I walked into my house, expecting Jeremy to be spazzing out in the kitchen or hallway or something. Instead, I heard banging around coming from the basement. I groaned, but walked around the house to the door to the basement and bounded down the steps.
"Jeremy!" I called. "Jeremy, what are you doing?"
I turned the corner to the media room and saw him trying to crawl out of the tiny window. He had his head mostly through, but it was turned back to face me.
"What the hell, Jeremy?" I questioned.
"I thought you were that Michael kid coming back." he said, sliding back into the basement.
"Michael?" I repeated, raising my eyebrows. Of course Michael had to go mess with my brother. "What was Michael over here for?"
"I don't know," he shrugged, his eyes still wide from whatever happened. "He walked into the house like he owned the place and leaned against the kitchen counter. Didn't even say anything to me. He just folded his arms and watched me."
I waited for him to continue, but he stopped talking and looked rapidly around the room. "So? What happened after that?"
"Well, I asked what he was doing here. He said he wanted to know if anything happened at school. I thought maybe he was trying to say something happened to you, so I tried to call you, but my phone was thrown across the room!"
Ghosts could move things? Unless Michael had went invisible and tossed it. I made a mental note to question someone about ghosts' capabilities. But first, I'd have to have a talk with Michael about messing with my brother without consulting me first. I didn't need Jeremy up my ass about why Michael's so weird.
"Wait," I said, realizing something. "So, he walked into the house and just questioned you and threw your phone across the room and you didn't say anything about it?"
"Bridgette, I'm not done!" Jeremy yelled. "After my phone went flying, he told me that it wasn't smart for me to tell anyone I was here. When I told him to go fuck himself, the lights started flickering and so then I told him that something weird happened where I sort of went into the hall. I was sitting at the table and then next thing I know, it's like I sleepwalked into the hall during lunch. When I was done talking, he told me to never tell anyone what happened, to have a nice day, and left."
My mouth pulled down at the corners. "Michael didn't say anything about you..."
"Hey Bitchette," Jeremy used his little nickname for me, waving his hand in my face. "That's not the point here! What the fuck is up with your friend?"
I didn't know what to say, so I shrugged and turned on my heels to go back upstairs. "Don't worry about it."
"I got a call from the school," my mom began just as I walked into the living room. She didn't even look at me. She just kept staring at the TV which was showing Real Housewives at the moment. "You've missed all of your classes after lunch seven times now," she finally peeled her eyes away from some blonde lady with way too much plastic in her cheeks tossing her drink on a short brunette with so much eyeliner that she could pass for a raccoon. "What's going on with you, Bridgette? You never acted like this at your old school. Is it the move?"
"No, mom," I sighed. "Trust me, I really like the people here and I'm getting along great with people in school. It's just...hard, I guess. Some of the material is more advanced than what I had before. My friend's been tutoring me."
"That boy with the sunglasses?" she guessed.
"No, it's a boy in my forensics class. His name is Calum."
"So is this Calum making you skip your classes?"
"No, it's all me. He doesn't have classes after lunch, anyway."
I felt shitty lying to my mom so bad but I couldn't tell her I was running off because one of my friends is doomed to forever stay inside his house and he gets lonely, and that my other friend's family was about to disappear forever so he was in need of a lot of comfort. I also couldn't tell her that it was almost always Calum who suggested to skip because then she would never want me hanging out with him.
"You know," she said, getting up from the couch. "I'd like to meet these friends of yours. Why don't you invite them over for dinner tonight?"
"T-tonight?" I stammered.
There were so many things wrong with that. I'd told my mom about Luke plenty of times, so I'd knew she'd be expecting him over. However, there was the problem he couldn't leave his house. Even if he could, he'd probably just be responding to everyone's thoughts the whole time. Then there was the fact I'd have two ghosts and someone who does black magic inside my house. And I didn't even want to think about Jeremy and Michael being together again. There was also the fact Ashton probably wouldn't be able to talk - he'd want to choose his words as carefully as possible.
"Yeah, why not?" she smiled. "You talk so much about these Michael and Ashton and Luke characters - now there's uh...Colby?"
"Calum, mom." I corrected.
"Calum," she repeated. "I feel like I should meet your new friends."
"Well, I don't think Luke can." I finally said.
"He's uh...babysitting. Yeah, his parents are out of town and he has to watch his little brother." I nodded.
"Why don't we bring dinner to him then?" she suggested. "It would be a nice gesture since he's all by himself, huh?"
"I don't even know if Calum or Ashton or Michael are free." I shrugged.
"Well do that little texty thing you kids do and ask them." she smiled.
"Mom," I sighed. "Don't. Ever again."
I left the living room and went back to my bedroom. I closed the door tightly and made my way to the middle of the room.
"Michael." I hissed.
"You called?" he smiled from where he laid back on my bed.
"My mom wants to meet you and the guys," I reported. "She wants to have dinner at Luke's because I told her he's babysitting his little brother while his parents are out of town."
"Have you talked to Thing One and Thing Two?" he quizzed.
"Not yet," I said. "Do you think they could go along with it? It's only one time."
He shrugged. "Give me three minutes."
With that, he was gone. I groaned and sat on my bed, setting my head in my hands. How would I manage to get through a dinner with my family, plus Ashton, Calum, Luke, and Michael? Did Michael and Luke even eat? This was going to be a disaster!
"So," Michael began casually from the corner of my room. My head snapped up to see him examining his fingernails. "Ashton said he'll make it, Calum said he's fine as long as he's home by nine to do some weird-ass ritual with his sister, and Luke sends his thanks for dragging his house into this."
