One or the Other

Chapter 2

I needed a plan.

If Cedric Shawn thought I wasn't going to retaliate, then he doesn't know Astrid Xiu Lien Miles at all! Always picking on me… Always smirking! For a while back there, I thought he had changed! It was obviously deep wishful thinking!

The only thing was, despite the many times Cedric had played tricks on me, all my plans to get revenge always backfired! That damned genius could always read my moves and counterattack as easily as putting a hat on! I hated how he could do it so effortlessly!

But I'm going to think of something big enough to knock even him off his high horse!

The difficulty is thinking of how!

I then remembered my failed attempts… one after the other…

Scenario 1:

I ran behind the staircase and listened closely to the coming footsteps. I chortled evilly inwardly as I thought of what was about to happen. As the footsteps became louder, I knew it was my signal and my time to shine!

I grabbed the ankle with a strong grip, smirking at my victory. But the owner of said limb merely looked down at the hand before switching bored green-gray eyes to my face.

"Do you need anything, Putrid?" He had always called me that after our first meeting. At first, I thought it was amusing that it rhymed with my name… until I discovered what it meant of course!

Darn big word!

Darn him!

But I gasped at the lack of reaction. Where was the girlish scream I was oh-so hoping for?!

I gaped at him. "Why are you so calm?!"

He shrugged. "I could hear you breathing heavily from excitement."

Groaning, I released his ankle and walked off. Foiled! By my own eagerness!

I forgot about the incident as I went to Edan's room to play with him and Devon. I liked Edan. He was very nice and he didn't call me evil names like "Putrid".

Mrs. Shawn then called me and announced that my mother arrived. Skipping merrily down the stairs, I yelled my good-bye.

"See you tomorrow, Eda- AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!"

I fell back to the previous step and started kicking madly at the thing that grabbed my ankle. Then I heard the most evil laugh in the world…

My eyes narrowed.

CEDRIC!

I glared my nastiest at him as he clutched at his stomach, laughing so hard. "Oh Putrid… You crack me up."

"SHUT UP YOU WORM!"

I then proceeded to chase him around the house in the hopes of grabbing a hold of him and beating him within an inch of his life.

Scenario 2:

I found a freaky doll with blood on its face and a creepy smile that sent shivers down my spine earlier in the week. An excellent idea came to me and hiding it in my bag, I went to my almost daily trip to the Scharden residence.

Sneaking into Cedric's room, I left the doll on his bed, making sure it faced the door. Giggling, I went outside with Devon to play with her new jump rope.

Suddenly, she just stopped. "I'm thirsty," she said in a pouty voice which I just found so cute.

"I can get us some drinks," I offered. She smiled brightly at me and I had to resist from cooing. "What do you want?"

"Orange juice please!"

So I went into the kitchen and headed straight for the refrigerator. When I turned around to go to the cupboards and get the cups-

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I dropped the orange juice as I stared in horror at the kitchen bench.

The doll was staring straight at me!

But how did it…

"I can't believe how silly you are, Putrid."

Blushing furiously, I let out an enraged scream and started throwing the closest things I could grab, which were the cup coasters.

How miserably I failed again!

Scenario 3

I got one of those emails where it tells you to read something and then a scary photo accompanied by a blood-curdling scream would flash on the screen. Well… Guess who I decided to send it to!

Wanting to see his face, I actually told him to check his email… with the help of Edan of course to prevent suspicion. It helped that Devon and Brice were also with me.

Just shrugging as usual, he went off to check his email while we all followed him. I felt guilty that Devon had to see it so I told her it wouldn't interest her – quietly of course. Blessed child, she took my word and walked to her room and made a call to her best friend… Gale Scharden? Something like that…

Cedric then began reading the email I sent him. He didn't seem suspicious of it, for that I was thankful. But he was really cocky to trust me so much when he knew how much I hated him!

He was reading the email when that horrendous photo popped up. Edan yelped while Brice yelled, "Holy SHIT!" Even I, despite having seen it before, even jumped and squeaked and held on to Brice.

But Cedric just blinked at the scene.

"Hey…" he said in a blank tone. "I wasn't finished reading that article."

UGH! Does nothing scare him?!

A few days later, he sent me an email. Curious, I looked at it.

