AN: I've abandoned the old version because I've gotten much better at writing since I first posted that, and it's one of the original works from my 'beginner era' that has survived 'till today, and it will not be taken down.

And the school Rino goes to will be based off of my memory of a school I went to in Texas, where I lived during my time in the USA. And I think I nailed that 'hates school' type of personality with Rino xD

Rino Maneri

Hidden Hills Estate

I was grinning, flopping onto my bed. I had just gotten out of school, and I was absolutely pumped for the summer!

But before I continue, you need to know who I am. I'm Rino Maneri, the son of a… honestly, I don't know what my mom does. All she says is that she works for the government, and that's it. Her job brings in some serious dough, though. Nearly $850,000 a month. Because of that serious cash, we can live a life of modest wealth, since my mom insists on saving the majority of the funds she receives from her job. That doesn't mean, however, that we don't live in a nice house.

My mom was a sucker for those big fancy modern homes and decided to buy one. We still own our old house (Just a regular 2-story farmhouse), but it serves more as a sort of vacation home.

Anyways, I don't really know my real dad. Mom said that she didn't know what she was thinking during the time they were married (in regards to him, not having me; she wanted to have a child), all I know is that he was Italian. A justification for my name (Mom had insisted on calling me Felix, but I liked Rino better), as I like to call it.

My mom, since then, has gone through marriages like I go through shoes. The previous two guys turned out to be douchebags, and the last one had actually been abusive. Thankfully, I was a fairly strong 13-year-old, and he had only been able to blackmail me for around a week before he slipped up and knocked me into the wall and started hitting in a rage. At the time, I had been purposefully angering him and keeping my mother by side.

So, she found another guy. Thankfully, he seemed like a pretty good guy from what I could tell. Usually, the bad ones act nice, but there are some things they simply can't hide, like the anger that flashes in their eyes or how their posture radiates aggressiveness. Ramiro, that's his name, actually sat down to play Battlefront with me, and after a while he was keeling over laughing because of the way I took nothing seriously in the game.

And it wasn't that hoarse, wheezing laugh that people have when they laugh at you. So I actually would really like Ramiro as my dad.

But no good things can come without bad. And Ramiro had to split up with his previous wife before and managed to take custody of their three daughters. And lemme tell you, the oldest one is a pain in the ass. She's Zoe, and legally an adult. She's essentially the 'rebel' of the family (even though I had my stake in that role long before she popped into the picture. Thirteen years before, to be exact). Extremely egotistical and very, very shallow. At least from what I can tell.

Jessica and Amanda, I can deal with. Jessica's 15, and more of a recluse. She's by no means shy, she just doesn't bother socializing that much. Amanda is just your typical eleven-year-old girl.

Zoe and Jessica don't finish school until four, and Amanda is over on a playdate with one of her friends. Mom and my new dad were preparing for their honeymoon (yes, they were already married) in the main living room. So that left me with pretty much the whole day free. For most of the day, I would home alone, though, since, like I said, Zoe and Jessica will be in school, and Amanda, when she isn't in school, she's over at a friend's house. She's just much more affable than I am, I guess.

I quickly ran all the possibilities through my head on what to do, and just decided to turn on the Xbox and play Bloodied Blade. I quickly got out of my bed and turned on the console, grabbing a controller and flopping back down on my bed, readying myself to get my fill of virtual gore for the day when a knock at my door interrupted the jingle that the console usually made when powering up. "Yes?" I called to whoever it was, glancing at the door. "It's dad!" Dad responded.

I said a quick "Come in!" and he did so. He was wearing a grey hoodie with some blue-grey trousers and boots. He then leaned against the door in his unique quirky manner. "Hey, Ripper, our flight has been delayed for some reason, so we've got an hour to kill. So why not spend some more bonding time?" Dad grinned. 'Ripper' was the nickname he used for me due to how I basically obsessed over using the chainsaw in the new DOOM. "Sure thing," I grinned, grabbing a controller from the side bed and tossing him it in a playful manner, dad catching it with little effort.

