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Coincidental Meetings By Mel R. C.

Chapter 3

I untangle my legs from my blankets and sheets then scramble to my feet to run after my mom. I finally catch up to her outside of her and dad's bedroom. I wave my arms around sputtering.

"What do you mean, Marion and her brother are going to be staying with us?" I ask as I cross my arms across my chest muttering silently.

"It's just what I said, Jacqueline. They'll be staying with you, while their father, your dad and I are at a conference in Des Moines. Plus there's a horse auction that we want to go too, as well. We gotta keep this ranch going so we need to go and see what the competition is like. We'll be back within a week. oh and don't shoot anyone with your bow, like you did with, Stacy," she says as she picks up some suit cases.

"Hey!! That was not my fault, mother. She walked in front of my as I was practising," I say scoffing.

"Just the same, becareful," she says as she pats my cheek.

"ARG!" I throw my hands up into the air, rolling my eyes. "Fine, whatever you say mother," I say as I stalk off to my room.

I slam my door shut and jump onto my bed intent on staying there and not go to school, but against my better judgement I get up and put my uniform on. I open my closet door and take a look at my self in the mirror and groan.

"I look like one of those preppy kids that used to go to my old school. ARG!" I exclaim before spotting my satin short sleeved button up black shirt with red dragons on it and smirk evilly. "Well in for a kingdom," I say with a grin as I reach into my closet for the shirt.

After I've changed and give myself the once over, I grab my book bag and run down the stairs then out the front door, only stopping to grab my cell phone that's sitting on the counter in the kitchen and my car keys, then I'm out the door and in my car with the top down tearing out of our drive way and towards school.

I get to the academy early and park in the parking lot. I turn the car off, but I don't get out. Instead I lean my head back against the seat and sigh. Okay, I can do this. Not a problem. Yeah right and I'm the Queen of England. I shake my head and scoff then I get out of the car and shoulder my back pack then walk up towards the front door of the school. Before I go in I activate the car alarm then walk into the school.

As I enter the school I look around and raise an eyebrow. The school is more like a damn castle then a fucking school. I shake my head slightly.

"Fudge in hell. It's more like a damn museum then a school. I'm afraid to sneeze in case I make something fall over," I mutter to myself.

I shrug my shoulders slightly then start down the halls looking for the principals or head masters, whatever you call him, office. I walk down the halls looking occasionally at the doors that line each wall for a door marked Main Office, that some said, when I stopped them, to find. As I walk I hear some voices coming from an open door up ahead of me on my left, but that's not the weird thing. What's weird is the fact that someone seems to be saying, "Stop, leave me alone." and the other voices are just as low as the first voice, if not lower. I raise both of my eyebrows up then stop by the door before getting in front of it, so no one will know I'm there.

I poke my head past the door frame and into the room. I frown when I see about four guys backing someone up into a corner. I shake my head at the typical bully scenario. I shrug my back pack off then step around the corner, leaving my back pack where I was standing, before leaning against the door frame surveying the situation. I smirk slightly then blow on my finger nails and buff then against my jacket.

"It takes big men to back up one person against four, into a corner. I think ya'll should be taught a lesson, but this is just my opinion," I drawl as I continue to look at my finger nails not noticing someone beside my till I hear their cloths rustle.

I look up and am taken a back when at first I think it's Marion, but I shake my head slightly and hiss to him, "This isn't your business," I say as he looks at me then nods his head.

"Yes it is. That's my twin," he says before turning and facing the other guys that are across the room from us.

I nod my head as well then turn back towards the four men finally realising that they're talking to me.

"You will not do such a thing. Because what Mr. Palaski says you do and you will follow that to the letter and you will let us go back to what we were doing, Sir," The shorter of the four with green hair and bad acne says.

I chuckle slight and shake my head then I pin my gaze on the guy that just spoke and smirk coldly at him. “I'm sorry, broccoli head, but I don't follow orders very well and I don't know who this Mr. Palaski is and frankly I don't give a flying space monkey fuck one way or the other. All I know is, is that I see an unfair fight," I say as one by one I crack my knuckles first on my left then right as my gaze bares into his.

He points to a guy in the middle and growls at me. "This is Mr. Palaski and he doesn't take kindly to insubordination nor smart asses, like you," he says with a sneer.

I shift my gaze from him to the guy in the middle and about fall over laughing when I see his blue hair, but I have to look up because he is a bit taller then myself. I shake my head and cross my arms over my chest.

