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Twins [An AAG Fanfic] [Thread 2!] [COMPLETED]


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#1 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:17 PM

TWINS.

Welcome to the second thread of Twins! Thanks to all that posted on Thread 1 and helped me get to a new thread...Lol. :)

Um, I'll post all the chapters up in a second...It's going to take a while though.


Summary:


Natalie and Alex are twin girls who were separated at birth. Nat lives with her father, Alex with her mother. Both do not know the other exist…yet.



Read both their diaries and find out what happens when the two meet and vow to bring their parents back together.



…Yeah, that’s right. They’re the kids of Sam and David.






- Tiff

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#2 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:18 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Sunday 31st March

So, not much to say today…well except for Dad telling me that I’m going to have an unexpected guest next week.

Wonder who it’s going to be. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t care less. It’s probably going to be some daughter of one of Dad’s rich contacts.

I’d much rather Ryan Strackham asked me to the prom.

Whatever.

So alright, maybe I should pay more attention to Dad’s ‘guests’…but it’s not my fault. Really.

I would much rather be upstairs in my room drawing; or listening to music for that case.

“Nat?” shouts Dad from downstairs, obviously oblivious to the fact that I’m BUSY, writing in here.

“Yeah?” I yell back.

“You know that special guest? Well, she’s come early.”

Damn. But at least it’s a ‘she’. Better than the last boy that Dad tried to persuade me to live with.

Why is she here early anyway? Why couldn’t she just not come? I really don’t think I can stand another girl ranting on about her never ending riches.

Seriously.

So anyway, I guess I have to go down…

And yeah, I’m not looking forward to it…

…On second thoughts, I think I’m going to take this book down. Just so I don’t look stupid, not being able to think of anything to say.

Don’t blame me…I’m a red-head. Not good at being put into the spotlight. Hmm…I obviously didn’t inherit my Dad’s genes…And my mother?

Well, to be truthful, I don’t actually know her. They (meaning my parents) divorced soon after my birth…

“NAT!” shouts Dad again.

What does a person have to do to get privacy round here?
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Natalie’s Diary, 31st March (Later)

Yeah, the guest Dad was expecting? Well, she’s some stupid, tomboyish girl. I mean, it’s OBVIOUS that we’re not going to get on.

The first thing she says to me in this really, really bored voice:

“Hello, nice to meet you. What’s your name?”

Make an effort will you? I mean, it’s the GREAT NATALIE you’re meeting.

So anyway, I tell her my name and she bursts out laughing. I glare and she goes:

“Natalie, huh?”

“Yeah? What’s so funny? What’s YOUR name?” I retort, my voice full of anger.

“Me? Alex Madison.”

She shoots me a look before bounding off to…

…Wait a second. Dad didn’t mention TWO guests.

“Alex…” the woman says warningly.

“Nat, I’d like you to meet Sam and Alexandra. They’re your…” Dad says, visibly hesitating at the last bit of the sentence.

The woman who I took to be Sam exchanged a look with Dad before quickly going:

“…Cousins, we’re your cousins.”

Right…Something is seriously strange here. I haven’t even HEARD of the surname Madison.

“And my name’s ALEX not Alexandra.” Says Alexandra fiercely, making my Dad frown.

Ha, maybe I should call her Alexandra just to annoy her. Since she WAS mean to me before.

Life is looking interesting. And not in a good light either. With stupid Alex Madison around…well, I don’t know.

But what Dad said next made me wish that the Madison’s never stepped foot into our house:

“Nat, Sam and Alex are going to be staying at our house for the next year. So that means that Alex is going to be in all your classes. And…”

“…sharing your room.”

Why, oh why?

It’s not like Alex…wait; no Alexandra would appreciate art, is it? I mean, she’ll probably go into my room and break all my precious easels.

Anyway, got to go. Dad wants us all to have a ‘family dinner’. Joy.
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#3 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:19 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Sunday 31st March

So, I travel all the way to America from England to face this? (My Mum ‘apparently’ moved to England after she and Dad got their divorce due to not wanting to bring up memories of the past up again…Not that I can remember anything being like one year old. Don’t ask me why she decided to come back to America now…maybe Dad moved away or something…I don’t know. Or maybe she decided that it was time to forget what happened in the past.)

…I actually don’t believe it. I don’t believe that I have to share a room with HER.

Her, being that Natalie girl.

I can’t even share a room with my other cousin (Hannah, daughter of Aunt Lucy) and she’s one of my BEST FRIENDS.

And my Mum expects me to share a room with HER? Yeah, right.

I mean, she was so…unlike me. Her clothes were…wait for it…PINK; bright fluorescent PINK…Nothing like the black that I myself, prefer to wear.

I guess it’s all in the genes, eh?

Though I suppose she IS my cousin…You can't mistake the ‘Madison’ red-head look. Wonder where she got it from…Obviously not her Dad. I mean, her Dad has dark brown hair…nothing like the ‘Madison’ red-head.

Hmm…I wonder where the mother is. She’s not here.

“Alex, you coming?” asks Mum, disturbing as usual, my thinking.

“Suppose so.”

I sigh heavily so that she knows what a sacrifice it is for me to bother to join the ‘rest of the family’ for dinner.

I could be doing something better. Like art or something. Yeah, I know…I don’t sound like the sort of person to like art. But I do.

I’m not that good at it…well, I am for my age. But I’m nowhere NEAR Mum’s standard. Nonetheless, I am trying to improve…I need my art mark to make up for my dismal Spanish one.

Why did I choose Spanish? I swear, I made the EXACT same mistake as Mum. Seriously; I could have chose German and sailed through since Mum did that. God, she WARNED me as well.

Oh well. I’ve learnt nothing so far that’s actually USEFUL…I mean…No-one in Spain is going to go up to you randomly and ask: What’s in your school bag?

Honestly, do they really care how many pencils (lápices) you have?

I guess it doesn’t matter anymore anyway…We’ve moved in with Natalie and family for the year…Until we can get ourselves a house. Because then, I’m out of here. As in out of the range of NATALIE.

“ALEX, HURRY UP!” shouts Mum from somewhere outside.

God, no need to shout; I HAVE ears, you know.

I am so taking this book. I have nothing better to do at the restaurant.
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Alex’s Diary, 31st March (Later)

Yeah, yeah…I’m bored, alright?

Mum’s shooting me disapproving looks…Just because I don’t want to listen to Natalie or her Dad, it doesn’t mean that I’m not letting HER do that, is it?

But NO-ONE wants to hear about Natalie’s crush on this Ryan Strackham guy. Really.

Though there’s one thing I can say about Natalie’s Dad…he must know my Mum really well. Because the restaurant we’re in right now is this sort of dimmed lighted, sticky tabletop place. It’s called Jake’s apparently. You should have seen my Mum’s face as we drove into Jake’s.

I’ll tell you what expression it was: Bliss, pure bliss.

And I could see why when I lay my eyes onto the menu. Everything (well, practically) was hamburgers; which my Mum cannot LIVE without.

This is so boring. I DON’T CARE ABOUT RYAN STRACKHAM! I DON’T! I DON’T!

“Nat, why don’t you talk to Alex?” asks the girl’s Dad, obviously sensing the awkward atmosphere between us…

…Wait, that makes him my uncle, doesn’t it? It makes him my uncle if Natalie’s my cousin.

Which I really hope isn’t true. I DON’T WANT HER AS A COUSIN! SHE’S A DISGRACE TO THE ‘ALEX’ COMMUNITY!

“…Alex?”

“What?”

Mum sighs, and then tells me to put away my diary and make conversation with Natalie.

“Alex…you’re going to have to wake up and be ready at 7:00 for school,” Says Natalie to me, looking like she was choosing her words carefully.

7:00? You must be joking.

“7:00?!?”

“Yeah…I’m really sorry but the school that Natalie goes to (and which you will be going to too) is miles away,” Explains Natalie’s Dad…My uncle.

“David, why don’t you tell Alex about the school? You used to go there after all.” Asks my Mum to this David guy…

…Which is…where?

I looked around for this David guy until I realized that everyone was staring at me.

“Um…what?”

“This is your…Uncle David.” Says my Mum.

Well why didn’t they just TELL ME?

“Why don’t I let you have the honours? Rebecca went to it as well, you know.”

Aunt Rebecca? What?

“Yeah, but…I never talked to her much did I?”

A teasing look was passed between the two but it quickly faded, both of them wearing looks of confusion a second later.

Uh…what?

“Ok, Alex. Your school for this year is called Horizon. Do you do alright in school?”

Um…a C in Spanish…B in English…B+ in Maths...A+ in Art…

Well, you could say I wasn’t that good.

“I..um…Well, not so good.” I said, telling everyone the truth…As in Natalie and her father.

“Do you think she’ll be able to cope?” asked Natalie sounding like I was five years younger than her.

…How old is she anyway?

“How old are you?” I questioned her suddenly.

She looked taken aback by the question but went:

“Fourteen next month…”

Fourteen in April? That’s exactly the same as me.

SO, what gives HER the right to be all mature? Seriously. She acts like she’s forty, not thirteen.
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#4 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:19 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Monday 1st April

Ok, so I…um…admit, I sort of overreacted about Alex sharing my room…

…I don’t want you to think I’m stuck-up and posh and everything.

That is definitely what you could call the ‘real’ me. Seriously…Even Dad says so. Apparently I’m like him in that manner; as in I’m only nice to the people I like. Everyone else…I just treat them without any real emotion.

“Nat! You awake?” shouts Dad from downstairs.

I yell back that I am and proceed getting ready for school. Joy.

…In a sarcastic way.

“Alex? You have to get up.” I say, shaking Alex who is sleeping (for the next YEAR) in the bed on the opposite side of the room.

“Five minutes…” she replies sleepily.

Oh, she is SO DEAD. If she doesn’t get up in the next five SECONDS she is going to be late. Well…then again…I don’t know how long it takes her to get ready for school.

I don’t know.

“Nat, is Alex awake?”

Sigh.

Why do I have to wake HER up? I mean, she’s not going to unless…

…Ha, I pour a bucket of water over her head.

Maybe I should do that.

I’ll give her one last chance.

“Alex, WAKE UP!”

No answer.

WATER INCOMING!
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Natalie’s Diary, 1st April (A few buckets of water later)

Um…oops?

“God, just because it’s APRIL FOOLS DAY, it doesn’t mean you have to do THIS!” Alex yells at me, clearly awake.

You know something? That really worked. Except for the fact that now her ‘temporary’ bed is soaking wet and…um…she sort of needs to dry off…Though…

…Can I do it again?

“Natalie, Alexandra…What happened?” asks Dad suddenly appearing at the doorway.

“The stupid idiot poured water over me!” explains Alex so quickly that my mouth has only just started opening to say: ‘It wasn’t me!’

“Nat…?”

I blush slightly embarrassed…It sucks being a red-head. I blush too much.

Why couldn’t I have inherited my Dad’s non-blushing-ness?

“David…what’s up?” asks Alex’s mother peeping into the scene.

She grins at the sight of Alex, dripping wet. She winks at me before taking a deeply annoyed Alex to dry off.

Um…That was slightly weird.

Then again, I freak out when any adult winks at me…a relation of mine or not.

“Nat…you shouldn’t have done that…” says Dad, obviously unable to contain his amusement.

He exchanges a glance with me before saying…well, warning me:

“I wouldn’t mess around with that one…she takes after her…mother…like you…”

“Um…do we have like the same mother or something?”

Because he honestly sounds like he’s talking about the same person. Not that I could even believe that that ‘Sam woman’ was even my mother anyway.

Maybe because I don’t believe that Alex is my sister?

Though…there must be some reason to why my Dad suddenly looked like he was going to choke when I asked that question.

“…No…No…you don’t have the same mother…where did you get that from anyway?”

I shrugged before answering in the only way I could:

“April Fools!”
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Natalie’s Diary, 1st April (At school…homeroom)

You know, it’s pretty hard work having to ‘baby-sit’ Alex…well, not really baby-sit. Just I have to introduce her to everyone and it gets boring. And also, she’s still annoyed at me for my little ‘wake-up’ procedure.

She…um…is getting a LOT of attention though…I mean, when she enters the room (clad in black like the day before), the room is deadly silent.

“Oy, Nat, who’s she?” shouts my best friend, Annie from the corner of the classroom.

“Alex…Alex Madison.” I answer.

“What’s she doing here?” asks a million voices at once, seeming to eavesdrop on my explanation to Annie.

“I’m Natalie’s cousin. I’m staying here for a year.” Says Alex, looking bored already…which causes a few whistles from the ‘male side’ of the room for some weird reason.

Boys, I’ll never understand them.

“Hey, Nat? You finished the English homework?” questions Annie, her work already laid out on the table for our ‘daily comparison’.

I nod and pass my work over for her to ‘examine’ whilst also keeping an eye on Alex…who seems to have no difficulty in already gaining an interested crowd around her.

“You know Nat? She looks like you…a lot.” States Annie, her gaze following mine.

“She…does?”

“Yeah well…she has the same shade of hair as you…and your eyes are both that blinding green colour.”

“You think?”

“Yep.”

I looked more carefully at Alex and I did sort of see how Annie had come up with the similarities.

She must have inherited by Dad’s eyes…somehow through our blood line. It wasn’t like she was my sister, was it? (A/N- Nat? You sure about that?)

“What lesson do we have first?” I ask, as usual forgetting our daily timetable.

“God Nat, it’s your favourite subject. You know, Art?”

I guess I’ll soon find out whether Alex inherited the same artistic genes that I have.

“Sit down everyone.” Says our homeroom teacher, trying to gain order.

Nonetheless, her desperate attempts failed…everyone seemed too interested in Alex to care.

“Sit down unless you all want detention.”

Like people coming out of a daze, all Alex’s newly-found fans grudgingly walked back to their seats.

“You. Who are you?” asks Mrs Graham (our homeroom teacher) pointing at Alex rather rudely.

“Alex Madison. Cousin of Natalie over there...” Alex says, rolling her eyes.

Mrs Graham looks like she’s wondering whether to scold Alex but then, after a glance to the clock, proceeds to take the register.

“Alexandra Madison, I want to have a word with you.”

“It’s Alex not Alexandra!”

She is already in deep trouble. Maybe I should have warned her that this school being Horizon…well, it’s slightly posh if you know what I’m saying.

Oh well. Better get out of the classroom before Mrs Graham shouts at me too. Besides, I need to get to Art quickly…otherwise you get left with all the paintbrushes with glued-together bristles…due to some stupid people dipping them into PVA glue and not cleaning them.
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#5 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:20 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Monday 1st April

This must be the officially worst day of my life. Well…maybe not but…come on, waking up to someone pouring water over your head is not my ideal start to the day.

At least SOMEONE thinks its funny…coughNataliecough

Anyway, so I haven’t even been in this school for ten minutes and already, I’m in trouble.

So sue me. All I did was INSIST that my name wasn’t Alexandra…I mean, what’s the big deal? It’s not like I LOOK like a guy, is it? It’s not like I’m asking them to change my identity into one of a male variety!

But obviously, they don’t see it that way. The ‘they’ meaning ‘Mrs Graham’.

“I want to talk to you about your behaviour towards your elders…blah, blah, blah…” she says, giving me a frown…

…which I coolly made a stop to by glaring at her.

“Alexandra Madison, have you been listening to a WORD I’ve been saying?” she demands.

Um…no?

I really couldn’t care less about her opinions about my behaviour. If they can't stand me then…what has it got to do with me?

“Alexandra, since you are going to be late for your next lesson, I am going to let you go…but I expect to see you after school in my office for detention.”

Yeah, whatever; over my dead body are you going to see me after school…I have MUCH better things to do.

I quickly run out of the classroom before realizing that I had no idea what lesson it was. I stick my head around the door and go:

“Uh…what lesson do I have now…and where is it?”

Mrs Graham sighs and asks where Natalie is.

“Why should I know?” I retort.

I don’t care where she is. Even if she IS my cousin…she is so annoying.

“Because…Natalie is supposed to be ‘student guiding’ you.”

And then she walks out of the classroom clearly giving off the aura that she was not about to show me where my next lesson was…or for that matter what I had now.

“Hey, Nat!” I hear someone shout to me.

Uh…they really need to get their facts right. Hello? I’m A-L-E-X.

I turn around and look at the person greeting me…or my cousin, for that matter.

It was Natalie’s ‘dream date’. Yeah, her ‘perfect’ Ryan Strackham.

“For your information, my name is Alex not Natalie.”

“Sorry…You just look exactly like Nat from the back.”

Great…just great! And I mean that sarcastically, by the way.

Why would ANYONE want to look like Natalie? Ok, so maybe I’m being a little harsh...but you can blame the bucket of water that SOMEONE poured on my head.

“Aren’t you supposed to be in CLASS?” I say tauntingly.

Because for me, anyone that is on friendly terms with Natalie must DIE…well, suffer anyway.

I am not about to kill anyone.

…I mean it.

Anyway, so that Strackham guy shrugs and says that he thought I was Natalie and was waiting for her.

Why you would want to wait for Natalie, I don’t know.

“Wait…do you know what lesson it is now?”

He nods and proceeds to show me the way to the art room.

Well, at least there’s ONE good thing about this school. They actually have an ART ROOM. I’d have thought that a posh school like this would focus entirely on science…which I guess it does…but at least I get to do SOME art…right?

“Ryan, why are you late?” accuses a teacher as soon as we walk in.

He ignores the teacher and just walks seemingly oblivious to the teacher and settles himself down onto a table amongst a whole load of other guys.

“You’re Alexandra, right?” asks the teacher, smiling at me.

Uh…change of mood?

I nod slowly, slightly surprised at her sudden change…but once I spot Natalie, I figure out why.

Natalie, obviously inheriting the same artistic genes as me…well…I guess it makes her the teacher’s pet…

Another thing that makes her like me…I’m surprised we’re not sisters or something. I mean, we look alike (apparently…I don’t believe this)…and we seem to have inherited the same skills.

Bad thoughts, bad thoughts.

“Call me Alex, please.” I say politely, not wanting to insult the teacher to the only lesson that I enjoy.

“Ok, then. Right…well, Alex….we’re doing ceramics today and everyone’s working in pairs to create a piece of art revolving around an abstract theme…”

“…And luckily for you, there’s an odd number in the class. So, you obviously want to work with someone you know, right? And…I take it you’re Nat’s sister?”

“Nope…Cousin.” I correct her, already dreading what I knew she was about to suggest.

“Why don’t you go and work with Nat? I’m sure she won’t mind. But before you do, have you done any work with clay in the past?”

“Yeah, plenty.”

She smiles once more at me before proceeding to tell off some guys who were…well…painting each other with clay?

I walk slowly up to Natalie and she frowns.

Well at least we’ve got something in common…we DON’T WANT TO WORK WITH EACH OTHER!

She sighs, but shows me her artwork…which is annoyingly similar to mine. And weirdly, similar to my mother’s…
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Alex’s Diary, 1st April (A few minutes of clay work later)

“Natalie, Alex, that’s wonderful!” says the teacher (whose name I find out is Mrs Plinth), “You should work together again next time!”

No…please NO!

Not that I’m saying it’s BAD working with Natalie or anything…since we work in the same style and we’re about the same level…It’s just…

…Well, I guess I still haven’t gotten over the whole water thing.

“Alex? You know this afternoon? Well…I don’t know if you’d be interested or anything…but I have this art class thing…and I sort of figured you might like to come.” Says Natalie, once we’ve cleared up.

“Sure…I guess. Who takes it?”

“Joe and his mother…Susan Boone.”
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#6 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:20 PM

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David’s POV (MUCH LATER. On the same day, though…1st April if you all forgot)

So…maybe I should be happy that Sam decided to come here for a year…but I don’t know…I just have some bad feelings. I guess it’s just because seeing her on a daily basis again…well, I’m just not used to it, I guess.

She didn’t even explain why she came over. All I know was that last week, I was checking my e-mail when I received one from a very familiar person:

Dear, David…

Long time, no see. I know this is going to be extremely short notice but…would you mind if I (and Alex) came over next week? Some…things have come up and I really need to get away for some time.

Love,

Sam.

I don’t know why I said ‘yes’…I assume it was just how she signed it ‘Love, Sam’…And of course, I hadn’t seen Alexandra since she was a baby. And obviously, at that time we were fighting so I didn’t really get to have any good memories with her.

Maybe I shouldn’t have agreed to let her stay…Besides, she never told me she would be staying for a whole…YEAR! Seriously, she could have warned me beforehand instead of pulling me aside as soon as I saw them. I mean, Nat’s pretty annoyed at me for letting Alexandra sleep in there…but you know, there was no other room! Come on, you can’t be expecting me to let her sleep in MY room, can you? (A/N- Ok, sorry, but I just HAD to write that.)

Well…then again, she could sleep in the guest room with Sam. But when I suggested that, Sam looked like she was about to faint with fear.

And, Sam also made me swear that I wouldn’t tell Nat/Alexandra about us being their parents…Apparently she thinks that the twins should get to know each other first…Maybe she’s scared that if they knew the truth, the twins would blame each other for the divorce…

So, I suppose I can’t explain it very well. I don’t know. I guess it’s better for all of us if we just…erase the past.

And trust me; it sounds loads easier than it is.

“Hey, David? What’s your plan for today?” asks Sam, suddenly appearing at the door of my study, making me jump.

I shrug, not having actually ‘made’ an itinerary. I had assumed since this was her hometown and everything, that SHE would have planned what or who she wanted to see already.

I guess I assumed wrong, eh?

“You could go and see Lucy if you want…or Rebecca.” I suggest.

She mutters something about them visiting her in England last month.

I let out a laugh as someone came into mind…someone who Sam could see.

She looks at me weirdly, obviously startled by the sudden outburst of amusement.

“Well…I know who you can see.” I start to say.

She stares at me questioningly as if what I’d said was impossible.

“…You could always visit Jack. Jack Ryder…Remember him?” I ask, almost innocently.

She blushes as was her custom and shakes her head fast.

“David!” she exclaims.

“Well, I don’t know!” I retort back, playfully.

Don’t ask me why I had a sudden image of me when I was seventeen…it wasn’t like I hadn’t aged a bit, was it? Well…ok, so I was nineteen years older… (A/N- For those of you who can’t be bothered to do that little some, David is thirty-six now.)

Something weird is happening…something I don’t particularly like. It was if I…I don’t know, felt that we were both in our teens…both happy together.

Ok. This is bad. Very bad.

“Sam…Why don’t you go up and pick up the…uh…kids from school?” I say, trying my best to change the subject.

“Why?”

“Because Nat has an art lesson with a certain ‘Joe and Susan Boone’…which if Alexandra is interested in, she can join too.”

“…Wait. Is it the ‘same’ Susan?” she enquires, her face filled with remembrance.

I nod and smile:

“So I guess you can guess why her son’s called ‘Joe’?”

She instinctively puts her hand up to her hair and grimaces.

“The crow, right?”

I laugh quietly to myself…Good times, good times. (A/N- Since I haven’t read RoN, I felt it would be better if I just stuck with the details of AAG. So…I know Sam dyes her hair black in RoN…but for the sake of me, can we just say its red?)

“Yeah…he passed away a few years ago…” I say, remembering Susan’s distress.

Though luckily, she had her new son to care about.

“David…are you going to come with me?” She questions…almost hopefully.

Uh. Right.

“Sure…I guess.” I say back, my head filled with mixed emotions.

I just had no idea what was going on. But whatever it was…IT HAD TO GO. She smiles and I quickly check the clock…four o’clock…time to head out.

I rise from my chair and sigh…The paperwork will have to be left till later.

“So…David. What happened to Jack anyway?”

“I don’t know…I haven’t really spoken to him ever since that ‘day’ at the party ages ago when you told me he was a ‘radical’.”

“David! That was ages ago!”

“So? I never got over that blow to my self-esteem.” I say, sounding like I was seventeen again.

I swear, something is seriously wrong…I thought I was supposed to be getting older, not younger!

She hesitates for something to say before blushing again…I grin back…well, there wasn’t anything to lose was there?

I wouldn’t lose anything being friendly, would I?

...Even if my heart wanted something else.
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#7 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:21 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Monday 1st April

I guess…well, maybe Alex isn’t that bad.

Maybe.

Note the ‘maybe’.

I really can’t figure her out though…one second she’s furious at me and the next she’s trying to be friendly.

On another note, she’s made an enemy out of Mrs. Graham. Not a good idea…especially since Mrs. Graham is the one who writes all our references when we apply for university or something.

And you’re probably wondering how I know that they’re enemies. Well, for one, it’s sort of obvious and for another…uh…look, what’s happening now. It’s lunch time registration by the way and we’re having some sort of election for the people we want to go and represent us at school council.

“Any nominations?” asks Mrs. Graham.

I feel Alex yawn next to me, obviously MAJORLY jet-lacked. Well, I guess she did come from England…which means we were about five hours or so behind them.

“Alexandra Madison! Pay attention otherwise I’ll be forced to give you detention!” shouts Mrs. Graham even though she was…well…facing the other way.

She either has eyes on the back of her head or has some weird sixth sense.

Alex, hearing this, rolls her eyes and gets shouted at again:

“ALEXANDRA!”

A few of the guys who were observing Alex muffle their laughter…One of them; I’m annoyed to admit was Ryan. Ryan Strackham, if you already forgot about him.

God knows, I can’t.

“Hello? My name’s A-L-E-X.” Alex spells out for Mrs. Graham, looking extremely aggravated by Mrs. Graham picking on her.

Which was a bad thing; as in Alex retorting back…Since she obviously didn’t know what happened if you got detention.

Though then again, Alex, being Alex, probably wouldn’t care.

Detention? Well, it’s basically you having to stay after school for an HOUR, and forced to do various jobs that the caretakers can’t be bothered to do themselves. Not that I blame them…the school CAN get slightly disgusting…Which is the understatement of the year.

It gets really dirty since most of the people attending this school, are like child geniuses and therefore, hate sports. Meaning that no-one can be bothered to keep their boots clean or whatever after the half-hour sports lesson we have every week.

…Which leads to there being patches of mud everywhere around the changing rooms and so, we girls, always bring spare socks…treading around mud filled changing rooms whilst getting change…well, all I can say is that it’s not the best experience.

“ALEXANDRA MADISON! I know that maybe you have some problems at home or something, being always overshadow by Natalie over here but really, can you go and see a psychotherapist or something? Alexandra, I’m sending you to the head teacher so he can advise a psychotherapist.”

WHAT?!? ALEX NEEDS TO SEE A PSYCHOTHERAPIST? Um, I really think that Mrs. Graham herself needs to calm down. Really…Alex isn’t that bad.

Mrs. Graham, seeming satisfied that finally, she had achieved silence (since everyone was too busy recovering from the shock) started writing a note for Alex. Not to mention, dictating the note aloud as she wrote.

Dear Mr Thompson (the head teacher),

I am sending you a clearly insane student. She probably has to go to a mental instituti—

“Wait, you can’t do this!” shouts someone from the back of the classroom.

“Yeah, you can’t!” I say straight afterwards, relieved that someone else also thought that Mrs. Graham was going a little bit too far.

Ok, fine…so she was going WAY too far.

Alex just smiles at us all, clearly not bothered at what was happening. I guess, she wouldn’t care…she seemed the type of person to be rebellious.

I suppose it was sort of funny. I mean, when do you see your teacher attempt to send someone to a mental institution? No offence anyone who is in there, by the way…I meant, trying to send a SANE person…

“STOP IT!” yells a voice…a very familiar voice…a voice which, ok, I admit I dream about.

A voice belonging to Ryan Strackham.

I confess…well…I started to worry…what if Ryan actually fancies Alex? Why else would he stand up for her?

And besides, what gave me the right to act like he was my boyfriend? He’s just a friend…Probably all he’ll ever be…Me being too shy to ask him out.

“Ryan, do you have a problem?” questioned Mrs. Graham, her eyebrows raised.

Everyone turned their heads to face Ryan and blushing slightly, he answers, stuttering slightly:

“No…but…”

“…But, I do. Stop writing that note. STOP IT.” I finish for him, almost instantaneously.

“Seems like the sisters have something to say to the head teacher…I’m ashamed of you Natalie, I thought you knew better. Alexandra, Natalie, I’m sending you to the head teacher’s office. Now. And with this note too.” She hisses back.

“We’re not sisters. We’re cousins.” Alex says tauntingly.

I glance at her warningly…I wanted to get this over and done with.

“Come on Nat…Let’s get out of here.” She says, gesturing me to follow…

…Which I do, wordlessly.

And then it happened. Annie, who is my best friend if you remember, suddenly gets up too…

I stare at her as I watch her follow us…

“What are you doing?” I whisper urgently.

“Well…I don’t exactly approve of Alex going to the mental place either, do I? She may be a little weird…but not enough for her to be sent away.” She explains.

Oh.

Um. Ok, I guess…

It was only when the whole class of thirty children got up and stormed over to the head master’s office when I noticed the problem…

…How on EARTH were we all going to fit inside?
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#8 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:21 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Monday 1st April

I have to admit, even if it does mean I’m in serious trouble, that scenario was HILARIOUS. Ha, apparently, I’m crazy and I should be locked up in some mental institution.

Seriously.

