I sat on the floor outside of my room with Ellie while Ethan and Teddy moved furniture into my room. It’s been a few weeks, and I still haven’t unpacked my bags or made up my room.
“So how many dates have you been on with Jake?” Ellie questioned, “What’s he like?”
“Easy, girl. Just a few, but I really like him. And come on,” I narrowed my eyes, “You remember him.”
“That I do. Tall, muscular, successful, intelligent, gorgeous...I hate you.”
“Yeah same,” Ethan said, dreamily, and Ellie threw an empty box at him, “But Teddy and I don’t care.”
“Seriously, can’t you girls help?” Teddy asked, groaning as he and Ethan attempted to move the large couch through my bedroom door. They set it down for a moment, and Teddy took that as his chance to throw his shirt over his head and let it drop to the ground -- any chance he gets to take off his shirt, he’ll take it, “That’s more like it.”
“Ew Teddy, I can see your fat rolls,” Ellie said, pulling at Teddy’s flawless stomach.
“Shut up and help us, will you?”
Ellie and I giggled as we grabbed one end of the couch, Teddy and Ethan getting the other. On the count of three, we busted through the door and dropped the couch; the four of us collapsing on it with laughter.
“I hate to interrupt whatever is going on here,” Savannah, my evil stepsister, stepped into the room, “But someone’s here to see you, Lilian,” she snarled, then looked over at Teddy and his abs, “Hi there Teddy.”
Savannah left the room before I could say anything back. I raised my eyebrows suspiciously at Ellie, but she shrugged, unable to think of who would be waiting for me. To be honest, no one really liked me here. Plus I had no other family aside from Ethan (excluding the step-monsters), so I could rule relatives out. I opened the front door slowly, secretly hoping Jake had come to surprise me, but I was sorely mistaken.
“Lucas,” my voice was icier than intended, but I didn’t care. “Have you come to see Savannah?”
“Come on, Lily, that’s not fair. That was high school. I just wanted to see you --”
“Oh, save it.”
“I’m sorry, okay? It’s been four years, don’t you think we can be friends?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Well then that’s too bad, isn’t it?” I shrugged, trying to close the door, but he stepped inside, “I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this, but I’ll just have to make you fall in love -- I mean, be my friend again.”
I ignored his slip up, “What are you talking about?”
“Ethan invited me over,” he said with a grin. “Sorry.”
My mouth dropped open, but a hand closed it for me. I looked to my left where Teddy was standing. He put an arm around me for support. How my own brother could do this was beyond me. I knew that him and Lucas were friends, but it was my understanding that their friendship would be kept away from me.
This is a little too close for comfort.
“So,” Teddy said, breaking the silence, “I think that Ethan and I will get going now.”
Lucas didn’t say anything, he just kept looking at me with his blue eyes. But I refused to look directly into them, as if they were the sun and I would turn blind if I did. I called Ellie’s name and she came bounding down the steps and stopped in her tracks when she saw Lucas. He gave her an awkward wave and she ignored it. Thank god for Ellie.
“Tell Ethan bye, will you?” She said and dragged me outside, slamming the door behind us. “Well, that was...”
“I need a drink.”
“Right there with you, sister.”
Friday, June 3rd: Pack your bags and hop on a plane to Charleston, South Carolina, where Lily will pick you up and bring you to her beach house and show you around the town. Make sure you bring plenty of cute clothes because the Southern boys are hot.
“I can’t believe you all are here,” I said, rushing to hug every girl as we entered my beach house. They would be staying here because I didn’t want any of them to have a run in with Savannah or even Lucas for that matter. “We’re having a low-key night and drinking by the beach.”
“As if anything is ever low-key when we’re drinking,” Charlotte said and we giggled.
Saturday, June 4th: Put on your cowboy hats because Lily is taking you to her favorite bar, which happens to have karaoke and country music. But don’t wander off too early, because after midnight drinks get cheaper!