He walked over, turning it on, and sat next to the bed on a beanbag chair. "Alright, what should we play?" he asked, raising an eyebrow in inquiry. "Hmm… how about Reach?" I suggested. He had never played it before, but he knew the Halo series well enough to know what I meant. "I'll try, but I'll probably end up sticking more grenades on my face than any aliens," he chuckled, stretching in the beanbag.

0-0-0

After what felt like an extremely short time, the hour was up. Mom, who had been bonding with my new teenage sisters after she picked them up from school, poked her head in to find an extremely comical scene. I was standing on a beanbag chair watching the game with such intensity that you'd think it stole my bank account or something, while dad was trying to drive a warthog, moving around everywhere and pretty much ramming into anything that had a hitbox. "C'mon, dad! Get that stupid hunter!" I encouraged, doing my best to help guide him even though I had died.

Somehow, dad managed to curve the warthog so that it practically spun into the hunter and straight into its exposed back. We both gave victory cries, chest-bumping each other (well, my chest to his belly, honestly) and raising our arms in the air.

And then we noticed that Mom had been watching us the whole time. I could tell that she was biting back guffaws. "Well, Ripper, I'll see you in about half a month. Keep the controller warm so that I can beat that hunter's a-" Dad was quickly interrupted by my mother, "Ramiro!"

My dad pretended to look indecisive for a moment, and then leaned in and whispered, "Ass." To finish his sentence. This had me snickering and on the edge of laughter in it of itself. Mom pretended to give my dad a stern look, but eventually gave up the façade and walked over to me and kissed my forehead in an act of farewell. "Mooooom… do you really still have to kiss me?" I whined like a little kid on purpose. "You bet I do!" she laughed, "I'll see you and your sisters in two weeks!" With that, Ramiro picked her up bridal-style and walked out the room and out onto the indoor-balcony, then down the stairs. Still feeling jovial due to our gaming session, I walked over to the upstairs bar area to get myself a soda, wanting some refreshment after the heated competition in between me and my dad, eventually resulting in my dad avenging my death.

I found Jess sitting at the bar, reading what looked like a sappy romance novel. "Jeez, I didn't even know those authors even made money because of all that naughty stuff," I pretended to gag just to tease Jess while I retrieved a soda. She didn't say anything but shot me a look that pretty much said 'Do you want me to read this to you?'

I wasn't exactly in the mood to lose half my intestinal tract, so I quickly got a soda and got the fuckity-fuck outta there, retreating to my room and seeing mom and dad leaving through the front door on the way. They quickly waved at me, and I waved back, and then they were gone. Now it was just me, Jess, and Zoe. Great.

Anyways, you might need some backstory on the relationship between me and my new sisters. Well… would it be considered a backstory? I've only known them for two weeks. Ah, whatever. I've noticed that with teenage sisters, they seem to be all about getting into your space. And hoodies. They are always after the H. Anyways, I found Jess lounging about my room a few days ago when I came back from my friend Will's house – more on him later – and had to bribe her to leave with my last Kit Kat. And I really wanted that Kit Kat. So, at this point, not even my room is a safe place.

So I've taken to lounging around the attic. You can imagine that no matter how big your house, it's still going to be somewhat cramped with six people constantly in it. And the attic is really the only place I can still be alone. Amanda is deathly afraid of the attic and Zoe & Jessica aren't exactly big fans of it. I made a whole setup there, with monitors, a minifridge, and a few beanbags, along with a bit of redecorating, including a few posters, rugs, a bit of clutter to make it feel more lived in. I guess you could call it 'my home away from home'. Or would that be room away from room?

I was in my attic room, having flopped into two beanbag chairs, one arm draped over the side, havinh guzzled that soda and another, when I heard Jess shout, "I'm going to be making lunch soon!"

Due to today having been the last day of school, it was half the usual length of a school day, which meant that we got out before lunch. And if you've had any experience with 13-year-old boys, you'll know that we're always hungry. And I'm guessing Jess knew that; and I don't even want to know how. "Got it!" I shouted back, returning to my comic book, enthralled in the battle of Amos I versus the whole of the Vertis forces (shameless advertising).

