Sibling_Rivalry

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 15 (v.1) - Encounters-Part 1

Submitted: August 11, 2008

Reads: 364

Comments: 17

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Submitted: August 11, 2008

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Okay, so I wasn't able to post the entire chapter because it is too long. So, I've put up the first part of the chapter...luckily, there was an asterisk moment in 15...the rest will come later. So, I guess this is really, Chapter 15, Part 1. I hope you like it. Cheers! -Cat

15. ENCOUNTERS

“Emma!” Ryan pulled me off the path and into a grouping of trees.

“Ryan, I know him. He’s fine.”

“It doesn’t matter if you know him,” Ryan hissed. “No one can know we were together!”

I sighed. “Fine.”

“I’m not sure if he saw us already, though,” Ryan whispered urgently. “Let’s hope not.”

“Emma?” Michael’s voice called a little ways up the path.

“Damn,” Ryan spat.

“It’s fine, Ryan,” I assured him. “I don’t think Michael would tell anyone.”

“You don’t know that,” he argued.

“Emma?” Michael called again. He was getting closer.

“He’s going to find us,” I informed Ryan. “What are we going to say?”

“Nothing. Because he won’t find us.” Ryan wrapped his arm around my waist. I guess he thought I might try to confront Michael.

“Huh,” Michael muttered, a few feet away from where we were hiding behind a tall, thick oak. Then he continued walking towards the forest.

“What is he doing?” I whispered to Ryan.

“Emma?” Michael called again. Crap. He shouldn’t have been able to hear that.

I held perfectly still, pressing myself against the tree. Ryan tentatively released his grip on my waist so I could hide easier. I pressed myself flat against the tree, wishing Michael would just continue about his business. Ryan pressed himself close to me, to hide as well, as Michael started walking down the trail again.

In my effort to hide myself completely as possible, I stumbled over an out-of-ground tree root. I grunted as I fell to the icy, wet ground, revealing myself. During my moment of klutziness, I also managed to bring Ryan down with me. Michael now had a clear view of both of us.

“Emma?” Michael asked, sounding confused, and a little shocked. “What are you doing?”

I looked at Ryan, whose eyes were wide with fear. His mouth hung open a bit.

“Um,” I stalled while I pushed myself off the ground. I turned around and grabbed Ryan’s hand, pulling him up, as well, before I spoke. “Just going for a walk.”

“Oh.” Michael eyed Ryan speculatively.

“Okay well, got to go,” I lied, smiling friendlily at Michael. I grabbed Ryan’s arm and turned around. He didn’t budge.

“Ryan!” I hissed. I looked up at him and saw that he was gazing intently at Michael. “Ryan, let’s go!” I whispered nervously. He just ignored me, still staring at Michael. I shifted my gaze towards Michael. He glanced around, looking uncomfortable with Ryan staring at him.

“One second, Emma,” Ryan muttered. I let go of his arm and stood back, aghast. Ryan extended his right hand towards Michael. “I’m Ryan.”

My eyes widened in shock. Ryan hadn’t even wanted to let Michael see us, and now he was introducing himself?

Michael reached out and hesitantly shook Ryan’s hand. “Michael,” he muttered, looking slightly confused.

“Nice to meet you, Michael.” Ryan grinned—what looked to be—a genuine smile, while my eyes just bugged out of my head even farther. Now that I’d thought about it for a few minutes, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea letting Michael see Ryan and me together…

“You know Emma, correct?” Ryan asked, dropping his hand and nodding toward me.

“We went to school together,” Michael muttered, still looking confused, but more taken aback.

“Ah,” Ryan murmured. “High school?” What was he getting at?

“Middle school,” Michael corrected him, the same look of suspicion on his face as was probably on mine.

“I see.” Ryan smiled warmly at Michael. “Would you like to walk back to Arborson with us?” he asked. I thought I could hear a twinge of excitement in his voice.

“Uh,” Michael debated, looking torn. He glanced back at the forest—his original destination—then turned his head up to look at the sky. “It’s kind of bright out,” he observed.

“Yes. But the sun will be setting soon, anyway,” Ryan noted. “You don’t have to worry.”

My mouth dropped, and so did Michael’s. But he quickly recovered. “What do you mean?” he asked, trying to sound nonchalant about it, but I could tell he was getting nervous.

“Nothing,” Ryan muttered. “Would you like to join us?” he asked again.

“Um, s-sure,” Michael stuttered.

“Excellent.” Ryan grinned. He gestured for Michael to lead the way, then turned around and faced me. Excitement and curiosity were burning in his eyes. Then, to my surprise, he grabbed my hand—maybe unconsciously—and dragged me along after Michael.

