Chapter 2

I laid there on the king-sized bed, just gazing at the ceiling. Well, it seemed that way, but I was gazing at nothing. It probably looked like my eyes were completely glazed over.

I didn't want to meet my step-mom. In fact, I don't even want to see Kyle. Ever.

I thought about the boys I had met and my eyes narrowed. Jordan... He was quite distant. And it didn't seem like he liked Kyle, either. It seems we have something in common. And those two boys, the twins... Joe and Josh. They looked to be about my age. Jordan was obviously older than me, no doubt about that. So, there must be one more to meet... The 12 year old. I wonder what he's like...

"Heads up!" I heard a voice from outside my window and before I could react to it, something smashed through my window scattering glass all over the carpet. Luckily, the bed was a fair distance from the window so none of the shards reached me.

But that wasn't to say it didn't almost give me a heart attack.

I looked to find the object that sent my window shattering, to find it to be a baseball. A good quality one, too. Real leather, the stitching was still perfect... You could see it had been used a lot, but if the stitching was still immaculate and the leather still shaped, it was a really good quality make, possibly expensive. For a baseball, at least.

I got a jolt when I heard my door slam open behind me. I turned to see a boy, quite shorter than me, panting. His deep brown hair was like Joe and Josh's. But his eyes were a deep hazelnut.

"S-sorry." He stuttered, rubbing the back of his head. Was he embarrassed?

I looked to the baseball and back at the boy. I decided to walk to him at the door and I held the baseball out to him. "I'm guessing this is yours?" I asked him. I felt some sternness in my voice, although I tried not to. I knew the boy was younger than me and I didn't want to frighten him.

He took the baseball from me nervously and looked away. "Um, thanks. And uh... Sorry about your window. I'll ask mom and dad to fix it." He mumbled.

Mom and dad... I shook the thought out my head and gave him a small smile. "Don't worry about it. Just don't lose control of your curve ball again." I placed a hand on his head and he looked up at me in surprise.

"You play baseball?" He suddenly asked with a sparkle in his eyes.

I shrugged and looked away. "I did... Not anymore." I removed my hand from his head and, before I could put it to my side, he grabbed it with his own and gave me an irresistible look.

"Do you want to play with me?" He asked. That look... It was the look a puppy would give after being scolded.

Should I? I don't feel like playing... But that look. Dammit, I'm a sucker for cute things. And this kid was practically the definition of cute. I released a sigh and looked at him with a smile. "Sure, why not." I replied.

Immediately, the kid's look turned into pure happiness. Wow, I haven't seen a look like that for a long while. Especially in the mirror. "great! Come on, let's go!" He quickly dragged me out my room and down the corridor.

"Hey, W-wait! Hold up!" I tried yelling to make him slow down a bit.

We stopped at the top of the stairs and the kid looked at me with a quizzical look. "What?" He asked.

He was giving me that look again... I rubbed the back of my head and looked away, trying to avoid being drawn into his cute expression. "...What's your name?" I asked him.

He replied with a cheesy grin. "Craig!"

Craig... It suited him.

"What's yours?" he asked me with a warm smile on his face.

I couldn't help but copy it. "Freesia." I answered.

"Freesia..." He thought to himself and I saw him realise something. "Like the flower, right?" I nodded to him. "Freesia's are really pretty. I like freesias. I think it suits you really well!" His smile grew into a grin and he dragged me down the stairs. "Come on! I'll show you a good spot to play!"

His comment on my name... Nobody has ever told me that before. Other than my mother... I couldn't help but give out a warm smile and blush at the thought. I also felt my heart warm a little. Just a little.

We went to the back of the house, through a set of glass sliding doors, and he dragged me to a hill a little way from the villa. We stopped at a flat part of the hill and I looked back. The villa was a fair way back. The kid must have a strong swing to be able to hit my window from this distance. I could clearly see the smashed window from here, since we were directly in line with it.

"Freesia?" I turned to hear a familiar voice and saw two boys sitting on the hill, looking at me. It was Joe and Josh. I watched as one of them stood up, with a bat in his left hand. "What are you doing here?" he asked. It was Joe.

I looked away from him and frowned with Craig's hand still in mine.

"She's gonna play with us!" Craig stated to the twins who seemed shocked.

"Wait, you play baseball?" Josh asked this time, standing up.

I shrugged to the boys, still averting my gaze. "I did... Not anymore." I gave them the same reply I gave Craig.

"Why not?" The twins asked simultaneously and looked at each other with a mirrored smirk.

I didn't want to tell them. I couldn't. I played when my mother was alive. When she died, I lost the urge to play again. I gave the boys a look of loss. "Is it alright if I sit and watch? I suddenly don't feel in the mood." I stated to the three who looked at one another.