ME. ALEXANDRA CATHERINE MADISON.

I’m using my full name for maximum effect, by the way. And yes, if you really have to know, my middle name comes from my Mum’s best friend…

But anyway…How can I be crazy?

I think that she’s the one that’s crazy, not me. ‘She’, being Mrs. Graham.

Though even though I’m not that bothered by the situation (since, being me, I’ve been sent to the head teacher many times before), I have to say that I’m still grateful for Nat standing up for me. I guess she is related to me…A fact that before, I was trying hard not to believe.

However…I think Nat’s slightly annoyed with me…partly because…well…that Ryan guy keeps standing up for me.

Which really sucks because, let’s face it, I really don’t like him; in that way, anyway.

…Unlike Nat.

I’m not exactly the type to go out with guys yet…which means that whenever Hannah visits, I always find myself dreading the few minutes when she gives me a lengthy description of her latest boyfriend. As if he’s some sort of thing she brought from the local supermarket.

Though it doesn’t meant that Han isn’t one of my best friends…once you ignore that slight fact, Han is fine. More than fine…Even if she IS the complete opposite of me. What can I say? I just don’t have a social life like she does nor am I interested too much in fashion or guys. (A/N- If you’ve forgotten who Hannah is already, she’s the daughter of Lucy, therefore inheriting Lucy’s outgoingness.)

“Hey Nat…you didn’t have to come, you know.” I say, feeling rather guilty that Nat had stood up against the teacher.

Since I could SO tell that Nat was a ‘good-girl’ and obviously had not done something like that before.

“Well…You’re my cousin…And anyway…she was going way too far,” says Natalie, seeming to choose her words carefully.

I guess she was pretty nice. Well, all she has to do now to stay in my good books is to promise NEVER to pour a bucket of freezing cold water over my head again; even if IT IS April Fools Day.

April…that reminds me…it’s my birthday soon. And Nat’s, I guess. I think she said her birthday was this month too, right? (A/N- I do not want to copy ‘Parent Trap’ too much so I’m going to think of a different way for them to discover.)

“Alex? Are you going in first?” pipes up some guy (or girl…I can’t tell due to the enormous din) from my left.

The deafening noise suddenly halts and I could feel everyone’s eyes on me.

So I do what every Madison would have done in my situation and I blush.

“Sure, I guess…” I manage to blurt out, despite my rising nerves.

Yeah, you read it correctly….I WAS getting slightly scared. Even if I sound confident and everything well…the truth is, I’ve never been in enough trouble to be sent to the head teacher’s office. Normally I restrict my rebellious nature.

Not this time.

Why? Why didn’t I restrain myself? I guess it had something to do with the fact that well, I was missing England. I just wasn’t used to living here…in a foreign country. And there was also the fact that when I asked why we were here, Mum would just ignore me or change the subject. I don’t like being ignored. Not at all.

…And besides, I was so jet-lacked that I wasn’t thinking properly. Though you know, TECHNICALLY, it wasn’t my fault. Technically, it was the teacher’s fault. But come on, when has a teacher blamed another one of their staff for something?

“Go on then! Knock!” encourages someone from the crowd.

I cross my fingers and slowly raise my fist up to the door.

“Come in!” beckons the voice of the head teacher.

And I enter.

The head teacher, who’s name I see was Mr. Thompson…mainly because of the gold, shining plaque on his desk that said so, glances up from the piles of paperwork he is doing and whistles slightly amused:

“Already?”

I smile weakly and nod.

“Ah…and what’s this? The WHOLE of 8G?” he exclaims, as the rest of my companions begin filling the room.

“What’s the problem?” he asks, once he’s recovered from the shock that we’re all here…or that we all fit inside his office, which isn’t especially large or anything.

“Well…you see, Mrs. Graham…she sent you a note.” I stammer, handing him the note.

I was slightly relieved…this head teacher guy, well, he didn’t seem that strict.

He seemed…well, nice.

He takes the note from me, his eyebrows raised as if he can’t believe what he’s seeing. I guess he doesn’t get hordes of pupils charging into his room every day, huh?

After he’d finished reading the note, he laughed gently.

“She’s trying to send you away to some mental institution to get help?” he enquires.

I open my mouth to reply but I’m beaten to it by someone else.

…Someone annoyingly familiar.

…Someone named Ryan Strackham.

“You won’t send Alex away, will you?” he asks…well, ok, so he begs.

I see Nat frown from the other side of the room, and I decide that even if my life depends on it, I WILL make sure that they get together…they do make a great couple, after all.

Right?

And anyway, I do owe her one. If she hadn’t spoken out before, I would be on my way to somewhere far away.

“No, of course not! I think I’m just going to have to consult this matter with Mrs. Graham. Though on another note, this letter only says that Alex is excused…All of you have detention after school.” He says matter-of-factly.

So…everyone except ME has detention? Surely it should be the other way round…I mean, I was the one who caused all the trouble. I should be punished…not them!

“Um, sir. It’s my fault, I’ll do the detention. They have nothing to do with it.” I state, trying my best to sound sincere.

“Well, in that case…for your honestly, Alexandra, I’ll let you all go. Just this once, alright?” he tells me, winking.

I smile back but before the noise erupts again, I say:

“The name’s Alex. Alex Madison.”
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#9 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:22 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Monday 1st April

Wow.

I swear, Alex charmed Mr Thompson so fast that I didn’t even see it. And I wasn’t blinking either. And she totally got her way with him too…Well, she got us all out of detention…including herself.

…Which has never happened in the HISTORY of Horizon…As in somebody getting out of detention…So you could say that we all had our mouths wide-open in shock during the whole thing.

Except for Ryan…who I noticed stood up for Alex another time; which made me frown…a gesture that Alex observed intently, which to tell you the truth, made me contemplate AGAIN whether Ryan fancied Alex…and well, the signs currently point to the positive side.

Maybe I should get off that subject…before I get really mad or something and blame Alex for all this. Since it wasn’t her fault, after all…and besides, I can SO tell that Alex is annoyed at Ryan.

“Hey, Nat. What lesson is it now?” asks Alex, abruptly appearing at my side.

Oh yeah, I forgot to say that obviously, after the whole ‘Mr Thompson’ incident, he dismissed us and told us to go straight back to class.

“Um…I don’t know.” I say pretty lamely…but it was the truth. I didn’t know…since I always seem to forget my timetable no matter what.

“Nat, it’s Spanish…or German…What are you taking, Alex?” Annie interrupts, looking merely amused at my forgetfulness.

“Uh…Spanish.” Alex says with a look of despair on her face.

“Same! We can all sit together,” says Annie enthusiastically…an expression that Alex clearly did not return.

Hey, I guess Annie’s optomisim is a bit…um…overwhelming but…Alex could try and show some effort of making friends, right?

Whatever…I have loads more things to ponder about then THAT.

So, right, we enter the Spanish classroom, and suddenly, like we’re celebrities or something, everyone starts shouting congratulations to us.

“Hey, GO NAT! GO ALE--”
“Wow, you guys roc--”
“You’re the bes--”

And so on. You get the idea. So, we sort of smile and try and divert all the attention. Well, me and Annie do…Alex? She’s just calmly pretends that she hasn’t heard anything.

…But of course, the tell-tale ‘Madison’ blushing-ness gives it all away.

“¡Silencio, por favor!” yells the teacher as she enters a room full of raging children.

So then we go and sit in our normal places…well, except for Alex obviously, who’s looking slightly perplexed about what to do.

“¿Cómo te llamas?”

Alex, who I could immediately sense had not done much Spanish int he past…or maybe was just bad at the language, started stuttering:

“I…uh…”

Señora Kingsley (which is her name), smiles gently and asks Alex (in English) whether she had done any Spanish beforehand.

Alex, shrugs, looking immensely relieved that the teacher was talking in a language she could understand.

“Well, I did some but it wasn’t much,” she says, her face turning bright red again.

“Oh, I see…So…what’s your name?” Señora Kingsley asks.

“Uh, Alex…Alex Madison.” (A/N- I swear all Alex says is THAT LINE.)

“Oh, Alex, yes…related to Natalie?” she questions.

Alex nods, her face still the colour of…well…a tomato. Exactly the same shade I go when I blush. I guess the Madison genes got carried through quite a long way, huh?

“Ok, then, we’ll work around your Spanish knowledge (or lack of it), alright? Why don’t you go and sit next to Natalie? There’s a spare seat there.”

I smile encouragingly to her as she sits herself down next to me. The rest of the lesson is pretty boring...As in nothing SERIOUS happens. And actually, even though she apparently didn’t know any Spanish, she did try and join in…it was…a definitely different side to the one that she showed Mrs Graham.

I think we all know what her feelings are towards her!
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Natalie’s Diary, 1st April

End of school day!

And you’d probably be glad to hear that Alex didn’t get into any more trouble…

So, now, we’re just waiting for Dad to pick us up and drive us over to art class.

Which I have to say, is one of the best points of the day. Since I get to practice something I’m good at…TWICE IN A DAY!

Ok, I sound sort of pathetic, don’t I?

But really…when you love doing something, you have to keep on doing it…it’s like your addicted.

Ok, scrap the above…I was merely stating the obvious.

“Nat, Alex! Over here!” shouts a voice…

…The voice that I’ve ALREADY admitted to dream about.

Yeah, that’s right…It was Ryan.

“Hey, Ryan.” I say, hoping he couldn’t hear my breathing…which unfortunately had got heavier meaning that well, I could barely talk.

…Great Natalie, just GREAT.

“Yeah, well, so I was thinking, would you two like to come over to my birthday party thing this weekend?” he asks…looking at Alex, not me.

Well. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

I sigh loudly, hoping that I’d grab someone’s attention.

“Are you guys free? He asks, STILL IGNORING ME.

Hello? CAN YOU SEE ME?

I may not wear black and have a cool attitude but I STILL EXIST.

“Yeah, we are.” I say, before dragging a non-responsive Alex off towards the distance.

Ok, so I was mad, alright?

“Nat…you know…you should just go for him,” advises Alex, abruptly talking to me…breaking the silence that she had held before.

I looked at her stunned before replying:

“But it’s not like he doesn’t have a crush on you, is it?”

Alex smiles cunningly and shakes her head, innocently.

“Don’t worry…You’ll see.”

But you know…I don’t think I’ll ever see.

Or maybe not now anyway.

“NATALIE, ALEX!”

I think it’s time to go. I shoot one backwards glance at Ryan and sigh to myself.

I wasn’t Alex. I didn’t have to bravery to do what I wanted.
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#10 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:23 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Monday 1st April

What can I say? Nat is so annoyed at me, due to Ryan so obviously fancying me. Though even she, I think, knows that none of this is MY fault…I mean, I don’t want this guy following me around and backing me up and stuff…Hello? I can do it MYSELF.

Whatever. You know, eventually, that Ryan guy will realize that I do not like him. And also, I’m definitely going to try and get out of his ‘birthday party’ this weekend. Since frankly, I have WAY better things I’d like to be doing…

…Ok, sue me, I lie. It’s not that I wouldn’t mind going to a party or anything…it’s just the fact that HE’S there. Seriously, I guess I’m going to see him a little TOO MUCH during school days…Do I really need to see him during the weekends AS WELL?

The answer to that, by the way, is ‘No’.

Though I have a feeling that Nat is going to drag me to the party, even if she doesn’t exactly want me around that Ryan guy…mainly because of the fact that she, I can tell, wants me to intervene and help her ‘get’ Ryan. I think anyway.

“Alex…? You there?” asks Natalie, waving a hand in front of my face, causing me to jump in shock.

“Yeah…sorry.” I say, feeling all of a sudden extremely tired.

Not that I hadn’t been all day or anything…just I don’t know, lots has happened, I guess.

“So, where were we? Oh yes…about the art thing…” informs Natalie’s dad, smiling to himself.

“You’re going to like it,” Interrupts my mum…causing a teasing glance to be exchanged.

Ok. Something is seriously wrong here. SERIOUSLY WRONG. If I didn’t know better…well…I would have thought they were FLIRTING with each other.

…Bad thoughts, Alex…Bad thoughts.

“So Alexand—wait, sorry, Alex…I’m taking it you like art?” questions Natalie’s dad.

Ok, ok, I know that really, I shouldn’t keep referring to him as ‘Natalie’s dad’…it’s just that the term ‘Uncle David’ REALLY doesn’t suit him. Trust me on that one.

“Yeah…” I answer, my mind half-asleep…well, yeah, so what? I was practically falling asleep in the car…not MY fault that I was still jet-lacked, was it?

“She’s good,” says a voice to my right…Natalie.

I smile weakly before…Ok, falling asleep; which, I have to say, is quite weird because minutes before, I had endless supplies of energy.
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Alex’s Diary, 1st April

So…several minutes later, I wake up to find the car filled with enthusiastic chatter.

Mainly, I was confused to see, from my mum and Natalie’s dad.

Ok. You know…I SWEAR something fishy is going on. I mean…look at my mum…you wouldn’t believe that this is the same woman that spends half her day in bed, moaning to me that she can’t be bothered to wake up for some ‘reason’.

“Ok…Alexand—sorry, Alex and Nat, we’re here,” says Natalie’s dad, abruptly stopping the car.

I guess I’ll overlook the fact that he’s nearly called me ‘Alexandra’ twice.

So anyway, the door opens and…well…I am faced with this music shop place called ‘Static’.

Uh…Am I missing something here?

Nat looks at my perplexed expression before laughing and walking into the store. So I follow her, after a ‘gentle’ nudge from my mother, who…um…seemed to recognize this place.

“Looks the same, huh?” states Natalie’s dad, grinning.

My mum murmurs in agreement, her face still…uh…ecstatic? Ha, ecSTATIC. Ok, not funny but whatever.

“Come on, Alex…you’re blocking the whole staircase,” says my mum, looking at me amused.

I shake my head before realizing that yes, she was right…I was standing in the middle of the staircase, having half-followed Nat and half watching the scene happening below.

“Sorry.” I mutter before continuing to walk forward.

And then…well, I’m met with this…uh…woman.

A woman who looks EXACTLY (and I mean it) like she’s just walked out of some fairytale book; pretty creepy, to tell you the truth.

“So…you must be Alex?” asks the ‘woman’.

I nod…feeling extremely self-conscious.

“You’re Sam’s daughter, right?”

Uh…my mum knows her? Ok…I am so missing out on something here.

“Susan!” exclaims my mum from behind me.

“Sam, how are you? Long time, no see,” the woman replies, smiling brightly.

“The twins look just like you two!”

Twins…? What twins? She doesn’t mean…Natalie and I, does she?

I guess so…because well, straight after she uttered that sentence, my mother and Natalie’s dad, take her quickly to the side and have a whispered conversation with her…

And all I can pick up from the other side of the room is: “They weren’t supposed to know.”

So…I’m…Natalie’s…TWIN?

I catch Natalie’s eye and see that she’s wearing the same look of confusion…are we really twins? It sort of made sense, I guess…especially since lots of people had said we looked identical…

I suppose we were stupid not to see it ourselves…Because well, if you forget the whole difference in our clothes, we do look similar.

Though I guess we didn’t figure it out since we’d both been fed…lies. Lies which we hadn’t any evidence to prove against…

…Which also explained why Han had to be told not to say anything about my past life on our first meeting…

My life, was about to change…forever. And it was all to do with vows made in my life.

The vow of secrecy between my mother and Natalie’s da—wait, no…my dad…

…And the vow of secrecy that Natalie and I would go on to make…to get our parents back together.

“Ok, class…settle down. Alex, sit next to Natalie over there,” gestures a guy, seeing that Susan would be occupied for a few minutes longer, since she was being told why we weren’t allowed to know…a fact that I wanted to know too.

I also wondered why Susan hadn’t been told about the ‘secrecy’ thing...maybe Natalie’s da—no, my dad wasn’t as strict about this as my mother?

…Or maybe he didn’t know.

No, that thought was stupid…surely he knew…right?

“Wow,” whispers Nat, her face filled of amazement.

I guess you don’t find out everyday that in fact, you have a twin sister. Though…I wonder what her feelings are about Ryan now…knowing that he has a crush on her TWIN SISTER.
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#11 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:23 PM

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Sam’s POV (Slightly later than last chapter)

Ok. So I admit…I was rather surprised that Alex hadn’t spoken out or anything…very out of character for her…and I should know, after all, she is my daughter.

Like Natalie is.

I guessed David hadn’t taken the whole ‘don’t let the twins find out’ thing as seriously as I had. He seemed pretty laid-back…even now, when the twins were still giving each other perplexed looks.

I don’t know. I just…I just guess I didn’t want them to know…them to know that I was the cause of the breakup.

Yeah…it was my fault. And do I regret it now? Of course I do…of course I regret it…seeing David now…happy, happier than he had ever been with me…He probably had a girlfriend somewhere…and he deserved it.

He deserved to me rid of me, but no…David, always the gentleman, took me in. He didn’t have to of course, he didn’t have to let me stay in his house but he did.

That was something I was immensely grateful for.

Though now? Now that the twins knew part of the secret…how long would it be before someone told them the rest?

We hadn’t even been here a full week and they’d already found out half of it.

I couldn’t bear it…I really couldn’t. I wouldn’t be able to bear Alex finding out that I had caused her parents to split up. I could hardly bring myself to face her every day…constantly worried if Hannah, Lucy’s daughter had phoned her up and blurted it out by mistake.

“Sam, look, it’ll be alright.” David reassures me, his voice calming me instantly.

Sort of weird how after all these years, his voice still has this effect on me.

“It won’t. David, you know it won’t.” I say, my voice coming out much sharper than I meant it too.

“Sam…I know you still blame yourself but…it wasn’t your fault, ok?”

I chose to ignore his last statement since we both knew that it was false. Instead, I decided to take a glance at Alex and Natalie, still wondering why they hadn’t asked us what we were talking about. It was weird behaviour…Very weird behaviour.

It was pretty creepy, to tell you the truth…I didn’t know about Natalie’s tendency to speak out but Alex…well…she’d argue with me over the last drops of milk…and for HOURS on end, too.

So why didn’t she speak out now? I doubted that her being in Natalie’s presence for only a day had changed her behaviour so drastically.

“Sam, look at me. It wasn’t your fault alright?” David says from beside me.

I shake my head because I know; I just know that it was my fault…if only, if only, I had been happy with what I had. If only I hadn’t tried to mess with Kris…try to get revenge back at her.

And once again, I choose not to speak back to him…he flashes a look of hurt at me but remains silent.

…For the whole lesson…Which gives me time to reflect on what was happening in my life and of course, to watch Susan teach the kids; it’s glad to know that she hasn’t changed a bit after all these years.

And Joe, her son, has the exact same personality. And luckily, he wasn’t obsessed with my hair as the animal he was named after was.
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Sam’s POV (Later)

The lesson was over and we were all in the car…in a car of awkward silence. No-one was talking to each other…everyone seemed…well…thinking.

“Mum, you were joking, right?” pipes up Alex, suddenly from the backseat, causing David to jump from the seat next to mine.

I glance quickly at David and he gives me a look as to say ‘It’s your choice’…

“No...” I say quietly.

There was no use hiding it…I suppose one day they’ll find out the whole truth…till that day, I would stay on their good sides.

“Natalie and I are…WHAT? TWINS?” she shouts.

“Alex…didn’t you know a few minutes ago? You seemed like you half believed it until you found out the date today…” says Natalie, her voice extremely confused.

“Hey, it’s April the First! You never believe anything you here on April Fools!” she replies, her voice sounding like she was trying her hardest to convince herself.

(A/N- There IS another reason for why Alex’s thoughts from last chapter don’t match up, you’ll find that out later…)

“Since when have I played an April Fools joke on you, Alex?” I question her, wondering where on Earth she had grasped THAT idea…and of course, I needed to avert her from ‘The Truth’.

“Uh…well…Natalie did!” she retorts, her voice indignant.

“…And also, why didn’t you tell me that I had a twin sister? Why?” Alex exclaims getting nearer to the questions and answers I was dreading.

“Would you have believed her?” enquires David, suddenly stepping in to my ‘rescue’.

Silence.

I sigh in relief, only to be on my guard again a second later.

“Han knew, didn’t she? Han knew…” Alex whispers, mainly to herself.

“Who’s Han?” asks Natalie and David in unison.

I smile weakly and close my eyes, wishing for everyone to stop…stop talking…stop finding stuff out from the past…stop coming closer to the truth.

…The shameful truth.

“Han…Lucy’s daughter…”

“How could you lie to me? How could you make up lies about my whole life?” asked Alex, her voice now tainted with fury once the truth had sunk in fully.

“…Alex…” warns David.

“How could you? How could you make everyone play along? Play along to my ‘imaginary’ life? How could you tell me that my dad had moved away? Lost contact with you? Might be dead? How?”

Damn Alex. Damn. She’d revealed something that I was trying to hide from David…I hadn’t told him that Alex had assumed that her dad was dead when I had told her that her father had simply ‘moved away’…this was of course, when she was little but now, she had never changed her mind.

“Dead?” David echoed.

“Sorry…” I say…to everyone…to Alex, Natalie, David…

I just wanted to forget. Forget about everything that happened. Why was life always hard for me?
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#12 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:24 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Tuesday 2nd April

(A/N- IT IS A TUESDAY…they arrived on Sunday…had school on Monday…)

Yeah, new day…new start.

Ok. I admit I didn’t write last night but…I was in too much of a shock to think of anything after art class.

You want to know why?

Alex is my twin.

Shocking, I know. I should have guessed though…I mean, Annie did…well, she thought we were sisters anyway. Maybe it sounds like I’m taking it too well…though inside, I’m astonished.

Make that very astonished.

So you might be wondering how I know that it’s the truth…well, for one, the parents had to practically drag Susan into the corner once she had blurted out that important piece of information.

And for another…they told us afterwards in the car. And really, my Dad is not the type of person who would tell lies.

I guess I’m sort of angry that they didn’t tell us…angry that I’ve been living in a world of…well, lies?

But I’m not as angry as Alex…Which you know, taking in the previous days events, is reasonable…I mean, she is the sort of person who would get mad easily.

…Not that I don’t. It seems that I inherited this temperamental state from Alex’s mother…no, MY mother.

There IS one thing that’s been bothering me the most…Alex…she…I don’t know…I thought she’d realized that we were twins once Susan had blurted it out…her actions seemed like she had. But after class, it was like nothing had happened…or she was trying to convince herself that it was a ‘dream’.

…Which is why I’m going to confront her, right now…I figured she had heard Susan…So I’m just wondering what changed her thoughts so drastically.

To be truthful, her being angry is more ‘in her character’ than her accepting the facts.

I’m confused…even if it probably doesn’t matter…

“Alex?” I say across the room…yeah, she’s STILL in my room.

“…Yeah?”

“I want to ask you something.”

“Shoot.” She replies, sounding as usual half-asleep.

I guess I can’t blame her…she had flown in from England two days before…to be met with a ‘rigorous’ school day.

And there’s the fact that it was six in the morning.

“What made you change your mind?” I ask.

“Uh...change my mind?”

“You know…from Susan’s to in the car.”

And then…something else gets blurted out.

“I guess you need to know as well…” she says mostly to herself.

“Go on…” I urge her.

“Basically…I recalled a scene from when I was younger…when I’d just turned six, I think. And that was the first time I was introduced to Aunt Lucy…and Han…”

“..Lucy’s daughter? Who’s Lucy anyway?” I question…from the car ‘incident’ I guessed that my Dad knew this ‘Lucy’ person. I certainly didn’t.

“Lucy is my moth—wait, no, sorry…our mother’s sister.” Alex explains.

“Oh.”

“So anyway, I get introduced and then Lucy says: Where’s the boy?”

BOY?

“…Yeah, I know, I think it’ll be too unbelievable for us to have a triplet…unless…one of us is a guy. I’m pretty sure I’m a girl so…”

“ALEX!” I exclaim, half laughing.

“Sorry…but…who’s the guy?”

“You sure you heard right?”

“Positive. Because after…my…no, oops…OUR mother literally pushed Aunt Lucy into the kitchen to ‘do something’. Which I guess is…explain to her something.” She says matter-of-factly.

“Why does it have to be so complicated?” I moan.

She shrugs before looking at me curiously and asking:

“Are you REALLY sure you’re not a guy?”

“ALEX! Do I LOOK like a guy?”

“Uh…well…”

“Ok, you know what Alex? Don’t you dare answer that question…”

She grins and rolls over on her bed, trying to muffle her laughter.

“You are impossible.” I state.

“Of course….Alexandra Madison has shown great levels of unstable behaviour. Therefore, I am sending her to a mental institution,” she jokes, mimicking Mrs. Graham.

…Which I couldn’t help bursting out laughing to.

“Hey, Alex, Nat…quiet it down a little in there.” Says a voice through the wall...

…this, in turn, makes us crack up even more.

“I mean it! Some people need their sleep.”

“Ok, ok.” We answer, rolling our eyes.

“Hey…Nat…do you think they’ll be talking now?”

I felt my blood go cold when she said that…all the energy I had had a second before had evaporated. Because you see, after the car incident, the ‘parents’ had started ignoring each other. Or rather, my (ok, our) dad was ignoring Alex’s (ok, our) mother.

That sentence looks weird…with all those ‘ok, our’ things. Not my fault, I can’t bring myself to say ‘our mother’. Ok…so fine, I just did.

Anyway, yeah…so the house was pretty silent. I guess it gave us time to think things over but…I don’t know…I’m just worried that Alex and her (ok, our) mother will move out…meaning that the secrets that they so evidently have stay hidden forever.

I mention this to Alex…to which she replies, sounding more solemn than I had ever heard her:

“We’ll get them back together.”

“I guess…”

“We will.” She says, ending that conversation as soon as it had started.

“How?”

“I have my ways, Nat.”

…Which if you think about it, sounded really…um…scary?

“So…Natalie, do you promise to do whatever you can to get them back together?” she questions, sounding rather dramatic.

“Um…yeah?”

The vow had been done…whether we’d keep to it…well, that was another story.
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Natalie’s Diary, 2nd April…Later

School… Oh yes, joyous school…am being sarcastic…just in case you got the wrong impression.

Though I must say, with Alex here, school’s been…almost…fun.

…Note the ‘almost’.

Alex seems to be able to stir up trouble wherever she walks in school, Which provides daily entertainment for us, the spectators.

So why am I writing in here?

It’s only because I remembered the seriousness of our last conversation…the bit about ‘a boy’.

Did that mean we were actually…triplets? That seemed…a little far-fetched but...

Or of course, there was the possibility that Alex heard completely wrong…

“Nat! Alex!” shouts someone from the back of the classroom as we enter.

Grace Miller…the most popular girl in class…what did she want with ME? I thought she hated me…

And for your information, Grace used to be dating Ryan…but they broke up last week…or something like that.

I don’t really ‘follow’ the events of the popular group. Well, I don’t mean to flatter myself or anything…but I’m not unpopular. I have friends…and power, I guess.

But I wouldn’t want to be like Grace. No way.

“Uh…and you are?” asks Alex, overpowering Grace in one sentence.

Ha, go Alex!

“Me? Grace…Grace Miller.”

“What do you want? Is that even a SKIRT you’re wearing?” accuses Alex, looking slightly amazed at what Grace was wearing…which was practically nothing, as usual.

Grace glares at Alex before spitting out:

“Well, at least I’m lucky I don’t have a twin like NATALIE.”

Wait…how did she know about us? We hadn’t TOLD anyone…and I doubt that…um…our parent’s had told…

Right?

So how did she know?
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#13 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:24 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Tuesday 2nd April

“How do you know?” asks Nat, accusatively.

Good point…how did she know? It wasn’t like we had broadcasted the news to the whole world…was it?

“I have my connections,” Grace answered.

…Nat never mentioned that Grace stalked her.

Ok, so fine, Grace might not be a stalker but…from the way she was so casually revealing a secret that we had not known till yesterday…well…her stalking us seemed to be the most logical solution.

Or of course, someone leaked it to the press.

Which I sort of doubt since, after all, why would they be interested in us? Two lowly girls in the WHOLE state of America…I mean, none of us had important connections, right?

“Ok…what do you want anyway?” I ask, trying to ignore the fact that I was slightly disturbed by her knowing our secret.

“Just wanted to know if the both of you wanted to come over to my house after school…”

I heard Nat whisper something to herself next to me…something that sounded faintly like: “Yeah, right.”

“Why do you want US to come over? You don’t even like me,” says Nat, her voice wavering between calm and anger.

I never thought Nat, of all people, was someone who could get angry…I’ve never really seen that side of her before. I wonder what that Miller girl had done to upset her.

I mean…Nat wouldn’t get angry if that Miller girl was just there, right?

“Of course, I like you,” states Grace, obviously lying through her teeth.

I laugh loudly at that, causing myself to get glared at by the now approaching ‘Grace Followers’.

“Of course I like you, Nat…and Alex too,” she repeats.

Even our old dog (we had to entrust him into my mother’s best friend, Catherine’s, care) Monet would be able to tell that Grace was lying.

Monet…that name brings up fond memories. And for why it was named that? Well…apparently (not sure if I can trust my mother anymore) she used to have a dog called Monet but the dog wouldn’t respond correctly to that name (since it is supposed to sound too similar to ‘No’…uh…) so they had to rename it Manet.

