Chapter 1

Don't trust me

Avery's POV June 23, 2005

I look at myself in the mirror, my baby blue eyes stare back at me just as innocent as the day I was born, my dark brown hair falls in my eyes which reminds me, its uncontrollable and I need a haircut. I look just like my dad, not that I really want to or not but from pictures I've seen I look very similar, I'm just not as big as he is, not meaning fat but having lots of muscles. My muscles don't exist or they hide very well. Also I'm kind of short but what do you expect, my mom is only five foot. Unfortunately I got her shortness. Being short for a boy isn't that great, everyone makes fun of you. I sigh and walk along the long hallway from the bathroom and into the living room with my sisters again.

So much has changed in the last while; my friends are gone, my parents are living in separate houses, not that wasn't anything new but I didn't understand it. Weren't moms and dads supposed to live together? I guess this is what divorced means. Dad did say that they were getting one. I guess I should pay more attention to things going on. My dad lives in an apartment near his work now. My mom is living with some guy, Ray. He seemed nice enough but my dad hates him and my mom. I wish I could go home, but I don't have a home anymore. My parents lost it two years ago so we had to move in with my dad's parents, and then after they got enough money they got an apartment, but now it no longer belongs to us. So here I sat on my grandparents floor, watching my younger sisters; Marie, six and Olivia, two; play around on the floor with my old blocks. My dreaded teen years seemed to promise misery so far.

Thank god I'm only twelve.

"I think they'll like her. She's a very loving person she has three kids of her own," I hear my dad say to my grandma who I call mamaw. She's the grandma everyone wishes for. The one that would make you any treat you wanted and listen to you when you're upset or angry. She's never once in my life yelled at me. I may have deserved it maybe but still she'll hold her tongue. Her hair is past her waist but is thin so she puts it in a bun on her head. She is only a shadow of her former self, aged by her six children and her nine grandchildren. When my parents first married she took care of me while they worked so I consider her my other mom, but don't tell that to my mom. She'd be heart broken.

I try to listen to the conversation but I couldn't, I gave up and turned back to my sisters who had made their own tower that looked like it would fall any second. Olivia looked proud of her work but Marie was trying to fix it so it wouldn't fall I smiled and say they are doing a good job. Being the oldest I had to watch over them. Especially when I'm with dad, he acts like a good dad in front of everyone, but I don't think he is very good. Always ignoring us, he never done anything with us that he didn't want to do himself. He has been all show. That's what my mom says. I walk in the kitchen where my dad and mamaw are talking my grandpa who I call papaw is going over some money on the table. I walk over to mamaw, I might as well mention now; I'm her favorite grandkid. At least I think so…

"Mamaw, can you make me something to eat?" I ask smiling up at her. I'm almost her height, four ten, I'm only four foot seven but I still got to look up at her. Hey I'm short I can't help it!

"Sure what do you want Avery?" I tell her a pretzel and walk back into the living room and sit on mamaw's couch. The fabric on the arm of the couch is torn and I play with one of the little strands of thread. After it's done, I eat the pretzel quickly and run back into the kitchen.

"Avery, could you get the girls together we need to be leaving?" My dad looks at me smiling. He hasn't been smiling lately so I quickly agree no matter how I feel. I didn't want to leave I wanted to stay here. Our grandparents pray as we leave and I walk out the door with Olivia in my arms, dad right behind me with Marie. The first few minutes in the car were fine until dad clears his throat. "Avery, Marie," He looks at us, Marie sits next to him even though she is only six. Which angers me that he'd let a six year old in the front seat but, I decide I should keep an eye on Olivia instead so it doesn't bother me too much.

"Yeah?" Marie and I ask staring at him. He looked nervous, which was not usual.

"I want you guys to meet someone," I continue staring at him. Not getting what he's saying. "I met this girl at work, and she's really nice. Marie, you've already met her last year but I want you guys to meet her, her names Rhoda."