"I'm suppose to be scared of an over grown smurf? I'm sorry for laughing, but that's what you remind me of. Do people come up to you and ask you where papa smurf is?" I ask as I shake my head then look over at the guy standing next to me. "I really can't take someone seriously when they remind me of a one inch tall cartoon character," I say with a snort of laughter and I notice that this guy is really trying hard to hold in his laughter.

I look over towards the guys in front of us again and notice that the boys on each side of this infamous Mr. Palaski step forward. I just raise an eyebrow and uncross my arms only to shove my hands into the pockets of my pants.

"What? Ya'll leave your sense of humour at home this morning? Or did the higher being forget to give you one when he forgot to give you brains?" I ask dryly. "And if ya'll think you can take me on then I would pay dearly to see that," I say with a chuckle as I rub my chin smirking lopsidedly at them.

The one that was talking to my lunges at me. I raise an eyebrow, then reach out and grab his wrist to whirl him around then bring his arm up behind his back and look at the other three.

"Leave the guy alone and walk away or your buddy here will be sporting a new broken arm. Your choice," I say as I shrug my shoulders. "Either way I don't care, but I do think it's unfair of ya'll to gang up on one person.

"I don't think it's any of your business, really, buddy," Mr Palaski says as he crosses his arms over his chest, "And you look new so that should tell you to stick your nose out of other peoples business."

I nod my head slightly. "Yes, I am new. So let my introduce myself. I'm Jack Steffano and I make things my business, ya's brainless moron," I say with a sneer and jerk the guys arm up higher only to smirk when I hear him beg for this smurf to do what I ask.

I look up to see Mr. Palaski's mouth hanging open and he starts sputtering. I snort lightly and raise an eyebrow at him.

"You're not Marcus Steffano Sr. grandson are you?" He asks after he finishes sputtering.

I groan slightly. "Of course. I should've known that someone like you would know my grandfather, but it doesn't matter to me really," I say with a sigh.

Mr. Palaski frowns then moves aside and motions for the person behind him forward. "Take him."

The guy steps from around him and I gasp quietly before the guy that just came from behind Mr. Palaski is none other then Marion. I blink and shake my head then wave her over. I wait for her to come over to her brother then I shove the guy I'm holding to Mr. Palaski.

"Have a good day," I say as I walk over to the two twins then walk out of the room with them.

As I walk down the hallway I lean my head to the side then the other cracking my neck slightly. I laugh then look over at the two behind me.

"Who in the hell was that trip of a guy?" I ask as I put my hands behind my head then frown my eyebrows furrowing together. "I forgot my bag, be right back. Stay here because we need to talk," I say as I lean over and tweak Marions nose, laughing when she tries to hit me. I dance away then wiggle my eyebrows at her and jog off towards the place I left my back pack.

I reach the room where I left the pack and stoop down to pick it up, but I stop when I hear voices in the room.

"This complicates everything. The grandson of Marcus Sr. is here, but that doesn't make sense, Rick. I thought Marcus Jr. only has a daughter? Well it doesn't matter, because my fathers plans are in jeopardy because of this new development. Well I'll speak to my father as soon as I get home. Come on, lets go," Mr. Palaski says and I hear him come towards the door way.

"Shit," I mumble as I take off in a dead run.

I catch up to Marion and her brother then lean against the wall looking at them frowning my eyebrows furrowed.

"Okay who is this Mr. Palaski and do you know exactly why he has an interest in my Family?" I ask as I look from Marion to her brother then back again.

Her brother clears his throat slightly. "Well Mr. Palaski is Tyrone Palaski. His father John Palaski works for the Valentino Family. It's rumoured that if something happens to the head of the Steffano family that the Valentinos take over since there is suppose to be no heir left in the Steffano family willing or old enough to take it over. That is until you came around that is. I'm not sure why, Tyrone has an interest in your family thought," he says with a shrug.

I take a deep breath then nod, before looking at Marion. "What does he want with you?" I ask as she hangs her head.

"I don't wanna talk about it," She looks to her brother. "Please, Max. Don't tell him anything," she says a hint of pleading in her voice.

"But...," he starts to say before I stop him.

"No, it's okay, Max. I look around then back at them. Marion will tell me when she's ready. Now can the two of you show me where the Headmasters office is? We're late as it is," I say as I look at my blue sports watch to see the digital numbers telling me that it's eight-forty five.

Max nods his head then leads my to the office, but not before he tells Marion to go to Class. I watch the way he interacts with her and it's almost like he's her body guard. I shake my head as I follow him towards the office.