So, yeah…

“So…Nat, Alex…will you come?” Grace pleads, her face looking…almost…SCARED if we would turn her down.

Which was, of course, what we (well, ok, I) was about to do.

“No, sorry Grace; I have better things to do.” I remark before walking off towards my seat…

“Hey, Alex…I’m going.” Ryan says, stopping me from moving any closer to my seat.

Yeah…like that was going to change my mind.

I sigh heavily and glance up at Nat…who was in an annoyed state…with…what seemed like me.

Oh, yeah…of course…I forgot. Ryan. Why won’t he just LEAVE ME ALONE? Seriously…I mean, we’re TWINS…it’s not like we look that different or anything. And besides, he knows Nat way better than he knows me.

Plus, there was the whole ‘I-was-waiting-for-Nat’ before Art…

Mental Note to Self: Tell Nat this before she kills me.

“ATTENTION! Sit down everyone. Including YOU, Alexandra,” she shouts.

Uh, hello? What do you think I’m doing?

“Alex…we’re NOT going.” Nat whispers urgently beside me.

“Sure, it’s not like I want to go or anything.”

She smiles and turns to her friend…what was her name…Oh yeah, Annie.

“Nat! I don’t believe it! You just got asked to GRACE MILLER’S house!” Annie practically screams.

What was so good about Grace anyway? Well, I could tell that she was immensely popular…I mean, look at the way all her ‘supporters’ were fighting over each other to grab ‘The Seat’ next to her.

And then…I catch a glimpse of Grace…Her face streaming down with tears, her eyes bloodshot where she had obviously rubbed them…

…Something isn’t right here. She can’t have been that upset that we had turned down the offer…right?

But even as I tried to reassure myself, an image flashed up in front of me…Grace, her face filled with terror in anticipation that we wouldn’t come.

“Miss Miller? Are you alright?”

Grace shakes her head, fresh tears still falling.

“Miss Miller…outside, if you may?” Mrs. Graham says, gesturing towards the doorway.

Grace stumbles up to her feet, and makes her way slowly to the doorway…Mrs. Graham follows, closing the door softly behind her.

“Grace…what’s wrong?” I hear Mrs. Graham ask behind the closed door.

Though unfortunately, I had no way of telling whether Grace was about to ‘spill’ on us (even though technically, we hadn’t done anything wrong) since everyone in the room suddenly started debating with each other what they thought had made Grace ‘break down’.

…And trust me, the names ‘Natalie and Alex’ were uttered frequently.

“It’s not their fault!” shouts Ryan, trying his hardest to make himself heard over the din.

“Oh, Ryan? Do you think Grace is going to be happy when she hears who you’re supporting?” pipes someone from the ‘Grace Worshipers’.

“She can’t do anything…I’m not her possession anymore…” he retorts, attempting to sound confident but failing miserably.

Anymore?

“Natalie, Alexandra, you will be going home with Grace. I have rung your parents and they have given permission,” commands Mrs. Graham, abruptly entering the room.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Alex’s Diary, 2nd April (After School)

“Oh, this is going to be so fun!” exclaims an enthusiastic Grace.

“Yeah…of course,” says Natalie, sounding already bored.

Which I could understand…I mean, I had better things to do than to listen Grace rant on about her hair, makeup and well…you get the idea.

“Look! My car’s here!”

Uh…it’s not her car…I assume it’s her parents’ right?

“Come on!” Grace says, practically dragging a non-responsive Nat towards the car.

Sort of reminds me of Nat dragging me away from Ryan.

“Dad, meet Natalie and Alex,” introduces Grace to the figure in the front, who I now know is her father.

“Hey…I’m Jack. I knew you’re mother...and you’re father. They might have mentioned me…Jack Ryder?”

You must be joking. This couldn’t be the JACK RYDER? The boy that Mum had said had ruined her life? Her life with my father was ruined by Grace Miller’s father?

I can’t handle this.

Too much is happening.
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#14 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:25 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Tuesday 2nd April

I don’t believe this. I’m going home with GRACE MILLER. Even my worst nightmares are better than this.

“So, you ever heard of me? Jack?” Grace’s dad asks, looking at both our faces through the mirror.

Jack…no, I don’t think I’ve heard of him…Maybe…

“No, I don’t think so,” I reply, more interested on the face that Grace was giving me. A face that seemed to be pleading me to say that I did know her Dad…but…I didn’t…I’ve never heard a Jack Ryder in my WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE.

So you could say I felt a little guilty when I denied any contact of knowing her dad.

“Who do you live with? Sam or David?” questions Grace’s dad, his face suddenly staring at me with utter directness.

“Um…David,” I answer, feeling slightly weird to be referring my Dad by his first name.

…Or this guy referring to my dad like they knew each other; which they couldn’t have…Dad’s told me about every single part of his childhood.

With the exception of the twin thing…so…was this guy part of that secret too?

“Ah yes. David never really liked me…Just because I was better than him…Just because I was more attractive than him…had more charm than him…”

“Hey!” I exclaim feeling annoyed that this ‘stranger’ was talking about my Dad like that.

“So…You’re Natalie, right? Which means…Alexandra…you ever heard of me?” he said turning to Alex.

I sneak a glance at Alex, wondering whether she would carry out one of her famous ‘blow-ups’ since this guy had called her ‘Alexandra’ not ‘Alex’.

Though what was it that I saw instead? Well, all I can say was that it was pretty worrying.

Alex…Alex was looking annoyed…furious, even. What had Grace’s dad done in the past? What had he done to affect our lives?
Why hadn’t anyone told us ANYTHING?

“You…You’re the guy who ruined her life, aren’t you?” accuses Alex, her voice laced with resentment.

“Me? Oh, so Sam’s told you her ‘twisted’ side of the story, has she?” answers Grace’s dad, his face seemingly innocent...

“They weren’t lies.”

“Well, maybe I should tell you MY side of the story,” he replies, his voice getting louder and harsher every second.

“Daddy…can we please….just go home?” murmurs Grace, her face a mere shadow of her ‘school-self’.

“No, Grace…we need to get things straight first.”

Wait…so…this guy ruined Alex’s (ok, our) mother’s life? That’s…a big accusation to make.

“Daddy…I…”

My heart swelled with pity for that girl…it was obvious from the way that she was acting now, that she had never really been paid attention to…pleasured the hours that she got to spend away from home.

…Which explained why Grace was extra-curricular obsessed.

“Grace, shut up! I need to get things straight with Alexandra here.”

And with that, Grace started crying…again. Not that I blamed her or anything…if I was in her position, I’d be just the same.

“So…Alex…when I was younger, I was Lucy’s boyfriend. I’m guessing you know who Lucy is, right?”

Alex nods her face expressionless…something that reminded me strongly of my dad. I guess there was no doubting that we were twins now.

“…So anyway, in our younger days, Sam had an evident crush on me. And well, I ignored her affections…I never let on that I knew she liked me. And you know, it was fine…our relationship with each other was perfectly fine…just as friends. Until of course, she saved the President…”

…She saved the President? That’s…uh…new information.

“…and then she met David. Clever, funny David…the First Son.”

He’s joking right? My granddad wasn’t a former President, was he? That’s a little…unbelievable…I mean, I’ve seen my granddad loads of times…and there’s no way that he used to be President.
You can so tell that I’m not exactly interested in learning about US politics, can’t you?

“…Yeah, David…he was the First Son at that time. So…where was I? Oh yeah…Sam…after she met David, it was like she got transformed or something. And our relationship just…melted away. Of course, her refusing to refer MY painting into that art competition played a major part in it too (she was a judge in it) but…that’s not the point. Basically, David was a bad influence on her. And I warned her, yeah, I did. I tried putting her off David…and it worked for a while…”

I exchange glances with Alex...this was a lot of information to take in at once. So…to some it up…all he’s trying to say is that he hates my dad?

Well, that’s all I can gather up so far.

“…But of course, ten years later was when the drama started. I had broken up with Lucy long ago and was searching new ‘targets’…Mainly a certain someone who I found standing on my doorstep a couple of years (sorry, I forget the exact number) after her graduation at college …”

“Sam?” whispers Alex, her face twisted in confusion and…what seemed like terror.

“Yeah…Sam…and do you know what she wanted? She wanted me to teach her my style of drawing. That was when I knew that her ‘rumored-perfect’ relationship with David was not meant to be.”

“And…?”

“I think that’s enough for now. Grace, stop crying. You’re supposed to be THIRTEEN, not five.”

All I can say is…wow. That was…even MORE information. I swear, at this rate, my head is going to explode. It’s too much to think about.
I mean, first there’s the whole thing about my dad being First Son. And then, there’s the ‘supposed’ drama between my dad, Alex’s (ok, OUR) mother and this guy.

“What do you want with us?” asks Alex, her face suddenly on guard.

I could, like her, sense something wrong with this. I mean…why would he want us? Did he want to have a reunion with our parents?

Because that was something that I wasn’t going to let him do…Since if what Alex had said before was true, he had ruined their lives already…And I was NOT about to stand idly watching it happen again.

“Me? Oh, I was just hoping that maybe you wanted to tell me how you’re parents are doing. And of course, Grace wants you over.”

Grace wants us over? Yeah right. Look at her…it’s OBVIOUS that she invited us over on her Dad’s orders. And plus…I was definitely not going to tell him anything about our parents.

…Which is why I shot a warning glance at Alex for her to do the same…this was going to be another long afternoon.

“Daddy…you missed out a part of the story…how you threatened David to get at Sa–”

“Grace, SHUT UP.”
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#15 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:25 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Tuesday 2nd April

I hate him.

Ok before you start lecturing me about how ‘hate’ is a strong word or whatever…let me just explain some things just so you can see my point of view.

So this guy…Jack Ryder. He just comes up to us and introduces himself so…I don’t know…cheerfully? And all the while, he knows that he was the one who ruined my parent’s relationship. If it wasn’t for them, my parent’s might be together.

And how do I know about him? Well, my mother (and Natalie’s, I guess) told me…let’s say…some stuff when I inquired about my dad. And through the years, I’ve pieced together a lot…though she’d never actually TOLD me who my dad was, despite my countless nagging of her.

FLASH-BACK

“Alex, look at the e-mail Aunt Lucy sent us!”

I slowly walk towards my mother, preparing myself to smile at whatever hideous thing she had sent. Yeah…well…ok, so maybe that’s rude, but I just don’t particularly like the extreme feminine side of Aunt Lucy. Han’s alright but…her mother? She’s a whole different story.

“Isn’t that great? It’s the picture that we took at Aunt Rebecca’s wedding!” she exclaims.

And I look. And I’m surprised.

“Is that Dad?” I ask, pointing at a guy with weirdly hypnotic blue eyes standing a little ‘too’ close to my mum…

“Him…? No, it’s not,” she replies, before shutting down the screen abruptly.

“…Please, Alex. Please don’t mention anything about him. For my sake…for your father’s sake,” she whispered, looking at me intently, her face filled with depressed emotions…from the past...

END OF FLASH-BACK

So, yeah…that family portrait? Well, for one, that guy was definitely Jack Ryder. I mean, I wouldn’t mistake those eyes anywhere…even if the picture itself WAS taken a few years ago. So…blue. Just like how our dad (God, it feels so weird saying that…or writing that) has bright green eyes.

“Alexandra? Did you just hear what I said?” interrupts The Guy, his face smiling that amazingly ANNOYING smile.

And yeah, ok, so it may be extremely childish, but from now on, Jack Ryder is…The Guy.

“Hear what?” I ask, even though I fully knew what he was talking about.

He was obviously talking about the lies he had just attempted to feed us. Which were totally unbelievable…I mean…I guess the bit about him messing with my parent’s relationship was true but…Natalie’s…wait, sorry, our dad being the former First Son?

Was that true?

Though now that I think about it…I faintly remember reading about him in one of Mum’s old books from her ‘past’ life in the USA.

So…maybe he wasn’t lying.

“Dad! They deserve to know how you threatened their mothe--” Grace blurted out again.

“Grace, I’m warning you. Shut up!”

Oh yeah…I had forgotten about that bit. The Guy had apparently threatened my dad to get at my mother!

…Which really does sound like something straight out of a fairytale; you know when everything ends all happy at the end…not that I think that’s going to happen or anything. I seem to be learning something ‘horrifying’ every day.

“I want to go home…Right now.” I state, my voice firm…even though inside, my head was threatening to explode.

“Oh, but really Alexandra…that’s not very nice, is it? I mean, Grace invited you over so nicely…how could you turn down an offer like tha--”

“I want to go home.” I state again.

Natalie shoots me an admiring look…maybe because she was planning to stay here and be tortured by The Guy?

“Just because your mother saved the PRESIDENT, it doesn’t mean you have the power to command me.” He retorts, shooting me a glare through the mirror.

…Another thing I forgot to mention. According to The Guy, my mother saved the president. I guess she ‘accidentally-on-purpose’ forgot to tell me that, AS WELL.

Though I guess I can’t blame her. If I had a child…it wouldn’t really be the thing I’d want to tell them. Ok, so fine…since it’s ME, I guess I would. But that’s not the point.

“I don’t care. I’m phoning my mother now.” I say, knowing that it wasn’t exactly safe to speak out against him.

…I mean, look at what Grace has been reduced to. I have to say, I feel sorry for her. She has to hold such an image at school, with the knowledge that when she got home, all there was to look forward to was her dad’s torture.

Sometimes I wonder if Grace is even his.

“No. Alexandra Madison. You will NOT phone your mother. Got it? You will NOT tell her or David that you met up with me. You will not mention my name OR Grace’s.” he says, his voice deadly serious.

And a voice which made my back feel as if someone had poured a bucket of ice-cold water down it. Even I had to admit that this guy had perfected the ‘I’m-an-evil-old-man’ routine.

“Dad…please…let them go.” I hear Grace whisper…her voice wavering between staying loyal to her father or to the truth.

“No, Grace…I will not.” He replies, not even LOOKING at Grace.

“Dad…please…I’ll do anything…”

And in that moment, I knew that we had a friend. Even if Grace didn’t show it in school, I knew that inside, was someone who Nat and I could befriend.

“Dad…I…” Grace said, her voice now pleading with her father to understand.

And with that, The Guy quickly flashed a look at Grace…and I saw (though it may have been a trick of the light) a flash of compassion for his daughter.

“Ok…Grace, just this once. Alexandra, Natalie…you’re lucky Grace saved you this time…but next time? You won’t have any chances of escaping.”

The Guy stopped the car abruptly on the side of the road and told us to get out…in the middle of nowhere. Great, just great.

“I’m sorry…it’s the best I can do.” Grace murmured as we were literally forced out of the vehicle.

“It means a lot…” Nat says, smiling a smile of appreciation at the girl as she clambered her way out…

…Even though we both knew that as soon as we were gone, The Guy would torture Grace.

“Nat…we can’t just walk away and leave her. It’s not right.”

Nat nods slowly, and eyes the still open doors.

“Alex, come on…let’s just go to their house…show him what we’ve got.” She says, trying to sound cheerful though it was clearly obvious that she was scared to death.

So, stupidly, we got back in. I mean, we had to help Grace…it wasn’t fair for us to just ‘leave’ her there, was it?

“And Jack, before you go…there’s one thing I need you to know…My name’s Alex, NOT Alexandra.”
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#16 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:25 PM

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David’s POV
It couldn’t have happened again…could it? Alexandra and Natalie couldn’t have gone missing…AGAIN?

Yeah…I know…you must be thinking how on Earth could the twins have gotten missing when they were at the age of…I don’t know…it was about five months or so. But yeah, they did.

…With help with Mr. Jack Ryder, of course.

And it looks like Jack’s done a runner with Natalie and Alexandra yet again.

Of course, I didn’t even KNOW that Jack’s daughter was in the same class as Nat. I didn’t even know that Jack had a daughter…the same age as Nat and Alexandra too. So much for him saying he was in love with Sam thirteen years ago when she had the twins.

I mean, those years ago, he was practically begging Sam to abandon me…to desert me…and all the while, he had a wife…with a child.

Though of course, I guess it wasn’t my fault. How was I to know that this ‘Grace Miller’ child was Jack’s? I mean, for God’s sake, they had different SURNAMES.

…Which now that I think about it, could be part of Jack’s schemes…to get back at me.(A/N- Note the ‘could’)

Obviously he wouldn’t want revenge on Sam, right? Unless…he was still nurturing his anger when Sam had refused his…

“David! We’ve got to find them!” shouts Sam loudly, her face looking extremely distraught.

We were currently in the hallway (of my house) just having received a phone call from Horizon…which had gone something along the lines of:

“Hello?”

“Yes? David _____, speaking.” I had replied, my voice wondering why on Earth the head teacher of Horizon was calling me.
Was Natalie alright? Was Alexandra alright?

“Oh, Mr. _______, I’m just calling you to make sure that you DO know that Natalie and Alex have gone home with Grace Miller…God knows that the school phones are slightly insecure…They keep cutting off every five minutes. I must remember to get them fixed. Hold the line a moment…I need to write a note to myself…Alright, don--”

I sighed to myself as I heard rustling of paper on the other end. This guy…he sure was clumsy.

“…Who’s Grace?” I interrupted…something in my head telling me that I needed to find out exactly who this girl was.

“Miss Miller? I knew I needed to ring you. Mrs. Graham has been trying to persuade me not to but I KNEW that the phones had been playing up all week…”

“Who’s Grace?” I repeated my voice firmer.

“Oh sorry…Grace. Grace Miller, in Natalie’s class...she’s about Natalie’s height…dark brown hair…extremely bright blue eyes? You surely can’t have missed her eyes. They’re very memorable…hypnotizing, you could say.”

With that description, an image of someone…I was not exactly fond of, shall we say…appeared in my head.

Jack. Jack Ryder.

“Do you want me to find her parent’s phone-numbers?” asked the head-teacher, his voice suddenly sounding worried.

“If you wouldn’t mind.” I had replied, my voice trying my hardest not to waver.

I mean, after all, Sam was looking at me weirdly.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of finding them…it’s a matter of what he’s going to do with them.” I reply, shaking my head free of my thoughts…

…And of course, trying to hide the fact that I was scared. Scared for my two children…One of whom I had not seen for twelve years.

“Ok, Sam…this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to get into the car and give Jack a little visit. Alright?” I say, attempting to keep in control of the situation.

Which I must add, was a hopeless task.

“You know his address?”

“Yeah…got it from Natalie’s headmaster,” I say, leading the way towards the car.
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David’s POV (Slightly later)

What can I say? The car journey to Jack’s house was silent…deadly silent, like we were waiting for something to happen…something to save us from our fate.

Not that seeing Jack would kill us or anything.

It would just bring up painful memories from the past…I guess that’s about the same thing.

Looking over at Sam, who was wearing an expression I can only describe as utter horror, I announce that we had arrived.

She returns the gaze and stares at me, her eyes seeming to apologize…apologize to what she did to me in the past.

“Come on,” I tell her, getting out of the car, gesturing for her to follow my lead.

I really needed her to be cheerful right now, instead of this. I really needed her not to worry…I was already worrying enough about the twins for both of us.

“David, how nice to see you!” greets the man at the door…someone who bore the exact facial features to Jack Ryder.

…Which would make sense…David, you idiot, this IS Jack Ryder.

“Hey Jack.” I answer, trying to stay cool…calm…relaxed.

Though of course, it was hard when you knew that the man in front of you had resulted in the mess-of-a-family you had now.

“And Sam! What a reunion!” he says, his face trying not to burst in utmost glee.

I sigh.

“Jack, where are they?”

“Pardon?” Jack replies, as if I had asked a question in a foreign language.

“Jack. Please, this isn’t the time for joking around.”

He winks at me before leading us into the house.

“Grace! Come and meet these people!” he shouts out.

And minutes later, I’m (or I should say, we…since Sam was also there; just not responding.) met with a figure who looked like Jack in all respects…except for the fact that her eyes looked as if they had been flowing with bitter, salty tears a few minutes before.

Who’d blame her? I mean, having JACK for a father?!

“Hello…I’m Grace. Grace Miller.” She introduces herself, her voice threatening to break out into tears.

But why? What had happened?

“Grace, go and get Natalie and Alex. It’s time for them to go home…wait, no I forgot, we left them on the hillside, didn’t we?”

“You did WHAT?” I shout as the impact of Jack’s words hit me.

I would have merely ignored them if it was anyone else but…Jack. I wouldn’t put that act under him. I mean, he had already ruined my life ever since I had met him at that ‘Kris’ girl’s party.

“Daddy…” Grace says, her voice sounding weary.

“Ok, fine, I lied.” He responds, glaring at Grace.

Poor kid. She was obviously tired of her father acting like this…tired of being bossed around…doing things she didn’t want to do.
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#17 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:26 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Tuesday 2nd April

So…I guess I was filled with relief when I heard the familiar voice of my Dad downstairs. I mean…not that I wasn’t having a good time or anything (Grace was actually COMPLETELY different to the image she portrayed at school) but….I don’t know. I was just scared of Grace’s dad. I can’t really pin-point why I was frightened but…I guess it was just the reality that I had seen Grace cry several times today.
And yeah, Grace is one of those girls who NEVER CRIES.

Guess that’s not true then…But then again, I can’t blame her. She is a really polite, friendly girl once you get to know her better…at home, of course. If this was at school, I would have bet anything that Grace would have just walked away at me…

…Of course, after her ‘worshipers’ had taken care of me.

Which mainly meant pointing and sneering at me…Not much of a big deal…until it came to the rumor part that is. I personally have never been a victim of it but that guy that used to be in my class…what was his name? Oh yeah, Zac Fieldman…my science partner last year, who I also admit I had a crush on. Ok, so fine…I crush on practically anyone. But I promise you, this thing with Ryan is PROPER. Anyway, enough about my love life…So Zac got onto Grace’s bad side, and so therefore, Grace, to get revenge…well, she spreads a whole lot of rumors around about Zac selling drugs. And yeah…this being high-school (yes, even Horizon), the rumor got round the school in five minutes flat.

…Unfortunately for Zac, the teachers also overheard the rumor and before we knew it, Zac Fieldman was no longer a student at Horizon. I mean...I don’t even get why they expelled him. It wasn’t like no-one in the school did drugs, was it?

Though of course, the people who dealt with drugs and all that stuff did it secretly…which meant that Zac was probably the first case that had passed through their ears.

The last thing I heard about Zac was that he had transferred to another school…something like Adams Prep or something. (A/N– Yes, it is indeed Sam’s old high-school)

“Natalie, Alex…your parents are here,” says Grace, reappearing in her bedroom.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention how Grace had gone down to check who the visitor was…she seemed apparently FRIGHTFUL of what Jack was going to do with my parents.

All I can say is…she must be psychic. I was worrying so much that right now, I can barely keep my pen straight.

“Grace, are you alright?” I ask, observing that she seemed to close to tears…again.

For a girl who I had previously thought did not cry…well, she seemed to be doing a lot of it.

“Don’t mind me…I’m fine,” Grace answers, her eyes averted…staring straight at the poster of Gwen Stefani on her wall.

Yeah…she likes the same music as me…and Alex, now that I think about it. Seriously, I’m surprised she doesn’t tell us that she’s our ‘long-lost triplet’.

Though obviously, that’s not true…right? We’ve dismissed the whole triplet thing already.

Well, I have.

“Well…if you say so,” says Alex matter-of-factly.

She seemed totally unnerved by the fact that we were in Jack Ryder’s house. Jack Ryder, the guy who had apparently ruined our parent’s relationship. Jack Ryder, the guy who had meant that we had to be separated…meaning Alex and I, by the way.

“Yeah…I’m fine. Come on, let’s go downstairs,” Commands Grace, a little TOO forcefully for her to have been ‘in control of the situation’.

This girl, well…she’s a mess.

“Grace, look, if you ever need…um…help or anything…we’re here,” I murmur as I follow her out of the room.

She smiles weakly at me and nods slowly.

“Yeah, we’re here,” Alex repeats.
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Natalie’s Diary, 2nd April (Later)

Yeah. Guess where we are? STILL in Jack’s house…so we were about to depart an hour ago but Jack, being Jack managed to stall us for a little longer…

…Well, it turns out to be a lot longer.

Why?

Because apparently…I can’t bring myself to write it…But I will. I will!
Ok, Natalie…deep breaths.

It turns out that Grace isn’t our triplet or anything; no…she’s our cousin. Well, according to what Jack just said. Which was something alone the lines of:

“Meet Grace Miller, daughter of Jack Ryder and Rebecca Madison.”

Yeah…Rebecca Madison…she’s Alex’s (ok, OUR) mother’s sister. So that makes her my aunt, right?

“Why is Grace’s surname ‘Miller’ then?” my dad asks, his face looking like he was trying to find some loophole in the situation.

Sam glances at him, her face a shadow.

“David…Rebecca, she just got married to a guy named Joshua Miller.”

“Then how…how did ‘this’ happen?” he questions, his arms gesturing wildly to nothing in particular.

You got to give it to him…he looked SO confused. Then again, so was I.

“I don’t know,” whispers Alex’s mother (ok, our…), frowning.

I guess I could understand why. Jack was practically my parents’ arch-enemy. I could see why they were totally shocked that they were ‘related’ to him in some way.

Well, I guess they’re not really related properly…by blood, I mean. But you know Grace’s still my cousin.

“It’s OBVIOUS,” Announces Jack, looking stunned by our…um…brain power?

“Jack…”

“I mean, isn’t it obvious that Rebecca went out with me? You wouldn’t suspect it of little, perfect, clever…INNOCENT Rebecca, would you?” he says, emphasizing each of her qualities.

Alex’s mother (ok, FINE, our…) goes pale…as pale as the bed sheets in my room.

“Rebecca…no…You wouldn’t have…” I hear her whisper.

“Look at the proof…the living proof,” states Jack, pushing Grace forward for everyone to examine.

A Grace who once again, looked extremely fed up with her father. Though of course, she couldn’t exactly do anything…not without OUR help at least…meaning Alex and mine, by the way.

“She doesn’t look at all like Rebecca,” mutters my Dad…mostly to himself…trying to somehow convince himself to believe that this guy was lying.

Though I guess Jack wasn’t since as Dad took a closer look, he groaned. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t know who the (excuse me) hell Rebecca Madison was…so I had no clue whether or not Grace really was my cousin or not.

Alex, however, seemed able to compare Grace’s features to those of Rebecca Madison. That would make sense, I guess. She was probably familiar with her mother’s (ok, fine, I know…our) side of the family whilst I was familiar with my dad’s.

“It’s true…Jack…he’s telling the truth,” says Alex, revealing to the world what we all knew…

…Grace Miller was the daughter of Jack Ryder and Rebecca Madison.

Damn.
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#18 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:26 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Tuesday 2nd April

I’ve given up writing Jack’s name as ‘The Guy’. I figured that the word ‘Jack’ was shorter…and since I have rather a lot to write…

…Ok, I’m lazy…So, so lazy.

Anyway, to add to all the drama that’s been happening lately…well…my mother’s sister, in other words, Aunt Rebecca went out with Jack Ryder.

I know…I don’t really believe it either. But you see, the thing is…once Jack ‘accidentally’ spilt the truth...I don’t know…I sort of began SEEING it in Grace.

I mean…even though she was the split image of Jack, she also carried some features from Rebecca.

Which made sense, I guess.

…Though, the adults (the parents) didn’t seem to get it. They didn’t seem to realize the similarities…or maybe they just didn’t want to understand…want to know that they were related to Jack.

“But…Jack…even if Rebecca just married a guy with ‘Miller’ as her surname...why isn’t her surname ‘Ryder’? Surely that doesn’t make sense.” My mother says, trying her hardest (I could tell) to find a way not to believe the truth.

What she was saying…well, it was a good point. Why was Grace called ‘Grace Miller’ when her father was Jack Ryder?

“Why? Grace, tell them…put the out of their misery.” Jack commands, seeming to be enjoying the fact that my parents were getting distressed by him.

Grace flashes an apologetic look at my parents, Natalie and I.

“…When my mother gave birth to me, she was too distraught to take care of me. She was going out with Joshua Miller already…she didn’t want to break the relationship up. Therefore…”

“…she left you in Jack’s care?”

Grace nods, her eyes fixed on something invisible…in the distance.

“So why are you Grace Miller then?” asks my mother.

“Because…I wanted some connection with my mother…I’ve never seen her…I’ve just heard about her. And of course…I saw the wedding invitation from her last month…”

“…You weren’t there…Jack was…” mutters my father (it feels SO strange to say that).

“Well, I couldn’t have her running to her mother now, could I? I have loads of jobs for her to do.” Says Jack, his face beaming with happiness…a cruel happiness…

…All I knew right then was that somehow, we had to get Grace away from this monster of a parent.

It just wasn’t right; wasn’t fair that she had to go through all this tormenting.

“You’re disgusting, Jack. You don’t even let your own daughter see her mother. And it’s not like Rebecca didn’t want to see Grace…I mean, she invited BOTH of you,” says my father, his voice rising higher and higher in anger that Jack could treat Grace like this.

Grace was practically his prisoner.

“Me? I’m disgusting? Well, who went out with Lucy?” he retorts, his cheeks flaring up madly.

