Briar Brighton opened her eyes to the sound of her alarm and got up half an hour before the usual time in order to aid her twin sister, Alyssa.
Their parents were busy enough already working and seeking doctors specialised in Alyssa’s visual impairment condition, and their eldest brother was out of the country so she had to take care of getting her twin ready to school, their parents tried to hire a person several times but she declined because of two reasons; she was against of letting a stranger in their home since that person could take advantage of the situation stealing stuff since her sister is unable to see normally and she didn’t really care, Alyssa needs help and she’s pleased to be the person her sister depended on. She loves to be useful.
– Aly time to get up!–the elder sibling shouted after she opened the door
– I'm up, I'm up – she tossed blankets to the other side of the bed and stood up slowly tapping her surroundings carefully
–Let's get you ready, okay?–She took her sister's hand and pulled it on her shoulder to guide her to the bathroom
– The brush is here already with toothpaste – Briartook her hand and handedher the brush –. Go– Alyssa guided her toothbrush to her mouth and started–. I'll go get your clothes, be careful
– Yea– the young girl withthe amber eyesbrushed her teeth quickly and found the glass of water and took a sip to throw out the foam
– Unbutton your pjs – her sister said, and the young girl's hands went to the end of her shirt and touched the sides until getting to the middle finding the last button and started undoing the button from the last to the first
– Undershirt – Aly asked, and her sister took her arm to guide her hand, she threw it on and stretched her arm againwaiting for the short
– Here it is
–Thank you–she trailed off as her sister took her arm to give her balance
–Here goes the skirt– Aly heard and elevated her feet then she felt how it went up –. Now the shirt. Okay, now come here – Briar took her sister's arm and made her sit on her bed –. I'll throw your shoes on and then I'll do your makeup
– Okay– Alyssa said–. Are you ready by now?
– Yep– Briar said popping the "p"–.Just the makeup and you'll be ready to go
– New school, yay – Alyssa said faking enthusiasm
– It will be fine, don't worry
– I hate being the new girl
– I'll be new with you– she smiled as she finished her sister's cat eye and took a step back to look at her–. Lovely – Briar said and saw her reflection in her identical twin
They are the same height 1.75 cm, fair skin, light brown hair, medium forehead, thin eyebrows, their medium-sized eyes were the only thing they had different since Briar's were blue and Alyssa's were amber, and the shape of their body was skinny, but Briar worked out.
As Briar looked at Aly'seyesmaking sure the cat-eye looked even she liked to think her sister trusted her enough to let her get close with black eyeliner and a brush.
– Is it done?
–You're ready to slay dear sister
– Let's go to the kitchen then–she raised her arm to the front and Briar took her hand
– Let's go – she trailed off
The sisters walked out of the room of the one-story house to find their parents putting vacuum bottles filled with tea for each and a paper bag with their breakfast on the table.
Once in the car, Briar looked at her watch and saw it wasn’t the right time to call their eldest brother Terrence but she felt they needed to hear his voice.
– I'm calling Terrence – she said to Alyssa as she hit the speaker
– What an hour to call Briar – he answered with a raspy sleepy voice
– Sorry,we're going to school, our first day and I wanted you to cheer us up
– Is Raven there?
– Duh, it's on speaker
– Hey babe – he decided to ignore his other sister's sarcasm
– Hello bro
– Ready for your new first day
– Err… Marginally
– I'm sure you’ll be brilliant
– I'd love to have you here to take us to our classroom to intimidate everyone
– Good to know you miss me – he laughed, and his sisters did too–. Everything will be fine, and you don't let people make you feel less
–Girls will envy those killer eyes you have, I assure you
– Of course,remember that I'll be right next to you in spirit
– I rather have you physically
– Me too but I must finish the year here–he paused–. I love you girls
– We love you too – they said in the unison and hung up
The phone vibrated in her handwith a text notification.
"Protect our sister, Briar"
"Nobody will glance at her with shame, I promise" – she texted back
Their dad stopped the car in frontof the school and then mom and dad hopped out at the same time as their daughters.
