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Chapter 3

Chapter 3

A Chapter by Kerry Yang

The fourth period bell rang and the students at West High spilled into the congested hallways of the school, swarming like bees in tiny groups, while rivulets of humanity trickled past them in the perpetual river of high school life.  Caleigh dropped off her heavy backpack at her locker and found Becky standing on the other side waving to her.  Becky had curly, dirty blonde hair that lightly touched her shoulders and stood awkwardly in her 5’9’’ frame as if she still needed to grow into her stature.  Caleigh waved back and found her way to her.  She looped her arm through Becky’s and the two made their way to the cafeteria.  “How was Spanish?”

            Becky laughed.  “I think Mr. Bingham really doesn’t care anymore.  Today, during silent sustained reading, he fell asleep.”

            Caleigh laughed as well.  “What happened?”

            Becky shrugged.  “Nothing.  The bell woke him up and he acted like he hadn’t been sleeping the whole time.

            Just then, Caleigh felt a push as she almost hurtled into the lockers.  “Hey!” She yelled out.  She turned around to see Emily and three of her cheerleaders standing by.

            Emily placed her hand on her hip.  “Watch it, Caleigh.  Next time you’re in the hallways, watch where you’re going or I’ll make sure you know your place.”

            The anger rose in her chest, but Caleigh pushed it down.  “Sorry.  I didn’t mean to…”

            Emily threw her long brown hair back.  “You better be. Come on, let’s go, girls.”  She abruptly turned around and walked past the crowds of students while her friends followed.  No one in the masses dared to touch any of them as they passed.

            Becky shook her.  “Wow.  She purposefully pushed you.”

            Caleigh exhaled one long breath as the anger subsided.  “I know.  I don’t know what her deal is.  She pretends to be so nice to Emery and she’s so mean to everyone else.  What’s worse is that I don’t understand how Emery dated her for a year.”

            “I know.  I think he just sees the best in people,” she said in a soft voice.

            Caleigh looked at her quizzically.  “And he’s so dreamy?”

            Becky blushed and playfully shoved her.  “Shut up!  I can’t help that most guys in school haven’t hit their growth spurts yet and I’m taller than most of them.”

            Caleigh pointed to herself.  “Hello?  I’m pretty sure I’m stuck at this height.  My dad is super tall, but my mom is the same height I am.  I keep hoping I got his genes, but every time I look in the mirror, I know I got hers.”

            “Oh, I’m so sorry that you’re pretty.”  They made their way into the boisterous cafeteria and stood in line checking out the menu.

            Caleigh chuckled.  “Whatever.  And you’re not?”

            Becky snorted.  “I’m not the one that all the guys try to talk to, so tell me about this random guy that almost killed you again?”

            “He didn’t do anything.  I was so mad at my dad.  After I talked to him, he called my cell and left a message that he couldn’t pick me up and that my mom would, except I didn’t have my cell and my mom misunderstood my dad.  So I have to make it home somehow and this guy just shows up out of nowhere.”

            “What’s his name?”

            Caleigh paused as they passed through the food line, taking a simple grilled cheese sandwich and fries, then paid for her meal.  “I don’t know.  He never told me and I forgot to ask.”

            “Was he cute?”

            Caleigh smiled.  “I don’t know.  He just walked me home.  That’s all.”

            Becky sat across from her at am empty table near the window, away from the noise of the cafeteria.  They usually avoided the others except for the kids in Drama club or close friends.  “That’s all?”

            “What do you want me to say?  There’s something about him.  Something that scares me, but is also intriguing.”

            Becky shoved a fry in her mouth.  “Yep, you like him.  Oh, don’t look now but Emery is headed in our direction.”

            Caleigh’s cat-like green eyes grew large.  “Don’t make things up.”

            Becky swallowed.  “Be cool.  He’s here.”

            Emery placed his brown tray with four slices of pizza and a heaping order of fries next to Caleigh.  “Hey Becky.  Hey Caleigh.  Okay if I eat lunch with you girls?”

            “You know my name?” Becky blurted out.

            Emery smiled.  “Of course.  We have Trig together.”

            Caleigh eyed his tray of food.  “How much do you eat?”

            “A lot.  By the way, my mom asked me to invite you over.  She’d be really happy to see you.”

            Caleigh could see Becky’s jaw drop, but she pretended not to notice.  “Sure, when?”

            Emery took out his phone and slid it over.  “How about after school today?  Just put in your phone number”

            Caleigh quickly glanced at Becky and begrudgingly input her number into his phone.  “Sure.  I’ll tell my dad he doesn’t need to pick me up.  Thanks again for giving me a ride the other day.”