Wait. Lucy? Lucy…as in AUNT LUCY…My mother’s sister?

“Yes, Sam. Lucy MADISON.” Jack completes, his voice sounding victorious.

“David…”

“Jack…stop spreading rumours that aren’t true.”

“Oh, you can cover up now, First Son…but later, you won’t be able to hide it.” Jack says, winking.

So…was what Jack blurted out true? Did my dad REALLY go out with Aunt Lucy? Or was this another one of Jack’s lies?

For once, I couldn’t tell…I couldn’t tell which one of them were lying…they both had superb talents in hiding their emotions.

…Too bad I didn’t inherit that.

“I don’t have to hide anything!” shouts my dad, his voice filled with fury.

“Dad…you didn’t did you?” asks Natalie, her voice quiet in amongst the din.

Natalie…her face…it mirrored the one that Grace had wore when she was being bossed around by her father…that look of hopelessness…that look of knowing that your father was most likely hiding things from you.

Natalie and her dad exchange glances…and then it hit me. Natalie’s dad wouldn’t lie to her…couldn’t lie to her. He wasn’t like Jack…he wasn’t the sort of person who was able to lie purposely to his children (this is excluding the twins thing, of course).

He had to tell the truth.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------Alex’s Diary, 2nd April

We’re finally back at the house…after what has been a very...emotional day.

Ok, so I know I finished the last diary entry at a very crucial point and you’re probably annoyed at me for doing so…but you see…I can’t bear to write down what happened.

I can’t bear to write down the facts…can’t bear to face the truth that instead of my parents getting back together…well, frankly, they were falling apart.

And fast.

Yes, if you haven’t guessed by now…my dad…did in fact go out with Aunt Lucy.

And it gets worse…this ‘affair’ happened during my parents’ HAPPY YEARS (as my mother puts it).

So you could say that right now, my mother’s extremely furious…but also a touch depressed.

Like she feels that she’d never had a proper time with my dad.
“It’ll be fine…” I say, comforting my mother…

…Who has, by the way, locked herself in the spare bedroom (with me inside, nonetheless) away from my dad.

“No, Alex…it won’t. You wouldn’t understand…you’re not into that kind of stuff yet.”

“Oh yeah? Try me…Besides, Hannah’s my best friend!” I say, forgetting that Han was Aunt Lucy’s daughter.

My mother moans as she hears the name.

“Sorry…But really, everything will turn out JUST FINE.” I mutter, trying my best to sound reassuring.

“Alex…it won’t. It really won’t. I’ve led my life believing lies…just like you and Natalie have. I’m sorry, Alex. Sorry for what I’ve done to both of you.”

“It’ll be FINE. Just go and sort it out with--”

“Alex...I don’t believe he did that…with my own sister as well. It would have been better if it was anyone else…even Kris. But not Lucy…”

Ok. So I don’t even know who Kris was…but…well…everyone seems to have forgotten about the whole ‘Grace-being-our-cousin’ thing. I thought that was more important…the fact that at this moment, the poor child was probably being abused…not physically (I hope, anyway) but mentally.

“Look…I know you’re upset but first, we need to help Grace.” I say, attempting to sound as rational as was possible.

Her face frowns as she remembers the ‘Grace’ situation.

“Ok, look…Alex…we’ll get her out of there, alright?”

“Now?” I ask, since her face looked extremely determined…and trust me, she does tend to go into things head-first.
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#19 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:27 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Tuesday 2nd April

All, I can say is…well, I’m confused. Very confused…with all that’s been happening lately, I’d probably believe it if someone told me that in fact, I was male.

Ok, wait…no, Nat, stop thinking like that.

You are NOT a guy.

Even if Alex believes that you are…well, she doesn’t really.
…I think.

So…let’s do a round-up of the last few days…Since I’m so muddled.

Ok. So…David and Sam were going out (…ok, it feels really weird to be writing that) but whilst that was happening, Lucy was going out with David and Jack was flirting with Sam.

And of course…Jack had his little thing with Rebecca too.

Hmm…you know my family is a little too dysfunctional for my liking.

And it sucks.

I definitely wish I was someone else…ok, I’ll erase that thought…I would not like to be Grace.

Poor girl…at least I can be thankful that I’m allowed to see my pare—
Wait. That’s not exactly true either…I mean, they’ve kept me away from Alex and my mother (I wrote it!) for thirteen years.

THIRTEEN, WHOLE YEARS (nearly fourteen…my birthday soon.)

Anyway…so what am I doing now? Well, I’m busy trying to convince my dad to sort it out with my mother (wrote it again!).

And needless to say, my attempts seem to be hopeless.

“Come on, Dad…she’s not going to be THAT angry. I mean…what happened… it WAS in the past, right? Everyone makes mistakes…” I say, trying to keep my voice as reassuring and level as I could.

Not an easy task. Normally, it’s my father that’s supposed to comfort me not the other way round.

Wonder where Alex is…I think it’s time for our ‘vow to get them back together’ to start.

Now…Otherwise, I have a bad feeling that we’ll all be separate again.

And trust me, I am NOT about to have that happen. I mean, who would blame me? After being apart from my mother and my twin sister for thirteen years and not even knowing that they existed.

“Nat…really, I’m fine. You can leave me. Go and ring Annie or someone,” he mutters, his face seeming to be decisive...

“Promise me you’ll think about it.” I say…meaning of course, that he should go and talk to my mother.

He sighs but doesn’t give a proper answer…though from my dad, that was probably the best I could get. He had always been too good at hiding his true emotions…his true needs.

Except this time…I knew he still pined for my mother.

So…without further hanging about in his room (since he seemed to want to be left alone), I walk downstairs…to ring Annie.

Who wasn’t REALLY the person I wanted to talk to (that person was Alex…though she was with her mother…shut up in the guest bedroom).

“Annie?”

“Hey, Nat…” she mumbles, her voice sounding different…not her usual bright self.

“What’s wrong?” I ask, sighing inside.

Annie upset as well? You must be joking.

“Nat…you have to know…I didn’t want it to happen.”

“What?” I ask again, my voice firm…though inside, I was worried.

“Nat…just promise me, you won’t be angry…”

“…Annie, ok, I won’t be angry.” I say, shivering slightly.

“Ryan…he…” she started.

I knew what she was going to say before she finished the sentence. And…I was annoyed. Not angry, but annoyed.

So that was why he asked Alex and me to the party…not because he especially wanted US there…but because of Annie. He would never ask Annie…since Annie was marked as ‘un-cool’.

The sad truth became clear…though…why had Alex said that Ryan was waiting for me after art?

…To ask me to his party…?

…Or something else…?

Sometimes my father’s advice (since he did tell me to ring Annie) really isn’t the best.
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Natalie’s Diary, 2nd April

“Alex? Can I talk to you for a second?” I say through the guest door, my voice wavering…

…Not because of the Ryan thing. Well, partly, I guess.

The wavering voice was because I had stuck my head through my father’s bedroom and the sight I saw…well…for me, someone who had thought their father was strong, was heart-breaking.

“Yeah, wait.”

I hear someone unbolting the door from the other side and I’m revealed to a similar scene…our mother seemed to be mourning like someone had died as well.

“Alex, we NEED to talk,” I mutter, dragging her (not brutally, of course…) into our (well, my) bedroom.

“I know…my mot—sorry, our mother has seemed to have gotten it into her head that it was her fault…and she wants to save Grace to make up for it.”

I nod and say it was similar with my dad except that…well…he didn’t seem to remember the whole Grace thing.

“So…I guess it’s time to start getting them together.”

“Yeah…but how…what about ‘accidentally’ let them meet each other?”

I smile weakly and shrug.

“If you say so…”

“Ok, then let’s go…convince him to go to get a drink from the kitchen...I’ll do the same.”

“Sure…” I say, knowing somehow, that this attempt would be mostly likely hopeless…

…but it was worth a try.

“And Nat…We’ll also work on the Ryan thing.”

“You don’t need to…he’s with Ann--”

“I know. I could hear you from up here…”

Oh.

“Don’t bother, Alex. Really...” I say, trying to suppress the images of Ryan which kept popping up into my head.

She simply smiles before walking out of the door. I sigh…I hoped she wasn’t going to do anything…uh…Alex-like?

So…step one of the ‘Vows’ plan was about to begin. Would it succeed? I wasn’t so sure…but knowing Alex, something major would happen…but for the right cause?

I had no idea.

“Dad? Are you hungry?” I ask, walking into the room.

“No…I’m fine, Nat.” he says, not even looking up from where he was staring…which seemed to be apparently nowhere.

This was going to be much harder than I had thought.

“Are you sure?” I repeat, praying that he would just come down so that my part of the plan was fulfilled.

“Yes, Nat, I’m sure. Now just go and phone Annie.”

“I’ve done that already…you sure you’re not thirsty?”

“Nat! I’m FINE,”

Oops. This was going to be SO difficult...
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#20 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:27 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Tuesday 2nd April

So yes, I guess I should write down how our attempt went…I suppose you’re dying to find out.

Or maybe you’re not.

Well, anyway…after I had told Natalie what we were going to do (ok…what I was going to do), I left her bedroom, making my way towards my mother’s room…where I hoped she still was.

I honestly hoped she hadn’t gone to rescue poor, poor Grace Miller.

Because frankly, right now, was NOT the best time to do it. Since you know, right now she was suffering from her own dilemma and it really would not be that useful for her to get herself involved with Grace’s.

And yes, luckily, my mother was still there. Upset….tired…you get the picture.

“Can I get you anything?” I ask, hoping that she would accept my offer.

“What about…changing the time back?” she answers, obviously being sarcastic.

…And distraught.

“Sorry, can’t do that. What about…a drink? Or something to eat?”

I smile innocently.

“Alex…what are you doing?” she says, sighing.

“What do you mean?” I ask, trying to keep my innocent look.

…Though it was obvious that she could see right through it.

“Alex, come on. What are you planning?”

“Nothing!” I exclaim, fighting the urge to admit the ‘plan’.

She rolls her eyes at me and smiles.

“Ok, for once, Alexandra, I’m going to take your advice. I’ll go and get something to eat and then…maybe…I’ll think things through.” She says.

“The name’s Alex.” I reply, winking.

At least she was feeling a little better, despite all the events that have happened lately.

“You know, sometimes, I think that you’ve forgotten that your real name is Alex.”

I pull a face.

“Hey, even you know that Alex suits me better.”

She laughs, looking more cheerful than she had been. I guess I’m either extremely good at making people forget about bad events OR I’m just hilariously funny and everyone’s laughing at me.

I think I go for the latter.

“Why don’t you go and find Nat?” she questions, dismissing me.

“…Because she’s probably with her father?”

My mother freezes for a second as she remembers the ‘truth’ that had been revealed to her a few hours ago. I find myself crossing my fingers…hoping that she’d stop dwelling on the past and just…I don’t know…make things up with my father.
So we could all live a happy life.

…Not that I could even dream of that being true. Since you know, I’m a Madison.

My mother seems to recover and smiles at me weakly before going downstairs to get a drink.

And now, it was time to see how Natalie was doing…

“Nat? You in there?” I ask softly through the door.

“Yeah, come on in.”

“Are you part of this plan too? This plan to go and make me get something to drink?” my father asks (once again, I have to state how strange it is to write that).

“Plan? What plan?” I question, using the same innocent look that I had used on my mother.

And I hoped that he couldn’t see through it. Because I sincerely doubt I’d be able to pull off the same trick twice…especially since I didn’t really know this man that well.

“Yeah! There isn’t a plan!” says Natalie, backing me up.

“But you know…now that you mention it, you really should go and get something to eat…you look hungry.”

“Alexan—No, sorry…uh…Alex, I’m fine...really, just fine.”

“Dad…please go and eat something…you really do look pale.” Natalie remarks…almost sounding like him denying food was the worst crime in the world.

He looks at Natalie’s face…which I must state, was showing that she had quite good acting skills…and nods slowly.

“If it means THAT much to you, I’ll go and get some water.”

Score!
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Alex’s Diary, 2nd April

Ok, uh…that was pretty much…interesting.

So…let’s go back a bit.

We convinced both of the parents to go downstairs and there we were, situated at the staircase where no-one could see us but where we could hear all the action.

That is, if there was any.

“Oh…David…” mutters my mother, sounding (as far as I could tell) pretty annoyed at seeing him.

“Sam…look…I’m sorry, alright? I promise you…if I could take it back, I would.”

“But you can’t.” my mother replies…rather bluntly, I must say.

“It’s not like you didn’t consider Jack Ryder over me,” he remarks.

“Yeah, but at least I didn’t LIE about it.”

“Sam, I had no choice…I owed Lucy something and when she asked me if I’d play the part of her boyfriend for a few weeks…well I had to do it.”

“Why did you owe her?”

“Because…it was her…It was Lucy that persuaded me…persuaded me that I did have a chance with you. You know, after the whole, Kris’s party thing. She was the one who brought me back to Earth…made me realize that in fact…I lo—“

“Don’t.”

“Sam…please…it wasn’t like we did anything.”

“You better not be telling any more lies, David. I’m watching you.”

I hear them laugh before walking back towards us.

“Up! Up!” I whisper to Nat before bounding up the stairs as quietly and quickly as I could.

Which I have to say, is rather impossible when the staircase is made out of creaky wood.

“Alex…Nat…come out.” I hear a voice say.

…Busted.

I walk slowly back down (Natalie close behind me), to face our fate.

“So this was the plan, was it?” my dad asks.

“Well…yeah.”

“I have to say…you two are pretty deadly together,” says my mother, smiling at both of us.

“So, watch out.” I say, giving them a trademark ‘Alex’ smile.

For our first attempt…well, that wasn’t too bad. Though thinking it through, there were many stages at which it could have broken apart.

Which is why, next time, we’re going to have to think a plan through PROPERLY.

Since ok, I admit, I didn’t really give Nat a say this time.

But for now…its celebration time…the first step of the ‘getting-the-parents-back-together’ plan was finally starting to move.

However…I was sort of wary about my mother stopping my father saying that he loved her.

But we’ll work around that…right?
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#21 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:28 PM

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Sam’s POV (A/N- 3rd April)

That was exactly why I didn’t want the twins to find out about their parent’s relationship…it was why I took Alex across the Atlantic Ocean.

I guess I was selfish, now that I think about it…but I couldn’t bear it to happen again…

I remember that month, as clearly as if it happened yesterday. The month when I was around six years old…when my parents had a massive argument…they threatened to walk out on each other…

Lucy was the one that took it worse…she was the oldest; she understood what was happening the clearest. I remember watching her and wondering why suddenly, she had a sudden interest in borrowing books on the subject of divorce. I remember thinking what had happened to make her so upset.

And soon, I caught on…

Of course, my parents resolved their problems but the memories wouldn’t fade. They were embedded in my mind forever…those weeks of crying, until I found that no matter how hard I tried, no tears would come out…the weeks of misery.

…The weeks of thinking that for us as a family, there was no hope.

Now, it seemed as if my life was replaying again…except this time, it was me that was doing the fighting…and it was the children who would suffer, just like I did.

I couldn’t let them suffer…and there was no other way except to move away from David. Erase the past…it wasn’t like we were going to get back together…

“Sam? You alright?”

I blink, suddenly jolting myself from the depths of my haunted-dream world. I felt a wave of relief flow over me as I realized that I was back into reality, glad that for once, the dream did not continue to the point where I was practically screaming for mercy.

“Yeah…I’m fine,” I say, looking up at David wearily.

…Why was he in my room? Was I…uh…being loud?

Feeling self-conscious, since even now, I still adopted the shorts/t-shirt look for bed, I scrambled further into my covers.

Anyway…the dream…I wondered why it had come back…I suppose the last few days had caused the thoughts to resurface.

Yeah…that nightmare…I’d started having these thoughts ever since I’d moved over to England. Started uncovering the situation of what had happened when I was six…started wondering if I was letting the twins suffer in the same way that I had.

…Wondering if I was creating nightmares for the twins…creating dreams that later, they would spend their time troubled by.

I don’t know how long I spent in England, always being haunted by my decisions…

…Which was why, in the end, I decided to return. Back to my home country…I hoped that there, my dreams would halt.

“You sure? You looked like you were having some bad thoughts?” David asks, examining my face with concern.

Which was nice, I guess…I hadn’t had anyone worry about me for too long…I seemed to be doing enough worrying about my past judgments enough already.

“David, I’m fine. Really…what time is it?” I ask.

“About six in the morning.”

I moan. But honestly…SIX in the morning? Ok, so maybe it’s alright for DAVID to wake up at that time…but…yeah, I normally wake up at ten so…

“Hey, you can sleep for another two hours if you want.”

I shiver…I didn’t quite want to return to my ‘other’ world…where anything could happen.

So that was why I was awake at six in the morning.

“You’re not going to sleep?” David exclaims, looking surprised when he sees me coming downstairs several minutes later.

But then again, that look could have been him realizing that the clothes I was wearing weren’t really…um…covering?

Ok, Sam, stop that. You KNOW he’s out of bounds now…you know he won’t take you back.

Though at least, thanks to SOME PEOPLE’S intervention, we weren’t furious with each other. I wonder if he was telling the truth last night…when he said that he owed Lucy. Because you know, I sincerely doubted that Lucy would have talked to David those years ago. I mean, Lucy was already too busy trying to force me to discover a thing called ‘modern day fashion’…as she would put it, anyway. I don’t know…I just didn’t think that Lucy would talk to David, of all people. It…it just wasn’t something she would do.

I mean, it would ruin her so-called ‘reputation’ if people caught her with the First Son. I even recall her refusing to turn up at the White House…though of course, that could have been because she had a date with Jack. I guess now that I think about it, she seemed fine with the prospect of dining at such a famous building when she’d reorganized their ‘night’.

“David…?”

He glances at my face and his smile fades…

“Sam, look, if you don’t believe what I told you last night then…”

“David…I…” I start to say.

“Sam, there’s no point of me trying to make you believe if you just won’t trust me—”

“DAVID! Listen to me! I just want some water.” I shout, rolling my eyes.

Though at least I learnt something…the events of last night were still rolling about in his mind.

“Uh, Sam?”

“Yeah…?”

“You’ve got a cup of water in your hand.”

I look down.

Smart, Sam, really smart.

“David…about last night…it’s not that I don’t believe you…it’s just that what you said was, I don’t know…hard to believe, I guess.” I say, stuttering slightly on my choice of words.

“I know…I just…Oh, hey Nat.”

Great, perfect timing…And yeah, if you didn’t pick it up, I was being sarcastic.

“Hey…” she says, entering the room.

I feel her eyes glance at me and suddenly, she turns around, saying that she forgot to do something.

I smile at her, knowing that she just wanted to let us carry on our discussion.

“So yeah…about the Lucy thing…I guess…I just wish I had told you earlier.”

“Well, at least I know now.” I say, trying to be optimistic.

…Which is a really hard thing to do at six in the morning.
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#22 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:28 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Wednesday 3rd April

So, here I am, jumping on Alex…

…And no, not like that.

“Jeez…Nat, what is WRONG with you?” asks Alex, sounding half-asleep but still looking at me like I had suddenly grown two heads.

“I need to tell you something.”

“You don’t have to resort to those measures!”

“Alex! Back to the point!” I shout, slightly embarrassed. I guess it’s not exactly the perfect waking up alarm…someone…um…jumping on you.

“Ok, ok, sorry.”

“Right, well you know ‘them’?”

“Uh…who exactly?” she asks, looking at me confused.

I sigh.

“Our parents?”

She gestures for me to continue, her face of boredom and tiredness suddenly vanishing to be replaced by one of interest.

“Well, your mother (fine, our) doesn’t believe my dad about the whole ‘owing Lucy’ thing.”

“He’s my dad too, you know. But anyway…you woke me up to tell me THAT?”

“Um…yes?”

She sighs, burying herself back into her bed.

“What?” I ask, very confused in what I had done wrong.

“Well, of course she doesn’t believe him. Would you? Would you believe that?” she questions.

I feel myself suddenly guarding my thoughts. As if Alex could somehow reach inside my mind and read everything inside.

People at school, they used to hurt me. Torture me….made me wish that I had never had a father. Wish that I had a normal father…a father who didn’t spend most of the day talking to his rich contacts.

But then I grew older. Made friends, made relationships with people that really mattered. I learnt to forget about popularity and instead, just kept my few best friends.

“Nat?” she murmured, seeing that I had zoned off.

I blink, shaking my head free of the thoughts from the past which plagued my head.

“Nat, we’re going to get them together. Alright? But first, there’s something (well, someone) much more important.”

“What?” I ask, wondering what could be more important then getting the parents back together…we could be separated once again and all I would remember about my sister was this fateful week.

“Grace. We’re going to have to get her out.”

Great. Just GREAT.

“And how are we about to go about doing that?” I say, sounding rather sarcastic.

I mean, it wasn’t like I believed that Alex could rescue Grace...And I was beginning to have my thoughts about whether Grace WANTED to be rescued.

…Because in the end, Jack was her father…
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Natalie’s Diary, 3rd April

No, we’re not at Grace’s house, pounding on the door. We had ‘prior’ commitments: School.

I guess it was better this way since it wasn’t like Grace would have been at her house. I mean, that girl, she never missed school.

Ever…even if she was ill, she would beg with her teachers to let her stay in the nurse’s ward instead of being sent home.

Everyone wondered why Grace wanted to be at school, so much. She had joined every single after school activities there were.

But now, it made sense…

“Nat…are you angry at me?” pipes a voice beside me.

Annie.

I feel myself go cold as I remembered our phone call last night. I feel myself abruptly resenting Annie, wishing that she wasn’t aliv—

Nat. Don’t. Just don’t.

I sigh and I can see tears well up in Annie’s eyes. I knew that she wanted to accept Ryan’s ‘offer’. I knew that it would mean everything to her if I just gave her permission.

I didn’t even know why she was talking to me…she knew my affections for Ryan, anyway.

What made her think that I would agree to this arrangement? What made her think that I would allow my best friend to date the boy who was constantly in my thoughts? What?

Nat…be calm. It’s only Ryan. He never liked you, he probably never would. He’s just a friend.

“Annie…I…” I start to say.

“Nat, please, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it to happen…I didn’t mean that conversation a few months ago to—” she stops, and puts her hand over her mouth.

I frown. A FEW MONTHS AGO?

I feel myself harden up again. I was about to forgive her; let her go her own way. But now? Now I was angry…I felt betrayed, betrayed by the person who I thought I knew everything about.

I guess not. I guess you can’t trust anyone…not your best friend, or your parents.

No one…You can trust no one.

…Unless that someone happens to be your twin sister.

I turn my back on Annie, walking towards Alex attempting to keep my tears back.

I knew it was slightly pathetic to be crying my eyes out about a boy when other people (Grace) had much more major problems.

But I couldn’t help it. I really couldn’t…I had had enough. Had enough of everyone telling me lies…I just couldn’t bear it anymore.

“Nat! You alright?” asks Alex, her face looking worried.

“Yeah, I’m just FINE. I mean, I’ve just found out that my best friend has been lying to me for MONTHS,” I say, taking out my anger and distress in sarcasm.

I don’t know why. It was just instinct.

“About the Ryan thing…?” she questions, seeming rather self conscious of me.

I nod, urging myself to take deep breaths. Alex raises her eyebrows before telling me to stay where I was…advising me to avoid Annie until she had something sorted out.

I watch her work her way through the crowd which surrounded Ryan. I turn away, knowing that Alex was going to talk to him…somehow find out what had happened…convince him that Annie wasn’t right for him.

But you know, slowly I was beginning to think straight. I was beginning to think that maybe, maybe he wasn’t perfect. Maybe my childhood love for him covered up all his faults.

How could he have no faults? No one, especially him was perfect.

And in that moment, I knew what I had known all along but just hadn’t seen it: I never liked Ryan.

I just used him as an excuse to cover up the past...he was the first real friend I’d made, after all.

“Alex…?” I call, wishing her to stop having her rather animated conversation with Ryan. And of course, Mrs. Graham had just come in and everyone was rushing for their seats…except Alex and Ryan.

She looks up and catches the face expression I’m wearing.

“ALEXANDRA MADISON…and Ryan Strackham…What do you think you’re doing? When the bell rings, you SIT. You don’t carry on talking, do you understand?” she shouts, getting over her initial shock that Alex was still in her class.

Alex rolls her eyes before grabbing a seat next to me. She shoots me a look which evidently said: “We need to talk”.

Should I be scared? Because at that moment, I was.

Too scared to realize that one person hadn’t turned up for school that day.

Grace Miller. She wasn’t there.
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#23 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:29 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Wednesday 3rd April

“Alex! It’s Grace! She’s not here!” Nat’s whispered, several moments after Mrs. Graham had shouted at me to sit down.

I froze as I heard her words, feeling a chill trickle down my back. Grace Miller? Missing a day of school?

Even if I had newly joined the school, I did know that Grace Miller had never, ever missed a day of school. Not even if she was sick.

So, where was she?

“Gareth Lots?”

“Yes, miss.”

“Grace Miller?”

Silence…Mrs. Graham looked around the room, seemingly trying to find Grace.

“Mrs. Graham? Grace isn’t here today,” announces Nat, biting her lip in anxiety.

I guess she was also feeling partly guilty…we had, after all, said that we were going to save Grace this morning. And what had we done? We’d left Grace…alone…with Jack.

“Is there something wrong with her?” asks Mrs. Graham, her face lighting up in hope that Nat would give a reasonable explanation for why her favorite pupil (Grace) was absent today.

“I’m not sure…” says Nat, truthfully.

“It was Alexandra, wasn’t it? Alexandra did something unstable again and Grace is suffering from the after-effects? Correct?”

I blink, wondering how my name got dragged in so suddenly.

“Alexandra, admit it. It was you, wasn’t it?”

I feel myself going red as I faced Mrs. Graham who was now pointing a finger accusingly at me.

And I wasn’t going red out of embarrassment, it was out of anger.

I didn’t know what I had done to Mrs. Graham. I didn’t know what I had done to deserve this kind of treatment.

“It wasn’t Alex!” shouts a voice from the back.

Annie.

“Yeah, it wasn’t Alex!” says another voice.

Ryan.

I see Nat tense up as she recognized the two voices. I guess it was hard for her to forgive them…I mean, if I was right, Nat had pined over Ryan for a long time.

And even if she didn’t like Ryan now, it didn’t mean that Annie was forgiven. Oh no, far from it.

“You children are all so easily persuaded. Look at her face. She’s going red from being guilty!”

And that, I’m afraid, was the last straw. I couldn’t take it any longer. I couldn’t bear this woman accusing me for crimes that I had no part in. I couldn’t begin to understand why she hated me so much…

…All I had done was talk back to her. Did that action REALLY deserve to be avenged like this?

“Alex…don’t…don’t rise up to the bait.” I hear Nat whisper to me, her face wearing an expression which looked rather like mine.

An expression of anger…

“Mrs. Graham, do you really believe that it was me?” I ask, confronting her though still attempting to keep my voice calm.

“Of course…ever since YOU joined the school, everything’s been haywire.”

I open my mouth to retaliate but before I can, the bell rings.

I guess you could say I was ‘saved by the bell’. But Mrs. Graham would get it someday. I would make sure that her torturing of myself and other students in the future stopped.

Forever.

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Alex’s Diary, 3rd April

“Annie, look…I have to talk to you.” I say, dragging Annie to the side at lunchtime.

Annie sighs, the expression in her face telling me that she was dreading whatever I had to say.

She could obviously tell I wanted to ask her about her relationship between her, Ryan, and Nat.

“Look, Alex. I know this is about Nat.” she starts.

“Yeah…It’s just…I don’t understand. Why would you go out with Ryan if you knew that you would break your best friend’s heart? No boy could be better than your best friend, and I’m sure you’re sensible enough to know that.”

She sighs again, pausing to phrase an answer to the question I had just asked.

“I thought…I thought Nat was pining after Zac Fieldman.”

Zac Fieldman? (A/N- For all of you who forgot, Zac Fieldman is the guy who got expelled from Horizon after getting on Grace’s bad side. To why Grace (who isn’t evil, now that we know her) got Zac expelled, you’ll find out later)

“Who’s Zac Fieldman?”

“Zac? Oh, he was Nat’s science partner last year. He got onto Grace’s bad side and before we knew it, Zac was accused of selling drugs and Zac was expelled.”

Why would Grace spread rumors about Zac? Grace wouldn’t do that…unless of course, Jack Ryder had anything to do with it.

It just didn’t seem to fit…

“What school does he go to now?”

“Adams Prep…I think.”

Adams Prep? Where have I heard that name before?

“You know, the transfer choice was pretty strange...Zac could have been transferred to another school which could have been closer but Grace’s father ‘specifically requested’ Zac to be transferred to Adams Prep. Apparently it was his old high school or something. Zac’s parents didn’t even get a say! None of us could believe what had happened…except for Grace, of course. ”

I gulp.

Adams Prep…if that was Jack Ryder’s high-school, then it was also my mother’s old high-school. Did Zac Fieldman have a part to play in our ‘story’? Did Zac have more to him than I had first thought? I mean, why would Jack ‘specifically request’ that Zac got transferred to Adams Prep instead of any other school?

