No part of this publication may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher.
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
First Edition, Published 2013
Cover Art by Rezzan Atakol
“Triss, time to get up. Breakfast in ten minutes.”
My brother’s loud voice woke me from my sleep.
Groaning, I pulled the pillow over my head and snuggled deeper beneath my duvet.
Matt came into my room, yanked the bottom of my duvet and whipped the covers off my body.
I whined and curled up into a smaller ball.
I heard Matt leave the room again and sat up slowly, yawning and rubbing my eyes.
I levered myself out of my bed and stumbled across the hallway to the bathroom. I turned on the shower, held my hand underneath the jets of water until the temperature was right, stripped off my night-time boxers and stepped beneath the jets of water.
I squealed as the cold water woke me fully.
I waited until I was trembling violently, before turning the temperature gauge to hot.
As the water turned warmer, I picked up my shampoo and started lathering my dark hair.
I have nice hair, if I do say so myself.
Chocolate brown, thick and baby-soft, my hair is short at the back of my head and over my ears, and longer on the fringe. At the moment, it almost covers my eyes, but I am due a haircut next week.
I stepped out of the shower and towelled myself off quickly, before going back to my room.
I mused over my clothes for a while, pulling open the door of my large wardrobe and scanning the rails and shelves.
I rummaged through the trousers hung neatly on hangers and shirts folded tidily on the shelves for a while, before settling on a pair of black skinny jeans that hugged my long legs and showed off my round buttocks perfectly, a button-up black and white checked shirt, a white beanie hat and my favourite pair of white converse trainers.
I took my school books from yesterday’s lessons out of my rucksack and put in today’s, along with a library book that was due to be returned, and two of my Meat Loaf CD’s; my friend Ava had asked to borrow them, and I had forgotten to give them to her the past three days.
I left my rucksack on my bed and went downstairs for breakfast.
Matt was stood beside the oven, already dressed in a freshly ironed, charcoal-grey suit. A thin, bright red tie hung neatly around his neck, and his black dress shoes were polished and shining.
I never knew our dad, who died when I was two, and mum left to be with her new boyfriend three years ago; the last we heard, she was living with him in Belgium.
Since then, Matt has looked after me. He’s an accountant – a job that he hates, most of the time – but he makes plenty of money, even though he’s only a junior in his office, so we’re pretty well off.
“You took your time, Tristan.” Matt grumbled, tipping scrambled eggs onto a plate and adding two rashers of bacon and a couple of sausages. “I’ve got to go now. We’re trying those new accounts I told you about settled, so I’ll be leaving early and getting back late the next couple of nights.”
I tucked into my breakfast ravenously.
He doesn’t have time to cook a lot, but Matt is really good at it when he does.
“I swear, you eat twice as much as I did at your age,” Matt grumbled.
“And you were twice as big as me,” I grinned cheekily. “Can I order a pizza or something for dinner tonight?”
“Yeah. There’s some money in the cupboard.”
“Ava might come over, as well,” I told him. “We’ve got a geography project to finish before Friday.”
“As long as you actually do your homework. And it’s just you and her. No-one else, yeah?”
“Alright, dad.” I teased him gently.
He smiled and tugged my beanie down over my eyes.
“You get more like a girl every day, Triss. How long did you spend on your hair today, huh?”
“Only five minutes,” I said innocently. “I just dried and brushed it.”
I carefully straightened my beanie again, and returned to my breakfast.
“Yeah, because you’re wearing a hat. If you weren’t there would be gelling, spiking, spraying and… many other things involved.”
I stuck my tongue out at him.
“Do you have time to take me to school?”
Matt and I lived on the other side of town from my school and – in a move decided by geniuses, no doubt – the bus which I used catch to get to school in the mornings now didn’t arrive at my school until nearly half-past ten in the morning.
“No. I asked David to swing by and take you in. He’ll bring you and Ava home tonight as well, if you’ll wait for him to finish work.”
I nodded agreeably.
David has been my brother’s best friend for years and years; I’ve known him pretty much all my life.
After my dad died, he and Matt became close, and he pretty much moved into our house with us while he and Matt were at school together. He was as much of an older brother to me as Matt was.
“I’ve got to go now,” Matt said, ruffling my hair affectionately and making me scowl. “I’ll see you tonight. Make sure you lock up the house when you leave.”
I fixed my hair again, rolling my eyes at him.
Matt fetched his briefcase from his tiny office – the converted third bedroom – and checked he had all the paperwork he needed, before left me alone.
I heard his car engine start, the tyres crunching against the gravel driveway.
I finished my breakfast, put my plate and cutlery in the dishwasher, and went back up to my bedroom.
I unplugged my iPod from its charger and shoved it in my pocket, checked my phone for any texts from Ava, and took my rucksack downstairs.
I took a few coins from the kitchen cupboard for my lunch, spent ten minutes hunting for my house keys, and finally was able to leave the house, lock the front door, and go to the end of the driveway.
I perched on the low brick wall that surrounded our small front garden and settled down to wait for David.
I put my headphones into my ears and started wiggling along in time with the music.
I noticed as I waited that the lawn needed mowing, and made a mental note to do it at the weekend while Matt was washing the car.
My brother and I are quite close, which I like.
We do a lot together; even before mum left, we’d been nearly-inseparable. Now, we divided the household tasks between us. He cut the hedge while I scooped the leaves from the pond and fed the fish, or he vacuumed while I cleaned the windows.
I’m not exactly housework mad, but, as they say, many hands make light work.
Plus, if I help Matt around the house, he gets into a good mood, and is more likely to cook for dinner.
