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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

No better Replacement 2


The next day, I’m about walking into school when someone grabs my hand “wait!”.

I look behind me to see Tucker pulling me to the side of the school and I take a while to take in his outfit.

Black shirt, black jeans and a black sneaker. He actually looks good, like an
attractive bad boy but his black outfit was kind of, well…obvious.

Yesterday, he was on a green sweatshirt and jeans, now he’s transformed to Batman.

“What are you wearing?”
“Black looks good right? My former school, the loners put on black,”.

“Loners don’t exactly put on black, you probably mean the emos or Goths, those people wear black.” He’s so clueless, jeez. Guess he really was popular.

“What’s the difference?”
“Everything is the difference; you might as well get a tattoo and pierce your forehead while you’re at it.”

He frowns, “you’re so not helping”
Sigh. “fine, take my jacket” I take off my denim jacket and give it to him. He looks at it uncertainly, “but you’d be cold”.

“I’m fine, put it on,” he does and it surprisingly fits. “Good, now head straight to your locker.”

“Wow, you’re really good at this. Thanks for the jacket, I owe you one.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” we stroll into school together and to both our dismay, everyone is staring at us and some are whispering.

“Wow, epic failure, they’re all staring…and whispering too. Wait,” he laughs, “you’re not one of the twins that lost their mother, are you? it’s all the school’s been talking of since I came.”

After he says that, I run into the janitors closet and collapse on the floor, then I start crying automatically.

The door to the closet opens and he collapses beside me on the floor. “I’m
sorry, I didn’t know” I sniff and cry some more, then he touches my hair.

The last person to touch my hair, was mom but that doesn’t matter right now.

“Stop crying please,” he says “you’re making me feel weird,” I stop crying but I don’t say anything.

He hands me his hanky but I refuse, “I can’t dent your towel with my tears.”
“I don’t mind,”
“Well, I do.”

“I’m sure I’ve ruined your loner cover, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be, it’s not your fault that everyone’s looking out for you, they’re worried about you.”

“Worried? You’re new, you wouldn’t understand.”
“You think? I didn’t want to tell anyone this but you’re the only person close to a friendI
have in Roosevelt high.

The reason I moved here, is because my dad died, and my mom didn’t want everyone feeling sorry for us, that’s why we moved here.

We wanted to start over.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” I’m closer to my mom but I couldn’t imagine my dad dying, it would end me.

“It’s okay, cheer up, it would be okay.” He stands and offers me his hand. I take it and when he raises me up, my face is so close to his and I notice a weird look on his face so I quickly look away. “let’s go”.

“S…sure,” he opens up the closet and I hurry to class.

During lunch, he’s already at my table before I get there and I take a while to admire my jacket on him.

“You know what? I might just take this jacket, I like it.”
I shake my head and take a seat “no way, it’s my favorite jacket.”

“And that’s why you’re going to give me,” he grins and I roll my eyes.
Nate comes from nowhere, draws out a chair and sits.

“Hello new guy, I’m not sure we’ve
met, I’m Nate, Natalie’s twin”
“Hey, it’s good to meet you,” they shake hands while I watch Nate closely.

Nate narrows his eyes at Tucker, “that’s your jacket isn’t it?” he’s staring at me.

“It is,” I tell him and he frowns,
“Giving him your jacket now, are we?”
“It’s not like that,” I try to defend myself but Nate doesn’t want to hear it.

He looks at Tucker, “she’s not your type, you’d hurt her, just let her go,”
“Nate!” I yell.
“What are you talking about? Let her go? Never, she’s a dear friend of mine.”

Nate glares at him again and leaves. See? This is exactly why I’m a loner and don’t have a boyfriend, Nate drives everyone away from me with his usual excuse of “I’m just protecting you Lee”.

I wouldn’t exactly blame him for me being a loner but still, he makes it impossible
for me to just be me.

“Your brother’s great,” Tucker says
“He’s not, didn’t you see that? He’s threatening you and if you don’t leave, he’ll keep doing that till you start to think ‘Natalie’s not so great anyway’ and you leave, like everyone else.”

