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Chapter 10 : Secret-Keepers
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"Why'd you come back, Aisley?" he asked. A thousand lies and even more half-truths sprang to her tongue almost instantly. She never even considered telling him the whole truth. He wasn't ready to hear it yet, and frankly, she didn't think she could handle telling him and having him laugh, or worse, feel sorry for her.
"I..." she stalled. "It was just...time, I suppose. I'd seen the world, and I just wanted my corner of it back." Aisley tried to smile, but Cam just stared at her.
"I thought you of all people could tell me the truth." he said stiffly as he started to turn away, but Aisley touched his shoulder.
"Cam." she sighed. "There was....a guy. In Paris. He wanted me to marry him. The day befoer, I had decided to go somewhere else. Italy, maybe. I...cared about Pierre, but...I never really felt tied to him, or to Paris. Just like I never felt tied to anyone else. Before that, when I wanted to leave, I left. And I couldn't keep doing that to people who cared about me. I never loved Pierre. And I never loved any of the places I went. So I came back to the place that I've always loved." And the one man I've ever loved. she added in her mind.
"You know, Aisley." Cam said quietly. "I think you've been running over half of your life. You left without a word three years ago. And a year befoer that, you left the World Cup the same way. What's had you running scared all these years?" he asked.
"You!" she wanted to scream. "You and your bloody pheremones!" But she didn't. Instead, she said nothing, and Cam only mentioned inane bits of nothing after that.
*/end flashback*~So Aisley sat in front of her mirror and felt sorry for herself. As she prepared for yet another date with James, she wished she wasn't going. James was just...too nice, she decided. He was polite and funny, but too even-tempered. Aisley was a volatile person whose emotions were alsmost always easy to see, so she couldn't picture herself in a relationship with someone who rarely seemed to let his emotions surface at all. But she couldn't break up with him. It was actually impossible for her to break up with the nice guys, and what a pity that was.
The only thing that Aisley felt like doing was watching the fireflies. Instead, she was going to have to try and enjoy whatever activity James had planned. As she was getting dressed, there was a tapping sound at her window. Aisley looked out to see a magnificent tawny owl bearing a note for her. She opened it and quickly scanned the paper.
Aisley: it read.
I'm really sorry, but I'm going to have to cancel our date tonight. Apparently, some of the boys decided it would be funny to let loose a pack of Nifflers in class today, and they attacked a couple of the girls, so I'm in charge of detention tonight. Don't miss me too much!
JamesNot so surprisingly, Aisley was relieved. She quickly penned a respnse, sent it off, and changed into her pajamas. She planned on enjoying the free evening to the fullest extent possible.
An hour or so later, she headed down to the kitchen for a snack. What she found surprised her. Rebecca, Jamie, and four other women were sitting at the table in similar pajamas, laughing about something or other. Rebecca looked up guiltily and the laughter stopped.
"Aisley." she said with an awkward smile. "We didn't know you were here."
"Um....James had to cancel our date." Aisley said quietly. "Sorry if I disturbed you guys."
"What?!?" The question exploded from Rebecca's mouth. "You weren't disturbing us. I thought we were disturbing you."
"Oh." Aisley laughed. "You weren't. Honestly. I didn't even know you guys were here."
"Wow. That's a first." Rebecca snickered. "But....hey, why don't you join us?"
Aisley looked around nervously. "Are you sure? I don't want to intrude...."
"Don't be dense, Ais." Rebecca scoffed. "If you were intruding, I wouldn't have invited you to join us, now would I?" The other women chorused their assent.
Ten minutes later, Aisley found herself having a heated argument over who should have won the last World Cup.
":I'm telling you, Scotland was robbed." the woman in front of her said earnestly, a faint brogue tinting her speech.
"Oh, I don't know." Aisley said calmly as she painted her nails. "If anyone should have won, it was Spain."
"What are you talking about? Their keeper's horrible, for Merlin's sake!"
"Oh, and like Ludley is any better." Aisley retorted, but she was grinning. "But you're right. Mendes was horrible. Which is why I'm glad I supported America the entier time." Her companion's eyes widened.
"You didn't." she whispered. Aisley just laughed. "You did?"
