4) Can't Keep Pretending -BETHANNY-A Chapter by Sal Hylling
The sun was shining in my face, bright and hot. I sat up and looked around to see where the others were. Of course they were all gone. I got the crazy feeling of being watched, and it was only then that I noticed the guy standing by the window.
"Austin?" I asked even though I knew it was him. Kinda tall, chestnut brown hair, silver-blue eyes, a tan that made it look like he lived on a beach, and the most amazing arms from drumming. He was also Alex's older brother (even though they looked nothing alike). Austin smiled at me as if we were old friends meeting for the first time in years.
"I'll just go tell Alex that you're home." I told him and he nodded. I stood up and saw the light in the kitchen was on. Just as I put my hand on the doorknob I heard, "Okay I'll ask her right now."
Alex was saying something else, but I couldn't hear over my own heart beating into my ears. Somebody was getting up. Quickly I ran over the window pretending to look out of it. I didn't even care if Austin thought I was a weirdo. Dalten came in. What is he going to ask me?
"Hey, can I ask you..." He started to ask looking nervous, but stopped as soon as he noticed another guy in the room. I noticed the look on his face and introduced them to each other.
"Dalten this is Austin. He's Alex's older brother. Austin this is Dalten." I said it really fast because I wanted to get back to Dalten.
"You wanted to ask me something?" I really hoped that Dalten couldn't hear my heart pounding.
"Yeah, it can wai-" Alex and Toby came into the room laughing, but Alex stopped when she saw her brother.
"Austin." she said flatly with no emotion whatsoever.
"Alex." he responded the same way. "Did Mom and Dad say you could have people over?" He smirked, and Alex smirked right back.
"Did Mom and Dad say that you could stay out all night?" she countered. I'd been over to Alex's house plenty of times before to know that this was like a game to them. Austin would usually say something first, and Alex would say something back. It was kinda like their own little way of promising not to tell each others secrets.
"Well, were gonna have breakfast out on the patio if you wanna join us." Toby said to Austin, and then he turned to Dalten and me. "You two can go set up the table...if you want." Heck yes I wanted to!!!
I lead Dalten out to the patio, and I was almost relieved to be away from Austin. He was a senior at Lakeview High this year, and we Juniors. Seniors don't usually talk to Juniors willingly at our school; even though it's just one year.I laid out some napkins, forks, spoons, and knives. Dalten just held the plates and cups in his hands as if he had better things to do. I imagined he did though.
"DoYouWannaGoOutWithMe?" he said it so fast I almost didn't understand him.
"What?" I sounded like an idiot. Really Bethanny, that's all you could think of! Just say yes already! I mentally started kicking myself for sounding (and acting) so stupid.
"Well, I really like you and um...after last night I knew I had to ask you out before someone else did." he blushed. "So, uh...do you want to go out with me?" He was extremely nervous, so I knew I couldn't just keep looking at him like he was crazy all day. Yes! I screamed in my head, yes, yes, yes!!! For some reason my voice didn't want to work, so I did the only thing I could do. My version of body language. I flung my arms around his neck and kissed him just like I did the night before. This time he pulled back, but only a little.
"So...does that mean yes?"
The glass door flew open. Ashlee. Alex and Toby stumbled out after her.
"Where were you, Ashlee?" Toby questioned.
"Just had to go to my house to get something." her eyes flicked over to the woods and back to him.
"Okay, well I made coffee and breakfast." He addressed everyone now.
"Good I'm starving." I said as Dalten took my hand, and we went back inside to get food.
As we all sat down to the table Ashlee would not take her eyes off the woods.
Alex noticed this too. She shot me a look.
"Woods really interesting Ashlee?" Alex asked her.
"Huh? Oh -um- they are just so - er- pretty!" She didn't look at the woods again.
We took the plates inside, but as the rest of us went inside Austin and Ashlee stayed behind. Oh, is she going for older guys now? Alex and Toby were washing the dishes.
"Somebody's got a new crush." I said and she looked out the window and literally dropped the plate she was holding.
"Alex, you just splashed me in the face!" Toby said grabbing a towel.