“Hey, Alex. What happened at Grace’s house yesterday? Since you know, Nat isn’t talking to me…”

“Nothing much. Anyway, Annie, thanks for your time…I’ll try and get Nat to forgive you.”

She smiles weakly before walking away towards Ryan and his ‘group’. I approach Nat who had been looking at the conversation between Annie and me with contempt.

“Nat, Annie says she’s sorry…”

Nat ignores me, carrying on eating her lunch as if she had never heard Annie’s name.

“Nat…”

I feel Nat stiffen as if she was trying to block out what I was going to tell her. As if she was scared…scared of what her best friend was doing.

“Look, I know you don’t want to talk about this but-”

“Alex, please. I don’t care about Ryan. Is that enough for you?” Nat retorts, still looking scared that I was going to pursue the matter.

“Nat…She thought you liked that Zac Fieldman guy. That was the only reason she went for Ryan…she thought you wouldn’t mind.” I say before realizing the mistake I’d made.

Zac Fieldman…He…left a year ago. Which meant Annie wasn’t exactly telling the truth about her going out with Ryan for a few months.

It was more like a year.

What was Annie getting out of lying to Nat countless times? Sooner or later the truth would leak out and the one to suffer would be Annie.

“—Nat, I need to know about Zac.” I state, quickly changing the subject to insure that Nat didn’t have enough time to realize my ‘mistake’.

…Because things between the two best friends were bad enough already.
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#24 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:29 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Wednesday 3rd April

“Zac? You want to know about Zac?” I ask in clear astonishment.

I didn’t see how Zac had anything to do with the situation we were in…I didn’t see how Zac had anything to do with Jack Ryder. Though looking at Alex’s face expression, I guess it did…

“Nat…Zac…he got transferred to Adams Prep, am I correct?” she says.

I nod, still oblivious to what she was trying to get at.

“…Nat, you do know who else went to Adams Prep, right?”

I shake my head…I’d never heard of that school before.

“It was my—I mean—our mother…and Jack Ryder.”

Oh…Everything I hear about nowadays always seems to contain the name ‘Jack Ryder’.

It’s like…he’s everywhere. Which obviously can’t be true, but lately, everything in my life seems to be revolving around one person.

“Alex…are you SURE Zac has anything to do with this?” I ask, wishing that it was true…wishing that I didn’t have another thing to worry about.

“Well, no, I’m not…SURE. But you never know…the way things have been going, I bet Zac has something to do with this.”

“Does that mean…we have to go and pay a little visit to him?”

She nods.

I groan.

Great…I mean, for Zac, it’ll be like someone turning up at his doorstep, a mere ghost of his past.

Though, I suppose it’ll be nice to talk to Zac again; since as I’ve mentioned before…his looks aren’t bad.

“Nat? Can I have a…word?” questions a timid voice behind me.

I sigh. I could recognize that voice ANYWHERE. Yeah, you’ve guessed it. It was my ‘friend’ Annie.

“Annie—”

“Look, Nat, I’m sorry. Really, I am. If I could do anything to change it, I would. But…I can’t. It’s happened now.”

“Annie—”

“Nat. Please, forgive me. I spent all of last night wishing things could be different, wishing that it was you that Ryan liked, not me. But I just…can’t help it. I just keep…thinking of him. I’m SO sorry.” She blurts out.

“Annie, its fine. Really…I understand.” I say, keeping my voice level.

But it was true. I didn’t care much about Ryan Strackham anymore. It was like someone else had come into my affections…like someone else had taken control of my heart.

And that person?

Well…

“You do?”

“Yeah…Annie, I never really loved Ryan. Honestly, I mean it.” I say, assuring her.

“Really…?” she asks, looking like she didn’t believe me at all.

I guess I could see why. After all, I HAD talked to Annie constantly about Ryan…I suppose it must seem strange to her that I’d suddenly gone off Ryan and onto…

…Ok, so…I don’t actually know who the other person is. But I am determined to find out. Find out who held my affections now.
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Natalie’s Diary, 3rd April

So here we are…Zac’s house. Yeah, yeah…I know. I shouldn’t have let Alex drag me here. But, there was some sort of magnetic attraction to the building…something inside me saying that I should pay a visit to my old friend…

“Hello?” says the lady who answers the door.

“Hey, can we speak to Zac please?”

“Sure. Zac!”

Great…just great…I watch as events fall out of my control. I watch as a figure comes down the stairs…a figure who probably didn’t want to see me again.

I watch as the figure comes closer to the door. Not a familiar figure, mind you. Zac had grown…suddenly. He had grown much taller, so now he was about a head taller than me. His hair was also something…natural looking but…it suited him perfectly. And of course, his blue eyes were shining brightly as clearly as I remembered.

Everything about him…perfec—

Nat. Don’t. Not again, just…don’t do another Ryan thing.

“Oh…hey. You are?” he says, directing his statement to Alex.

“Hey Zac…it’s been a while.” I reply, stepping sideways from where I was trying to hide behind Alex.

There was no point anymore. I mean…this was Zac.

“Nat?” he asks, in pure astonishment.

I nod, smiling at his surprise. It was sort of cute, that smile…a little lop-sided, but cute.

I knew what was happening. I knew who had replaced Ryan…it was Zac.

I sigh to myself. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Zac or anything. But what if he already had someone else in his affections? What if…

“What are you doing here? And who’s this…?” he questions, gesturing at Alex.

“Wait…you’re…Alex, right? Alex Madison.”

I exchange looks of alarm with Alex. How had Zac known what Alex’s name was?

“Madison?” repeats Zac’s mother, with a look of disgust on her face.

“Uh…Nat, Alex, we’ll continue this conversation upstairs, alright?” Zac asks, trying in vain to save the situation.

“You go up with Nat first. I need to ask your mother something,” says Alex, her voice daring us to disobey her.

“If you say so.”
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Natalie’s Diary, 3rd April

“So, Nat…what brings you here?” Zac asks, smiling at me.

Like he was HAPPY to see me…like he was—

Stop it, Nat. Stop it!

“Well, I just…I don’t know…so many things have been happening lately. It’s like my life is falling apart…and I just thought…maybe you’d understand. And of course there’s other stuff. Alex will explain later…”

That was my half of the story…the other half? The half involving Jack Ryder, I left to Alex to tell.

“Hey, don’t worry…I’m sure it can’t be as bad as my life.”

I shrug. I knew what he was referring to; in particular…him being expelled from Horizon, shaming his family.

“You’ve grown.” I state, looking him over once again.

Ok, ok, I know…I couldn’t help it.

“And so have you.” He says, winking.

I blush, as was my usual custom. Not that I completely understood why I was blushing…I mean…all he had said was that I had grown. People tell me that all the time. So why was it bothering me so much? And why was I suddenly beginning to feel hot even though the room was perfectly cool?

Why was I starting to shiver every time Zac looked at me?

“Zac, how did you know who Alex was?” I ask, trying to change the subject urgently.
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#25 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:30 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Wednesday 3rd April

So I followed Zac’s mother slowly into a room which I assumed was the kitchen. I had no reason for pursuing her but…well, I was curious. I mean, why had she spat out my mother’s name as if the words were foul and unspeakable?

“Excuse me for asking, but do you have some sort of grudge against my mother?” I ask, trying my best to sound polite.

I didn’t think I’d make a good impression if I lost my temper. Besides, I wanted to find out more about this situation and it wouldn’t help to get mad.

“Your mother?” she says, turning around in surprise with a glint of hatred in her eyes.

“Yeah, I take it you knew her?”

“Of course I knew her. At Horizon, we were best friends!”

…Horizon? My mother never went to Horizon. That was one fact that I was sure of.

“My mother didn’t go to Horizon. She went to Adams Prep.” I state, wondering if we were thinking about the same person.

“Oh…so that means…well, your mother is either Samantha or Lucy.”

I nod, confirming for her that my mother was Samantha Madison, whilst wondering who she was talking about before. The only people I knew that went to Horizon were my dad and…

…Aunt Rebecca? Was this the connection between Zac’s mother and myself?

“Rebecca Madison. Was that who you were talking about?” I ask, wanting to know if my suspicions were accurate.

“Yes, that…woman.”

“If you were best friends…then why do you hate her now?”

“Because of…Joshua Miller.”

She utters the last word, looking disgusted at the name, before turning her back on me, a gesture that clearly meant that I had to leave.

I frowned to myself. Joshua Miller? Wasn’t he the guy that Aunt Rebecca had just married? Was there another dark mystery behind their marriage?
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Alex’s Diary, 3rd April

“Oh, hey Alex…I was just about to show Nat how I recognized you. Come over and have a look.”

Zac gestures beside him and I hurry over. He was sitting in front of the computer, Nat looking over his shoulder. He proceeds to open up an e-mail, containing a certain familiar attachment.

“That picture, I’ve seen it before…Zac, you knew who I was from this e-mail that Aunt Lucy sent to everyone that was invited to Aunt Rebecca’s wedding, right?” I ask, recognizing the picture on Zac’s computer screen to be the one that I had viewed several months ago.

…The picture which had first led me to discover the identity of Jack Ryder.

“Yeah, how did you know?”

“Like I said, I’ve seen that picture before. But…what I don’t get is why Aunt Rebecca invited your mother to the party…not to cause any offence or anything. According to what your mother told me downstairs, she has a personal bitterness against Aunt Rebecca.”

Zac sighs, before commencing to explain to Nat and I about what exactly happened.

“Well, you see, both my mother and your Aunt Rebecca were pining after Joshua Miller. And since, Rebecca went after…who was he again…Jack Ryder for a while, my mother took her chances with Joshua. She succeeded…for a while. Until, of course, Rebecca realized that Jack Ryder was just using her to get closer to her sister. Apparently he loved Rebecca’s sister…whom, I guess is your mother. ”

I ponder this information and suddenly, it made sense. My parents couldn’t believe that Aunt Rebecca (who was sensible and level-headed) would have gone out with Jack Ryder…Or for that matter, why Jack would have gone out with Aunt Rebecca.

The latter part of that sentence had been solved…for why Aunt Rebecca went out with Jack in the first place, well, maybe she was bribed? I don’t know…but Jack definitely has a hold on people.

It’s slightly amusing that Jack’s in this again. How much time did he have when he was younger? How much time did he have to screw up everyone’s lives?

I suppose he really did want my mother’s love and affection.

“Wow…that’s a lot of information to take in.” says Nat, her voice still sounding like she was trying to work out what happened.

“Hey, Nat…you never told me you had a twin sister.”

“Yeah well, I didn’t know myself…until a few days ago.” She replies, smiling at me.

I smile back, though the moment is interrupted by my phone going off. I apologize briefly to Zac and Nat before answering the phone.

“Hey, Alex!” shouts a voice at the other end.

I grin, feeling glee at hearing that particular voice again; Hannah Madison…my best friend.

“How come you didn’t call me? You’ve been in America for at least three days now!”

“Sorry! I had too much on my mind. Why don’t I make it up to you? I’ll go and ask my mother if I can come over later tonight?” I say, sensing a slight twinge of guilt settle in. After all, I had promised her that I’d visit her as soon as I arrived.

I guess my life events distracted me a little. Ok, more than a little.

“When you say ‘too much on my mind’, do you mean…”

“Han, come on, I know that you understand the meaning of that sentence.”

I hear her laugh in relief on the other end. I guess she was happy that, finally, her best friend knew everything…that her best friend wasn’t in the dark anymore.

“I was hoping that you’d found out. I was hopelessly trying to think of an excuse if you didn’t know what I was talking about.”

“And you…’knew’ that I was going to be revealed to the truth?”

“Well…no, but still, I want to meet your sister!”

I smile at her enthusiasm, my life suddenly looking much brighter. I mean, who can stay glum when there’s someone like Han around the corner?

“Nat, after this, we’re going over to Han’s house…if that’s alright with you…and my mother.” I say, after ending my call with Han.

I crossed my fingers in hope that Nat and Han would get on together. Because otherwise, I’d be split…would I follow the side of my best friend or my twin sister?
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#26 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:30 PM

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Sam’s POV

I guess Jack never got over what happened a few years ago … I suppose he’s back to torment me. It wasn’t like he didn’t expect the answer I gave him several years ago …

… What did he think? Did he honestly expect me to say ‘yes’?

Ok, so I might have agreed to his marriage proposal, IF he hadn’t gone and done a runner with the twins. (Tango- Ok, the marriage thing is explained in the next chapter, just in case you’re confused…)

Don’t ask me why, either … I still have no idea. I guess it was to pressure me into doing what Jack wanted.

Though of course, once I’d got over the shock that the twins were gone, I phoned David.

“David?”

“Sam …” he replied, his voice sounding like he was about to hang up on me any second now.

I guess I could see why. Several weeks later from when we had split up, he had heard that I was going out with Jack Ryder. Now he wouldn’t even look at me … let alone talk to me.

Who he heard it from, I have no idea. In fact … now that I think about it, it was probably Lucy. Since apparently, she had a ‘thing’ with David … maybe she told him about Jack clinging on to me.

“The twins … Jack’s taken them!” I exclaim.

“Well, what do you expect? You’re going to get married.” He says, with a slight hint of sarcasm in his voice.

“No, David … not that … He’s run away with them—” I state, trying my hardest to get my meaning through.

“—And what does this have to do with me?” David asks his voice cold.

“David … please … I don’t know where they are. They’re your children too, you know.” I murmur, feeling that the situation was hopeless.

Grace. I had to go and save her … had to go and help her establish contact with her mother. From what I already knew, Grace was constantly being tortured by her father, forced to do errands for him.

“Rebecca? Are you there?”

“Sam! How come you didn’t ring?” she asks.

“Too much has been happening lately. The twins found out their heritage … and I met someone who wants to meet you. ”

“The twins found out?” She exclaims. “And who wants to meet me?”

“Yeah … the twins know practically everything now. But that’s not what I wanted to speak to you about … I met a girl called Grace Mill—”

“—Sam … look … I don’t know how you found her but if you’re phoning me to get her out of Jack’s grasps, then there’s nothing I can do.
Jack’s not going to let me do anything with her …” she says, her voice suddenly quieter, colder.

“Alex and Nat are in the same class as Grace … and Grace wants to see you … won’t you think about confronting Jack? I’ll help you …”

“Sam … I’d do anything to get Grace back, I really would. But there’s nothing I can do. I even sent a wedding invite to Grace but she didn’t turn up …”

“ … Jack didn’t let her, Rebecca. Jack didn’t want Grace running away … didn’t want Grace returning to you.”

“Oh.” She utters that word, sounding speechless.

“Look, Rebecca. The only thing we can do is to talk to Jack.”

“But how? He’s not going to listen to you either, after the whole marriage incident …”

I wince but force myself to go on.

“Lucy. That picture she e-mailed to us showing your wedding, she sent it to Jack as well. She must have kept in contact with him …”

I suppose we were in the same situation though. We’d both held back secrets from people we loved. And now, at the same time, the secrets were beginning to come to the surface.
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Sam’s POV (A bit later)

“Wow … Rebecca … you had a child with Jack?” exclaims Lucy in disbelief.

Rebecca hangs her head, knowing that the way we saw her had changed. We always saw her as innocent, clever, sensible Rebecca but now, we weren’t quite sure.

“ … So, what can I do for you?”

“Luce, you’ve kept in contact with Jack, haven’t you?”

She averts her eyes from my face but nods slowly.

“Well, not very close contact but … ok, I guess I’m helping.” Lucy says her hands up in mock defeat as she sees our face expressions.

“Luce, you’re going to have to talk to Jack. He won’t listen to either of us so it’s up to you. Sam and I will just … get Grace.” Rebecca commands, her head working away already.

We sit in silence, all of us knowing that the plan was pretty much hopeless. I doubted that Jack would allow Rebecca to reclaim Grace without a fight. And besides, I was feeling unsure about how much contact Lucy had with Jack. She had said that they weren’t that close … would Lucy be able to catch his attention for long enough? Would she be able to persuade Jack that Grace belonged with her mother?

Not likely.

There was nothing we could do, however. This was our only chance … if we screwed this up; Grace would be stuck with Jack forever. The only thing we could do was to get as much help as possible.

“There must be some other way …” Lucy remarks.

“I could always ask Alex and Nat to invite Grace over to our house. Though somehow, I have a suspicion that Jack wouldn’t agree.”

“Yeah … this is impossible.”

Rebecca sighs, looking like we had failed already. Which I guess, in a way, we had.

Our brains weren’t thinking in the right way, we were thinking of more complicated plans then was needed.

“If we can’t get Grace to Rebecca, we could always just try and schedule a meeting together,” I say.

“But how and where?”

“We could always get Alex or Nat to tell Grace to meet you somewhere.”

That might work … provided that Jack didn’t overhear or spy on his daughter.

“Someone would have to keep Jack occupied, though…Which means you, Luce.”

Lucy groans, clearly showing that she didn’t want to talk to Jack at all. I guess I would do the same thing in her position … Who would WANT to talk to Jack anyway?

No one, that’s who, not even Grace …

“So, I guess that’s it, then … I’ll ask Alex and Nat if they’ll agree to do thi—”

“—No need. They’re here now.”

And indeed, that was right. Coming through the doors were the twins greeting Hannah.

“What are you two doing here?”

“They’re here to see me,” says Hannah, seemingly happy to see Alex.

Our conversation about Jack had to end here … for now. Hannah knew nothing about this and we didn’t want to get her involved. Alex and Nat were (though they didn’t know it) the centre of the problem.
If Jack hadn’t gone off with the twins a long time ago, Grace Miller would cease to exist.
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#27 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:31 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Wednesday 3rd April

So, I must admit … all this information is giving me a headache. Every single second, we seem to be uncovering more of the past. It’s tiring, really.

“Alex is this Natalie?” inquires Hannah, giving me a look which clearly said: ‘Natalie, you suck’.

Just from scanning her room, I could tell that we were not about to get along. All the posters on her wall were of bands that I wouldn’t even think of listening to. And for that matter, she had posters of guys with barely any clothes on.

I ask you, what was that about?

“Yeah … we look similar enough for you?” Alex replies, smiling.

I fade their voices out as they start to giggle excitedly. Alex? Giggle? What is this world coming to? I swear, this ‘Hannah’ girl … she’s making Alex into a completely different person. And I didn’t like it … not one little bit. It made me feel as if Alex was somehow changing to impress Hannah … not showing her true colou—

—Nat. Please … they’ve been best friends FOREVER. I doubt that Hannah doesn’t know what Alex is really like. And besides, what would you care, anyway?

She’s just your sister.

I suppose that’s it then … I’m jealous. Jealous that Alex seemed so relaxed with someone other than me … Wait. That’s not right. You don’t OWN Alex.

Just because she has a best friend and you don’t at the present time, doesn’t mean she’s not allowed one.

“Hey Natalie, you have a boyfriend?” asks Hannah, bringing me suddenly out of my thoughts.

“No?”

She waves her hand at me as if she was dismissing me. I shoot Alex a reproachful look … I mean, this WAS her best friend. It was her job to make sure that I didn’t kill Hannah or anything … not that I would go to those extremes, of course.

“So, I’m guessing you got a new boy?” says Alex, jokingly.

Seriously, you’d think from that statement that Hannah purchases boys at the local supermarket.

That’s pretty scary … I can actually imagine it.

Hello, miss? And what do you want today?

A boyfriend … taller than me, blue eyes, blonde hair; how much will that cost?

If I can say so, what an excellent buy you’ve made. Do you wish to sell your old one?

No, thank you. I think I’ll keep him.

Ok, then … That’ll be about …

God, Nat. Stop trying to frighten the sanity out of yourself. There’s no need to. Just recall all the new information from the past few days and you’re there.

That reminds me … I’ve been meaning to go over what’s happened lately.

So … my father marries my mother and they give birth to twins (I don’t have to tell you who those twins are, do I?).

Later, they split up due to a reason that has not been uncovered yet … Jack sees his chance to get my mother so he is chasing after my mother for her love but she ignores him. Therefore Jack turns to other methods like using Aunt Rebecca to get my mother. During this time, Aunt Rebecca gets the knowledge that she is going to have Jack’s child (Grace) but doesn’t tell him.

I think that’s everything …

“Natalie! Are you listening to me?”

No, Hannah, I have better things to do than to listen to you tell us every single detail about your boyfriend.

But of course, I couldn’t say that out loud.

“Yes, I am.” I say, hating myself for not being brave enough to speak my thoughts out.

Hannah gives me an evil look but ignores me and continues to talk to Alex. I sigh, excusing myself to go downstairs and find someone better to talk to.
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Natalie’s Diary, 3rd April

“Hey, Aunt Lucy …” I say, walking up towards where she was sitting, evidently writing an e-mail.

So alright, I was being rude to invade on her privacy … but I couldn’t stand listening to her daughter any longer.

I watch as she rapidly shuts down her e-mail screen and turns to me as if she was doing nothing.

However, unfortunately for her, she wasn’t quick enough. My eyes caught sight of an e-mail address … one that I hoped did not belong to the person I related it to.

“Was … that an e-mail to THE Jack Ryder?” I ask her, hoping that my eyes were just playing games on me.

“Yeah … why?”

I don’t answer her … what could I say? … That I wanted someone to tell me everything that happened so I didn’t have to waste my time?

She smiles at me and shakes her head, telling me to go and talk to Hannah and Alex.

“Hannah can tell you some things about Jack Ryder, if you want. I’m busy, right now.” She says, clearly wanting me to disappear.

I sigh, knowing that I would get nothing out of her and advance back to Hannah’s bedroom.

I suppose I’d have to take Aunt Lucy’s suggestion and talk to Hannah … Even if she bored me to death.
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Natalie’s Diary, 3rd April (Back in Horrendously Boring Hannah’s bedroom)

“Hannah, can you tell me about Jack Ryder?”

Alex looks at me surprised that I was bringing up that subject so abruptly.

“Why, Nat?” she asks me.

“Well … because Aunt Lucy told me to ask Hannah about him.”

“Oh. Him … he’s the guy who nearly married your mother, right?”

… Nearly what? Married? I mean … I know that Jack wanted to go out with my mother but I didn’t think that Jack actually proposed. Or that she was close to saying ‘yes’ either, for that matter.

Wait, my mother and JACK RYDER?

What was going on here?

“Married?” shouts Alex.

“Yeah … You know, after your parents broke up, Jack seized his chance to chase after your mother. And your mother, being depressed from the whole break-up, was about to agree to marry him until …”

“… Until?” I say, on the edge of my seat, for once riveted on what Hannah was saying.

“Until he ran off with you two …”

I exchange glances with Alex. He ran off with us? What for? And why would he want to do that? I mean, why would he think that my mother would accept if he ran away with her children?

I guess a new chapter of the past has opened … Which means more sleepless nights for Natalie as she tries to work out what happened. Great, you know, just great.

“Anyway, that’s enough about him. Alex, I haven’t finished telling you about Max’s music collection.”

“Who’s Max?” I ask, completely clueless and too absorbed in what I had just learnt to think about what I was saying.

“My boyfriend, haven’t you been listening AT ALL?” asks Hannah, giving me her evil look again.

Oops.
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#28 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:31 PM

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Alex’s Diary, 3rd April

This is bad…

Hannah and Nat, they HATE each other. I can’t keep myself from thinking what would happen if I had to choose between them.

Would I choose my life-long best friend?

… Or, my own twin sister?

I mean, sure, I knew that they wouldn’t hit off immediately … but I didn’t expect them to dislike each other to such extent that Nat even walked out of the room at one point.

Not that Hannah was being exceptionally nice either, mind you.

This was possibly the worst scenario that could have happened … I was hoping that once Hannah and Nat saw each other, they would become friends instantly.

Obviously, I still hadn’t grasped the fact that NOTHING goes right for me.

Oh, and on top of all the ‘Hannah and Nat’ stuff, Hannah tells us that Jack nearly married my mother.

Yes, JACK RYDER AND MY MOTHER.

… In that case, I guess my surname could have ended up being ‘Ryder’.

Can you imagine it? Alexandra Catherine Ryder. Or, Natalie ‘Don’t know middle-name’ Ryder.

Ok, fine, I admit it. I’m freaking out over EVERYTHING that’s happening in the present … my mother and father’s past … my loyalty between my twin and my best friend being tested …

I just can’t take it anymore ...

… You know, I always thought of myself as one of those ‘never gets stressed’ people but now, life has proved that statement to be false.

“So, Alex, what have you been up to?” asks Hannah, finally finishing her description on her NEW boyfriend.

Yeah, the emphasis is on the ‘NEW’.

“Too much,” I remark, grimly.

“You know, Alex … you should ask to transfer to Adams Prep. It’d be cool.”

Her understanding of the word ‘cool’ in that context meant: Alex! I could get you a boyfriend!

… Which, right now, was not what I wanted; not that I had ever wanted a boyfriend.

I’m just not Hannah.

“I don’t think that would be possible … I mean—”

“—Because Natalie goes there?” says Hannah, with a smirk.

At this point, Nat gets up from where she’s sitting and goes out of the room again.

“Do you LIKE her?”

“Yeah, she’s pretty nice.”

Hannah gives me a look which can only be described as incredulous.

“Come on, Alex. No need to lie to me.”

“But I’m not lying.”

“Alex, I’ve known you for AGES. Do you really think that I’d believe that you like HER? God, I’m not stupid, you know.”

I sigh.

I couldn’t believe what Hannah was doing. I couldn’t believe that she was accusing me of lying.

Ever since Hannah saw Natalie, she’s been acting … differently.

… In a bad way.

“Hannah, look, if you don’t like her then it doesn’t mean I don’t either.”

You know something that I’ve noticed? I’ve been writing ‘Hannah’ instead of ‘Han’.

Ok, that’s weird … I’ve never done that before. It’s sort of like I don’t know Hannah well enough to write her shortened name.

It’s like she’s not my friend.

“What’s wrong with you Alex? Ever since you discovered that you had a sister, you’ve gone all protective of her. She’s not even NICE.”

It was then that I, Alexandra Catherine Madison, started crying.
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Alex’s Diary, 3rd April

Why did I start crying? Well, I guess all the emotions that I was feeling got the best of me.

And it sucked.

I didn’t know why Hannah was acting that way … I just didn’t see it.

So, after I had started my bawling, Hannah looks on at me disgusted … Nat comes in and takes one look at my face before dragging me back to the house.

At least Nat was being sympathetic … I guess the score’s 1:0 to Nat, then.

“I don’t understand … why does she hate me all of a sudden?”

“Hey, Alex … it was probably just me being in the house. Trust me, once I’m gone, you guys can patch it up straight away.”

I look at her skeptically. From how she was saying that, it sounded like all I had to do was click my fingers and everything would be alright.

Yeah, like THAT would happen for me.

“I hate this.” I state, mostly to myself.

“Hate what?”

“… All this learning new stuff.” I say, after taking a moment to think before answering.

I mean … to be truthful, I hated everything about coming over to America. I just hated everything that had happened … with the exception of the whole ‘twin sister thing’.

That was pretty cool.

“Stupid Jack Ryder …” I mutter.

“Yeah, blame it all on Jack.” She says, jokingly.

“It IS his fault. He had to go and mess up people’s lives.”

“True … but why do all of the secrets in the past have to be uncovered now?”

“Because, Nat, we’ve stumbled on some bad luck …”

“… and a dose of Jack Ryder.”
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Alex’s Diary, 3rd April

“Alex, Nat, there you are!”

I exchange glances with Nat as we are met at the staircase by my mother.

“I need you to tell Grace to meet Rebecca in the park at around ten o’clock tomorrow morning.”

“What?” I exclaim in pure astonishment, all thoughts of Hannah disappearing.

“Just tell me you’ll do it.”

“Um, yeah, I guess …”

“But why? That’s during school. You want us to ask GRACE MILLER to miss school?” asks Nat, surprised.

“It’s the only way for Grace to meet her mother … That IS what you two want, isn’t it?”

Oh great. Another thing I have to worry about. Because knowing Jack, he probably has people hired to keep an eye on Grace.

And poor Grace was having a bad time already … if Jack caught her running off to see her mother, I didn’t want to think about what Jack would do.

“Don’t you think that Jack won’t find out somehow that Grace isn’t at school?”

“Well, what else are we supposed to do? Ask Jack for his permission?” says my mother sarcastically.

“Will someone be distracting Jack? Because you know that Jack would probably be aware of something happening.”

“Lucy … Lucy’s going to try.”

This plan, as far as I was concerned had too many faults in it to work properly.

But I suppose we had to attempt it …
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#29 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:32 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Thursday 4th April

Tell GRACE to miss school?

If someone had told me to do that several weeks ago, I would have laughed in their face. I mean, before, I wouldn’t even go near Grace, let alone TALK TO HER.

But now … everything’s different. I feel pity for her instead of the hatred I felt before. Now, I’d do anything for Grace, anything to get her away from the monster that was her father.

Jack Ryder … he seemed to be the cause of every problem right now.

“Nat, where’s Grace?” Alex whispers to me, as we enter the classroom.

I raise my head, trying to look over the crowd of people swarming around the room.

“I don’t know … there are people everywhere …” I mutter back, still examining the horde of people.

“Natalie! Alex!” someone shouts from behind me.