When we caught up with him, Michael was pulling the hood of his black sweater over his head. There was a band logo on the back of it.

“Cold?” Ryan asked, conversationally.

“Uh, yeah, I guess,” Michael mumbled. Liar.

I rubbed my forehead, feeling the sun beat down on it. I tried to ignore the uncomfortable feeling. If my suspicions about Michael were wrong, I didn’t want him to get suspicious of me. But maybe—now that Ryan obviously had the same theory about Michael as I did—if I put my hood up, as well, that might confirm his theory and he’d stop acting weird with Michael. But maybe that would also make Michael think that I was the same as him—if I was. I wasn’t sure if I wanted him to think that. Unless Michael already thought I was the same. I thought back to the bus ride to Arborson. He’d had as clear a view of my eyes as I’d had of his.

It’d be funny if Michael was thinking the same thing as I am, I thought, idly.

I glanced over at him. He had a look on his face that suggested he was thinking the same thing. I chuckled under my breath. Ryan looked at me strangely.

“It’s nothing,” I mouthed, then rolled my eyes, smirking.

“So, Michael,” Ryan began. Michael’s head snapped up to look at Ryan. “How do you like it at Arborson so far?”

“Uh, it’s fine, I guess,” he mumbled, looking down again. It still seemed like he was deep in thought.

“Did you explore at all today?”

“Yeah, kind of.”

“That’s good,” Ryan went on. “Arborson is a tricky place to get used to.” What was he getting at?

“Yeah,” Michael mumbled.

We were a little more than halfway to the school by now. Only a few more minutes until Ryan and I would be alone. I was sure he was dying to tell me his theory. I smiled, thinking about his reaction when I would tell him I’d figured it out first.

“So where are you from, Michael?” Ryan asked, changing the subject.

The sun disappeared behind a cloud again and Michael looked up from his shoes. He still left his hood up, however. “Southern California.” A look of confusion crossed his face. “How did you—?”

“Well, you obviously didn’t live in Gunnison anymore—there wouldn’t have been two newborns from the same city. Plus, you said that you didn’t go to high school with Emma. Since there’s only one high school in Gunnison…”

“Oh, right,” Michael mumbled, then laughed a little. His mood seemed to have lightened since the sun disappeared. “So, uh, how do you and Emma know each other? I mean, you obviously didn’t live in Gunnison…”

“Actually,” Ryan said, matter-of-factly. “I did live in Gunnison.”

“What? But you didn’t go to our school, did you?”

Ryan smiled a little. “No. I was home-schooled.”

“Oh.” Michael looked away from Ryan. “I never saw you.”

“No, you wouldn’t have, I suppose. I didn’t go out much.”

“Neither did I,” Michael chuckled.

Ryan smiled. He squeezed my fingers tighter, probably trying to signify that he hadn’t forgotten about me, and pulled me a little closer to him. Michael noticed.

“So, how do you know Emma, then?” he asked. Why was he being so persistent? Ryan had obviously been trying to avoid the question. Why couldn’t Michael just have gone along with it?

An impish smirk crept across Ryan’s face. “I used to be Emma’s paperboy.”

I almost choked trying to restrain the laughter that was creeping up my throat.

“Oh.” Michael glanced at Ryan and me, with our fingers interlaced. “Are you two like, together, then?” he asked.

Ryan smiled and raised an eyebrow. “Yes. One day she came out to pay me, and well, the rest is history.”

I rolled my eyes. Ryan must have somehow heard it because he looked down at me and grinned widely before turning back to Michael.

“And now the paperboy’s a Vampire,” Michael smirked. “And so is his girlfriend. How convenient.”

I saw him roll his eyes only because I’d turned to glare at him—until I realized he was only kidding.

“Well, I was changed last year,” Ryan corrected. “Emma was changed this year—obviously.”

“Then why are you still here?” Michael asked. I couldn’t hear anything but simple curiosity in his voice, which I was glad for.

“I sort of work here now,” Ryan explained. Michael opened his mouth to say something else, but Ryan cut him off. “Long story.”

“Huh,” Michael muttered.

“Maybe another time,” Ryan suggested. “We’re here.”

We stepped away from the gravel path and into the frosted grass. The sun had melted the snow a little, so it was mostly ice that covered the grass and crunched beneath our feet. We walked between the weeping willow and a maple, both bare of their leaves. Eventually we arrived at the cobblestone path that led around the perimeter of the school. There was no one around—probably at dinner, as we had assumed.

“Well, Michael,” Ryan sighed. “It looks like this is goodbye.”

“Okay,” he mumbled. “I guess I’ll see you around.”

“Yeah. Nice meeting you.” Ryan smiled, but I thought I saw another emotion flick quickly across his face.

