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The foundation series bo.., p.3
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       The Foundation Series Box Set, p.3

           Kira Adams
“Yeah, I guess,” I replied. We were just about to round the corner that led to the auditorium when I caught sight of my two best friends walking towards us.

  “Hey boo,” Brooklyn greeted me. “Where were you? We were looking all over for you; we’ve been waiting at your locker.”

  I opened my mouth to respond, but was caught off guard when I realized Jax was answering for me. “My apologies, ladies, for keeping Peyton, we just got to talking, and you know how that goes.”

  Without realizing it, I found myself nodding along with him, thankful we never made it to our destination. “Look, I have to get going, but I’ll see you Saturday, right?” He waited for an answer before bolting.

  “Saturday, right.” It was all I could manage; I was positive I was in the Twilight Zone. I watched him walk away, my jaw to the floor.

  “What was that all about?” Madison prodded.

  “Jax invited me to Cooper’s party Saturday.” Saying the words out loud unfortunately did not help me believe them.

  Both Brooklyn and Madison’s mouths fell open, much like mine had just been watching my crush walk away. “Are you freaking serious? Since when have you ever been on Jax’s radar?” Madison asked, not meant as an insult.

  “Your guess is as good as mine…but this is the third time he has spoken to me this week. That is three more than, ever.”

  “Well it sounds like we have a party to attend this weekend!” Brooklyn exclaimed, giddy, jumping up and down with Madison. “What are we going to wear? I need to get my nails did, a new weave, and a new outfit. Want to go shopping tomorrow night so we can all get new outfits?”

  We all agreed that sounded like a fantastic plan. Friday it was.

  * * *

  Saturday had finally made its appearance. I had convinced my parents after countless late night talks that I could handle spending the night with Brooklyn and Madison without trying to hurt myself. They were still hesitant to allow me out without eyes—but I knew my mother was also afraid if they babied me too much I would run. In the end, I got my way.

  After an entire day of pampering ourselves, we were ready to brave the highly anticipated party. I had arrived with Brooklyn, Madison, Brooklyn’s boyfriend, Isaiah, and our gay friend, Liam Turner. As unpopular as we all were, we were looking pretty spiffy for a Saturday night. Since I didn’t know what to do with my mane of thick dark tresses, Brooklyn ended up curling it into ringlets for me. While I had minimal make up, I was wearing a rose-pink strapless, sweetheart, beaded dress. It had pockets, which I loved because I could carry my phone or my wallet in there and not have to bring my purse.

  “We ready for this?” Isaiah looked back for confirmation, before opening the front door to Cooper’s house. Inside was packed; people were even standing on the stairs, conversing. The first thing I heard as we walked in was Kari Ann’s loud, pitchy voice.

  “Eww, who invited the loser squad?” She was clearly inebriated and was flailing her arms. Then, I noticed someone come up behind her and put his arms around her waist, which quieted her down. It was not a sight I wanted to see, for it was Jax. It was clear to see he was on her level as well. He couldn’t control his hands, and his lips were at the base of her neck.

  Brooklyn looked over at me with sympathy in her eyes. “We need a drink!” She grabbed my hand and led us all to the back porch area where there was jungle juice and a keg. I quickly poured myself a heaping cup of jungle juice and ended up downing it within seconds.

  “Slow down there tiger! You’re still going to want to be functioning in a couple of hours, won’t you?” Liam asked, as he took the cup out of my hands.

  “I would rather not remember later,” I growled, grabbing the cup back and again overflowing it with jungle juice. As I was about to throw it back down the hatch, I heard Jax’s voice. He was laughing and singing loudly to himself as he brushed past me to the keg. “Hey,” I said, softly, touching his arm.

  “Do I know you?” Jax asked, stumbling back and forth.

  “We have like four classes together…and I’m pretty sure you and my sister had a thing freshman year,” I replied, positive he couldn’t have been drunk enough to forget I even existed…or could he?

  “Oh.” He raised his eyebrows animatedly, his blue eyes twinkling. “Satan, right?”

  “Excuse me?” I asked, shocked by his question.

  “Your name—or at least that’s what your sister used to call you…” His lips curled up into an evil smile.

  I let go of his arm, but stood my ground. “Why are you being like this? You invited me,” I whispered, looking down, my face burning up.

  Jax obviously did not get the memo that we were being discreet, because his volume only seemed to increase, catching more attention than I would have liked. “I invited you? In what world?” He cackled like an evil villain and then turned his back to me, filling his cup up with beer.

  My cheeks were growing redder by the minute, a combination of embarrassment and pure rage. He was the only reason I had even agreed to come. I knew I was an outsider; that I didn’t fit in with his crowd—but he was the one who convinced me that everything was going to be alright. “You’re seriously going to sit there and pretend like you didn’t invite me to this party twice?” It was hard not to be fuming.

  He turned around slowly this time, sipping on his beer, a calculated look playing across his eyes. “Well you obviously can’t take a hint…I’m going to give you the best advice of your life…are you ready? Lay off the cupcakes fatty! I can get any girl in here, what would I want with a pig like you?”

