I heard the sound of the doorbell ringing. I opened the door expecting Justin to say he’d forgotten something, but instead a very angry-looking Seth stood before me.
I felt my heart begin to pound in my chest as I looked at him.
“H-H-Hi.” I stuttered. “W-w-what are you doing here?”
I noticed Seth’s jaw clench.
“What am I doing here?” he screamed. “The question is what was that FAGGOT doing here? I specifically told you NOT to hang around him, you stupid bitc-”
Seth was cut off by the sound of Christian’s footsteps.
“Excuse me, Seth.” he said, before turning to me. “Caitlin, you know we’re not supposed to have guests over without Mom and Dad knowing.”
There really was no such rule, but I could tell by the look in his eyes that he knew something was wrong and he was trying to help.
“Oh, yeah, I forgot.” I lied.
“I hate to be rude, but our parents aren’t home and we’re not allowed to have guests unless we ask first. So, you’re going to have to leave, maybe you can come back later.” Christian told Seth.
Seth nodded, but I could see the fury behind his blue eyes.
He stomped down the porch steps and I slammed the door.
I was about to make a mad-dash up the stairs so that I wouldn’t have to explain anything to Christian, but he grabbed my arm.
“Why was Seth screaming at you like that?” Christian asked.
I bit my lip and shrugged.
“I don’t know.”
“Okay, fine.” I sighed. “Seth’s jealous of Justin. So he’s making sure I don’t hang out with him.”
“You mean his stalking and harassing you! What kind of insecure creep sits outside of his girlfriend’s house to make sure that she’s not with another guy?”
“I know, it drives me crazy, but that’s just how Seth is.” I stated.
“Why don’t you break up with him?”
“Christian, I can’t break-up with him just because he questioned me about another guy!”
“He didn’t question you, he screamed at you and called you stupid!” Christian exclaimed. “Any guy who’s that possessive is dangerous. If he got that upset over you having Justin over here, if there was ever a rumor that you’d cheated on him, he might--”
“Might what?” I asked after Christian had stopped mid-sentence.
Christian shook his head.
“Nothing. Forget about it. I just really think that you should break-up with him.” Christian said. “It’s not like you’d be stuck being single.”
“You say that like there’s some guy just waiting to be my boyfriend.” I said crossing my arms.
“Justin.” Christian said simply. “He’s still in love with you.”
“How do you know that?” I asked.
“He told me today.”
“Yep. You’re so blind, Caitlin! Justin never wanted to break-up with you. He wanted you to beg him to stay or at least say that you could work out a long distance relationship, but you just acted like you didn’t even care.”
Christian shook his head and walked off.
I stared after him in disbelief.
Was what my little brother had said true? Did Justin really still love me? Had he wanted me to show my true feelings and not pretend to me overly-happy when he left?
I felt like I’d been hit by a ton of bricks, that all the conclusions I’d drawn had just back-fired on me and turned out to be absolutely false. Maybe, I could have avoided ever meeting Seth if I had just told Justin the truth.
My parents had always said that honesty is the best policy.
Could that saying be more than just a saying?
I pushed my thoughts to the back of my mind, deciding that the realization that maybe I’d had everything all wrong was just too much.
I stiffly made my way up the stairs and into my bedroom.
Each shooting pain as I walked made me aware that my younger brother’s words held wisdom beyond his years.
Seth was a dangerous person and I should break-up with him.
My eyes wandered the room landing on pictures of Seth and I smiling happily as if we were the most perfect couple on the planet, when in reality, he made my life a living nightmare.
I eventually settled my attention on the large pile of gifts sitting on my window seat that I’d received the night before.
Wincing, I climbed off the bed and grabbed the scrapbook that Justin had given me.
I sat the other gifts on the floor and curling up on the seat, I opened the book.
I looked at the pictures of me and Justin. In some of the pictures, we were also smiling like the most perfect couple on the planet just as Seth and I had, the difference was that my smiles in these pictures were genuine. In one photo, I was crying and Justin was hugging me.
A sweet bitterness filled my soul. I remembered that day vividly, that was the day my dog, Sylvia had died.
My mom had asked me to take her for a walk, but I had decided it was too cold and I didn’t want to. So, I’d reluctantly put her on her leash, grumbling the whole time, and taken her outside.
I’d carelessly been walking her down the streets, not paying any attention, when Sylvia had started barking loudly, I’d harshly fussed at her telling her to shut up, but she hadn’t stopped.
Before I’d known what was happening, a wild coyote had leaped out of nowhere and tried to attack me.
I’d run in fear and hid behind a tree while Sylvia fought the coyote off.
Sylvia had scared the beast enough to make it leave, but she had suffered such terrible wounds, that she’d died shortly afterwards.
