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“In recent news, there was a tornado that hit in Caribou yesterday morning. This is the first time in the history of Maine that there was ever a tornado....” My attention turns towards the t.v.
“That's insane. There couldn't have been a tornado. Just because we got a tornado warning last week doesn't mean the news team can go and show this bull.” Mom says, turning of the set.
“I don't think they would be showing it on air if it wasn't true, Mom.” I say, making sure there was no “attitude” in my voice. Since I had been caught for that a lot lately.
“Well, I just don't believe it. Especially since it connects to this whole global warming thing. Did I ever tell you that this “theory” has been going on since I was in grade school?” I sigh, I wish the t.v hadn't been on, especially with it turned onto something about global warming. Mom and Dad are so hard set against it. They think that it's just a bunch of scientists trying to get people afraid and spend money.
“If there really was a tornado in Maine though, wouldn't you be scared?” I ask.
“I wouldn't because it's never going to happen.” Of course, she would say that.
“Okay Mom. I'm going to school. I'll talk to you when I get home from practice.” I get up from the bar, set my dirty dishes into the sink and lean over to kiss my mom on the forehead. “Love you.”
“Love you too sweetie. Have a good day at school. Tell Jordan I say hi.” She winks. She loves my boyfriend. I can't complain, it's better than having her hate him. I look at my mom. People say I look just like her, a mini-me version. Then she goes to say that I look so much more like my dad. I can't see how I fit into the family at all, besides my height and blue eyes. There's no mistaking that we're all related since we have the exact same color of bright turquoise blue eyes.
“You do too.”
“It's such a gloomy day out. And I was going to ask you if you wanted to go swimming after school. I guess those plans are ruined.” Jordan walks next to me, entangling his fingers with mine, the warmth of his hands seeping into my cold ones. He leans in and plants a quick, sweet kiss on my cheek.
“That sucks. I would've loved to go swimming. I haven't been able to since that hockey trip to Portland with my brother's team.” I sigh. I really love swimming. It's the most relaxing activity that I could ever do. I hate that Maine is too cold to swim outside in the winter.
“I would've loved to just see you happy.” Jordan slides in. “How about we do something else after school? Maybe go to the coast so you can take some pictures?” We continue to walk down the halls, all eyes on us. Ever since we were vote cutest couple in our class, everyone has been paying extra close attention to us. Probably to make sure that we keep being the cutest I guess.
“That sounds great. I've got the Jeep today so we can take that.” I suggest.
“I don't know. It looks like it's not the greatest day to take the Jeep long distance. Plus you have the top off.” Jordan points out.
“Oh. True. We'll just have to drop it off at my house before we go.” The bell rings and the people that are in the halls start to scatter to their morning classes. Jordan pulls me in close, I rest my head on his strong chest.
“That's fine. I'll see you at lunch my dear.” His voice vibrates through my body, sending warm tingling butterflies a flight in my stomach. He leans down and kisses me, wrapping his arms around the small of my back and pulling me even closer to him. I hear a grunting noise behind me. We pull apart to find my best friend, Kristen Mace, standing behind us.
“Save the slobbers for later. Marley here has to get to English class.” Kristen walks forward to pull me out of Jordan's arms and drags me down the hall before I can say anything back.
“You could've given me two more seconds to say goodbye.”
“That show was his goodbye.” Kristen winks. We burst out laughing and walk into English that way, linked arms and laughing like hyenas. We walk over to our two desks and plop down. Once we sit down a new guy walks into the room. At least he was new to me. He was tall, probably taller than Jordan who was 6' 6”, he had short cropped black hair and his blue eyes took my breath away. When I had sucked in my breath Kristen looked over at me with a stern look on her face. I knew what she was thinking. But I just shook my head and mouthed Jordan. She rolled her eyes and turned back to her purse that has her phone hidden.
The new guy walked over to Mr. Garney, where they talked in voices that were too quite for me to hear. They kept talking until the late bell rang, when Mr. Garney stood up in front of the class and cleared his voice.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the newest addition to Brewster High School. Please give a warm welcome to Trey Johnstone.” The class gave a pathetic chorused “hi” then went back to their own chattering. Trey just nodded his head in response. And Mr. Garney sighed. “Okay Trey, you can take a seat next to Ms. Walton over there.” My body goes stiff as I realize he just said my name and pointed to me. He would. “You'll also have to share your book with Mr. Johnstone, until we can get him a copy of his own. I hope you wouldn't mind.”
