Not By Blood
Chapter Twenty-Four: A Twenty Is Plenty
"Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew." I grimaced, holding the dirty cloth as far away from me as I could. I wasn't a girl who hated the thought of getting her hands dirty, and I sure as hell couldn't have cared less if I broke a nail, but anyone who says that they enjoy cleaning up some mysterious person's sick would be the biggest hypocrite to walk the earth.
I turned to glance over at Lucas, frowning when I realized that he'd suddenly disappeared. I looked around the room curiously. "Hey, Luke?" I called out.
"Yeah?" Came a distant reply.
"Where d'ya go?"
"For cleaning or personal reasons?"
"I think I'm gonna throw up."
"Your party, your bathroom." I shrugged, fighting a smile.
Suddenly a head poked around the door frame of the living room. He raised an eyebrow in my direction. I grinned.
"You know, you're making it out as though I'm the bad guy here, but you seemed to be having a pretty good time on Saturday." He smirked at me.
"What's that look for?" I questioned, narrowing my eyes.
"What look? There was no look."
"That's what people say when there was a look, idiot," I shot back.
"Someone's not telling the truth." I got up, pulling the bright yellow rubber gloves off my hands with a snap. I walked towards him, my arms folded over my chest. He walked out from behind the door frame to lean against it, watching me carefully.
"What happened?" I asked, poking him in the chest between syllables. He looked down at my finger pointedly before raising an eyebrow. I momentarily forgot what my intentions had been when I'd walked up to him in the first place.
"STOP IT!" I reached over, stretching up on my tiptoes, and placed both of my hands over his eyes. I could feel him shake with laughter beneath my hands and I could feel a smile creeping onto my face. "No! Don't make me laugh! I'm annoyed with you."
He grabbed onto my hands and pulled them away, looking at me with a grin. "Why are you annoyed with me?"
"Because you're being all 'I know something that you don't' and I want to know what you're not telling me!" I sounded like a spoiled brat but I didn't care. You can't just dangle information in front of somebody and expect them not to be curious. It's sadistic.
Still holding onto my hands, he slowly directed them from his face back down to my sides. As soon as he let go, I folded my arms across my chest again.
"You're stubborn, you know that?"
I shrugged nonchalantly. "It's been mentioned."
"What aren't you telling me? I was gonna drop it this morning but then you went and smirked at me so now you have to tell me! Just- does it involve me? Or would it be useful leverage against someone else?" I felt like a whiny kid.
He shook his head, looking down at the floor. I watched as his eyebrows furrowed infinitesimally, something I wouldn't have noticed had I not been standing so close. "It's nothing," he said.
I opened my mouth to protest but was cut off by the shrill sound of the house phone ringing. I shot Lucas a glare before walking over to the small table where the phone was. I picked it up and pressed the green button, aiming my narrowed eyes at the dark haired boy the whole time.
"Hello?" I spoke into the receiver. Lucas started pulling faces at me, forcing me to turn around so that I wouldn't laugh.
"Astrid!" A familiar voice squealed down the phone.
"Hey mom!" I smiled. "How's it going over in croissant-land?"
"It's amazing, Astrid," she said in awe. "I mean I know a lot of people say that Paris isn't as nice as it's made out to be, but to me it's beautiful. Everything's perfect. Well, apart from the weather. You know it was pouring down yesterday?"
I let out a small laugh. "It was like seventy degrees here," I teased.
"Well, I'm in Paris!" She retorted childishly. I rolled my eyes, grinning. "Anyway, how's everything going back home? Have you and Lucas killed each other yet?"
"No, we-" I cut myself off with a sudden gasp.
Oh my God. Had I-? I had a faint memory of- of- the bathroom? And I was- we were... holy crap, how had I forgotten that? A blush rose up to my cheeks. I looked over at Lucas with wide eyes, and the expression on his face was a mix between 'oops?' and a blush. He knew I knew. I knew that he knew that I knew. My brain was starting to sound like a Friends rerun, but it was written all over his face.
"Mom, I'm really sorry, but uh- Lucas just spilled a glass of soda, so I better go and help him," I lied. "I promise I'll call you back later!" I hastily hung up.
Lucas had his hands out in defense, an 'I come in peace' expression all over his face. "You." I whacked him in the chest. "How could you not tell me that we- Again. I mean- it's one thing me remembering, but don't you think it's the sort of thing that you tell the other person involved?"
I suddenly realized that this was the first time we'd actually talked about the whole- uh... 'you're actually a pretty appealing specimen to me. I quite like your mouth' thing. Well I guess it wasn't so much as talking as it was me yelling.
