CHAPTER-1

THREE YEARS AGO

They say 'Love conquers all'. 'They' couldn't be more wrong, as far as I am concerned. 'Pain conquers all', however, might be truer. You must be thinking, what can a thirteen year old like me know about love and pain? Well, I assure you, I know plenty.

People get murdered, raped, beaten up, mugged, robbed, and harassed all the time. But you never imagine those things happening to you, until it does. You think your life is boring, and it throws a giant cannonball at you, and then there is no end to the series of cannonballs, one after another. After sometime, you wish your life were boring. But the world is cruel; it wont let you be normal. It will mess you up, play with your life, but throw in some good times too, baiting you. It's those good moments that you are supposed to hold on to. I, however, really can't find my good moments. I tried to, I really did, but after sometime it became impossible to find the silver lining.

Yes, I am one depressed teenager. Sigh.


"FINE! Do whatever you want to! I don't CARE!" I screamed at him, crying, wanting nothing but to get away from him. Hot angry tears streamed down my face. I clenched and unclenched my fists, the anger slowly taking control. My hair was whipping all around me due to the cold gusts of wind. I could see him gnashing his teeth together, anger taking over him as well.

"Yeah OKAY! I will! And YOU can take that giant ego of yours and-", he started screaming as well, the rage evident in his voice "SHOVE IT-…it…EVE WATCH OUT!" He was still shouting, but the sudden change in his tone, the desperation in his voice, made me stop walking backwards, and look behind me. There was nothing there, just the other side of the road. I looked back towards him, confused, the darkness and my tears blurring my vision a bit. The wind was still blowing violently, the ground still damp from the afternoon shower.

"EVE, to you left you moron!" The fear in his voice made me quickly snap my head towards the left, only to see a car speeding towards me, its headlights off, making the darkness even more prominent. Why were the headlights off? In my peripheral vision, I saw him lunging towards me.

The last thing I heard was Peter screaming.


The cliched beeping of monitors and sterile white walls were what I woke up to. A hospital. I felt a bit dizzy and numb. My head felt heavy, really heavy, and for a second I felt my vision go black.

When I woke up, it turned out, I was unconscious for more than a second. I wasn't numb anymore, my whole body ached, and the painful throbbing in my head was consistent. Dorian, my brother, was there. He looked tired, and drained, but extremely happy. I guess me being awake was a relief to him. He went away for a second, probably to inform someone I was awake, and then came back. I still felt very zombie-like, and extremely disoriented. The hospital sheets around me where green, a relief to my sore eyes. Green had always been my favorite color.

"Baby brother." I said, or more like cawed. My voice sounded raspy and broken, very crow-like. I cleared my throat noisily. I tried to move my head sideways but the throbbing in my head became more prominent. He gave me an annoyed look. Seriously, who is annoyed with their sister after she just had an accident? And I do remember having an accident. Not exactly, but I recall someone screaming, and then a sharp lurching sensation going through me as the car had hit. It was like I was recalling a dream. The memories were there, just a bit out my reach.

"I am only a year younger. Stop calling me that." He said, scowling. I just rolled my eyes. Or tried to. Then a doctor came in, and started noting something down. She introduced herself as Dr. Norse, and kept blabbing about something or the other. I ignored it, seeing as it was hard for me to concentrate. She checked my vitals, the stuff blinking on the monitors and then congratulated me on my quick recovery, and left. After that a nurse came in and injected me with something, which dulled the pain a lot. Painkillers, I would say.

"What happened?" I asked. I knew, sort of, what had happened. But it was just something you always asked, in situations like these. Mom and dad were probably freaking out, completely over reacting. I didn't really think I was that much injured. And speaking of over reacting…

"Where's Ian?" I asked slowly.

Ian was my older brother. He was born two years before me, and thinks that only he could save his siblings from all the woes in the world. Pfft.

"He is outside. Everyone was extremely worried Eva. We are very glad you are okay." Dan (Dorian) said quietly. That's one thing about him; he is honest, and even though he might hide things from you, he wont lie about it if asked directly. So that's what I did.

"How badly was I injured? And DON'T try to BS me." I was already in 'Evanora Hawthorn' mode, that is, I-am-panicking-and-about-to-completely-lose-it-so-tell-me-everything-clearly-before-I-do mode. But its tough to sound commanding when you felt like a human tofu.

Needless to say, I was more than a bit freaked out at the moment. Dan made it sound like my injuries were severe. I was assuming that I wasn't that badly hurt, but I sucked at assuming.