“Leave?” tucker takes my hand, “your brother better prepare to get physical, cause I’m not leaving you because of a stupid threat.

The fact that he’s driving everyone away from you just shows you’re really great and not to brag but I always go for the best.”

“That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.”

“Well, you’re the first girl to give me her favorite jacket for nothing, so,
“I didn’t give you jerk”
“Exactly, no girl calls me jerk but you just did and I’m so taking this jacket.”.

The bell goes and lunch is over too quickly. It’s like, when with Tucker, time doesn’t seem to matter.

I wonder if mom would like Tucker, she probably would, he’s the first guy to ignore Nate’s threats.

On our way home, I say nothing to Nate, even though he tries to start a conversation. I’m furious at him and he had better watch out.

“Chelsea says she’ll like to be your friend, if you’d let her. She thinks you’re cool.”

I don’t say anything to that. If I wasn’t furious at him, I’d have said she only want to be friends with me so he could like her but I don’t say it.

“What, you don’t like Chelsea? She’s the coolest chick in the whole of Roosevelt high.”

I want to say ‘I give no shit’, but I don’t.
“Are you thinking about mom?” okay, this is the highest I can go.
“Drop me Nate.”

“Stop the car, I can make it home from here,”
“Why, you don’t want to ride with me?”
“Just stop talking and stop the car. You can go ahead pretending you don’t know why I’m mad at you but, stop the car.”

“You’re mad at me? I hate it when you’re mad at me.” He pulls up and I hurry out of the car and slam the door as hard as I could.

Not sure where to go, I start walking the other way, I couldn’t go home and I couldn’t be alone with Nate, so no going home.

I wonder where Tucker lives though, he hasn’t asked me for my number so I don’t have his.

I decide to go back to school and check records, the guidance counselor likes me so I’m sure she’d be more than happy to help.

A blue sports car slows in front of me seconds later and when I catch up, I see it’s Chelsea.

“Hey Natalie,”
“Why are you talking to me?” Why is she talking to me?

“Come on, need a ride home?”
“Your home’s the other way”
“I don’t mind giving you a ride,”

“I’m fine, thanks anyway.” I keep walking and next, a black Lexus pulls up in front of me.

I’m starting to think walking was a bad idea. Everyone feels sorry for me so it’s no surprise they want to help.

When the driver of the Lexus rolls down however, my heart stopped and
a smile played on my lips. It was Tucker but he wasn’t smiling like I was.

He looked a little concerned,
“Natalie? You’re headed back to school? Forgot something?”
“Yes, your phone number”
“Excuse me”?

“I was going to see if I could ask Miss Green for your phone number,”

He smiles and I want to hit myself for being desperate and letting him know how desperate I was.

“Mind if I ask why you need my phone number?”
I was feeling embarrassed already, so what’s the worst that could happen? “I wanted to hang.

My dad’s not home and I can’t be home alone with Nate right now; I might end up
spilling his blood.”

He raises a brow then smiles again “then, what are you waiting for? Hop in.”

I go round the other side and let myself in. the car smells good…and new.

“I’m taking you home, is that okay?”
I buckle my seat belt, “It’s great.”


Tucker’s house is just like every other house here in Malibu, blue and white with a huge
lawn, only his house looks new.

Inside, the living room is empty save two couches and a TV set.
“Mom, I’m home!” he yells when we both step in.

His mom jogs down in sweats, “hey, is this your loner friend?”
I stare him down and he raises his hands in defense, “dorky, but I tell my mom everything.”

I don’t find it dorky, it’s kind of cool. Nate tells mom everything too, that’s why I know he’s going to miss mom a lot.

I start to feel sorry for him, I shouldn’t have left him.  He might be really annoying but I know he’s only trying to help; he doesn’t want me to get hurt like I did two years ago when we were sophomores.

There was this guy, Henry Warren who I
thought loved me but he broke my heart, I couldn’t start thinking about everything that happened with Henry because when I do, I usually end up crying.

After he hurt my precious heart, I wept for days and Nate and Mom had to comfort me. Since then, Nate didn’t let any guy near me.

“Hi Tucker’s loner friend, I’m Tucker’s mom, good to meet you,” I like his mom already, she’s kind of funny, calling me that when I’m pretty sure she knows my name.

