The scream of joy ripped through the house, pullin’ me from my thoughts. River looked over at me and shrugged. “Sounds like Duncan.”
“Sounds like Duncan got his license,” I muttered, swingin’ my legs around to get off the bed then going downstairs to see what was goin’ on and sure enough, Duncan was jumping around clutchin’ a driver’s license. I grinned, partially cause his excitement was so overwhelmin’ but partially cause it was kinda cool he got it. “Hey, congrats!” I said. “I figured you’d panic and crash into the DMV building.”
Duncan stuck his tongue out at me then whirled on Mom. “Can I take the car out? Please? Please? Pleeeeaaaase? I will be super careful!”
My maternal daddy was pretendin’ to think but I could already tell he was gonna agree. “I don’t know…”
“Okay, okay, don’t pull a muscle begging!” Mom laughed. “You can take Serenity over to Henri’s house.”
Duncan looked stricken with annoyance for a moment but then nodded. “All right, it’s better than nothing. Can I swing by Kelly’s house? I wanna show her.”
Mom agreed, and I went to get my shoes on. I was lookin’ forward to seeing Henri. It was Tuesday, one of the days we usually got to see each other now. We still met up at the park every Saturday but now on Tuesdays I went to his place and Thursdays he came to my place. I sent him a quick text on my new cell phone (I got it for my fourteenth birthday) to let him know I was on my way.
I was also kinda nervous since it had been about five months since we got ‘engaged to date’ and, well, I doubted he’d last much longer with not askin’ me. The past five months had been really nice… Nothing really changed much between us, except sometimes we held hands and once I kissed his cheek. I still didn’t know much ’bout his sickness but… I knew he’d tell me more, he was waitin’ for the right moment. I also figured I needed to tell him ’bout my powers.
“Serreeeniiitteeeee!” Duncan shouted. “Hurry up!”
“I’m coming, I’m coming!” I slid down the banister, shot an apologetic look to Mom, and then took off. “You’re not gonna wreck, are you?” I asked as I got in the car.
“I am a careful and safe driver,” Duncan sniffled as he waited for me to buckle up.
“Famous last words,” I teased but he really was a safe driver, a lot better than most the maniacs out there. He came to a complete stop at stop signs, signaled every turn, and was very observant. I hoped he kept up bein’ this kind of driver after he got more used to being on the road.
We got to Kelly’s house just fine and as he got out of the car, I noticed something. Something not good. I quickly jumped out of the car as well and grabbed my brother’s arm. “Wait! M-maybe she’s not home! You should… you know… wait or something till you know for sure she’s, um, there.” I threw out my net to the house to double check my suspicions and yep, I was right.
“She’s home,” Duncan said, pushing my hand away and takin’ a few steps towards the door.
I bit my bottom lip. I knew I could use my powers to stop him but I did not like the idea of makin’ people feel things. Even if it was for the best. “I need to see Henri. Now!” I hurried over to him and grabbed his arm again.
“Geez, Serenity, what the heck is wrong with you?” he demanded, pushing me back. “I thought you were starting to not be as annoying but I guess I was wrong and if you expect me to take you to Henri’s house, then stop being such a whiner.”
He went to her front door. I had to stop him. “Duncan wait!” I called out, tryin’ to stay quiet. “She’s–she’s not alone in there.” He did stop at that and then, after a short pause, he turned to stare at me. I cringed, not wantin’ to say this. “Duncan, I’m sorry. She’s… I think she’s cheating on you.”
He was in my face in a minute, gripping my shoulders. “What?!” he hissed out. “Why would you say that?” He began shaking me. “How dare you accuse her of it!”
“S-stop!” I cried out. “Stop, you’re hurting me! And it’s true! I’m like, ninety-nine percent sure it’s trruuue!” I gave him a hard push away from me and he stumbled back, his eyes flashin’ real angry. “I’m sorry,” I whispered.
“Why would you say that?” His voice was as dark as his eyes. “How could you?”
I looked at the door, feelin’ horrible for telling my brother this. For him finding out about me this way, though I had been plannin’ on telling each of my siblings the truth. I knew he wouldn’t quite believe me, though. “It’s hard to explain…” I looked up at him, feeling awful. “I can… sense emotions. It’s something I got from–from our birth father.”
Oops, wrong words to say. Duncan exploded in anger. “DON’T YOU EVER MENTION THAT BASTARD!” he screamed. “We have NOTHING from him, NOTHING!!!” He gave me a really rough shove, sending me to the ground. “He is NOTHING, was NOTHING, never was ANYTHING, never will be ANYTHING! Hal is our father. NOT–that–MONSTER!!”