I freeze, my mind recognizing the voice to be someone very familiar. Annie Smith …

I turn around swiftly and tug Alex’s arm dragging her into the opposite direction. The reason for my actions was, of course, because I’d forgotten about my ex-best friend … I wasn’t sure if I was ready to forgive her. I mean … she betrayed my trust. I had told her everything about what I was feeling for Ryan. And what did she tell me?

Nothing … I should have realized … I should have realized that her act was fake. I mean, every week she seemed to have a new boyfriend … that wasn’t ‘quite’ Annie’s behavior.

I guess I was too caught up in my hormones to notice.

“Natalie?”

Weird … why was she calling me Natalie? She’d never done that before.

“Um, Nat? Why are you running away from Grace?” asks Alex, rubbing her arm where I had grabbed her.

Grace?

“What?”

“Grace … You heard Grace call you and then you sort of went all tense. Before I knew it, you had pulled my arm and started running over to this corner.”

Well done, Nat. You managed to mix up Annie’s voice with Grace’s. You managed to mix up the voice of the girl you’ve known since you were BORN.

God, Nat, what’s happening to you? Are boys REALLY worth you getting in such a state?

Yes? I mean … Zac … his lopsided dreamy smile that you adored … the way his vivid blue eyes used to intensify as you entered the classroom … the sound of his voice (now much deeper and more masculine) as he pronounced your name … how he always stopped to listen to you, no matter when or what you were saying … like he really cared about you … Zac …

“Nat? Are you planning to answer my question?” asks Alex, looking fed up with me as she interrupts my daydreaming, the picture of Zac Fieldman disappearing from my brain abruptly.

“Um, I really don’t know … I thought it was Annie.” I confess, feeling rather guilty that I had mistaken Grace’s voice with Annie’s.
Alex raises her eyebrows obviously stunned at what I had admitted to, but it had happened, hadn’t it?

“Annie?”

“Yeah …” I say pathetically, the feeling of guilt building up more as the conversation continued.

“Right … Anyway, that doesn’t matter now. Remember what we have to do?”

I nod, faintly recalling the message that we were supposed to deliver to Grace.

However … how were we supposed to do that when she was surrounded by her normal clique members? How were WE, the unpopular twins, supposed to just march in and talk to Grace?
Well, alright, maybe it’s just me that’s not popular … ok, so I do have friends. I just don’t make that as clear as SOME people do.

“Alex, how are we going to do this? I mean, look at her, she’s in the middle of her group as usual.”

“Well, considering the fact that she’s signaling to us frantically to come over, I’d have thought it was straight-forward. What’s wrong with you today, Nat? You seem so … far away.”

Not my fault that I seem so distant … I mean, I have a perfectly good reason …

… Um, alright. I guess it was my fault … since I managed to remind myself of a certain Zac Fieldman.

Alex drags me over to the ‘In-Crowd’, to where I saw that Grace WAS actually signaling us over.

“Hey Grace … Sorry about before … I don’t know what I was thinking.” I apologize, feeling rather embarrassed at myself.

“Don’t worry, Natalie—”

“—Please, it’s just Nat.” I interrupt, irritated at being called by my full name.

“Sorry, I forgot. As I was saying, Nat, I’m really glad that you and Alex came over. I had a … great time.”

I smile at her, my mind now determined that I was going to get her out of Jack’s care … so that she would be able to lose this ‘fake’ Grace. It was obvious that she didn’t REALLY have a great time … I mean, who would with Jack watching her every movement?

… With the exception of Alex’s friend, Hannah, of course. I don’t think she would care who was watching her as long as it was someone of the male gender.

“Sure, we’ll have to meet up again some time.” Says Alex, trying to sound cheerful, but like me, had figured that Grace was using a ‘fake’ personality.

I guess that was how she stayed in the popular part of the class.
“Grace … um … can we talk to you privately?” I ask which causes laughing and mocking from the rest of Grace’s friends
.
They could laugh and mock all they wanted to. They didn’t know the REAL Grace Miller.

I did.

“If it’s important, then I guess so.” Grace replies, causing gasps and whispers to erupt.

Grace follows Alex and I to the back of the classroom … I breathe slowly, getting myself ready to deliver the shocking information.

“Grace … You have to go to the park at ten o’clock. You know where the park around the corner is? … The one that has that massive football field?” Alex says, prompted by my geographical knowledge.

Since of course, Alex didn’t know what features the park round the corner had. I don’t even think she KNEW that there was a park near Horizon.

“Yeah, I know the one you’re talking about but …Why …?”

“Because your mother will be there, she wants to meet you.”
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#30 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:32 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Thursday 4th April

All I can say is … The look that Grace gave us when we told her that her mother was going to be at the park was … well, furious.

It was slightly weird, really … I was convinced that she would be over the moon when she heard about what our parents had planned.

“What’s wrong?” I ask her, feeling completely and utterly lost at what was happening.

“Do you have any idea of what you’re expecting of me?”

I shake my head, still feeling clueless at what she was getting at.

“You expect me to believe that you’ve set up a meeting with my mother when I’ve been trying to do that for ALL MY LIFE?”

Wow … I guess I could see where she was coming from. But I had been so sure that Grace would be really happy that her actual reaction shocked me.

… Which explains why my jawbone betrayed me and fell open at her statement, causing Grace to shoot me a ‘look’ … Not a nice, friendly look either … Hey, it wasn’t OUR fault (meaning Nat and I) that our mother decided to create a plan involving Grace, was it? We had absolutely NO SAY in what happened. I mean, why would I? I’m already busy enough with the whole ‘grasping new information’ thing.

And I haven’t even TOUCHED on the fact that my BEST FRIEND hates me.

Hannah … if you ever read this, please take in mind that I apologize for whatever I did to make you angry at me. And by the way, I do like Nat … She is my sister, you know. You could at least show some respect … I’m not even asking you to be extremely friendly … just to act like you don’t think she’s a waste of blood and flesh.

Anyway … I guess I’m going off-topic. I suppose I should write more about the ‘Grace situation’. Though you know, I really am getting worried about my relationship with Hannah. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have her friendship and support.

Ok, ok … More on Grace.

“Look, Grace, we didn’t even KNOW about this meeting until yesterday. Besides … you don’t have to go if you don’t want to. It’s your choice.” Nat seems to be saying, her voice reassuring and calm.

“I guess, that now you’ve told me, I won’t be able to resist going.” Grace replies, smiling gratefully at Nat.

Obviously Nat’s way of dealing with the situation was better than mine.

“Are you sure you’ll be alright going?” Nat questions, her voice anxious.

“Yeah, I’ll be fine but … um … I know this is a big favor to ask but would you two mind coming with me?”
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Alex’s Diary, 4th April

Ok, I know I shouldn’t have cut off writing there since I was building up to a crucial point but The-One-Who-Thinks-I’m-Mental-But-Is-Actually-Mental-Herself came in the room.

… Also known as Mrs. Graham.

So, basically, I put away my diary since I didn’t exactly want to cause anymore trouble.

Anyway … going back to what Grace asked us. We agreed, of course. I mean, how could we not? It was our goal to get her away from Jack Ryder and we would do whatever it took to achieve that. Even if it meant skipping school (not really such a big deal but …).

“Ah, Grace, you’re back at school today.” Announces Mrs. Graham rather happily, though she shoots an evil look at me first. I guess she still blames me for Grace’s absence.

Wait a second … yesterday, Grace wasn’t at school … We never DID find out what happened to her …

I don’t know how I forgot. I guess all this visiting Zac and Hannah made my mind go haywire.

I quickly scribble a note to Grace:

Grace, where were you yesterday?

Seconds later, I get a message back. I unfold it, being careful not to make any sound so that TOWTIMBIAMH (The-One-Who-Thinks-I’m-Mental-But-Is-Actually-Mental-Herself, that’s one big mouthful …) didn’t notice.

I was at home … My dad … well … he was going to make me change schools …

Change school? I guess Grace managed to win her dad over. No prizes for guessing why Jack wants her to move schools … obviously, Nat and I are a ‘bad influence’. I guess her dad doesn’t want Grace to learn the truth.

I pass the note to Nat (who was looking at me curiously), though unfortunately Mrs. Graham sets her eyes on me the moment I throw the note over.

It’s weird how she always manages to catch me doing something that I shouldn’t be doing. She doesn’t notice that Ryan, for example, is right now drawing on the desk.

“Alexandra Madison. What are you doing now?”

“Not much … why?”

“Because, Alexandra, YOU ARE PASSING NOTES.”

“I DID realize what I was doing, but thanks for telling me anyway.”

Bad move, Alex. You should know by now that teachers don’t often appreciate the joys of sarcasm.

“What did I do in my life to have to put up with YOU in my class?” she asks, seemingly to no-one.

“Well … let’s see … apart from being outright horrible … nothing?” I say, without thinking of the consequences of what would happen to me.

Another bad move, Alex …

“Alexandra Madison. Go to the Principal’s Office. NOW.”

Great … Back there again. Though this time, I guess it really was my fault. I don’t even know why I went THAT far … I’ve never done that before. I’ve always known exactly when to stop messing around; always known how far I could push a teacher. It was like an instinct to me.

I suppose there’s only one reason to explain my mistake; I was stressed. I felt as if, somehow, all the pressure was on Nat and I. I guess you could say that it was like if we didn’t discover everything that happened in the past, no one’s life would be peaceful again.

Though I’m going to have to desert all thoughts of peacefulness for now since once I come back from the Principal’s Office, I’m going to have to concentrate on what’s important: getting Grace to her mother without Jack’s interference.

Of course, I knew it wouldn’t be easy … considering on whom I saw when I entered the Principal’s Office.
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#31 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:32 PM

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David’s POV (I’m sorta sure it’s his turn … )

Sam … Jack …

I remember the day where I got the news that Sam was going to marry Jack. I remember how guilty I felt … After all, if I was still speaking to her, maybe none of it would have happened. I just couldn’t bring myself to forgive her for what she did … she caused our ‘happy’ relationship to break apart.

Ok, so maybe I don’t really mean that … I guess the relationship was slightly rocky anyways. I mean, with the thing about Sam moving to England … I don’t know.

The England thing … well … at the beginning she was just going over there to seek out job opportunities … But in the end, I think she just wanted to get away from Jack … and me.

Jack … he nearly got away with it. He nearly managed to marry Sam. Of course, if he hadn’t been so stupid and run away WITH the twins, he could have been their father.

Once Sam heard about the running away she turned to me for help … I refused. Not because I was being heartless to my own children, but because I couldn’t stand to put myself into a situation in which I knew I would come out losing. It wasn’t like Sam was going to take me back or anything.

That, was probably the greatest mistake I had ever made. I should have helped Sam find the twins (which she did, eventually, with some help from Catherine) … If I had, maybe I wouldn’t be living by myself now.

So, maybe I was being heartless … I regret it now, of course. Every time I look at the twins, I think of what could have been … if I hadn’t said the word: ‘No’.

What have I been doing today? Well, the truth is … well … nothing. Day-dreaming excluded, of course.

There’s no one around whatsoever … Sam’s just evaporated somewhere and Nat/Alex are at school.

I have been doing an awful lot of thinking about the past recently. It’s like as soon as Sam turned up, I remembered everything that I ever wanted. All my images of a happy, perfect life reappeared. I wanted nothing more except to have Sam in my arms …

… Ok, David. Stop it.

You pretty much KNOW that that’s not going to happen. You don’t even know if she has a ‘guy’ friend back in England waiting for her. It’s not like you’ve asked, is it?

And no, don’t get any ideas either. It’d be RUDE to ask … !

I’ve never really thought of how boring it is to be alone … normally I have so much work to do that I don’t notice time going by.

Today … well, I’ve been glancing at the clock every few seconds hoping that it would ‘magically’ appear like a few hours had gone by. (A/N - Yes, I know we ALL do that in school.)

Maybe I should stare at the phone and wish it to ring … Ok, David, seriously, how old do you think you are?


Alright, whatever … Do it then.

Ok, ok, nothing’s ACTUALLY happening … yet. I’m getting bored … Hey, maybe I should prank call Jack or something.

… David. What is WRONG with you today? You’re an adult now, you know.

I can hear some sort of ringing noise … wonder where it’s coming fro—

God, David. That’s the phone …

You know, if this part in time was a chapter in a story, then I’d be so bored. I mean, I’m being USELESS HERE. (A/N- Hey! Is it really boring? People are still reading this … well … um … I hope anyways … *waves*)

So … Pick up the phone, David. The phone!

“Hello?”

“David, finally. I was wondering when you’d pick up. I knew you were there, after all. You must be pretty bored at home by yoursel—”
“Jack. Get to the point,” I say, interrupting him, my voice cold. Who would be HAPPY to be getting a phone call from Jack? Especially when he was sounding so gleeful that I was feeling bored …

… Wait. How did he even know that?

Weird …

“No need to get so angry, David. Nothing’s going to happen with you by yourself, playing your childish games. Don’t be scare—”

“Jack, I’m not scared!” I exclaim, wondering how he got to that conclusion.

I hear laughter on the other end, HIS laughter. I didn’t quite get what the joke was but …

“David, don’t worry. I know secretly you’re scared. Inside, you’re screaming in terror. Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to talk about. My daughter has gone missing … well, ok, so I know where she’s going to turn up.”

“And why does this concern me?” I ask, clueless.

“Since if Grace gets to the place where she’s going to be at 10 o’clock, something bad going to happen … concerning Samantha, Lucy, and Rebecca Madison … So, David, I’m giving you a chance to be the ‘hero’, but probably, the Madison sisters won’t think of it in the same way when you try to stop their plans …”

“Where’s Grace going to go anyway?” I question, now actually starting to feel frightened … this guy was really creepy.

“To the park near Horizon, to meet her mother … I will NOT allow it, you hear me?”

“I still don’t see why I have to help YOU …”

“Because otherwise, as I’ve told you already, something bad will happen … maybe I’ll steal one of the Madison sisters away from you … I don’t know yet.”

“Away from me?” I echo.

“Away from your imagination … I know you’ve been thinking about them a lot … Well, not all three of them. I think it’s just the middle one. And of course, before I forget to tell you: if you tell the Madisons that I called, I might just run away with one of the twins … which one do you like the least? Natalie? Alexandra?”

Jack laughs quietly and then hangs up on me, not letting me get a word of protest in. That guy has some nerve if he expects me to choose between the twins. I’m not about to sacrifice one of them, especially when they’re already having a hard time coping with new information.

Of course I won’t help him … Though his threats do sound slightly worrying. If I help Jack, Sam’s going to be mad at me … And if I help Sam, something bad is going to happen to her. It’s not like I can tell anyone … if I do, he threatened to run away with one of the twins. I can’t let that happen again. Last time the twins went missing, I made the greatest mistake of my life.

Ok. David, think this through clearly. Who can you tell without Jack finding out?

… No one?

Correct, David, you’re on your own.
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#32 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:33 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Thursday 4th April

Alex … well, lets just say she went too far for her own good. Not that I’m saying it wasn’t entertaining or anything. I don’t know why she crossed the line of behavior … I always thought she knew the exact border.

Well, she seemed like a person that would, anyway.

“So, you see, THAT is what happens if you turn out like that,” says Mrs. Graham, a hint of glee in her voice.

I feel myself clench my fists … I may be a ‘good girl’ but it doesn’t mean that I would just sit there, listening to the teacher insult my sister.

I open my mouth to say something in protest but my words are lost as someone else speaks before me.

“Mrs. Graham, please … Alex is a perfectly nice girl.”

Was that Grace?

I closed my mouth, wondering what would happen. I mean, this was the MOST POPULAR GIRL (with the students AND teachers) rebelling … I watched, awestruck, waiting to see what Mrs. Graham’s reaction would be. This was her favorite student arguing against her!

“Grace, I’m sure you’re mistaken there. Don’t you know that she has some medical problems with her mind?”

Um … I have to say … What?

That’s the first time I’ve heard about that …

“Mrs. Graham, would I ever lie to you?” asks Grace, her voice sounding the way it did when she was trying to get her way with people.

“No, of course not, you’re a honest girl … ”

“Then believe me in this, Alex is NOT mental.”

That remark caused a wave of gasps as Grace’s friends watch her stick up for Alex. I suppose it was not to be expected … Grace, the popular student, was never found making friends with anyone who wasn’t in her social group. It didn’t help matters much that Alex was a ‘new girl’ too …

“Grace, are you feeling alright? A little faint, maybe?” questions Mrs. Graham, looking like she hadn’t heard Grace properly.

“I’m feeling fine. I’m just asking you to reconsider what your feelings are for Alex,” says Grace, her voice firm.

I threw a smile at her, though my smile was returned by a look which was saying: “I shouldn’t be doing this … It should be you.”

“Alexandra is none of my business. She is a naughty girl and I’m guessing she bribed you to speak to me like this.”

Yeah … I guess I’d better help Grace. She was fighting a losing battle; Mrs. Graham was not listening at all …

“Stop it! Stop talking about Alex like that,” I shout, my opinions now getting the better of me.

“Alright … Natalie, Grace, go to the Principal’s Office. I am not in the mood to be discussing Alexandra Madison in a good light.”

I glare at Mrs. Graham, feeling hatred building up inside me. When she was talking about Alex … it sort of felt like she was insulting me.

“Thanks,” I say, as soon as Grace and I had exited the classroom.

She turns her head, smiling gently.

“It’s the least I could do … you guys have helped me out so much already.”

“Are you sure you want us there at 10 o’clock?” I ask, since I still felt that the situation was a little too personal for us to be watching.

“Of course … without you guys, I wouldn’t be making any progress with the ‘mother situation’ … I think you deserve to be there,” Grace answers her voice grateful.

We approach the Principal’s Office where we can hear Alex arguing with someone very familiar …

… Wait … That can’t be … why would he be here at school now?

I didn’t understand how he fit in with what was happening … It was too much of a coincidence for him to be there at that exact moment.

I mean … Alex had just got told off, Grace wanted Alex and I to go with her and skip school at 10 o’clock (which was in the next fifteen minutes, it was now 9:45) and … HE was here?

There was something wrong … he had never visited us at school before … well, alright, change the ‘us’ to me. Since obviously, Alex hasn’t been here for that long.

“Come in … ” says Mr. Thompson, his voice grim as we knock politely on his door.

Grace pulls down the door handle (as I was in too much shock to move) and confirms my fears.

Dad?

What was HE doing here?
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Natalie’s Diary, 4th April
Yeah … My dad turned up at school. Why? I still have no idea … he wouldn’t reveal anything. He was being rather secretive, I have to say. Not his usual behavior …

“Dad, tell me why you’re here!” I exclaim, for the one millionth time.

“Nat, Alex … look … There’s no reason why I’m her—”

“—But yet, you have to pull us out of class?” interrupts Alex, her voice suspicious.

“Pull us out of class … ?”

“Yeah … Mr. Thompson was about to call for you too. But then you just came along … ” Alex explains.

“Mr._____, is it something to do with my mother?” asks Grace, her voice worried but curious.

I guess she was worried as she thought her meeting with her mother might have been delayed … or even worse, cancelled.

Wait … Dad didn’t even KNOW about the meeting … oh great … now he was going to get all angry at us because no one had told him what we were up to.

But to my surprise, his face frowned in deep thought before nodding once quickly.

… So quickly that MAYBE I’d imagined it.

There was no way that he COULD know about the meeting, after all. I mean, we had all kept it so secret … we had all promised to keep our mouths shut just in case Jack had found out.

“Yes … it is about Grace’s mother. But whatever I tell you girls now, you HAVE to keep between us.”

What … ?

Dad really DID know about the meeting … But how?

We all nod in response, waiting in suspense for what he was about to say.

“Ok … well … basically, Jack called the house. He knows about the meeting … he said to warn you not to go otherwise something bad would happen concerning Sam, Lucy, Rebecca … or you t—it doesn’t matter. ”

From the way he finished the last sentence, I knew Dad meant to say that Jack threatened to do something to Alex and I. I guess he didn’t want to scare us any further.

What were we supposed to do now? More importantly, WHO had told Jack Ryder about the meeting?

I knew it wasn’t Alex or Grace … That only left three people: my mother, Aunt Lucy, and Aunt Rebecca.

“Grace, what do you want to do now?” inquires Alex, her voice still recovering from the news we had just been told.

“I want to meet my mother … but if Jack really has called, then it’s probably best to postpone this meeting until a later date.”

“In that case, if you’re really sure, then someone better tell Rebecca before she arrives to a deserted park where I’m sure Jack will be waiting for her,” says Dad, sounding level-headed as he always did in a crisis.

“Waiting for her?”

“Yeah … waiting for Rebecca to prevent her from ever attempting to see you again … ”
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#33 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:33 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Thursday 4th April

Poor Grace … you should have seen her crestfallen face when my father (it’s still SO weird to write that term … ) told her about Jack’s phone call.

You got to admit, Jack has some nerve if he thinks he can tell Grace not to go.

Not that we didn’t already know that …

“Grace … I don’t want to say this, but … well, the safest place for you to be is to be in lessons. If you come to the park at any time today, then Jack might do something drastic.” My father says, his voice sounding pretty calm even though the situation was tense.

Grace nods, seemingly taking this news quite well though I knew that inside, her dreams had been shattered. After all, she HAD been living the past few minutes thinking of the joyful reunion about to happen later …

“What about us?” I ask, my voice curious … I did notice that my father only included Grace in his order to go back to the school.

He shrugs, as if it didn’t matter where we went. I guess it didn’t … Jack was more concerned about Grace meeting her mother NOT about us meeting her …

“I guess you two should go back too … I suppose I’ll go and call Sa—I mean, your mother and we’ll sort out the park business.” He says, after a minute of thinking.

I nod, feeling slightly annoyed that we weren’t allowed to go with him.

Come on, ANYTHING was more exciting than going back to face Mrs. Graham …

I didn’t think she would be especially happy to see me again.
Well, I suppose it was partly my fault … I had pushed her too far, after all.

“Ok … well, you kids go back to school. I’ll sort out the park business, don’t worry about it.”
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Alex’s Diary, 4th April

Bored … seriously … who invented science? The teacher’s nice enough not to call upon me (yet) … she obviously realized I was paying more attention to drawing in this book instead of listening to her.

Nat and Annie still aren’t really talking to each other … They’re sitting pretty far apart which caused a look of surprise from the teacher. I guess they normally sit together …

I suppose I’m going to have to get them back together. They both look so miserable … Annie keeps flashing quick glances towards Nat, hoping she won’t notice … and yes, Nat’s doing the same thing. Once they made eye contact … that was scary. They stared at each other for about a minute and then just dropped gazes again for a while.

And then, of course, they started the whole glancing thing again.

“Nat, come on … forgive Annie.” I whisper to her.

Nat jumps, startled by my voice but seeming to emerge quickly from her thoughts.

“I have … sort of. I don’t even like Ryan anymore … I just can’t bring myself to tell Annie that she’s forgiven.”

“Look Nat … She’s all upset … just try and forgive her.”

“Why should I forgive her?” Nat whispers, her voice irritated.

“Because she wants your permission to go out with Ryan officially … ”

“She doesn’t need MY permissi—“

“Yeah, Nat, she does … You’re her best friend, she needs some sort of support from your direction.” I say, wondering where all these words and theories concerning friendship were coming from.

They weren’t exactly MY words … they sounded peculiar to me, but yet, they seemed to work on Nat.

“Ok, ok … I’ll talk to her later.” Nat replies, giving in.

I smile at her, though unluckily, at that exact moment, the teacher turns to look at me and proceeds to ask me a question.

Great …

“Alexandra, what happens when … ?”
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Alex’s Diary, 4th April

Weird … I just remembered … Next Thursday is my birthday. And Nat’s of course …

I don’t know how I could forget that. In previous years, I would have been counting down the days.

I guess there’s been too much happening for my mind to keep track.

I’ll be fourteen!

Anyway, about the Nat/Annie thing … That’s a bit more important than my birthday.

“Annie, can I talk to you?” Nat asks, sidling up to Annie as soon as the class is dismissed.

“Sure, I guess.” Annie says, looking nervous, her eyes not making eye contact with Nat.

“Ok … look. You’re forgiven … I don’t mind you going out with Ryan, alright?”

“Thanks Nat. You don’t know how much that means to me. I’m really sorry about lying to you behind your back. I didn’t mean to … ”

“So we’re friends again?”

Annie nods, smiling, any shadow of sadness in her face disappearing. Their friendship had been repaired …

… Which made me remember something … I still needed to make it up with Han.

Is the fact that I just wrote Hannah’s name as ‘Han’ a good sign?

I might as well call Han now … I have ten minutes left until I have to go to my next lesson.

“Han?”

“Max—No, wait, hey … Alex.”

“Han, look, I just wanted to call and say that I’m sorry about what happened in your house the other day.” I say, my words coming fast as I apologize.

Not that I was actually sure what I was apologizing for …

“Hey, don’t worry about it. It should be me apologizing to you, anyway. I was going to call you tonight. I don’t know why I was so horrible. I guess I just felt … um … ”

“ … Threatened?”

“Yeah, that’s it. I just thought that Natalie would come between us. That’s the only reason I said all those bad things … Is she there? Because I want to apologize … I shouldn’t have acted in the way I did.” Han explains her voice truthful.

“Hello?” Nat says, as I hadn’t told her who was on the other end. I figured that if I had, she wouldn’t have picked up the phone so eagerly. I suppose she thought it was one of our parents telling us some information about the park incident or something.

Several minutes later, Nat hangs up, smiling.

“I guess she’s pretty nice. I’m sorry if I was being horrible about her or anything. Oh, by the way, Han wants us over at her house tonight.”

I laugh, happy that for once, some things in my life were going the right way.

Of course, at that moment in time, I didn’t know that very soon, something horrible was going to happen…
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#34 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:34 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Thursday 4th April

I guess it hasn’t been SUCH a bad day after all. I mean, I made it up with Annie and I’m even starting to think that Han isn’t such a bad person.

Yeah, I know, it’s weird.

“ … Nat, you sure you’re alright with the Ryan thing?” Annie asks me for the millionth time.

For the last ten minutes, Annie had been asking that question … It was like she didn’t believe that I’d forgiven her. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t believe that I’d done it either.

But I was glad. Even though there was so much going on in my life, I HAD missed Annie.

“Annie, for the last time, I’m fine with it!” I say, emphasizing the word ‘last’.

I was getting pretty bored … I just wasn’t in the mood to listen to my teacher rant on about our behavior … she was doing that (if you really want to know) because, SOMEONE coughAlexcough had moved from drawing in her journal to drawing on the desk.

Not that that really was such a never-before-committed-heinous crime … I mean, from just staring at my desk; I could make out many words and sentences.

Still …

Well, actually, I’m going to get my mind off the Alex thing … because as far as she’s concerned, she’s just being her usual self.

Instead, I’m going to think about the whole ‘Grace and Mother’ meeting. I feel so sorry for Grace. We had got her hopes up about meeting her mother and then she got the news that in fact, she couldn’t even go. And besides, I didn’t know what happened to my dad and Aunt Rebecca … I hope that they’re alright … But you see there’s no knowing what Jack could do.

I just wish I had some way of knowing whether they survived their encounter with Jack.

“Alex, do you think Dad and Aunt Rebecca escaped from Jack?” I whisper, ignoring Annie who was asking THE SAME QUESTION again.

Alex looks thoughtful, which, I admit was a look that I hadn’t seen on her much …

… Ok, I know, that was mean of me.

But it’s sort of true.

“I don’t know … I hope so,” replies Alex, sounding worried.

Seriously … why was school even invented? Even the students that attend Horizon are supposed to be ‘genius children’, but it doesn’t mean we actually ENJOY school, despite what people may think. If we didn’t have school, it would mean that I would KNOW what had happened to Jack …

… In fact, if school didn’t exist, I might even have been AT THE PARK, watching the events with my very own eyes.

Not that I think I would really want to … I don’t particularly want to see Jack Ryder again. Every time I DO see him, he just messes something up. It’s like he has no control over his ways …

I wish that time would just fly past … I’m DYING in here. She (the teacher) could at least OPEN THE WINDOW or something. Does she not realize that she is suffocating her students in the heat?

Let’s see … another 30 minutes to go till end of school … Can’t wait …
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Natalie’s Diary, 4th April
It’s now been a HOUR since school ended. And guess where we are?

… Yeah, that’s right … SCHOOL.

Because, so far, no-one’s come to pick us up. Alex and I have just been stuck at school, waiting.

Though now I think about it, there should be a reason why Dad hasn’t picked us up yet. He’s NEVER late …

“Alex … do you think Jack did something to Dad?” I ask, dreading what the response I would get back.

“I don’t know … I really, honestly have no idea … ”

I might as well just ask Alex to ring our mother (yes, I know, I still don’t have our mother’s phone number … I’m SUCH a great daughter) to come and pick us up … It’s obvious that otherwise, we’ll be stuck here for another few hours.
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Natalie’s Diary, 4th April

Now we’re at home … well, all of us except for Dad. He hasn’t come back yet … We’re all just sitting around the table, glancing at the clock every so often, wishing to hear the door open and Dad’s voice in the hallway. My mother was biting her lip, her expression worried and grim.

