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I was sitting on a milk crate I think. My bottom half was going numb – so were my fingers I noticed. I think I was in some type of shed. I could smell sawdust, gasoline – maybe from a lawn mower? It was musty, and extremely dark – not that the blindfold was helping much. Even though they were covered, my eyes filled with tears and my heart swelled. I just wanted him to find me, so we could both get out of here.


I was floating through school – everyone was. Not many people talked with each other, especially when I walked by them in the halls. The death of our most valuable point guard, my brother Jason, was still fresh in everyone's mind after the winter holiday break. The team wasn't going to state now unless their back up could 'figure out his shit quick.' I don't know what they were expecting me to do. My brother and I were close. Only one year apart, we were almost inseparable as kids, even growing up until he got closer with his basketball friends. I rarely saw him anymore… Well before he was gone. Some people thought I would lose it – end up in a crazy person's home or something. Other people I heard made bets on whether I would shave off my strawberry blonde hair, join a gang, or even quit school. People could be so dumb.

Most of the kids didn't know that Jason was my brother. He was the tall, tan, charming of course and handsome. The kind of guy most every girl wanted to date. I flittered my way around. Making friends with most everybody, I never got close enough to anyone to have a great friend (or more than that) relationship. I didn't know why, my parents just thought I was socially awkward. It wasn't that I was atrocious with my physical features either – I just liked to keep to myself, and I guess most people didn't like that. It was fine with me though, especially at a time like this. I could hear people murmuring Jason's name everywhere I went. I pulled my sweater tighter around me, feeling as if someone turned the AC on high inside my body. I walked through the doors of my culinary class grateful when I saw we were just going to be taking notes today. My chef nodded at me, trying to wear a warm smile. I couldn't believe people, how fake they could become when situations like this came about. I took a seat towards the back today and slapped my binder down on the table. People finished trickling in as the bell rang. Our chef stood at the front of the class room, clipboard in hand, which usually only meant one thing…

"Alright class, I hope you all had a nice time off from school," people murmured. I heard Jason's name come up time and time again. I was so glad I had no more tears to cry. He cleared his throat noticing he had said the wrong thing, "Well, anyway, I'm going to try something new this quarter – Seating chart. Alright now, come on everybody pick up your things and move out towards the sides of the room – yes you too John." People shuffled and moved their things. I felt like I was being starred at. He started with the back row, calling off names.

"Alright row one, in the back starting from the left I want Jenna, Leah, Ben, James, Heather, Carson," he paused waiting for them to settle, "Next to Carson will be Blakely," I took my seat, "And next to her will be Tynan. Okay, row two, starting right to left this time people!" Chef trailed off. I heard a few snide remarks from Jenna and Leah as Tynan took his seat next to me. He pulled out his seat jerkily and dropped his stuff onto the table. I didn't dare to look at him, but I thought I felt him staring at me. I pulled my sweater tighter around me, feeling self-conscious. At least he smelt good, not like blood like some people joked about. I glanced over at him; his face was turned in my direction. My face flared up and I quickly turned away. I couldn't even tell if he was looking at me or not, his long choppy black hair fell into his eyes. Leaning forward, I put my face in my hands as Chef started teaching – it was going to be a long third quarter.

"Now, I'm sorry to ruin your hopes and dreams and wishing that this was going to start out as an easy quarter after the break but we can't get off schedule. Therefore, life I had promised before the break, there will be a project," groans erupted from the class. Tynan pulled out a notebook from his back and flipped to a new page. His nails were painted black; well at least it matched the rest of what he was wearing… Chains hanging off his black pants… He was wearing a looser dark blood red t shirt under his black hoodie… He was just so… Well yeah he was a total Goth. He pulled up his right sleeve so he could write. He wasn't as pale as I thought he would be though...