"Well I didn't think it would make a difference! We just ignore things when they happen. And we're pretty good at it too," he reasoned.
That seemed to shut me up. He was right. I looked down at the floor, not knowing what else to say. Cue the awkwardness.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you," he said after a moment's pause.
I shook my head, sitting down on the floor and stretching my legs out in front of me. "I probably would have done the same. You know, if you were the one who'd got drunk and couldn't remember anything."
I looked up at him, watching as he followed my actions and sat down beside me, leaning against the wall. "What exactly do you remember?" He asked, turning to face me.
I was pretty sure that a blush the color of a tomato had just invaded my cheeks. I knew he'd noticed my reaction when he suddenly burst out laughing. "Hey!" I yelled, shoving him in the shoulder. He grinned, reaching out to grab my arm and steady himself.
We sat like that for a few more minutes before I decided that it was already late - due to the whole 'home' incident - and we needed to get the house tidied up. I stood up suddenly, startling Lucas. I held out my hand for him to take, shooting him a pointed look.
"Come on. If we don't sort this place out today then we'll never do it."
He took it.
An annoying song by a band that I didn't recognize had been playing consistently for the past few minutes. I wanted to pull my hair out.
"Ugh, turn that stupid thing off, Luke!" I groaned, rolling over.
"Hm?" He asked, his voice closer than it normally sounded in the morning. I peeled my eyes open, spying Lucas sprawled out on the sofa - for the second night in a row, I noted. Wait, why was he on the sofa? Using my arms, I pushed myself up off of the floor, rubbing my eyes and looking around. Why was I in the living room? Realization dawned on me when I looked at the time.
"Luke! Get your fat ass up now!" I called in his direction, throwing a pillow at him. He made a muffled 'unffphh' sound, something that would have generally made me laugh, had it not been five minutes until our first lesson started. I distinctly noted that before I came to live with the Carter's, I woke up at around six thirty every morning, come rain or shine - a trait that had gone down the drain in the past few months.
When I looked back to Lucas and found him still lying there, I ran over and grabbed the cushion underneath him that pretty much made up the sofa. I bent my knees and pulled as hard as I could, resulting in Lucas toppling off the sofa with a surprised yelp.
"You awake yet?" I quipped.
"That was mean," he sulked.
"Yeah, and I can assure you that Mrs Turner's gonna be mean too when we arrive halfway through her lesson."
He looked up at me from his place on the floor, his eyes half lidded with sleep and his hair all messy. I resisted the urge to melt into a puddle of goo at the sight of him.
That was all he said. Well, groaned more like.
He got to his feet and rubbed his eyes, before lifting his arms up in a stretch. His shirt rode up, revealing the tan skin underneath, and I quickly turned away, feeling myself blush again.
I ran from the room and sped up the super-cool staircase. I was still wearing my jeans from the day before, so I just grabbed a new shirt out of my closet and threw it on, before stumbling over to my mirror and grimacing at my reflection. "'Ugly' will have to do today," I told myself encouragingly.
I hurriedly grabbed my hairbrush and ran it through the ends of my hair, seeing as I couldn't get my fingers through it before due to all the knots. I grabbed my corduroy backpack and threw it over my shoulder as I ran into the bathroom. Lucas was standing at the sink brushing his teeth, wearing - like me - the same jeans as the day before but with a fresh t-shirt. He looked at me through the mirror when I entered, attempting to smirk but failing due to the toothbrush sticking out of his mouth. I grabbed my toothbrush and squirted some toothpaste on it, quickly putting it under the tap before shoving it in my mouth. I generally hated brushing my teeth in front of other people, but today I didn't really have a choice.
I glanced at Lucas to see the exact reason why I hated brushing my teeth in public. There he was, mouth all neat and un-foamy. It seemed like everyone, both in real life and movies, seemed to be perfectly capable of brushing their teeth normally. Myself, however, looked like a rabid dog. I tried extra hard that morning to brush presentably but, well, I guess it just wasn't my day.
I could still hear Lucas laughing as he sprinted down the stairs.
I wasn't far behind him as I ran downstairs and over to the front door, slipping my Converses onto my feet hurriedly.
"Hey," I heard Lucas call. I looked up to see him with two slices of toast in his hand. "Fuel."
He swung his arm up and threw the slice of toast at me. "Woah, no!" I gasped, wishing he hadn't done that. I attempted to catch it - well, my arms flapped about, so that counted - but it landed on the floor with a thump. I sighed and picked it up off of the ground, giving it a quick blow before shoving it in my mouth.
