Summary: Jerome has been keeping a lot of secrets lately and acting really strange. Only Amber notices the true change in him. Soon she is dragged into a world of drama, pain, and struggle as she tries to get Jerome back to his regular state.
I was sitting in the living area reading a magazine when I heard someone calling my name. "Amber, it's your turn to do the dishes," Trudy called from the kitchen.
I closed my magazine and approached Trudy. "I can't. I just got a manicure," I informed her, pointing to my freshly painted fingers.
Trudy rolled her eyes and placed her hands on her hips. "You can wear gloves."
I sighed and snatched the pair of yellow rubber gloves she held out for me before entering the kitchen where I saw Fabian and Nina by the counter.
"Can you believe Trudy is making me wash the dishes?" I complained.
"It is your turn," Nina pointed out.
"But I just got a manicure. I can't ruin it," I defended as I held out a hand.
Fabian chuckled and put his plate in the sink. "I think you'll live for now."
My shoulders slumped and I walked over to the pile of dishes waiting to be cleaned.
Once I was done washing the dishes, I headed upstairs.
As soon as I opened the door to my room, I plopped down on Nina's bed and held out my hands. "Look at my nails."
Nina closed the book she had been reading and glanced down at my hand. "What's wrong?"
"One of them is chipped!" I cried.
Nina lightly shook her head and put her attention back on her book. "Really? I didn't notice."
I rolled my eyes and hopped off her bed before walking over to my closet and rummaging through my clothes. "I'm going to get ready for bed now."
When Nina didn't reply, I sighed and grabbed my towel before heading to the bathroom and taking a shower. Once I finished, I turned the lights off and climbed into bed.
The very next morning I entered the kitchen and expected to smell pancakes and freshly squeezed orange juice, but instead I smelled nothing.
"Where's Trudy?" I asked.
"She's gone for the day. She left a note on the fridge if you want to look at it," Patricia answered as she poured milk into her cereal.
I walked into the kitchen and plucked the note off the refrigerator. "What? She expects me to cook the meal!"
"You have been slacking off with your chores," Mara pointed out from her seat at the table.
"It's unfair," I replied as I walked over to my chair. "I don't even know how to cook."
"You better figure it out then," Patricia advised before eating a spoonful of her cereal. I sighed and sank in my seat.
At that very moment, Nina entered the room and sat beside me.
"Can you believe Trudy's making me cook?" I asked her.
"It won't be that bad," Nina tried to assure me.
"I could burn down the house!" I exclaimed.
"Don't worry, I'll help you," she offered.
"You can't. On the back of the note it says you can't receive help from anyone," Patricia interjected.
"She expects me to do it on my own!" I cried as I looked between my friends.
"Just order pizza," Nina responded. "We can live without a home cooked meal for one day."
"Actually a week," Mara corrected.
"Well, what about cereal? Cereal is food, right?" I asked.
Patricia rolled her eyes. "Breakfast food."
I frowned and looked down at my plate.
"Umm… why don't we just go out for dinner tonight and figure everything out tomorrow?" Nina proposed.
I nodded in approval. "That's a great idea."
"Ok, then we'll do just that," Mara said.
"Do what?" Mick asked as all the boys piled into the dining area.
"We're going to go out for dinner tonight," Nina informed them.
Alfie furrowed his brow as he grabbed a croissant from the center of the table. "Why?"
"Trudy isn't here," Mara answered.
"Maybe she got eaten by zombies," Alfie suggested with his mouth full. He walked around the table with his arms extended while making moaning sounds.
Fabian shook his head and set down Trudy's note on the table. "I don't think zombies leave notes."
"Who said it has to be zombies?" Alfie questioned. "It could be aliens."
Patricia rolled her eyes. "Yeah and suppose they took you when you were a kid and robbed you of your brain."
Laughter erupted around the table and Alfie frowned.
"Has anyone seen Victor? He disappeared last night." Nina broke the laughter.
Alfie raised his hand and opened his mouth to speak. "No, it wasn't aliens or zombies," Patricia interrupted.
Alfie dropped his arm to his side and shut his mouth.
"Speaking of people disappearing, where's Jerome?" I asked.
"He's in his room," Alfie revealed. "He's been kind of down the past few days."
"I wonder what's wrong," Nina pondered.
"Beats me. I never see him. He's always under his covers," Alfie confessed.
Nina set down her glass of orange juice after taking a sip and shrugged. "Maybe we should get someone to talk to him."
All of a sudden everyone turned to Mara. She looked around at all her house mates before asking, "What?"
"Go talk to him," Patricia gestured to the door. "You're the only other person besides Alfie he'll listen to."
Mara bit her lower lip. "I don't know…"
"Come on," Nina encouraged her.
Mara looked up at all of us and sighed. "Fine."
She stood up and walked out the room. We all exchanged glances and waited for her to come back in silence.
After a full five minutes, Mara entered the room and returned to her seat.
"So… what happened?" Patricia asked.
Mara shrugged. "Nothing. He didn't even reveal himself. Anyone else feel free to try."
"Umm, I'll go talk to him," I volunteered.
"Really?" Patricia asked rather rudely.
"Yeah, it's worth a shot," I pointed out.
Everyone nodded in agreement and I made my way to the door. I slowly walked down the hallway and spotted Jerome and Alfie's room at the end of the hall. The door was opened enough for a crack of light to be seen. I put my hand on the door knob and pushed the door open. Once I entered, I closed it behind me.
"Umm… Jerome?" I called his name and took a step into the room.
"Go away," I heard him say.
"Is something wrong?" I asked.
"Leave, now," He demanded.
I quickly turned and stared at the door as I tried to keep calm. "Don't take no for an answer Amber."
I turned back to him and took a few steps towards him. "Jerome?"
I heard no reply and stepped closer, only a few feet from his bed now. "Are you ok?"
I was suddenly a bit scared. It seemed like I was in a bad horror movie where the guy ends up being a murderer but the stupid girl tries to calm him down anyways and ends up dead.
Pushing my fear to the back of my mind, I took another step closer, only a foot away from his bed.
"Jerome?" I asked.
Once again I received no answer.
I took the final step towards his bed and was officially right in front of him.
At that moment, I could see his covers moving and hear a quiet noise that sounded a bit like crying.
"Jerome?" I repeated.
I moved my hand up to his covers and peeled them off of him to reveal his face.
Jerome was huddled up in a ball as he stared up at the ceiling. Sweat littered his skin and his face was paler than usual. I couldn't help but wonder if he was cold.
"He found me," Jerome mumbled.
My eyes sparked at the statement and I looked at him with a puzzled face. "What?"
"He sees all, and he sees me," he muttered.
Yep, horror movie.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"I don't want it. I didn't want it," he whispered.
"Want what?" I asked.
His eyes traveled from the ceiling to mine and I gulped before taking a step back. "It hurts and it haunts," he whimpered.
My eyes grew wide with fear and I felt the sudden urge to bolt from the room.
"It knows all. It will become all."
I backed away, completely frightened. What was he talking about?
Before he could say anything else, I immediately turned around and left the room, running up the halls and straight into the living area where everyone was waiting.
Nina suddenly stood up and took a few steps towards me. "You were in there a long time. What happened?"
I shook my head, still trying to shake the fear from my body.
"Amber, what happened?" Fabian asked.
"I-I…I can't," I blurted out before I ran up the steps to the room Nina and I shared.
As soon as I got to my room I slammed the door shut leaving everyone downstairs with confused expressions on their faces.