Alarm bells rang through my head as the third and final Dawson boy stepped into view. Something wasn't right. Something was off, but I couldn't figure it out. My stomach was churning and I thought I was going to be sick. His eyes swept the room, seeming to skip right over everyone until they landed on me. And then he froze. "N...No way." He said, practically inaudibly.
"It's not real." He whispered under his breath several times before taking a small step into the room.
"What's not real?" I asked, wanting to break the awkward silence.
"Shit!"Jordan yelled, looking at me with extremely wide eyes. He turned around and ran, exiting the room before anyone could even begin to question what was going on.
We all stared at the doorframe in confusion. What the hell just happened?
I had to go after him. I couldn't just let the last triplet get away now that he was finally here. "I'm gonna go get him." I said absently, hurrying towards the door. I looked down each side of the hallway, noticing one side had disgruntled nurses shooting a dirty look down the hallway at a retreating figure. That must be him. I took off after him, avoiding the hospital staff that were clearly annoyed with the commotion.
"Jordan, wait!" I tried calling to him, but he was already out of the door.
I busted through the door, preparing to continue running, when I saw him standing just a few feet away.
"Are you okay?" I asked to his back, coming up behind him.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I just had to get away from her." He said.
"Get away from who?" I asked, seriously confused.
"Nothing, sorry. I'm just talking aloud." He said, turning to face me. Once his gaze landed on mine, his face paled.
"Stop. You're making me crazy!" He suddenly yelled furiously, putting his hands over his ears and dropping to his knees, right there in the middle of the sidewalk.
"Jordan, what are you talking about?" I asked, placing my hand on his back.
A chill went through him, almost like a ripple. "You just touched me." He said, suddenly, looking up at me and removing his hands from his ears.
"Yes, I did." I said, giving him a weird look. Maybe he really was crazy.
"But... That's impossible. How could you be touching me if you don't exist?"
I cocked my head to the side. "I'm not an expert or anything, but I'm pretty sure I'm very alive right now. You sure you're feeling alright?" I asked cautiously.
He stood up, his eyes never leaving mine. He reached up and touched my face, and his eyes widened considerably.
"You're alive! But how? I don't understand!" He said, all of this while grabbing me and engulfing me into a breath restricting hug.
"What do you mean you don't understand? And how do you know me already?" I asked.
"What the hell are you talking about, Victoria? I mean, I've been thinking you were dead for the past two months. It was the worst two months of my life." He said sadly.
"What the heck is going on?!" I shouted in frustration.
"Come on, Victoria. It hasn't been that long. You don't just forget your best friend that quick." He said, making my heart stop.
"What are you talking about, Jordan?" I asked, looking at him crazily.
"It's me. Jacen." He responded, giving me just as crazy of a look.
"Jace?" I asked, my voice barely a squeak.
"I'm so confused right now. Why would you think that I was Jordan?" He asked. His question barely even registered in my mind.
My best friend isn't dead.
He's standing in front of me.
I don't even care that it doesn't make sense how he is alive right now. I know this is him. He's here. And talking. He's okay.
"JACEN!" I yelled at the top of my lungs, throwing myself into his arms. "Is this actually happening? I can't believe you're really here! I missed you so much." I sobbed, soaking his shirt in a matter of seconds.
"I missed you too, and I'm really happy to see you and all, but can you please explain what the hell is going on? Start with why you're finding it hard to believe that I'm here right now."
"Jacen... I watched you die. Right in front of me. We held your funeral services." I said, feeling my eyes starting to tear up again. To say his expression was shocked would be an understatement. "Everyone thought I was dead?! I thought you were dead!"
"You thought I was dead? Why?" I asked, still clinging to his arms. I never wanted to let him go ever again.
"Well, that night I went to pick you up... It was supposed to just be a joke. Jordan somehow found out about me, and that my parents were his real parents, so he drove all the way in from Georgia to see us." He paused and I nodded, motioning him to continue.
"He ran into me first and I convinced him to go with me to pick you up. I dressed him up like me and everything, and the whole time I was in the backseat. We were going to scare you, but then the accident happened. Victoria, as soon as it happened, I jumped out to get help. By the time I got back, you and Jordan were being loaded into ambulances." His voice cracked and he looked down, breaking eye contact with me.
