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Lost

Chapter Twelve

“Zacky Vengeance?” Jack repeated, raising an eyebrow. “Who’s that?”

Lysander couldn’t help a smile. It was Monday lunch and the two boys were sitting with their backs to the outer wall of the school’s gymnasium. Noise drifted to them from the main courtyard, but otherwise they were in a fairly quiet part of the grounds. As per usual, they could see in every direction around themselves, ensuring that nobody would be taking them by surprise. But it was Jack who had taken him by surprise this time.

Over the weekend, Lysander had found himself caught up in what it was going to be like when he went back to school on Monday. If that girl on the beach had known who his father was, what was to say that the entire school didn’t know by now? He walked onto the grounds and headed towards his first class with his head down, but nobody had called him out. By third period, it had become apparent to him that his fears were unfounded. Either his classmates still didn’t know, or they simply did not care. Either way he was thankful. But this didn’t change the fact that he’d made up his mind to tell Jack. The boy deserved to know.

It was a blessing that of all the people he could have befriended at Huntington Beach High, he had found one that didn’t have the faintest clue who his father was. Just like Lysander was indifferent to Jack’s sexual orientation, Jack was indifferent to Zacky’s fame.

“He’s the guitarist for Avenged Sevenfold,” Lysander explained. “They’re a rock band.”

“I’ve never heard of them.” Jack frowned. “But they’re famous?”

“They’ve toured the world a few times, yeah.”

“Okay. That’s cool.”

Lysander had to agree to that. Whilst he had no desire to be a famous musician at any point in his life, travelling the world was something that he knew he wanted to do. He’d always had the intention of living out his life in Columbus, with his mother and Dakota always somewhere close by, but that would be after he had been everywhere he wanted to be, seen everything he wanted to see. One day, he promised himself.

“So what’s the story?” Jack asked. “He and your mom get divorced?”

“No. My mom took off before I was born; Zacky didn’t know I existed until after she...y’know.”

Jack nodded to show that he understood.

For so long it had just been a fact to Lysander – the simple fact that Zacky had not known of either his sister or himself – but now it was becoming something more. Now it was becoming something that he hated, something that he regretted. Had he tried harder to help Dakota get the word out to Zacky, would he have known about them sooner? Would things have been different for all of them?

“There’s more,” he went on before he could get too lost in his thoughts. “I, ah... I have a twin sister.”

“Twin,” Jack repeated, never one to miss a beat. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure we’ve only had one new kid in the past month: you.”

“She’s missing. Kidnapped by the lunatic who killed my mom.”

To that, Jack had nothing to say. He looked understandably stunned and Lysander couldn’t blame him. Truth be told, he was still shocked in his own way, too. Kidnappings were something that you heard about but scarcely ever saw. He still found it hard to believe that it had happened to his own sister, and yet it had. There wasn’t a doubt in his mind about it.

If only he’d been home that night...

“That’s the real reason that I came to California,” he added with a shrug. “The cops wouldn’t believe me when I said Dakota wasn’t a runaway, so I came to Zacky for help instead.”

“What do you mean they wouldn’t believe you?” Jack shook his head. “Why don’t you start at the beginning and tell me what happened?”

And so he did. He started out by telling his friend about Dakota, about how she had dated Jacob Alfonzo for a while, about how things had gone sour between them in the end. He told him about the day that he had punched Alfonzo in the face – something that he was starting to regret, seeing as it could have been part of what had led them to where they were now. And then he told him about the night that he had come home to find his mother’s body on the floor and his sister’s room a mess, her left behind iPod a tell-tale sign that she hadn’t left willingly.

He told Jack of the day that he’d finally decided he would need the help of his father. He told him of his fears and his doubts, of his worries that Zacky wouldn’t want to help. He told him about the very first day that the two of them had met – father and son, face to face, in the parking lot at John Wayne Airport. He told him everything, right up until last week’s development with Zacky and Brian posting the message to their fans.

And he had to admit that he felt better for it. It felt good to get it all out, to tell his new friend about everything that was going on in his life. Meeting McKenna on the weekend had been a breath of fresh air. Having Jack know everything was another.

“I’m sorry,” was the first thing Jack said when Lysander was done. “Seriously. I can’t even imagine what life must be like for you right now.”

“It’s not so bad.” Lysander shrugged. “I mean, it was at first, but things are easier now.”

“Because you’re certain that your sister’s going to be found within days.”