Rhoda, Roow dah, strange name. I hide my laughing but Olivia sees me and giggles. I smile and turn back to dad who had continued talking. "-been looking forward to meeting you three." I nod; my mind blank. I look out the window as my stomach slowly turns into knots. I was like this meeting mom's new boyfriend too, Ray was nice and everything he was an owner of the fast food joint my mom worked at, that's how, they met. How they got together is a tale I'll never know. My dad's family says that my mom cheated on my dad first, my mom says my dad cheated on her first. So I'll never get a straight answer. I really don't care, I just want to draw or play a game. Then I won't have to deal with their problems.

Divorce wasn't normal, families are supposed to stay together. My cousins all had their moms and dads together why couldn't mine work out their problems and stay together. It makes me angry but I can't do anything about it so I just shut it all out and focus on something else. I'd rather be at school, but then I regret the thought when memories of my last year flash into my head, it was awful with the moving schools and everything and the kids just seemed to think I was a great target to pick on, and I took it. I did nothing. I stop thinking about it and listen to my dad's eighties music he loves so much, he sings along moving his arms in the air and trying to get Marie to smile. I glare at him. My dad was more of a child in ways than he was an adult.

When my dad got off of the highway and started going down the country roads he started talking again. "Rhoda lives in a small town called Collinsville; it's one of those towns that they joke that if you blink you'll miss it." I look at him and look away; I hope that wasn't supposed to be funny.

My stomach is hurting and I feel sick but I don't say anything. I continue to look out the window as dad plays his eighties music and sings to Marie like he always does. We suddenly going up a hill before I even knew it. I look around, it looked like a trailer park to me. A house on the bottom was the first thing I see, then a trailer that is old and rusted.

We turn in towards that trailer.

My stomach has gained control of my legs and I can't move them. I move like a robot and unbuckle Olivia who is sleeping. Dad grabs Olivia and carries her in one hand and holds Marie's hand with his other. I silently follow behind after regaining control of my legs again but they still won't work all the way. Stumbling, I manage to follow dad to the door of the trailer. He knocks lightly; I stand there with a fake smile on my face. I hope I look happy; I need to make a good impression on her, for no other reason except to please my dad. A woman with a blond poorly done dye job stands in front of us; her eyes are a hazel color which I quickly note remind me of a snake's eyes. She smiles at all of us, her front teeth are crooked and one is stained yellow.

"Hello, I'm Rhoda," she continues grinning, looking at me then Marie. Olivia is still sleeping against dad's shoulder.

"Hi," I greet her, Marie smiles up at her.

"Well come in, are you guys thirsty?" she asks as she pulls us in. I'm the last in; I stand in the laundry room which goes into another hallway, one leading to a bedroom and then the other into the kitchen which leads to the living room where everyone is.

"No thank you," Marie and I say. We sit there a while just talking, I look around on the walls at the pictures. Filled with kids, a boy and two girls, I smile the little girls look cute. The boy on the other hand looks like one of those boys that picked on me last year in school. Rhoda sees me looking at the pictures and smiles.

"Those are my kids, Gunner, Alli, and Lacey. Alli and Lacey are at their dad's house. Gunner is at his friends," I nod at the information. "We'll have to introduce you guys to each other."

"That'd be cool," I say trying to sound excited. Marie smiles at the idea, Rhoda turns back to dad.

"So when do you want to go?" she asks.

"We can go whenever you're ready." He says smiling, rubbing Olivia's back.

"Okay let's go then," she grabs her purse and walks to her room. We all stand while she's in her room.

"Where are we going?" I ask dad. He looks down at me and ruffles my hair. I swat his hand away which causes him to laugh.

"We're going to the banana split festival that's in about fifteen minutes away from here. Doesn't that sound fun?" He asks us.

"Yes." Marie says, not acting like herself, since we are around someone new.

"Yeah it does," I couldn't help to smile at that; I always wanted to go to a festival before. We all get in the car, Rhoda sits in the front seat with dad. I couldn't help but stare at her. A scene of my mom sitting there flashes in my head and I look away. I didn't like the thought of her trying to take my mother's place. Rhoda didn't seem to notice my mood change and continued to talk to me; it was just like when I met Ray. I couldn't stop talking no matter how nervous or upset I was I just didn't stop talking. I'm usually quiet so it's odd for me to talk so much. I look over at dad, who can't keep a grin off his face. I guess that means I'm doing a pretty good job at pleasing him. We reach the festival without much incident.