"Leffs gfoh we'fre lahke," I yelled at him, the toast still in my mouth.
"And the English translation would be?" He quipped sarcastically. I dropped my bag off of my shoulder, letting it slip down to my elbow, and I swung my arm so that he was whacked in the side with it.
"Thaff whaff I fwought."
With Lucas driving faster than the limit, we arrived at school roughly seven minutes later. Sure, we were still late, but I was beaming with pride that we'd managed to get there that quickly.
"Woo!" I cheered, holding my hand up in a high five. Lucas raised his eyebrows at me.
"Hey, don't keep me hanging." I shook my head at him. He smiled, giving my a slightly less enthusiastic high five. I was surprised, however, when after high-fiving me, he swiftly intertwined our fingers and let our hands drop between us. I looked at our hands, and then at him, who was making a point of staring straight ahead. I didn't say anything. I just reveled in the tingly sensation in my hand.
He let go after we'd walked into the school corridor. He turned to me, his lips tugging up at the corners, and said a quick: "I'll see you in History." I smiled and nodded.
After running to my locker and grabbing my things, I ran to my classroom. By the time I'd arrived, I was practically gasping for breath. I took a moment to find my bearings, before tapping on the door with my knuckles and pushing it open, poking my head in with a sheepish smile.
"Same reason as Mr. Carter, I'm assuming?" Mrs. Turner asked, nodding her head in Lucas' direction. He was just sitting down in his seat.
"And that reason was?" I replied.
"Then yes," I muttered.
"Quick then, in you come," she said sternly. I nodded and found my seat.
The first half of the day seemed to go really quickly - boring, but quickly. When the bell rang for lunch, I hurried to my locker before wandering over to the cafeteria. I found Sophie sitting at a table over to the left side of the room and I quickly sat down beside her.
"Hey!" She smiled when she saw me.
"What's up?" I asked.
"I'm just trying to stomach cafeteria food. I forgot my lunch this morning." She nodded down at the tray in front of her. I wasn't even going to attempt to guess what was on her plate. I grimaced.
"Well, uh, good luck with that."
She rolled her eyes at me. A moment later, a tray was plonked down in front of me. I furrowed my eyebrows- what? Looking up, I saw Lucas pull me a sarcastic smile before sitting in the seat opposite us, with Bryce following a second after.
"I'm sorry, did we say you could sit with us?" I challenged jokingly.
"Well you didn't ask for my permission when joining this school, so let's call us even," Bryce shot back. I narrowed my eyes at him, causing him to smirk.
"Hey, Soph," he greeted, directing it at the mousy blonde haired girl beside me.
She looked up from her tray with wide eyes, before smiling and ducking her head a fraction when her cheeks turned pink. "Hey," she replied.
I sent Lucas a look which he returned.
Another tray plonked down at our table, followed by another. I frowned. The whole 'did we say you could sit with us' thing wasn't a joke anymore. I looked at the intruders, spying a boy and a girl. I recognized the boy as one of Lucas' friends, Jake, but I didn't recognize the girl. She smiled sheepishly at us, obviously realizing that we had no idea who she was.
"I'm Leigh," she introduced, a slight southern accent to her voice. "I hope you don't mind me sitting here today, I'm just- well, honestly, he dragged me along." She gestured at Jake.
Sophie smiled politely at her. "It's no biggie, we don't bite."
I scoffed. "Speak for yourself." I didn't mean it in a bad way. Honestly? Leigh didn't seem that bad based on first impressions.
She nodded appreciatively, pulling up a seat. It was when she looked at her tray that I suddenly remembered what Lucas had put in front of me.
I inspected the tray in front of me. There were two chocolate muffins, a plate of what appeared to be mac'n'cheese, and two slices of pizza. I looked pointedly at Lucas. "Is this all for me?"
"Hell no," he answered quickly. "It's my lunch too. I just figured that we'd need something to eat since we didn't get anything this morning."
I gave him an appreciative smile and a simple "well, thanks." He looked at me expectantly.
"Can I help you?" I asked him after a minute or so.
"Aren't you gonna try the mac'n'cheese?" He asked curiously.
I looked at him suspiciously. "Why, what's wrong with it?"
"It doesn't look the nicest." He scrunched his nose up cutely.
"Oh, so you wanted me to test it first and make sure it's edible?"
"Basically." He shrugged.
I made a sarcastic "huh" sound and rolled my eyes. "If I'm gonna try this, you're trying it with me." He looked at me pleadingly.
