What Lies Beyond the Eyes

Chapter 9: The Drive and AC/DC

I sat down in the recliner beside Sandy and watched Rom boot up and play Final Fantasy for a bit while I gathered my thoughts. I didn want to seem like an idiot when I talked to Sandy about what happened. Trying to be cool, aloof, but understanding I got my phone out and asked, ”Didn go so well. Huh? Im sorry… ”

Sandy looked away from her phone, and she turned in the couch to face towards me while still laying down. She gave me one of her patented bright smiles. I looked around me and then asked very confused, ”What? ”

She turned back around on the couch with her phone. I suddenly got a text message pop up on my phone. It was from Sandy.

Sandy: Remembered your phone this time huh? 12:15 PM

Dumbfounded by the text, I stumbled over my words, ”What do you—I always remember my phone! That was just an anomaly this morning! ”

”Uh-huhhhh… ”

In the corner of my eye, I could see Rom shivering to hold back laughter.

”D-don change the subject! ” I exclaimed, trying to salvage the situation. I sat up and peered at her over the couchs arm. ”What happened? ”

Sandy looked at me dead in the eyes, and she asked me quizzically, ”Nothing, nothing happened. Why? ”

Yep, thats it! I made up my mind. I turned away and walked towards the opposite side of the living room to the hallway to the bedrooms. ”No reason why. ” I told her, ”Rom was wondering what you two would do while we were gone is all, and she was too shy to ask you. ”

”Rommm! ” Sandy complained before pouncing on the defenseless girl on the ground, ”You still aren comfortable with me yet? ”

”NO! I just wasn going to pry, Mark! Sandyyyyy, Im playing a game! ”

Sandy brightened up with the playful fight and didn let up her assault, ”I knowww! I played some, but I never really got the hang of the controls. Can you teach me, pleaseeeee?! ”

”Okay, Okay! Fine just stop hahahaha! ”

I smiled at the newfound upbeat atmosphere in the living room. Rom probably didn think anything more of Sandys comments about nothing happening while we were gone, but I knew better. I saw Sandys eyes when she said those words. Those are eyes Im far too familiar with. The eyes of feeling woefully alone. This is going to change! …At least for today.

Staying in this already cramped house with two people much less four was a no go, so I quickly devised a fun plan. And since I am notorious for my fun plans, my nickname is Magic Mark—fun guy, this will obviously be fun for everyone…

Its a fifty-fifty shot of this working, I just went back to what I thought was fun as a kid. Itll probably end with me getting super embarrassed, but at least then everybody could be laughing at me then. Im fine with being the butt of a joke. Its something Im used to.

I don even know if I should be doing this. Itll just end in me getting hurt. God, I always do this! I always say I won feel anything, but then I go and do stuff like this. Maybe itll be fine though? Im not doing this to get close. Im doing this so she will feel better. Seeing her eyes get sullen to that degree disturbs something inside me. I didn know sibling or stepsibling rivalry could cause that sunken of a look…

Well, there isn anything I can do now. Ive already committed to my impulsive idea. Trying to make someone just feel happy is fine, right? Its nothing more than that…

I travel back into the small hallway and turn to the left towards Dannys door. I didn knock. I never knock on his door. I know that him and Gia are in their alone, but if he didn lock the door thats on him. Im his older brother. What does he expect from me?

I burst through the door to the sight of him and Gia making out on his bed.

”Hello there! ” I said sarcastically with a smirk.

His room was a mess, which didn say much because it wouldn have been hard to get it that way with the rooms small size. Clothes strewn on the floor in the corner. His drawer is open on the right corner of his room. His closet is open of the left corner of his room. His bookshelves are clean though aside from the dust. He doesn read so that explains that.

Gia nearly jumped out of her skin when I entered and shouted, ”Hey! Can knock? ”

Danny, who has already been conditioned to my nature, just turned around on his twin size bed and asked, ”Whats up? ”

”Get your shoes on, we
e going to the mall. ”

Gia sat up on the bed as she asked, ”What? Why? ”

Danny just accepted what I suggested, because he was too tired from baseball to put up a fight, and he started to put his shoes back on. ”Why are you just accepting this? ” Gia demanded from him.