He drops me off at the office and I tell him I’ll see him either in class if have any together or at my house. He nods then walks off towards his class and I enter the dreaded office.

After a long gruelling day that was about as exciting as watching the grass grow I arrive at home. I enter the house and go straight up to my room. As soon as I get into my room I change my clothes, slightly surprised that the headmaster nor anyone else said anything about having my dragon shirt on. As I button up my shirt my phone rings. I groan, but go over to it and answer it.

“Hello?” I ask as I flop down into my desk chair.

“Jack! This is Leah. Listen, we have to talk,” she says excitedly.

I rub my face then get up grabbing my ash tray and Marlboros, then I sit down on the bench that’s under my window and open it up to let some fresh air in.

I look outside before I speak. “Talk about what?” I ask as I tap a cigarette out of the pack and light it, inhaling the nicotine filled smoke.

I hear a scoff on the other end. “About what? About the book signing that’s been scheduled of course, Jack,” she says in a rush.

I flick an ash off my cigarette. “Leah enough about the book signing. You show me the papers for this thing and I’ll fly out to LA, until then I’m just going to think that you’re trying to get into my pants like in Boston,” I say just as I look up to see Marion knocking on the door that’s slightly open.

I cover the mouth piece with my hand, “Come on in, Marion. What’s up?” I ask in a low voice as I listen to Leah ranting on the other end of the phone, noticing that she’s still in her school uniform.

She shrugs. “I was wondering where Max and myself are going to be sleeping?” She asks in a slightly nervous voice.

“Oh, yeah. I about forgot,” I say with a chuckle. “Well there’s two spare rooms up here. The door at the end of the hall is the attic and there’s one room is sort of an office/bedroom mixed together,” I say then hold up an hand then I speak to Leah. “Are you done ranting?” I ask.

“NO!!” She yells loudly enough that I have to pull the phone away from my ear.

I look back towards Marion as Leah continues with her ranting. “Ya’ll can pick from which ever bedroom you would like. It’s fine with me,” I say with a smile.

She smiles back then nods her head. “Okay. Thanks, Jack,” She says before turning and leaving my room closing the door behind her.

I continue to smile till I hear Leah’s voice on the other end of the phone line asking, more then slightly pissed off if I was still there.

“Yeah, I’m still here, Leah,” I bark into the phone.

“Alright, I’m sorry. Gods, you don’t have to bark at me,” she says her voice fill with hurt.

I growl into the phone. “And why shouldn’t I? You had a nice time of yelling your fool head off at me,” I say then I sigh. “Okay. Alright. I’m sorry, Leah. I’m slightly stressed about school and things,” I explain as I get up then walk down to the kitchen and grab a soda then I walk quickly back upstairs to my room.

“Oh, well sorry. Didn’t mean to bite your head off either, Jack. So do you wanna talk about what’s stressing you out about school?” She asks curiously.

“No, no, that’s okay,” I say as I sit back down on the bench and take another drag of cigarette as I pop open my soda, taking a swig from it. “Are we done talking about this, Leah? I need to go and do my homework,” I lie as I watch a fish jump in the pond.

“Yes, we’re done. I’ll have that contract sent to you,” she says in a slightly pissed off voice as if she doesn’t wanna let me go.

I fight the urge to laugh shrewdly. “Alright, talk to you later. Bye, Leah,” I say as I hit the off button on the phone. “NOT!” I yell at the now turned off phone as I set it down.

I get up off the bench and walk over to my computer and sit down in front of it. I set the ash tray on the right side of my keyboard and my soda on the left side then I press the power button on to boot up my computer. I tap my fingers against the desk as the computer loads to my desk top. I put my feet up on the desk and stare at the screen for a while as I smoke my cigarette. Putting my cigarette out, I get up and scoff at the tie that’s now draped over the lamp on my dresser. I cross over to my dresser and pick up a tennis ball that’s sitting in a glass cup. I toss it up into the air a couple times and sigh as I catch the ball each time then juggle the ball between my hands as I think about that stupid school I’m going to.

I bat the ball between my hands. “I’d rather go to a public school,” I say with a soft sigh. “GODS!!” I scream as I throw the tennis ball against the wall and catch it when it flies back towards my head.

I whirl around, when my acute hearing picks up the sound of my door being opened up slowly, the tennis ball in my hand and cocked back only to lower it when I see that it’s just Marion.

She stands in the door way looking like a deer caught in a set of head lights then she coughs slightly. “Hi, umm. I knocked, but you didn’t answer then I heard something hit the wall. I’m sorry for disturbing you and for walking into your room,” she says as she rocks back and forth on her heels.