–We'll see you girls after school – mom said as she hugged Briar and dad hugged Alyssa
– If they mess up with Alyssa call us – dad said to Briar in her ear as he hugged her knowing how cruel teenagers can be,she nodded
–Let's go sis–Briar took her sister's hand to put it on her shoulder
They headed to the office and Briar asked for their schedules, then she asked for directions to the place of their first class.
Briar was walking with Alyssa's hand on her shoulder and her hand over her wrist, suddenly her hand made too much pressure at the sight of the main reason why the family moved to the other side of the city hoping to never see that certain someone ever again.
– Ow! Andrea, that tight grip is not good for the sake of my poor wrist – Alyssa shouted but Briar waited to be away from his locker to talk
– Sorry – she said caressing her sister’s wrist
–What is up?– Aly demanded
– I think I just saw the reason why we were transferred in the first place
– See? We need Terrence! Let's call him and he'll be back in a heartbeat
– I really wish he could
– Me too – Alyssa sighed –. I wish I could protect you from him
– Let's hope we don't share class with him
They walked in the classroom and Briar led her sister to the front row where two empty seats were found.
– Sit – Briar said, and Alyssa tapped the chair and took her uniform's skirt to sit and turned to be in front of the desk
– Very well, I'll be right next to you okay? Stretch your arm to the left – she said to her sister, and she took her hand –. I'm here
– It'll be fine
– I bet none of these people has dealt with a person like me
– Relax, we are here just to attend class anyway not to try and be nice to strangers
– You're right
Briar was so busy talking with her sister she didn't see her worst nightmare walking in the classroom and going to the seats of the back along with a friend.
The professor walked in and took a seat.
– Good morning everyone
– Morning – the class answered lazily
– Before we begin with today's lesson we have two new classmates – he said and the teenagers started whispering, the sisters stayed quiet and didn't move
– Can the new ones come to the front to introduce?
Briar stood up at the same time as Aly and she rushed to take her sister's arm.
– Hello –Briar said awkwardly and looked at her new classmates to see Tobias, her first intend of a boyfriend
She didn't remember him so much but seeing his face again was like a flashback.
His brown hair made her remember how she used to caress it every time they kissed.
But now he was different, even more good-looking with green eyes, his face round,thin and dark eyebrows, thin lips.
Now he looked almost as tall and sexy as a teenage haute couture model.
The last time she saw him was at the end of year 8, then they parted ways going to differentsecondary schools for years 9 and 10and now here they were, trapped in the same school once again.
Puberty was very good to him, and she couldn't help but stay frozen.
Before dating him she would have loved to know that he knowshow to make you feel special, but he knows how to hurt too.
– Do you know them? – a guy whispered to his friend Tobias who was like sunk in his thoughts with wide eyes and mouth slightly open in surprise looking at the twins in front of the class
– We were neighbours a long time ago and I dated the one of the right for a while and then they went to a different school in the last two years of secondary and then I moved and came here.
– This is my sister Briar, and my name is Alyssa – the girl with the wolf like eyes decided to help her sister because of her silence –. We were transferred from Bethlehem College, we'll be here with you these two years and hope we can be friends– she smiled and her warmth caught their new classmates
– Okay girls, welcome – the teacher said gesturing them to take their seats
– Thank you – Alyssa and Briar said in the unison then Briar took her sister's arm to guide her to her chair
–I'll put the laptop on your desk okay? Be ready– Briarsaid right after Aly took a seat, she nodded
Briar settled her backpack in her chair to take out her sister's device.
The lesson was starting so she needed to be quick, she put it on the desk and connected the Braille keyboard.
– Hands-on–Briar said, and Alyssa found the keyboard and turned the device on
– Thanks – Alyssa whispered as she heard the teacher writing something on the whiteboard
– Anytime – Briar whispered back opening her binder
Alyssa waited for the teacher to finish and then listened closely to the explanation in order to write it on her laptop.
She had great retention and memory, so she managed to write all he said.