  I looked around and realized all eyes were on us; more importantly, me. Jax had just given them the reality TV bit they craved for the night. Tears were beginning to form at the corners of my eyes and I knew I didn’t have much time before the waterworks. “Peyton…” I heard my friends call after me. But it was drowned out by the noise of laughter. Jax was laughing hysterically at what he had just said to me, and the worst part about it? Everyone had joined in. Now all I heard as I ran and pushed my way through the crowd was oinks and laughs. I felt a hand grab my arm, and I looked up with a tear stricken face.

  “Peyton, what are you doing here?” My sister whispered. I couldn’t avoid her forever, but this was not a time I wanted to be talking to her. She noticed the tears in my eyes, and then looked around, suddenly realizing what was going on. “I told you not to come,” she said softly, her face sympathetic.

  “Well, aren’t you happy, Kayleigh? You were right.” I pulled my arm from her grasp and pushed past her; past all the people dancing, past all the people in the kitchen, past all the people on the porch. Quickly realizing as I made it outside that I hadn’t driven there. I thought about walking all the way home, but walking twenty miles in high heels, in the freezing cold did not appeal to me one bit. I ended up seated on the trunk of Brooklyn’s car, crying and alone.

  After a good fifteen minute cry session, all I was left with was the sniffles and an extremely red face. I had no intention of stepping foot in that party again and I didn’t want to ruin my friends’ time, so I was avoiding all calls, all texts, and had been lucky enough that none of my amazing friends had stopped to think that I was outside. Especially because it began pouring, almost like the Heavens opened up and were crying along with me. As cold and shivering as I was, I had no intention of moving a muscle. I just wanted to be curled up in my warm bed and forget everything; everything about today, everything about Jax. But I was realizing life was not that easy when I saw the silhouette of someone coming towards me through the pellets of rain.

  “Hey, I’ve been looking for you everywhere. What are you doing out here?” If it wasn’t raining so hard, I’d have to rub my eyes raw in shock that Jax was the person standing in front of me.

  “Leave me alone,” I growled, turning away, still sniffling.

  “You’re going to catch a cold out here, at least let me get you somewhere dry.” He reached for me, but was startled when I flew back, avoiding his contact. “Okay, w
hat is going on?”

  “You know your mood swings are giving me whiplash.”

  “What are you talking about? What mood swings?” Jax looked concerned, as we both stood there, soaking wet.

  “Don’t act like you’re not embarrassed of me! You just showed the world exactly what you think I am!” I screamed back at him through the downpour.

  “What the hell are you talking about?” he shouted back.

  “Nice to me in private—an ass to me in public, you’re just like the rest of them. I can’t believe I’ve spent so many years hung up on you!” I said the words I knew I would never be able to take back, but at least they were honest.

  “Years…” Jax began, a confused look spreading over his face, before I interjected.

  “I’m not playing this game with you anymore.” Even though it was still pouring, and I was still wearing heels, and there was still a twenty minute walk, it suddenly sounded extremely appealing to me. I began walking towards the road and away from Jax.

  “Where are you going?” He yelled after me, but I didn’t bother to look back. I was taking control of my life, one step at a time.

  Two: I would be the laughing stock of my high school for months, if not years to come.

  Time to be Me

  Pitch black. Nothing to look forward to. Alone. Again. Friends is a foreign word. Home is an illusion. Trekking along with a false hope of change. Cries of pain, swept away with the wind. Shattered memories fading with time. Screaming on the inside, wishing for a better life.

  One day, sometime, something will change. I’ll make my move, get in line, and finally arrange- The life I want to live, the people I want to meet, no more waiting, it’s time to be *ME*.

  I was just slipping under the covers of my comfy bed when I heard a soft knock. “Peyton? I know you’re still awake.” It was Kayleigh. She must have left the party almost immediately after the stunt Jax pulled. There was no way she could have stayed much longer because after walking merely a few miles, I couldn’t bear it and I ended up calling my father to pick me up. Explaining to him why I was on the side of the road, soaked, crying, and dressed the way I was, was not something I wanted to deal with…but I decided to suck up to the consequences and because we lived so close he was there within ten minutes. I was grounded for a week. Kayleigh knocked again, interrupting my thought process. As much as I wanted to continue blocking out the rest of the world, she was my sister, after all. I opened the door and let her in.

  “Hey,” she greeted me gently. Then, something incredible happened. My sister hugged me. For the first time in over ten years, she actually showed me affection. I always knew my sister loved me, in the sense that we were family, but I honestly never knew that my sister actually cared for me. It was so unexpected, but exactly what I needed. We stood there for what seemed like forever, holding each other, and crying.

  Finally, she released me, and we both took a seat on my bed.

  “What did he say to you?” Kayleigh asked me, her face wrinkled with worry; it was not a look I was accustomed to.

  “It doesn’t matter.” I shook my head dismissively, trying to avoid telling her about the ‘Satan’ comment. She had just shown affection to me for the first time in as long as I could remember, and I had no intention of ruining our moment.