There was nothing we could do … we had already tried ringing all his friends to see if he was at their houses. But so far, no-one had seen him.

… I think we all knew (though we didn’t let these thoughts out) who he was with …

Jack Ryder.

“Does Dad have his mobile phone on him? Because then we could ring him or something?”

“I don’t know … you might as well try though … ”

I sigh as I walk over towards the phone. Pressing the numbers slowly, I pretty much knew that there wouldn’t be any response on the other side. I knew that Jack was much too clever then to leave his victims armed with a working phone.

“Hello?” I ask, praying hard for some response.

Silence … Just as I’d predicted.

“Anyone there?” Alex says to me, her face hopeful.

I shake my head … I was getting more worried as time went on. It wasn’t like any of us could do anything. We had no idea where Jack would have gone.

“We could try ringing Grace. Maybe she would know where he was. And besides, if Jack is at the house, then we can go over and confront him about Dad. ”

I shrug. I doubted that Jack would permit Grace to answer the phone in these circumstances. But, I suppose, it was worth a try.

“Nat, do you want to do the honors?” Alex says, gesturing to the fact that I was still clutching the phone in my hand.

I nod, feeling slightly embarrassed that I hadn’t put the phone down after my call before. Oh well, there were more important things to worry about now.

“Hello? Can I speak to Grace please?”

“Who is this?” says the voice on the other end. It was … Jack.

Great … If HE was at home, then where was Dad?

“A friend from school,”

“State your name, age, and profession.”

My eyes widen as I hear this. Who asks someone to state their name, age and profession over the PHONE?

Why couldn’t Jack just put Grace on the phone? Oh wait, yeah, I forgot … this is JACK we’re talking about.

“Um … Na—No, sorry, May Taylor, aged 14…profession?” I answer, using one of Grace’s best friend’s details.

“Don’t you mess with me, Natalie _____. I can SEE you.”

I slam the phone down as soon as I hear that and just stood there shivering. He was WATCHING US? Did he have Dad with him?

“Nat, what’s wrong? You’re shaking.”

“No … nothing’s wrong. Just the fact that Jack Ryder is ‘watching us’ from somewhere …!”
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#35 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:34 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Thursday 4th April

Jack was …WATCHING us? I look at Nat in shock as she utters that sentence.

“What?” I exclaim in disbelief.

“Yeah … that’s what he said.” Nat answers, still shivering from distress.

“Does he have David?” asks Mum, her face concerned and worried.

“He didn’t reveal anything … I … um … put the phone down as soon as I heard that he was watching us.”

“So … uh … do we believe him?” I question, looking back and forth between Nat and our mother.

Neither of them voices their opinion but from the looks they were sending me, it was obvious what they thought: they believed what Jack had said.

The thing is … Did I also believe the phone call?

I guess I could see why they thought that Jack was telling the truth about being outside. I mean, this was Jack Ryder. He wouldn’t think twice about doing something like this.

“Alex, I think he’s telling the truth … This is exactly what Jack would do in this situation.” Nat says, biting her lip anxiously.

Ok, so let’s say the phone call really IS true and Jack really IS outside watching us …

… Well, all I can say is that Jack Ryder is seriously scary. I bet if someone asked him what his favorite hobby was, he would say something like: “Spying on the Madison kids, of course.”

Ok, the situation’s getting increasingly creepier the more I think about it …

“Should we check outside?” I ask, still unsure about whether Jack was telling the truth.

“I don’t know … Maybe we should block the windows so … um … no one can see inside.”

I think we all know by now who the ‘no one’ was referring to.
I’m starting to think that maybe they’re right. That Jack really is telling the truth … because I can definitely see Jack as the person who would go to every extent to get what he wants.

“Good idea, we might as well make sure that all the doors are locked as well.” Nat says, starting to move towards the nearest window.

I walk across the room towards another window to draw the blinds, pausing for a moment to stare outside to see if I can see anything.

I wonder where he’s hiding (that is, if he’s even outside in the garden). I can’t see anything from the window. Maybe he’s inside a bush or something.

… You know, I can actually picture Jack stuck inside a bush.
Uh … Alex? Why are you imagining Jack being camouflaged inside a bush (even if it is entertaining) when you have other more important things to think about?

Like, for example, where our father is. That HAS to be more important than deciding whether or not Jack was a bush in his last life.

So, let’s think about this … If Jack IS outside our house (hiding in the bush, of course), does that mean our father is with him too?

I don’t know … Before Jack’s phone call, I thought that Jack had taken Dad and Aunt Rebecca somewhere … somewhere closer to him, that is. I always thought of Jack as someone who liked to do his missions alone.

Wait a second … something doesn’t fit …

“Um … Nat, did you call Grace’s mobile number?” I ask

Nat nods slowly, looking at me curiously.

“Then … how did Jack answer? It’s GRACE’S phone.”

“I … uh … I … don’t know. He probably took it or something … ”
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Alex’s Diary, 4th April

An hour has past since I last wrote in here. And … no, Dad hasn’t come back yet. We’re not any closer to finding out what happened either.

I mean, Jack’s outside ‘supposedly’ watching us and he’s got Grace’s mobile phone. I don’t know about everyone else but … I have this feeling that Jack took Grace’s phone with him, KNOWING that we would call her sooner or later.

I can so tell that I’m not going to become a detective in the future, because frankly, I suck at mysteries.

“Alex … what about Han?” says Nat, breaking the awkward silence.

“ … What?” I ask, blinking at her surprised.

“She invited us over tonight, remember?”

Oh yeah … I don’t know if I want to go though. I mean, if Nat and I do go, then Mum’s going to be here all night by herself worrying about what Jack has done … And if I don’t go then Han’s going to get mad at me again because she’ll think I’m ignoring her or something. (That’s happened before, by the way … )

“Nat, Alex … you two go. I’ll be fine here by myself.” Mum states, trying to make her voice sound reassuring.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine. If David comes back then I’ll call one of you.
Alright?”

I didn’t want to leave her alone but from the face expression that she was wearing now, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get her to change her mind.
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Alex’s Diary, 4th April

So, now we’re just about to go into Han’s house. And yeah, we spent most of the journey worrying whether we made the right choice in coming here.

Note the fact that I said ‘most of the journey’. For the rest of it, Nat and I made up funny ‘Jack Ryder’ scenarios … Like, for example, we imagined a situation where Jack speared himself with a bunch of plastic knives and spent the rest of his life planning his revenge on them. Needless to say, that was … interesting. (A/N- The MCBC readers have the credit for the plastic knife scenarios.)

If I’m ever scared of Jack again, all I’ll have to do is to think about a plastic knife.

“Hey Alex, Nat!” exclaims Han excitedly as she literally pulls us inside the house.

“Who’s … that?” I ask, noticing a figure standing at the top of the staircase looking down on us that I couldn’t make out as Han was in the way.

Han doesn’t answer but moves slightly so I could see the person better. I squint harder at the figure, which I could see now was obviously masculine, hoping that this wasn’t one of Han’s boyfriends. That would be extremely awkward.
“Is he one of your boyfriends?” I whisper, dreading the answer.

“No, he’s one of my best friends. Zac, come down.”

Wait … did she just say Zac? … As in Zac Fieldman?
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#36 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:35 PM

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Sam’s POV

Yeah … so maybe I shouldn’t have let the twins go. But to tell the truth, I just couldn’t stand them looking at me helplessly any longer. They kept looking at me with identically anxious faces which made me feel guilty that I, as the adult, wasn’t doing anything to help David.

Ok, so I guess I should be feeling guilty … I mean, David had got me out of bad situations MILLIONS OF TIMES and how was I repaying him?

Well … I was just sitting at his kitchen table watching the clock.
I sighed … At least with the twins at Lucy’s house. I could try to get this situation sorted once and for all.

Well, maybe I’m making the situation sound like it’s easy to solve … which is definitely not true. Truthfully, I had no idea what to do. I mean, for one, I didn’t even know if Jack was even outside or not.
If I assumed he was, then what was I going to do? I couldn’t just go outside with a torch and try and look for him, could I? That wouldn’t be such a smart move, considering he could be anywhere in the garden just waiting to pounce on me.

… However, I DID notice that no one took Alex and Nat when they went out of the house to go to Lucy’s, which makes me wonder whether Jack was lying about being outside …

You know, there’s actually nothing to do except to stay here and do nothing or go outside and try and find Jack.

I guess I might as well go for the second option. Otherwise I’ll just get annoyed at myself for not doing anything useful.

I grab a torch from a nearby shelf and proceed to walk out of the door. I pause at the front of the house, cursing David for buying a house with such a large garden area. I sigh … even if I could be bothered to look through all the bushes and trees; it would take me hours to find Jack. That is, if he was even here.

“What if … I try and get Jack to come to me?” I whisper to myself, absentmindedly.
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Sam’s POV

It’s been absolutely ages since I came out here and I’m cold and miserable. It’s just started to rain heavily out here as well.

Besides … I’ve had NO LUCK with my ‘Jack luring’ plan. Seriously …I’ve been sitting outside, pretending to be all vulnerable so that maybe, Jack would take the opportunity to come out of his hiding place and come over to me …

… But now, I’m really starting to doubt that he’s out here.

I sigh … I was drenched from head to toe. If I stayed out here any longer, I was going to be seriously ill tomorrow. But … if I went inside to the warmth and safety of my home, then I would be angry at myself for not doing anything useful to help David.

“Samantha … really, when are you going inside?” says someone suddenly behind me, breaking the silence.

I scream, jumping up to my feet as I hear the voice.

“You’re going to catch a cold.” The voice tells me, laughing.

I strain my ears, trying to work out exactly where the voice was coming from. It was Jack, of course.

So now I knew that Jack was outside … was David with him? I doubted it … I mean, if David WAS with Jack, then why had he let me sit outside in the rain for so long? It wouldn’t be David’s behavior to watch someone sit gloomily outside in the pouring rain. So if David wasn’t with Jack, then where was he?

“Samantha, go inside.” Jack commands.

“Where’s David?” I ask, indignantly, quite willing to carry on standing in the rain until Jack told me.

Ok, fine … I wasn’t too willing. My hair was getting more horrible the longer I stood in the rain.

But, of course, that wasn’t the most important issue here. I needed to know where David was … to see if he was alright.

“Calm down … I don’t have David. I don’t know where he is.”

“And you expect me to be CALM after you say that?” I shout, Jack’s words sinking into my mind. I shine my torch around me, still desperately trying to work out where Jack was.

“Don’t worry. I’m coming out now … ” Jack says, laughing to himself softly.

I hear footsteps coming towards me, and a few seconds later, I knew that he was behind me. I shiver, knowing there was nothing much I could do.

“Yeah well, Samantha, look … all I wanted was to talk to you alone.”

I open my mouth to protest but before I could utter a word, I felt a pair of strong arms grab me gently by the shoulders, turning me around. I look at Jack, speechless as I take in the way bits of his hair were plastered onto his forehead from the rain, how radiant his blue eyes were and how … utterly stunning he looked. And before I knew it, I had reached up gingerly and placed my hand hesitantly on his cheek …

… That was, until I fully realized what I was doing. I was touching Jack Ryder.

“Get away from me!” I shriek in disgust, taking my hands away from him as quickly as if I had just gotten an electric shock.

How could I have touched Jack after all the things he’s done to me? How? Is there something wrong with me?

I suppose my actions could possibly be explained by the fact that it was just the shock of realizing that Jack hadn’t taken David or … maybe it was just because my hair was soaking and I had no idea what I was going to do with it tomorrow morning.

“What’s wrong, Samantha? Did I do something? You seemed pretty into me just now.” Jack says matter-of-factly, reaching for me.

“Jack, just GO!”

I take a step backwards, away from him, still shaking with repulsion. Jack didn’t seem to get the message as he kept groping for me … so; I did the only thing that a girl could do.

… I hit him hard on his head with my torch.
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#37 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:36 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, 4th April

Yeah … so after a while, we decided to leave the house. I sensed that it was what our mother wanted anyway. I think she was feeling slightly guilty that she wasn’t doing anything. I guess with us out of the way, she could try and do something without having to keep an eye on us.

Alex and I had quite an interesting ride over … we made up countless stupid scenarios involving Jack Ryder. That got my mind off everything that’s been happening … for a while, at least.

So, now we’re inside Hannah’s house and Hannah’s just told Alex that the masculine figure standing at the stairways was her friend ‘Zac’. As soon as I heard this, I instantly thought of MY Zac (alright, he’s not mine, despite the countless fantasies I have in my head) … I mean, Zac does go to the same school as Hannah … was it possible that they were friends?

As the figure proceeded down the stairs, my suspicions were confirmed. It was Zac Fieldman … I was extremely surprised at seeing Zac at Hannah’s house, though … I just thought of Zac as not being the type of person who would hang around Hannah. Then again, Alex is Hannah’s best friend and they’re definitely not alike.

“Zac? What are you doing here?” I exclaim.

“Hey Nat … Alex.” he greets us, lingering on my name for a bit. The latter part of the sentence could be my imagination … but I swear he said my name longer than he said Alex’s.

“You guys know each other?” Hannah asks, looking between us all.
“Yeah, we’ve met before.” Alex replies, smiling slightly.

“I guess that’s a good thing, considering what I have planned for tonight.”

I looked at Hannah, feeling a little scared … the way she had said that sentence sounded like she had something up her sleeve.

“We’re going to play … Truth or Dare!”

Uh oh … Ok, I’m definitely worried now. I don’t like the way Zac and Hannah are grinning at us … !

“Alex … they won’t do anything too extreme, will they?” I whisper to Alex as we start moving upstairs towards Hannah’s bedroom.

“Relax, Nat … it’s only a game!” Alex says, with a shrug.

I don’t even know why I was so frightened … I mean, it wasn’t like anything serious was going to happen … right?

“Ok, you know how to play, right?” Hannah asks, after we were all seated comfortably in her bedroom.

We all nod. I was feeling slightly pleased that I was sitting next to Zac … For obvious reasons, of course. I could feel the warmth coming off his body and it made me feel … Nat, concentrate on what’s happening!

“ … Right then. Zac, you can go first. Truth or Dare?” Hannah says.

“Uh … I don’t really mind … ok, fine. Truth?” he answers, after a short moment of hesitation.

“Ok … I’ve got a good one! Zac, who would you rather go out with, Alex or Nat?”

I groaned to myself silently … I knew Hannah was the sort of girl who would ask questions like this.

“Um … do I have to choose?”

“Yeah…It’s the whole point of the game!” Hannah says, looking shocked that Zac had even asked a question like that.

“Well, if I have to choose then … Nat.”

I feel myself blush as soon as I hear his answer and I begin examining the carpet on the floor intensely, not wanting to meet Zac’s gaze. I guess I was embarrassed … even though, of course, I would have gone out with Zac without hesitation if he had asked me. I suppose the fact that he chose me over Alex was a good sign …

“Interesting … Ok, Alex … Truth or Dare?”

“Dare!”
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Natalie’s Diary, 4th April (A/N - The bits in bold are Alex speaking into the phone)

“Alex, the phone’s for you.” Hannah says, passing her the phone.

I stare at Alex curiously, hoping that it was our mother bringing us some news about the whereabouts of our father or Jack Ryder.

“Hello?”

“Oh, hey … what’s happened?”

Alex mouths at me that it was indeed our mother.

“Nat, what’s going on?” Zac whispers beside me.

“Um … nothing.” I answer feebly … I don’t know why but I just couldn’t bring myself to tell him what had happened since I last saw him. It was a weird feeling.

“Well, if you’re sure … I just want you to know that you can tell me anything, alright?”

I feel my heart’s pace quicken and my cheeks growing warm.

“Yeah … I know.”

What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I seem say anything more than a few words? Why were all the feelings in my head jumbled up?

“Look, Nat … I hope that what I said before about … uh … choosing you over Alex hasn’t … embarrassed you or anything … I just wanted you to know how I fee—”

“—You’re telling me that Jack’s unconscious? What did you do?”

“You hit him with a torch?”

Come on, Nat … now’s the chance to tell him how you feel.

I take a deep breath and open my mouth slowly to respond to Zac but before I knew it, Alex had pulled me up roughly from the floor and told Hannah that we were going. I glance back at Zac (who was still awaiting a response) helplessly, mouthing the words ‘Call me’. He nods looking slightly stunned by what was happening.

“Alex what are you doing?” I shout angrily at her as soon as we were out of earshot. I was extremely annoyed that she had ruined my perfect chance.

“Didn’t you hear what’s happened?”

“No … because if you didn’t realize, YOU were the one holding the phone.”

“Jack’s unconscious at the house!” Alex exclaims, oblivious to the fact that I was shooting daggers at her.

“Oh … Great, I guess.” I say half-heartedly. Right now, I was too busy thinking of what ‘could’ have happened if Alex hadn’t decided to pull me out of Zac’s company.

“Nat … ? What’s wrong?” Alex asks, tilting her head worriedly at me.

“Oh, nothing’s wrong … you just pulled me away at the exact moment that Zac was going to ask me out.” I answer sarcastically, rolling my eyes irritated.

Well, alright … I was going to ask Zac out. But it sounded more dramatic the other way …

“Nat! I’m so sorry! I didn’t realize …”

I sigh … it was at that moment that I realized that I didn’t have Zac’s phone number. It wasn’t like I could even call him. I would have to wait desperately for him to call me first … Oh yeah, life’s going JUST GREAT.
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#38 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:37 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Thursday 4th April

After I had found out what had happened whilst I was talking on the phone, I felt unbelievably guilty.

I know, I know. It was MY fault that I hadn’t paid more attention to why Nat was so annoyed at me when I was pulling her out of the house. And yeah, I definitely felt bad for it … Nat wasn’t exactly talking to me anymore …

“Nat … look, I’m really sorry.” I apologize, for what must have been the 101st time.

“It’s alright … I shouldn’t have shouted at you.” She says, smiling weakly.

“Well, if it makes you feel any better, I have Zac’s number.” I state, holding up a piece of paper triumphantly.

She stares at me stunned and then asks me how I got it.

“Um … Zac gave it to me to give to you.”

Yes, I know that sounds really pathetic … but that’s what happened. Zac had slipped me the piece of paper as we were going up to Han’s room whispering to me to give it to Nat. I guess he didn’t want to make a scene in Han’s house because … well, Han would have made a big deal about it.

“Why?” Nat questions, sounding slightly accusative.

“… Because he didn’t want Han to intervene … You know how Han is.”

Nat laughs at this but nods, taking the piece of paper from me.

“You know, you and Zac are going to make a great couple.” I say, jokingly.

Nat blushes, staring at the floor, not wanting to meet my eyes.
It was true though … Nat and Zac were PERFECT together. From the first time I saw Zac standing next to Nat, I knew that they should be together. And they WOULD be together, if I had anything to do with it.

… Ok, so even if I wasn’t here, they would still get together. But that’s not the point.

… The point is that … uh … Nat needs me.

Oh, I know, I am SO modest.
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Alex’s Diary, 4th April

Nat and I walk into the kitchen and are stunned by what we see. On top of the table was Jack Ryder’s unconscious body and above him was our mother looking distraught and holding a … torch.

“Is it alright?” I ask, worried.

“Jack? Yeah, I think he’ll be alright. I don’t think I hit him that hard but—”

“—Uh … I meant the torch. I don’t really care about Jack.”

I hear Nat laughing softly next to me, but from her eyes, I could see that she was really worried about the situation.

“Where’s Dad?” she asks, biting her lip with anxiety.

“I … I’m not sure. Jack doesn’t know where he is …”

“He must know something!”

“Alex … calm down … the best thing to do is to wake Jack up.” Nat says, moving towards Jack hesitantly.

“Well, YOU know how to wake people up.” I remark, remembering the morning a few days ago when she had poured freezing water on me.

You know … I’ve known Nat for less than a week. It’s weird … It feels like I’ve been here for at least a year. I guess that’s the ‘beauty’ of the sister bond.

Nat smiles and goes over to get a bucket of cold water. I watch as she prepares to pour water over Jack’s head.

“… Stop! Put the bucket down … I’m awake now.”

God … what a coincidence … Why did Jack HAVE to wake up and spoil our moment? Then again, what were the chances that he would have woken up at that moment … UNLESS he was already awake.

“You weren’t unconscious, were you?”

“Nope … I just wanted to scare Samantha and, of course, get to see you two again.”

“Where’s our father?” I inquire, annoyed at him because he had ruined my personal moment of seeing him drenched in cold water.

“David? He’s … well, I don’t really know where he is. I left him and Rebecca with Beth in the park.”

… Uh, Beth? Who’s ‘Beth’?!

“You left REBECCA with Beth?” Our mother exclaims.

“Well, Beth said she had some last minute business to finish with Rebecca …”

“Who’s Beth?” I ask, confused.

“Beth is … Zac’s mother, I think.” Nat whispers to me.

Oh … so does this unfinished business relate to the whole pining over Joshua Miller thing?

“Jack! You KNOW that Beth is going to torture Rebecca over the Joshua thing from high school.” Our mother says her face now fearful.

“Yeah, I knew. And, frankly, I don’t care.” He shrugs at us, showing no emotions whatsoever.

“Jack, get OUT!” Our mother shouts, dragging Jack to the door …

… With some difficulty. Let’s just say that Jack has gotten loads bigger since high school (unless of course, the photos of him in my mother’s ‘Adams Prep Year Book’ are wrong).

“Come on, Sam. You can’t just drag me out.”

“Oh yes, I can …”

“Why? I thought you would want me here.” Jack says, pushing our mother away.

Nat and I quickly rush over to help her in pushing Jack out of house.

“Why would I want YOU here?” Our mother asks, stopping her actions for a second, looking at Jack disgustedly.

“Oh, come on … YOU were the one who was obsessed with me when we were younger.”

“So? Not anymore … I’m sorry if you didn’t realize but everyone’s grown up now.”

“Yes, yes … I know … But David left you, didn’t he?” Jack says, with a smug smile.

“David. Did. NOT. Leave. Me.”

“Sam … really, I understand if you don’t want to talk about it.”
At that point, we had finally managed to get Jack out of the house.

“Ok, that’s it. Someone close the door.”

“But Sam, you seemed pretty into me when we were kissing a few minutes ago.”

WHAT?!

Nat and I look at each other speechless and then stare Jack through the open door. We were too shocked to move a muscle.

It’s one thing to hear about your mother kissing someone else … but … Jack? That’s just … sickening.

“Is it … true?” Nat says, looking hopeful at our mother.

“Girls … I … I didn’t know what I was doing.”

Wait … did she just say that? Did she just say that she, Samantha Madison, OUR MOTHER, had just kissed Jack Ryder?

What has the world come to?
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#39 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:37 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Friday 5th April

Ok … so as you know, yesterday afternoon, Alex rudely dragged me out of Hannah’s house and took me back to our house to see what was happening between our mother and Jack Ryder. And yes, I have forgiven her for dragging me away from Zac now…

It turns out that in fact, Jack doesn’t have our father … apparently, he left them (Dad and Aunt Rebecca) with Zac’s mother … Another very shocking thing happened too: our mother told us that she had KISSED Jack Ryder!

… Which explains why I’m writing all this down now … Yesterday, I was too shocked by this news that I didn’t write it down in the diary … I mean, you really can’t blame me … if you had found out that your mother had kissed JACK RYDER then you would definitely have been just as shocked as I was … maybe even more shocked since I’m getting used to having a life full of surprises (good AND bad).

Well … to be perfectly honest, Alex and I didn’t hear our mother’s entire romance story. After she had confirmed that she HAD in fact kissed Jack, we went straight upstairs and locked ourselves into our room …We couldn’t believe what she had told us … and … we were scared of what was going to happen.

…What if …Jack married our mother? That would make Jack our step-father. We would have to SEE JACK on a regular basis! I don’t think I would be able to live with that …

I shudder violently (A/N- No, she’s not having a seizure) … Nat, stop thinking about those sorts of situations. They WILL NOT happen … Alright?

I glance at Alex who seemed to be fast asleep (not surprisingly, considering it was like 7:30 in the morning and people like Alex seemed to stay asleep till noon) and sigh to myself … It was a new day, another chance for catastrophes (involving Jack Ryder, of course) to happen. I might as well try and wake up Alex now otherwise she’ll be dead to the world for another 5 and a half hours … besides, I have no idea what I’m going to do in front of our mother after the awkward scene yesterday.

“Alex? You awake?” I ask, not wanting to wake Alex up using my ‘other’ methods unless I really had to.

“…Yeah, yeah … Wait a second … what time is it?” She groans as she slowly opens her eyes, squinting at me blearily.

“7:30…”

“You expect me to be awake?”

I nod, laughing as she attempts to get herself to a standing position … Not successfully, either.

“Girls … are you ready for breakfast?” says our mother, abruptly appearing at the door, looking all innocent as if nothing happened yesterday.

Alex and I exchange glances … it seemed as if she wanted us to somehow forget the events of yesterday and pretend that she didn’t kiss Jack.

“Why are you up so early and …WHY DID YOU KISS JACK RYDER?!” Alex questions, seeming to forget the fact to be subtle with her questions.

I had a feeling that our mother wasn’t going to tell us anything if we asked outright like that …then again, I could be wrong: Alex HAD spent more time with her than I had.

“Alex … listen to me … I didn’t kiss Jack. I swear …” She replies slowly, after a moment of deep thought.

“Then why did you tell us that you did last night?”

“I … don’t know. I guess the atmosphere of the moment got to me.”

I sighed … this wasn’t helping the situation at all. But at least she had enough sense to deny that she kissed Jack.

Besides, she might not have kissed Jack … if they were outside in the dark, she could have been easily mistaken … I hope so, anyway.

“Fine … but just answer my question truthfully: Do you like Jack Ryder?” Alex had an extremely suspicious tone as if she didn’t believe her mother at all.

Our mother looks at Alex really unbelievingly before answering:

“…Of course not! Alex, I can’t believe you just asked ME that question!”

“Hey, it’s not my fault … nowadays, I’m not sure what to believe.” Alex replies, looking slightly more convinced with her mother.

That was good, I guess. We don’t need another argument starting up. My life is busy already …

“Everyone’s up bright and early, I see,” says a voice which I recognized very well … A voice which haunted my worst dreams …

It seemed that Jack Ryder was awake and still in the house. This was NOT good.

“Why is HE here?” I demand loudly.

“Because he had ‘nowhere’ to go so I offered him a room.”

Yeah … right. Our mother must like Jack if she let him stay here … wait … there were no rooms left anyway … our mother was already staying in the guest room.

So, where had Jack slept? He didn’t … share a room with our mother, did he?

I cross my fingers before asking which room Jack had stayed in. Alex looks at me confused but I mouth to her that there were no bedrooms left.

“Which room?”

“Um …” Our mother looks at us guiltily, “… your father’s room.”
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Natalie’s Diary, 5th April

A few hours have passed and guess what? Jack is STILL IN THE HOUSE. Alex and I have tried to force him out in practically every single possible way, but he’s STILL HERE. Doesn’t he realize that no one wants him here?

“Jack, where’s Grace today? What if someone takes her?” I ask, seeing if the mention of his daughter would persuade him to go.

“Grace? I don’t care about her … I could let her reunite with her mother but … where would the fun be in that?” Jack answers, not breaking my gaze at all.

I gasp as I hear his harsh answer …Grace, I’m so sorry … Mentally, I promise once again that I will do whatever I can to get Jack out of Grace’s life.

Grace doesn’t deserve Jack as a father … No one does.

“How can you say that?” Our mother questions, putting her hand to her mouth looking as horrified as Alex and I.

“If you knew how much trouble Grace brought me throughout the years, then you would be sympathizing with me.”

Yeah, right …

“Jack, can you just go and leave us alone?” says Alex, sounding annoyed.

“I’m not leaving unless Sam tells me to go.” he said coolly
.
I smile at Alex, confident that our mother would command Jack to leave. I could sense victory in the air. I look at our mother expectantly, waiting for her answer.

“Jack … please … can you … um … can you g—No! Sorry. I can’t do it.”

What was that supposed to mean? Did our mother secretly have feelings for Jack?
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#40 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:38 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Friday 5th April

I don’t believe it. I mean…my mother…she CAN’T have feelings for Jack, she just can’t! But apparently, it appears that she does.

“See! She won’t agree to kicking me out of the house which means *I* stay.” Jack says triumphantly, smiling wickedly at us.

Nat and I exchange glances again and before you could say the name ‘Jack Ryder’, we had pushed him down the stairs.

…Ok, fine, so we didn’t actually manage to budge him.

God, he is HEAVY.

“Girls, stop…Jack, look, just…go.” Our mother says, talking slowly.

I couldn’t believe that she actually had to THINK whether to keep Jack in the house or not. Exactly whose side was she on?

“Ok, I’ll go. But Sam, call me.” Jack replies with a smirk.

Finally…Jack walks out of the house casually as if nothing had happened. I couldn’t believe that he had the cheek to ask our mother to call him. I mean, he acted like our mother wouldn’t be able to resist calling him…

…Then again, that could be true.

“I can’t believe you STRUGGLED to let him go!” I shouted at our mother as soon as Jack had closed the door behind him.

“Alex, please…I just…I don’t know. I’m not feeling too good.”

