~Eliza Doolittle, Police Car {I love her voice!!!}


Two stories in one! Too bad they both are like ehh... Sorry not my best :/ Tagging the girls: @emmylou @withlove-kirsten @nifty-nikki @vicks @inglenooks @rockets-and-rainbows @turn-around-bright-eyes 

3 JULY 2012 [TUESDAY] 
time: early morning - mid afternoon 
location: beach house 
attire: old clothes, nothing special 
event: The beach house has been close to abandoned for the past ten years and judging from the paint chips on the exterior to the broken grill: our home turned into a fixer upper. So Nate and Jacob headed out to the local Home Depot coming back with new paint and everything else we could need to keep our house in order.

I had always been some sort-of insomniac, and it had always peaked at the beach house. I’d hear Nate down the hall shouting about surfing, hear Em snoring beside me, hear Jacob challenging Nate to whatever, hear Connor challenging them all, and hear Josh trying to join in. Everything was alive at the beach house, and I couldn’t sleep when all the fun was happening without me. Em always came down later, but I was the first girl awake, ready to beat all the boys-- and let them fawn over me. But as I grew older, I realized the reason I couldn’t sleep was not because of what was happening without me, it was what I was missing in the long run.

Now, I merely resisted sleep because I couldn’t stand watching the back of my eyelids, replaying Derek, and the cutting, and every hopeless, helpless memory I had. I refused to dwell on those things, even if everyone else was. 

At least some people were coming around.

“Right, you were always the morning person out of the two of you,” Nate smirked when I joined him in the kitchen, going straight for some fresh fruit. I tried not to flinch when he said “two of you”. Everyone was always clumping Em and I together, and they all knew we hated it. But Nate wasn’t someone to be irritated with, so I brushed it off and hopped up onto a bar stool. 

“What’s on the agenda for today, Mr. Fix It?” I asked, nodding at the enormous list he held in his hand. “I already saw Aiden outside working on the grill.”

Nate passed over the list, and I saw Josh’s name next to his on fridge repair duty. I looked down farther, finding my name next to Connor’s for shower adjusting. Some fancy list, I thought, reading through all the pairs and their respective jobs. I glanced up at him, biting my lip to keep from smiling. “You know, pairing Em with Jake isn’t going to go over well.”

He laughed. “Bonding time.”

“And who do I get to bond with?” Jake asked, sliding into the kitchen and nabbing the stool next to mine. He hesitated when he saw the scars, and I pulled my sleeves down, like always. When we had dated, what seemed like forever ago, he always held my hands. Now he was afraid to even look at them.

“Em,” I answered, looking at him, making him look at me. “You know, the twin you never dated.”

“Doesn’t ring a bell,” Jake smiled, meeting my gaze. I was glad we had somehow stayed friendly. Him and Nate had always been inseparable, and I was sure if it wasn’t for Nate to keep everyone in that friendly mold, Jake and I maybe would’ve distanced ourselves a little too far. “So how’s it going Rhy? Must be hard being the sister of someone famous.”

I rolled my eyes. This felt normal. Thank God the awkwardness from everyone else hadn’t formed yet. I was tired of it. Yet another reason to wake up before the rest of them. “Em’s got a great career,” I said, which didn’t really say anything. Aside from it’s truth, that was it. A great career. A great life. A great fiance. A great family, except for me apparently. But I couldn’t let them know I was jealous.

“So.” Nate clapped his hand suddenly, startling Jake and I. “Time to round up the troops. It’s go time.”

“You’re way too excited for this. Are you secretly an HGTV freak?” Jake joked, punching him in the shoulder. Nate punched them back, and I left them to bicker while I found Connor, who was out back with Aiden. I hadn’t seen Josh yet. I wondered if he was awake, or avoiding everyone. Not that he needed to. But sometimes it was all a bit too much.

“Con, we’re on ‘shower refurbishing,’” I told him, leaning my head out of the back kitchen door that led out onto the back deck. “Whatever that means.”