"Sure." Craig gave me a worried look and pointed to where the twins were standing. "You can sit over there. It's the safest place." He let go of my hand and I made my way there, giving him a weak 'thanks'.

I sat myself on the grass and watched the three boys getting set up. It's been a while since I saw a baseball game in person. My last one was for my birthday. My mother got us tickets to the game. It must have put a huge hole in our bank account, but it didn't seem to faze my mom. Then again, she never seemed fazed by anything. Even the day she...

"Joe! Careful swinging that thing!" I snapped out my thoughts when I heard Josh complain to his brother as he swung the bat to and fro.

"What's wrong, Josh? It's not like I'll let go of it!" And just as he said that, the bat slipped out of his fingers and landed a few inches to my right. My eyes widened and looked at the bat. Really? THIS is the safest spot? "Shit! Sorry, Free!" He yelled, running my way.

... Free?

I grabbed the bat and threw it back to him and he caught it. "Thanks." he smiled and ran back to the others, making sure this time to have a tighter grip.

Free... that was new to me. A nickname. My mother always called me Freesia, sometimes her little flower. But never Freeā€¦

"Joe, you need to watch your timing!" I heard Craig yell, the glove on his right hand.

I watched as one of the twins counted in his head whilst waving the bat in his hands in a small circular motion. I saw the other twin a few feet away from Craig and Joe, getting ready to throw.

He raised his knee and extended his arm behind him, then throwing a fast ball directly towards the other two boys. Joe was counting and focusing on the ball. When he thought was right, he swung the bat and it connected with the ball, sending it several metres away. We all watched it arch and then drop on the other side of the hill.

"Nice one, Joe!" I heard Craig say, slapping Joe on the back. Josh ran over to him and congratulated him.

That was Joe's 15th time to try and hit the ball. To say he sucked was an understatement, but he had a strong swing. Since the boys were busy praising Joe, I decided to get the ball for them. Sitting on my arse for so long felt uncomfortable, so I didn't mind.

I found the ball half way down the other end of the hill and I ran down, well skipped because of the gradient of the hill, and picked it up. It was amazing that it was still in such great condition considering how much it had been used.

"Free! You got it!?" I heard a voice from the top of the hill. It was Josh.

I nodded at him, showing the baseball in my hand. "Can you catch?" I asked him, his face looking a little surprised. Well, for what I could see anyway, I couldn't see his features too well from this distance. I swung my hand back, raising my right leg, hopping to my other and flinging the ball directly towards Josh, who caught it with little problem.

He gave me a clap. "Wow, you've got a good throw, Free!" He yelled to me as I made my way back up the hill.

I shrugged at him with a scowl. "Hey, I did tell you I used to play." I mumbled as I reached the top of the hill.

"Wanna switch?" He asked me, holding the ball out to me. I shook my head and raised my hands in front of me. He shrugged, pouting a little. "Suit yourself." He stated, before running back to the other guys.

I stood at the top of the hill for a while, feeling a cool breeze on my face. It was a nice day. Nice view, too. I looked to my left and saw the start of a beach.

The villa was set a fair distance from the city and it was the only building around here. That beach mustn't be used often... I'll have to check it out later.

"Hey, Freesia!" I heard Craig call and I turned to see him waving to me as the twins made their way back to the villa. "We're taking a break! Wanna join us?" he asked me.

"Sure!" I yelled back, skipping my way down the hill towards him. He waited for me to reach him and we walked back together.

He started telling me anecdotes on previous baseball games he had with the twins. I stopped and frowned.

"Wait, doesn't Jordan play with you guys?" I asked him.

He shook his head. "Nope. That jerk prefers to be on his own, watching soccer in his underwear or his nose in one of his books."

"He reads?" I asked him a little curiously.

"Yeah. David bald-something." He muttered. He must mean Baldacci. "Why? You seem surprised that he reads." He faced me, walking backwards.

He stumbled back a little after hitting a rock and I grabbed his arm before he fell. "Easy! You know that's dangerous?" I asked him. He gave me a small 'thanks' before I continued. "I just didn't expect a jerk like him to be into reading."

I saw Craig roll his eyes. "Jerk is an understatement."

What? He didn't like his older brother? "How do you mean?" I asked him, trying not to overly pry.

"Well..." Craig tried to find the right words, but the instant he opened his mouth ready to talk, I heard a voice call to him and myself.

"Craig! Freesia! Come here!" I heard the voice from inside the villa. It was Kyle. Crap.

We both ran inside to where Kyle was standing, a heavy scowl on his face. He had a small shard of glass in his hand. I noticed Craig spotted the shard too and immediately started to explain to him.

"Dad, I'm really sorry! It was all my fault. I swung too hard and the baseball went crashing through Freesia's window. She had nothing to do with it, it was my fault." He stated, looking Kyle in the eyes.