“See ya, Emma,” Michael said, as he sped off toward the dorms.

“’kay. See ya later.” I smiled.

“Michael,” Ryan called. Michael turned around and faced us again. “Aren’t you going to eat?” he asked.

“Uh, yeah, maybe later,” Michael answered, suddenly looking extremely uncomfortable.

“Oh. Okay.”

Michael turned back around and walked even faster back to the dormitories. Ryan continued to watch after him until the vast wooden doors sealed shut. Then he turned to me.

“Emma, I have to talk to you,” he hissed.

“Okay. Talk.”

He looked around. “Not here, okay?”

“Whatever.” I smirked.

“What?” Ryan asked, confused.

“Nothing. Where do you want to go?”

But instead of answering my question, he spun around and pulled me with him, back down to the entrance, where we ducked under the icy branches of the weeping willow.

“Emma,” Ryan began. “I have to tell you something. It’s just a theory, but I’m pretty sure it’s right. Promise not to freak out.” He looked me in the eyes and unconsciously melted my bones.

I looked at him solemnly, but secretly I felt confident. “Actually, I have something to tell you,” I countered, faking a frown.

“What is it?” he asked. I sensed he was just being polite. He really wanted to tell me his theory on Michael.

“I think Michael is like me,” I whispered, a smile playing on the edges of my lips.

The look that crossed Ryan’s face then was priceless. “What?” he gasped.

I just stood there, waiting for him to admit that that was what he was going to say.

“Emma, how—how did you know?” he asked, seeming shocked that I could put together the pieces.

“I sat with him on the bus,” I explained. “I noticed his eyes and his aversion to sunlight. And then today, the same things, plus he didn’t want to eat,” I concluded, a proud grin stretching across my lips.

“Wow. Okay. That’s pretty much exactly what I was going to say.”

“I could tell,” I smirked.

“Wait a second,” Ryan hissed. “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

“It’s only been a day,” I argued. “So there hasn’t really been time to tell you. I was going to on our walk home, but then, well…”

“Right. Okay.” Ryan leaned against the trunk of the willow. “So what are we going to do about this?”

“I’m not sure,” I muttered. “Do you want me to talk to him?”

“No!” he shouted, a little too loudly.

I flinched.

“I mean,” he backpedaled. “That probably wouldn’t be a good idea—especially if we’re wrong.”

“What else can we do?” I asked.

“I’m not sure. Maybe…” he hesitated, thinking over whatever he was going to say. “Maybe we could just get to know him—you know, make sure we’re absolutely positive that his transformation went like yours did before we confront him about it.”

I smiled to myself. I liked how Ryan kept saying we.

“Or, at least you could get to know him a little better. I’m not quite sure if he liked me, but he obviously knows and likes you.”

“Right,” I agreed. “So, number one: become Michael’s friend.”

“Well, if you don’t want to, or if it’s weird, I guess you could just watch him and”—

“…No,” I disagreed, cutting him off. “It’s fine. I think we were kind of heading down that path anyway. There’s no problem.”

“That’s great.” Ryan smiled and leaned forward to give me a quick kiss. He stood straight and walked away from the tree trunk. “So, we’re just going to keep an eye on him and see what happens…does that sound good?”

“Fine with me.”

“Okay. Thanks Emma,” Ryan breathed. He seemed really excited about this.

I smiled back hesitantly.

“I’m sorry,” he apologized, turning around, a guilty smile creeping across his face. “I’m just—Wow. If Michael’s transformation went the way yours did…there’s no telling what we can discover—what we can learn. Maybe we’d even be able to tell the headmistress and the teachers. Maybe they could figure out what went wrong and—

“Chill,” I advised, putting a finger over his cool lips. “Let’s take this one step at a time, okay? Then when we discover something really interesting, you can freak out then. Deal?”

Ryan’s lips curled into a smile under my finger. “Deal,” he mumbled. I smiled and dropped my hand, releasing his lips from my prison. He wrapped his arm around my waist and we ducked under the icicle-like weeping willow branches. We had started walking towards the school, when Ryan suddenly stopped.

“Umph,” I grunted, as he suddenly became motionless. “Ryan, what’s the matter?” I asked, looking up at him, confused.

He looked down at me with sadness in his eyes. “I probably shouldn’t walk up to the school with you—it might be kind of suspicious if we’re seen with each other.” He grinned softly.

“Yeah, okay,” I sighed. I stretched up to kiss him goodbye. He pulled me close to him and kissed me delicately. “When can we meet again?” I asked, hopeful.

“You’ll know,” he chuckled, as then released me.

“You know, Ryan,” I began. “Have you ever thought of texting? You’d save a few trees,” I pointed out.