I rub the back of my neck. “No, umm, it’s okay. Really. Come on in,” I say as I cross over to my desk and grab my cigarettes then I go back over to my dress and lean against it tapping out a cigarette and lightly it my hands shaking slightly. “So what’s up?” I ask as I lean against the dresser inhaling deeply from the cigarette then letting it out slowly through my nose.

She shrugs her shoulders then looks down at the floor shifting from one foot to the other. “Well I was wondering if I could possibly use your computer to check my mail. I mean if that’s okay with you, Jack and if you have internet connection that is,” she says in a rush a soft red tint colouring her cheeks.

I chuckle then nod my head before I motion towards the chair. “Sure. Be my guest. I don’t mind at all. I really don’t wanna look at the damn thing for today,” I answer with a laugh.

She smiles then nods her head then walks over to my chair and sits down scooting closer to the desk. I leave her alone and walk over to my filing cabinet. I pull out one of my notebooks then turn and walk over to my overstuffed chair, but before I sit down I pick up my acoustic guitar and check the tuning then I sit down in the chair and begin to fiddle with a couple of cords.

After fiddling with the cords I begin playing a song that I’ve been working on for the past couple of years, but that I can’t seem to finish. I look up every now and then to where Marion is sitting as I play and see her looking at me. I just smile and continue to play every so often I write down a note or a word for the song.

After the third time I catch her looking at me I can’t help, but laugh. “Anything good in the mail box today?” I ask with a sheepish smirk as she turns away.

She shakes her head slightly. “Not really. ‘Cept it’s being passed around in mail about someone that stood up to Tyrone,” She says with a chuckle.

I smack myself on the forehead. “Wonderful. Just what I need a title as either a fool or a Hero,” I comment as I resume my playing.

Marion laughs softly and I look up. “More then likely a Hero, since no one has stood up to Tyrone before,” she says as she turns her head towards me and smiles then turns back to the screen.

I sigh as I shake my head. “I’m not a hero. I’m just a street rat, dressed in fancy cloths,” I say as I run my fingers through my hair.

Her head suddenly snaps around so fast to look at me I wonder if she gave herself whiplash. “I’ve heard that saying before in a story about a kid that lived on the streets. She was saved by another kid, but the ordeal was so tragic that the girl lost her memory and the kid that rescued her was never seen again,” she says in amazement. “When the girl visited the other girl the nurse said she was a Hero and the girl looked down at herself in the cloths that the hospital had given her and said the very same thing,” she says excitedly.

I rub the back of my neck not looking at Marion, staring at the floor instead then I shake my head slightly. “Never heard of that legend. I’m from Seattle remember?” I ask with a slight yet nervous laugh.

She nods her head. “Uh, yeah. I knew that and that’s just it. You would only know about the legend if you lived in or around this town and you had heard the legend about Sela and Alex or at least part of it. So I found it weird that you’d know that saying from the Legend that’s all,” she says as she shrugs her shoulders.

I look away and lick my lips then back towards her. “Ah yeah. Well my grandmother lived here remember? Maybe I heard the quota from her. Maybe I’ll have ya’ll tell me the whole legend sometime,” I say quietly as I get up out of the chair. “I’m going downstairs to get another soda,” I say as I hold up my now empty soda can. “Do you want one?” I ask as I go over to the doorway then turn back to look at her.

She looks at me with her eyebrows raised then nods her head before looking back towards the computer again. “Yeah. That would be great. Anything you have will be alright,” she says from over her shoulder then looks at me again with a smile. “Thank you.”

I smile in return then walk out of the room, as I walk down the stairs I run my fingers through my hair and sigh softly. “Gods, Alex. It’s been so long since I’ve seen her. I can barely remember what she sounded like or even where she is now for that matter,” I mutter as I walk through the living room then into the kitchen.

I sigh as I open the refrigerator and take out two cans of Pepsi then close it and lean back against it thumping my head back against the door before leaning my head back against it looking up at the ceiling, but not really seeing the white paint covered ceiling, but rather the tan face that holds, vibrant blue eyes, a face surrounded by green dyed hair and lips that smiles lopsidedly at me and mouthing, “Hey Sels.”

I snap out of the memory when I hear someone cough. I look towards the cough and see Max standing in the doorway that leads into the mud room. He closes the door then drops his bad beside the dinning room table then sits down on one of the stools where the bar counter is.

“Hey, hero. What’s up?” He asks as I toss him a Pepsi then go into the refrigerator for another one for Marion.

