We reached a dirt path, and after a few minutes of following it, we arrived at an isolated area of grass with ancient swings and a beautiful view of the lake.
"Wow, Hugo... It's amazing" I gasped.
"It's relaxing" he nodded. "No one ever really comes here. They all go to the main are of grass near the town.
He then chuckled and looked down.
"And I must confess... I do love swings." He blushed.
"So do I!" I grinned. An excited smile spread on his face.
"Shall we go a swing-eth?" I joked.
"I can not decline" he responded, in an even more posh accent than usual.
We unlinked arms, and I shyly smiled as our fingers brushed off eachother. And... It could just be me, but I could have sworn I'd seen him do the same.
We swung gently on the swings, and a few minutes passed by in peaceful silence.
"What do you think of the family?" Hugo then asked.
"Honestly?" I nervously giggled.
"Yes" he smiled.
"Your dad seems... Alright" I stuttered.
His facial expression changed into resentment. I frowned, but my mouth kept talking.
"Clodagh hasn't uttered a word and Lacey..." I trailed off. "She's... Um.."
"Loud? Annoying? Obnoxious? All three?"
"Uh, loud.. She'll take some getting used to.
"Laceys world revolves around herself. She doesn't realise that others enjoy silence."
"I noticed... Hugo?" I asked, thinking of a question.
"Does she not realise what's going on in school?"
He rolled his eyes.
"Do you really think she cares? She saw them pushing me around before, but called it lads banter. Lads banter! Honestly, some people!" His jaw clenched. "She drives me up the wall. I hate this damn family. Lacey is as irritating, Clodagh is scared of me or something, and dad.. doesn't care, or..." he sadly ceased talking and sighed.
"My mum has the attention span of a squirrel" I shrugged. "She doesn't understand peoples emotions. The other day she asked how I was, I muttered fine, and she thought everything was great."
"Maybe that's why she and Lacey get along so well."
"Maybe.." Then I remembered todays earlier events. "Sorry if my mum embarrassed you earlier" I cringed.
"No, don't be" he said, shaking his head."It was Lacey's fault. It's not appreciated that she paraded the fact that I'm sixteen and have never been kissed."
"If it makes you feel better, I'm fifteen, and I've never been kissed either."
His eyebrows raised and he looked surprised.
"What..?" I asked in confusion.
He moved his lips but nothing came out. He then shut his mouth and looked away, his cheeks aflame.
What was that? He couldn't mean.... He wouldn't... Would he?
Hope spread rapidly throughout my body, but my heart battled with my head.
He's my step brother. Isn't that just weird?
"Strength in number?" he asked, knocking me out of my train of thoughts.
"Sure.. Why not?"
We swung for a little while longer, before Hugo's mobile beeped. He looked at it and sighed.
"It's dad... We have to go back."
"Can we come again..?" I softly asked.
"I thought that I would've preferred to be here on my own... But it's nice with you, Emily."
I died a little inside. In a good way, of course.
"Thank you for making me feel welcome, Hugo" I blushed. "I've never belonged anywhere before, or had any friends... It means a lot." And even though I had feelings for Hugo, I genuinely liked him as a friend too.
"You make me feel more comfortable in my own home, merely with your presence." He paused. "I haven't been this happy... Since mum was around" he said slowly. My eyes widened. I was touched. I knew from mum that he was the closest out of the whole family to his mum, and that he really misses her.
"Maybe it was fate."
We started to walk back, arms unlocked. I was too shy to make the move to lock them again.
"You should probably bring a book or drawing stuff next time" said Hugo. "I know I'm not the biggest chatterbox. Plus, it's nice to do that stuff somewhere quiet. Just don't tell anyone about that spot. Especially Lacey!"
"That goes without saying!"
We kept making our way back to the house, but it was nearly ten, and even though it was a June night, it was cold.
"It's freezing" I shivered, rubbing my hands together.
"No pockets?" Hugo asked.
"One has a hole."
"Put your hand in the hole-less one" he instructed.
"O..k" I said confusedly, slowly doing what he asked.
"Hole out your other hand" he persisted.
I held it out, and he just looked at my hand.
"Does this have a purpose?" I asked, raising my eyebrows.
He shakily nodded. He took a deep breath and put his hand on top of mine. Our fingers locked, and out intertwined hands fell inbetween us.
"Better?" he softly asked.
We both smiled at eachother before becoming too embarrassed and looking away.
We walked like that all the way... "Home."