“Nope. That's fine Mr. Garney, my pleasure.” I say, sarcasm dripping off of each word. I feel my phone buzz in my pocket. Mr. Garney's back is turned so I slyly pull it out to see the text that Kristen has sent me. WATCH THEM HANDS MISSY. It reads. I look over at her, where she's giggling to herself.
“Hi.” Trey startles me, I hadn't heard him sit down next to me.
“Hey. I'm Marley.” He reached his hand across the table and we shook hands. His were big and callused compared to my small smooth hands.
“Trey. I'm new here. As you probably could've guessed.” We both laugh a little.
“Yeah. I got that memo. Where did you move from?” I ask.
“From Arizona. My dad's a military man and he was stationed at the Air Base over the weekend.”
“Oh. What does he do? He might know my dad.”
“He's a pilot. What does your dad do?”
“He's a boomer. Mark Walton. He's a tall bald dude. Hard to miss.”
“Well, my dad hasn't said anything but I'm sure he will once he finds his way around. And when he starts going on flights.”
“Yeah maybe. How long are you guys stationed here?”
“'Till further notice.” We both crack a smile, typical military response. Mr. Garney starts his newest lecture on Shakespeare. Just like usual. Although this class I'm jittery, unable to keep my feet tapping on the floor. What's wrong with me? This guy is new and I'm in love with Jordan. Why am I acting this way? My phone vibrates in my pocket again and I wait until Mr. Garney starts writing on the board before I pull it out. Another message from Kristen.
DUDE. WTH? HAVE ENOUGH CAFFINE THIS MORNIN? CALM DOWN. I type in a quick response.
SHUT UP. I'M JUST RESTLESS. IT'S TOO HUMID IN HERE.
YOU SURE IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH NEW BOY NEXT TO YOU?
YES I'M SURE. I DON'T CARE ABOUT HIM. I'M PERFECTLY HAPPY WITH JORDAN.
THAT'S WHAT YOU THOUGHT WHEN YOU HAD THAT...MISSHAP WITH RAY.
THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO. I STILL WASN'T SURE ABOUT JORDAN BACK WHEN THAT HAPPENED.
WHATEVER YOU SAY. JUST MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.
JORDAN IS WHAT I WANT.
FINE. YOU WON'T MIND IF I TAKE TREY THEN ;)
NOT AT ALL.
There was a loud crack of thunder that shook the whole room. Not kidding. Some of the pictures that were hung up around the room shook and fell off of the wall. They make a huge crash sound as glass shatters everywhere. A few of the girls in the room let out a scream and the guys start laughing.
“Everybody calm down. It's just a thunder storm. Everything's fine. Let's get back to the lesson.” Mr. Garney's voice booms through the room.
Of course everyone's focus is now lost as the power goes out, leaving the room and even the whole school was dark. The rain that pelted against the windows sounded like the sound of softballs hitting the glass, threatening to break through. More girls, and even some boys, let out a scream. There's a loud bang on the door and everyone jumps. Mr. Garney goes to the door. He talks loudly for a few moments with someone on the other side. But no one can hear because the wind is so loud.
“Everyone is to report home. The school isn't safe.” Mr. Garney announces, then rushes out of the door.
“WHIMP!” On of the muscle heads yell after him.
“Kristen, let's go. I don't want to be here.” I grab Kristen's arm and follow the flow of people rushing to the door and to their cars.
“Wait! Marley!” I hear someone call after me. I stop, almost getting trampled. I tighten my grip on Kristen's arm and she grasps on harder to my other arm. Trey rushes up to me from the mass of people. “I don't have a car of my own and my parent's are at work. Could you give me a ride? I think I saw you driving past my house this morning.” His eyes are pleading and I nod my head.
“Yeah. Come on. My car's this way.” I take my free arm and latch it onto his wrist. I pull both of them behind me as we rush towards my car.
We reach my car in one piece and we all hop in. If I didn't have the Jeep raised then the doors would be underwater. The whole town is flooding, at least what could be seen from the school.
“The river must be overflowing!” Kristen yells over the howl of the wind. The rain pelts onto my face as I throw the old car into first.
