She’s not in high school.
She’s not his stepsister.
She smells of money.
She reeks of confidence.My head spins with a thousand reasons why my stepbrother is grinning at this beautiful woman walking like a model on the runway. The more I watch them, the more I realise how unsuitable I am for him. Calum doesn’t wait for the lady to cover the distance, he rushes over to her with as much grace as a teacher can and hugs her.
They hug. I mean, they hug for ten seconds. Yes I’m counting. I’ve been counting every second away from him. Every second in this friendzone.
I hate it there.
The team erupts in murmurs, Regina leans over to Christie and whispers something in her ear. I’m the only quiet one. My eyes are glued to the pair speaking in hushed tones and hugging like lovers reconciling. The lady is tall and
Dinner is a painful mess. I’m forced to eat on the same table as Calum and Tessa. Dani is in love with Calum’s guest. Dad also seems to get carried away by her jokes. She’s not even that funny.Pointing a fork at Calum, Dani asks, “What time does the show start?” She looks at my dad with a small smile. “I’m not sure we can make it, Pete.”“It’s fine,” Calum answers. “You don’t have to be there, Mum.” To my dad, he adds, “We’ll be fine.”“Yep,” Tessa adds. “We will make you two proud.”I am so tempted to ask what show but I’m still on the mission: Don’t talk to Calum. He brought a woman to our house without my permission.Am I allowed to be furious with him for that? No. Yes. Watching the video and scrolling through the pictures Rose sent didn’t help. I feel like shit for refusing to hear h
CALUMYou don’t know how much you miss someone until you see them again. That’s how I feel with Tessa. For the life of me, I can’t stop grinning at her. Tessa catches me smiling for the umpteenth time and smacks the back of my head. I almost forgot she used to be a fighter. Ben struck gold with her.Walking around my room, inspecting stuff and giving them a look of approval or disapproval, she says, “Your stepsister doesn’t seem chatty.”To tell her or not to tell her about us.I bring out my guitar instead. Tomorrow is the runway show. My nerves are in a knot. I can’t get my head out of my ass because I’m still thinking of Cathy. I knew I fucked up the first time with my words, so I went back a second and third time to fix it but it only got worse. Cathy was not wrong about me wanting her but unlike her, I can’t act on my emotions. I’m older and I should know better.The date wi
CALUM“Don’t you think that was unnecessary?” I ask, making reference to how Tessa acted to make my stepsister jealous. “You didn’t have to kiss me.”“I kissed your cheek, Cal,” Tessa replies with an eye roll. She is a great actress, she fooled me for a second. A frustrated groan tunnels out of my lips. I am still thinking of Cathy, how heart broken she seemed. She is hurting and I don’t like it. I don’t like to think I’m the cause of her misery. “And no, it was not unnecessary.” She hands me a compact mirror and smacks her lips as she stares at her reflection. We are in the backseat of the rental car. “The only thing unnecessary was her rudeness.”“She’s being a teenager, Tessa.” Cathy didn’t mean any of the things she told me. She might act all tough but on the inside, she is soft, a good girl. It’s all a facade she drops around me alone and
The video is viral. I know that was the plan but I didn’t think it through. Has Calum seen it? Will he hate me? Be furious? I pace the empty corridor, my footsteps echoing like a warning. I’m home alone. Dad and Dani went for evening mass because they couldn’t meet up this morning. They invited me but I had no interest in going. I haven’t stopped thinking of Calum and the deleted account. I thought deleting the account after I uploaded the video would end it but some people already created a fanpage of them. They are so stupid but not as stupid as I am. What if he finds out? He mustn’t. What if I try to earn his forgiveness before he finds out? I rush to the kitchen with only one intention in mind. My phone lights up with a message from Rose. She wants to know why the video and pictures she sent me are circulating under someone’s account. I make up a lie that earns me the rolling eyes emoji. As far a
Monday is gone. Tuesday is gone.Wednesday sneaks upon us like a thief. I’m the first one up in the house. I tiptoe to the door but the sound from Calum’s room stops me. He is playing his guitar. I listen for a few minutes, rocking myself back and forth. He’s strumming the chords to the song we will be singing later today. I want to think he’s doing it for me since I’m a tight ball of nerves. That we are fine. But I know better.The hour drags by. 5 am turns to 6 am. Time to prepare.I read through the chats in our WattsApp group. Rose is freaking out. Taylor and Amelia are trying to calm her down. That’s what happens when the first team you have to face is the one that knocked you off in the last competition. After a quick bath, I stand in front of the mirror and practise my breathing exercise. Today, we will find out who’s taking the solo. I run a comb through my pink hair. Icy, blue eyes star
I’m stunned.Everyone but Calum and I leave to watch the first group singing. I drum my fingers against my hip. My nerves are on fire, my insides are quivering with intense fury. I am a time bomb waiting to explode. Calum folds his arms on his chest, cold and unbothered by my reaction.We were over this. The solo belongs to me.“Why?” I whisper.Unshed tears burn my eyes but I don’t give them an escape. I’ll not appear weak in front of him. He scoffs. “You are asking me why?” Reaching into his pocket for his phone, he taps on it for a few seconds, then thrusts in my face. I gulp. “Did you or did you not make this video to spite me, Cathy?”It’s the TicToc video I made and it’s playing on mute. I wipe the tears rolling down my cheeks.“I’m sorry.”“I’m sorry too.” Brows furrowed in annoyance, Calum shoves the ph
We are through to the next stage. And the next two stages after. The final is today and I’m more than nervous. I’m freaking out. My head falls back on the window, back to the door of Jackson’s car.The school bus isn’t here yet.“Are you okay?” Jackson asks. He mimics my stance so we are facing each other.“Nope. I’m so frigging nervous.”He laughs. I run a hand through his hair and he captures my wrists. I’ve been trying to break up with him for the last two weeks but it’s futile. Staring into his eyes makes me uncomfortable, I pull back and look out the window. There are students from other schools lining the front.Jackson reaches for my hands but I shove them into my bag, pretending to look for something. He drives me to school daily. Dani is convinced he’s a good boyfriend. Dad doesn’t approve but is only quiet because of his wife. Amelia is w
We did it.We won.I’m trying not to freak out. I have been keeping calm since the announcer mentioned Carlton High as the winner. Since Jackson dropped me off but once I’m alone in the corridor, I swing my hips and stretch my arms in a happy dance. The gold medal dangles on my neck, I lift it to my lips and kiss it.Yes.“This one’s for you, mum,” I mutter to the sky, holding it up so she can see it. Every step of the way, I felt her presence. It wouldn’t have been possible without her. And him. His annoying self.“She would have been proud of you,” comes from behind me. I jump. Calum rocks forward on his heels. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you.”I refuse to smile, only nod. Tucking the medal into my gown, I resume the walk to my room.“Cathy.”Faster. I walk faster. I don’t want to ever talk to him. Hi