            Emery nodded.  “No problem.  How’s the car?”

            “In the shop.  I should be able to pick it up in a day or two,” Caleigh replied.

            Becky cleared her throat.  “Here comes Emily.”

            Emily sashayed up to their table and placed her hand on Emery’s shoulder and the rest of the cafeteria watched her every move.  How could they not?   She was on the top of every guy in school’s hot list.  She was also a total b***h.  No one crossed her and lived to tell about it, so when she decided to make a stand that day, Caleigh knew she was pretty much screwed.  “Emery, I think you sat at the wrong table.  We’re over there.”  She pointed to the far right corner.”

            Emery smiled up at her.  “Just sitting with friends.”

            Emily’s smile became strained as the rest of the cafeteria watched on in amazement.  No one could resist Emily.  No one.  You had to be from a different planet not to see that.  “Oh, I was just saying that because I need help with my English class and I was wondering if you had time now to help me?”

            Emery didn’t budge.  “Of course I can.  Just not right now.  I’m taking Caleigh to visit my mom after school, but I can help you after that if you’re free.”

            Emily suddenly stopped smiling.  “Oh…oh I see.  Well, just text me, okay?”

            “I will,” Emery said and returned to the table as if nothing occurred.

            Caleigh let out a breath.  “What just happened?”

            Becky lowered her head.  “I think Emery just got her to hate you forever.”

            Emery looked questioningly at Becky.  “Why do you say that?”

            Becky blushed and Caleigh answered, “You made it seem like I’m your new girlfriend, which I’m NOT.”

            Emery continued wolfing down the pizza as if they weren’t talking about something life-threatening.  “I can talk to her if ya want.”

            Caleigh suddenly lost her appetite and shook her head.  “Umm no thanks!  I think you’ve done enough.  It’s okay, it’s nothing I can’t handle.”  But she wasn’t so sure of that.  Emily ruled the school with her besties Cindy, Mara, and Jenny.  They did what they wanted and got away with it because the teachers were always on their side and believed any story they spun.  Caleigh usually steered clear of them and avoided their wrath most of high school by not associating with many kids, but there was no avoiding them now.  She wondered if the others could even think for themselves or if they just shared a brain with Emily.  Caleigh never wanted to stand out, but she also never wanted to conform either.  She could not just blindly follow someone without questioning what was happening.  That was usually what got her in trouble the most.


            Caleigh found herself in Emery’s car for the second time in one week.  She hoped it wasn’t becoming a habit.  She liked Emery as a person, but it was just so much work to try to fit him into her schedule and her life again.  Sometimes, it felt better to limit her world so that she had fewer people to disappoint and fewer people to hurt in the end.  She stole a glance at him and couldn’t believe how tall he’d grown and how big his arms looked clutching the wheel.  However, there was something that never changed from when they were kids.  He still had that same calm, reserved strength that comforted her whenever she needed it.  They used to live next door to each other and her parents’ careers were just taking off, so they left her over at Emery’s a lot, where his stay-at-home mom watched over both of them.  Secretly, she loved Emery’s mom, but she didn’t want to admit it.

            Emery cleared his throat.  “I like all your paintings you did.”

            Caleigh looked at him.  “Where did you see my paintings?”

            “Um,” he tensed, “in the art room.  Coach wanted us to paint a banner, so we were grabbing supplies from the art room.  That’s when I saw them.  You’re really good, you know?”

            Caleigh chewed on her thumb nail as she stared out the window as they sped past the school.  “Thanks.”  She hated it when people complimented her on her paintings.  It made her feel so self-conscious.  They were so personal to her and she didn’t want the whole world to see what she was thinking, but the art teacher, Mrs. Olson, insisted that if she wanted to get to Paris, that it would be the only way.  Mrs. Olson even got one of her paintings in her friend’s art gallery.  Caleigh felt way too nervous to even attend.

            Emery turned off the busy roads and traveled farther into the suburbs.  “How have your parents been?”

            Caleigh perked up.  “They’re great.  Busy as always.  Is your dad still doing the same thing?”

            “Yeah.  He travels even more now that they promoted him to vice president.  My mom and I barely see him, but she keeps busy enough.  I’m glad you said yes.  She was so excited when I let her know you were coming.  She rushed to the store to get the ingredients for her cookies.”

            Caleigh punched him in the arm and it didn’t budge.  “You didn’t have to make her do that!”