"Oh sorry." She mumbled, probably too preoccupied with how she was going to kill Ashlee. Alex dried her hands and walked out to the porch. Now, finally, she would yell at Ashlee.
"What are you DOING?" She sort of screamed the last part.
"Alex CHILL." Austin was... okay with Ashlee hanging all over him?
"You know what? I think I'm going to go home now." Ashlee said brushing passed Alex, purposefully knocking her shoulder on the way out.
"Need a ride?" Austin called after her.
"What has the world come to?" I heard Alex say out loud to herself. Austin went in to find Ashlee, giving Alex a nasty look too. "What the - ?"Alex looked as shocked as I felt.
"Something is going on. There must be." was my only answer, although I wasn't entirely sure that was true.
"Yeah, I remember one summer a few years ago when we had finished seventh grade; Austin refused to go on any dates with girls who asked him out. I asked him why and he just said it was because he already had someone, but he never told me who she was. I must've been Ashlee." Alex said and my heart started pounding all over again for an entire different reason.
"Must've been her." I repeated. Just then a pair of arms slid in around my waist from behind. Dalten. Before I went off with him though I had to ask Alex one question, "What are you gonna do when you find out it's her for sure?"
"You don't wanna know Beth. Austin is my brother and Ashlee went behind my back, so you don't want to know what I'd do to her."
"Well, don't freak out because it probably wasn't even her. I'm sure Austin was just being nice to her. Trust me." I hated keeping secrets from Alex, but it was better this way. Alex never needed to know who her brother was with that summer.
"Okay." she said then seeing Dalten's arms around me she added, "You two go somewhere else if you're gonna do that." I saw her smile; her anger from Ashlee was fading, and I hoped it would stay that way.
* * *
"I should probably be going home." Dalten said. We were sitting out on the front porch steps. His leg was pressed against mine, and it felt cool in the hot July air.
"Okay." I surprisingly didn't object. Arguing with a guy is just pointless to me. We stood up and faced each other. I realized that Dalten had to be around six feet tall. His green eyes closely matched my hazel ones (I have a lot more green than brown in my eyes). He pulled me close to him as his arms embraced me in a hug. My head was against his chest and I could hear his heart beating. He smelled amazingly good to be wearing just soap (yes, I asked him if he wore cologne). Dalten pulled back a little so we could see each other. Then he leaned down and kissed me! Yeah, we'd already kissed twice before, but that was me kissing him. The kiss didn't last as long as I hoped though because a car horn honked in the driveway. Austin. I swear that boy doesn't ever give up being a jerk. I rolled my eyes so that Dalten could see.
"Bye." He kissed me one more time on the cheek. Then he left just as Austin walked up the sidewalk to me.
"You do know you can't have everything." He looked at me like I was a game and he was trying to figure out how to win.
"What are you talking about?"
"I mean," he stepped closer to me, "you can't keep pretending that us didn't happen." He motioned back and forth between us.
"Really?" I said sarcastically, "You don't think I know that!" I wanted to scream really badly, but I couldn't be too loud without Alex hearing from inside.
"Look, all I'm saying is that what happened that summer can't stay a secret forever. Sooner or later she's going to find out." Austin pointed to the living room where Alex was with Toby.
"I choose later because now is not the time. Do you wanna know why? I'll tell you why. It's because last summer I met my dead father, turned him into the police, and now this summer he's escaped from the NC State Prison."
"I know. I'm sorry about that." For a moment I thought that maybe Austin did have a heart, but then I realized that I didn't like him... at all. "We don't have much more time though. It's already been two years."
"Right now she thinks that it was Ashlee, and I'm willing to go along with that...for now. We just have to keep the secret till...let's say end of the summer. If I don't tell her before the end of summer...then you can. Deal?"
"Deal." he brushed by me when he walked into the house. End of summer. I thought, I have until then. That gave me enough time to be with Dalten (in-case he breaks up with me when he finds out), it gave Alex time to forget about the whole thing, and it also gave me time until all this dead dad stuff fades away.
I fixed my hair from the wind, and walked inside. Before I could open the door though, I heard a girl scream. Alex.
© 2013 Sal Hylling
Added on April 15, 2012
Last Updated on February 10, 2013
The Perfect Escape
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