I shrug as I walk over to the bar and take a seat on one of the stools as well. “I’m not any, hero, but besides that I’m fine. How about yourself? You have practice or something?” I ask as I pop the top of my soda then take a drink.

He nods his head as he pops his top as well. “Yeah. They’re having soccer tryouts today and tomorrow. Do you like soccer, Jack?: He asks as he takes a drink of his soda.

I nod my head. “Yeah, I do, but I’m not gonna try out, “I say as I get up. “I need to go take this up to your sister, before she dies of thirst,” I say with a chuckle. “Make yourself at home. T.V.’s in the den and help yourself to anything to eat. The guest bedroom is upstairs on the right,” I say before heading up stairs to my bedroom.

When I get into the my room I see Marion looking at a picture. I smirk then walk over to the desk and set the can down. I just chuckle when she gasps and drops the picture frame she’s looking at. I reach down and catch it before it can hit the floor. I look at the picture she was looking and see a worn picture of two kids around fourteen. One tall kid with green hair and an arm wrapped around the shorter blue coloured hair girl. I blink then grin fondly at the picture. The only one I have got of my friend and the only reason I have it is because a friend of ours stole a Polaroid camera from some tourists. I chuckle at the memory of my haggling with the tourists about some watches as Chip slowly relieved the older man of his camera.

I shake my head as I set the picture back down on the desk beside the computer then I turn back to Marion and laugh. Don’t as what possessed me to dye my hair that colour, but I did,” I say laughing deeply.

Her mouth drops as she looks from me to the picture then back against before she starts laughing. “That’s you?” She asks as she points to the picture.

I roll my eyes and smirk at her. “Yes, unfortunately it is. Like I said, don’t as me what I was thinking at that time,” I say as I shake my head.

I sit back down in my chair and pick up my discarded guitar, but before I can start to play the phone down stairs rings. “Oh for the love of the gods!” I exclaim as I run out of the room and downstairs to get the phone before the answering machine does.

I reach the phone on the third ring, panting I pick it up. “Yes, speak it’s your quarter,” I say as I lean against the wall.

“Ah good. You are home. I was trying to reach you at your number, but there was no answer,” the voice I recognise as my Uncle Tads says.

I smirk widely. “Hey, Tad. What’s up?” I ask as I pull out my pack of Marlboros and my zippo.

“Well I’m calling to remind you of your party. It’s tonight,” he says.

I about drop my zippo as I take the phone away from my ear and look at it then stutter. “E...e...excuse me?” I ask quietly. “You want the party tonight? I just talked to you on Saturday.”

“Yes, but I got everything and I do believe it’s a good idea since we’re going to be having a meeting so everyone will be in town and what I better way to relax before a meeting then having a party for a family member?” He asks in amusement.

I look at the phone and mutter to myself before regarding the phone. “A meeting huh? And I bet you just conveniently came up with the idea of a meeting so ya’ll could get the family members together didn’t you, Tad?” I ask as I light my cigarette and inhale deeply.

I hear a chuckle from Tad. “Why, yes, Jack. It seemed like a good idea. So the party is scheduled for tonight,” he says.

I sigh quietly. “Okay, but I’ve got a problem. There are other people staying here, Tad,” I say as I rub my face and massage my temples with my fingertips. “And I don’t think that they’re going to want to come to a welcome into the Mafia party,” I hiss quietly as I take another drag from my cigarette.

“Oh, well. We could have it be like a welcome home party or something,” he says his voice sounding slightly frustrated.

I think about that one for a moment then nod my head. “Yeah, that’ll do it,” I say as I exhale the smoke through my nose watching as it swirls around my head.

“Okay. I’ll be over in a bit,” he says. “Bye.”

I blink confused. “What? Why, Tad?” I ask, but it’s to late because I hear the dial tone indicating that he’s hung up already. “ARG! I don’t need this right now. Not tonight!” I exclaim as I hand up the phone then walk over to the deck door, opening it up then exiting the room and out onto the deck.

I lean against the rail and look out over the pond. I look over to the other side our land and see another house. I scratch my head slight. “I didn’t see that house when I was fishing. Then again I was to busy reeling in that big fish and the other time I was launching myself into the pond,” I mutter to myself with a chuckle.

I rub my chin then walk down the steps from the deck and onto the ground below the deck then to the other side of the pond not to far from the house that’s next to ours. I stop then inhale one last puff from my cigarette and put it out.