"Be brave, Astrid."
"Are you kidding me? No way am I being the first to eat it." I inspected the said food item, noting with distaste that there were three black lumps in the unnaturally orange sauce.
"Fine," he picked up both forks and handed one to me. I took it and poked at the pasta, finally picking one that had just the right amount of sauce on it. Lucas already had one on his fork and he was waiting for me to choose. I shrugged when he sent me a "really?" look.
"Ready?" I asked.
"As I'll ever be."
We both lifted the forks to our mouths and I tentatively took a bite. It only took me a fraction of a second to realize that Lucas hadn't held up his end of the bargain. As I chewed the rubbery pasta, I sent him a death glare. Quickly launching myself at him, I tried to grab a hold of his fork and force him to eat it too. I hadn't, however, expected him to move his head to the side, meaning that when I pushed the fork forwards, I ended up stabbing him in the cheek with it.
I fell back into my seat, trying and failing to suppress my laughter at the sight of Lucas with bright orange cheese smeared over his cheek. After shooting me a death glare, he reached for his cheek, swiping his finger over the cheese and putting it in his mouth, sucking the cheese off. I hadn't anticipated a blush rising to my cheeks, but I knew it was there and I hastily ducked my head to avoid embarrassment.
"Are those two dating?" Leigh asked from the other side of the table.
Lucas and I both snapped our heads over to her, whilst I noticed Sophie look to me with narrowed eyes. Bryce just snorted. Jake, it seemed, was the only one capable of answering. A simple "nah" was what he told Leigh. I briefly wondered why he hadn't told her who we really were, but I shook it off.
"Shame. They'd look cute together," she commented.
Lucas had a thirty minute soccer meeting after school that day, so I wandered around the school aimlessly trying to waste time. In the end, I entertained myself by taking my shoes off and running through the mostly empty corridors, skidding on the shiny floor. It seemed to successfully make time go faster, as the next thing I knew, I was skidding by Lucas as he rummaged through his locker.
"Hey- woah," I yelped as I hit a wall.
He sent me a quick look - eyebrows raised with a hint of a smile on his face - before turning back to his locker.
"Hey, d'ya want to eat out tonight? I don't care where, as long as it's not too expensive. I just really can't be bothered to cook anything today."
I shrugged. "If you like. Where were you thinking?"
He thought for a moment. "Steakhouse?"
"Sounds good to me!"
He slammed his locker shut and walked to the other side of the hall, picking up my shoes and waving them teasingly at me, before sauntering off. "Hey! I kinda need those!" I yelled, chasing after him.
As I ran outside, I grumbled as the small stones on the floor dug into my feet. "You're mean, you know that?"
"It's been mentioned," he replied, copying my words from the day before. I pulled a face.
When I reached Bumblebee, he was leaning against the passenger side with my shoes in his hand. He dangled them in front of me.
"What was the point of that, exactly?" I snapped as I grabbed them from him. He looked at me in amusement.
"Maybe it's just fun seeing you get all annoyed," he said.
I raised my eyebrows. "Just like it'll be fun getting my payback."
"You're not gonna dump green paint on me, are you? I mean that's so last term." He tried to do a 'girl' voice. He failed miserably. I laughed, shaking my head and pushing him off of the passenger side door so that I could get into Bumblebee.
I called my mom back before we left for the steakhouse and reassured her that the house was still standing and both Lucas and I were still alive. She seemed relieved. When we arrived at the heavenly restaurant, I scanned the menu eagerly looking for my favourite dish. I glanced up at the boy opposite me.
"What are you having?"
"Not sure yet," he said absentmindedly.
Informative answer. A waitress approached our table to take our drinks order, and returned moments after with said drinks and asked us if we were ready to order. I giddily looked back to the menu to locate what I was having, only to glance back up at the young, dark blonde haired waitress and see her leaning against our table and facing Lucas. I raised my eyebrows, internally fighting the sudden urge to introduce her throat to my menu. I loudly cleared my throat.
The waitress jumped and looked at me, stunned. She obviously hadn't realized that I was sitting right there, I mean it's not like she'd just handed me my drink or anything. I smiled sweetly at her.
"Yeah, so I'll have the bacon cheeseburger please," I said innocently.
She pulled a tight lipped smile, nodding and taking my menu, before turning back to the brown haired boy opposite me. "Uh, I'll just have the steak." He pointed to the menu. Wow, he was being original given that we were in a steakhouse. Note the sarcasm.