"Well, you lost a shitload of blood, almost died, then had a major surgery, broke quite a few limbs, then Jackie chan-ed your way back to us." For once in his life, he looked grim. I know he tried to make it sound light, but now it was evident to me that I had had a major accident. Also, the casual phrasing of the words scared me a bit too. It kind of freaked me out, losing blood and breaking bones. That's normal isn't it? Getting freaked out, I mean.

"Is Peter here?" I blurted out, and then snapped my mouth shut, flushing. Seriously, what is wrong with me? I should be asking questions about myself, about mom and dad, when I was supposed to be released, but I asked about Peter. However, to be quite frank, I had expected him to be sitting here beside me. As a matter of fact, he had known me for longer than Dan had. And he knew more about me than my own freaking parents. And he cared about me as much as Ian did. All that should count for something right?

Stop thinking about him, my Inner Eva commanded.

How?

I don't know.

Then how can I, oh all-knowing Inner Evanora?

Shut up. Bitch.

Ugh.

"Hello? Earth to Eva?" Dan was waving his hand in front of me, a scared look on his face. When I snapped out of my daze, he said, "Don't do that. Its creepy, especially after the accident and all."

"Huh? Oh yeah. So, um, did he come? I mean. Of course he came. Ha-Ha. What I asked was, what did he say? I mean, obviously he was freaked out and all, but you know, I am his best friend too, and forgetting all the dating drama, he still cares about me, so he was probably scared-" Dorian stopped me mid-rant. He looked a bit sad, and very angry. I could see that angry glint in his eyes when he said Peter's name.

"He called us, dropped you here, and left."

"And…?"

"And nothing. Said he didn't care." It was Ian who had answered. He sounded angry too, and very tired. I suddenly felt very guilty, for worrying them so much. Seriously, I should be quarantined or something. I worried everyone so much but the only person I was worrying about is the one who isn't worried about me. What a wonderful paradox.

"When did you come in?" I said, smiling towards Ian. And then, what he had said hit me. I mean I had heard his words earlier, but I hadn't let it sink. Now that it had, I felt a major breakdown incoming.

"Wait WHAT? He didn't call? Ask about me? Make some inquiry? Anything?" I didn't really care about the fact that I sounded so desperate. Even though we had had a fight, he would have come. He always came. You just don't ditch you childhood best friend after a major accident because of small banters. No frigging way. I just couldn't believe it.

Ian shook his head sadly. "Dan called him once, he hung up. And shouldn't you be scared or something? Did Dan tell you what happened?"

"Yeah, he did." I said quietly. I didn't at all feel like talking, or thinking even. Being unconscious seemed like a good idea.

I quickly wiped the small tear that had leaked from my eyes. I hadn't even realized I was crying. Ian winced. I should've been scared badly, because I had almost died. I should've been completely tired, I should've been angry; I should've been hurt. But I wasn't. I was just completely and utterly hopeless. I felt empty, hollow. Why would Peter ditch me?

I really needed to learn how to prioritize.

"Hey, don't cry. God, we are such morons. We shouldn't have told her all this, you know. Mom told me not to. Shit Eva, I am so sorry." Ian sounded desperate now, he even looked miserable. I felt even guiltier, for worrying him even more and then making him apologize. I quickly wiped away any remnants of any tears and shook my head. I had to at least pretend to be okay, for their sake.

"Its okay. I am fine. Are you okay?" My question was directed towards Dan. Peter and Dan were pretty much like brothers, they were so close. So if Dan and Peter weren't talking because of me…

"Worry about yourself for a change Evei." He had clearly avoided the question. Smart kid.


Mom and Dad came in and then scolded Dan and Ian for not informing them that I had woken up earlier. Apparently, they had gone home for a quick shower. Mom and Dad didn't bring Peter up. Nor did Dan and Ian. I tried to ask them many times, but they steered clear of the topic.

Peter's parents, who were very close friends with my folks, came to visit. Even they didn't talk about Peter, but the unspoken question was still there.

Why hadn't he visited even once?

I am not exaggerating when I say we grew up together. We were neighbors, our parents were best friends, our birthdays were weeks apart, and we even hung out with the same people. Eventually, we fell in love. At least I did. I know it was weird that I was just entering high school, and already in love. But now that he was not here, I felt sick. He has always been a part of my life, more like the part. And now he was ignoring me. I couldn't even begin to explain the loss I felt.

My other friends however, visited constantly. Anna and Seth, my two very close friends, brought me flowers and treats, and then would keep bickering about whose one was better. I knew both of them had major crushes on each other, but were too scared to admit. Anna was extremely sad, and so was everyone else, because she would be moving to Manhattan with her dad to start high school.