I close my eyes and inhale the smell of the pine trees that are around the pond. “Gods, it’s quiet and very calming,” I say softly to myself.

An old urge comes over me that I haven’t had in quit some time and before I know it my feet and body are moving and I’m doing a familiar routine that I haven’t done for years. After finishing my forms I go into Tai Chi forms. Calming myself even more. I stop suddenly with the feeling that someone is watching me. I look around then up to my deck, but I see no one there, then I look up to the other house where I see a girl standing on the deck of her house watching me. I smile and wave at the girl who in turn waves back to me then walks down the stairs and towards me.

I look down at my hands. “Oh wonderful. I’m probably trespassing and she’s coming to tell me to go away before she calls the cops,” I mutter to myself as I shift from one foot to another waiting for her to reach me.

Finally she’s standing a couple inches away from me and smiles. “Hi. I didn’t know you lived there,” she says as she points to my house.

I peer at her then raise an eyebrow. “Hey you’re the girl from the mall,” I say as I look up into her blue eyes. “I’m really sorry about running into you and um, oh yeah,” I say as I grin sheepishly and hold out my hand. “My name is Jacqueline Steffano, but everyone calls me, Jack and yeah I do live there. Arrived a week ago,” I say, but before I shake her hand I stiffen remembering that I’m suppose to be just Jack. Then I shake my head, What the hell. It’s to late now, and take her hand in mine feeling a slight jolt of electricity go through my hand when we touch. I shrug my shoulders slightly not really thinking about it.

She chuckles softly. “Nice to meet you, Jack. My name is Kathleen Vantrous, but people call me, Kate and it’s okay. I don’t being knocked head over heels,” She says then she blushes. “That is . mean..” She stutters.

I chuckle softly then shake my head. “It’s okay. I know what you mean,” I rub the back of my neck. “Say why don’t we go into my house and um that is. Can I offer you a soda?” I ask as I motion towards the house.

She smiles then nods slightly. “Sure. That would be great,” She says as I smile back at her then we fall in step beside each other as we head towards my house. “So what school do you go to, Jack?” She asks me as I look at her as she plays with some sort of bracelet.

I sigh softly then rub my face. “It’s hard to explain exactly where I go to school, Kate,” I say as I look up at the sky as I walk, but stop when I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn around and look up into her eyes.

“Why do you say that?” She asks with a concerned look. “Are you in some trouble?”

I look down at the ground then shake my head before looking back up into her eyes, but instead of long black hair and concern in her eyes, I see short green hair and love filled eyes. I close my eyes then shake my head to get the imagine out of my head and when I open my eyes back up the vision is gone.

“Nope, I’m not in trouble. It’s just...I’m not suppose to tell anyone, but what the hell. My parents enrolled me into Central,” I say with a snort then with a sigh I rub the back of my neck.

Her mouth drops and she looks at me, her eyes going wide. “You’re joking me,” she says in a hush voice.

I shake my head and sigh again then look from the ground, I had been staring at, and look back up at her. “Wish I was, Kate, but I’m not,” I say as I begin to walk towards the house again.

I look at her as we walk when I hear her walk up to my side. I shove my hands into my pockets waiting for her to say something the silence getting to me after a while.

“So what’s it like to be in that exclusive school?” She asks as she puts her hands into her pockets as well.

I look at her suddenly then chuckle in surprise. “Well it sucks. You loss your identity. I’ve got to put up an act for everyone. I just wish I didn’t have to pretend to be a guy all the damn time. Now I have to do it in my own home, because two people are staying there right now until their dad and my parents come back from their trip down to Des Moines,” I say as I take my hands out of my pockets and put them behind my head then yawn slightly.

She laughs softly and look over at her to see her smiling in amusement. “So I’ve got to pretend you’re a guy?” She asks raising an eyebrow.

I drop my hands to my sides then nod my head. “Umm... basically, yeah.” I say as I shove my hands back into my pockets as I climb the steps to the deck, but I stop and look back towards Kate, when I don’t hear her coming up the steps along with me. I see her at the base of the steps rubbing her shin slightly then she nods her head.

“I can do that,” she says with a grin then starts up the steps and stops beside me. “Come on. Lets give them a performance,” She says with a smile. “So I pretend that you picked me up while walking or did you save me from the pond? Oh wait. I would have to go jump into the pond to appear I fell in huh?” She says with a laugh.

I laugh with her and shake my head then start up back the steps of the deck, smirking at Kate. If I could’ve picked anyone to tell the truth too. Then Kate wins hands down. I shake my head as we walk through the door and into the house. I pull out some sodas from the refrigerator then pull out a chair for Kate to sit down on before sitting down myself.

