A/N: A small break from my other stories. Something that barged in my brain and demanded to get written. And fast. Not my fault, honestly. Here is the first chapter of my brand new paranoia.




You meet her three months before the wedding. She opens the door. Her hair is wavy and wild, she smiles like she means it. She has dimples and green eyes, her room as messy as her hair, smelling of nail polish and apples. She hugs you before you leave. On the way home, your mother touches your shoulder and says "she's a nice girl".


She is a nice girl. At school, she introduces you as her brother and people stare at you funny. Some kid is brave enough to ask "Adopted?" and she bites her bottom lip. You grin –at her, not at the other guy. Her expression is apologetic and you're surprised to find yourself feeling warm and amused. You'd normally get pissed. "Our parents got married last year," you reply to the boy and put your hand around her shoulders. "So I'm her brother."

It makes her smile.


His name is Sebastian but she calls him Bastien. He appears out of nowhere and they fall together like puzzle pieces, lock in place leaving no cracks, no space between them. You can see it in the way they speak and walk and talk, in the way they spazz when that song plays on the radio, the way they dance in the car, the way they act like crazed hormonal monkeys. Even in the way they sit together, you can see it, they fit, they're a completed jigsaw, they're one.

You don't like him.

He's not for her.


Bastien is small and thin and has long, lean limbs. His hair is weird and his clothes are wrong and his legs are far too skinny. He wears large shirts and tight jeans and weird hats and earrings. He has the figure of a 12-year old girl. He looks like a monkey. An ugly one.

He wants to be an artist and thinks he's too good to go to class in the mornings. He smokes under the bleachers instead. A typical failure. He has flunked almost all classes this year.

He gets beat up at school mostly by jocks (some of which are your friends), walks around the next day in bandages and stitches. It's not their fault; he gets in their face when he shouldn't.

You haven't laid a hand on him. You do it for her.

She's crazy and sweet and smart and beautiful.

She's not your sister, but she's kind and genuine.

She kisses the Band-Aids on his cheekbones and his knuckles; saves his drawings, shares his smokes. She lets him creep through her window at night when he's had a fight with his father, makes room for him to sleep on her bed. She rests her head on his shoulder, calls him bitch, laughs at and with him, kisses him with eyes closed, hands in his hair.

You haven't hurt him because she loves him.

But he's not for her.


It's his fault because he throws the first punch.

He's stronger than he looks. You're stunned for a moment, touching your cheekbone with your fingertips. Then you smile. Truth be told, you were waiting for this invitation for months.

It's not your fault he has a deathwish.

He falls to the ground a few seconds later, and you walk away in triumphant slo-mo. There was blood, you saw blood, but you are far too cool to turn around and see the damage, is it a broken nose, or a cut lip, or did he bash his head on the pavement and die then and there?

You walk to Sam's house and spill everything out in a panting, furious monologue, even though you know he won't understand. He doesn't. He hands you an icepack and sighs "that's quite a sister syndrome you've got there," you laugh and say it's nothing like that. When you look at your face in the mirror you see a reddening bruise under your left eye and think he did this. You are not entirely sure what you've done to him.

You spend the entire night awake, panicking that the kid is dead. You know he's not, but for some reason your head will only believe it when it sees his sissy ass alive and breathing.

It's as if he does it on purpose, he's three hours late the next day and you've already lost thirty years of your life by the time he decides to show up.


The cut on his lip is terrible, but at least he's not dead.

You spend the whole week unable to tear your eyes from him and that ruined mouth. You stare at the wound and think I did this. You are not sure how you feel about that.

He doesn't tell her anything, and keeps climbing to her window at night.

She kisses him carefully, because she doesn't want to hurt him.


It's summer, and it's like he's moved in.

Bastien is in your house almost every day, and it seems that you're the only one annoyed. David, her father, smiles when he sees them together, shrugs and tells you "can't be helped." Your mother likes him and thinks he's too skinny, tries to force feed him apple pie and tuna sandwiches. He calls her Dae, not Mrs. Keaton, and it makes you mad because he has no right to call her by her first name.


He acts like you're invisible. Sure, he says "hi" in the mornings, and "sorry" when you cross each other on the stairs, and "thanks" when you hand him his plate, but his eyes still see through you.

It doesn't matter.

You're popular at school, girls like you, you get good grades. You have friends, you have basketball, you have David who reads his paper with you on Sunday mornings, your mother who insists on kissing your forehead before you go to bed, your sister who comes to cheer like a rabid fangirl at your ballgames and asks you to play the piano for her when she's sleepy, even though you don't play it well.

You are fine. Who cares if Sebastian the freak with the baggy clothes wants to ignore you.

You don't care. Not at all.

Except you do.


You walk in on them making out on the couch one day, and the world freezes.

His shirt is off and he's leaning over her, her hands are on his forearms and she's smiling.

He has a tattoo on his back, words spread across his shoulderblades.

There's something about him at that moment, the curve of his body, the muscles on his arms and abdomen, his jeans that are unbuttoned and loose on his hips. He looks strangely masculine, dominant. Sexual, almost.

You swallow, inaudibly, and cough, loud enough to be heard. When she turns her head towards you, and her eyes widen in surprise, you somehow manage to smile. "The parents may be coming home soon," you say and hurry out of the room. They burst out laughing, and you can hear them through your closed door. Your hands are cold and your pulse quick and all you can think is what's wrong with you.

She knocks on your door about half an hour later, in one of your basketball t-shirts. Her smile is embarrassed when she peeks through the door and she's brought you a glazed donut as a peace offering. "I'm SO sorry," she repeats over and over again and even though your heart is still pounding unnaturally, you find yourself laughing at how she thinks she's offended you, how she thinks your friendship is at stake. "Relax," you tell her, "we're fine," and her apparent relief is so endearing it almost makes you forget about all the knots in your stomach.


You dream about it a few days later.

You dream about him leaning over you, pinning you down with his weight, knees digging into your sides, eyes looking at you, straight into yours. You dream about his fingers tracing the chords of your neck and unbuttoning your jeans, his teeth grazing your shoulder, his hair tickling your stomach, his breath teasing your collarbone.

You dream about straining upwards and trapping his chin between your fingers, you dream about grinning to show him he's not the one in control, about helplessness in his gaze, you dream about kissing him until you run out of breath.

You wake up with a gasp, a dry mouth and the most frightening pain throbbing exactly where it shouldn't.

The cold shower makes some things go away, but not the panic of no, no, how can this be, how did this happen, oh God, no, no.

A/N: Feedback is always appreciated. Thanks for reading!