Which is why I was caught off-guard when I heard rolling.

I glanced up from the comic to see that one of my discarded soda cans was rolling steadily on the floor. Curious, I stood up and walked over to it, watching it stop. Was some sort of bug moving it? I leaned down, picking it up an examining it. There wasn't any bug underneath it, and when I angled the sunlight into the can, I didn't see any bugs.

Maybe the wind? I glanced over to the attic window. No way; it was closed, not to mention that there was barely a breeze out today. I glanced around the small portion of the attic I had flagged as my own, looking for either Jess or Zoe. I would've heard them coming up the stairs, or at least see them now, since there weren't many spaces to hide in the small room.

"Hello?" I called out into the small room, being answered by silence. But then there was another sound; the sound of rolling. I turned to find the other can steadily rolling up to me, and then bumping into my foot. It felt like someone was pushing it. Definitely not bugs, that was for sure.

"Whoever you are, could you please roll the can to the beanbags?"

No response.

I stared at the can for a moment, knitting my brow in what was an odd mixture of frustration and unadulterated curiosity. And you can tell that I'm pretty damn curious when I use words like 'unadulterated' to describe just how curious I am.

"Boo!" a figure abruptly launched itself at me, resulting in me letting out a very unmanly shriek of surprise. And, hoo boy, did I sound like a girl guzzling helium. I tumbled over the open attic hatch, tripping and falling backwards, slamming the back of my head into a wall, causing me to see stars.

"Oh, dear me, I'm dreadfully sorry about that!" a feminine voice cried with a lilted British accent. I glanced up to see a translucent girl my age dressed in period clothes hovering over me, concern etched into her face. "I must be seeing things," I reasoned with myself, not believing what I was seeing, "Probably a hallucination or something."

"I'd know if I were a hallucination," the girl stated. The pain and fear passing, I could think a bit more rationally, although I counted it as semi-rational since it was drunk on curiosity.. "So… so you're a ghost?" I blurted out, it being the first thing that came to mind. She giggled, her concern disappearing at the confirmation of my wellbeing.

"I can't exactly be anything else, now, can I?"

"So if you're really a ghost… how did you die?"

I know, I know. A fairly insensitive question to some people. But like I said, my rationale was drunk on curiosity.

She gave me a stare that I could only describe as piercing, like those over-dramatic ones you see in crappy romance novels (I only know because I was forced to read one for school). I held back a shudder. After a minute though, she stopped, and opened her mouth to speak, but at that exact moment, I heard loud tromping up the attic stairs. I instantly recognized the sound as Jess coming up to check on me, most likely due to my shriek and the banging.

"Quick, hide!" I hissed at the girl, doing wild gestures. She just gave me a look of confusion, then indifference, and then her form finally faded into thin air.

Just as the attic hatch swung open.

"Rino, you good up here? I'd hate to have to call dad back from the moneymoon!" Jess asked, poking her head into the attic. I was behind the attic hatch, so she didn't see me. "Yeah, I'm fine… just tripped and fell," I said, trying to sell the lie. Jess climbed up into the attic, turning to face me. Her face looked like she was trying to hold in a laugh. "What's so funny?" I asked, knitting my eyebrows together in confusion.

And then Jess broke out in a fit of laughter. She laughed and laughed and laughed. I swore I saw a tear come from her eye.

"The way you look!" she managed to choke out before pulling out her phone and snapping a pic. "H-Hey!" I cried, snapping up from my position to try to grab the phone out of her hands. "Relax; I was just going to show you," she sniggered, showing me the screen.

I was laying against the attic wall in a heap, my face flushed and eyes wide. My arms were crossed over my chest and my legs were folded. It wasn't exactly a flattering image. "Delete it," I told Jess. "Fine," she conceded, still chortling. She tapped the small trash bin icon, and with a successful ping!. the photo was lost forever. "Anyways. food's ready; Amanda's already eating her soup," Jess told me.

"Alright," I nodded, then going down the stairs with Jess in tow, my mind wandering back to the ghost girl in the attic. Who would've thought? There's a ghost in my attic.

AN: Review what you think!