Together


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2. Shadow's Family Makes Me Feel Welcome

 

 

It was a sunny day for March.

 Shadow and I began dating about a month ago, and he wanted me to meet his family. It was a bit nerve-wracking.

“Wow,” my older sister Diane said as she drove up to their house. “Congratulations on dating the richest family on the planet.”

“That is an exaggeration,” I announced, but it was partially true. The Masters’ house was more of a mansion than a house. Especially compared to my family’s modest townhouse.  

I grabbed my over-the-shoulder bag, skipping up their front drive, calling over my shoulder, “Thanks for the ride, Di!”

She waved out of the window as she drove away, her engagement ring glinting in the sunlight.

Diane goes to the community college. She lived with us for the first year, until her and my parents got in a huge blowout fight over the fact that she got engaged while a sophomore. So she moved out and started living with her fiancé , Nick.

I climbed up the marble steps to their front door, and knocked with a fancy lion door knocker. Shadow opened right away. “Hey,” he said. “I saw you drive up.”

“Hi,” I said, glancing around. “Am I early?”

“Nope,” he said, flashing me a smile that could win awards. “Right on time.”

I stepped into his house, wiping my feet on the mat—it was still March, after all—and was met with ten pairs of eyes. I flinched slightly, uncomfortable.

“Hi,” a lady said, (Shadow’s mom, I’m guessing) walking up to me and sticking a hand out. “I’m Melissa.”

Yeah, right. Mrs. Masters.

She was pretty, with the same blue eyes as Shadow, and dark brown hair, with a few streaks of gray in it. She looked relatively young, though she had two kids in college, and one out already.

“Amber,” I finally choked out, shaking her hand. It was surprising. Usually I was the most talkative person anyone had ever met.

Shadow’s father smiled at me.

Shadow grabbed my hand (his father’s gaze settled on it) and pulled me over.

“That’s my dad,” he said, pointing. “That’s my mom. Vivian, Sven, Silas, Chance, Seth, Clara, Kennedy, and Kayla. This is Amber.”

I bobbed my head up and down, trying to take it all in. “Remember them?” Shadow asked, grinning. “Or should I go over it again?”

“F-fine.” I said. They all waited patiently, giving off the impression that they got this a lot.

“Coolio,” said Shadow. He looked expectantly at his mom, who laughed.

“I have food on the table,” she said, waving me over to a doorway. Inside was the biggest dining room I had ever seen. In the middle of the room was the table, which was huge, obviously, with a ton of food on it. There was a piano by the table, off to the side, and a wall with a cool photograph montage on it. 

I sat down between Shadow and Chance. There was an empty seat across from us. Chance noticed my looking at it, and leaned in to me. “That’s Seth’s seat,” she murmured. “He’s probably in his room.”

I figured out that Shadow, Chance, and Seth were triplets. I knew Shadow and Chance of course, but I had never actually seen Seth. He was not in any of my classes, and if I saw him in the halls, he had a tendency to fade into the background, or fall to the back of someone’s mind.

The Masters all ignored the empty chair. I caught a few of them shooting cautious glances at it.

Towards the end of the meal, I excused myself to go to the bathroom.

“Upstairs, turn left, third door on the right,” were the instructions given, but I still found a way to get lost, anyway.

The hallway was dark, yet still seemed welcoming. The air in their house was just friendly.

Embarrassed at getting lost so quickly, I shoved open the first door I saw.

(Not the bathroom.)

Seth whipped his head towards the door. “What?”

He was seated at a desk, with a mug in front of him, and a cup of pencils. Nothing else was on the desk, and he appeared to just be staring at the mug.

“N-nothing,” I stammered. He freaked me out a little. Seth and Shadow looked exactly alike, except Seth’s eyes were gray instead of blue. “I was, um, just looking for the bathroom.”

“Well, you’re going in entirely the wrong direction.”

“Oh, okay.” I walked back over to the door, his dark eyes following my every move. I hesitated at the door, hoping he’d take the hint, but he just turned back to his mug, throwing over his shoulder, “Shut the door behind you.”

“Um..”

Exasperated, he whirled around and glared at me.

“Where, exactly is the bathroom...?” I tried smiling at him, as if to say, Wow, I’m such an idiot, but he only stared flatly back.

“Opposite end of the hall.” This time, his eyes followed me, making sure I actually left. When I didn’t move immediately, he blew out a sigh that said everything and nothing. “Outside the door. Turn around. Opposite end of the hall. The OTHER door.”

I turned to leave, but then I turned around again. “Wait.” I said. He hesitated.

I cautiously took a few more steps into his room. “So,” I started, “are you and Shadow really related?”

“Yes.”

“Because you are so unlike him.” I took a step closer. “I have never been in your house before. Never. And it’s kinda big, if you haven’t noticed.”

Seth slowly turned around to face me. His face was carefully blank, but he seemed to say, And your point is?

“I accidentally walked into your room, Seth. I didn’t disturb you on purpose.” I tried to look amused. “And I’m pretty sure that mug isn’t going to float away in the ten seconds you could use to tell me where the bathroom is.”

“Really.” Seth murmured.

“Really. Are you like this to everyone that visits? Or is it just me? Are you this inviting to all your guests?”

“Stop it.” He gritted his teeth.

“Stop what, Seth? Never had anyone tell you off before?”

“Amber...”

“Wow, I’m surprised you know my name. You were actually listening.”

He got up from his chair. I stepped farther into his room and closer to him.

“Amber,” Seth warned.

“What, Seth? What?”

His dark eyes raked me up and down. It wasn’t in an inappropriate way; more like he was trying to memorize me, but I still felt violated.

“Nothing.” He slumped his shoulders and stared at the ground.

“No, I wanna know. I want to know why you keep staring at me. Why you’re like obsessed with me.” (That wasn’t entirely true. But he was creeping me out.)

Seth snapped his head up. “Is that what you think, Amber?”

He glared at me, daring me to say yes. I nodded, feeling for the first time slightly afraid instead of angry.

“Well,” he said. “Not everyone likes you, Amber. Did it ever cross your mind that people DON’T like you? I didn’t think so.”

“Well, people don’t like you, either,” I said, sounding pretty whiny and snobbish.

The cup holding the pencils on his desk fell off and shattered. I jumped.

Seth smiled. “What’s wrong, Amber? Scared?”

“N-no.”

He laughed, a harsh sound, completely unlike Shadow’s. “I’m not ‘OBSESSED’ with you, Amber. My brother is dating you. But that doesn’t mean I have to like you.”

“Oh, really? It means you have to be civil to me.” I spat out the word. “Everyone else in your family is nice. What’s the matter with you?”

He stepped closer to me, practically touching me, and stared down into my face. “I don’t know, Amber. Why don’t you tell me?”

Seth clearly had menacing posture, and he towered over me.

“Y-you wouldn’t hurt me,” I stammered, afraid at the prospect.

He smiled a twisted grin that seemed to say, Try me.

 

A/N Liking it so far? Please tell me! Sorry for any errors, I just typed this really quickly! ;) ~BarelyBeastly

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