"Oh," I gasped, remembering a question I had earlier. "Do you and Luke eat?"
Michael just stared at me with an amused smile on his face. "He said seven is a good time to come over." he reported before leaving.
My family and I stood outside Luke's door after my mom rang the doorbell. My mom was holding her amazing backed haddock in her hands, I had the mashed potatoes, and my dad had a chocolate pie in one hand and a plate of cookies in the other. My brother was too terrified of seeing Michael again that he was shaking so bad he couldn't hold anything.
Luke opened the door in blue and green flannel. He smiled brightly at my family, his blue eyes actually looking happy. "Hey, Bridgette. Mr. and Mrs.Cooper, nice to meet you. Jeremy. I'm Luke Hemmings."
"Hello," my mother smiled warmly. "It's wonderful to meet you. We've heard so much about you and your friends."
Luke stepped out of the way and invited us in. I led them passed the kitchen to the dining room where Calum, Michael, and Ashton were already standing around and talking. Ashton turned and smiled at me, his eyes still covered by his sunglasses. How was I supposed to explain that to my parents?
Michael walked up to me and leaned down so his lips were to my ear. "If anyone asks, Ashton's blind."
Ashton laughed at their excuse. I had to admit, it was kind of silly.
The rest of my family walked in, setting the food down on the table. They looked around the room, smiling at everyone. Jeremy just looked accusingly at everyone. Apparently since they were all associated with Michael, they were also going to do terrible things to him. I couldn't confirm or deny that, though.
"Mom, dad," I began. "This is Michael, Calum, and Ashton."
"He's blind." Michael gestured to Ashton.
"Mr. and Mrs.Cooper, it's nice to finally meet you." Calum greeted, shaking my parents' hands.
"Call me Kristy." my mom told him.
"Ben." my dad smiled as he shook Calum's hand.
"Bridgette, introduce your brother." my mom instructed lowly.
"Oh, uh, this is Jeremy." I shrugged.
Jeremy didn't acknowledge anyone, earning a slight jab from my mom. Michael tried to hide a smile.
We all sat down around the table. I sat between Ashton and my mom. My dad sat between mom and Jeremy. Jeremy and Michael were seated across from each other, which I found incredibly amusing. From the looks the other boys had when looking between the two, I could tell they did too.
"So do you all go to school with Bridgette?" my dad wondered, stabbing at his fish.
"I graduated last year, actually." Ashton replied. He was actually being vocal around my parents, and so far, no one was doing anything odd.
"I'm the only one who goes to Westfield High," Calum said. "We have forensics and lunch together."
"Home schooled." Luke lied easily.
Michael wasn't even going to bother lying. Well, he did, just not completely. "Dropped out." he shrugged.
It was kind of true. Since he died, he basically dropped out in a way. That's what Michael told me before, anyway.
My parents didn't look too pleased when Michael said he never finished high school, but they moved on anyway. "So where's this little brother of yours, Luke?" my mom wondered.
"Asleep." he lied smoothly. "His bedtime is pretty early. He's only five, so."
"And your parents left you alone with him?" my dad asked. He began to laugh. "If we left Jeremy alone with Bridgette when she was five, they-"
"Well, Jeremy also would've only been six, dad," I reminded him. "Luke's seventeen."
"You were still a pain in the ass." Jeremy muttered.
"You were no walk through the park either, Jer." I smirked, cocking my head to the side.
I looked around the table, my eyes landing on Luke and Michael. Their plates were untouched. Michael sat back in his seat; Luke leaned on the table, his arms folded, engaged in the conversation. My parents had yet to say anything about their lack of appetite and I hoped it stayed that way.
"So Ashton," my dad began. "Any college plans?"
Ashton shrugged. "There aren't many colleges around here, and I honestly can't bring myself to move away from home. My dad doesn't live with my family so I kind of have to be the man of the house, you know?"
"You live down the street, don't you?" my mom asked. He nodded in reply.
"And Calum," I listed. "And Michael."
The mention of Michael's name caused my mom to look at him. She looked at his plate and frowned slightly. "Michael, sweetheart, why haven't you eaten anything?"
"Yes he has," Ashton stated. "He's finished his entire meal."
I stared at Michael's plate, now completely empty. My mom nodded and hummed to herself as she scooped out more potatoes for herself. I turned to Ashton.
"Ghosts can eat?" I asked quietly in his ear.
He chuckled and shook his head. "No. Michael's plate is actually completely full. You've just witnessed how my powers work."
I looked back at Michael's plate to see the food still on it, and a smirk on his face. I laughed silently to myself. Dinner actually wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. My parents seemed to actually like my friends, and Ashton was able to cover for anyone if needed.
After dinner, we ate pie and cookies and talked about random things and just laughed and had a great time. The only person who didn't was Jeremy, who seemed to have a permanent scowl on his face.
"Well, Bridge," my dad sighed, sitting back in his chair and placing his hands over his abdomen. "I can say I approve of your friends. And Ashton."
"Why are you singling out Ashton?" I questioned as Luke tried to stifle his laughter.
"Aren't you two dating?" my mom wondered.
I felt my cheeks turn bright red as Ashton patted my knee. Luke started snorting, trying not to laugh at us. I heard Michael mumble "They might as well be" from across the table.
"Hey, let's not talk about it." I decided to say.
Ashton pulled his phone out and began typing. A few seconds later, my phone buzzed in my pocket. I pulled it out and looked at it.
From Ashton Irwin: We'll talk about it later.
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