Richard, my supposed archenemy and Peter's consistent rival, was probably the only one who could make me laugh a bit. Richard's sister May also visited a couple of times. She was as hilarious as Richard and would constantly keep fussing over me, as if my mom didn't do that enough. Kira, a girl who actually hated me, came by once too, if only to smirk at my miserable state. My cousins, Josh and Nicky, visited as well.

Everyone came except for Peter.

Weeks later, I was discharged, but I wasn't really healthy. Physically I was almost fit, but emotionally, I was dead. Maybe I was over reacting? But it didn't really matter. Nothing else mattered, the only person I could think about was Peter. My therapist started getting worried, as all I would do was sit and stare blankly at the walls. My friends tried, but more often than not, failed to cheer me up. After Anna left, crying was the only thing I became good at. Everything seemed to be going wrong. Doctors said, it was post traumatic depression, but everyone close to me knew it had nothing to do with the accident.

My high school was about to start, and my parents were getting worried. Then, came a job offer for Dad in Manhattan. Fate and the jazz. He accepted it and it was decided I would move there along with him and start high school. They thought I missed Anna and Peter, and there was nothing they could do to make Peter talk to me, so they decided to bring me Anna, or rather, take me to Anna. I probably should've been happy that I was going to see Anna. Thing was, I didn't miss Anna half as much as I missed Peter. Before you start judging me, let me tell you that Peter had always been more of a best friend than Anna. And if I left, I wont even be able to see my other friends. But I didn't want to start high school here either, knowing that we would go to the same school and he would still just keep ignoring me. So I went away, left my whole messed up life here. My brothers, my friends, Peter, everyone was left behind.

He didn't come to see me off at the airport.

What were we fighting about anyway? I couldn't even remember.


FEW WEEKS AGO.

"Are you okay?"

Wow. That's what she asks me. Is she insane? How can I be okay? Are you okay Mom? Are you? 'Cause I sure as hell am not. There would be something wrong with me if I were okay. So I am definitely not okay. And yet you ask.

"Yeah."

"Okay, take care sweetie, and pass the phone to Ian, please."

I passed the phone to Ian and went and sat next to Dan on the couch. The bowl of Doritos on the table was still untouched. Tom and Jerry kept on chasing each other in the television screen. The atmosphere in the room, however, was very depressed, but I was sure no one felt as sad as Dan did. He had been the closest to dad, the favorite child. Dad had passed away three days ago. Tomorrow mom would be flying in for the service. Ian and Dan had flown in two days ago, but mom couldn't because she had to work.

"Eva." Dan said quietly, his voice sounded hoarse, as though he hadn't spoken for a few days, which he hadn't. I tensed immediately, what if he asked about that again? I didn't want to talk about him.

"Why did he leave?" Dan continued, oblivious to my inner turmoil.

I knew what he was asking. He wasn't talking about why he had died and left us. No, he was asking why dad had left the house at two O'clock at night, drunk hopelessly. He had had an accident, and wasn't as lucky as me. But should I tell him why he had left? Should I tell anyone? Ian had asked me the same thing loads of times. But I didn't tell him anything. So, should I tell Dan?

I should, but I probably wont.

How could I tell them that it was my fault? That I had been the one to drive him away? That I had practically forced him to leave? I couldn't, so I lied to save my sorry behind.

"I don't know. I was asleep. Then the hospital called. Then I called you all. Then mom told me to call Uncle Ben. Then I went to the hospital, heard the news about his d-death, called…"

"Yeah I know the rest, but the thing is, why did he get out of the house at fricking two in the morning?" he said miserably.

"I don't know." I mumbled quietly. Dan gave me a look, and then he pulled my face up and made me look at him in the eye.

"You are lying. I always know when you lie. You mumble and look away. Tell us. Why did he leave? We deserve to know and you know that." He sounded so desperate, so miserable and so sad, I felt guilty immediately. I tried to look at him in the eye and failed. What the hell was I thinking? Of course I would tell them. I always tell them everything. Ian had already hung up and I knew he was listening to our conversation as well. I took a deep and shaky breath.

"We had a fight." I said quietly, and waited for them to shout at me, scream at me saying that it was my fault. But they kept quiet, waiting for me to continue. I gathered my courage and went ahead.

"He was drunk, but not that much. He came home and found me crying. I was upset 'cause Brock had dumped me. He asked me if I was okay and I screamed at him, God knows why, and then one thing led to another and then we were both screaming at each other and then I started throwing things around and said really hurtful stuff to him and he left. He probably had more to drink after that, drove, and then crashed and well…you know the rest. I just left him a voicemail saying I was sorry, after he had left the house, and went to sleep. Rest is as I said." I finished the tirade with a long and shaky breath. It didn't feel better by talking about it. I felt sick. I had left parts out, parts about me accusing him for cheating on mom, about him being a severe alcoholic. It was better if none of them knew how much dad had deteriorated, if they went on respecting him. As for mom, I think she had already guessed.