“Oh, I’m on it,” Connor said, slipping past me and heading upstairs without me. I trailed after him, but got caught back in the living area, where Em was awake and arguing with Nate. I plopped down on the couch across from them, pulling my knees up toward my chest, avoiding Em’s glare or stare or whatever it was. She never just looked at me with a smile anymore. It always was deeper than that.

Jake sat down next to me, and I smiled up at him, grateful to have him by me again and not be the awkward loner on the edge of Nate and Em’s conversation. 

“So want to trade partners?” He asked, nodding at Connor who had just come back downstairs, carrying a wrench. 

I laughed, a short bitter laugh. “I think Em would rather have anyone be her partner than me. Even you.”

Jake touched a hand to his chest. “Back-handed compliments were always your thing.”

I shrugged. “Yeah, well…”

Then I just sort-of left it. Josh still wasn’t around, so there wasn’t any reason to stick around downstairs doing nothing but watch Em flirt with Nate, and then Jacob. With Nate it was more playful, and with Jake it was more annoyed, but I could still tell. It wasn’t really a twin telepathy sort-of thing, but Em had always had a huge crush on Jake, and had hated me for getting him instead of her. Now she was engaged though, and of course she was pulling this stunt. I left her to her own mess, trailing after Connor up the stairs, and past the others who were just now waking up.

Connor bent down to the drain, examining something I couldn’t see, and muttered something about screws and rust. I sat down on the toilet seat, sighing. “It looks fine to me,” I told him, looking out the window to the ocean, which was bluer than yesterday and more inviting. I wanted to go out there, touch it, feel it, swim it, but I didn’t watch to ditch Connor, who was the only person I felt completely normal around anymore.

“Girls never understand,” he said, shaking his head. “Hand me the pliers?” He asked, jutting his chin out at the toolbox on the sink. I dug around, producing an old pair, and handing them over as he continued to mumble to himself.

“Hey, has Mom or Dad called?” I asked him, willing him to look at me. “Since… Since we got here?”

Connor finally looked up, sighing. “Rhy, I would’ve told you if they had called.”

“I know, but--”

“No, they haven’t.” His lips went into a sharp line, and he could see the hurt in my eyes. I blinked a few times, trying to lessen the pain. “Look, they know we’re here. Em talked to them on her way down.”

“Of course she did,” I sneered. Mom and Dad were wrapped around Em’s finger, now that she was Miss Famous/ Miss Engaged/ Miss Perfect. I hated for for that. Em was getting everything she ever wanted, everything /I/ wanted, and Mom and Dad clearly liked her better. Even poor Connor was getting the cold shoulder because he chose to spend more time with me than her, the new golden child. Ever since what they dubbed “my accident”, we’d barely spoken except on holidays, Em and I’s birthday, and a few random days when they were feeling generous. I knew they were ashamed of me, or something. Ashamed that I had pretty much ruined their squeaky clean image. Em was all they had left to remain in that almost perfection, and they grabbed at her resources every chance they got.

Connor dropped the pliers to the tile floor, sitting back on his knees. “We’re here to have fun, Rhy. Don’t worry about everything else. Okay?”

“If only everyone would quit reminding me,” I said. 

time: pretty much all day 
location: the beach
attire: red, white and blue 
event: Happy Fourth of July! We’re sure you remember the patriotic day- barbeque in the afternoon, party at the Conrads’ in the evening, and spending the night watching the fireworks over the bay.

“Patriotic much?” Josh smirked when he saw me. He was wearing a cobalt blue polo, khaki shorts, a flag sticker next to his trademark Ralph Lauren logo, and some crimson boat shoes, his white smile completing his own independence day look. I rolled my eyes, touching the hem of my dress defensively.

“Red,” I said, pointing to the slivers of maroon on my ever-present cardigan, “white… and blue,” I added, gesturing to my sea foam green that could technically pass as sky-blue dress, and off-white practically cream cardigan. I had never been the most patriotic person, and Josh was quite the opposite, reciting random American History facts throughout the day, like he had every year since we were practically born. 

