urged.
"I don't have much friends here, just Ryan, Yasmine, Peter, Benjamin and his friends Rocky
and Daniel," I told her.
"Tell me about them!"
I told her everything good about them and left out the parts that personally made me cringe. It
was hard talking about Rocky because he didn't have decent qualities. It was also hard to talk
about Ben because I didn't know where stood right now, so I just described him as a friend.
"I want to meet Ben someday," she said.
"Well he lives next door. Maybe after his exams I can ask him to stop by and meet you," I
"What about boyfriends? Did you have any?" she asked. I shook my head. "Did your dad
scare them away?" she asked amused.
"No, but my face probably did," I joked.
"You're beautiful, you know that, right?" She said as she pinched my cheek.
"I know, kinda," I smiled.
"Do you have pictures of Shane and Shania growing up? I need to see it!"
"It's in my laptop. I'll go get it," I told her and ran to my room.
I found my laptop on my bed so I grabbed it and quickly ran downstairs. I sat down next to
her and opened the laptop. I found the folder with their pictures and showed it to her. I smiled
and looked at her as she flipped through the photos on the laptop. Her face was full of awe. I
had added captions to the photos too so that she could read when the photo was taken.
"I can't believe I missed all this," she sniffed.
I rubbed her shoulders soothingly and said, "You just missed two years. You can still see
them when they're four, five, six and on."
"I hope so," she said.
"Hope so? You're not going back, are you?" I asked her scared.
"I'm not going back. But what if I do something stupid again?"
"I'll make sure you don't!" I told her with determination.
She chuckled and looked at me in a way I couldn't determine. "You're always looking out for
me." She chuckled, "ever since you were 13, you always looked out for me to make sure that
I was happy."
"Just doing my job," I mumbled embarrassed.
"You grew up too fast. You're supposed to be enjoying your teenage years, not behaving like
an adult and taking care of your siblings and your parents."
"I don't mind. I love taking care of all of you." I smiled.
"So you don't hate me?" She asked me confused.
"I never did, mom," I smiled and kissed her cheek.
She continued looking through photos.
Soon it was 9 P.M, which meant dinner time. There was some left over pasta from this
afternoon so we were eating that.
"Gary, did you get balder?" mom asked dad.
I bursted out laughing.
"I'd rather not talk about it," Dad said in embarrassment as he dug into his pasta.
"He's just working hard, that's all," I told mom.
"And now that you're back," dad told mom, "my luck will begin. I'll get better contracts and
more money will come in!"
"Why? Did you not get any contracts in the past two years?" Mom asked him concerned.
"Don't worry," I interrupted, "we had enough money to survive."
"Good," mom smiled.
"We also had enough money to buy a jet plane," I rolled my eyes.
"What?" She exclaimed out loud.
Dad sent me a tiny glare and told mom, "It‟s a great transport vehicle."
"For what?" mom asked dad. She didn't seem to happy right now.
"To move! I am not letting my kids travel from one city to another in a cramped up bus! I
also need it to go to my meetings." Dad told her. He was controlling his anger.
This wasn't supposed to happen. When mom got back, we were supposed to be happy. They
weren't supposed to fight!
I quickly shoved the pasta down my throat while they were having an argument. After I was
done, I quickly ran upstairs to my room and shut my door.
I sat on my bed and cried into my pillow. I heard the door open. I saw Shane run in and
Shania followed him in. I quickly wiped my tears away. "What's wrong, Stacey?" Shane
"Nothing," I told him.
"I told you my secwet," Shania said, "now tell me yours."
"Why are you crying?" Shane asked.
I sighed and said, "Mom and dad are fighting."
"Is that bad?" Shania asked innocently.
"Yes! Mom and dad should never fight, but they're fighting now." I told them.
"Then tell them no fighting, like you tell us no fighting," Shane advised.
"They're bigger than me. I can't say that," I told him and looked down at my legs.
Shane sat on my lap and kissed my cheek. "It'll be ok," he said and hugged me.
"I hope so," I hugged him back. He was a great little brother.
The door opened revealing mom and dad.
"Hey, Stace," dad said as he walked in. Mom followed behind him.
"Hi," I said. I kept my head low.
"Why did you run out like that?" mom asked me in concern.
"She was cryin," Shania told her.
"Crying? Why?" Mom asked me. She gingerly sat on the bed. Shane was still sitting on my
"Tell," Shane whispered to me.
I nodded and said, "You both were fighting. You're not supposed to be fighting!"
"We weren't fighting. We were just arguing." Dad told me.
