Chapter 12

(The story is now set three years later where Hayley is 18)

"Mom, I'm home!" I shouted as I stepped through the door. There was no reply, but I could hear her laughter coming from the living room. I walked into the living room to see her on the phone, laughing her head off.

"Mom?"

She turned around and gave me a huge smile. "One sec, Caroline," she said into the phone. "Hi Sweetie. How was work?"

"Long. Time went so slow."

"I'm talking to Caroline." I smiled in response. "You know, Caroline was saying that Luke's home today. Would you like to speak to him?"

Butterflies raided my stomach. "Ermm, no thanks. I'll speak to him another time."

Mom looked disappointed and put the phone next to her ear again. "Caroline, can I call you back?... Okay, that's fine. Bye."

She looked at me and sighed.

"What, Mom? Just say it already."

"When was the last time you spoke to Luke?" She asked.

"I don't know. It was a very long time ago."

"My point exactly. You haven't been speaking to him. Why not?"

After Luke left, we spoke on the phone every single day. We e-mailed each other and even spoke to each other via webcam. Every day I would come home from school, and Mom would already be talking to Caroline, so I would snatch the phone from her, asking Caroline to pass the phone to Luke. But one day when I asked Caroline to hand the phone over to Luke, she said he was not home. He was out with some friends. He hadn't e-mailed me that day, either. From that day, whenever I asked to speak to Luke, Caroline would always say that he was either out, asleep, or doing his homework. From then our phones calls went from talking to each other every day to talking to each other once a week. And from that it went to once a month until the phone calls just stopped all together. We had also stopped e-mailing each other. At first I was upset about it. I would cry myself to sleep because before Luke had left, he promised that we would always remain friends and that we would always be in contact. After a while, I just stopped caring. Sometimes I would ask Mom how he was, but that was just out of politeness. I honestly did not care how he was or what he was doing. If he didn't, why should I?

"I don't know, Mom. In case you haven't noticed, I don't see the guy every day to talk to him."

"The guy?"

"Luke, Mom, whatever." I was starting to get annoyed. "Could we just drop this? Luke and I were best friends. He left for Chicago, promising me that we'll still keep in contact. He hasn't kept that promise, so how is it my fault? I did try and keep in touch with him, but if he stopped caring, why should I keep trying?" I was close to tears now.

Mom walked towards me. "Okay sweetie. I'm sorry. I promise I won't ask again. Calm down," she said, hugging me.

"Thank you." I said wrapping my arms around her, breathing in her scent. "I have to go. I'm meeting Hannah in a while."

"Okay," Mom said pulling away. "Have fun, Sweetie."

I turned and was about to leave the room when Mom spoke again.

"Oh before I forget, Chris came by earlier. He forgot you were at work." Chris was our neighbour. He and his family had moved into Luke's old house two weeks after Luke had left. Chris' family were the nicest people that I had ever met. His family included his parents, who own an antique store, his brother, who works abroad, Chris, who is the same age as I am; we study at the same college, and his little sister, Jennifer. At first I didn't get along well with Chris because he seemed like the most annoying person that I had ever met. But, over time, I got used to his behaviour and accepted that was part of who he was. When Luke had left, I would spend a lot of my time on my own, but Chris would always force me to go to his house to hang out with him or take me out. He had a very bubbly personality that made everyone like him. He was fun to be around. "Anyway," Mom continued, "he's waiting for you in your room."

"WHAT?" I screamed, running out of the living room and up the stairs.

When I got to my bedroom, I yanked the door open and rushed inside. I looked around my room and saw that it was just as I had left it this morning. But I was still suspicious.

"Hayley?" came a voice from my left. I turned to see Chris sitting in my desk chair, reading a book and looking at me, confused. "Is something wrong?"

"What are you doing in my room?"

"I was waiting for you. You-"

"Why couldn't you wait downstairs?"

"I was, but then I decided to come up. Wha-"

"Why did you decide to come upstairs?"

"Because."

"Why because?"

"Okay, what is this? Twenty-one questions?"

I looked at him skeptically which caused him to look even more confused. I didn't trust Chris. Not one single bit. He was always up to no good. After I scanned my room again, I decided that nothing was wrong with it, so I sat down to take off my shoes.

"Well, you need to go because I have plans to meet Hannah. I would invite you, but she can't stand you," I laughed.

"Tell her I hate her, too. And I wouldn't have come anyway. I'm meeting Leila today."

"Leila? What happened to Gemma?"

"She was annoying," he sighed.

"You're such a pig. That's the lamest excuse ever. Can't you ever hold on to a girl for more than one day?"

Chris was very popular at our college. All the girls pined for him, and I didn't blame them. He was, after all, very good-looking. He was fair-skinned with light brown hair. His eye colour was a mixture of light blue and green, and you could totally get lost in them. He had cute little dimples and whenever he smiled, he could light up a whole room. That was why it was so easy for him to go from one girl to another. All the girls fell at his feet.