"You both looked limp and lifeless. I knew you were both dead. And I couldn't handle it. I cracked. I ran. I've been staying in an abandoned house for two months. That's why I'm so confused that you're here right now." He said.
"Wait a minute! So we actually buried Jordan, and mourned over him, all this time? You've been alive all along?" I asked, trying to wrap my brain around the concept.
"What do you mean you buried Jordan? Isn't that him up there, next to Mom?" He asked.
"Wait, what? You don't know about..." I trailed off when I saw his expression. "Shit. Let's go back up. Everyone has a lot of explaining to do." I said, dragging him towards the hospital again. No way was I going to be the one to explain to Jace that he actually had another brother. When we reached the hospital room, we stepped back in with my hand still in Jacen's.
"Hi, everyone." He said, shooting a wide smile. "I know we all have a lot of explaining to do, but the first thing I think we should clear up is that I'm not Jordan."
"What, so there's another one of us now?" Jesse asked, looking seriously confused. A heart wrenching sob escaped Mrs. Dawson's lips as what Jacen had said registered in her mind. She opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. She simply opened her arms to accept his embrace. I walked over to where Jesse was standing, smiling at his still completely confused expression.
"Jacen?" I heard Mr. Dawson whisper from near the door.
"Hi, Dad!" Jacen replied, going to hug him as Jesse took in a sharp breath next to me.
"Jacen, I think we should start explaining. I'm sure we've all got pretty decently sized headaches by now."
"Right. Well, it wasn't me that died. It was actually Jordan." Jacen said, his voice cracking slightly. "I know this seems completely crazy, but it was just a seriously unfortunate situation."
He nodded at me and I picked up talking. "Jordan discovered who his real parents were. He was living in Georgia, and had come down to meet you guys." I said, smiling at Mr. and Mrs. Dawson. "He got here, and first ran into Jace. Being the guy he is, Jacen decided to dress Jordan up like himself and have him pick me up. Jace was hiding in the backseat the whole time, waiting to scare me."
"That's when the accident happened. I jumped out to find help. When I got back..." He started, his sentence immediately cutting off.
I reached over and patted his shoulder. "He saw Jordan and I being loaded into ambulances. He thought we didn't make it, which basically caused him to crack. This whole time, he's been thinking that I was dead. Which is why he hasn't come back, and he's been hiding out."
"Jacen Michael Dawson! Do you realize what we have all been through these past few months?! Don't you ever just walk away like that again! We are a family, and we face out problems TOGETHER. We don't run! Do you understand?!" His mother shouted, but started crying at the same time.
"I know, Mom." He said, reaching down and embracing her again. "I'm sorry to all of you. What I did was selfish and wrong. I really am sorry for everything I've put you all through. I was a coward."
"We're just all happy you're back." My mother said, smiling at him. Everyone chimed in their agreements.
"Uh, one more question." Jace started.
"What?" I asked, keeping my eyes trained on him. I didn't want to look away from his fully alive and happy form.
"Nobody has explained to me yet who he is, if he's not Jordan." He said, pointing at Jesse.
"His name is Jesse, and he's your brother, obviously. This is also going to sound crazy, but you're a triplet." Mrs. Dawson said, slowly, watching Jacen's facial expression.
"What the fu-" He began to say before Mr. Dawson interrupted him.
"Watch your mouth!" He said, effectively shushing him. "I'm not your real father."
"Mom, Dad! You're kinda dropping a million bombs on me at once here. Can you take a thirty second break?" He asked, exasperated.
"Better to rip it off like a Band-Aid. When you three were barely a year old, your father kidnapped Jordan and Jesse. He ran away, and I had no idea where you were. I searched and searched, but I couldn't find them." Mrs. Dawson said.
"W...Why wouldn't you tell me that I had two other brothers? I could have helped find them!" He said, his face covered in sadness.
"Think about what you're saying, sweetheart. What kind of mother would I be if I told you that you had two other brothers that you would never be able to see? You would just know of their existence, and never be able to play with them or love them. I didn't want you growing up with that memory. So I kept it from you, so you could have a normal life." His face softened and he grabbed her hand, giving her an understanding nod.
"That's how we found you. Our father's arrest report was online. He never was dependable. One day he just took off, and I didn't know where he went. I'm assuming that's when he got arrested." Jesse said.