Danny explained to her sorrowfully, ”Because it wouldn matter even if I told him no. Its less painful this way. ”

Gia let out a defeated sigh as she reached down for her shoes. I walked back into the living room, and I asked Sandy, ”Yoo, do you mind driving all of us to the mall? ”

Sandy, who was sitting down staring intently at the TV screen along with Rom before my entrance, gave me a confused look and asked, ”Why? Whats up? ”

I nonchalantly tried to explain coolly my plan, ”I was thinking going to the mall would be better than just staying here all day. Driving in one vehicle would be more efficient than taking two, and I thought driving in your Hybrid would be better than cramping in my car. Plus theres an arcade at the mall we can go to that has games to play too. Im sure Rom will be just as happy to beat you at those games as she is in this one. Ill pay until you can beat me in one game, so Ill probably be broke by the end of the trip. ”

Sandys mouth dropped from shock at my suggestion and almost immediately bounced up and stated proudly, ”Ill have you know I still hold the record for most tickets collected at a Chuck E Cheese for one day. Besides, Im sure Rom and I agree that our only competition will be to take you down. ”

Well, Im relieved to hear that this idea doesn seem to be a miss with the main person Im trying to cheer up. ”Wait, ” I paused amid her ecstatic jumping. ”They keep track of how many tickets you earn in a day? ”

”Well when you go there all the time and become friends with the employees they start to keep track… ”

”When did you— ” I started to ask but couldn finish.

Sandy started marching across the living room with Rom in tow as she pulled out her keys, ”Lets go! ” She announced with a giddy grin.

Rom followed close behind her like a duckling following her parent, and I couldn help but smile to myself. Those are the fiery eyes that are more like the Sandy I usually see, but Im starting to think they
e hiding something with how often they disappear only to come back as if theyd forgotten something.

I waited for Gia and Danny to file out of the house. I almost went back to his room to make sure they didn go back to making out, but they eventually came out of his room looking disheveled. Gia went out the door, but before Danny could I closed it in his face.

”What? ” He asked. ”I thought we were going to the mall? ”

I rubbed my face to ease my frustration. ”Your fly is down. ”

”What?! ”

He hurriedly zipped it up, and I slapped my face, ”How did you even do it that fast?! ” I asked him, almost impressed. ”I just saw you two! At least tell me you used the rubber! God, Mom will kill me if she found out! ”

”Relax! ” He interjected to calm me down, ”We didn do it. We
e both still virgins. We just quickly played around and thats it to kind of finish the mood I had started to make until you barged in! I promise! Knowing we had a time constraint actually made it more exciting and easier to quickly— ”

”Okay! ” I quickly stopped him before he could get any further. ”I don need to know the details! Just knowing you didn put your hand in the cookie jar without a glove on is all I need to know. ”

I couldn believe he did that. I couldn even fathom myself doing that, much less doing that and still not having the common sense to lock the door. Whatever happened to wholesome high school relationships? Ah, thats right. Wholesome and high school teenagers are not two things that go together. I was just wholesome because I was just very alone.

Which I was fine with even though it wasn by choice at first, and I had to go through multiple events that both ruined my perception of other people and ruin my perception of myself. Looking back I was really cringey, so I deserved being mocked. It was my fault in the end really. I was stupid, so I can really fault anyone but myself. So I stayed kind of isolated. Being friendly with everyone but not getting too close, that way people won find out how cringey I am. Its better for everyone, myself included, if I was just alone…

But if I know that its better for everyone for me to be alone, I don know why I keep torturing myself by trying over and over again to make deeper friendships. Maybe Im just a masochist that likes to be hurt emotionally over and over again? Maybe if I was better and more like Danny things would be different? Gah! My emotions are so conflicting! I just wish… I wish I would stop feeling.

”So we
e good? Are you good? ” Danny asked, interrupting my realization that I missed my youth. Ah! I started tearing up for some reason!

I sighed and quickly wiped my face and said, ”Yeah I guess. I won tell mom if you won tell her, oka— ”


”Oh yeah we
e going to the mall! ” I suddenly remembered. I was too caught up in what I just witnessed to think of anything else.

Danny opened the front door and chastised me, ”Wasn this your idea? ”

”Shut up! ” I commanded him as I locked the door behind us.

We made our way to Sandys car, who was anxiously tapping the steering wheel to tell us to hurry up. Before we opened her cars, I had one more thing I needed to tell Danny in private. ”Hey Danny! ”

”Yeah? ”

”Lock your door next time for **s sake. ”

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