Take-away food is alright occasionally, but you can’t beat fresh, homemade food; especially food made by my brother.
I saw a car pull up at the end of the driveway from the corner of my eyes, and looked up to see David’s little red Volkswagen Beetle waiting for me. I love David’s car; it’s a proper old Beetle, like Herbie the racing car.
David pulled away from the curb as soon as I got in.
His short, spiky, blonde hair was still damp from his morning shower, his fringe pushed roughly back from his forehead.
I pulled my headphones from my ears and smiled at him.
“What’re you listening to?” He asked as I stowed away my iPod in my rucksack.
“ABBA,” I said, predicting his reaction correctly.
“Matt has ruined you!” David said dramatically. “ABBA? Seriously?”
He rolled his eyes and turned on the car stereo. The harsh tones of a heavy metal CD came blasting through the speakers.
I listened, unimpressed, to Metallica – or some such band – thrashing around with their guitars for a few minutes, before I saw the rusting sign for the old, abandoned scrapyard coming up on the side of the road.
“Turn off here,” I told David, smiling at him.
I glanced at my watch to make sure we had enough time before school started.
He smirked knowingly and obediently pulled off the main road.
We bumped and bounced along the rutted, pot-holed track for a moment, before we came to a small lay-by.
David pulled the Beetle over and switched the engine off.
He’d barely taken his hands off the wheel when I’d moved my body over the centre console, carefully avoiding the gearstick, and settled myself on his lap.
His head swooped down towards mine, giving me a brief glimpse of gleaming blue-brown eyes, before his lips covered my own.
I let out a little whimper of delight as he kissed me passionately.
My arms were tight around his neck. My fingers raked through his hair; it wasn’t long enough for me to tangle my fingers in, to tug and play with as I liked, but it felt soft against my skin.
David’s tongue traced lightly over my bottom lip; I took his hint, and nipped his top lip playfully.
David bit my bottom lip, growling softly, the sound coming from deep in his throat.
Our tongues clashed, wrestled, battled for dominance, and he was winning. He was forceful, demanding I opened myself to him completely, and he was getting what he wanted.
I whimpered as he bit my lip particularly hard, my fingernails digging into the back of his neck, forcing him to kiss me more.
A loud beeping noise made me jump in surprise, and I moved back a little, looking around in confusion.
David was panting, his breath warm against my neck.
My hands were now resting on his rock-hard chest, clutching handfuls of his shirt as I gasped for air.
“It’s just my watch.” He smiled at me. “I put a timer on.”
“Because yesterday we forgot the time, and you were fifteen minutes late for school.”
I grunted in annoyance, not wanting to end what would have become a very heavy petting session, and heaved my body back over the centre console into the passenger seat.
My jeans were a little tight across the front, and I squirmed uncomfortably for a moment.
I saw David grin from the corner of my eye.
We re-fastened our seatbelts, David turned the Beetle around, and we re-joined the main road.
“Could you take me home tonight as well, please?” I asked after we’d sat in silence for a few minutes. “Matt is going to be working late for a couple of nights.”
“Is he? Damn… I wanted to talk to him.”
“You still can. You can wait at our place.”
David looked at me, his eyebrows raised.
“I’m having a friend over tonight anyway.” I added quickly, knowing what he was thinking.
David was silent for a while, before he sighed suddenly and drummed his fingers on the steering wheel.
“Bloody hell!” He exploded violently.
I jumped, banging my head on the roof of the car, and turned to scowl at him.
“They’ve got the grant money for the goddamned by-pass. Why don’t they just build the bleeding thing?” David ranted. “You’ll be late for school now, because they can’t pull their thumbs out of their arses and get some sodding work done! I’ll be late for work, and-”
“Calm down, David,” I said firmly, feeling a little alarmed. “It’s just a bit of traffic. I can already see the traffic lights beside the health spa where we turn left. Two traffic light cycles and we’ll get through.”
“All these bloody lorries coming through town; the roads aren’t big enough for them. The road lanes are too-”
“Calm down,” I said again.
He grunted sourly and stopped drumming his fingers.
He turned the stereo back on and started nodding his head along with the rhythm.
“So, erm… This outburst… Wanting to talk to Matt… Can I assume you’ve argued with Karen again?” I asked tentatively.
His eyes flickered across to look at me for a moment, before he folded his arm over the top of the steering wheel and leant against it with a sigh.
I saw him eyeing his wedding ring for a moment.
“That’s not really any of your business, is it Tristan?” He said quietly.
I blinked in surprise, before frowning.
“I suppose not. I mean, I am the one you’re having an affair with, but you’re right. It’s not really my business.”
“It’s hardly an affair,” David said. “We kiss. That’s it. We’ve not slept together. We’ve hardly touched each other below the neck.”
“So… It’s not an affair as long as you feel like it’s not, even though you’re breaking your wedding vows?” I asked quietly, feeling hurt.
“Well, they’re my vows aren’t they?” He growled. “Not yours. So just stay out of it, Tristan.”
I grabbed my rucksack and got out of the car, slamming the door shut. I shouldered my bag and started walking down the street towards my school.
I heard David’s car door open.
“Tristan, get back in the car!” David half-shouted.
“No. Wouldn’t want to inconvenience you with my company.” I replied, not looking back.
“Tris-” He began.
“Shut up, David.”
I plugged my headphones back into my ears and turned the volume up to drown out David’s protests.
I turned left at the traffic lights, crossed the road, and took the shortcut that would take me across Graythwaite Park, over the river and in through the back gate of my school.