What actually made me feel better was Dorian wrapping his arms around me and telling me again and again that it wasn't my fault, and Ian claiming that he was going to murder Brock with a butcher knife. Murdering him wouldn't really be helpful, I guess.

I was the luckiest person with the shittiest fate. That about summed it up.


"I don't want to."I said, stretching out the 'a'. A sigh escaped my lips.

"You have to." Mom said, stressing the 'have', accompanied by an angry grunt.

"But why?" I said, the 'why' coming out in a very nasal voice.

"Because they are the closest we have to a family around here." She gave me a reprimanding look.

"Peter treats me like shit. I don't want to dine with them. You know I don't want to go through all that again." I said bluntly, not bothering to beat around the bush. This was the part I had feared most about returning to Bridgeway, the inevitable meeting with Peter.

Mom's face softened and she looked very sorry for me. Score for me, guilt-tripping the Dictator.

"He might've changed Eva. But…you can go out or something, if you don't want to meet him now. You will see him at school anyway. Maybe you should catch up with your old friends? Seth wanted to hang out." She said pointedly, trying to hide a smile. I groaned. Mom and her assumptions. It just kept worsening day by day.

"We are platonic. Platonic, Mom. And don't try to look innocent, you are guilty as charged. Also, school starts in a week, so I need to shop for stationery and some T-shirts maybe. I'll go with Seth. I'm gonna go call him now." Mom tried to hide a smile, 'tried' being stressed upon.

Three hours later, I was walking down the street, shopping bags in one hand and a chocolate ice cream in another, with Seth munching on his Doritos beside me. Chocolate anything was my most favorite thing, next to 'Once Upon A Time'. Seriously, I would do anything for that show.

After coming back home two days ago, from Manhattan, the first thing I did was call Seth and make plans about hanging out. Although he had mentioned taking me out for dinner someday (as a friend) we hadn't decided the details. Now, since I couldn't stay at home what with the Andersons' dining there, I had decided to call him up on that offer. It was a two-in-one offer. I could ignore Peter for a few more days, and get to hang out with Seth.

My senior year was about to start in three days. Thing was, I felt like a freshman, because this was the first time I would be attending Bridgeway High School, not to mention the mess changing schools in the senior year had created.

"So, you miss your Dad?" Seth asked, licking his fingers. I gave him a 'gross' look but he just shrugged.

"Jeez Seth, what a thing to ask. Thank you for reminding me about that again." How handy sarcasm came at times like these.

He rolled his emerald eyes, threw his Doritos in a nearby trashcan, and snatched my Ice cream. I made an annoyed sound at the back of my throat.

When I protested, very vehemently I may add, he said "Dinner time Minion, we need to make sure that round stomach of yours is empty." His eyes twinkled mischievously, that jerk.

"MY STOMACH ISN'T ROUND."

This was a touchy subject and he knew it. My first memory of school was seriously disturbing. During kindergarten, Rick had decided it would be hilarious to draw on my stomach. So when one day he had come over to my house, he used bright marker pens to draw pigs across my belly while I was asleep. Next day, during lunch, he had boasted about the same, and all the kids had cornered me and made me show them the drawings. Peter had, finally, come to my rescue, but the damage was done. I had become a laughing stock for kindergarteners. My stomach, since then, has been a sore spot for me. How tragic.

"Square stomach?" he asked innocently.

"You know that's not what you meant." If glares could kill, he would've been reborn by now. Did that make sense?

"Yeah, your ice cream is delicious, or was. And your stomach is cute, 'kay? Not rounded, or bloated, or puffed up, or has ridiculous pigs…"

"IT DOES NOT."

"That's what I said. Get in." he said, chuckling. I punched him in his forearm, hard. But apparently, it wasn't that hard for him.

Rolling his sea green eyes, he pushed me inside the Chinese restaurant. Well, at least he was feeding me. And I did not have a rounded stomach, just to be clear.

After dinner, Seth dropped me home, while complaining all the way about stomach pains. We had overeaten a bit, or a lot. Even I felt sort of queasy. Actually, I felt extremely queasy and full. After reaching home and taking a long bath, I finally closed my eyes, and tried to sleep. But then, mom poked her head in my room and said,

"Peter asked about you."

And poof went my sleep.


A/N: Feel free to point out grammatical errors. Until next time. Toodles.

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