I wanted out of there, not cause he was yellin’ at me–I totally understood his anger and agreed with him–but because Kelly and the boy she was with were comin’ to the door. I had felt them earlier, a hormonal boy and a hormonal girl, nothin’ but… well, feelings that I suspected she should only really be feelin’ around my brother if she really liked him and only him.
“Duncan, let’s go,” I got to my feet but he was still angry, and still yelling. I looked past him as the door opened. Kelly was there, staring wide-eyed at us. “Duncan!” I snapped and then jerked my chin.
He spun around and saw Kelly just standing there. “Kelly…” He quickly went over to her, his hands on her arms. “I’m sorry about that, my sister was being a brat. I came by to show you my license.”
I just stood there, waiting. Kelly was terrified but was tryin’ not to show it. “Oh, Duncan, th-that’s wonderful but… I’m not feeling too well. Perhaps you could come back later?”
“Oh.” Duncan’s hands fell down. “Sorry, I didn’t know you weren’t well. Are you okay? Are your parents home? I could make you some chicken soup.”
Kelly looked a bit stunned by what was goin’ on. “Thank you, but maybe later. I don’t want you to risk catching anything. You should go now.”
I suddenly felt real angry. She was cheatin’ on my brother and was gonna get away with it, since he wasn’t gonna believe me. I stormed over and Kelly gave me a faint smile. “So who’s in there?” I demanded and she gasped. Duncan hissed at me, telling me to shut up but I couldn’t just let this drop. “Oh, did we interrupt something? Should we go, so you can get back to whatever–or whoever–you were doin’?”
“SERENITY!” Duncan screamed in my ear. “I’m sorry, honey, I have no idea what’s gotten into her.” His fingers dug into my arm and I knew there’d be a bruise. “Apologize to her, right now!”
Kelly stared hard at me and I stared right back. I could feel the boy, lurking a little bit a’ways behind the door. I calculated the distance real quick and prayed that there wasn’t a wall in the way as I reached forward and yanked the door open. There wasn’t a wall, but there was a boy standing just a few feet back from the door lookin’ real guilty.
Duncan stared. “Jeff…?” Then he switched to stare at her. “Kelly…?”
“This isn’t what it looks like,” she whimpered. Her hands flew to Duncan’s chest. “I swear, this isn’t what–what she said!” Now she fixed me with an angry glare. I just glared right back. “Jeff was just helping me with my homework. You know I’m bad with biology.” My brow wrinkled as I stared at Duncan. He wasn’t just gonna believe this, was he?
“I thought you said you were sick…” he mumbled, very faint. “Why didn’t you just say you were doing homework with Jeff?”
Kelly twisted her head to give a pleadin’ look to Jeff. But he was silent. She faced my brother and me again. “Jeff is sick, too?”
I winced as it felt as though someone had just stabbed Duncan. I felt his pain, his confusion… I felt everything he felt right at that moment, and it made me want to cry. “Goodbye, Kelly. Come on.” He turned around and slowly walked back to the car.
Kelly was callin’ for him, but he ignored her. I went after him though since he wasn’t exactly walkin’ fast, it didn’t take long for me to catch up to him. “I’m sorry, Duncan.” I put my hand on his arm but he swatted it away.
“Let’s just get you to Henri’s house,” he growled, getting into the car and gripping the steering wheel so hard his knuckles went white. I silently climbed into the passenger’s seat, not sayin’ anything else as we traveled to Henri’s. Neither did Duncan.
This is what love does, I thought, staring blankly ahead, tryin’ my best to block Duncan’s heartbreak but not wantin’ to really try cause then I’d black out. What if I let Henri in…? I want to… but… if it’s this bad for somethin’ like this, wh–what would happen when I lose him completely? How can I even deal with that?
I wrung my hands and worried the entire rest of car trip, and when I got to Henri’s house Duncan just dropped me off. I went to the door and knocked. He opened the door and as soon as I looked up into those eyes, I knew my decision.
I threw my arms around him and held tightly. “If you still want me, I–I really want to be your girlfriend.”
His response was wordless, but a definite yes. He kissed me–quite firmly, actually–and then once we pulled apart, he grinned and then kissed me again. I didn’t want to stop it, I was tired of pretendin’ not to want this, so I kissed back and kissed back, and when he started to pull back, I seized his head and held it there for an even longer kiss.