I’d wept and wept feeling sorry for my selfishness.
Justin had been the first one to find me and the only one who seemed to truly understand my deep feelings of remorse.
A tear slid down my face and I wiped it away.
I glanced back around my room seeing the pictures of Seth and a new sense of anger filled me.
I didn’t deserve to have to put up with him beating and raping me.
I stood up and grabbed all of the pictures of Seth off my walls.
I threw them onto the ground shattering the frames.
I snatched my coat out of the closet and slung it onto my shoulders.
I stuffed my feet into my shoes and I put my cellphone into my pocket.
I stormed down the stairs the adrenaline in my body keeping me from feeling the soreness in my legs.
“What are you doing?” Christian asked.
“Something I should’ve done a long time ago.” I said grabbing my keys off the hook.
“I don’t understand.” he said.
I looked Christian straight in the eyes. “For once, I’m going to take your advice.”
I marched out the door and put my keys into ignition.
I slammed on the accelerator and sped through the streets until I reached Seth’s house.
I hopped out of my car and ran up the front porch steps.
I whipped open his front door and let myself into his home.
I drove down the streets of Stratford as my mother sat next to me fidgeting.
“How do I look?” she asked, for what seemed like the millionth time.
“You look fine, Mom.” I answered.
“Just fine?” she asked. “Oh, I knew I should have worn something else.”
“No, no. You look beautiful.” I smiled. “Besides, you could be wearing sweats and this Kevin dude would still be salivating over you.”
I rolled my eyes.
My mother was forcing me to come to dinner with her and Kevin. Supposedly Kevin’s niece had just moved here and didn’t know anyone.
“Justin,” Mom said, firmly. “You’d better behave yourself tonight. I expect for you to behave like the gentleman I’ve raised you to be. I am NOT going to have Kevin thinking that my son is a stuck-up pop-star, you understand me?”
“Yes, ma’am.” I answered, reluctantly.
“Besides, I’m sure you’re going to have tons of fun.” she beamed.
I could think of a million sarcastic come backs for that, but I knew better than to disrespect my mother.
We pulled into the parking lot of some small restaurant called David’s Bistro.
I parked the car on the side of the building and climbed out before opening my mom’s door and helping her out.
“And you’re sure I look okay?” she questioned.
“Positive, Mom. Absolutely positive.” I assured her.
We walked into the little business-casual bistro and noticed Kevin and a girl whom I assumed to be his niece, waving at us.
I reluctantly followed my mom over to the table.
“Hello, Pattie you look gorgeous.” Kevin smiled.
Mom seemed to light up at his compliment.
“Oh, thank you,” she blushed. “You look very handsome as well.”
“Thanks.” Kevin said before turning to me. “Justin, it’s nice to see you again.”
I forced a smile.
“You too, sir.”
Kevin’s visage showed his relief that I wasn’t showing any hostility tonight.
“This is my niece, Kayla.” he said.
A pretty caramel-skinned girl with sparkling brown eyes and dimples smiled at me.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hi,” she smiled. “You’re Justin Bieber, aren’t you?”
“I think your music is really cool.” she complimented.
I noticed she had a funny accent when she said ‘cool’.
“Thanks.” I smiled back.
“Well,” my mom said. “Why don’t you kids sit at this table and Kevin and I will be right over there.”
She gestured to the table across the aisle.
“Okay,” we both said in unison.
Kayla laughed before sitting down.
“So, you just moved here?” I questioned.
“I guess you could say that.” she said.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, my home back in Wisconsin wasn’t exactly the greatest. My stepdad is physically abusive. Uncle Kevin found out and he brought me here to live with him.”
I felt an anger rush through my veins.
The mere thought of any guy hitting a girl made me angry.
“I’m sorry to hear that.” I said. “He never hurt you did he?”
“No. Just my mom.” she answered.
Kayla and I kept talking for quite awhile and I decided that she was a sweet girl. Someone that I’d like to get to know more.
I felt my phone buzz in my pocket, but I ignored it deciding that it would be rude to read a text in front of a girl I’d just met.
My phone kept buzzing again and again until I couldn’t take it anymore.
“Excuse me.” I said. “My phone keeps buzzing.”
“Oh, that’s fine.” Kayla smiled.
I pulled my phone out and noticed I had ten text from Christian.
Caity left 2 hrs. ago. dnt kno where she went. shes not answrng her phone. i’m scared. - Chris
As I glanced at the text, I chuckled to myself.
Leave it up to Christian to prank me after I’d brutally beat him in Mario Kart.
I stuck the phone back in my pocket.
“It was just one of my friends pulling a prank.” I explained to Kayla who had a puzzled expression on her face.
“Yeah.” I nodded.