“Bad day to have the top off!” Trey yells.
“Yeah. I realize that now!” I yell back. We make eye contact in the review mirror and he smiles, making my brain go fuzzy. I shake my head and concentrate on the road. “Kristen. Text Jordan to tell him we're okay and heading to my house.” Kristen nods and does so. I reach into my pocket to call my mom. Come to find there's a text waiting from her. GO HOME AND GET THE HUMMER THEN COME STRAIGHT TO THE COMMISSARY TO HELP WITH GROCERIES. I DON'T KNOW HOW LONG THIS STORM IS GOING TO LAST. NEED TO STALK UP ON FOOD. I slid my phone shut and push down on the accelerator, needing to get home as soon as possible.
“Jordan says that he's heading to his house and to call him as soon as possible.” I nod.
“My house is right up here Marley.” Trey pipes in from the back seat.
“Oh. It's the one next to mine.” I notice.
“I guess so. God, there's no one home...” His voice trails off.
“You can stick with us. I need your guys help anyways. We have to go to the base to get stalk up. My mom doesn't think this is just one storm.” I start to bit down on my lip, a nervous habit. I look over to Kristen. She's biting her lip too and her eyes are red. “Kristen, we're gonna be fine.” I reach over and pat her arm. She nods and turns her head away.
I pull into the driveway and open the garage door. We pull in just long enough to hop out of the Jeep and into the XL Hummer. It takes about five minutes to get to the commissary when I'm driving. There's so much water everywhere. The Hummer sits higher up than most cars, so it was easy to get into. But it's still so hard to drive. Not only is the level of water high, but there's a lot more pressure from the new current. The engine roars the whole way to the Commissary, sounding like a race car.
Insanity. Panic. Crazy. That's all that can be described as we pull through the gates of the base. Everyone is going everywhere at once. The commissary is overflowing with people and supplies. I pull into the parking lot and we all pile out of the car. It's the funniest sight, Kristen is so short that she almost has to turn her body into a doggy paddle. Trey and I are up to just above our waists in water.
“How are we going to get the food out here without getting it soaked?!” Trey yells.
“That's a good question!” I scream back. We reach the doors. Looking inside, there's barely anything left. There's a sign on the door that reads: NEW CASELOT SALE. TAKE ALL. We run inside on the lookout for Mom. We find her in the canned food section, running a cart down the aisle with her hand reached up onto the food, pulling anything and everything into the cart. She looks over her shoulder and gives us a weak smile.
“Good, you brought back up. Each of you grab a cart and get as much stuff as you can get your hands on. We need nonperishable stuff. And especially dog food and bathing stuff. You know, stuff like that. And tampons Marley!” She yells as we run back to the front of the store to grab one of the few carts remaining. It takes a few hours for us to stalk up on supplies. We completely clean out everything we see. No matter if we like it or not, we grab it off of the shelves. We even take baby food, figuring that we might find someone who will need it or as a last resort kind of deal. The Hummer and Mom's extended Cadillac Escelade were as full as they were going to get. It was actually pretty dangerous for the cars to be that full, since the supplies were kind of overflowing into the driver's seat and into our view.
Pulling into the driveway was a chore. Our house is set up on a huge hill that leads into the river. Plus having enormous oak trees lining the road made it even worse. Their branches had fallen down into the mini river to block our way. Then once we actually did get to the house, we had to take everything out of the cars while trying to avoid getting a bunch of water in the house. Luckily, there wasn't too much water in the garage once we shut the doors. Trey took a bucket and cleaned up what little water there was. It took the rest of the day to unload everything and set it in the right places. Plus, there was so much stuff to put away. Stacks of all sorts of different supplies lined ever hallway downstairs. It wouldn't matter what it was, diapers, food, or shampoo, it was out in the hallway if there wasn't another place for it.
Once everything was put away we all settled around the wood stove to warm up, even though it was in the middle of June. The wind shook the house, giving it a scary feel to everything. The rain seemed to be easing off a little though. We checked outside and it looked like the water had gone down.
“Thanks for helping out today Trey. Must be such a great welcome to town.” We all give out a half-hearted laugh.