The doorbell rang announcing the end of the class and she turned her laptop off taking the keyboard separately.
– I'll take it– Briar said asher sisterstood up
Briar took the laptop and made room for it in her backpack along with her binder, then she zipped it and took Alyssa's hand.
– Let's get a move on to the next class – she put her sister's hand on her shoulder to guide her
– Bree – somebody called the elder girl by her nickname as they passed the doorway, she ignored him and tried to walk past him–. Come on – he took her arm softly
– What do youwant?– She asked but he acted as if he didn'thear
– Hey Aly, do you remember me? – He turned to the girl of the amber eyes
– How could I forget you after what you did to my sister?– she hissed
–What is she talking about? – Tobias' companion asked, and he gulped
– I'm a new guy, I promise – pause –. Iwanted to introduce youtomy friend, Bastian
– Hey Aly – he said softlytaking her hand to shake it
People say that eyes are the windows to the soul, Bastian couldn't see much in Aly's eyes, just the vibrant gold and the black of the border of the iris, and her grey looking pupil. All that he knew was that he wanted to know her better.
– Hey Bastian– she smiled weakly
– Can we take you two to the next class?
–That'd be useful – Briar rolled her eyes and was down to take Aly's arm
– I got it – Bastian stopped her and tookAly’s hand
– Of course not and that's not negotiable – the elder sister looked at her new classmate–. Let go of her right in this second
– Please Briar
– Shut up and let her go! – Briar growled; Alyssa felt two hands on her
– Andrea, it’s okay – the girl with amber eyes said –. I don't want to be late on my first day
–Okay–Briar said, and she let her sister go reluctantly
Bastian put Alyssa's arm on his shoulderand Briar rolled her eyes as she walked next to Tobias.
Briar found quite funny how they were the most inseparable neighbours when they were younger and now she felt uncomfortable around him. Even if it'sbeen a very long while some wounds are still open.
They headed to the classroom and Briar put her backpack in one of the empty seats of the first horizontal row to then see Bastian helping Alyssa to take a seat next to her.
–Thank you – Alyssa mentioned
– No problem – Bastian smirked never minding the fact she couldn't see him well, he turned to glance at the person next to him, he instantly took a step back."If looks could kill,"he thought –. I'll see you in the lockers – he said and almost ran to his seat in the back
–You should relax – Alyssa said to her sister
–I don't like those two
– Hey girls – Briar turned around to see a girl she remembered seeing in the lockers
–Hey…–Aly trailed off
– Lily – she completed giving them her name –. Why were you guys transferred?
– Our parents accepted a new job, and they wanted a school and a house near it–Briar answered
– Just one more question: do you guys know Tobias and Bastian?
– Just Tobias, he was our neighbour since we were born until year 8
–You should stay away from them; they are no good
– What do you mean? – Aly asked and Lily was about to open her mouth, but the teacher walked in, so she rushed to her seat in the middle of the classroom
* * *
The lesson got to its end and Alyssa remained in her seat waiting for Briar to take her laptop away, when her sister stood up and she could no longer feel the device in the fingers she sighed.
–How many lessons do we have left?
–Three but right now we need to go on a tiny quest to find the cafeteria
–Great, because I'm starving
–Let's just put this in the lockers
– Okay – Alyssa stood up and Briar took her arm –. I'm a little intrigued about what Lily said –pause–. I know Tobias is not the most perfect person walking on this earth but by the way she said ‘they are no good’ it makes me think she’s exaggerating
–Who knows? It's been a couple of years since the last time we heard from him, people change
The twin sisters walked out of the classroom and started their way to the lockers.
– We should talk to her anyways – Aly said –. To Lily
–I want to know if Bastian is really like that, mere curiosity
–To tell Terrence if he dares to mess up?
– What are eldest brothers for if not?
They laughed and went to the left to find the corridor where their lockers could be found.
Briar looked up and gaspedat the sight ofBastian and three more guys she didn't know dragging two not so tall guys to the row of metallic boxes they had in front
– Open it – Bastian and other guy hissed and the other two scared did what they were told.
