Shimmering chaos, p.4
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       Shimmering Chaos, p.4

           Jessica Sorensen
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  Chapter 6

  An hour later, Nina pulls up in front of my house to drop me off. We spend about fifteen minutes hugging and saying goodbye while promising to visit each other every weekend. Then as I’m getting out of the car, they give me a goodbye gift.

  “Because I have a feeling you’re going to need it,” Gage explains as I glance in the gift bag that is full of an assortment of mini bottles he must have stolen from his mom, along with a small, wooden box. “There’re a couple of joints in that box, in the false bottom. I’d recommend keeping them in there, too, until you’re ready to light up.” His gaze travels to the Everettsons’ truck in the driveway. “That Gabe guy seemed like he could be pretty strict.”

  “Yeah, it’s definitely going to be interesting living with him.” I hug the gift bag against my chest.

  “The gifts are from me, too.” Nina rummages around in her purse. “But I also got you this.” She hands me a small box.

  I lift the lid and smile at the gift inside—a silver lighter with my name engraved on it. It’s totally a Nina type of gift.

  “Thanks, guys.”

  We sit there silently for a moment and everyone’s eyes begin to water. I should get out of the car. I need to get out of the car before my waterworks gets the best of me and the clouds begin to cry as well, ruining all my stuff piled in the back of the Everettsons’ truck. But getting out means it’s time to go.

  It’s time to go, Sky. Get out of the car.

  Sucking back tears, I push open the door.

  “Best friends forever!” Nina shouts.

  We used to say that all the time when we were kids.

  “Best friends forever,” I repeat then shut the door and walk away, making my way across the grass and toward my house.

  Walking away from my old life and toward my new.

  “About damn time,” Easton says as I wander through the front door and into the living room.

  He’s sitting on the floor, resting back on his hands, with a soda bottle beside him. He’s the only thing in the room, the furniture and boxes now gone.

  “You guys got everything out of the living room already?” I ask in surprise.

  “And the rest of the house.” The corners of his lips tug into a smirk. “We’ve just been waiting around for your slow ass to get back so we can hit the road.”

  “But I was only gone for a little over an hour?” I shake my head. No, there’s no way they could’ve cleared out the house already. He has to be screwing with me.

  I march back to the bedrooms to check for myself with Easton’s snickers chasing after me. As I stick my head in one room after another, I start to wonder if maybe Easton was telling the truth. When I reach the final room—the washroom—I find the answer.

  That room, like all the others, has been cleared out.

  Confusion tap dances in my head.

  How on earth did they get everything out so quickly? Sure, they’re three decently sized guys, but my parents had a lot of stuff crammed into the house, along with a few huge pieces of furniture. With how small of a trailer Gabe brought, I thought we were going to have to make a couple of trips to get everything in storage

  “Oh, good, you’re back,” Gabe greets me with a smile as I return to the living room.

  Easton is still stretched out across the floor, and Foster is leaning against the front doorjamb with his arms crossed. The door is open, and his gaze is fixed on the street outside.

  “You got everything loaded up already?” I ask the obvious, still a bit skeptical. “I didn’t think it was all going to fit on the trailer.”

  “We actually already made one trip to the storage unit,” Gabe explains, taking a sip from a water bottle. “We just need to drop the last load off, and then we can go. I thought, if you were ready, we could lock up and drop the keys off at the landlord’s on our way.” He twists the lid back on the bottle. “Of course, that’s only if you’re ready. If you want to stay here for a little bit while we drop off the last load and say goodbye, I completely understand.”

  My gaze skims the bare, patched-up walls, the stained carpet, and the empty space around me. Say goodbye to what? This place is no longer my home anymore. It’s just a house. That’s it.

  I don’t have a home anymore.

  Don’t have a family.

  I smash my lips together, battling down my emotions as thunder rumbles outside.