“Your welcome. I didn't mind it. It was actually kind of fun, to say the least.” Trey smiles such a great smile. Kristen nudges my arm as she catches me staring. I let my eyes fall to my hands in my lap, my hair flowed down to hide my burning face.
“Anybody want anything to drink or eat?” I ask jumping up from the couch.
“Here, I'll come help.” Trey offers, following me into the kitchen.
I walk into my dream kitchen searching for something to keep me from looking at Trey. He can't make me feel this way. It's impossible. I can't feel different about a guy then how I do with Jordan. What in God's name is wrong with me?
“Is something wrong?” Trey asks, coming closer to me.
“Nope. I'm fine. That was quite the adventure today.” I try to change the subject.
“Yeah it was. I guess I'm in no place to ask you what's wrong. We don't even know each other.” His voice sounds so disappointed. I turn around to face him. He's standing a lot closer then I expected. I suck my breath in as I take in his face. My skin goes prickly.
“That's okay.” Is all I can peep out.
“I'd like to you get to know you though.” Trey takes a step closer. He smells like Old Spice, was it a coincidence that that's my favorite smell?
“I have a boyfriend.” I blurt, then cover my mouth. He doesn't miss a beat.
“I know that. Jordan right? I figured that he was someone special the way Kristen made him sound. I was just talking about becoming friends. Since we live next door and all.” He does take a step back though, understanding the message.
“Yeah. I'd like that.”
“Hey baby. Are you okay?” Jordan's worried voice makes it through the buzzing background noise.
“I'm fine. I'm sorry I haven't been able to call you until now. We've been really busy trying to get everything settled down. You know, in case this is more permanent than not...” I trial off.
“Don't say stuff like that. I don't want you worried. All you should be worried about is what dress you want to wear at prom this year.” I can hear Jordan smile his picture perfect smile. But for some reason, my heart doesn't race like it usually does when we talk about prom. It's a big thing for a senior to take a junior to prom. That kind of date set up use to happen all of the time, but it just doesn't anymore.
“Yeah. I think I'm going to go shopping in a few days. Hopefully the storm lets up. If not then I guess I'll just have to wear something that I already have.” I sigh. I was so determined to get a new dress for this amazing occasion. Now I probably won't.
“Or you could borrow something. All you have is your semi dress. I wouldn't want you to wear something twice.” There was an usual sharpness in Jordan's voice. He's such a fashion police, he hates it when people repeat their wardrobe excessively.
“I could do that too. I really like that dress though.” I try.
“I think it would be better to find something new.” The sharp tone is still there.
“Fine. I will.” I drop it, agreeing is so much easier than arguing.
“Good. I've got to go. I'll call you later if I'm not busy.” He hangs up.
“Love you too.” I mumble into the dead receiver of my cell phone. I slowly close it shut and set it in front of me on my bed. Without warning, the tears come. Things have been changing so much lately. Jordan has been acting different. As if it's a hassle for him to be with me, like I'm always in his way or wasting his time. But we've been dating for a year, we've had our little bumps in the road but he's never been mean. The tears keep pouring over my eye lids for a while. Then the door bursts open.
“Oh. Sorry. I should've knocked...I didn't mean to....” Trey stammers. I quickly wipe my face, even though it's useless. He's already seen the tear streaks filled with makeup.
“It's okay. Do you need something? I thought you had left awhile ago...” I sniffle and reach for the tissues. He rushes up and passes them to me instead.
“Yeah. I was hoping, well, I haven't heard from my parents since they left for work last night. And the house is so big alone and in this storm...” He trails off.
“Oh Trey! I've got an idea! Would you like to stay here tonight until you hear from you parents?” I try to make it sound like I just came up with the idea on my own. He smiles and plays along.
“Oh my God, Marley! Thats such a great idea. Thanks.” I stay sitting on my bed looking up to his tall stature standing in my doorway. Everything about him seems so natural. He coughs. “So um...” He gestures at my phone. “Troubles in paradise? If you don't mind me asking.”
I look down at my phone, the blank screen reminds me of how blank our relationship is turning into. I slide it further away from me, as if that would help with what's really wrong.
“Do you think that if someone made a really big mistake, that could hurt the person you loved, if they loved you like they say they do, they would forgive you?” I ask, taking a chance at trusting this basically stranger.