We’re talking and drinking sodas when Marion and then Max walk into the room. They stop, each one standing in the door way coming from a different room. Marion from the living room entrance and Max from the den entrance then simultaneously they ask.

“Who’s she?”

I about fall over out of my seat in laughter, but Kate puts her hand on my arm to stead me. After I calm down I motion for them to sit down. “Come join us,” I say to them as they sit down. “Now let me introduce ya’ll. Kathleen this is Max,” I say as I gesture to Max. “And this is,” I say as I gesture to Marion, but raise my brow in a silent question while Max shakes Kate’s hand.

Marion sighs then nods her head and reaches out her hand. “I’m Marion. Nice to meet you, Kate,” She says as she shrugs her shoulders when her brother gives her a look. I look at Kate who smiles as she shakes Marions hand. "It's nice to meet the both of you," she says as she takes a drink from her soda, after releasing Marions hand, looking over the top of the can at me and winking. I blush slightly then rub my hand over my face to cover it up, before anyone notices. I cough slightly then take a drink of my own soda. "So, Kate. Why don't you tell us about your self," I say as I lean back against the chair looking at her.

She shrugs slightly. "Not much to tell. I was born here in Elkader. I'm suppose to be out of school, but held back because I was in the hospital in a coma since I was twelve due to trauma to my head which I didn't come out of until I was like around sixteen or so my dad says so anyway," she chuckles slightly. "So yeah. I would've been held back longer, but I guess I'm smarter then some people because I caught up a bit faster then the school thought I would've," she says with a laugh and a shrug of her shoulders. "Anyway. My birthday is October sixteenth and I like to sketch," she says then suddenly turns towards me. "So since I told ya'll something about me. Why don't you tell us something about your self, Jack?" She asks her eyes almost begging me too.

I shrug my shoulders. "Well I was born in Texas, then we moved to Seattle where we lived till we moved here. I play the guitar, piss around with computers and my favourite food is Chinese. I hate the school I'm going to and I've done a little Martial Arts in my time," I say with a chuckle. "Oh and my birthday is July fourth," I say as everyone laughs and so do I.

I'm about to egg Marion into telling about herself when I hear a car pull up. I lean my head back and groan.

"I forgot he was coming," I say as everyone gives me a confused look then we get up and go out the door to the mud room the others go outside, but I stay behind because outside where to my surprise is not Tad, but the trouble maker Tyrone himself. To my surprise, he's here without his cronies. I pull my shoulder holster on then put my jacket on over that and go outside with the others pulling my jacket closed a bit more so he doesn't see the pistol that slightly gives me a comforting feeling, but when I look over at Kate I suddenly remember the vow that I made three years ago. I shake my head then plant myself beside Max who is standing in front of Marion. I look at him just as he looks at me and nod my head slightly in reassurance.

"What are you doing here, Tyrone?" I ask with a slight growl, suddenly not liking the feeling I'm getting from him.

"Well, I was in the neighbourhood and thought I'd drop by. I must say that little trick you did really banged up, Cody," He says with a sneer.

I try not to let the comments get to and concentrate on finding out exactly why he's here. "Oh? And this is suppose to make me care, why?" I ask slightly annoyed at my lack of restraint around this asshole. "How did you find out where I live? And what exactly do you want? I know you're not here to just tell me that little tid bit of information," I say as I shift slightly getting in front of Max and the others defensively.

He grins maliciously towards me. "Oh well, I went for a joy ride through the school records then I went through the records at your old school and found out some interesting things about you, Jacqueline," he says with a smug grin.

I scratch the side of my neck, ignoring the surprised gaps from behind me knowing that they belong to Max and Marion, not really impressed that he did this at all.

His grin turns to a scowl when I do not react the way he had hoped for. "I'm sure the school would love to find out who you really are, Jack," he says with a sneer. "That is if..."

I look at him coldly. "If what, Tyrone?" I ask as I inch forward ever so slightly.

He scratches his chin slightly then shrugs. "Why if you become my bitch of course. You marry me, then I wont tell the school about your real sex and your new friends about the real Jack Steffano. Oh yes. I know all about your past and I'm sure they would want to know who you really are, Jack, because you are not to be trusted with their lives am I right?" He asks with a triumphant grin.