“Come on, aren’t you proud of your country?” Josh asked, spreading his arms wide as we walked toward the beach. We’d just finished eating lunch, and everyone was roaming about, heading down to the boardwalk or hanging around the beach house, waiting until the Conrads’ annual party kicked off at the bay. I glanced across the water, already seeing them setting up for the fireworks. “Don’t you remember when Connor was going to enlist in the Army?”

“Yeah, that lasted for like five seconds,” I argued, nudging his shoulder. “And what about you? I remember you being absolutely obsessed with the Navy when they did that training course here freshman year.”

Josh laughed. “The Navy was always a dream, never a reality.”

“Look at you being all poetic,” I said. “I’ll write that into a song.”

“Aha, she lives! I knew there was still a musician in you,” Josh grinned, poking me in the side. I stumbled away from his touch, falling into the sand. He remembered. Of course he remembered. 

Ever since I had listened to the radio, I sang along. Em was tone-deaf, and I was always arguing with her about /feeling/ the music and not just singing the words, especially entirely off-key. She had got that from Dad. I, on the other hand, partially along with Connor, really felt music and developed a talent for piano. The voice lessons came afterward, though Mom always said I never really needed them but they paid for them for me for a confidence boost, as if I needed one. If anyone had needed a confidence boost it was Em, who was struggling with her writing and wouldn’t let anyone read anything. Part of my scholarship to Stanford had been a music scholarship, but after everything, I kinda dropped it. When I moved in with Connor, he got me a nice piano to help get my mind off things, but I hadn’t played it much. I still remembered every note, every key, every song I had ever learned though. I used to play them for Josh.

“Where’s sand castle boy?” I retorted, raising an eyebrow. “Or was architecture another dream, not a reality?”

Josh sighed, laying back into the sand, staring up at the sky. “Yeah. I got my degree.”

“What? Are you serious? And you haven’t even bragged about it yet?” I cried, smacking his arm. He smirked, refusing to even flinch. “Joshua Graydon, I think something’s wrong with you.”

“Come on Annie,” Josh said with a blush. He hated his full name with a lousy passion, claiming Joshua was a name for p-ssies and Graydon was his Dad’s last name, not his. He also hated his dad, who had left him and his mom when he was four. “I can’t do anything with the degree yet anyway. I’ve sent out like a hundred job apps. No one wants me.” He looked dejected, folding his arms behind his head.

“That’s bull crap,” I replied, laying down beside him, watching the clouds. “Maybe it takes awhile to look through all your credentials.”

“Sure, we’ll go with that,” he said in a bitter tone. Then I realized the reason, and it was a stupid reason. But junior year, after prom, he and some of the guys had streaked down main street. They all got some sort-of demeanor or whatever, but it shouldn’t have meant that much. In fact, I think Josh was the only one who had even tried to cover himself when they’d gotten caught. 

“Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to have the Medal of Honor,” Josh stated a few minutes later, haphazardly dumping sand over my legs. “American History Fact Number Two.”

“I missed the first one?”

“Told it to Con and Nate at breakfast.” Josh glanced over at me, seeing me pout and he chuckled. “Okay, it was ‘the battle of Saratoga was the turning point of the American revolution.’”

“Oh, I knew that,” I replied, waving my hand in a dismissive manner.

“Oh, did you now?” He turned on his side, leaning his head on his hand, his elbow digging into the sand. “You hated history.”

“I got bored…” I paused, recovering in a normal amount of time to lie. “After college didn’t work out, I kinda did these random history quiz things.” In reality, it was that week in the hospital, after my attempt, that I’d memorized every thing I could in the lone book in my hospital room. It had been a thick US History text, complete with tens of hundreds of timelines, and it had given me something to do besides think about Derek and everything else. Connor had even helped me memorize some, just because he was up there more than the rest of my supposed family.

Josh nodded simply, and we both look back at the sky. “Fireworks are starting early,” Josh commented, pointing to a sporadic cloud hanging in the air, dancing through the atmosphere. 