“That's a good question. I think that if they did love you enough, then yes, they should forgive you. But I think it would help my advice giving if I knew the whole story.” Trey walks over to the edge of the bed and motions to sit down, I nod and he does. “If you want to tell me.” I look from his face back down to my hands. “You can trust me.” I look up, realizing that I can.
Jordan's car pulls up in front of the house. He get's out and I see that he's texting on his cell phone. I figure that he's sending me a quick text that he's here. I never get a text from him. I run downstairs to met him at the door, slowing down just before he walks through the door. He stands next to my dad as he watches me come down the stairs. His smile turns from a cute one to one that stretches from ear to ear when we make eye contact. I can feel my face forming to mimic the same smile. I continue to walk down the stairs, making sure I don't trip and fall in my borrowed high heels. Courtesy of my mom.
“You look beautiful. Like usual.” Jordan whispers in my ear when we pull close together for pictures. “Are you ready for semi?” He asks louder, away from my ear.
“Yes. I'm excited.” I look up at him and he plants a quick kiss on the tip of my nose. Mom captures it on the camera.
“EWWWWWW. Kisses!” Charlies yells from the top of the stairs.
“Oh, come on bub. Give your sister some slack.” Dad calls up to him, surprisingly at ease. “Now time for the rules. List 'em.” Dad's face is stern as he turns to look down on Jordan. Jordan goes on to recite all of the rules that my dad had told him with perfection. Just like the perfection that he is.
“You ready to go?” Jordan asks one the rules are set.
“Yup. Let's get this show on the road.” I look up and smile at him.
The start of the night goes off without a hitch. We get to the restaurant and meet up with some friends. We're all having the best time of our lives. Half way through the dinner Kristen gets up, saying she has to go to the bathroom and I go with her. While she's in the stall I fix my make up, pausing when my phone buzzes in my clutch. YOU MAY BE NEW TO THIS BOY, BUT I'M NOT. DON'T TRUST THAT CUTE INNOCENT FACE OF HIS. I KNOW I SHOULDN'T HAVE. -A FRIEND My breath catches in my throat and I let out a little gasp in shock. What's this supposed to mean? Is Jordan cheating on me? I guess there's only one way to find out.
“Can we talk for a second?” I ask Jordan, we've made it to the school. After the text that I received in the bathroom I haven't talked much. I didn't even tell Kristen.
“Yeah. What about?”
“I...I got a text. The number was blocked but it said to not trust you...who were you texting when you showed up to my house?” Jordan's face turns solid, not the usual loose, hung back expression that he always has in place.
“What do you mean? I wasn't texting anyone.” He turns to face forward, not looking at me.
“Yes you were. I watched you put away your phone when you pulled up in front of my house.” Strike one. He's already trying to hide something from me. Who was he talking to?
“God Marley! Why does it matter?” He slams his palms down on the steering wheel.
“It matters because it was obviously someone that you didn't want me to know was texting you. Just tell me!” I look around the car, then I see his phone. Just sitting there on the seat between us. I look up to see if he was looking at me. He wasn't. My pulse races as my hands slide over, slip over his phone and into my purse. He still doesn't notice. “You know what? It doesn't matter. You go have your fun. I'll find you later.” I throw the door open and walk into the school.
I head straight to the girls locker room. I have to read his messages before he realizes that his phone's gone. Which won't be long since he's so attached to the thing. I open the door and thankfully, no one's in the locker room. I sit down on a bench and prepare myself for what I might find. There's the texts that I had sent him, some from a couple of his friends, but there's a substantial amount from Caity Welsh. I click onto the conversation, and I've found my treasure. The whole conversation is about them making plans for after tonight. There's texts saying how much Jordan hates me. There's texts saying that he wishes for me to never be near him. Then there's the text messages blatantly stating all of the stuff that Jordan's done behind my back. Jordan is cheating on me.
I leave the locker room filled with pure fury. I run out to Jordan's car and throw his phone back. The back breaks off. I leave it. I then run back into the gym to find Kristen and catch her up on all of the stuff that I've found out tonight. The biggest surprise though is that the tears I expected to come don't. “How could he have done this to me?! And that slut! She should've known enough to not mess with me.” My eyes scan across the mass of grinding teenagers, I can't find any of Jordan's friends or him.
“He's so stupid. So is she.” Kristen agrees. “What are you gonna do about it?”
