Torched Truth: Chapter 1

“Come on River! Wake up!”

“ I am awake !”

And I have been for the past hour.

But what Camille doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

I swear she acts like it's the end of the world when I don’t wake up super early for school. I’m not like her. I don’t take hours to get ready. Heck, it barely takes me twenty minutes to get dressed, and fifteen of those minutes is spent taking a shower.

“Well then get up and get moving!”

I turn to glare at my clock on my nightstand, 6:20.

Well if I want breakfast…

I jump up and hit the shower.

Once I’m done I glance at my reflection in the mirror. I look up and over my already waving dark brown, almost black hair that goes down to the middle of my back. Then to my piercing green eyes. I’ve always wondered who I got them from since both of my parents have brown eyes. I suppose it’s just a recessive gene that Mom and Dad both had, so I guess I got lucky.

I decide to put on some mascara and, oh why not, eyeliner on too. I mean it is my birthday after all.

When I get downstairs it looks like a madhouse, AKA, normal. The twins are throwing their scrambled eggs at each other, Josh is cooking bacon, Camille is trying her best to get Ty and Garrett to behave, and then there’s Dad, sitting at the table drinking his coffee ignoring everyone.

I walk over to Josh and reach for a piece of bacon, only to have him snatch the plate out of my reach , without blinking an eye.

“ No,no,no little sis, you must wait just like everyone else.”

I give him my best pouty, puppy dog face and say, “But… it’s my birthday. You have to be nice to the birthday girl.”

“Awww, come on now Josh quit being a stickler. Even I would give the girl a piece of bacon.”

We both turn to see Jordan coming down the stairs. He’s wearing his usual getup, expensive jeans with a bright blue t-shirt that accents his tan and figure just the right way, and his dirty blonde hair masterfully fixed to look messy,without looking messy at all. It sucks, really, to have such an attractive step-brother. Thankfully he has one downfall. His eyes are normal mud brown. All the girls at school practically drool over him like he’s a world famous exchange student from London. I’m always being asked if he likes them or, the more revolting, if I’ve ever wanted to get with him. I mean for Christ's sake, he’s my brother! Albeit step-brother, but still even if Camille hadn’t married my dad, there’s still the problem of Jordan being a major jerk.

But, like right now, he’s just like any other big brother.

I take advantage of Josh being distracted and grab a couple pieces of bacon. “ Thanks Bro, your the best.” I tell Josh before I stretch up on my toes and plant a kiss on his cheek.

Josh gives me an annoyed look, but I can see him fighting off a smile,so I just hop over to my seat by Dad.

When I sit by Dad I realize that he isn’t ignoring anyone at all, but is completely zoned out. Normally, Dad is in the middle of all the commotion, laughing, joking, tickling the twins. But here recently I’ve noticed he’s been becoming much more distant and distracted.

“Hey, Dad you okay?”

That one question seems to catch everyone's attention. Well everyone except Dads’. I lightly touch his arm and you would’ve thought I’d just slapped the man, the way he nearly falls out of his chair. When he notices my hand on his arm he looks at me. I don’t know how else to explain the look on his face other than sheer terror. But as quickly as it appears, it dissolves into his usual loving grin. No one else seems to have seen it, but I know what I saw.

“Are you okay?” I ask him again.

“Yes, of course I’m okay. In fact, I’m great. I was just lost in thought trying to figure out what I should get you. I mean it’s not really my expertise on what I should get a sixteen year old girl for her birthday.” He gets a worried look in his eyes when he says birthday and I know that he is going to be answering some questions later. “ How about I pick you up today and take you shopping after school so you can pick-out your own gift?”

Ugh! I hate shopping. But it will give me a chance to strangle the answers to my questions outta him.

“Sure I’d love to.” I tell him.

Camille shoots me an incredulous look and I immediately feel bad. All she’s ever wanted from me is to have a mother/daughter relationship. One where we go shopping together, get mani-pedis, have girl talks, all of that mushy, gushy,girly stuff I hate. I can’t help it that I’m not girly. “I’ve been needing to get some more art supplies anyway.”

I hope that makes her feel like she’s not missing out on anything important.

It seems to do the trick since she goes back to eating her eggs.

“Ahhh shoof, weerv gooonahh behh layth!” Josh exclaims around a mouth full of bacon.

“So what if we’re a little tardy? You need a bad mark on your attendance anyway.” Jordan snaps.

“Says the one who is always trying to be late.” Josh mumbles.

“What did you say!” Oh, did I forget to mention that Jordan has anger issues.

“Alright, alright let's go before you two ladies make this a crime scene.”I tell them. I swear I’m the only one who has kept them from killing each other for the past six years.

“Wait! Did you take your vitamins? “ Camille asks us.

“Yes.” All three of us answer.

Josh and Jordan are ahead of me bickering the whole way to the door, when I turn to say bye. But I see that Dad has that worried look on his face again. As if he can feel me watching him, he looks at me and gives me a reassuring smile and thumbs-up. But all it does is make me feel even more weary about today.

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