"Blakely," the whole class turned around to stare at me as Chef said my name. I looked up at him and my face turned red, "S-sorry Chef, I just got… I-it won't happen again,"

"Anyway, as I was saying," the class slowly turned back around, one by one, "Your quarter project. You must all be just excited. I've tried to make it fun, creative… You know how it is this time of year, if you get a project it better be an interesting one. This however is going to take some planning, and a partner. ONE partner people – and before you raise your hand, no, no groups. I've already made the rubric which is what I'm passing out to you all now," as he handed out the rubrics I started looking around for potential partners. Everyone was talking to each other, some already planning what they were going to do. Apparently we had to create a theme, recipe, and cook it and make enough for the class. It was at least a full weeks-worth of planning and doing. I could ask Seth, he was my last partner for English and it worked out well, I started to yell out to him across the room when Chef interrupted us, "Once again, sorry to crush your plans if you've made them already but – your partner for the project will be your table buddy. No exceptions, get acquainted, you have the rest of the period to do a little planning." Most people seemed okay with it except for Heather and Carson who dated last year… Wait… which meant I was with…

"So I guess that's you then," The voice was alien to me; I'd never heard him speak before. Tynan was staring at me again, or so I assumed, I still couldn't see his eyes.

"O-oh, yeah…" I had never felt more awkward in my life. Way to start out the new quarter, thanks a bunch Chef. He was writing down ideas already on his notepad. Most of them I noticed were Japanese dishes, just by their names.

"Well what about Italian? Everyone likes Italian food don't they?" I said it softly enough for him to hear. I felt intimidated talking to him.

"Oh so you can speak full sentences without stuttering? Good. That would've gotten annoying. And no, Italian is out. If you listen around that's what most people are going after. If you come up with something interesting let me know, otherwise just plan where we're meeting and cooking and before you know it we'll be out of each other's business." He threw his books back into his bag. He was not a pleasant person, and of course I was stuck with him till the project was over. He pushed back his seat, screeching it across the floor and went up to Chef. He said something to him and Chef looked over towards me, nodded and Tynan left. We had twenty minutes left in the class, and I had nothing to do. I had one of the highest grades in this class, and I knew I knew how to cook. People always complimented me on my food whenever we had to bring things in. I lifted my binders to slip into my bag and a little piece of yellow paper fluttered to the floor. It was a phone number and under it was written; Let me know when you figure it out. I stuffed it in my pocket and closed my eyes, waiting for the bell to ring.

Have you ever just sat somewhere staring out the window, listening to your music when suddenly a song comes on that just sends a billion pins and needles throughout your body? Like the tune and beat of the song sound exactly just like you feel? The rest of the day had flown by and I was now sitting on my window seat in my 'new' room. After my brother died, my family broke down into chaos. Not like I hadn't expected him to die, but I had seen it coming whether I liked it or not. But I didn't do anything about it. There was a light knock on the door and my pins and needles faded from my skin. My grandma popped her head in and I smelt warm banana bread waft through the door. She was always baking something, "I thought I would bring you a little something to eat. I put chocolate in it this time, makes everything seem a little bit better," she smiled a warm grandma smile and sat the plate on my desk. I thanked her as she clicked my door shut behind her. She had my same strawberry blonde hair, except it was short and was greying very quickly these days. My parents fled town a few days after my brother passed. They stayed long enough to arrange his memorial and funeral, put the house for sale, pack up, drop me here and left. I always thought if they would have done the same if I was the one who had passed instead of Jason – but I knew better. Parents will tell you they don't have a favorite child, but I think otherwise. They call and text once in a while, but I don't even know where they are. I don't really care to know either. I took a piece of bread from the plate and popped in in my mouth. For a moment I felt warm and happy. Little things like this I would have to take where I could get them.

I shut my computer, finally finishing my homework. Gran was already asleep and I heard little paws scratching at my door. My little German shepherd puppy bolted through the door as soon as I made a crack big enough for him to get through. He was a welcome present from Gran, and I named him Echo. As soon as I set him on my bed he nestled up in my pillows and fell asleep. I don't know how many times I would have killed to have been able to do that. I changed out of my school clothes and into my pajamas. I was just about to shut my eyes when the little piece of paper caught my attention. Tynan's number was still there, staring back at me in his swirly writing. I grabbed it off the ground, and before I knew what I was doing I entered the number for a new message in my phone. It was a simple message, you pick. Free of any emotion, including fear – except I was scared. I pressed send. I turned my phone to silent and put it back on the nightstand. It creeped me out knowing he has my number… he could track it, come through my window and kill me any second – I don't know how much more of a freak I could be. Somehow I fell asleep soon after that, not waking up to anything during the night.