“She’s Natalie” Tucker corrects her and she smiles,“I know”.

When I go up to Tucker’s room, I’m welcomed with boxes upon boxes,
“Sorry, I’m having trouble unpacking, we can stay in the den.”

“Nope, we’re unpacking, right now.”
“Really? I might just fall in love with you Natalie,” I laugh and wave it off.

“You’re silly” then I open up a box and start asking where they go, some he doesn’t know, I make up a place myself and together, after a few hours we’re
disposing the boxes outside.

“Wow, that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would, you’re the best thing that has happened to me since I moved here Natalie,”
“I’m glad but I’m hungry now.
 Got any food?”

“No but for helping me unpack, I’m going to cook for you.”
I couldn’t help giggling, “You, cook?”

“Yup,” he leads me to the kitchen and I sit in awe and watch him prepare homemade mac n cheese.

When he finishes, he takes out two plates, yells “grab a drink in the fridge” and led
me to the back patio where we sat and ate.

“Wow,” I couldn’t help it, “this is good.”
“Yup, perks of being a ‘mommy’s boy’,” he made finger quotes and I a giggle, Tucker was fun to be with.

“So, you can cook.”
“Can’t you?”He asks and I feel a little embarrassed as I shake my head, “don’t worry; I could teach you, I owe you one anyway.”

Where did this guy come from? It’s like he was made especially for me. ‘Mom’ I said in my mind, ‘if you sent him, thank you’.

When we’re done, I offer to clear the dishes—anytime mom cooks, I clean the dishes so I’m happy there’s something I can do.

After clearing all the dishes, we go front of his house and sit on the porch swing and I listen to all the stories about his life in Beverly Hills, where he moved from.

According to him, he’d never loved a girl, he was always playing girls in his school cause his dad was super rich and he had nothing to lose and also, the girls kept

When he’s done, he looks at me and says, “but that changes now.” I smile back and
relax onto the comfy swing that had blankets all over it.

“What about you? Why be a loner? You’re pretty; everyone should want to be your friend.”

I sigh, if only he knew “Well, there was a time everyone was my friend, my life was good, my cousins Sophie and Jake were in my school and we were famous, well, Sophie was famous, I was just automatically famous because of her.

Everyone liked her, the teachers, Principal Higgins, the students, our parents, everyone, even the janitors.

One day, in a house party of Chelsea Reagan, Connor—Sophie’s crush—asked for her number and because Sophie was drunk and we were both really close, she gave Connor my number instead of hers.

The next day, Connor started texting me and oblivious to everything, I
texted back and we texted and texted and Connor said he’d always liked me and was scared to tell me.

Anyway, I went to Sophie’s the next day and left my phone at her house. The next
day in school, Sophie was really furious; she yelled at me front of the whole school.

The next week, she moved to Oxford and everyone, being in support of Sophie, stopped talking to me, some blamed me for her leaving.

It was sad but I got over it and Sophie later
remembered she’d given Connor my number instead of hers and we settled over the phone but no one knew this in school and I’ve been on my own, since then.”

“Not anymore, you have me now. Loner friends together, right?”
“Right.” My phone buzz with a text from Nate: Whr r u? It’s getting l8 I’m worried.

 “I have to go” I tell Tucker and he nods. “I’ll take you,”
I say goodbye to his mom and he drives me home.

The drive was silent but when he pulled
up in my driveway, he says “for what it’s worth, I wouldn’t stop talking to you if I was there during the whole Sophie incident.”

A painful smile was all I could offer, “thanks Tucker”
“No, I mean it. People don’t know you, probably because you’ve been living in Sophie’s shadow but I know you and so does Sophie and Nate and your parents and we love you for you.”

“You…you really mean that?”
He nods, “I do. I owe you right? Why don’t I fix you instead and make you realize how great you really are.”

The front door opens and Nate walks out, standing in front of the house, and crossing his hands on his chest.

“I better go,” I open the door and step out
“See you tomorrow” he says and I was really looking forward to seeing him tomorrow, right now I’ve got Nate to deal with.

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