Chapter 24 iDread Family Game Night

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Keeley's fingers tensed around her phone as the front door opened. She sent the text she'd been typing to Talon off before dropping it in her lap. Seconds later, Zach entered the family room and their eyes briefly met. To most people, a quick glance couldn't tell them much, but for the twins it spoke volumes. Since birth—maybe even in the womb—they were in tune with each other. It was as if they could read each other's mind.

When they were little, they use to play elaborate pranks on their babysitters. They could maneuver through the house and time their pranks perfectly without saying a word. Their dad aptly named the mental connection their "twin talk." More than one babysitter was freaked out by it. By the time they were ten, their parents were forced to pay triple the rate just to get a babysitter to consider it.

A lump formed in Keeley's throat as her brother broke their connection and looked away. She expected the anger—so hot it almost scalded her, but she hadn't anticipated what lay underneath. Hurt manifested itself into an open wound, so raw and throbbing, she felt her own soul ache in response.

Zach had always been a hot head. Even as a child his temper blew with the slightest provocation. However, underneath all that bluster was a kind heart. Growing up, Keeley had been introverted unless she was with her brother. When he was around, she felt safe and protected. Knowing that, Zach made sure to constantly be with her. He would hold her hand in big crowds and speak for her when she was too scared to talk.

It wasn't until she met Nicky that she started to come out of her shell and rely on her twin less and less. She always believed Zach was grateful for that small miracle. He was finally allowed to make friends and hang out with other boys his age. He never complained though. However, she knew down to the very core of her being, that if she had never met Nicky, he would have kept being her champion. That was why the pain swirling behind his eyes affected her so much. She hated knowing she was the cause.

"Sit and watch TV with us," her mom said from the couch, cuddling next to their father.

"I'm going to my room. I have homework."

"Sit." It wasn't a request this time. Tension hummed through the air as he shuffled toward Keeley and sat down.

"Isn't this nice? The whole family together."

Keeley's lips twitched at the pleasant words. They were completely ridiculous considering the situation. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Zach trying to hide his own smile. If they were on speaking terms, they would have made faces, silently poking fun at their mother. Instead they ignored each other, acting as though a barrier stood between them.

"Make sure to be home tomorrow," their mother continued. "We're going to have game night."

Zach spoke up. "Actually I have—"

"Cancel them."


Her eyes latched onto him, narrowing as she said, "I have put it off for three weeks now. We're going to sit down as a family and have some fun. Am I understood?"

Zach nodded. They both knew not to disagree when their mother took that tone.

"Excellent and Keeley," she turned to look at her, "you can invite Talon over."

"What?!" Keeley and Zach shouted. Did their mom want to start World War III?

"I am tired of this nonsense between you two. You're siblings. I will not stand by and watch you drift farther and farther apart. Zach, it's time to bury the hatchet with that boy and get over this stupid rivalry."

"It's not stupid," Zach mumbled. He slouched into the couch, his face mustered up in defiance. "I don't see why I have to wave the white flag just because she's dating that jack—"

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