Chapter Five - Wide Awake

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I heard the birds begin to chirp as the sunlight slowly began to stream into the treehouse. I opened my eyes and looked over at Jackson. He was awake, but only just. He smiled, but didn't say anything for a couple of minutes.

"Morning." I whispered finally, breaking the silence.

"Morning." He replied.

"Thank you for last night." I pulled the blanket up around my neck to keep the warmth in.

"You're welcome. Are you feeling a little better about today?"

I smiled. "You kidding. I've got you haven't I."

Jackson grinned back at me and let his fingertips brush my arm underneath the blanket. "That's the spirit." He said jovially before quickly pulling his hand back. His eyes widened and his smile dropped. It was like touching me burned him in some way.

"We should probably rejoin reality." I murmured, hoping to siphon the awkwardness from the moment.


"I guess." He replied sitting up.


**


After breakfast I went upstairs to my room and pulled out pair of jeans and an old black shirt that I'd swiped from Dad's drawers before I'd left. It had some kind of picture on it, but it was so faded that I couldn't make it out anymore. I pulled at my long deep red hair and ran my fingers through it. With little care or precision I tied my tresses into a ponytail. Once I was dressed I walked from the room and headed back down stairs. The twins were racing around like headless chickens gathering everything they needed for their first day of middle school.

"Come on, we're taking the mustang." Jackson said walking passed me. He opened the front door and flicked the keys around his fingers.

"Your dad's vintage mustang?"

"Yeah?" he laughed

"Ok." I whispered, suddenly afraid again. Mustangs like Xavier Smiths didn't rock by every day. It was fully restored to perfect condition, it wasn't exactly a deterrent for attention, it was an attention stealer.

"You're going to be fine, I promise. I take the mustang all the time anyway." Jackson replied

I nodded and followed Jackson out the door. Xavier had started restoring the car when we were kids. He said it held sentimental value and he wanted to restore it to its original beauty. Jackson and I used to sit inside it and pretend to drive places, so I guess it held sentimental value to me now too.

We arrived at school sometime later. I got out of the car and grabbed my bag. I walked with Jackson across the car park, very aware of all the eyes that gazed upon us, upon me in particular. I'd grown sensitive to that kind of attention, but Jackson seemed unfazed.

"Breathe, you're going to be fine." He murmured, his fingers brushed against my arm, but this time he didn't pull away so abruptly.

"I hope so." I mumbled. "I need to go get my schedule from the office."

Jackson led me to the office, He smiled and pointed at my schedule. "Looks like you've got all but one class with me. When I've got music, you've got dance."

"Shit so I really am stuck with you?" I teased.

Jackson feigned sadness before handing the schedule back. "I'll pretend you didn't say that. Anyway, Dance is right across from the music room. You're lucky to get in to that class. It's pretty new, only the best of the best get in."

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