"Um....have you seen those boys without their robes on?" Aisley asked pointedly. The woman across from her flushed.
"Oh. Um. Right." Then she, too, laughed. "You really had me going there. I'm Jen."
"You bet I did. And it's Aisley." The two women smiled at each other, then burst into giggles when their peers instigated a pillow fight.
Fifteen minutes and ten pillows later, all seven women were sitting indian-style in a circle, the poor, injured pillows lying in a heap off to the side.
"The name of the game..." Rebecca said slowly. "...is Secret-Keepers. Each of us gets a blindfold, and when it's your turn, you put it on. Then, you tell everyone a secret of yours. Not about how you once pretended to be a cat, but something important. The benefit is that you don't have to worry about people's visual reactions, and no one is allowed to tell anyone else the secret. I'll start." Rebecca handed out the blindfolds, then put hers on. She began to speak agin, but Aisley didn't hear her. She was too busy searching for something to say when it was finally her turn. Only one thing was coming to mind, but she didn't want to share it. It was too...big. And too old. And too personal.
When her turn came at last, Aisley slipped the blindfold over her eyes with a feeling of dread. For a moment, she just sat there, eyes covered, saying nothing. A lone figure appeared at the door, but none of the women noticed. But all of a sudden, Aisley wasn't feeling quite so anxious. So she began.
"There was a boy." she said quietly. "We were ten yers old, and it was the summer before we went to Hogwarts. We were at the beach, and we started playing around in the water. It was nothing serious, just two kids horsing around. But....well, suffice it to say, I fell in. The water really wasn't too deep, but I couldn't swim. I didn't know how. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get my head above water. But this boy...he pulled me out, and then he started yelling at me. I can still see his face." Aisley was crying by that time, but she didn't stop. "He said 'Only you would get in a water fight in the bloody ocean without knowing how to swim!' And then he kissed me. We both decided that was just too gross, so it ended pretty quickly. But he pulled me out and then swore that by the end of the day, he'd teach me how to swim, and that as long as I was going to be a dumb girl, he'd always be there to watch out for me. He was right." For the merest of seconds, Aisley smiled. "On both counts. To this day, I still don't know why he kissed me. I guess it doesn't matter any more. All I know is that by the time school rolled aorund, I thought I had a crush on him. I was very, very wrong. ....I ran away from home, and more importantly, from him, right after I graduated. And in a very real sense, I've been running from him in one way or another sincer we were born. So here's the secret. It took me a while to figure it out. I didn't get it at all until I was sixteen, and I didn't fully understand it until a few months ago when I finally started running in the right direction; towards home. But you guys want to here the truth. Well, here it is, girls. The truth is...." Aisley hesitated for a moment. But then she figured, if she'd come so far, why stop then? "The truth is....the truth is that I've been in love with Cameron Potter, my best friend in the whole world, for ten and a half years- since that day on the beach when he saved my life and we discovered that kissing was really, really gross."
A gasp escaped from Rebecca. It wasn't because she was particularly shocked to hear Aisley's secret. And it wasn't because she was playing along to make Aisley feel better. No. It was because she'd just realized that Cameron Potter, the guy who just happened to be her favorite older brother, a huge pain in the neck, and the recently proclaimed love of Aisley's life, had been standing by the door the entire time Aisley had been speaking. And when Aisley had gotten to the last part of her speech, Rebecca had gotten a good look at her brother's face before he'd shut the door with a quiet 'click' and left. He'd lost all of his color, and the emotions flickering in his eyes had ranged from shock to disbelief to anger to hurt; something that looked like pleasure to astonishment, and then, finally, stark terror. So as Aisley pulled her blindfold off, Rebecca jumped up and went for the door. "I'll be right back." she said quickly. And then she left, knowing that she had to find Cam.
A/N: Well, what did you guys think. I know, I know, it's a strange game to play. And the blindfolds are kind of weird. But that's how it had to work out. Now it's FEEDBACK TIME!!! I'll just tell you that Chapter 11 is almost done, and continues along the same little storyline, but from Cam's point of view. Yes, that's right. He actually gets to speak in the next chapter. Hope you guys liked it, and, again, leave a review!!! Thankies!
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