FIVEA Chapter by clairvoyantmars
It was Monday, recess, and Timothy was walking out of the cafeteria. His gold-brown hair was messy again, but he still didn’t have the guts to face himself in t h e mirror. The project was to be submitted next week, but it was good they had already finished it. He saw Stephanie under the tree again. He didn’t know if he should go to her. She might have wanted privacy, so went walked over to his usual bench. For the first time, he realized his loneliness. Once you get to know someone, it changes you. It makes you long for their company. But he sat there, alone, for a while.
Stephanie was under her tree again. It seemed Timothy was still reluctant i n talking to her. It didn’t bother her. No attachments. They had planned to meet later at her house, while her father was out playing billiards. Today was the day he would d o something about the car. She started eating, taking her lunch out of her bag. When she looked up, she saw that Timothy was walking towards her. They both smiled, not saying anything. He sat down beside her and they both ate their lunches. Nothing needed to be said; both were quiet, enjoying each others company.
Timothy’s mind seemed to drift off when classes started. His thoughts couldn’t seem to avoid the fact that it was his birthday tomorrow. It was his first year without his brother, who always seemed to make that day more special. Once again, the attention would again be focused on him. He didn’t want to be cooped up at home, but he also didn’t want to be out alone. So his only option was to celebrate it with Stephanie. His parents wouldn’t remember, because they were always busy with something to take their minds off Tim and his lost other half. Tim would wake up feeling imbalanced. Anthony was the more spontaneous one, the one that always wanted some action. Timothy was the exact opposite, but even if their personalities were like the north and south, their relation-ship was as close as could be. Their personalities balanced one and the other, which made their full being into a whole. But now that Anthony was gone, everything was o u t of place.
He tore out a page from his notebook and started scribbling on it.
Do you want to go somewhere with me tomorrow?
He folded it thrice and handed it over to Steph. She opened it, r e a d it, looked strangely at him, read it again, and then finally wrote back.
It’s my birthday. And I don’t exactly want to stay at home.
Really? Where to?
Anywhere; just not too close to home.
I know just a place.
When the last bell rang, Tim and Steph ran to her house. As expected, her father was out playing billiards. They both went straight to the garage, and Steph watched as Tim started to tinker with the car. He lifted the hood up, and got one of the wires.
“I’m gonna need some scissors.” He said.
She ran inside and got it and then ran back to give it to him.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“I’m going to cut the wire that is connects the battery and the starter. Once he turns the key in the ignition, the car won’t start. In this small a town, it will take quite a while to find the right wire. My guess is""”
“Ah.” She said, raising her hand, cutting him off. “I lost you i n the second sentence.”
“I don’t understand motor speak.”
He reappeared from under the hood, closed it, and gave her the scissors. His hands were streaked with black from the grease.
“You have to wash that off.” She said, taking his hand and leading him to the kitchen.
He washed it off with soap, and used the paper towels to wipe himself. He didn’t want to use the kitchen towels, because it would leave black smears, and it might leave traces of who had tinkered with the car.
“Thanks for helping me. I’m not really a genius about cars.”
“You did what you had to do.”
“But why am I still worrying?” She said, and bit her lip.
“It’ll work.” He said taking a step closer to her and putting his hand on her shoulder. “Everything’s okay.”
Just that moment, her father entered the door. They both jumped and took a step away from each other. They chuckled nervously and her father entered the kitchen.
“Oh.” Her dad said, smiling. “Hey, Tim.”
“Hi, Mr. Cross.” He replied.
“Dad.” Steph smiled, walking over to him and kissing him on the cheek. “You’re home early.”
“Yeah. I lost the first round, so I decided to go home.” He patted his belly. “I think I’m gonna go up and take a hot bath.”
“You do that.” She said. “I’m gonna prepare our dinner.”
Her father trudged up the stairs, and she started walking around the kitchen. He stood beside the sink watching her.
“What are you doing?” she said. “Aren’t you gonna help me?”
“Oh,” he chuckled. “Sorry.”
They both moved to the sink and washed their hands. She planned to make a salad and some meat, so they decided that Tim was going to cook the chicken, and Steph would prepare the salad. In the middle of their activity, her father came down and checked what they were doing, then went to the living room to watch the game.
Tim was by the stove, deep frying the chicken. Steph was beside him, making the Thousand Island dressing. She looked over to what Tim was doing.