“Once I find him...” The scanning settles as I find Jordan's hands placed on Caity's hips, as her butt rubs up against him. They both have big smiles on their faces. My fury completely unleashes. I run up to the disgusting couple.
“Oh..um hi Marley...” Caity stammers as she pushes away from Jordan.
“Don't mind me Caity. I'm sorry for interrupting. In fact, I'm so terribly sorry for being in the way of you two for everything.” My glare focuses in on Jordan's face and I can see that he understands.
“I don't know what you're talking about.” Caity says.
“Shut up Caity. Nobody wants to hear another word come out of that trashy mouth of yours. I know everything that you two have done. Jordan, if you don't want anyone to find out what's on your phone then I suggest using the delete button. It's a pretty simple concept, but I guess you never thought of that. It's a good thing actually, since I know now what scum you are.”
“It took you long enough.” Jordan says.
“EXUCSE ME?” I yell in his face.
“I know you heard me. Stop acting stupid, oh, my bad, you can't help it.” He pulls Caity in close to him. “Now leave us alone.” Caity backs off. “What do you think you're doing?”
“I don't want her mad at me...” How stupid is this girl?
“No wonder you're so easy to all the guys. You don't have a brain.” I spit the words at her.
“That's not very nice.” She says.
“Sleeping with my boyfriend isn't very nice either.”
“You can't blame it all on me, he did it too.”
“I haven't gotten to him yet. But tell me this, did you know that I was dating him when you slept with him?”
“We were sleeping together before you guys started dating.”
“Did you stop after we started dating?”
“Then you're at fault just as much as him.” She bows her head. “Now it's your turn. Do you have any explanation that you'd like to share with me?”
“Well you seem to know everything, so no.” Jordan says, no emotion hinted in his voice.
“I guess that's it then. Don't ever talk to me again.” I turn and walk away, the anger draining from me.
“I guess he talked to you again, didn't he?” Trey asks once I'm done telling my horror story of semi about a month ago.
“Yeah, for the next week or two he wouldn't leave me alone until I talked to him. So I gave him that one chance and nothings been the same as it was before I found out.” I look down at my hands, tears forming on my eyes again.
“He obviously doesn't know what he's missing.” I feel Trey's fingers gently brush away the tears that have fallen. I laugh.
“There's really not much to me.”
“Don't say that. I can see it now that you are this amazing person. You just don't see it because you get treated like crap from that idiot everyday.” I smile.
“And to answer you're question, no I don't think you should forgive him. I don't think you even should've given him the second chance. He doesn't deserve it.” He picks up my phone and places it in my hands. “What do you think?” I dial in Jordan's number and wait for the tone to change.
“I told you I would call you when I'm not busy.” Jordan's sharp tone travel over the receiver.
“I didn't want to wait for you. Actually, I'm done waiting for you to not be such an ass to me anymore. I shouldn't have given you the second chance. I shouldn't have even given you a chance in the first place. We're done Jordan.” I hang up before he gets the chance to change my mind. I look up at Trey.
“Well played.” We start laughing together and it's the most beautiful sound I have ever heard in my life.
“Thank you so much.”
“Nah, I didn't do much. I just made you realize what you already knew.”
“Wow Marley, you've grown quite the pair lately.” Kristen tells me over a steaming plate of pancakes.
“Funny. Trey has just made me realize how much of an ignorant asshole Jordan was.”
“Hmmm...Trey. You guys have been having a few sleepovers I hear?” I stop slurping down my orange juice. Where would she hear this? I wonder, since we haven't had school for the past week.
“His parents never showed up during the first day of the storm. He doesn't know what has happened to them.” My mind goes back to Trey's expression every morning when he comes back from his house with a new set of clothes. Sadness is etched deep in his eyes, with worry spread throughout the creases of his face. How could a face so beautiful be so sad?
“Oh god. I didn't know it was like that.” Kristen says, shifting uncomfortably.
“Yeah. He should be getting back soon with Mom. He's been so much help to us, with everything going on. He's helped Mom every time she's gone out. I'm really impressed.” I try not to think of why he has to help, but Kristen brings it up anyways.
“Have you heard from your dad lately?” Tears instantly spring to my eyes.
“No, not since the storm started...” My sentence drags off.