Briar could be able to imagine why. Bastian and his friends were taller and comparing their little arms to the bullies' appearance with the uniform they'd win in strength too.
She took a step back dragging Aly with her.
– What…–Aly started but was interrupted by a hand on her mouth
– Shh – Briar whispered in her sister's ear–. Lily was right – she put her hand away–. Stay here
– It's not that I can watch where I'm going well, I tried using glasses, but they weren’t helpful and gave me headaches FYI – the girl with amber eyes whispered
– Don't be sassy Raven – Briar whispered and took a step forward to see Bastian and the other three bullies walking away, then she took her sister's arm to walk to the lockers
–What's going on?
– I saw Bastian with three more guys, they locked two year 8 dudes in their lockers
–What are you waiting for? Let them out!
– Okay – Briar said awkwardly and walked to stand in front the lockers –Hello
– Tell us your combination to get you out
– 0-40-25 – the fella said, and the door opened
He stepped out and opened the locker next to him.
"They might be good friends or at least enough to know each other's combination" - Briar thought
– Thanks, girls
– No problem –Briar smiled lightly and took her sister's hand to walk with her a little in order to get to her locker
She left her books for the first two classes and noticed her backpack was a little less heavy.
–C'mon, let's hope we have time to eat something
– Let's get a move on – Briar walked with her sister as the doorbell rang
–What the hell?–Aly exclaimed
–Wait – Briar said and took her schedule and phone out –.The teacher decided to dismiss us ten minutes earlier
– Great – the girl with amber eyes trailed off
The girl with blue eyes took her sister's arm.
– Do you want to go to the cafeteria or out?
– Out. Currently, I'm not down to hear about Bastian
– Out we'll go – Briar walked along the corridor with Aly's hand on her shoulder and her backpack
She was not down to leave it in the locker since the technologyher sister needed to study was pretty expensive.
They headed out and Briar spotted a bench.
– We're walking to a bench – she paused as they managed to get there, then she left her backpack on the grass carefully–. Let's sit –she moved her sister a bit to prevent her to fall from the edge –. Now – she said, and Aly took a seat next to her–. I'm taking out the food
– Make it quick, please
–There you go – Briar took her sister's hand and put a sandwich on it
–Are we going to avoid those guys? – She asked putting it in her lap to touch it to be able to take out the wrapper
–I think we shouldn't be involved with bullies – Briar answered and turned to see that Lily was coming with Bastian and Tobias behind her at a distance–. I've spoken too fast, they're coming
– Damn girl, all this drama makes me want to behome-schooled– the girl with the amber eyes whined –. I need water. Where is it?
–Here– Briar immediately took her sister's hand to put it in the bottle
Briar personally liked that bottle a lot, it was unbreakable with something like pale lilac silicone covering the glass making it look cute, and then it had a straw cap that was practical,and the pivoting handle was very helpful, it was basically accidents free and foolproof, just what Aly needed.
–Are they coming with us?
– Yea, be ready – Briar sighed before Lily got in front of them
– Hey, you don't need to explain to us anything about them, I saw them so…
– You did?
– Yea, we were walking to our locker, and I saw them with three more guys dragging two what seemed like year 8 nerds into their lockers
– But what is it to you if we talk to them or not? – Aly asked
–You two seem to be very nice and they can take you to the wrong path, not to mention that they almost got expelled twice
–That's up to us
– Absolutely but you guys are new, and I don't think you want to gain a bad reputation–she paused seeing Aly take a bite of her sandwich and Briar drinking from a can of soda –. I'll see you two in class
– Why do I sense that she thinks we must do what she wants?
– I'm not that against it, you know how my relationship with Tobias ended and I don't know if I want to start a friendship over
– Well…– Aly started but she was interrupted by a male voice
– Hey girls, why so lonely?