“That looks nice.” She said, then noticed what was on his face. “You got some oyster sauce on your cheek.”
“Really?” he said, using his shoulder to wipe it off.
“It’s still there.” She said. “I’ll do it.”
She used her index finger to wipe it off, but it left a streak of Thousand Island dressing. “Oops.” She chuckled. “Now there’s some dressing on it.”
He rolled his eyes. “I’ll do it.”
He took the kitchen towel and wiped it off. Then he took a dollop of dressing and smeared it on her cheek.
“Payback.” He said teasingly.
“Hey!” she laughed. “That’s too much.”
“I hope you’re not making a mess there, kids.” Her father called from the living room.
They looked at each other with amusement.
“Here.” Tim said, wiping off the dressing on her cheek.
She smiled. “Thanks.”
A few minutes later, they had finished preparing the food, and Steph prepared the table, while Timothy was putting his jacket on. Her father walked in and sat down.
“Are you sure you can’t join us?” Steph said.
“I’m sure.” He said.
“Well,” she said. “I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then.”
He nodded. “Bye. Bye, Mr. Cross.”
Timothy left, and Steph sat down and joined her father. It had been a long time since they had eaten together, and Stephanie found it pleasant to be in the presence of her father’s humor. She regretted not being with him sooner, but she didn’t think of regrets for now, but enjoyed her time.
. . .
Timothy stepped inside his house the exact moment his mother had called out it was dinner. He ate dinner quietly. It was weird how his brother always made everything lively. Now that he was gone, everything lost its meaning. Supper, which always used to be filled with conversation, was now silent. It had been months since his brother’s pass-ing, and still his parents, and mostly him, had not yet gotten over the fact that he was gone. It was like they were all waiting. Waiting for him to walk through the doors and tell them all about his day. But the doors were still closed, dinner was through and done with, and Timothy ran up to his room, secluding himself from everyone and everything for the rest of the night.
When he woke up the next day, it had instantly registered in his mind what day it was. He looked for the other bed which he expected to be across from his, and found himself in a different place. It took a few seconds for it to sink in his mind that everything was not as it used to be. He wanted to stay in his room, to isolate himself. But he knew that eventually, he would have to face the truth of what had happened. He ran his hands through his hair, to make it seem like it was not bedraggled. His heart started racing again, so he took another one of his medications. Every part of him ached, and the moment he stood up, he expected to fall and break down, just like Steph. His body throbbed, and he couldn’t even bear to look down at his hands. Hands that looked exactly like his brother. His image a constant reminder of what had happened. He shouldn’t have left his brother alone; he should have prevented it from happening. Guilt was creeping back up his spine. He heard a loud and agonizing scream. It was heartbreaking and excruciatingly painful to hear. His muscles tightened and tensed, his hands flew up to his head to block out all the screams, and then he realized it was him who was screaming.
Stephanie waited by the foot of the school stairs and scanned the school grounds for Timothy. Her cap covered her eyes, but she could see from under it. Her hair covered her face, and students passed her. She saw him nearing her, hair mussed up and one hand clutching the strap of his backpack. She neared him and smoothed out his messy hair, running her fingers through it and arranging the strands till he looked decent.
“Your hair is so messy.” She said gently.
He shrugged. “I could say the same for you.” He said, taking off her cap, handing it to her, and pushing her long hair behind her shoulders.
“Come on.” She said, still fixing his hair. “Smile.”
He grunted and pushed her hand away.
She knew why he was acting cold and why he was so quiet. She tried to think of anything to say to him. But just then the bell rang, and he walked ahead of her. She caught up, and they both walked to their classroom side by side. The class became quiet as they both entered together. Surely, they didn’t expect the good-looking indifferent new boy to be with the quiet invisible girl. He looked at her and rolled his eyes, then took her arm and pulled her towards their chairs. Confused and jealous glances were thrown at her, but Tim didn’t seem to notice the effect he had on the class, mostly the female population. They both sat down on their seats, and the chatter of the class resumed, but mostly it was about Steph and the new boy.