“Where was he the last time you talked to him? When was the last time you talked to him?”
“Well, I think the last time we talked was when he video called me on my birthday a month ago. He said he was off the coast of some place. Maybe Australia or Asia? I can't really remember.” I watch as Kristen whips out her Blackberry and types furiously. Her face falls after she pauses to read something on the tiny screen. “What is it?”
“It says here that both the coasts of Asia and Australia were hit furiously with tsunamis and hurricanes. Apparently, there were a bunch of unknown volcanos that interrupted in Australia too. There was a lot of damage on and off land. They don't know about survivors or the deaths.” Her voice sinks as I sit there motionless. Dad was based on some boat waiting to be transferred to a base for this top mission through the Air Force. He has already been through so much, going through almost all of the Raiders training, just to be kicked out for some idiot breaking his back with a log. He can't be dead. He has to be one of the few that have survived. He just has to be. “Marley, are you okay? You just got really pale.” Kristen brushes away the tears that have started to pour down my face.
“Yeah. He's Dad, he survived. Don't you think so?”
“I sure do hope so.”
As the weeks grow on, the more restless our house seems to get. With Trey having no idea where his parents are, and the same deal with Dad. The house is so filled with some kind of tension, it's hard to even breath. School hasn't been in for weeks now, we really haven't been out of the house for much. The only times we would go out of the house was to grab the news and for Mom to go to work at the hospital. She's constantly at the hospital. Ever since the first big storm there have been a lot of people coming in from sickness and really bad injuries.
School decided to end the year until the spring, if things are better by then. I guess it's a smart move because of all that's going on. And apparently there's supposed to be more storms coming our way. It's hard to imagine how drastically things can change in a short amount of time. In a days time really.
“They have a list.” Mom states blankly as she enters the door. Trey and I are playing with the dogs on the living room floor and we immediately notice that she's holding a thick packet of paper stapled together.
“For what?” I ask, unsure of what she means.
“The dead. It goes for all of the people in the town who have been found dead. It also includes the men and women that have been diploid from our base.” That's when I take in the look in her eyes.
“No...he can't...” I trail off as I run up to grab the packet. It's already open to the appropriate page. Mark Welch. The font is so small and simple, like it means nothing; but it means so much, it causes so much. I look up at Mom and the second our eyes meet, it's over. We both start bawling our eyes out. Thoughts and questions rush through my mind. How could this have happened? Why were we not warned? Someone had to have known that something like this was going to happen. That's what all the scientists are for!
I break apart to look back at Trey, who's looking at the packet. I watch as he searches frantically for his parents names. He pauses on one page, just stares at it for the longest time. Then, without warning, he chucks the pages across the room. The pages spread as it goes flying through the air. It almost reminds me of a bird taking off. The packet is thrown with such force, I'm surprised that it didn't rip apart. I can't stop him before he runs up the stairs. A few moments later, the door slams.
I stand there, completely stunned. I have never seen Trey freak out like the way he just did. In fact, the only negative emotion I had ever seen show from him was in the morning when he came back from checking to see if his parents had shown up overnight. Even then I don't think he realizes that I can see that raw emotion, he always puts up a wall with me whenever I try to ask him about any of his family. It worries me, but I respect his space and don't push it very often.
“You should go see if he's okay.” Mom gently places her hand on my shoulder. I look at her, but what I see in her eyes is total understanding. “I can see more than you let on. Go upstairs, we can talk later. I pull her into a quick hug before racing up the stairs after Trey.
Once I get to the door, I pause. I knew my intensions of coming up to his room, but I had absolutely no idea what I was going to say to him. I've never been in his room. Well, I have since it's my house, but not since he's moved in. The butterflies that I often feel reach a new level as I knock lightly on his door.
“Yeah?” I hear his muffled voice filter through into the hall.
“Can I come in?” I ask softly, maybe too softly. Did he hear me?
“Yeah.” I open the door and find him sitting on his bed staring at the floor with his hands gripping his head. The grip is so tight that his knuckles are white. I don't really know what to do, but I start out by making the big step of walking towards him.
“Are you okay? If you don't mind me asking.” He glances up with a faint smile on his face. I was hoping he would remember when he said something similar to me about a month ago.
“I couldn't find their names.” His voice is so faint, so different then his strong, knowingly voice that I was use to.