  “We better get going soon. It looks like it’s going to storm again,” Gabe mumbles with his forehead creased. “Although, the forecast said it was supposed to be sunny all day.” He looks at me. “So, did you want to stick around here for a bit and say goodbye?”

  Bottling down the pain, I shake my head. “Nah, I’m good. There’s nothing left to say goodbye to anyway.”

  I turn and walk out of the house that was once my home. Walk away from everything I’ve ever known and toward the frightening unknown.

  Chapter 7

  After we leave, we stop by the landlord’s house to drop off the key then we head over to the storage unit. During the drive there, I remain stuck in my thoughts of how the life I once knew is no more. But the instant we pull up to the storage unit, my thoughts shift back to how quickly the guys moved my stuff out of the house. One hour. That’s how long it took for them to clear out a three-bedroom house and the attic. And that includes driving to and from the storage unit ten miles away.

  Something doesn’t add up. Did they maybe have other people come over and help? If so, why didn’t they say something?

  They’re not who you think they are, the stranger’s words echo in my mind.

  Who the hell do I think they are? Because I sure as heck don’t know.

  “So, are you this quiet all the time?” Easton asks from the passenger seat after his dad climbs out to unlock the storage unit.

  Foster is sitting in the back seat with me and has been silently staring out the window the entire drive.

  I shrug.

  He studies me with a glint in his eyes. “Well, just a warning. Being quiet at our house means being eaten alive.”

  I pick at my fingernails. “Yeah, your dad already warned me about that.”

  “Did he?” Easton grins at Foster. “What do you think about that, Fost? Sounds like Dad is trying to play favorite with our new little sis.”

  “Please don’t refer to me as your little sister,” I say. “This situation is only temporary. The moment my parents are found, I’m moving back to Honeyton.”

  “And what if they’re never found?” Easton asks with his brow cocked. “Then what, little sis?”

  “I’m not your little sis.” I twist toward the window as I mutter, “And if, for some crazy reason, my parents aren’t ever found, I’m taking off the moment I graduate and never looking back.”

  “Sounds like a great idea,” Foster mutters. “Maybe you should take off now. Easton and I have some money we can give you, if you can’t afford your own place.”

  I breathe in and out, my fingers curling into fists, and stabbing my fingernails into my palms in an attempt to keep my emotions under control—physical pain over emotional pain always seems to affect my powers less. “That’s a great idea, and one I’d love to do, but since my parents left my guardianship rights to your father, I’ll be considered a runaway if I try to take off before I turn eighteen.”

  I catch Foster’s reflection in the window as he shares a look with Easton.

  “What if we could help you disappear?” Easton suggests. “We’re really good at that.”

  I slowly turn my head and measure them up. Easton’s lips are curled into a grin, while Foster has a frown etched onto his face.

  “Is that an offer?” I glance between them. “Or a threat? Because, if it’s a threat, you should know that I have a can of pepper spray in my pocket that I’ve used more than a handful of times, and I’d love to use it again. Practice makes perfect, right?”

  Easton sinks his teeth into his bottom lip as his gaze glides to Foster. “I don’
t know, Fost,” he says with amusement. “She might just fit in with us after all.”

  Foster’s narrowed eyes bore into me as he shakes his head. “No way. She’ll never fit in. Newbies never do.”

  I raise my brow. “Newbies? How many people have you guys had live with you?”

  “You’re the first person we’ve ever had come live with us,” Easton replies with hilarity.

  Foster shoots him a dirty look, to which Easton’s smile magnifies.

  “You’re walking on thin ice, East,” Foster warns. “Be careful.”

  More than done with their cryptic conversation, I push open the door.

  “Hey, where are you going?” Easton calls out with laughter ringing in his tone.

  “To help your dad unload the truck.” I start to shut the door when anger waves over me and, I add, “And to get away from your stupid asses.”

  As I slam the door, a cluster of lightning bolts illuminate across the sky, bright enough to burn my eyes and make my heart jump.

