What was I suppose to say? They were talking about things I have no clue about. For me not to look stupider to Alice, I naturally said 'yes'.
That's how I ended up at the backseat of Alice's Lancer with Doc at my side and Green Day on the speakers. Don't get me wrong, I like Green Day. But when your older stepbrother is singing at the driver seat, you have to admit it is kinda weird. Not that he was singing wrong. It just felt new to me. Doc didn't seem to mind though. He even looked like he was having fun and so does Alice at the shotgun, moving her head to the beat.
Then one particular song played. It was Justin Bieber's "Baby". Let's face it; even if you are a grandparent, a grade-schooler, or even a hater, you know the lyrics to this song or at least its chorus.
"Baby, baby, baby ohhh..." Sleepy, Alice, Doc and I sang with the renowned song. If it was because we are fans of Bieber or we're just mocking his song, we didn't know. One thing was sure; we had fun singing our hearts out.
A few minutes later, we arrived at the beach. Alice and Sleepy walked the sands in bare foot, while Doc and I preferred to set a blanket and sit on it.
"God, I missed this!" I heard Alice screamed facing the sea with her arms stretched upward.
"Do – David, where did you say she moved again?" I asked Doc.
"New York," he answered.
"What? You didn't say we lived in the same city for a year." We wouldn't have known each other, but still.
"Well, she's moving a lot these days. Last month she was at LA. Two months before, she was at Texas." He explained.
Before the sun set, I saw the show they were talking about. They lit a drift wood. How they set it on fire, I'm not sure. All I know is that the two got things from the car and the next thing was, I was looking at the most colorful sunset ever. In front of us was a fire burning with brilliant colors and the majestic sun as its backdrop.
We went home after the small driftwood turned to ashes. Doc bought his DSLR and I was looking at the pictures he took this afternoon. The first picture was obviously stolen when Sleepy and Alice were waiting beside the car. I didn't want to admit it but Sleepy and Alice looked cute with their matching black and white outfits. In the picture, Sleepy was holding Alice's right hand. Spike left a reminder of their encounter. Amazingly, Sleepy was smiling, which is as rare as gold.
There was a picture of me and Doc at the beach too. One in particular showed as smiling goofily at the camera. We really looked like brother and sister. Unconsciously, I smiled. The last picture was the four of us, with our backs to camera, looking at the sunset. You have to thank timers for that.
Dinner was fantastic as always as long as it is Andy's cooking. "Did you have fun at the beach?" Mom asked us.
The funny part was that the four of us – me, Alice, Sleepy, and Doc – said, "Yes" at the same time. Everyone giggled at that. Except for Dopey, who was chugging on his protein shake at time we were at the beach.
"Brad, Jake told me you're going out with a girl named Debbie." Alice told Dopey.
"I am not dating Debbie." Dopey's face was red. He glared at Sleepy. I like Alice a lot already. "Jake, here, receives calls every night from giggly girls." Dopey's face is funny when he tries to be smug while his face is as red as a tomato.
"He never called them back, you know." I said. I didn't know what came over me, but I felt that I need to defend Sleepy. Weird.
Alice lightly smacked Sleepy's left arm. "That's rude. You should have at least called them back." Not a reaction I expected.
"Well, I was busy..." Sleepy answered while scratching the back of his neck. Andy quietly laughed at that.
Unexpectedly, rain poured – weird. What's weirder was that it turned into a storm during dinner.
"Oh my. Alice, I think it is better you stay here for the night. I heard that a storm was suppose to hit tomorrow but I think it decided to be early." Mom said.
"You could sleep at Jake's room." Did Andy really said that? Obviously so, since both mom and I looked at Andy.
I heard a vibrating phone. "Sorry, but can I take this?" Alice asked.
"Oh. Sure." Mom replied while Andy nodded.
When Alice disappeared to the other room, mom said, "Andy, I think it is better for Alice to sleep with Suzie." Even if I only met Alice today, mom was right. You can't just put two teenagers of the opposite sex together in one room!
Andy laughed. "Honey, I know it might seem strange that I'm even suggesting this, but I have trust on the two of them." Sleepy, on the other hand, doesn't seem to hear any part of this conversation for he was looking like his old self – sleepy. "They haven't seen each other for a year. Besides, Suze only met Alice today. I don't want to impose for her to let someone she barely knows in her room." He has a point, but it's still unheard off. "You can check them before we sleep if you want Honey."
"If you say so Honey." Mom reluctantly dropped the subject.
"I'll just get some juice." I stood and went to the kitchen.
Looking at the window was Alice. "Yes, yes. Please cancel any appointment until I return." Alice shut her mobile phone.
"Juice?" I raised the juice container.
After dinner, I went to my room. I changed into my sleepwear and I remembered Alice. She doesn't have extra clothes with her. So, I went to Sleepy's room. The door was ajar but I still knocked.
"Come in." I heard Sleepy say.
