(Previous post: The Lost Twin I )
Maja was running the answers she wrote on her math test trough her head while trying hard not to bite her nails. It was a nasty habit she knew that, and her mother had bothered about it enough times, but it was hard to get rid of it especially at boring situations. Sitting in a horrible waiting room, waiting for her regular appointment with the school psychologist qualified as such.
The school mandated those appointments to every student that had suffered some kind of trauma and at first Maja was okay with them, it was nice to vent to someone, someone outside her home, someone who didn’t go trough the exact same trauma but as time went on it was just getting annoying, how many times, and in how many ways could she say she missed her mother, she missed her sister, her twin? How many more times did she have to say she felt empty and incomplete and how sure she was that is how she was going to feel from now on until she died herself and could not feel anymore. It just wasn’t helping. Yet her dad didn’t want her to stop coming here and what could Maja say to that? The man had been trough so much, he didn’t need her disobedience on top of it all.
She had even grown to hate coming to school. She used to like it before, in the times when her greatest problem was that her father was her science teacher. But now it was insufferable. She was almost always alone on recess, trying to catch up with all the schoolwork she missed and dodging people and their pitying stares. Even Domynika, her cousin with whom she didn’t speak ever since she stole Jacob Gradle from her would find excuses to give her a kind word, she even came over their house to see if she needed anything. She didn’t need that. She hated that. It was stupid and annoying.
She tried to push it all out of her head, force her mind back to maths when the door that lead to the hallway opened and a boy walked in. He was a bit slouched under the weight of his backpack, dark haired, with glasses and a funny little mustache. He murmured a hello as he worked his way to sit in a chair next to hers dropping his bag on the floor next to his chair and looking relieved to be able to do so.
Maja hoped that would be the extend of their conversation. She had little interest in talking, she just wanted for her damned appointment to start so she could get away from here and back home.
The boy however had different intentions. “Do you have an appointment at two?” He asked turning to face her. “She had to reschedule mine because I had to go to the dentist yesterday, seems she forgot about you and gave us the same slot.”
“Seems so.” Maja said politely still refusing to give the boy her full attention, hoping that might discourage him. It didn’t work.
“Well I hope she reschedules mine again – to never.” He said and smiled. Maja looked him over briefly. He did have a nice smile, it lit up his face. A part of her was glad someone else hated these sessions as much as she did but still she didn’t respond. “Be honest, do you find these useful?” He pressed on.
“I did a first.” Maja said honestly. “Now not so much.” The boy nodded and his eyes saddned a bit. Here we go again…. Maja thought fuming internally.
“I get it.” He said. “After what you went trough….”
“And why are you here?” She asked sharper than she intended at first.
“My mum died.” The boy said sadly and it made Maja feel bad instantly. “It wasn’t anything traumatic like what happened to you… But she died. She is gone.” He sighed. “My stepfather, Mr. Borders, the principal, he thinks this would to me good… Talking to someone about it since he is pretty lost about the whole ordeal himself, they had just gotten married you know…”
It was then that Maja recognized the boy. It had been a while since she had last seen him, and he had grown a lot since but she wondered how could she not recognize him earlier. His name was Waylon, Waylon Borders now, and he was Jacob’s little brother. Now she felt even worse, she heard their mother had passed away but she had so much on her plate at the time she simply forgot to call or say anything. She debated if she should say something now but he went on.
“There is one thing that helps though, I think it might help you too. ” He smiled when Maja turned to him curious and produced something from his pocket. It was a pill. A bright orange pill with a line etched in it.
“What is that?” Maja asked.
“A magical malady. Helps with every ache.”
“And where did you get it from?” Waylon looked around before leaning towards her and whispering.
“Freddie Hoves.” Maja frowned. Freddie was a girl from her class, another cousin she was not close with. Her dad was a cop and she knew her mum worked for the hospital. Still she wasn’t likely to be giving people medicine…
“Is it… Legal?” She asked in an equal whisper. Waylon chuckled.
“I am not exactly sure. I don’t think Freddie is either if I was to be honest with you…. But it is good, better than weed or booze… It really is magical. And I have two left.” He added. “Maybe you should try it, see if it will help you. We can get away from here together, ditch this appointment…”
Maja knew she should have said no. She should have stopped talking to Jacob’s little brother right away and patiently wait to her appointment. She should have gone there, talk about her problems and feelings caused by the traumatic death of her mother and sister. Then she should have gone home and done her homework. Yet she did none of those things.
Her father always said she had a scientist mind, she was naturally curious, eager to learn and experiment. But it wasn’t what made her come with Waylon that day. It wasn’t his cute smile, the one that was very like Jacob and unlike Jacob at the same time, either. She just wanted to escape… Escape everything, the appointment, school, her pain, her life… Everything…
“Where should we go?” She asked Waylon when they were out of the school. She felt adrenaline rushing trough her veins. She felt more alive then she had in months. “Behind the school?” Waylon let out a laugh.