– We didn't want to go to the cafeteria so here we are
– Good choice, it's a mess and you guys brought your food
– I have allergies, I can't eat all type of food
– I remember – Tobias said
– What did Anderson say to you? – Bastian asked
– Do you want me to tell you the truth or a lie? The second one is not so bad
– I think we can handle the truth
– She told us to stay away from you two – Aly decided to go with the conversation's abstract
– Literally – Briar intervened
– She won't get tired, will she?–Bastian asked Tobias who just rolled his eyes
– She hates us because last year she was all over the both of us and didn't get a date or any type of fling
– And she wants to keep us from having new female friends – Tobias completed
– How pathetic – Aly said getting the last tiny piece of bread in her mouth
Bastian and Tobias glanced at each other and right there Briar noticed that they were not telling the truth, she knew that look.
After the recess, Briar left Aly sitting in the classroom and ran to the restroom.
– Hey… Alyssa, right? – A raspy voice near her asked
– Yes, and you are?
– Finn –he said–. Nice to meet you
– Bastian couldn't shut up about you in the cafeteria
– Are you one of his little friends? – She asked with a slight touch of venom in her voice and feeling her feet uncomfortable suddenly wanting her sight to be completely healthy to run away
– We get along but I'm against messing up with other people
– He's a bully, isn't he?
– I'm sorry to say he is
– I thought it was a lie because that girl seemed suspicious, butthen my sister saw them
– Who told you he was?
– Lily Anderson
– But that's not it, he's a player too
– I don't know why I'm not surprised – she said –. But…
– Hello – her sister interrupted cautiously at the sight of the tall guy with ginger hair that was with her sister –. Who are you? – She asked severely, and the poor guy swallowed visibly and opened his mouth
– He's Finn, my new favourite –Aly said making the guy smile
– Finn Jaspers – he offered his hand for Briar to shake
– I'm Briar…–she said taking it
– I know. Everyone is talkingabout you two, we don’t have new classmates so often – he interrupted before she could say her surname
– Good things, I hope
– Of course – he said, and Briar shook his hand to then let go, just after the girl with pretty blue eyes retrieved her hand, the doorbell rang
A mass of teenagers started walking in the classroom.
– I guess we'll finish the conversation later
– Of course – Aly said
– See you later girls – he nodded at Briar and walked to his seat in the back of the room
– He's nice
– Yea – Briar agreed rolling her eyes and she took her sister's laptop out of the backpack
* * *
The last class of the day ended finally to Briar's delight.
She was eager to go home not only to get away from her ex and his bully friendbut because she needed to call her parents, even if she knew it was impossible to transfer her sister and her again since it was the only institution that was near them.
Briar Andrea was not prepared for this; to be in the same place and so close to Tobias Cross after what he did to her scared her to death.
When in the first year of secondary school, he had a bad company, "friends"that led him to the wrong path. Tobias used to drink and was to become an alcoholic at a very young age.
They were in a park near their neighbourhood that evening, talking about something she had blurry on her mind, the only things she remembered clearly was his dark beer breathing, the cigarette smell of his clothes, and the way her left cheek hurt when he hit her in the face with his hand in a fist. She remembered how she tried to run to her home but as she was just too nervous and frightened to work, she fell and a sort of pointed object made her way into her knee, crying in pain and with blood coming out she managed to take her phone out her jeans pocket in order to call Terrence.
She spent a few days in bed with a purple and red bruise on a side of her face and a bandage on her knee, then her parents talked to his parents and threatened them with a restriction order and a report filling in the police department.
Then just for precaution, Alyssa and Briar went to a single-gender secondary school on another side of Sydney to never see him again.
Even though it's been a while she wasn't ready to face the new encounter as if nothing ever happened, nobody dared to lay a hand on her that way until that day, not even her parents and it wasn't something easy to forget.
Shewalkedwith Alyssa to the front gate, thinking about the possible conversation subjects that the girl with amber eyes would try to bring up on the way home since they had to walk all the way, seven minutes because mom and dad were working and wouldn't be able to go pick them up, dump them at home and then drive back to the hospital.
Besides, it didn't hurt them to walk a little bit.
– So, we'll go back home – Briar turned to her sister to see her nodding with her eyes always looking to the front, even if she couldn't see like she was supposed to, she faced everything with her head up.