I was expecting trash on the floor and dirty laundry stuck somewhere, but what I saw was shocking. Sleepy's room was spotless clean. It was way cleaner then mine. To the left was obviously his closet and a door to his bathroom. A wide window mostly covered the wall opposite the main door. There were also a computer, boxes and containers, and books. The bed was adjacent to the window and on top of it were two teenagers playing Scrabble.
"Hey Suze," Alice greeted. She was holding a tile and was putting it on the board. "Catacomb! Beat that." She gloated to Sleepy.
"I should have not put that 'cat' there." Sleepy shook his head. "What brings you here?" He asked me.
"Oh, I was wondering if Alice would like to borrow some of my clothes. But it looks like you took care of it." I explained. Alice was wearing a checkered boxer shorts that obviously belongs to a guy and a black MCR shirt that I saw Sleepy used before. This time Alice's hair was resting naturally on her shoulders. I can clearly see why Sleepy can't keep his eyes off her.
Yet it wasn't her beauty that left me dumbfounded at the door. Alice got off the bed. I expected she'll just hug me. Instead she kissed my right cheek. "Thank you Suze," she smiled.
No one ever thanked me that way. Even ghosts just appear, wave, and poof! That's how I mostly get my thank you. A kiss? Never.
Sleepy tried to hide his laughter. I glared at him. "Wanna join?" Sleepy offered, pointing at the other tray.
"Thanks, but I'll retire." I glanced at Alice. "And, ugh... You're welcome Alice." That sounded more of a question. I mentally slapped myself. "Good night guys."
"Good night." They both said.
As I laid down on my bed, one name popped in my head, 'Alice'. Why is it that since the time I met her, I want to get in her good side? And during dinner why did I answered Dopey like that? I never was interested in any of my stepbrothers' love lives. But clearly Alice made me think otherwise. And those pictures of me and Doc did showed two kin having fun. Maybe Gina was right, having brothers is cool. Hmm... But Dopey still is another matter.
"Suzie! Cee Cee is on the phone!" I almost forgot about my latest 'assignment'. I went down the stairs.
"Thanks mom." I answered the phone. "Hello?" I asked Cee Cee to do some research about Alesana Crawford because like what you saw earlier I am not research material.
"Are you sure you tried to research on Alesana this morning?" Cee Cee asked.
"Yes, of course. It just showed me irrelevant links." I defended myself.
"Because you clearly skipped the most relevant link. Crawford Realty." I didn't respond and Cee Cee explained further. "Crawford Realty is owned by Mr. Jefferson Crawford and Mrs. Carol Crawford who were actually from here. They died a year ago on a plane crash. The company is to be inherited by their one and only daughter, once she turns 18. Her name is Alesana Crawford, but she is commonly known as..."
"Alice Crawford." The both of us said.
I thanked Cee Cee for her time and I immediately went to Sleepy's room. I asked if I can talk to Alice privately.
"Fine." Sleepy walked away from the bed. "But after I get water from the kitchen, you should be finished with the private part of your conversation." He grabbed a shirt and went out the door.
Alice patted the space beside her on the bed and I sat down. "Is this about the guy on your room?"
"Not really, but it's related. Do you see them?" I asked.
She shook her head sideways. "I only feel them. Sometimes I also see a glowing aura."
"I see." I jumped into to the main topic before Sleepy misses Alice too much. "Mr. and Mrs. Crawford asked me to tell you something." She didn't respond; I continued. "They would like you to follow your other dreams."
It took a few moments before she said, "Is that what they really said?"
I nodded. "They love you and I quote what your dad said, 'lighten up'."
She laughed at the phrase. The same time she wiped her eye. "The Crawford Realty is my parents' life work. They put their blood and sweat on the company. I just can't leave it." Her eyes were red. "I exchanged seeing my friends at school for home school so I could have time. I have been learning everything I can about realty on the past year with the help of my uncle."
I hugged Alice. She told me that she wanted to have a Bachelor's degree. She wanted to be a vet, since she was a kid. She loves her parents so much that she left everything for their business. Her parents' death made her life take another direction.
"I just went to get water." Sleepy appeared and was walking towards us. If it wasn't for Sleepy, Alice and I might have been there all night without noticing the time. "I didn't know you guys will miss me that much." Sleepy handed a glass of water to Alice.
"Don't be silly, Sleepy." She stifled a laugh. Sleepy wiped the tears that were still on Alice's face. She drank the water. "Suze convinced me too go back to Mission Academy." Sleepy looked at Alice. "And maybe go to a university after."
Sleepy was so shocked he didn't say anything. He just hugged Alice tightly.
It was almost inaudible since Sleepy's head was buried in Alice's shoulder. But I'm sure he said, "Thank you Suze."
Wait. "Alice did you called Jake, Sleepy?"
Alice laughed. "Yeah, that's my pet name for him. He always looks like his dozing off, because of his work." She patted Sleepy's head. "Also because he looks cute when his sleeping."
I will never ever call Jake, Sleepy ever again.
Phew. Well, that's all I've got. I think the 2nd chapter is better written than the first.
Thank you for those who read, especially those who reviewed the first chapter! :D
Don't forget to review!