“Hell no, if I was caught popping pills my stepfather would trow me out on the street…” Maja kind of doubted that but she said nothing. “I have an idea… Come…” And so she followed Waylon all the way to the most unlikely of places – the graveyard.
She felt uncomfortable just looking around, she hadn’t been here since the day of the funeral. They buried mum, Lena and aunt Alyssa all on the same day. Waylon however didn’t seem phased. She wondered if his mother’s grave was also here, it had to be, this was the town’s only graveyard. He walked in big steps towards the mausoleum ahead.
“Come.” He said. “Inside, no one will come looking here.”
“How do you know?” Maja asked slightly uncomfortable.
“My brother works here part time. He told me when it’s empty. Come.” He added again waving towards the door with his hand. Maja sighed and she followed him inside. It was cold when she shut the heavy door behind them. The cold seemed to be emanating from the stone walls around them and she couldn’t help but shiver. Waylon offered his jacket and she took it. He turned on some switch and a weak light lit the chamber. Still Maja felt uncomfortable in this place. Suddenly she wished she had stayed behind.
“Is everything okay?” Waylon asked concerned. Maja just nodded. There was no going back now.
“Just give me that pill.” Waylon smiled and pulled two orange pills out of his pockets and handed them to her. She took one and just swallowed it. Waylon followed. “How long until it lasts?” He shrugged.
“It depends.” Maja sighed.
“So what are we supposed to do until it does?”
“Talk?” Waylon asked.
“Whatever you like.” He said. Then added. “Anything you wouldn’t talk about on your appointment today.” Maja laughed.
“I was in love with your brother.” She said. “I don’t think I am anymore though…”
“Which one?” Waylon asked and she laughed.
“Jacob.” She replied unsure why she was saying anything.
“He has a girlfriend.” Waylon said.
“I know.” She replied. “She is my cousin.”
“You are prettier.” Waylon said and she dismissed him.
“I don’t need to hear that.”
“What do you need to hear? That he is a tool?”
“No.” She said smiling. “It is over now.”
“Good.” Waylon said with a broad smile. “You know why? Because I don’t have a girlfriend!” Maja laughed and then Waylon laughed with her. And so they talked about silly things and laughed a lot. She wasn’t sure if it was the pill they took or if it was all just a placebo effect but she felt good, she felt happy… Better then she did in very long time. And she was ready to ask Waylon to get her some more of those pills, or even go to Freddie herself if it wasn’t for something that happened as they headed home…
The sun was going down but there was still some light left when they stepped out of the mausoleum and the brightness hurt her eyes. She had to squint and when she opened her eyes normally she froze solid.
Before her stood something that could in no way be real. The figure had a feminine shape, complete with the long hair and she had her aunt’s features. Her dead aunt’s features. Her dead aunt Alyssa’s features. Her aunt died the same day her mother and Lena had died, the same meteor had killed her and her dog and nearly burned down her house. Yet the figure was transparent and glowed orange. If Maja had to describe it with a word she would have to use ghost. But there were no such things as ghosts.
“What is wrong?” Waylon asked concern obvious in his voice.
“I think I am hallucinating.” Maja said not taking her eyes of the apparition. She thought it might do or say something. But it didn’t. It just stood there floating in the air.
“I think that is to be expected sometimes… The I’s have that effect….”
“I’s?” She asked puzzled but not taking her eyes off the thing that looked like her aunt Alyssa.
“That is how I call those magic pill’s. They have an I etched on them. Come, I’ll take you home.” Maja nodded finally managing to tear her eyes of her aunt’s ghost. She looked around hoping to see her mum, or Lena. But when she turned back even her aunt had disappeared. She sighed and let Waylon walk her back home.
The very next week Maja told her dad she wanted to quit seeing the school psychologist. Her father agreed. A week later she realized she was feeling better, she was not yet complete but something changed that day with Waylon. She didn’t take anymore I’s, the hallucination scared her too much but one day after school she found herself standing outside Waylon’s door.
She had come here many times before, she and Jacob had been friends for years. And all those times there was this same flutter of butterflies in her stomach, yet this time it was different and she knew it, this time she had barely thought of Jacob. Only about Waylon. He smiled when he opened the door and let her in.
“Are you here to see my brother?” He asked.
“Nope.” She said and smiled herself. “I wanted to see you.”
“Do you need more?” He asked his face suddenly serious. She shook her head.
“I am done with those. I wanted… I guess I wanted to spend some time with you.” Waylon laughed.
“Yes. I think…. I had fun the other day. I didn’t have fun in a long time…” She said. Waylon smiled again. Such a nice smile… She thought.
“That is cool. I can do fun. Fun is how they call me on the street. Come with me.”
They spend the afternoon in his backyard. They talked and laughed and watched the sun set. And then they watched the fool moon raise and light up their faces. And it was nice. Even for just a while Maja could let go of the pain, and although the emptiness was still there, and always will be Waylon made it hurt a little less at least…