“Come on,” I said, pushing a drink towards Erin. “Have a drink. Remember when --”
“-- Oh god, don’t remind me,” she read my mind, recalling one of our crazy college stories.
We were sitting at my favorite bar, at midnight, when drinks become cheaper -- and it doesn’t help if you’re with a group of girls. I had already had an excessive amount to drink, and my head was about to explode. Really, all I wanted to do was get up on the stage and sing like I had done many times before.
“So, who are they?” Demi asked, pointing towards a group of guys; one with his shirt off, another with a row of perfect white teeth and a laugh I would recognize anywhere, and the last with a serious expression on his face, like always.
“My best friend, Teddy, my twin brother, Ethan, and...”
“Your ex?” She guessed, then explained, “He’s looked over at you a million times with that haunted expression that is...really, really hot.”
“Ugh, don’t remind me.”
She laughed, “Well, good luck with him.”
We drank more, danced, and eventually made our way on stage to sing karaoke.
Sunday, June 5th: Sadly, it’s time to go home. Pack up all of your new purchases and head off to the airport and back to your rightful cities.
I drove everyone to the airport and hugged them goodbye. Every now and then, I needed to see my college friends. I hated being back in Charleston and they were my only escape. Now that they’re gone, I’ll have to face Savannah, Lucas, and maybe even my step-mother for that matter, but she hadn’t been here in days.
Ironically, she was calling me now, “Hello Nora.”
“Lily!” She exclaimed and I couldn’t help but wonder how she made her monster of a child, “I’m so sorry I haven’t been home to see you and Ethan, but I’ll be there tonight. Don’t worry about dinner because I’m getting the chef to make something amazing! Invite whoever you want, and I’ll see you at 7,” she hung up the phone without letting me get a word in, but then again, that’s Nora for you -- super busy.
I drove back home and informed Ethan of our nights plans, “So Teddy, Ellie, and maybe I’ll invite Jake.”
“Um, Lil, I don’t know if that’s the best idea...”
“What? Are you inviting Lucas or something?” I joked, but then noticed his expression. “Ethan stop it.”
“He’s my best friend, come on.”
“And you’re my brother! Shouldn’t you be on my side with things? He cheated on me, Eth -- with our stepsister! Is that not enough reasoning for why I hate him? I’m inviting Jake, so this should be very awkward if you choose to invite Lucas.”
“I already did,” he admitted, “Sorry. I’m sorry, I should have asked you.”
“Well,” I sighed, “Whatever. I’ll just...not invite Jake then. I’m already stressed enough.”
Ethan got up and kissed my hair, apologizing again, and walking out of the room. I lay, sprawled out on my finally clean bed, and yelled -- something I haven’t done since I was a senior and lived here, but now that I’m back, I feel like I’m slowly slipping into my old life again and I don’t like it.
“So are you sad to be home?” Nora asked, passing me a dish.
“You don’t have to answer that,” she winked, “But I do hear that you’re dating someone.”
“Yup. His name is Jake.”
Ellie spoke loud enough so I could hear, but no one else could, “I suppose your daughter is planning on sleeping with him too.”
I giggled but Nora ignored it and shifted the conversation to Ethan. Teddy squeezed my hand from under the table and I looked at him, leaning my head on his shoulder.
“Where’s the devil?”
“She should show any minute,” I said and right on time, Savannah stepped into the dining room wearing a typical Southern Belle gown. She wedged herself in-between me and Teddy, glaring at me in the process.
“So, Teddy, who are /you/ dating these days?”
He grinned and looked around, meeting eyes with Ellie, “Well Ellie and I have finally decided to go through with our inevitable relationship. We’re really happy, too. I’m actually thinking about proposing--”
“Ugh, Teddy! Why would you tell me? We’re through!” Ellie said, throwing her napkin down on the table.
I laughed as my friends made fun of Savannah to her face, and her mother did nothing. And maybe, just maybe, home wasn’t as bad as I thought. But of course the doorbell had to ring and Lucas had to ruin everything all over again.