I sat in math class with my chin in my palm as I stared out the window. Utter boredom didn’t even begin to describe my life. If anything it defined it. Yep, that’s how my life had been after Brice and his family stopping coming over for holidays and dinner parties. It seems that once our fathers had ended it, his family felt that there was no reason to stay any longer.
My father seemed to have had the same reasoning because he didn’t come around much in my life either. He was always on business trips or flying to Europe for no apparent reason. One thing he did do was send me to the Academy, or what’s its better known as Archwood Academy. The Academy was the only thing between Erik and my dad now; our families have co-inherited it for generations.
I think he sent me here as a sort of punishment for wreaking his affair. Except that it’s not my fault he got caught and had to end it in front of me. I wouldn’t have said anything, I don’t think. On the bright side, it taught me to even keep my secrets a secret. That’s the only light to it, though. Other than that, the only high light of my life in this All Boys Academy is basically that I haven’t turned out to be a total man-whore.
Oh wait, that’s not a bright side.
I know, I suck. Join the freaking party.
I sighed as the final bell rang. People poured out of the classroom like spring water. “Ever?”
I turned around in my seat to see Declan standing behind me. He was one of the very few people who could actually pull off our school uniform, which consisted of a red coat with a blue, red, and white tie. His tie hung loosely around his neck and his jacket over his shoulder. “Oh, hey,” I said after a moment.
“Looks like we’re partners.” He said.
I gave him confused look. “What do you mean?”
His expression dropped slightly, but he recovered by smiling. “For the presentation on the World’s Greatest Mathematicians Project. Remember? Mr. Jameson was talking about it… like sixty seconds ago.”
I smiled back. “Oh right, I was kind of zoned out during class today,” I shrugged. “Sorry.”
He leaned against my desk. “It’s okay,” he smiled. “So, are you doing anything this weekend? For Thanksgiving, I mean.”
I thought about that for a second. As far as I knew, I wasn’t doing anything. The whole I’m-too-angry-at my-son-for-ruining-my-passionate-love-affair-grudge is implied especially on holidays. “No, we’re not really the type to sit around a table and talk about nothing for an hour or two.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean. I heard Gregory Larson is throwing a Giver’s party. We could go. I mean, us and a few others, that is.” He smiled, his white teeth showing from end to end.
“I’ll think about it.” I said rising from my seat. Declan did nothing but smile as I walked away from him. There was something I’d heard about him last year. I don’t really remember what it was though. Oh well, it’s in the past, right?
When I arrived home, or to the overly humongous building I call home, I saw an unfamiliar car in the drive way. I walked past the shiny black car to the front door and walked in the house.
“Mom?” I called.
She usually meet me at the door on her way out to a meeting or a dinner or something the busied her so that she wouldn’t have to stay home. I laid my keys and bag by the door and stared toward the living room. Something defiantly seemed different.
When I turned the corner I saw my dad standing over by the window with his usual brandy. What was he doing home? Isn’t he supposed to be… well, anywhere but here with me? “Dad, what are you doing home?”
He turned around with a grim look on his face. “What, I can’t come home to my family every once in a while?” he retorted.
I raised my eyebrows. Usually he waits until at least his fourth brandy to pick a fight. “No, I just thought you’d have, I don’t know, work or whatever other excuse you give us when we ask you where you’ve been.”
His eyes flickered. “Don’t start with me, young man.”
I slump down on the couch, my back to him. “Too late,” I mumbled. So much for a good day, dealing with my dad for an evening is more than I can take. I let out a sigh. It didn’t use to be like this. We used to be so close, and now, he hardly looks me in the eye. I can’t blame him, I mean; I did catch him having an affair with another married man. Even still, I didn’t think he’d hate me this much.
“Ever, sweetie, do me a favor and put some dress clothes on.” My mom said walking into the room as she tried poking an earring through her ear.
“Why, are we going somewhere?” I asked.
She glanced at me, confused. “Sweetheart, didn’t I tell you? Brice and his sister are coming over.”
My eyes widened. “He what?” Brice is coming? I thought, wait a minute. I turn to my father. There was something sad in his eyes. “What’s she talking about?”
My father said nothing, he just took a long sip of his drink and left the room as quickly was possible. My mom comes over and sits beside me on the couch with the same look on her face as dad. “Something’s happened,” she said softly. My mom rests her hand on my knee. She took a deep breath before saying anything. “I don’t know where to start. Brice and his family were in an accident last week. Oh, honey, I was so sure I told you. I’m so sorry, but B-Brice and his sister… were the only survivors of the crash.”
I shook my head. “Crash? What are you – “
“It was a car accident that took them. Ever, I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you,” She squeezed my hand. “Brice and his sister are coming to live with us. When Erik and your father became friends and had children, they made each other the god-parents of their kids, meaning you and Brice.”