Lysander nodded. The look on Jack’s face said that he wasn’t entirely convinced, but he kept his mouth shut. Whatever more of their conversation was left was going to have to wait, because the bell chose that moment to ring and Lysander had already made it clear that he didn’t want anybody else finding out about this prematurely. Jack had respected his wishes and sworn himself to secrecy.

He and Jack were forced to go their separate ways regardless as they made their way to their respective classes. Whilst Jack went off to drama where he could further wow the teachers with his knowledge of all things Shakespearean, Lysander headed off to the art class that he had elected to take. Art was fun, he found, and his way of keeping close to his mother. He may not have been a world class painter, but he could sketch well enough.

This was a class that he shared with Eliza Beth, so he was thrilled when she took the seat opposite him and smiled his way. He smiled right back at her, though neither of them said a word as the sometimes-strict Mrs Petrov called the class to attention and gave them their assignment for the next few lessons.

“Last week,” she said, “we focused on the natural world. There we were looking at curves and irregular shapes. This week, I want to see something from everyone that reflects the man-made world and what you think of it.”

The man-made world. Lysander opened to a fresh page in his sketchbook and stared down at it. Drawing the natural world had been easy for him – he looked out on it every day when he watched the sun set over the beach through his window. He had sketched exactly that for his teacher, making use of colours to show the way that it was different every day. But man-made...

Had his window faced the other way, he would have been looking out at houses, he knew. Building upon building, each and every one different and yet the same. He tapped his pencil against his book, quite aware that all around him many people were already hard at work. But he needed an idea before he could start.

Eliza Beth appeared to be having the same issue. In front of him, she too was looking down at a blank piece of paper. Her hands remained motionless and her eyes narrowed in thought. He grinned at the way she scrunched up her nose in agitation.

“Stuck for ideas?” he asked with a chuckle.

“Yes,” she admitted with a sigh. “It’s more than that, though. This brief... It’s just boring.” After a moment more of thought she added, “Do you think she’d flunk me if I drew an army of robots?”

“I doubt it. They’re man-made.”

“What about you?” she asked then. “You got any bright ideas?”

He looked around the room. Mrs Petrov was probably one of the only teachers who personalised her room as much as she did, with posters and photographs of her homeland. Lysander found himself staring at one such poster, an A3 sized sheet that depicted Vatican City. And just like that he made up his mind.

“A church,” he told her. “I’m going to draw a church.”

“A church?” she repeated, raising an eyebrow. “If you want to draw a building, why not draw a cityscape?”

“Double-meaning,” he told her. “ Buildings are man-made, sure. But in a way, I think religion is, too.”

Eliza Beth watched him curiously for a moment, looking like she was debating her next few words before speaking them. He smiled at her in encouragement.

“You don’t believe in God?” she asked. “You think He’s just...something the church made up?”

“I’m not saying I don’t believe,” he assured her. “Really, I don’t know whether there’s a God or not. But I think that a lot of it could have just been something made up to keep people in line back when religion was a big thing in the world. Kind of like the way parents tell their kids they’ll get square-eyes if they watch too much television, y’know?”

“Huh,” she said. “I never really thought about it like that.”

She sounded impressed as opposed to the offended that Lysander knew a lot of people would have been. He had to wonder briefly over whether or not Petrov, as devout as he already knew she was, would appreciate his work for what it would be once it was done. There was always the chance that she would take it the wrong way, take it personally. It made him rethink his plan for a moment. But only a moment.

“You’re really smart.”

Lysander looked at Eliza Beth. She had her own eyes fixed on him and a smile on her face, but all he could do was shake his head.

“I’m not that smart.”

“You’re smarter than any other guy I know.”

“Clearly you don’t know Jack very well.”

She rolled her eyes, but it brought a smile to her lips all the same.

“Here I am trying to pay you a compliment and you keep shooting me down!”

He grinned as he finally set pencil to paper and began to sketch. Truth be told, it thrilled him to hear her say such a thing. He’d had a number of compliments thrown his way over the years – from being called hot or sexy to being described as an athletic champion – but being told that he was smart was something new, something thrilling. Something to be truly appreciated.

“Thanks,” he said at last. “That’s nice of you.”

“Don’t mention it.” She smiled that perfect smile of hers before speaking again. “So, anyway. Mel’s having a party at her place this weekend. You and Jack should come along.”

Lysander was on the verge of politely declining when he suddenly found himself reconsidering. A party. It had been a long while since he’d last attended one, and with everything that was going on in his life a little fun could be a very welcomed thing. And yet, how could he even think about having fun when Dakota was still out there somewhere, more than likely having a horrible time.