I suddenly feel a rage that I haven't had in ages. Not since I watched over three years ago the shooting of my best friend. A blind sort of fury that resorted in the deaths of two people and only ended when I heard her call my name then held her in my arms for the very last time never to see her again, but just as suddenly as it swept over my it was gone when I feel a hand on my shoulder. I look back and see Kate standing behind me with trust in her eyes and at the same time fear. I turn away and look at Tyrone with a cold stare.

I lean my head to the side and crack it. "What's in it for you, Tyrone?" I ask as I clench my fists to my sides.

He rubs his jaw as if thinking about it, but I'm not dumb enough to know that from the smirk on his face he had a plane before even showing up here in my driveway. By the look on his face he has assumed he has won, but that is where he is wrong. I wont go down without a fight. I think as I watch him pretend to weight the options.

"Well now, lets see. I marry you then I get to become sole heir of your dads families business since no one wants it and you're the eldest, but since you're a woman you can't possibly take over. That's what I want, plus it'll be fun breaking your spirit, Jack and making you into a dutiful wife like you should be," he says with a look of hatred in his eyes.

I tap my chin then rub my upper lip looking for all the world like I'm thinking these demands of his over. "Now as much as the through of being with you is so Appealing," I say with sarcasm dripping from my voice and ignoring the snickers from the others. "I am going to have to turn your offer down for three reasons," I say hold up three fingers then put one finger down to check off the reasons. "Number one I am not a damn horse, but neither am I breakable. Number two you really aren't my type," I say as I put down the finger on the other side of my middle one giving him the "bird". "And though I don't have number three I can tell you this. Go fuck off, Tyrone. And besides Tyrone," I say as I look over his shoulder watching Tad's car creep up and park off the side of the road. "You're making me late for a party, welcoming me into the family. So laters, Tyrone," I wave at him with my fingers as I walk around him and towards Tad who puts his arms around me when I reach him and gives me a hug. Then we walk back to the other with his arm around my shoulders.

I look at Tyrone to see him looking at me and Tad red as a beet, with veins sticking out on his neck as he watches me walk back over then he turns around to look towards Kate and Marion, but he pins his eyes on Kate.

A cold, hatred filled smile crosses his face. "Why Kathleen is that you? I haven't seen you since," he taps his chin as I walk around him, my eyes narrowing slightly. "Oh, yes, now I remember" he says snapping his fingers. "Since we were in the shower rooms together. Man that was a wild time," he says as he walks over to her and grabs her hips bringing her close to him, who towers over her by only an inch.

She pushes her hands against his chest. "Let go, Tyrone. You got what you wanted. You got me out of the academy now leave me alone," she says as she continues to push away from him through he holds onto her so tightly I can see where his fingers are digging into her flesh.

He tries to kiss her. "Awwww, now is that anyway to treat the father of your twins? How is Morrigan and Colin doing? Bet Colin is growing like a weed huh," he says rubbing against her.

Kate never gets the chance to answer because I show Tad, Marion and Max why I was a track star at my old school. I go from Tads left side to Tyrone’s left side. During the time I move I pull out my gun and I press it against his temple growling with primal anger.

"Let. Her. Go,: I ground out as I turn my eyes and look into Kate’s. The fury in my eyes reflecting back at me by hers then suddenly Tyrone is flying through the air and landing on the pavement of the driveway, pouncing once then skidding to a halt. Kate just stands where she was before not moving except for the shaking of her body from the force of the push, her arms still outstretched from the shove. I uncock my gun, put the safety on before putting it back into the holster. I look back to where Tyrone is standing up then slowly hobbles over to his truck.

"You'll regret that!" He screams before getting into his truck and begins to fumble for his keys. I slowly walk over to his truck.

"You better leave before I kill you here and right now," I mutter to him softly.

"Not if I kill you first," he growls before he guns the engine violently then backs up out of my drive way and tears off down the road.

I walk back over to Kate shaking my head slightly as I walk then I look up into Kate's eyes. "How did you do that?" I ask my voice filled with awe.

She shrugs slightly. "I don't know. I was looking into your eyes and the next thing I know I'm feeling this energy I've never felt before, but yet it felt familiar somehow and then he's flying through the air," she says in a voice low enough for only the two of us to hear. "I guess now you know there's more to me then what I've said, but if it's all the same can we talk about it later?" She asks as he eyes search mine.

I smile and nod. "Sure, take your time. I'm not going anywhere and while we're at it, I guess it's only fair for me to tell you the whole story about me huh?" I ask as I out a hand on her shoulder.

She smiles then covers mine with hers and nods her head before we walk into the house with Marion, Max and Tad following us and talking excitedly.

Continued in Part 4

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