“They’re going to live with us? I – I, we haven’t seen them in years and now they’re going to stay in our home? We haven’t even seen Eva, Brice’s sister, since she was a baby. What about dad, what does he think about all of this?” I asked. I know, I sound harsh, but I thought dad hated them – Brice and I especially.
Mom sighed. “Well, your father seems to be taking this the hardest. Him and Erik were such dear old friends, you know. Just bear with us, honey. I though you liked Brice, you two used to be such great friends.”
I stand up abruptly. “Mom! You don’t get it, that was years ago! You can’t expect everything to go back to the way it was six years ago!” I yelled and right after wish I hadn’t. I didn’t mean to blow up like that, it’s just so crazy. I miss Brice, I do, things are just so different now and what about what we did. We ruined something between our families. The last time I saw Brice was the day he left and never came back after what happened.
Now Erik is dead and so is his wife, my dad is an emotional wreak, and to top it all off my dad is going to have to look at the two children who possibly ruined his entire life. God, this is insane. I can’t, I think I’m going to lose it.
“Ever?” I almost jumped out of my skin when I hear the strange deep voice call my name. I whipped myself around to see Brice standing in the doorway.
My mother brightened up. “Brice! How lovely it is to see you!” She exclaimed with joy. She walks over to give Brice a hug.
I would have hug him too… if I could have moved. It was like someone had bolted me to the floor and punched me in the stomach at the same time. Nerves ran up my spine into my gut as I looked at him. I hadn’t seen him in so long and he looked so, so different. I almost didn’t even recognize him. The years did him well.
Brice was the spitting image of Erik. His green eyes were bright in contrast to his deep brown hair. His nose was reddened from the cold outside and his cheeks blushed. He was broader than I remember. I knew he had more muscle than me by just looking at him.
And to his right was little Eva, I assumed. Well, she wasn’t so little now. She looked about fifteen. Her green eyes matched Brice’s, but her hair was her mother’s as it shined dark blonde. They both smiled at my mother, but Brice’s gaze only left mine for a second.
Once Brice was released from my mother’s grasp, he came over straight to me. When he was closer, I noticed that I was noticeably shorter than he was. Great. You’d think after all of these years, I would have lived up to him in something. “You got taller,” he said like he was out of breath. So, he noticed.
“So did you,” I said back.
He smiled and there it was, the Brice I remembered. Just in that one little gesture, it felt like it was still six years ago. My nerves didn’t feel so life threatening after that smile. I smiled back.
After a few seconds, we snapped out of memory lane when Eva grabbed her brother by the arm and pulled him back a few steps.
Now that I think about it, we were rather close. “Ever, this is my sister Eva. I don’t think you ever got the chance to really meet her, unless you count her baby droll as a hello.”
Eva slammed down her foot onto Brice’s. He glared at her. “Don’t say such embossing things around Ever! We haven’t seen him in forever.” She said, clearly annoyed by him.
“What are you talking about, you don’t even know him. Besides, it’s because it is ever that I can be rude.” He said looking up and winking.
I laugh. “You’re the same as ever.”
He smiled again. “So, where’s Jonathan?” Eva asked, looking around the room.
My smile dropped. “Oh, he’s – “
“In his study.” My mom finishes. I glare at her from across the room.
“Right,” I sighed. Brice looks at me, his eyes narrowed. He knew, of course he did. We’re the ones who’ve done this to him, to my dad – and his own.
Eva looked up at Brice. “Oh,” she said finally. “Well, I think I’m going to get the rest of my stuff out of the car.”
“I’ll help.” My mom said and followed Eva outside, leaving me and Brice alone.
We stood there in silence for a moment or two. I spoke first. “Look, I’m sorry about your parents.” I say trying my best to not sound nervous.
Brice ran his hand through his curls. “Yeah, well, unless you caused an 18-wheeler to crash into my car then I don’t know why you’re apologizing.”
I glanced away, not really knowing what to say to those words.
“Um, I just, I didn’t mean it like that,” he said. “I guess I’m a little touchy about that subject.”
I nodded. He pursued his lips together and took a step toward me. “So, are you alright with this?”
“What?” I asked.
He licked his lips. “With us, me and Eva, staying here. I mean, after what happened, I never thought I’d be back here again.”
I almost laughed. “Of course I’m okay with it. We were like brothers, how could I not want you here,” I smiled. “Really, I’m fine with it. I just feel bad about making you go to the Academy, it sucks.”
“Well, it is an all boy’s school, what do you expect them to do?”
We both burst into laughter. It was defiantly the same Brice from six years ago. We both stood there for a while, laughing and cutting up. It was like old times, but through-out the evening I kept have a reoccurring feeling that everything was about to suddenly change.