Olivia and Marie run towards the gates, I'm just behind them, Dad and Rhoda are behind us talking quietly to each other, grown up talk. Cotton candy, snacks, games and prizes all are in my line of sight. Marie is bouncing up and down, beaming. Just being here has brought out the Marie everyone loves. Olivia looks around her eyes scanning everything. After buying the tickets, we rush in, playing every game and riding ever ride while Rhoda and dad sit on the side whispering to each other. Now I sit here next to Rhoda eating and ice cream my dad got for us.

"Did you guys have fun?" Rhoda asks.

"It was real fun," I said.

"Yeah," Marie agrees. Olivia bounces in Rhoda's lap try to get the ice cream that Rhoda has in her hand. Dad gave Olivia to Rhoda instead of me when he went to the bathroom, it bothered me but I didn't say anything.

"She's hungry," I laugh.

"I noticed," Rhoda gives Olivia a lick, which doesn't seem to satisfy Olivia because she grabs for the ice cream again, causing Rhoda to drop it on her shirt. "Crap!" Rhoda shouts scaring Olivia. "Take her," Rhoda says handing her to me quickly before the ice cream could ruin her shirt. Olivia watches Rhoda, her dark bottomless eyes blurry with tears.

"She didn't mean to," I say to Rhoda. She glances at me, anger is evident in her eyes but is quickly vanishes with understanding.

"I know she didn't."

"What's going on?" dad looks at us and back to Rhoda.

"Olivia got her ice cream on, Rhoda." I look at Olivia; her lips turned downward, her eyes shining from tears.

"Oh, sweetie it's okay." Dad picks up Olivia who pulls him into a tight hug. "Are you okay, Rhoda?' Dad turns back to her.

"Yes I'm fine, I know she didn't mean to." She says not looking up from the stain. "We should probably be getting back anyway."

"Okay kids lets go, we need to get you in bed." Dad and Rhoda start off to the car leaving Marie and I.

"She looks mad about her shirt," Marie stands up her eyes are on me, I look up at Rhoda and Dad's retreating into the background then back to Marie, her eyes expresses what she won't say.

She doesn't like Rhoda.

"Well it's just a shirt, I'm sure she'll get over it. It'll probably come out." I say standing. It's then that dad notices that we aren't behind him and calls for us to hurry up. "Come on, we don't want to get in trouble," I grab Marie's hand and we catch up to them, the lights of the festival fade behind us as we get in the car and take Rhoda home. After saying out goodbyes and another promise for us to meet her children, Rhoda heads inside. I climb over the hand rests and sit in the passenger seat.

"So did you guys like Rhoda?" Dad asks. I shrug my shoulder; Marie is silent waiting for me to answer.

"She seems okay," I say.

"Yeah," Marie agrees, only I know the truth about her opinion. We can't tell dad though. He'd probably yell at us or something. In truth I didn't have much of an opinion of her. I have only been around her one day. So I couldn't give a real good opinion of her.

"Are you guys sure?" His lips curve upward, I look back at Marie who smiles too but its weak, sad. I smile and turn to face dad.

"Yeah, she seems nice." I say, just like I was supposed to. I put my head against to the window and let my head cool down. I hoped Rhoda was a real nice person, I couldn't handle anyone trying to hurt my sisters, I hope I don't regret lying about this...

Author's Note: Hello everyone, so this is the first chapter of TDDS (The Dork's Darkest Secret) If you like it please let me know by reviewing and favorite my story too. This is my first love story I've started writing for this site so if you have any helpful criticism I'd appreciate it. Just don't be too mean. It's not great but I wanted to get it out there. This is just a prologue and is short but the next chapter will be longer. Next chapter Avery, Marie and Olivia meet Rhoda's kids. Please tell me what you think!Much appreciated!