"How is it that Jordan was living in Georgia, when you were living in Florida? Henry had both of you..." She said, the statement seeming to put her in physical pain.
"I didn't have a clue about Jordan. Is it possible that he gave him to someone else? I mean, I know that sounds awful, but Jordan was never in my life growing up." Jesse said.
"He did say he found out his parents weren't really his parents. That's why he came here." Jacen said.
"My poor baby boy." Mrs. Dawson started, her face morphing into a mournful expression. She looked up and noticed the solemn expressions now on everyone in the room. "Well, now that everything is cleared up, I'm hungry." She said, cutting the depressing silence that had set into the room.
"Real food sounds pretty damn good right now." Jacen said.
"Son..." Mr. Dawson started.
"Ah, sorry, Dad. I keep forgetting I have to watch my language now."
"Can we go get something to eat?" I asked.
"Yes, I'm definitely starving." Jesse said.
"You guys all go on. I'll stay here." Mr. Dawson said, waving us on. "Beth has to stay here for a few more hours before she's allowed to check out.
We all nodded and filed out of the hospital room. When we reached the parking lot, we all debated on where to go, finally deciding on a Japanese steakhouse.
"Want to ride with me?" Jacen asked, flashing me a smile.
"Where'd you get a car?" I asked, looking at the beaten up one he had.
"Where I've been staying. There's another guy there and he let me borrow it."
"Sure." I said, smiling back. "Jesse-" I started.
"I get it. You two catch up. I'll ride with your parents." He said, tugging on a piece of my hair.
"You're the best." I said, reaching up on my tiptoes to give him a quick kiss.
"You know it, Babe." He said, turning around and walking towards my parents' car.
When I turned back towards Jacen, his face was in complete shock. "Did I miss something?" He asked.
"Oh, shit. I guess we skipped that minor detail. Yeah, your brother is my boyfriend." I said, before pushing past him and hopping into the car, and closing the door.
It seemed to take him a few seconds before he could react and catch up to what I said. He came to the driver's side. "You're dating my twin brother?" He asked, starting up the car and pulling out of the parking lot.
"I am." I said.
"How long have you known him?!" He asked.
"Almost a month." I answered.
"How did you meet?" He asked.
"I met him when I moved to Florida. That's how we figured out something was up in the first place."
"YOU MOVED TO FLORIDA?!" He asked.
"Oh, crap. I forget to tell you that too. Yeah. To Jacksonville. I ran into Jesse. And I mean, imagine my shock. I thought he was your ghost or something." I said, shaking my head.
"Clearly I'm out of the loop." He said, putting on a fake angry face.
"Well, that's what happens when you disappear for two months!"
"Are you guys having sex?" He asked suddenly.
"W...What?" I shouted, my face turning seriously red. "I am not going to talk about that with you!"
"Why?" He asked.
"Because, its weird!"
"No it's not!"
"Jacen, no." I stated firmly.
"Fine." He huffed. "So are you basically saying that you find me attractive? I mean, your boyfriend looks just like me and obviously you find him attractive."
"Jacen, don't be dumb. Of course you're attractive." I said, rolling my eyes.
"I know. I just wanted to hear you say it." He said, grinning and looking so much like his old self that I teared up.
"I missed you so much!" I said, throwing my arms around him.
"Hey, let's try not to cause another car accident." He said, laughing but trying to hug me back.
"Ah, good point." I said, leaning back.
Things felt so normal. My best friend was back. We were riding around just like we used to. Except this time, we were going to have dinner with my best friend, his twin brother, who is my boyfriend, and my parents. Well, crap.
Song: On Top Of The World by Imagine Dragons
"If you love somebody, better tell them while they're here cause they just may run away from you. You'll never know quite when. Well, then again it just depends on how long of time is left for you. I've had the highest mountains. I've had the deepest rivers. You can have it all but life keeps moving. I take it in but don't look down."
"Cause I'm on top of the world. Waiting on this for a while now, paying my dues to the dirt. I've been waiting to smile, been holding it in for a while. Take you with me if I can, been dreaming of this since a child. I'm on top of the world."
"I've tried to cut these corners. Try to take the easy way out. I kept on falling short of something. I could've gave up then, but then again I couldn't have cause I've traveled all this way for something."
"And I know it's hard when you're falling down, and it's a long way up when you hit the ground. Get up now, get up, get up now."