"What's the difference?" I scoffed.
"Your mom just got here. Do you think I would pick a fight?" He asked me.
"It looked like you were fighting," I mumbled.
Mom put her hand under my chin and said, "Next time don't run away from us. We were so
"I'm sorry," I mumbled.
"No need to apologize," she smiled and kissed my cheek. She turned to Shane and said,
"Wow, did take care of Stacey?"
"Yes," he grinned.
"Good boy!" She said and kissed his cheek.
Mom turned to Shania and asked, "Did you take care of Stacey too?" She nodded. Shania
wasn't used to praise and attention. "Good girl!" Mom said and kissed Shania's cheek. She
"Are you going to stay up here or do we go down and watch TV?" Dad asked me.
"I'll come down," I smiled.
"Good," dad smiled. He carried Shane off me and went out.
Mom looked at Shania and asked, "Can I carry you?" Shania held out her arms. Mom giggled
as she carried Shania. She turned to me and said, "Let‟s go down."
I nodded and walked down with her. I shouldn't over react like this. Next time, I won't let it
get in the way. I'll let them talk things out; mom is pretty clueless right now.
It was morning. When I woke up, I noticed that only the twins and I were sleeping on the bed.
Last night dad had decided that we should all sleep in one bed as a family. It was a bit
difficult to do, but we managed.
I saw that both Shane and Shania were fast asleep, so I decided to get up. I slowly got off the
bed and tip-toed my way to the bathroom to freshen up.
I walked up to the cupboards and took out a bowl and some cereal. I went to the fridge and
took out the milk bottle.
"What are you doing?" I heard mom ask.
I turned around and saw mom.
"I'm making me breakfast, why?" I asked.
"Because I thought I was making breakfast," she told me.
I put the lid back on the milk bottle, "did you already make something?"
"No, I was going to ask you what you wanted me to make for you," she smiled.
"I'm fine, mom. I always have this for breakfast," I told her and poured the milk into the
"Okay," she nodded, "can you take me to the grocery or something later?"
"Sure," I smiled as I started eating my cereal.
It was noon and the twins were already dressed up. Mom had dressed them up and they didn't
make a fuss with her.
Mom sat in the backseat with the twins while I drove to the grocery store. Even though the
grocery was 15 minutes away, I took the car. It was partly because mom said that she had a
long list of things to buy, and kind of because I wanted to show her my driving skills. She
was in rehab when I got my license.
I parked into the grocery's parking lot, which was right in front of the store. "This is five
minutes away from home. Why did we have to take the car?" Mom asked.
"Because you said that we had a lot to buy," I told her.
"All right," she nodded as she removed Shane and Shania from the car.
I grabbed a trolley and put Shane and Shania inside it so that they wouldn't run around and
make a mess. I don't think I've ever taken the twins to the grocery before. Their eyes lit up
when we reached the chocolate and biscuit aisle.
"Can I have a cookie?" Shane asked mom.
"Sure," she smiled and put a cookie box in the trolley, "don't open it till we get home, okay?"
They nodded eagerly. Mom must have seen that we ran out of cookies at home. Or maybe she
wanted to see their eyes light up.
Shania started waving out to someone. "Shania, don't wave at people," I told her.
"Benny!" She exclaimed and waved more.
I turned around and saw Ben waving back at Shania. When our eyes met, his smile widened.
He walked towards us with a box of instant coffee sachets.
"What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be studying?" I asked.
"I came to buy supplies," he said and showed me the box in his hand.
Mom asked, "Aren‟t you going to introduce me to your friend?"
I mentally slapped my forehead and said, "Ben, this is my mom. Mom, this is my friend
Ben looked shocked for a second. He held out his hand, and while mom shook it he said, "It‟s
nice to finally meet you, Mrs. Davis."
Mom gave him a polite smile and said, "Why don't you two spend time alone. We'll meet you
in the parking lot."
"Are you sure? You've never been here before!" I told her.
"I'm sure this grocery is the same as the other groceries I've been in. I'll be fine, Stacey. You
can go hang out in the parking lot with him." she chuckled.
I reluctantly nodded and walked with Ben. We were in the chocolate section.
"How are you?" he asked me.
"I'm great! What about you? How are the studies going on?" I asked.
"It's all right. I could use a break from all that studying," he smiled.
We were at the counter now. He paid for the two chocolate bars and the coffee. The counter
lady asked him if he wanted a bag and he refused.
We were now at the parking lot. He gave me a chocolate bar and said, "For you."