  “Wow,” Gabe mutters from near the back end of the truck with his head angled up toward the sky. “I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

  “Me neither,” I divulge truthfully.

  I may have spent years setting off crazy lightning storms, floods, and windstorms, but never have I seen anything quite like what just occurred in the stormy grey sky. Makes me wonder how upset I truly am at the moment.

  Makes me worry what sort of disasters I might set off the longer I’m around Foster and Easton.

  Chapter 8

  I help Gabe unload the truck to the best of my ability, but eventually, Foster and Easton get out and take over. It takes us a while to get everything unloaded, and Easton and Foster start to complain about how slow I’m moving, as if all this is my fault. Technically, I guess it is, considering they’re only here because of my parents’ will. Still, it’s annoying. They’re annoying. This entire situation is annoying.

  By the time we’re finished and climbing back into the truck, I’m bursting with annoyance and the sky is more than reacting, raining hail down upon the earth.

  “Man, this is some shitty weather,” Gabe remarks after we all hop into the truck. He turns on the engine then flips the wipers on. “We’re lucky we’re done.”

  Foster nods in agreement as he fastens his seatbelt. “What do you think’s causing it?”

  I find his question somewhat strange, unless he’s some sort of science person and is asking his dad to literally explain what causes hailstorms.

  His dad shrugs, worry creasing his face as he peers up the sky. “I’m sure it’s just a … cold front or something.”

  Okay, so he did mean it in the literal sense.

  A bit of relief washes over me. I’m not even sure why. It’s not like any of them could possibly know about my ability.

  “Yeah, I guess it is December, isn’t it?” Foster mutters, seeming perplexed.

  What a weirdo. He acts as if hail in December is some rare occurrence when it’s not. Not really anyway. At least not when I’m around.

  “We should stop by Nelly’s on our way home,” Easton suggests as Gabe steers the truck forward and out onto the road. “We haven’t seen her in forever, and I need to talk to her about some stuff.”

  “You can text her then,” Gabe says, his gaze fleetingly straying toward me before returning to the road. “We really just need to get home.”

  “Texting is so overrated.” Easton groans dramatically. “And I’d rather not have every goddamn thing I say recorded into the system.” He flops back in the seat. “Some conversations are private, for fuck’s sake.”

  System? Wait … Is he one of those people who believe the government is secretly spying on us through technology?

  “Watch what you say,” Gabe warns, giving Easton a pressing look.

  Easton rolls his eyes. “Fine, Pops, I’ll chill for now. But eventually, you’re going to have to let us be us or shit’s going to get complicated.”

  Gabe rubs his lips together, clutching the steering wheel. “I know.”

  The cab grows quiet after that, tension lacing the air.

  I’m not really sure what to make of their cryptic conversation … If it has anything to do with me or not.

  Just exactly who are the Everettsons? That’s quickly becoming the million-dollar question, isn’t it?

  Well, that and a hundred other things.

  Chapter 9

  No one says much for the rest of the drive, and by the time we reach the Everettsons’ house, the hail has toned down a bit. Of course, the moment Gabe pulls up in front of the massive, three-story home, my pulse quickens with anxiety and the sky ignites in response.

  “Damn this weather,” Gabe says as rain drizzles from the clouds. “Hopefully, it’ll ease up a bit before tomorrow’s … tournament.”

  “Shit, I didn’t even think about that.” Easton shoves the door open to get out. “What’ll we do if it rains?”

  “Still have it probably.” Gabe starts to get out but pauses, glancing at me. “Our family participates in baseball tournaments every Sunday.”

  Unsure why he’s telling me this, I nod. “Sounds cool.”

  He offers me a stiff smile. “We’ll be gone all day, which means you’ll get the house to yourself.”

  That thought sounds nice, although I feel a bit hurt he didn’t invite me to go. Then again, I’m not part of their family. Just some strange girl they got stuck with. I’m not even sure if my dad talked to Gabe before he listed him in their will to be my guardian.