“It’s nothing huge,” Eliza Beth went on, clearly seeing the indecision in his features. “Just a bit of fun while her parents are out of town. But her sister will be supervising,” she added hastily. “And she’s twenty-four. Just in case that was an issue.”

It wasn’t. Even in Columbus parties had been thrown simply because parents had gone out of town. He and his sister had thrown one or two of their own over the years, knowing that their mother wouldn’t mind so long as there was no evidence of it left behind. She hadn’t agreed to alcohol being involved, but they had become so good at cleaning up that she had no chance at knowing whether or not it was.

The issue here was that Dakota was still missing and – it stunned him to realise it – he didn’t like the thought of attending a party without her. They had always gone to these things together, had always been able to keep an eye out for each other. The thought of attending one without her was a little daunting – just like starting a new school without her had been. But, he realised, it was something that needed to be done. He wasn’t a child.

And if anything, it was a way to spend more time with the pretty girl sitting across from him. How could he pass it up?

“I’ll be there,” he told her without another moment of hesitation. “Assuming that my dad’s okay with it, of course.”

“I’m sure he will be,” she said confidently. She tore a piece of paper from the back of her book and scribbled something down on it before passing it over to him. “That’s the address, and my cell number in case you run into any trouble over finding the place.”

“Thanks,” he said again. “There shouldn’t be any trouble, though.”

“Just in case.”

He slipped the piece of paper into his pocket, where it sat safely beside Dakota’s iPod. He kept his fingers rested on the small piece of technology for a moment longer than necessary before returning his attention to the page in front of him. The faint outline of his building stared back at him.

He looked back up at Eliza Beth. She was working now, dull-edged pencil gliding gracefully across the paper as she sketched out the very first member of her robot army. Lysander watched her with interest, admiring the way that she had suddenly become so focused. Her dark hair slipped out from its place behind her ears and he had to resist the urge to reach out and tuck it back for her. But he hated the way it formed a curtain across her face – he loved being able to see her eyes.

Those eyes...

He went back to his own work before she could catch him staring.

He had to admit, he felt a little like a stalker, falling for her as fast as he was. Back home this had never happened. Even the time that Jessica Kirk had moved to their tiny town in seventh grade, it had taken time before any sort of relationship had developed between them. With Eliza Beth Jenkins, it was almost as if it had been – he scoffed at the thought of it – love at first sight. But there was no such thing. He was almost certain of it. It had to be something else that had allowed him to become so taken with her.

None of it would matter, anyway. Not unless she returned his feelings. And he wasn’t entirely sure that she did.

His mind began to wander as he added a spire to his church. If he managed to get to this party come the weekend, he decided, he would find out whether or not his feelings were reciprocated. Really, what was the worst that could happen? He could discover that she didn’t feel the same, and that would be that. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if she didn’t like him as anything more than a friend. That sort of thing happened every day, and people moved on. He would move on.

It was a comforting, inspiring thought.

They spoke together for a few minutes more before class ended, but ultimately ended up going their separate ways after the bell had sounded. He watched her head down the corridor until she met up with one of her friends, one who saw him watching and sent him a knowing smirk before he turned and hurried off to his next class. Eliza Beth may not have caught him staring, but her friend would more than likely tell her. He didn’t know whether to be pleased or to kick himself.

He decided on the former. He was going to be telling her that weekend, anyway.

He was glad to meet up with Jack again in Geography. It was probably the most boring and (in his honest opinion) useless class that they were forced to take, so he was more than just a little grateful that he didn’t have to endure the torture alone. Despite this, between doing the work that had been placed in front of them and attempting to avoid the scrutinising gaze of Ms Fairplay, they didn’t get much time to talk to one another. Lysander had been able to do little more than inform Jack of the party they’d been invited to before those hawk-like eyes had zeroed in on them and they’d had to fall silent.

The second they’d been free of her watchfulness, her focus turned instead to the likes of Jeffery Hallon and his friends, Jack nodded to show that he was game. Lysander grinned. So maybe he would be going to this party without his sister – but that didn’t mean he would be going alone. Between Jack and Eliza Beth, he knew that he would be in for a good time. And that was all that mattered.

And with thoughts of the weekend ahead on his mind, he put his head down and got to work on getting through the day.

Comments

I read this here, I read this at Mibba. I'm just obsessed with this story! I love it!
Nia_Flores Nia_Flores
4/8/13
Update! Soon! Please!
I can't help reading this twice. I love it! LOVE IT!!!
Nia_Flores Nia_Flores
3/13/13
I read this on Mibba & I re-read it here! It's really great.
Nia_Flores Nia_Flores
2/18/13
Update soon or i will DIE