I grinned and said, "You don't have to surprise me with stuff, it's not like we're dating or
"I wanted to," he smiled.
There was a tiny voice in my head that said 'aww, he's so sweet'.
I sat on the hood of my car and he stood in front of me. "When did your mom come back?"
"Yesterday morning," I smiled.
"Your family must be so happy that she's back."
"So thrilled that you forgot me?"
"What? No!" I exclaimed. I did forget him, but mom was back! How could I not be excited?
"If you say so," he said giving me a knowing smile.
I opened the chocolate bar and started eating it. He was eating his bar too. "When are you
going to ask me out?" I asked him.
"When you least expect it," he grinned.
I sighed and said, "all right, but I won't wait forever. If someone asks me out before you, I'll
go out with him."
His jaw dropped. "Come on! You like me, I really like you. Why would you go out with
I just stuck my tongue out and finished the chocolate.
He chuckled. He took my chocolate wrapper and threw it in a trash can along with his.
"How much do you have to study?" I asked.
"10 more chapters," he groaned.
"I feel so sad for you," I told him.
He grinned and asked, "Sad enough for you to kiss me?"
"Only on the cheek. Friends don't kiss," I told him.
"This 'friend thing' has a downside," he frowned.
I licked my lips and then wiped it with a tissue. I puckered my lips and he bent down. I gave
him a kiss on the cheek and surprised him with a kiss on his jaw too. "Best of luck for your
exams," I told him.
"Thanks," he said giving me one of his angelic smiles. I knew he was thanking me for more
than just the good luck wish.
I heard footsteps and saw Shane running towards us. Ben immediately took a few steps back
as he saw mom walking towards us with the trolley. Shania was still in the trolley.
"Can we come back again, Stacey?" Shane asked me.
"Only if you're a good boy!" I told him.
"I'll be the goodest boy ever!" He exclaimed.
Ben chuckled and said, "I think I better get going. I'll see you later?"
I quickly caught his arm and said, "Wait! I can drop you home."
"I can walk home," he reassured me, "it's not that far."
"Please?" I asked, "I don't want you walking when I can drive you. What kind of friend
would I be?"
He sighed and said, "All right."
Mom saw us and smiled. "Can you open the trunk, Stacey?" She asked.
"Yeah," I told her and immediately opened the trunk. I helped her put the bags in the trunk.
I unlocked the car and opened the car door for me and got in. "I'm dropping Ben off," I told
"Okay," she nodded as she buckled the twins in.
Ben sat in the passenger seat next to me.
"Let's go!" Shane exclaimed.
"I'm going," I chuckled and started the car.
We reached Ben's home. "I'll call you when I can," he said.
"No problem," I smiled.
He got out of the car and waved out to everyone. I drove off.
"Ben seems nice," mom commented.
"He is," I smiled.
Within a few seconds from Ben's house we reached our house.
"Is anything stopping you from dating him?" Mom asked.
"Mom!" I said embarrassed.
She chuckled and said, "you like him, don't you?"
"Why are we talking about this?" I asked her.
"Because I want to know. Now tell me." She told me with a grin on her face.
I groaned and got out of the car.
As she unbuckled the twins, I said, "I like him, he likes me back but we're not going out
because he hasn't asked me out yet for personal reasons."
"When is he going to ask you to be his girlfriend?" She asked.
I opened the door to the house and let the twins run inside. I removed the bags from the trunk
of the car and said, "I don't know. Can you drop it please?”
She shook her head and said, “Fine, I‟m just concerned.”
Sooner than I knew it, it was Friday which meant that Ben‟s exams were over. I waited
impatiently by my cell phone on the couch. I waited for him to call me so that we can spend
time together. I don‟t know if he would ask me out now or later but that didn‟t matter. I just
wanted to spend time with him.
The door bell rang. I immediately ran towards it and opened the door with a smile on my
"Ben! Hey!" I said as I waited for him to come in.
He walked in. "If Rocky and Dan ring the door, don't let them in," Ben warned.
I chuckled and asked, "Why?"
"They want to hang out with you. I don't feel like sharing you right now," he smiled.
"Why? Did you have something special planned?" I asked hoping that he would ask me out.
He laughed and said, "I'm not popping the question yet. I'll ask you when you least expect it."
I pulled him to the sofa and sat him. I sat down really close to him and said, "Are you sure? I
have a feeling that you're just stalling for time because you don't know how to ask me out."
He scoffed, in a joking way, and said, "It‟s all a part of my plan. I know exactly how to ask
"Will you please be my boyfriend, Ben?" I asked.