Timothy’s distress of sitting in his classes was increasing. And even though he was the kind of person who had patience and strong endurance, it was all wearing thin. And the only time his anger had subsided, was when he was seated beside Steph. They both seemed t o be content side by side, even though they were not conversing with each other. It was unusual, with them knowing only little about each other, for they both seemed to think alike about most things. They rarely talked using paper, also with their mouths. But when they wanted to say something, all they had to do was look at each other, and they could read whatever the other was thinking about. Tim stared at his desk. It seemed like only Steph knew what was going on in his mind. On the outside, he acted the same as every other day, but whatever was in his thoughts, made his heart heavy. He remembered, this morning, when walking to school, he had passed one of the local stores, and he looked at the black glass, and saw the face of his brother staring back. Ghosts almost always came back to haunt him. Sometimes, his brother would come back in his dreams, and Tim would wake up in a cold sweat, his heart beating fast and remorse planted deep in his heart. How he wished he could turn back the hands of time.
Strangely, his sorrow would vanish whenever he was with Steph. Maybe the thought of their situations comforted him, knowing that he wasn’t alone in suffering. It was selfish, but he was comforted.
The school bell rang, and Steph dragged Tim out of the classroom and down the road. She was taking him to one of the oldest houses in the town. It was run down and abandoned, and though it had a haunted aura, besides her room, it made her feel secure. He was the first, only, and last person she had brought to the manor. It was a manor because it was big and grand. Though grayed through time, it was still standing tall.
They walked a few blocks, then she turned right then left and walked a few more blocks. She led him past a rusty gate and through thick bushes, and soon, the manor came into view. There were thick vines of ivy creeping up the walls. She saw the way Tim stared in awe at the manor. It was late, and the sun was setting, making a dark orange watercolor background.
She found it four years ago, when she was fourteen. It was of those afternoons when she felt down, so she decided to get out of the house and find another place she could feel like she was home. She went to the roads she never walked on. Then she saw the rusty gate and the wind blew, like it was beckoning her to go. The gate wasn’t locked, so she went with her curiosity and saw the old manor.
Tim saw the old house that Steph was bringing him to. She led him inside. The door was unhinged, but surprisingly, the inside was clean. He saw a blanket spread out in one corner with a picnic basket on it. There was a broom and mop and bucket a few feet away.
“I keep this place spick and span.” Steph said. “No one knows I go in here. And no one cares about this place, so I guess I kind of own it. But someday I will. I’ll buy this place and fix it up.”
“Maybe I’ll help you.” Tim said.
She sat down on the blanket, and Tim followed suit. She took out some stuff from the basket and laid it on the blanket: Twinkies, sandwiches, some boxes of chocolate, bags of junk food and bottles juice and cans of soda.
“What’s this?” he asked.
“My birthday gift to you.” She smiled.
He rolled his eyes. “You shouldn’t have.”
“I could have, and I did.”
She handed him some of the stuff and they both ate.
“I don’t know what there is about this place that makes me feel relaxed.” she said, taking a bite of the Twinkie in her hand.
Tim looked around. The room was big, and there were a rickety stairs leading upstairs. The walls used to be white, but were dirtied by the dust and with age. But he kind of got the idea why she brought him here. They were here, because she had found a place where she could have a world of her own without anyone barging in and ruining what peace she had here, and she brought him here so that he could share it with her, but to also find a place all his own, a place where he could think about things.
After they stuffed their faces with Twinkies, they lay down on their backs, their arms and legs spread out. Both were staring at the ceiling, which was painted with angels.
“I wonder what it’s like up there.” She whispered.
He shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“I wonder what I would feel like when it’s my time. I mean, I can feel what everybody else feels, but I don’t know what mine will be like.”
“You really weren’t lying about that?” he asked, and shifted to face her and rest his head on his hand.
“No. I’m really not joking.” She said.
“What exactly do you feel?”
“I don’t know.” She sighed, biting her lip, thinking. “Different kinds of pain. Depends on how they’ll die.”
“When did you discover you…” his voice trailed off.
He saw the way her eyes grew sad again. “I was about six, I think. I saw one of my neighbors, and a pain clutched at my heart, and I blacked out. I was too little then, the pain was too much. But, in time, I learned to ignore it, till it became a muffled aching. I figured it out soon enough.”
They both grew quiet, and Tim had a mental debate.
© 2011 clairvoyantmars
Added on May 12, 2011
Last Updated on May 12, 2011
AboutI've been seriously starting to write my own novels since 2008. So far, I've finished three novels and have a lot of unfinished ones piled up. I also write short stories and poems and the occasional s.. more..