I refused to look at Kyle's face. Instead, I focused on an expensive looking vase, which seemed to be far more interesting, just to his right. I heard him release a heavy sigh and he scratched the back of his head.

"Craig, how many times do I have to tell you to be careful with that swing of yours? Seriously, you're just like Justi-" he cut himself off as I quickly fixated my eyes on his. His eyes caught mine and narrowed. "Just... be more careful next time." He stated, rubbing Craig's hair. He looked my way with a soft smile. "We'll get a window replacement as soon as we can. But it will probably be tomorrow. You could always sleep in Craig's roo-"

"My room is just fine." I cut him off and walked passed him. I turned back and looked to Craig who had a confused look on his face. "I'm going in my room for a while. You and the others can take a break without me." I stated in a gentle voice, before giving Kyle a stern glance and headed upstairs and to my room.

"What's up with Freesia, dad?" I heard Craig ask Kyle.

"It's nothing to worry about. Go take that break with Joe and Josh." I heard Kyle's voice a gentle whisper as I walked further away and into my room.

I opened the door, to find the shards of glass still everywhere. Damn, I forgot to clean it up...

I looked around my room to find a trash bucket in the corner and dragged it to the centre of my room. I knelt on the beige carpet and began picking up the pieces of shattered glass from the floor, careful to not cut myself.

After a moment, there was a knock at my door and I immediately turned around to see Kyle's face peer in. I turned back to my cleaning up and ignored him.

"I can help you with that if you wa-"

"No thank you!" I snapped at him.

"Freesia, I-"

"I don't wanna talk, Kyle." I cut him off again, this time looking his way giving him a grimace. "Talk about MY mother again and I swear I'll hit you!" I threatened him, seeing his face turn pale.

His eyes narrowed. "Freesia, I'm your father."

"I don't have a father..." I whispered, loud enough for him to just hear.

I heard the door behind me slowly close and footsteps slowly walking down the corridor. I wasn't going to cry. I told myself I wouldn't.

It took a while for me to gather all the shards of glass, but I did - without cutting myself, too, so that was a bonus. I heaved a well-deserved sigh and clapped my hands together. I arched my back. Bending down for that long made it ache a little. As I did so, I saw the clock on my wall.

6:35pm.

It was past dinner time and I was hungry. It didn't surprise me that Kyle hadn't called me to dinner, what with my sudden outburst and all.

Just as I set the trash bucket to its original spot, I heard a gentle knock on my door. There was a pause and I sighed.

"Come in." I yelled.

The door opened and a tall man with jet black hair was standing in the doorway, holding a tray. It was Jordan. This time, he was fully clothed, choosing an original choice of a shirt and jeans

"Here." He stated, handing me the tray of food. "You didn't come down for dinner, so the old man told me to give it to you here..."

I looked down at the tray to find pepperoni pizza and some orange juice. I took it from Jordan's hands and looked down.

"Thanks." I spoke in almost a whisper.

Jordan leaned around me to see my broken window. "What happened? Oh, wait. Don't tell me Craig?" he asked. I nodded slightly. He looked around and a frown showed on his face. "You cleaned it up on your own?" He asked. I nodded again, still standing with the tray in front of me.

He leaned over so he could look at my face. "You're not gonna eat?" He asked me.

I released a sigh and placed the tray on my bed, sitting beside it and looking at the floor. Well, I say that, but I felt my eyes had that glaze again. "I'm not really hungry..." I lied.

It was awkward speaking to him knowing he's older than me, and the fact I saw him almost completely naked when we met didn't help either.

I suddenly felt weight on the bed and I turned to see Jordan sat on the opposite side of me. "You know... I never wanted that old man to be my father. In fact, I still don't see him as my dad. In all honesty, I'd rather not have a dad at all." He turned to face me, looking me in the eyes. "You came here in the early hours of the morning. You haven't eaten all day." he said, carefully sliding the tray closer to me. "At least eat something." He whispered, lowering his eyes.

Was this the same Jordan as before? What happened to hot jerk Jordan? Now he's just... Jordan.

I suddenly felt the extra weight come off the bed and Jordan was making his way to my door, his hands in his pockets. "If you don't eat, that chest of yours isn't going to grow an inch." he stated, a wry smile on his lips.

I quickly threw one of the pillows on the bed towards him, but he had closed the door, shielding himself. "Jerk!" I yelled.

"Anytime!" He replied from behind my door. I heard his footsteps walk away from my door and fade.

Was he worried about me? I looked to the tray of food and my stomach growled like a ravenous tiger... I guess a little food wouldn't hurt. And I scoffed the whole pizza down and drank the orange juice in almost one gulp. Okay, so maybe I was a little bit hungry.

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