"Let me think about it," he joked.
"Come on! I was asking you out! I am the most patient girl in this family but you're making
me so impatient!" I exclaimed.
"Good," he grinned.
He leaned in to kiss me, but I leaned back and said, "You have to wait too. No kissing me till
I'm your girlfriend."
The door bell rang. "I'll get it!" I told him.
I opened the door and saw Rocky and Daniel. "Is Ben here?" Daniel asked.
"Do I get no 'hello'?" I asked them.
"Hi! Now tell us where Ben is," Rocky urged.
I opened the door and let them in. "In the TV room," I sighed.
They went to the TV room and sat next to Ben. As soon as Ben saw me, he said, "I thought I
told you not to do this!"
"I felt like not listening to you," I chuckled and stuck my tongue out.
"Aww!" Rocky cooed, "You guys are already fighting!"
"No, we're not. We're just having a disagreement," Ben told them.
Daniel chuckled and asked, "About what? Where your next date should be?"
Rocky turned to me and said, "by the way, let the guy decide. You should just go with the
I rolled my eyes and said, "The 'guy' hasn't even asked me to be his girlfriend."
"What?" Daniel asked me in shock.
Ben groaned and told me, "This is why I told you not to let them in."
"So that they can be on my side of this 'argument'? I'm glad I let them in." I told Ben.
"We should have bought popcorn!" Daniel sighed.
Ben stood up and walked up to me. "Fine, I'll go out with you," he muttered.
I stood there in silence. "You make it sound like you're doing me a favour," I said in
"See!" He exclaimed, "That‟s why I want to ask you out in the way that you deserve."
"All right," I sighed, "I'll wait for you. But I warn you, I'm not waiting patiently."
"Good enough for me," he smiled and kissed my cheek.
I smiled back.
"Where is everyone?" Daniel asked.
"The twins are asleep and my parents are out sight-seeing," I informed him.
"Sight-seeing?" Daniel asked.
"Yeah. He's showing mom around town." I told him.
"That's sweet," Ben smiled. I smiled back.
"Let's go watch that movie!" Rocky exclaimed.
"Yeah!" Daniel exclaimed and hi-fived Rocky.
"You guys go ahead," Ben told them, "I'll stay here with Stacey."
Rocky groaned, "Come on!"
Daniel turned to me and asked, "Will you come with us to watch the movie."
"I can't leave home," I frowned, "I can't leave the twins."
Ben put his arms around my shoulders.
"Go with them!" I told Ben and pushed his arms off me.
"I want to stay with you!" He pouted.
"Go!" I told Ben.
"You really don't mind me leaving?" Ben asked me. His blue-grey eyes scanning my face.
"You should go watch the movie with your friends," I smiled.
"You're amazing," he said as he hugged me. I blushed.
"Go have fun," I told him.
"All right," he smiled.
He was about to walk out when I caught his arm. I felt spontaneous so I stood on my toes
and kissed his lips.
I felt him smile as he put his arms around me and continued kissing me. It was the first time
that we kissed each other. I didn't want to count our first kiss because Rocky had dared us
When he pulled away from me, he breathed, "You‟re really amazing!"
I blushed and said, "Now go before I start missing you."
He kissed my cheek and went out of the door. I grinned at the door that he closed on his way
out. I can't believe he called me amazing.
It was 11pm and I was on my bed. I wasn't getting any sleep. My phone started vibrating. I
looked at the caller I'd and saw that Ben was calling.
"Hey," I whispered.
"Am I disturbing you?" he asked.
"Kinda," I said as I glanced at the twins sleeping. Shania was lightly snoring.
"I'll call you in the morning then."
"It's fine, we can talk." I smiled, maybe even blushed.
"Great," he breathed.
"How was the movie?"
"It was good."
"What was it about?"
"I don't remember it fully."
"What? Why not?" I chuckled.
"I kept thinking about you," he mumbled in embarrassment.
"Sorry," I apologized.
I heard the door creak open. Mom walked in and gave me an accusing look. "Okay, I'll hang
up!" I whispered to her.
She smiled and walked out. She closed the door. "Okay, I'm back!" I told Ben.
He chuckled, "I don't want to get you in trouble."
"She's gone now. We can talk." I told him.
Then we talked and talked till my eyes started closing.
"Stace!" Ben whisper yelled.
"I was listening to you," I mumbled.
"What was I saying then?" he asked.
"You were telling me about your university," I told him.