It was even scarier than the one I sent him.

I'm pretty sure he heard me scream two houses down.

Failures! All of them failures! What would it take to crack a nut like him?! I can't believe someone this annoying is two years younger than me!

"It's one-and-a-half years," is his reply whenever I scream in frustration.

"Why does it matter?" I would always hiss. "It's the same as two years!"

"No it's not," he would always say quietly. "Two years sounds too big of a gap."

What did I care if the gap seemed that big?!

"You're such a boy, Cedric," is what Brice would say if he was with us in one of those age arguments. Cedric would just glare at him in annoyance while Brice laughed.

I never understood what he means by that.

But he has to be stopped! He's making ordinary, average, normal people like me suffer and humiliated!

Though it almost kills me to say it, there have been times when I was thankful that I knew Cedric and his family.

One of those times was when I was fourteen years old and just entered middle school.

I was being troubled by a group of older bullies. At first I ignored them since they were just words anyway. But when they saw that they weren't getting the reaction they wanted, the bullying turned physical.

Though most people don't realize it, I can actually be stubborn. I started fighting back (using words) but they were bigger and stronger than me and they would just push me around.

Then one day I got punched on the eye.

Oh you better believe it swelled up into a beautiful (no, not really) purple.

I could still remember the day I got it.

Their knocking was really persistent. I already knew who was outside my door because I saw them walk to my house. All five of the Shawn children – even Cedric – actually went over to my house instead of the usual other way around.

"What's wrong, Astrid?" Edan asked. "You usually go to our house on Wednesdays!"

"I'm just tired!" I yelled from my bed, my voice slightly muffled. To my utter embarrassment, I had actually cried after the bullies left me. I never ran away from them and I never cried in front of them. I was too stubborn to give them that satisfaction. But as soon as I got home, I couldn't stop the tears.

My mom knew me well enough to leave me alone when she saw me. She knew I would eventually approach her and talk about it so she was prepared to be patient even though I saw the pain in her eyes at seeing her child injured. She was the one who let the Shawns in.

"But you're never tired!" Brice retorted at my reply. "You're this little hyperactive Asian girl!"

"Half!" I yelled my usual reply. Then I felt like crying again.

"Astrid, please open the door…" It was Devon and hearing her cute childlike voice, I almost went to the door to open it.

"I'm sorry but I'm really tired!" I yelled back and to my panic, I heard my voice break. They would definitely know I was crying!

There was silence.

"Astrid, we just want to help," Austin, the eldest, said quietly though I heard it.

"I don't need help!" I yelled, starting to get angry. At least it was driving my thoughts away from feeling sorry for myself.

I heard mutters then I heard a key enter my door's keyhole.

I stared at the door in horror.

They had the key!

To my utmost surprise, it was Cedric who was holding the keys when the door opened.

He was the first to see me and for a moment, all we did was stare at each other.

Then he spun around without saying a word and left.

Austin and the others went in and rushed to me. But I could not get the image of Cedric's cold grey-green eyes right before he left.

I later found out that Cedric had gone to the bullies and… to put it simply, bullied them back. At that age, Cedric already excelled in martial arts and coupled with his sharp tongue, he sent those older boys crying home. Though I would like to say I didn't want anyone else fighting my battles, I was glad he did anyway. When I awkwardly tried to thank him, he tripped me and caused the whole world (well, the whole soccer field where we were) seeing my cherry-print panties.

Ha! See if I ever thank him again!

So how to get him back?

Well, it seems he hasn't changed so does that mean my plans would backfire again?

I need to get to know him again.

So before forming my plan, the first step:

Research.

Cedric, you are going down!

A/N: Ah I loved writing this! Sorry if it's a bit short! I'll write my review replies another time so please review!

Yours truly,

Riva Delle

UPDATE

Fairytale Gurl - I did as you requested and keep corrections coming but you also have to keep in mind that I DID mention that she has not much knowledge of her Asian background, as does her mother. I do know Chinese-background friends who have no knowledge (or very little) of such technicalities and they are first generation Australians (where I live) while Astrid is already second generation. I am basing Astrid's knowledge of her Chinese background from what I and my friends know so expect it to be limited, okay? But keep the corrections coming though I cannot promise that I would always make the correction.

Thanks!