"Well, for your information, I went out with Leila for three days. That's two more than what you said."

I laughed, "Wow, three days eh? I think you're ready to marry the girl."

"Very funny. Just let me finish this last page, and I'll get out of your hair," he said, gesturing to the book he was reading.

"Okay," I said, standing up and taking my hair down.

"So I didn't speak to Luke again today. His mom-"

I swirled around and looked at Chris, shocked. "Are you reading my diary?"

Chris looked up from his 'book' at me. He glanced at the front cover, pretending to be

shocked. "Why, would you look at that? Yes. Yes, this is indeed your diary," he smirked.

"HOW DARE YOU READ MY DIARY?" I screamed as I ran towards him, snatching my diary out of his hands, and throwing it behind me onto the bed. He got up from the chair and started laughing.

"It's not funny. How. Dare. You. Go. Through. My. Stuff?" I screeched horrified, punching his chest.

He laughed and moved away from me, still laughing. How could he find this funny?

"It's not funny, you creep! How could you read my diary?" I screamed, close to tears.

My diary was personal. It had private things in it that no one was supposed to know about. And he read it. How dare he? I went over to him and started hitting him some more. "Get. Out. Of. My. Room," I cried, tears filling my eyes. He grabbed my wrists, forcing me to stop. He looked at me, still smirking, before his facial expression changed into a mask of shock.

"Are you crying?" he asked.

I pulled my wrists free and slapped him right across his face. He winced, and I was a little surprised by my actions but I didn't care. How dare he read my diary? "How dare you read my diary? Haven't you ever heard of a thing called privacy?"

"Hayley, listen to me-"

"No, you listen to me. Don't you ever dare to come into my room and touch my things ever again," I shouted, tears spilling down my cheeks.. He lifted his right hand and clamped it over my mouth while his other hand supported the back of my head. I shook my head, trying to escape his grasp.

"Would you just please listen to me?" he demanded quietly.

Listen to him? Was he crazy? I never wanted to talk to him ever again!

"I didn't read your diary." He said each word slowly, carefully.

Liar! I saw him with my own eyes. I tried to move his hands away from my mouth so I could tell him that, but his hand wouldn't move. Was it made out of stone or something?

"I only pretended to read it." I looked at him, shocked. He slowly moved his hand away from my mouth and cupped my face with both of his hands. He looked me straight in the eye. "Okay. I didn't read your diary. You left your diary on your desk, but I swear I didn't read it. When I heard you running up the stairs, I opened your diary to any page and pretended to read." He moved his hands away and placed them at his side.

Oh. "But why would you do that?"

"To mess with your head," he laughed. "But I didn't know that you would start crying."

"Yeah, well, I have private stuff in my diary," I said, wiping away the wetness from my cheeks.

"Looks like it. Makes me wish I had read it now," he teased.

I playfully smacked his arm which caused me to remember something.

"I'm sorry for slapping you," I said in a small voice. I looked at his face and saw that his left cheek was bright red. I started to feel guilty.

"Huh?"

"I'm sorry for slapping you. That was way out of line," I said a little louder.

"It's okay. I would have slapped me too," Chris smiled, taking a seat on my desk chair. "So, do you want to go grab something to eat?"

"I can't. Going out with Hannah, remember? And I thought you were seeing Leila?" I said, sitting down on my bed.

"Oh yeah, I forgot."

I smiled and started untying the laces of my shoes.

"So err, who's Luke?"

I froze. How did he know about Luke? Did he read my diary? He promised he didn't.

"You said you didn't read my diary?"

"I didn't. I swear I didn't. It's just when I was flicking through the pages, I saw the name Luke a lot and downstairs I overheard you and your mom talking. Sorry," he said, looking a little worried.

"Oh. Well, err, Luke is, well was, a friend of mine. He lived next door to us, but he and his family moved away three years ago."

"Was he a special friend?"

I looked at Chris and instantly knew what he meant by that. I thought about lying but then decided against it. "Very special."

"Oh. So where is he now?"

"In Chicago," I said, getting up and walking over to my wardrobe.

"Are you still in contact with him?"

"Nope."

"Why not?" It sounded like Chris was laughing, so I turned around. He quickly rearranged his facial features, putting on a straight face, but his small smirk was visible.

Weirdo.

I shrugged. "Dunno. I guess he found it hard to keep in contact with me, or he couldn't be bothered to call every day. I don't know."

"He? Does that mean you wanted to stay in touch with him?"

"Of course. I mean, he has been my best friend since we were kids."

"Sounds like you were very close."

"We were. We did absolutely everything together. We were inseparable. When he left, it was probably the worst day of my life."

"Why did he leave?"

"Err, his parents go some kind of a promotion or something like that."

"Do you miss him?" he asked quietly.

I thought about the question for a few seconds and decided to answer it honestly.

"No."