"I was telling you about the food!" he reminded me, "Maybe I should hang up. You're
"What? No!" I said and then yawned.
"I'll see you later," he told me, "goodnight, Stacey."
"Goodnight, Benny." I giggled.
"Night," he whispered and then hung up.
I was watching TV with mom when suddenly my phone rang. "Hey, Ben," I answered.
"I'm Holly!" A little girl replied.
"Hey, Holly! How are you?" I asked her.
"I'm good. Is Shane there?" She asked. I heard Ben encouraging her to say something.
"He's in his room. Why?" I had a smile on my face. I never spoke to Holly through the phone
"Can he come to my home?" she innocently asked.
"What about me and Shania?" I asked her.
I heard Ben tell her something. She then said, “You and Shania can come too.”
“When I come to your house will you give me gifts?” I joked.
“Okay,” she giggled.
The next voice I heard was Ben‟s. “Hey there,” he greeted me warmly.
“Hi,” I greeted back. There were butterflies in my stomach. It doesn‟t flutter every time I
spoke to him now, but it still fluttered.
“Holly really wants you guys to come home," he told me.
"Holly or you?" I chuckled.
"Both of us miss you terribly," he said. I heard Holly giggle.
"Hold on, let me check with mom," I informed him.
"Sure," he said coolly.
I turned to mom and asked, "Can the twins and I go to Ben's house?"
"Sure, but be home before it becomes dark," she instructed.
"Love you!" I exclaimed and kissed her cheek.
"Love you too," she chuckled as I got off the couch and ran upstairs.
"We'll be there in a few minutes," I told him.
"I'm waiting," he taunted and then hung up the phone.
I went to Shane's room and found them staring at each other. "What are you doing?" I asked
Shania turned to me and said, "A game."
"Do you want to go to Holly's house? She wants to play with you," I told them.
"Okay!" Shane grinned and ran downstairs.
Shania still sat near her bed. "Aren't you going to come with me?" I asked her in concern. She
shook her head. "Do you want to play with mommy? I know she wants to play with you."
"Really?" She asked amazed.
"Yes, take your toy and go to mommy and tell her you want to play with her," I instructed.
She grinned and ran downstairs.
I laughed and quickly walked down the stairs. I heard mom playing with Shania in the TV
room. Shane looked at me eagerly. I opened the door and let him out.
He held my hand and we walked towards Ben's house. I had to admit, I was anxious to meet
him. I didn't see him yesterday because he had to take care of some family errands. His
cousin, Erik, was visiting his family next week.
Shane impatiently banged on the door. I chided him to stop and rang the door bell. Ben
opened the door. He looked down at Shane, "don't break my door!"
"Sowwie," Shane apologized sheepishly.
"It's okay," Ben chuckled as he ruffled Shane's hair, "go inside, Holly's playing with her
Shane didn't need to be told twice, he rushed in.
"Where's Shania?" He asked.
"She didn't want to come so mom's playing with her," I told him.
He opened the door and I walked in. "Your life must have gotten easier since your mom came
back, right?" he asked
"Not easier," I corrected, "Better. My life feels complete with mom back home with me."
He smiled and we walked into the kitchen.
Daniel was already in there with a camera in his hand.
"Enter Stacey Davis," he narrated, "the girl that just graduated high school."
"What is he doing?" I asked Ben.
"He's making a documentary for your dad," Ben rolled his eyes.
Daniel continued, "She is not only Ben's neighbor and best friend, but the daughter of the
greatest producer in our time."
"Stop kissing up!" I chuckled.
Dan put the camera down and asked with a sly grin, "Would you rather have me kiss you?"
I turned to Ben and groaned, "you've gotta get better friends."
"Stop flirting with her," Ben warned Daniel. There was nothing serious in Ben's tone. Almost
as if he knew that Daniel would never flirt with me.
Daniel rolled his eyes and started recording with his handy-cam. "And remember," he
instructed, "act natural. Pretend like I'm not here."
"I wish," I muttered. Ben chuckled.
Ben took out two plates from the shelf and placed them on the counter. "C-can you do me
something?" Ben asked. He stuttered at first. Ben never stutters. Strange.
"What is it?" I asked with a smile.
"There's a box of cup cakes in the refrigerator, the box is white, do you mind getting it out?"
"Sure," I smiled and walked to the refrigerator. I heard footsteps behind me. I turned around
and saw Daniel. I opened the fridge and saw the white box.
I walked back to where Ben was and put the box down on the counter.
"Open it!" he urged.