  “I wasn’t trying to hurt your feelings when I asked you not to come to the party,” she said softly, touching my hand.

  “I know.”

  “I knew they would eat you alive. I didn’t want you to go for this exact reason.” Kayleigh appeared extremely distraught. “You’re my little sister, I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to you. I love you, you know that.”

  It was a strange confession coming from her and had it been last year I would have laughed it off, but our relationship was changing…for the first time in years and it was intriguing. I shook my head, shamefully. “I’m sorry I embarrassed you in front of your friends.”

  “Don’t be. None of this is your fault.” She grabbed my hand.

  “Yes it is; if I hadn’t come to the party, none of this would have happened.” I looked down, regretting my decision to ever go.

  “Everyone makes mistakes. And I’m sorry I didn’t stand up for you.” She hugged me again, good and tight.

  “Thank you,” I mumbled, between us.

  “You’re welcome.” As she said it, I heard another soft knock on my door. “Come in!”

  In walked Kayleigh’s boyfriend Bentley James, of four years. “Everything kosher?”

  We looked at each other, smiled, then nodded that he could enter.

  Bentley had been dating Kayleigh on and off since freshmen year; their recent stint together had been more than six months. He too was part of the football team, but Bentley was different than his peers. He wanted something more for himself and his life, and I believed in every speckle of his big brown eyes that it was going to happen. Bentley always treated me like an equal. It could be because he was dating my sister, but it could also be because he was just that sincere of a person. “Group hug?” He jumped on the bed and engulfed us with his long arms.

  “Alright, we’ll let you get some sleep,” Kayleigh said as she released us both from the hug. She got up and walked to the door. “You coming?” She glanced at her long term boyfriend.

  “Yeah, give me a second,” Bentley replied, turning his attention back to me. “Someone was looking for you, ya know, at the party.”

  “Yeah, I should probably text my friends to let them know I made it home safely.” I yawned, realizing just how beat I actually was.

  “Not that somebody. A brown haired-blue eyed somebody. He seemed pretty concerned about you.” He raised his eyebrows.

  “Well he can keep that concern all to himself after the stunt he pulled. I’m over Jax.” I settled into my bed, getting ready to dream him away.

  “I’m not talking about Jax.” He chuckled, heading towards the door.

  “Then who?” The only person I knew who had brown hair and blue eyes was Jax…

  “Jace. Hello. Who else would I be talking about?” Bentley exited my room, closing the door softly behind him.

  Jace? Jace? Suddenly, it was all making sense. It wasn’t mood swings I was experiencing, it was different people altogether. They really weren’t joking when they said the two were difficult to tell apart. The only reason I was so sure I knew the difference was because of that birth mark. I now knew it had been Jace in my class asking me if I was going to the party, at the vending machine, outside by Brooklyn’s car, and even, possibly, at my locker, not Jax. I was floored. All this time I had been thinking it was his evil twin. I felt horrified. The fact that I treated Jace so badly, whereas he only treated me well, would haunt me forever.

  * * *

  I had been dreading going back to school that fall morning. Not just because of what happened at the party, but also because of what happened with Jace. I couldn’t face him. I couldn’t admit to him that the whole time I thought he was his asshole of a brother. However, I made the decision to be a new Peyton; a stronger Peyton; one who wouldn’t put up with all the petty bullshit of high school. I was beyond nervous walking into school Monday morning. Seeing a friendly face right away eased some of my butterflies, but definitely not all of them.

  “Hey girl!” Liam waved me over.

  “Hey girl hey!” I responded, enveloping him in a hug.

  “How have you been? I’ve been worried about you since the party. Girl, there is so much we need to catch up on!” Liam chirped, excitedly.

  “I’m okay. What do you need to tell me?”

  Talking with Liam confirmed that after I left the party Jace confronted Jax about what he had done to me and ended up punching him in front of everyone. The rumor was Jax was left with a dangerously dark black eye, and a death wish towards his brother. The twins were not on speaking terms. The gossip was in high gear as people pondered why Jace would ever give two flying fucks about me. Even worse, while Liam continu
ed to gossip on, I noticed Jace, and I knew with 100% certainty it was Jace, get swarmed at his locker by a group of cheerleaders led by Kari Ann. I even managed to overhear them asking him questions about me and if he liked me and I saw him shudder and say “What? I have a girlfriend. Plus, it’s not like that with me and P.” It was like being punched in the gut. So it was just sympathy he felt for me. That was the reason he had been so friendly with me over the past week. It had to be.

  I can’t believe I ever thought either of the twins could like me in that way. I can’t believe I was ever delusional enough to think I could be anywhere near their league. I would be the laughing stock of my high school for months, if not years to come.

  I saw Jace look over my way. I even noticed him start moving toward me, attempting to free away from the group of cheerleaders, but I couldn’t bear to be the laughing stock for another day in a row, so I bolted the opposite way. I hid out in the girls’ bathroom until well after the first bell rang, just to avoid him.

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