"Of course." She smiled at him before sauntering off. The whole meal went pretty much in the same way. I mean, my burger was delicious - as expected - and the desert was blissful, but the waitress, who later informed Lucas that her name was Allison, flirted with him incessantly. I knew that I had no right to be annoyed; he was, after all, an appealing, charming teenage boy and she was- well... an infuriating girl. I gritted my teeth when she put the check on the table due to the numbers scribbled onto the bottom of it. I tried to ignore my brain as I dug out the twenty dollar bill that I'd stuffed into my pocket. When I'd grabbed it and pulled it out, I placed it on the table next to the check. Lucas looked at me, unimpressed.
"What?" I asked defensively.
"I'm not gonna make you pay. It was my idea to eat out anyway," he replied.
"I want to pay."
"Well I'm not taking it."
"Why not? I ate the food and it's now in my stomach so it's my food and this is my money and I want to pay for said food with said money." I knew that there was logic in my sentence somewhere. I had no idea where, though.
He stifled a laugh, shaking his head and getting a few bills out of his wallet. He pushed mine aside and put his in it's place.
"Hey!" I yelped. "Seriously Luke, just take the damn money."
"No!" He argued.
"Yes!" I pushed it back towards him. He grabbed my hand and pushed it away. Conveniently for him, Allison suddenly appeared and he quickly shoved the money at her. I noted, with an unwelcome sense of happiness, that he gave her the receipt back too - the one with her number on it.
He said a quick "thanks" to her, before jumping out of his seat and heading towards the door. I followed behind him.
"This is not over, Lucas Carter!" I yelled at his back, before wincing when I remembered where we were and earning myself numerous glares from annoyed customers.
I was surprised at how light it was outside considering it was around half six, most likely due to the darkness of the restaurant. The sky was still bright blue. I climbed into Bumblebee and glared at Lucas as he opened the windows to let some air through, completely unaware of my thoughts. He sent me a smirk, making me inwardly curse him for looking attractive when I was annoyed at him.
He pulled away and drove onto the main road, but all the while I was trying to think up a way to give him the money. Getting an idea, I made a move to pull the visor down, appearing to change my mind at the last minute and push it back up. Obviously, my genius self had discreetly tucked the twenty dollar bill above it.
Suddenly, the money blew straight out and flew out the window. My eyes widened and my jaw dropped involuntary. Why the hell did that have to happen? "Holy crap!" I growled.
Lucas looked at me with an eyebrow raised. "What happened?"
I turned in my seat to look at the road behind us. "Pull over!" I said hastily.
"Why? What's happening? I don't-"
He checked his mirrors, before pulling off onto the side of the road. I swung the door open and jumped out, running back where we'd just driven past. Lucas got out of the car and stared back at me.
"Astrid! What the hell are you doing?"
"The hell if I'm losing a twenty!" I screamed back.
"What are you on about? Wh- wait. Did you try and hide the twenty?"
I scoffed. "Pfft, me?"
He walked the thirty-or-so feet to get to where I was. "You're an idiot."
I looked around helplessly, trying to spot my twenty. I didn't mind my money going towards food, but I wasn't about to just lose it to the wind. Then I spied it at the other side of the road, but it kept being swept up by the breeze every few moments and moving further away from us. "There!" I pointed frantically at it, looking either side of me to see if cars were coming.
"Are you seriously gonna run into a road for a twenty?" Lucas asked me, disbelieving.
"It's not even busy!" I shot back, gesturing to the road as if to further my point. It was true, the last car for seventy odd feet had just flew past us. It was safe. I quickly sprinted across the road and stopped my foot on the twenty before it could fly away and get me run over. My tombstone would read: "Astrid Pierce. Died so young because she couldn't get over all the food and DVD's she could have bought with that damn twenty dollar bill."
I bent down and grabbed it from under my foot, before checking the road again and running back to Lucas.
"You're crazy." He laughed, shaking his head. We headed back to Bumblebee. I was about to get into the passenger side when I suddenly turned around to say that crazy people got the job done. I was stopped mid-sentence, however, by the abrupt meeting of his lips to mine.
A/N: One more exam to go! Anyway, thank you all so much for all of your reviews last chapter. You're all honestly so amazing and I get the biggest smile reading them all. It's currently 1:20 am in England, so I'm gonna go get some sleep. I'll reply to last chapter's reviews tomorrow!
I hope you liked this chapter (I'm pretty sure it's the longest one I'VE EVER DONE - yes this is a big deal for me) and please review!
P.S - I'll have you know that my birth certificate flew out the window when my parents were taking me home from the hospital.
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