I lifted the lid off the box and noticed that there were 20 chocolate chip cup cakes. When I
took a closer look at it, my jaw dropped after I gasped. On the cup cakes it was written
"WILL YOU BE MY GF STACEY?" Each cup cake had a character on it written in white
"I've liked you for a really long time and I wanted to ask you out appropriately because you
mean a lot to me," he declared.
I was silent.
"What do you say?" Ben asked nervously.
I tore my gaze away from the delicious looking cup cakes and to Ben. "You wrote your
proposal in cup cakes?" I asked. I cracked up at the end.
"Yeah, do you like it? Will you be my girlfriend?" He fidgeted.
"Of course I will, Ben," I exclaimed and hugged him, "this is the cutest thing anyone has ever
done for me. I'll never forget this."
"Me neither," he smiled.
I pulled away and kissed his cheek.
"All 20 of these cup cakes for me?" I asked him innocently.
"They are for you, but sharing them would be great too," Ben said.
"Of course I'll share it with my boyfriend," I grinned.
Daniel cleared his throat and asked, “what about the boyfriend's best friend?"
I had forgotten that he was in this room for a second.
"You get nothing," I said immaturely.
"Your girlfriend sucks," Daniel muttered.
"Don't say that about my girlfriend!" Ben exclaimed protectively and put his arms around my
I giggled and kissed his cheek.
Daniel put off his camera and groaned, "Why are you two hating on the director?"
"We're not," Ben cleared up, "we're hating on you."
"Where's Rocky when you need him?" Daniel muttered, "I don't like you two ganging up on
"Fine," I sighed, "you can have one cup cake."
"Sweet!" He exclaimed as he took a cup cake.
"Just one," I warned.
He started eating the cup cake. After he was done eating it - in 30 seconds - he said, "I better
go home now."
"I just got here!" I told him.
"I just came to record some footage," he explained, "now that I got it, I'll go."
"I'll leave you out," Ben told him and walked out. I could hear them talk, I couldn't make out
what they were talking about though.
I ate the first cup cake slowly. Mhmm, these were really good. The cup cake was so soft. The
chocolate just bursted in my mouth. I ate another one.
"Like it?" I heard Ben ask.
"It's amazing!" I moaned as I went in for the third cup cake. I knew I shouldn't eat so much,
but I couldn't help myself.
"This shop makes the best cup cakes," he smiled.
"This is so sweet of you, Ben," I honestly told him, "but you don't have to do so much for me.
Having you in my life is enough."
He came up to me and said, "I like your smile."
I blushed and looked away.
He came closer and whispered, "I love your smile. I'd do anything to see that smile."
"Do you really mean that?" I asked him naively.
"Definitely," he whispered and smiled.
"I like your smile too," I giggled, "you have an angelic smile." I probably sounded like a fan
girl right now. I can't believe I actually admitted to him that I thought his smile was angelic.
His cheeks turned slightly scarlet. "No one's ever told me that before," he admitted.
"I've always thought that," I grinned.
He rested his forehead against mine and sighed in content. "You're amazing, really," he
"You're like a dream come true. I still can't believe you like me back!" I confessed.
"Believe it," he smiled and kissed my lips for a second.
"Stop it!" I blushed further.
"I don't want to," he teased.
I kissed his chin.
I noticed the situation we were in and I questioned, "Do you want to have me back up against
the counter for the rest of the evening?"
"Maybe," he playfully said.
"I don't mind," I grinned, "but I really wanted to eat those cup cakes."
"Only if you give me one first," he told me.
"Deal," I grinned.
He laughed and kissed my cheek.
I can't believe this book took over a year to complete. Thank you so much for your support. I
know I don't have a lot of readers but I am thankful to those that read it till the end.
There won't be a sequel because I felt like I've left it at the perfect place. Also, I want the rest
to be left to your imagination.
Yes, I do admit that the only chapter with Ben‟s point of view is a bit out of place, and
unprofessional, but upon editing I just couldn‟t delete it. The chapter moves the story forward
in a way and it gives you readers a step ahead of Stacey on how her chances of being with
Visit my websites to check out other stories. I'm still writing stories.
About The Author
Skye started writing at the age of 16. She started off writing on a website called Scribd.com
where 3 of her creative works have been featured by the website. She loves writing short
stories and poems. She sometimes dabbles with writing full length stories too. She has written
stories under the names of Skyler Jayne, Skye Jayne and Skye J Cardoz. She also sometimes
refers to herself in third person!
~Writing Tales of Love and Heartbreak~