“Well, you better think up some excuse for this behavior…”

“I…well, I don’t know. I guess some of the old feelings came back.”

“Old feelings?”

“Yeah…before I met David, your father, I had a massive crush on Jack. I pretty much…literally stalked him everywhere…and of course, at that time, Jack was going out with Lucy.”

“So…you stalked your sister’s boyfriend?” asks Nat, looking thoughtful.

“Yeah…and then when I met David, all those feelings disappeared (slowly, mind you) and I went out with your father.”

“Ew…” I exclaim, pulling a disgusted look.

It’s not nice to hear your mother talking about her love life…especially when it concerns Jack Ryder too.

“Alex, do you want to hear my ‘excuse’ or not?”

I nod, waiting for her to continue. Her story sounded like something that you would find in a book. (A/N- Oh yes, just read AAG to find out more.)

“Ok, so later on, I split up with David and then Jack tries to marry me…”

“Was Grace here at that point?” Nat asks, sounding much calmer than I was.

“Yes. So Jack tries to marry me and but before he does, he runs off with you two…so I denied.”

“Why did you split up with Dad in the first place?” Nat questions curiously.

“Because…I…look, girls, if I tell you this, will you promise not to hold this against me?”

Nat and I exchange glances once again…this sounded BAD.

“Um…yeah…sure.”

“Ok…I guess I’ll tell you…we split up because…I…well, I had grown another crush on…Jack.”

Uh…am I supposed to be taking this calmly? Am I supposed to be SYMPATHIZING with her?! If she had stayed together with Dad, then MAYBE we (Nat and I) would have a proper functioning family…

“Alex…please, stop it.” She mutters at me after I unleash the full power of my evil looks.

Ok, I admit it: I was annoyed. Partly because she hadn’t told me any of this and also because she had had SEVERAL crushes on Jack Ryder…

“Ok, well…can we please go and find Dad now?” Nat says, her face rational.

I stared at her unbelievingly, wondering how on Earth she could stay so calm. After a moment, her words sink in and I realize that I had more important things to think about…

I mean all this stuff about Jack Ryder was in the PAST. Right now, the most important thing was saving our Dad and Aunt Rebecca from Zac’s mother.

“Come on, we have to go to Zac’s house!” Nat exclaims.
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Alex’s Diary, 5th April

We’re outside Zac’s house now…Nat raises her hand slowly to ring the doorbell and we watch silently as the door swings open to reveal none other than…

…Zac.

“Hey, Zac…is your mother home?”

“No, sorry…I haven’t seen her since last night.” Zac answers, looking at us puzzled.

We exchange worried looks. This wasn’t good…if Zac’s mother wasn’t at home then where was she? The situation was being to get worse…

“Why? I can pass on a message to her when she gets home, if you want.”

“Zac…do you have any idea where she might have gone?

…Because we really need to speak to her in person.”

Zac pauses for a moment before shaking his head, still looking extremely confused though I had a strong feeling that he was lying to us.

But why would he be lying? He didn’t have any particular reason for not telling us the truth. I mean…yeah, this DID involve his mother but well, it involved Nat too…

I sigh. At this rate, there was no way that we were going to find Dad or Aunt Rebecca.

“Well, do you guys want to come in and wait for her? I’m sure she’ll be back soon.”

“Yeah, sure…”

However, as soon as we got inside, Zac quickly moved to stand in front of the door…it was if he was stopping us from getting out…

…What was happening?

“Zac…” Nat mutters, looking surprised at his actions.

“Look, you tell me what’s going on NOW.” He shouts, his face showing emotions of clear annoyance.

I exchange looks with Nat and realize that the only way we were going to get Zac to stop lying was if we told him the truth…this could take a while.

“Ok…basically…your mother has kidnapped Aunt Rebecca and our Dad.” I say, summarizing the situation quickly.

“Uh…what?” Zac says, sounding completely stunned.

“Yeah…Your mother’s taking revenge on Rebecca after what happened in her childhood. You know about that, right?”

Zac nods, still looking taken aback. I felt sorry for him. He looked completely out of his depth and I bet that at that moment, he was wishing that he never asked what was going on.

“So…let me get this straight…you want to find my mother so you can rescue everyone else?”

We all nod.

“Ok, look, I guess the least I can do is to tell you where my mother SAID she was going to be.”

“Where?”

“At that park near Horizon.”

Argh…that REALLY wasn’t helpful. We already knew that she had been at the park…unless…she was still there.
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#41 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:38 PM

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David’s POV (I missed out a David’s POV, apparently so this bit is quite a bit in the past. Sorry!)

So after the kids had gone back to school, I went off to the park to try and warn Rebecca before it was too late. But as I lifted my hand to open the gate-bolt so that I could access the park, I saw another figure besides Rebecca. I assumed I was too late and that it was Jack Ryder but as I walked slowly nearer I realized that the figure was…feminine.

My first thought was that Jack Ryder had transformed into a woman but I dismissed that idea quickly as being stupid. It didn’t look like the woman was doing Rebecca any harm though so I decided there was no point for a surprise ambush. Instead, I walked out of the bushes and stupidly made myself vulnerable.

I watched as the woman shouted out my name…rather wickedly but with a sense of…achievement. That voice was…familiar but yet I guessed I had only heard it a few times before. I sighed…I had no idea who this mysterious woman was but she seemed to know me. This was STRANGE.

“David, come forward. Nothing’s going to happen.” Said the mysterious woman reassuringly but as she said those words, a chill went down my back.

There was something…odd about this woman. The situation would have been so much simpler if Jack was here instead of this…woman. I sighed to myself. I needed to decide what I was going to do…

I walked towards her and Rebecca tentatively, dreading what was going to happen. I had this feeling that this woman was not on OUR side…no, she was definitely on Jack’s side. I mean, how else would she have known that we were going to be here?

“David you shouldn’t have come…” Rebecca murmurs quietly.

So the situation was definitely bad.

“So, David, do you recognize me?” the mysterious woman asks, smiling at me with an evil glint in her eyes.

“Uh…no…Should I?”

“Yes. I’m Bethany . You know, Rebecca’s friend?” Bethany? Ok, I had no idea who she was what-so-ever but I decided to play along to get us sometime as I had noticed what was in her hand…

…A knife.

Oh, this was not looking good…

After that, Bethany led us towards what I assumed was a van of some sort. She shoved us into the back and closed the door leaving us helpless. Rebecca and I didn’t make much resistance to being treated like this as Bethany had threatened us and said that if we didn’t do as we were told, Grace would be in danger. Besides, she had a KNIFE pointed in our direction.

Besides, I needed to think things over…I would make my move later. Who was Bethany anyways? I had no idea who she was and until I knew exactly what kind of person she was, I couldn’t start planning my actions. Well, she SAID that she was Rebecca’s friend but you know I never really came into contact with Rebecca’s friends…

I sigh to myself…the van didn’t seem like it was anywhere NEAR stopping.

“Rebecca, whose Bethany …?” I whisper.

“Beth…she was my best friend in high-school.”

Best friend? Then why was she on JACK’S side not ours? I stare at Rebecca questioningly and she explains slowly:

“Beth…she had a crush on Joshua in the past, like me. But during that period, Jack told me that if I went out with him, he would make sure Joshua wouldn’t choose Beth over me. And me, being the stupid fool I was, believed Jack. So during the time that I went out with Jack (which is how Grace got born), Beth went out with Joshua…But soon, I realized that Jack was just using me to get closer to Sam so I broke up with him distraught…by then, it was too late. Grace was born and there was no way that I would be able to support her by myself. I became really depressed but luckily, Joshua decided that he would stick with me and aid me through that time (well, he did also confess his crush on me, but that’s not really important…), which is why he broke up with Beth and why Beth wants revenge…because she still thinks that I tricked Joshua to stay with me.”

Wow…I never knew that Rebecca had had such trauma in her life. I felt slightly guilty that I had never paid much attention to her…if I had known about all this, I would have done something. Sadly, like many other things, it was too late.

“Then how…how did Grace get to be at Jack’s? I swear Grace said that you left her with Jack…” (A/ N- Think WAY back)

“She thinks THAT happened?” Rebecca asked, looking furious.

I nod, guessing that Jack had fed Grace a set of lies...My heart swelled in pity for her.

“That wasn’t what happened…not at all. Quite soon after Joshua decided to stick with me, a certain Jack Ryder appeared at the door saying that he wanted to see his child. I wondered how on Earth Jack knew, but, foolishly, I let him see Grace. Soon after Jack had gone, we realized that Grace was missing…Jack…he had just took her and we didn’t even REALIZE it until it was too late.” Rebecca sighs, looking forlorn and depressed.

“How did you not realize that your baby was gone?”

“David…he…he got Beth to stand outside the window and he passed the baby out…”

“Rebecca, I promise you that I’ll do everything possible to make sure that Grace gets away from Jack.” I promise, my heart actually in pain after this story…I just couldn’t believe that any guy would go to all that trouble to screw up someone’s life.

Of course, Rebecca’s life wasn’t the only one which got screwed up…Jack also threatened Sam and I. But even though I waved off Jack’s comments, Sam believe them which is why, in the end, we split up…which was one of the worst experiences in my life.

Admit it, David. You still love her.
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#42 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:39 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, Friday 5th April

…The park?

But we knew they were there already...right? So we’ve just wasted time coming over to Zac’s. Well, alright, for me, it wasn’t so bad…I mean, come on, ZAC was right in front of me.

“What if…Dad and Aunt Rebecca are still there?” Alex asks, looking thoughtful.

A look that didn’t exactly suit her but I was glad that someone was thinking at this moment in time…I mean, I certainly wasn’t. A certain SOMEONE was distracting me.

…Not that I minded being distracted.

“Yeah, Alex, you might be right. Should we go and check out the park?”

Alex nods slowly, and then turns to me for my opinion:

“Um...alright...Let’s go then!”

So it seemed that we were now off to the park…thanks to our latest piece of information from Zac himself.

“Do you think it would be possible if…I came along too?” Zac asks, nervously.

I exchange looks with Alex and she shakes her head quickly. I understood why, of course…If Zac came, then he might ruin the whole plan. What if he WAS on his mother’s side but just lying about it now? But yet, I still wanted Zac to come…for obvious reasons. I know, I know, it was selfish of me. But I really couldn’t help it!

“Why can’t I come?” Zac demands, looking slightly annoyed…

…The fact that he was irritated built up my suspicions about Zac being on his mother’s side. Why else would he be irritated in us not letting him come with us? I mean, what kind of person REALLY wants to go and come face to face with Jack Ryder?

“Because for one, it’s going to be dangerous…and we can’t risk another person life. I mean, what would I say to Bethany if it turns out she has nothing to do with this?” Our mother says, looking sympathetically at Zac.

“Yeah, right…You’re worrying about MY safety when you’ve got Nat and Alex with you?”

He’s looking angry…I wonder why coming with us is so important to him…

“I know you guys are just scared that I’m on my mother’s side of this…You think I’m teamed up with her, don’t you?”

“Zac…calm down…” I whisper, starting to feel a little scared.

“Alright, you know what? I’ll show you something. And then you can choose whether to believe me or not”

He starts to go upstairs, signaling us to follow.

“Nat, you know we can’t believe him…You know that, right?” Alex says, quietly.

“I know…I want to but I know I can’t…” I whisper back.

Alex smiles at me before running up the stairs rapidly, leaving our mother and I to walk up the stairs at our own pace.

“Guys, come quick...You HAVE to look at this.” Alex’s voice exclaims, sounding excited.

I sighed before climbing up the remaining steps.

“What?” I ask, surveying the scene.

Alex was flicking through some kind of book whilst an anxious looking Zac stood watching her.

“It’s…Zac’s mother’s high school diary!” Alex says, excitedly.

…Her diary? I guess if Zac was willing to show us that then he was on our side…right?

“Nat, hurry up and read this!” Alex exclaims, pushing the book in front of my face.

“Dear Diary,

Lots of things happened today...After school, that Jack Ryder (I think he’s…Lucy’s boyfriend) asked me to help him get Sam to go out with him.

I don’t know what to do…Why would he want to go out with Sam? Doesn’t he have Lucy? It doesn’t make any sense. I mean, Jack doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy who would break up with Lucy…Then again, who would? Lucy is like…perfect.

I’m confused…but yet, I have to decide what to do. And fast…

I mean…if I helped Jack then Becca would never forgive me…She’s a strong supporter of Sam and David…and I am too. They have to be the cutest couple ever…

On the other hand, I refused Jack, then who knows what he could do to me?

- Beth, not knowing what to do. xx”

So that was obviously the diary entry of Beth’s first encounter with Jack. It seemed like at the beginning, she didn’t want to turn against Aunt Rebecca…So what made her change her mind?

I flicked through the pages, trying to find exactly when Beth changed her mind.

“Dear Diary,

I think I may have to turn against Becca…I…I just can’t take it any longer. I can’t take what Jack’s doing to me. It’s ruining my life…If I stay on Becca’s side, I might not stay alive through all of this.

I have no choice. I have to go on Jack’s side…

- Beth, upset and confused. xx”

…What? What did Jack do to her? Did I go too far? I flick back a few pages but find no traces whatsoever of Jack’s actions or of Beth’s sudden change of mind. It was like…someone had ripped out the pages in between.

“Zac, are there some pages missing?”

Zac looks at me with a sad smile on his face and holds up his hand. It was clenched and inside…was the missing pages.

“Zac…”

“Ok, look…You can look at these…on one condition.”

“What?” I ask, keeping my eye on the papers in his hand.

“You have to take me with you. I promise I’m not on my mother’s side in all this…I mean…I knew she was planning something big since she kept calling this ‘Jack’ person.”

“…What did you do then?” Our mother questions, her eyes narrowing at Zac.

“Well…last night after I got back from Hannah’s, I realized that she had gone out. So, I took her high-school diary to see if this ‘Jack’ was an ‘old’ friend…What I discovered was something completely different.”

“But you knew about Jack already, didn’t you? I mean, there was that wedding photo…” Alex says, looking suspiciously at Zac.

“Yeah, but I had no idea that my mother and Jack were ‘friends’. No-one mentioned that to me…So am I coming or not?”

I exchange looks with Alex and our mother before delivering the verdict…
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#43 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:39 PM

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Alex’s Diary, Friday 5th April
So basically, Zac kept asking us whether he could come with us. We weren’t really sure whether he was on our side or not since…well, we just didn’t know. There wasn’t a way that we could tell.

It was around this time that Zac suggested that he show us something that might help our decision. He took us upstairs into his room and showed us his mother’s high-school diary…he ‘said’ that he had no idea who Jack was and why his mother was making so many plans with him so he decided to see if Jack was a high-school friend of hers.

Which to be honest, sounded very suspicious…I mean, Jack was on Aunt Rebecca’s wedding photo…wouldn’t he know who Jack was?

However, as we read the diary, we noticed that there were some pages missing…the most vital pages too. Zac said that he would let us have them if we let him come with us.

I sighed at this, but I still knew we would have to let Zac come with us. Even though we weren’t quite sure what side he was on…well, we just HAD to look at the pages that he was holding in his hands.

“Zac…ok, you can come,” I say, after making sure that everyone else agreed with the decision.

He smiles at us and holds out the missing pages towards us. I reach for them and start reading:

“Dear Diary,

About that Jack Ryder thing…He won’t stop bothering me to agree with him! I really don’t want to…I mean, Becca would kill me if I said yes.

But then again… Jack’s…so much bigger than me. He could crush me if I refused…

Becca’s got a new boyfriend as well…His name’s Joshua. And I think I have massive crush on him.
This isn’t good.
- Beth xx”

That entry seemed pretty much similar to the one I had read before…I went forward a few months until I hit a page which looked helpful.

“Dear Diary,

Jack…he…said he can help me.

…But how?

Well, he did break up with Lucy last week…so…I guess he still has Sam in his mind.

- Beth, really confused xx”

Wait...what? Since when has Jack been able to HELP anyone? I sigh. I couldn’t believe how many lives Jack had changed. If Jack hadn’t been here, my parents might still have been together and Aunt Rebecca and Zac’s mother might still be friends…and Nat and I would have a happier life. This was all Jack’s fault!

I know, I know…I shouldn’t blame everything on Jack…It’s just the fact that he’s ruined people’s lives and he hasn’t realized all the sadness he’s caused.

“Alex, read on,” Nat says, looking at me impatiently.

“Dear Diary,

I know how Jack thinks he can help me…

Jack says that if I help him go out with Sam, then he will make Becca go out with him and then I can get Joshua.

…Though, how is that going to work? How can he go out with Sam AND Becca?

Besides, there is no way that I would let Becca go out with Jack…even if it meant that I wouldn’t get the chance to date Joshua.

I mean, Becca’s worth more to me than Joshua, right?

It’s not like I’ve even talked to Joshua much…He’s BECCA’S boyfriend, not mine…

- Beth xx”

Whoa…so this was when Jack decided to go out with Aunt Rebecca, have Grace and then get close to our mother? Interesting… Though the plan must have taken place some years later as Grace was still the same age as us (though she was around 5 months older).

“Dear Diary,

Jack threatened me.

He said if I didn’t help him, I would be going down…whatever that means.

- Beth, scared xx”

Threatened?

“Guys…I hope you don’t judge me by my mother’s behaviour,” Zac says, examining our face expressions nervously.

“Zac, don’t worry, I know you had nothing to do with it,” Nat states, though even she wasn’t exactly making eye contact with him.

Well, of course Zac couldn’t have anything to do with this… I mean, this was high-school stuff. But it didn’t mean that Zac had nothing to do with his mother’s actions now. It didn’t mean that Zac wasn’t keeping us in his room so his mother could just come and hurt us all…

…Alex, stop… You have to trust Zac… Well, as much as you can, anyways. He’s the only way that you’re going to be able to save everyone…

Besides, we had already agreed for him to come with us. So why was he being so paranoid about us judging him?

“I swear I had nothing to do with everything…I promise. Why would I show you these pages if I wasn’t on your side?” He questions.

“We’ve already said you can come! Be quiet for a second, I need to finish reading this,” I say, getting slightly irritated by his voice.

Ok…so I admit…I was sort of regretting allowing him to come with us. He was already annoying me and we hadn’t even left the house.

Well, he wasn’t annoying me that much…I just didn’t like the fact that he was still going on about the ‘trust’ thing when we had already agreed to let him join us on our ‘adventure’.

Ha…adventure. This is definitely not what my image of ‘adventure’ looked like.

“Alex, read!” Nat whispers, nudging me.

“Dear Diary,

Jack’s still threatening me...

Someone also sent a hate-mail letter addressed to me to our house.

I’m getting really terrified.

Please, someone tell me what to do.

- Beth xx”

At that moment, I felt so sorry for Zac’s mother. I could imagine what it felt, being threatened by Jack and having him watch your every move. I could sort of relate to her situation…I was, after all, being sought after by Jack. Though I was thankful that I wasn’t the only one who was going through the same thing…I had Nat, my parents, and relatives on my side.

And we were going to eliminate Jack forever.
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#44 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:40 PM

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Natalie’s Diary, 5th April

Zac’s mother got threatened by Jack to help him get closer to my mother.

Yeah, THREATENED. Was my mother really worth that much? I guess so…Jack really did go to great lengths to get her. I mean, he even went out with Aunt Rebecca [whoa, that sounds weird] and had Grace with her JUST to get closer to my mother…

…It sounds a little obsessive. I read on a little, finding myself starting to pity the soul of the little high-school girl which lay inside the pages…Because I knew her fate and it wasn’t a good one.

Dear Diary,

I don’t believe this. I really don’t. I helped Jack go out with Becca…and then he went out with Sam, leaving Becca by herself…

…Pregnant. Yeah, I know. I can’t believe *I* helped Jack get Becca, poor innocent Becca PREGNANT.

You suck, Beth, you know that?

And yeah, I WAS going out with Joshua [which was MY end of the deal] but then he just goes and says he wants to stay with Becca…to support her.

Basically, my [well, Jack’s] plan backfired. Now I have a best-friend that’s pregnant and an ex-boyfriend who’s going out her.

Great, Beth.

I don’t know why you agreed to help Jack. I mean, why?! Why didn’t you just ignore the threats and just stayed on the right side: Becca’s side.

Now you’ve got everyone into this mess and it’s up to you to sort it out.

Not that you can…Jack told everyone that you were responsible for everything.

And everyone believes it.

Except Becca, of course…She would never believe that even if it is true. But you have to stay strong. You have to help Becca, do whatever it takes to keep her happy. You need to make up for your stupid acts.

I think I might just be the world’s most hated person.

And all because of Jack.

Jack. Ryder.

I hate him.

- Beth

I sigh…This was where everything started to go wrong. Aunt Rebecca was pregnant and everyone blamed Bet--I mean, Zac’s mother.

Dear Diary,

I…I’m starting to think that maybe…Maybe…Becca TRICKED Joshua into helping her. I mean, think about it, why would Joshua want to help Becca? What would he have to gain? All that would happen would be that he would have to take care of Becca’s baby and it would ruin his social life and everything.

Do you think that Becca tricked him?

Do…you?

I need to know.

I think I’m turning paranoid too…I swear I saw Jack Ryder’s face following me several times today. But once I looked around, he was gone.

What if he’s really following me? What if he wants me to help him out in other plans?

What if…he wants to apologize for ruining my life?

What if…he can change my situation?

I think…I’m…going crazy. Someone…just save…me from this…horrible nightmare…

…Please.

- Beth

So this was when she started to lose track of reality. When she started to get paranoid and needed someone to help her save herself…

…I guess that person was Jack.

Yes, in the end, Beth must have gone to Jack for help. She must have realized that no-one else could help her except for the person who started it in the first place. She must have felt that only Jack could reverse things…

…But of course, that was not the case.

Jack Ryder just manipulated her for his own evil deeds. And I mean it when I say ‘evil’.

All those diaries entries are making me feel really depressed…It’s as if Jack Ryder’s changed so many lives and no-one can ever defeat [for a lack of a better word] him.

We need to go rescue Dad and Aunt Rebecca before it’s too late, before our lives are ruined, before Jack ‘wins’ the game again like he’s won many times before.

“What are we waiting for? We need to go and save Dad!” I say, putting the diary down rapidly.

“Yeah, I know…but are we SURE that they’re in the park? I mean, they’ve probably moved by now…unlike us.” Alex retorts, looking thoughtful [once again, a look which doesn’t really suit her]

“No, they’re not there anymore…But I know where they will be. Trust me.” Zac says quietly, gesturing us to follow him.

We have to trust Zac now…He’s our only hope.

“…Where will they be? There’s no way I’m letting you just take us somewhere without telling us where.” Alex exclaims, looking at Zac suspiciously.

“Alex…Nat, tell her. Tell her that I know what I’m doing…I just…can’t tell you where I’m taking you guys.”

“Zac, I really thin--” I start before our mother interrupts us.

“—Zac, please, just tell us where. Alex isn’t going to move unless you tell us. And besides, we’re doing this for your mother too…To save her from Jack Ryder. So unless you really want her to suffer, please, just co-operate.”

Zac folds his arms, staring at us defiantly. And alright, I know this isn’t the right time to be noticing things like this but his arms weren’t such a bad sight. Far from it, actuall—Nat, shut up. Concentrate, please.

Alex stares at me, expectantly…What does she want? Oh, am I supposed to say something? Um…ok then.

“Zac, really…Why can’t you tell us? It’s hard to trust you if you’re keeping secrets…Unless you’re not on the same side as us.” I say, making my ‘slight’ [ok, fine, it’s a pretty big crush] crush on him disappear as I focus on the situation in front of me.

“Ok, fine…They’ll be at my old house…My mother never sold it and now Jack pretty much owns it.”

Alex sighs, and asks why he couldn’t have just told us this before.

“…It’s sort of…personal, I guess. I don’t know why…” He answers warily, averting his eyes slightly..

Averting his eyes? There’s something wrong here.

What if…Zac was supposed to lure us to Jack?

What if…Zac was on the wrong side?

What if we’re just falling into a trap?
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#45 tango_pepperoni

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 01:40 PM

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Alex’s Diary, 5th April

I’m really suspicious about Zac. I mean, if he really wanted us to help his mother, wouldn’t he have just told us where we could find her? Wouldn’t he have preferred to just do that then to keep us here for five minutes, wasting our time? Besides, there was the whole ‘averting eye’ thing too.

“Ok, let’s go.” I say, gesturing to Nat and my mother to follow…I purposely avoid looking at Zac. I didn’t want him to come with us…For reasons which are stated above.

Nat and my mother follow me out of the room but suddenly, as if he had just appeared out of nowhere, Zac was standing in front of the doorway, blocking the exit.

“Zac…?” Nat questions, pushing me aside [softly] and looking at him.

I sigh and turn away…I didn’t want to lose anymore time but it was clear that this moment was one that Nat needed to do. She needed to decide once and for all whether it was right to trust Zac or not. That decision was easy for me to make…But then again, I wasn’t the twin who was besotted with Zac.

I hoped for Nat’s sake that Zac was on our side…I knew that she had already been ‘heart-broken’ by Ryan Strackham already and she didn’t need Zac to be added onto her list.

“Natalie, I hope you understand. I was made to do this.” Zac states, his eyes abruptly turning several shades darker.

Wait…Natalie? Since when had Zac referred to Nat as ‘Natalie’?

“—What?” Nat answers, confused.

“I…Just follow me.” Zac replies, before starting to descend the stairs.

“No, Zac. I won’t…I want a proper explanation.” Nat says, her face expression stern though I detected a hint of sadness and betrayal.

I sigh again.

“Ok, look…Natalie, I’ve never REALLY like--” Zac says, sighing as he turns around to face us.

I interrupt him before he can do anymore damage:

“You know what, Zac? I don’t have time for this. Just let us g--”

“Alex, its fine…I want to hear what he has to say.” Nat replies softly, her eyes locked onto Zac’s.

“Ok, fine. You asked for it. Let’s just say that I’m not your side. I’ve never been on your side,” Zac says, his voice cold.

I gritted my teeth and was ready to pounce on him when my mother spoke:

“…Zac, who’s your father?”

“My father…?”

She nods as Nat and I exchange looks…Surprisingly, Nat didn’t even look that upset at Zac’s confession. Maybe I had underestimated her ‘crush’ on Zac. Or maybe it hadn’t really sunk in…

“Ja--”

I groan.

…Stupid, stupid Alex.

How could I not have realized? Obviously there was another reason why Beth stayed with Jack all this time...

And now, things were beginning to fit together. Beth still needed Jack to support her child. Unlike Aunt Rebecca [who had Joshua], Beth was ALONE. It all made sense now…

“It was easy to fool all of you. You lot are all so gullible…I mean, Natalie should have realized that I wasn’t telling the truth…Remember what I took as an after-school activity?” Zac explains, sounding very smug.

“…He…He took Drama…With Grace.”

Grace?

Yes, of course…They’re related, aren’t they?

“Of course, Grace…I’m sure she’ll be glad to hear about her ‘new brother’,” Zac says, with a smirk.

I grimace…Grace would probably be upset if she heard that she had a ‘brother’ [though of course, Zac wasn’t blood-related, as such]…I mean, she didn’t want anything to do with Jack…

“So is this why you never mentioned a ‘father’ to me…Not once,” Nat says, her voice quiet.

“Yes, you’ve got it. And now, I’m sorry, but I just can’t afford to let you go.”

“But…You just told us that your father [and mother] is in your old house.” I retort, glaring at his deceiving face.

“I’ve changed my mind. Sit. You’ve got a long wait ahead.” Zac chuckles as he closes the door behind him and locks it from the outside.

“Don’t try getting out from the windows either…They’re all locked.” Zac tells us, laughing manically.

I can’t believe that I actually thought he was NICE. He was so cruel…He was growing up just like Jack Ryder.

I sit down with a sigh, trying to process all the information that Zac had told us:

So, let’s see…Beth fancied Joshua. Rebecca was going out with Joshua. Beth was being blackmailed by Jack to break up Sam+David. Beth eventually agrees. Jack ‘helps’ her by going out with Rebecca [?]. Therefore, Joshua is now Beth’s [?]. Grace is born. Joshua supports Rebecca. Beth is left alone. Jack takes Grace somehow [?]. Jack goes out with Beth [sympathy?]. Zac is born [?].

[A/N- Remember, this is all that Alex knows and therefore, a lot of it is not confirmed]

“I can’t believe it…How did he fool us all?” Nat asks, looking as if all the hope had vanished.

Which to be honest, it had…We had no way of getting out…Or did we?

I get up and attempt to open the door with no luck. I walk over slowly towards the windows but before I even got there, I knew that they were locked…And they were.

How were we supposed to get out?

How were we supposed to get to David+Rebecca before it was too late?

“Girls, we’re going to have to stay here until Zac decides what to do,” my mother says, looking grim.

I sigh, nodding.

“But what we can do is research…” She says, holding up the remains of Beth’s diaries which Zac had left on the bed.

I pick one up, opening one carefully, expecting the scrawl of a high-school student inside. However, as I open it and examine the page, it was evident that something was different; Zac must have left these here by accident:

These weren’t Beth’s high-school diaries…These were her present day diaries.

Were all our questions about to be answered? Or would everything become all muddled again?
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