He laughed. “Yeah, maybe I’ll have to look into that.”

I smiled and turned around, toward the school, leaving Ryan standing all alone behind me. After I’d walked a couple yards, I turned around, just to see if he was still there. He was. I smiled and turned back around. After I reached the cobblestone path leading around the school, I turned around again. Ryan was gone. I sighed and continued along the path to the dormitories.

Right when I was about to leave the path and cut over to the dorm buildings, I heard a voice yelling inside a door. I looked at the plaque above the solid wood. Headmistress Lunding’s Office.

“Aunt Rose! Please! You have to understand! She’s sneaking out with him!”

I froze. The voice sounded familiar—high and nasally. I looked more closely at the door and noticed it was slightly ajar. I peeked through the crack and saw a wisp of dark ebony hair fly by, looking irritated. Oh my god. It was Rebecca. And she was calling the headmistress Aunt Rose. And she was ratting Ryan and me out.

“Rebecca, I won’t tolerate this nonsense. Obviously it’s a different Ryan. Mr. Schilling knows the rules. You must have gotten the name wrong,” accused the headmistress.

“But I didn’t!” Rebecca screeched. “I got that Emma girl to tell me everything! And this note proves it!” So I’d been right. Rebecca had grabbed my note when it had fallen out of my pocket. Heck, for all I knew, she had grabbed it out of my pocket.

I heard a piece of paper being snatched out of someone’s hand. Then there was a short pause, then the sound of paper being crumpled.

“What are you doing?!” Rebecca shrieked in her high, nasally voice.

“You obviously have the wrong information, Rebecca,” continued Ms. Lunding. “Ryan Schilling would never commit such a heinous crime. He knows the rules. And what would be the purpose, anyway? Hm?” she asked, sounding more than angry.

“I—I don’t know!” Rebecca hissed. “I just know that these two are breaking the rules and sneaking out together. I don’t know why!

“Well, next time you come to me with bogus information, make sure you do know why,” the headmistress spat at her niece. “Now get out.”

“What? Aunt Rose, I—

“Get out Rebecca!” she hollered.

Rebecca headed for the door. I backed away from it and started hurrying back toward the dorms. But not before I heard Rebecca’s last words.

“You wait. These two—Ryan and Emma”—she sneered our names— “Are up to no good. And if you don’t believe me, I’ll just have to—

“…What?” Ms. Lunding interrupted. “What will you do, Rebecca?”

“I’ll just have to find more proof,” she snarled. “Since one very obvious note isn’t enough to convince you that your precious Mr. Schilling is guilty.”

“Leave.”

Rebecca huffed, then opened the door, ready to escape. And so was I. I stumbled away from the building and sprinted off towards the dorms. I looked back to make sure Rebecca wasn’t watching me. Luckily, she was heading in the opposite direction. I continued getting faster and faster, attempting to run away from what I’d just heard. I honestly could not believe it. Rebecca was the headmistress’s niece. And now, thanks to her snobby ways and my stupid, flimsy pockets, she was going to be reporting everything she found out about me and Ryan to her dear Auntie Rose.

“Damn you, Rebecca,” I muttered under my breath, as I sprinted up the stone stairs and pulled open the giant doors to the dorm entrance. I slowed to a fast walk as I started up the five flights of stairs.

Well, at least the headmistress didn’t seem to believe a word Rebecca had said. But that’s not to say she wasn’t going to come up with better, more convincing evidence in the future.

I slipped into the common room of the fourth level girl’s dormitories and collapsed on a chair in front of the fire.

I had no idea what Rebecca was capable of. And I had no idea what the headmistress could do, punishment-wise, to Ryan and me, if she started believing her niece’s stories. I didn’t even want to think about it because I knew, whatever it was, it would be terrible and soul-crushing. I knew that Rebecca would continue looking for evidence to convince her aunt that Ryan and I were breaking the rules. And I knew that, eventually, if we weren’t meticulously careful, she’d have enough evidence to support her case.

I thought about not being able to see Ryan again. I thought about having to be separated from him now, and knew I wouldn’t be able to bear it. I thought about what we’d have to do to make sure Rebecca didn’t find anymore evidence against us. And the cold, hard, unbearable truth struck me like a brick to the face.

To make sure Rebecca didn’t see Ryan and me together, we couldn’t be together. We couldn’t see each other, or send each other notes, or leave campus together. Rebecca was too sneaky. I had a feeling that, no matter what we did, she would somehow find out.

To fool Rebecca, I had to not fool her. To break the rules efficiently, I had to follow them. To be with Ryan, I had to separate myself from him.

I desperately wished that he’d been serious about looking into the text thing.

***


© Copyright 2018 Catherine . All rights reserved.

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