  What if he didn’t? What if all Gabe’s tense smiles are because I’m not really wanted here. Foster and Easton don’t seem too thrilled about my presence. Maybe that’s how the entire family feels.

  Forcing a smile, I say, “Okay.”

  His lips part, appearing as though he wants to say more, but then he gets out of the car.

  Easton and Foster follow without saying a word, and none of them wait for me as they start up the paved walkway that leads to the double-doored, column-lined entrance of the colossal house.

  Sucking in a breath, I steady my nerves and climb out of the truck. My boots splash in the puddles as I trail behind them, taking in the massive house, the spacious yard, and the five-car garage. I can’t even wrap my head around how big and fancy this place is, and it leaves me feeling confused.

  How does my dad know someone who can afford a place like this? As far as I know, he grew up living in poverty in Honeyton.

  I really need to talk to Gabe and hear the story, but maybe after a few days when I’ve gotten settled and used to the idea of all this.

  “I hope Charlotte made dinner already,” Easton announces as he pushes open the front doors. “Moving shit makes me hungry.”

  “It’s not even five o’clock,” Foster says as he steps inside. “It’s not going to be ready yet.”

  “I can request an early dinner,” Gabe tells them. “Just let me check in with your mom first and see if she’s okay with it.”

  “Who’s Charlotte?” I find myself asking as I step inside and take everything in.

  Holy shit, this place is huge, with a high, peaked ceiling, a wide staircase, black and white tiled floors, and the glitteriest chandeliers I’ve ever seen—maybe the only chandeliers I’ve ever seen.

  I’m never going to feel comfortable here.

  “She’s our cook and housekeeper,” Gabe tells me. “If you need anything to eat at all, you can ask her.”

  Yeah, I’m not sure I feel comfortable with that.

  “Can I just make my own food?” I ask, feeling very uncomfortable at the moment.

  Is this how I’m going to feel every day?

  Gabe gives me a strange, concerned look. “You’re more than welcome to if you want, but just know the option is there.”

  I force yet another strained smile. “Thanks.”

  His smile mirrors mine but morphs into a real one when a woman with flowing blonde hair appears at the top of the stairwa

  She looks around the same age as my mom, but that’s about where the similarities stop. Where my mom is all torn jeans and leather jackets with wild curls, this woman is sporting a flawless white pencil dress, matching heels, and a string of pearls decorates her neck.

  “That took you longer than I thought.” She starts down the stairway, each of her steps graceful.

  Her words make no sense at all. How could she think we’d be back sooner when I’m not even sure how the guys managed to move everything so quickly?

  “The weather slowed us down a bit.” Gabe meets her at the bottom of the stairway and places a kiss on her cheek.

  The scene makes me miss my parents even more than I already do, and thunder booms in response.

  “Was it storming over in Honeyton all day?” the woman wonders while smoothing Gabe’s hair into place. “Because it’s been great weather here up until now.”

  “It rained almost the entire time we were there,” Gabe says, his gaze traveling to me. “It looked like a pretty bad storm blew through last night, too?”

  I nod, even though I’m not sure if he’s directly asking me. “It storms there a lot.”

  I’m not sure what the big deal is. So it’s storming? It’s freakin’ December and totally normal. Sure, I know the real reason behind the storms, but they don’t.

  Before he can say anything more, the woman’s weird but beautiful shade of lavender eyes light up. “Oh, my gosh, you look just like your parents.” She swings around Gabe and puts a hand on each of my arms, her gaze scrolling over me before zeroing in on my eyes. “And those eyes … Jesus, they’re gorgeous… You look just like her.”

  Two things puzzle me about her statement. 1). My eyes are far from gorgeous, the color is just a simple blue. Well, a bright blue, but still, blue eyes are really common. And 2). I don’t look very much like my parents, both of them having blonde hair and green eyes.

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