chapter one5 years later
“Oh no.” Two little words was all it took to get me nerves. “What?” I snapped my head up to see what my best friend Isabel was now suddenly absorbed in. “It looks like Conrad and Joey are walking outside.” It was true. Conrad and Joey were now side by side and silently walking to the outer courtyard behind the baseball fence. A perfect place for a fight. I took a deep breath. This had been normal for Conrad all year, the fights, drugs, gangs, and of course the girls. I stood up suddenly feeling tired, and grabbed Isabel’s arm. “Were we going?” she asked nervously. “Away. I’m not about to sit here and do nothing.”
“I know, but today’s not the day. Let’s just go get Dylan.”
I know this would work. Isabel was obsessed with my brother, for reasons still unknown. I looked down at her pretty tan pixie face. I loved Isabel as a sister, she was just so nice. She had a way of putting things in perspective. But she just didn’t understand my love for Conrad. To her he was a self absorbed druggy. But to me, well, he was still my miracle. Just a little lost was all. I saw Dylan at the senior table and when he saw me he frowned. He hated when I talked to him at the table. And honestly I didn’t like it much either. But he’d just have to deal as I was. “Hey Anabel,” Tori said greeting me. Tori was Dylan’s all- through-high school-girlfriend. She was supper pretty with light brownish golden hair and brown eyes that sparkled in the light. Plus she was nice to everyone, making her, another one of my best friends, and probably sister to be. I smiled at her as we walked up. I hated this part; it felt like everyone was staring at me. Witch in this case, they probably were. “What do you want?” was Dylan’s cold reply. I sighed. “Conrad left with Joey and I thought you might want to know. They went behind the baseball field.” Dylan’s face turned red. “Not again, his mom’s counting on me to keep him out of trouble.” He got up. “Okay, Tori stay here and watch Anabel and Isabel. Make sure when Joey comes back he knows not to lay a hand on them.” This, I saw, made Isabel swoon. This was the brother I knew and loved. The one who really cared. Witch I knew he did, but sometimes, with this new crowd he was with, I had to second guess myself.
“Be careful, Dill.” Tori said a little nervous. I knew she must of hated Conrad for putting Dylan in between him and Joey. Joey was just too unpredictable. A case he brought upon himself with all the drugs. I sat down next to Isabel and looked at my brother. He looked ticked, but when he saw me he smiled. “Don’t worry I’ll be right back with him.” He said tipping my chin. He and Isabel were the only one’s who knew about my little crush. And that’s the way I wonted it for now. I smiled back. “Be careful Dill.” I said repeating Tori’s words. He rolled his eyes and ran out the door.
Once I had tried to go after Conrad and Joey. It was the begging of my freshman year and Conrad’s junior. That’s when everything began to change. Suddenly Conrad was ditching my brother for Joey and his drugs. I knew Dylan was hurt, but he seemed more angry than anything else. “Right when his mother gets cancer. Dose he really think this will help?! Ditching her in her final year on this planet, dose he really think this will all just go away?!” Dylan had yelled by my bedside. This was his time to vent. I had been shocked to even see him home on a Friday night; they were always his time with Conrad. But now it seemed obvious why he was so upset. Earlier he had gone to pick him up and Conrad had simply diapered. With Joey. When Dylan had gone to cheek on Conrad’s mom, who had just found out she had breast cancer level four last summer, he had found her crying and alone. Dylan had never been able to get the image out of his head. Conrad’s mom had told him were he went and why. Apparently earlier he had came home high and yelled at her that he was leaving weather she wonted him to or not. This had shocked Dylan. Conrad had always hated drugs, seeing what they had done to his father. But his mom had insisted it was true, and that she begged Dylan to watch her son, to keep him out of harms way. He was special and just needed to find the” right path, please, Dylan, promise you’ll help”. He has no one else. After Dylan had promised, he left coming home to get his wallet and knife, and after venting went looking for his best friend.