“Make a wish,” I replied.

“Those are shooting stars, Annie…” 

“Just do it, /Joshua/,” I told him, smirking. 

Then we both closed our eyes, him probably wishing for a real job, or a new car or something a man would wish for. But as I breathed in the beach, the ocean, the summer, and felt his body next to mine in the sand, just like all those years ago, I wished that we could just stay like that, untouched and innocent, like everything else was a distant memory, and we were just there, living in the now and not caring about anything else.

Then he was grabbing me around my waist and flinging me into the water, both our bodies tumbling into the waves. I shrieked, gripping onto his arm as my semi-patriotic outfit got soaked, sopping down to my bathing suit, which I had put on more out of habit than of actually planning of using it.

“Jerk!” I screamed, throwing my cardigan and dress onto the sand, and sticking my hands back underwater so he wouldn’t see the scars again.

Too late.

“Are you sure that was bared wire?” He asked, reaching for one of my arms. I pulled away, wrapping my arms around my now exposed body.

“What else would it have been?” I snapped, the waves around us bobbing up and down. His hair was matted down over his forehead, and his grey eyes flickered blue against the water. I stared at him, wondering if he would push it any farther. 

“I don’t know…” He said finally, looking back up to the sky where our firework cloud was now gone. “It just looks… deep.”

“Looks worse than it is,” I whispered, hoping he’d just let it go. I moved away from him, wading further out, seeing how far it was to the buoy we always used to race to. He followed me, still staring at my arms, even as I thrashed them around in the water in a weak attempt to mask their damaged wrists. 

“I gotta change clothes.” I watched Josh back away from me, dripping wet as he returned to the sand, his shots sagging and his polo practically attached to his torso. I caught a glimpse as he took off his shirt, wringing it out. Since when did Josh have abs?

“Checking me out, Holloway?” He called out to me, his smile wide. I noticed how he called me by my last name instead of Annie, which was something he usually only did to Em because she hated it. I didn’t mind either way, as long as he didn’t call me Rhyanne or Rhy like everyone else. He was supposed to be different.

“Ew, no,” I shouted back.

I watched him trudge back up the beach, and as he stepped onto the porch of the beach house, he looked back at me and stretched his biceps, his lips twisting into what could only be called a mocking grin. I rolled my eyes even though he couldn’t see me. Then I retrieved my own clothes, not caring if they were wet as I slipped them back on. 

Josh may not know the truth about the scars, but when everyone else saw them and did know, it would only be worse. Because they wouldn’t ask about them. They’d just stare. Staring was always worse. Staring meant that vacant feeling, meant that people were looking at me not because they wanted to, but because they was something to look at, something with a story, something worth gossip. All they ever wanted was gossip, that vacant stare masking the urge to whisper about me when I was gone.

BTW here's Josh's bio finally :)
Joshua [Josh] Graydon; 25
Model: Max Irons
Josh was raised mostly by his mother, since his dad ditched the family for unknown reasons when he was four. He didn’t ever see his father again, never even getting the chance to know him. He’s an only child, so he lived alone with his mom, growing very close to her as he grew up. The beach was always a big part of his life because his father used to hate the beach, and he found love in places his father had loathed. His Mom and him lived in the suburbs of Malibu, and the beach house was basically a weekend getaway for them since Nate’s family was close with Josh and his mom. Josh befriended everyone quickly, even though he was younger than a lot of them, but no one really seemed to care because he was surprisingly mature for his age. They all treated him like a brother, and he sort-of became the staple of the group, the one who never left. 
Occupation: Architect (looking for work)
Relationship status: Single
Other notable relationships: His best friend since almost birth, Rhyanne. He developed a major crush on her once they got to high school, but never got the guts to tell her, afraid it would ruin their friendship. Now, years later, he’s hoping maybe she feels the same way. As for everyone else, they all love Josh because he’s like the baby brother of the group, and has a good personality for the most part.

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