“Shouldn't that be a good thing?” I ask cautiously, not knowing what I was getting myself into. That little voice that speaks up when I'm about to do something wrong speaks through me, but I just ignore it. I want to take the risk of finding out about this great guy, no matter what information may be waiting for me.
“I guess it sounds like it should be, but in a way it's not. I mean, you and your mom don't have to sicken yourself by worrying all day where your dad is or what has happened to him. You know what's happened. Maybe not in exact detail, but you still know. Not knowing is killing me inside. I always hate it when I have to wait for the worst. I would much rather know, even if it's bad news.” His hands fall to his lap.
“That makes sense, but you can still hope that they're going to come back. I don't have that anymore.” Tears form around my eyes. I try to fight through it, I'm supposed to be helping Trey, but it doesn't work. They have a mind of their own.
“You don't know that for sure. How accurate do you think these lists are? There are hundreds of people that are dying or gone missing. That's what may have happened. He could've just gone missing with the rest of his crew and they're perfectly fine.” He wraps his arm around my shoulders and I lean into him.
“I'm so bad at this.”
“Bad at what?”
“When I came up here, I was supposed to be making you feel better. Not the other way around.” He laughs at my honesty, squeezing his arm tighter around my shoulders.
“I'm serious! You're always treating me so great and I just want to treat you the same way. I want to know you like you know me.” My eyes find his intense crystal clear blue eyes, and there's something I can't exactly place.
“You don't want to know everything.”
“Yes, I do. I want to know so I know what to say. It's like you said, I would much rather know then not.” I know I'm about to cross a fine line in this odd relationship, but I want to so badly.
“Family is really important to me. It has been ever since I almost lost it,” he says, “and I don't know if I will ever stop having the nightmares.”
“What nightmares? What happened?” I could tell that he was procrastinating in telling me everything.
“My twin brother, Tommy, and I use to be inseparable. We both did the same things, had the same interests, everything. But everything changed when we reached high school. Tommy started hanging out with a different crowd than me. Once that started to happen, he started acting different. We never use to fight, but we started to basically everyday. He started wearing different clothes, started to have the sort of attitude were nothing mattered.
“Then one day I came home and found him with a needle in his arm. I felt so stupid for not realizing that he was using drugs before then. 'You can't tell Mom and Dad,' was all he said to me before continuing to shoot whatever drug into his arm. So I didn't. I just thought that he would eventually see how it was hurting him and stop. I was being naïve. Once drugs entered his life, they weren't ever leaving.
“It went on for a few more months before I decided to tell my parents. That was when all hell broke loose. I couldn't have picked a worse time. I was telling my parents downstairs while Tommy was doing drugs upstairs. Some shit that made him think everyone was out to get him and made him have a really bad temper. My dad went storming upstairs and they started yelling. Then, out of no where, Tommy had Dad pinned against the wall with a knife against his throat. I jumped in to pull him off and got him to drop the knife, but Tommy came around and punched me in the head. I don't remember anything after that. All I remember is waking up in a hospital with cuts and bruises and the worst headache of my life. When I asked where Tommy was, my parents just told me that he was being taken care of now.” He stops, and I see that tears have streaked down his face. I don't know what to say, so I don't say anything for awhile. And he goes, “but they never told me what they meant by that. I didn't know if he was locked up in some mental clinic or if he was dead. I still don't know.”
His body started shaking next to mine as the tears poured down his cheeks. I put my arms around him and leaned him back down on his bed. He wrapped his arms around me, nuzzling his head into me. I don't know how long we stayed like that, but it was long enough for Trey's sobs to slow down to a stop. After he stopped crying, we continued lying there. I almost think he didn't want the moment to end just as much as I didn't want it to.
After awhile he lifted his head up so it was level to mine on the pillow. “You're the perfect friend,” he whispered to me, “how did you know?”
“What do you mean?”
“How did you know that's exactly what I needed?”
“You being here and lying with me was all that I needed. I didn't need any talking. I just wanted to know that I had someone that would be there for me.” He closed his eyes.
“You don't ever need to worry about me being there for you. I promise.” He opened his eyes again, with the biggest grin I've seen all night.
“Pinky swear?” He asked, holding up his pinky. I chuckled as we clasped pinkies.