Leaving me, of course, worried to the point I was sick. I had waited hours and hours until midnight came and still no sight of Dylan or Conrad. This was when I decided to take action. I grabbed my old coat, and a flashlight, and snuck out through the back. It was raining that night, starting with a dribble and turning into a flash flood. By the time I was in the woods the sirens were already going off. A tornado was coming. But I had to keep looking if only a while longer. So I kept pushing. I ignored the feeling in the pit of my stomach telling me to run away, and now the roaring sirens that kept pelting my ears. I kept going. Suddenly it became too much and I fell over an old pile of bricks. I smashed my face, and I felt the blood poor. I suddenly felt sick to my stomach again. I leaned over and puked. What seemed a minute later I heard running. “Dill,” I slurred. It came faster. “Conrad!” I slurred louder. “Help,” a hand reached for my shoulder. “What are you doing here?” I recognized the voice. Joey. “Where’s Conrad?” I tried to slur. He muttered something, and suddenly I was on my back. He grabbed my hair and pooled. I tried to yell, but then he smashed my face against the bricks again. “Conrad wants nothing to do with you anymore. You stupid little girl. Nothing. Tell you brother if he doesn’t stop breaking in on us, I’ll make sure to come back and permanently mess your pretty little face up.” I felt the tears come. Why was I crying? Could he see it? I felt an urge. At first I had no idea what it was, but then It came on stronger, clearer this time. Pray. So I did. I looked up towards the thundering sky’s and closed my eye’s and prayed. Prayed the hardest I had ever had. I needed another miracle. God help me. Suddenly thunder erupted from the skies and I herd a familiar voice that made me cry even harder. “What the heck are you doing?!” Conrad. I felt Joey’s weight being pushed off of me. The sirens were still going. “Don’t you ever, EVER, touch her!”
“She’s HIS sister why would you be nice to-“
“I don’t care.” I felt him lift me over his shoulder. The motion hurt.
“Hang in there Bells.” He whispered to me. Suddenly I was reminded of the time I was eleven. He had said the same thing then.
“If you help her, I’ll bounce. You won’t ever get the stuff you need anymore. You’ll have to sit there and watch your mom die.”
Conrad stopped. I felt my conscious go. Suddenly I felt like I was floating above watching. Like third person.
“I don’t care. I won’t sit by and watch you torment and hurt the people I love. I don’t need drugs that bad.” He and Joey were standing there looking at each other silently. That’s when I noticed it. Around Conrad was a white ore. It surrounded him and at the same time, was him. But as I looked at Joey, he had none. That was the first sign of Conrad being different. He had to be good. Mean while I heard my brother far off.
“Leave. Now Joey,” Joey looked at me then back to Conrad.
Joey shuffled away and diapered into the dark woods. The sirens weren’t as loud now, and now I knew why. The wind was picking up fast, and I could now clearly see a funnel cloud. Conrad cursed under his breath, but began to move.
“Conrad!” as my brother came closer his eyes widened.
“Anabel? What- Anabel?” I had never seen my brother look so…hopeless before. He was drenched, his hair blown over, and his eye’s looked almost haunted. Making me wonder exactly what had happened that night.
“She’s passed out. It may be a concussion.” Conrad said. My brother’s face turned from lost to mad. “What did you do?” he demanded. Conrad knew my brother, knew that look.
“It was Joey, I came as soon as I could.” Dylan went limp.
“Give her here.”
“You can’t hold her with your arm.” I looked over at Dylan, I hadn’t seen it but there was a huge gash in his right arm. It looked painful, but Dylan seemed okay. Looking over him I noticed Dylan had the glow too. But for him it was brighter. Purer somehow. “Don’t.”
Dylan tried to reach for me but his arm fell limp. It was broke. Suddenly I felt furious. But I couldn’t talk or move so they had no idea the things I was suddenly screaming, witch is probably a good thing because mama would have been ashamed. “Let’s hurry and get her home, that cloud is getting bigger.” And that was that. Dylan and Conrad said nothing as they struggled to get home before the tornado hit. And somehow, they did it. Just in time for us to get downstairs, before the whole other side of the house got ripped away. It was again, another miracle when I opened my eye’s two days after. When I went to school the next day I was greeted with get well cards and cookies, and the sight of Joey’s two black eyes.