–Let's go – Aly said–. Taking advantage of that there's no homework we should get into the audiobook you promised
–We'll see if we can do it after your bath, you know we must go to sleep early – Briar took Aly's hand and led her to the ramp to not risk her in the stairs
– I'll basically go to sleep afterwards – Aly whined
– We'll see – Briar said
Bastian saw Briar and Alyssa walking away from the school and he ran from the sidewalk leaving his friends talking and to his car aimed to catch the twin sisters before they disappeared fromhis sight.
The haute couture model - as the twin with blue eyes described him - saw confused how Bastianrushed to get the car near the new girls.
– Aly, Bree! – he exclaimed, and Briar rolled her eyes thinking it was her ex but turned her head to a side to realise she was wrong
– Try not to muster your repulsion – Aly whispered loud enough for her elder sister to hear
– Hey!– Briar faked enthusiasm
– Do you girls need a ride?
– Thanks, but our house is not that far away
– Where are your parents?
– Working – she sighed, and he winced in pain shaking his head
–Then I'm sorry but I can't leave you two go alone
–We are okay, thanks – Briar said and decided to carry on walking
– I insist– he said making them sigh deeply
– Be nice – Aly said as her sister opened the door for her
– I'll try but I won't promise such thing – Briar whispered against her sister's hair –. Careful with the head
Alyssa reached to tap the car's seat and then the doorway, the girl with amber eyes bent down with her hand still in the doorway and once her head was in,her hand went to the edge of the seat, and then she shifted to be straight.
– Very well, now put on the seat belt – Briar said, and her sister decided that it wasn't the best idea to disobey so she ran her fingers across the sides to find the belt and then did the same to find the ignition to connect, after the girl of blue eyes made sure of that her sister did what she was told she hopped in the passenger's seat.
The guy started the engine after he heard the "click" of the seat belt.
– So, I saw you met my friend Finn
– We just crossed a few words – Briar waved it off
– I think we can all get along pretty fine
– Go to the left – Briar instructed
– Give us a break, it was our first day
– You two aren't used to hanging out with other people, are you?
– That doesn't matter – Aly said and cleared her throat
–Go straight and then to the right
–Give us a week girls, we'll be inseparable
–I slightly doubt that but thank you – Briar said –. Park over here please –she said, and Bastian stopped his car right in front of their home
– I'll go help you Aly – he looked at the girl of the pretty amber eyes
– Please – Aly said
Briar rolled her eyes as she pressed the red button of her seat to get rid of the belt, tired of Bastian Turner, deciding she saw a lot of that bully for one day.
She was experimenting a wave of rising disgust towards him not only because he felt better than his equals enough to get rid of every ounce of their confidence giving them hell which was not fair at all, but because he got that right; Alyssa and her were not used to hanging out with other people and the fact he managed to see through her so well after meeting her just hours ago made her hate his guts more than anything.
Nonetheless, he was right; since her sister’s condition developed, Briar always thought that people were nice to Alyssa out of pure shame because she was visually impaired and she would always act cold, sarcastic, and sometimes even rude in order to make people get away from them.
But lately, she has been thinking that Aly might get bored of her someday and meet new people, she obviously wouldn't blame her sister since she's not that interesting.
Hence, right there she decided she was not going to let that guy get away with the satisfaction of finding that out, she and Aly were going to make new friends but obviously, that was not going to involve Bastian Turner and his gang of bullies.
And she knew Finn could help them out.
She rushed to walk to the side of the car where her sister was.
– I'll see you tomorrow Aly – Bastian said and was about to give Aly a kiss on the cheek
Before witnessing that and before a bunch of sheer hate could fill Briar's blood completely, she took her sister by the arm with a bit of a tight grip but it didn't matter to her right in that second since she could always apologise later and dragged Aly to start their way into the house.
– Goodbye Turner – Briar called over her shoulder leaving the guy quite discouraged because he couldn't say goodbye to the girl with amber eyes properly.
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