chapter thirteen

I hung up the phone and turned to my stepsister, grinning like a fool.

“Whats going on?” Charlie asked.

“We’re going out Char,” I told her. “Grab your bag, lets get going!”


“He’s been parked at that window for the past hour and a half,” Howie told Keri. “I’m thinking of tearing it down!”

Keri laughed. “Whats he doing there?”

“Well, he was waiting for you guys, but now he’s just waiting for Cass.”

“Why is he waiting with such passion?” she questioned. “Its almost the same amount of passion that Cassie used this morning when she argued about her not wanting to come today.”

“You mean you don’t know whats been going on?” Howie asked her, his eyes wide.

“Apparently everyone here knows but me,” Keri remarked, somewhat angered that she didn’t know what was going on in her own sister’s life, while perfect strangers knew it all. “Care to explain?”

“Its really not my place,” Howie stated. “And I did promise Cassie I wouldn’t..”

Keri cut him off and sat him down on the couch. “I’m the exception. Now talk.”

Howie sighed, prayed silently that Cassie would forgive him, and related the story to Keri.


“Cassie? Where exactly ARE we going?” Charlie asked me as I sped down the unfamiliar street that would lead to Howie’s house.

“You just sit tight, Sis,” I told her, chuckling slightly. “You’ll be able to thank me later.”

“Thank you?” she asked. “OK, we’re not going on that wonderful shopping spree I’ve been nagging you about, are we?”

“Nope,” I denied. “We’re gonna go visit someone.”

“OK, then why am I gonna end up thanking you?”

“Charlie, you’ll be worshipping the ground I walk on.” I told her, recalling her poster-clad walls featuring the guys.

“It’ll be a cold day in hell, I’ll give you that much.” she retorted. “Now where are we going?”

“Will you chill?” I shot at her. “Help me find this house.” I shoved a piece of paper with Howie’s address toward her.

“Right there,” she said after a while. “The one with all the cars in the driveway. What’s going on here?”

“You’ll see soon enough.” I told her as I pulled into Howie’s large driveway, next to a Hunter Green Durango that was surely Nick’s.


AJ’s heart nearly jumped out of his chest when he saw the car. A silver Ford Explorer, just like Keri has said, was slowly making its way down the street. He froze in anticipation, hoping this wasn’t just some sort of coincidence. When the car started to turn into Howie’s driveway, AJ caught a glimpse of two girls, one of them Cassie. The sight of her overwhelmed him, and he immediately sprung towards the door.

“D! They’re here!” he shouted at his friend, who was finishing telling Keri the situation at hand.

“Well,” Howie said, looking at Keri. “What are you gonna do?”

“Just sit back and watch, for now, I guess.” She replied, staring at AJ in an entirely new light. ‘So THIS was the reason’ she thought miserably as she followed Howie outside.

AJ, meanwhile, didn’t make it to the front door unnoticed. Brian, who hadn’t been able to say a word to him before, stood in front of the door.

“Bri, whats up? I need to get outside.” an impatient AJ pointed out.

“Not so fast, Bone. You need to know something first.”


“You’re not going to talk to Cassie today, not about last night, anyway.”

“What? Why?” AJ asked, the seriousness in Brian’s voice making him nervous.

“I’m not going to let you ruin her day.” Brian said simply. With that, he opened the front door and walked out to greet his friend, AJ following close behind, with Howie and Keri trailing.

[chapter 12 | chapter index | chapter 14]