            Emery grinned.  “She’s the one that wanted to!  Besides, you’re the only one that really enjoys those cookies anyways.  Me and dad like chocolate chip cookies better.  Well, here we are.”

            Caleigh looked up as they reached a massive wrought-iron gate that soared into the sky as stone lions flanked either side.  A brick wall surrounded the compound as green trees and brush grew over it, obscuring any view of what lay over the gate.  Emery pressed a button and the gate opened.  They drove through a mile of forest before they reached a clearing of perfectly manicured grass and cobbled stone.  The driveway surrounded a large water fountain with a naked, beautiful goddess reaching into the sky in the center as four lions surrounded her.  It was quite a scene to take in.  Caleigh had barely even begun to assess the beautiful white mansion with gables and columns that made it look like it was a set piece in Gone with the Wind.  She could imagine Scarlet O’Hara peeping out of one of the many windows. 

            The only thing she could say was “Wow!”

            Emery smiled.  “You can say my dad’s a bit showy.”

            Caleigh got out of the car.  “You take after your mom.”

            Emery lowered his head and smiled.  “Yeah.  You would know.”

            Caleigh grinned at her childhood friend, and for the first time in years, she felt like they were simply friends again and nothing had changed.  He was still that shy, reserved kid who spoke softly and she was a spunky little girl who spoke her mind and hated fitting into the mold of what a little girl should be.  She liked that when she spent afternoons with Emery and his mom, they didn’t treat her like a porcelain doll.  Emery and Caleigh spent countless days building forts, riding bikes, and climbing up in Emery’s tree house.  She treasured those memories.

            She walked into Emery’s house and it amazed her how spacious, yet subdued it looked on the interior.  A grand, double staircase greeted them in the foyer as it languidly looped around a statue of another lion in the middle.  Potted ferns dotted the sides as gold-framed mirrors rested on the walls.  Emery led her past the formal dining room with a long, oak table that could seat 12.  A beautiful, crystal chandelier dropped from the frescoed ceiling as every step she took echoed in the room.  Emery opened the sliding doors onto the sprawling kitchen styled in old French with light-blue, cream-colored walls and flowing olive-green curtains, evoking a far-away feel of a Parisian café.  It was definitely a chef’s kitchen with a double refrigerator, a top-of-the-line gas range, wine cooler, and a large, marble island.

Emery’s mom sat at round, rustic table nestled in the alcove as the pale sunlight streamed through her golden hair and lighted her from the back.  Her lean frame rested gently in the chair as her beautiful smile beamed from her welcoming face.  Caleigh ran to her and embraced her.  She missed her deeply.  His mother sent her a birthday card every year and it was her only connection with her, but she cherished every single one.  She still looked about the same, just a little older. 

Emery’s mother held her out from her.  “Look at you!  You’ve grown into quite the beautiful young woman.   I always told your mother we would be related one day.”

Emery shook his head.  “Mom, I’ll be back in a bit.”

Caleigh seated herself next to her.  “It’s been so long.  I’ve missed you.”

She nodded.  “I’ve missed you, too.  Are you still painting and drawing?  I remember you loved that.”

Caleigh nodded.  “I am.  You’re the one who took me to the art museums and galleries when my parents were busy.  Those were the best weekends.”  They talked until the sun set over the sleepy hills and the trees cast long shadows on the pavement.  It was as if Caleigh never parted from her and she knew his mother would forever be a part of her life.  Caleigh toured the rest of the palatial home with 5 bedrooms and four baths.  They walked the extensive grounds with a grove of cherry trees, a tennis court, and an in-ground pool with an attached pool house and a fire pit in the patio.  She found herself alone with Emery as her took her to the top of the pool house as they watched the stars come in one by one in the night sky.

Caleigh leaned over the railing as the wind tousled her hair.  “You live really far out.  I don’t think you’re even in our school district, are you?”

Emery continued looking up.  “Nope.  My dad wanted to put me in private school for my last four years, but I told him I wanted to finish it out with the kids I went to school with.  We moved around so much after we got out of Charon that I just wanted to be with guys I know.  Also, there was you.”

This puzzled her.  “What do you mean?”

“I know it’s been a while, but I’ve never stopped thinking of you.”

© 2017 Kerry Yang

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Added on December 12, 2017
Last Updated on December 12, 2017


Kerry Yang
Kerry Yang


Prologue Prologue

A Chapter by Kerry Yang

Chapter 1 Chapter 1

A Chapter by Kerry Yang

Chapter 2 Chapter 2

A Chapter by Kerry Yang