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Chapter Nine

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I step into the living room with Austin next to me, and everyone is sat there in complete silence. I clear my throat, and their heads snap in our direction. Mrs. Emerson jumps up from her seat next to her husband and gives me a hug.

"I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to make you cry," she says and I give a small smile.

"It wasn't you, but I'm okay. Well, for now." She frowns and takes her seat next to Mr. Emerson again. Nick gives me a knowing look and a sad smile.

"Are you okay, Annie?" Randy asks, a concerned look on his face. I shrug, not really sure how to respond.

"Since my dramatic exit there, I think I owe you guys an explanation," I start.

"Honey, you don't," Mr. Emerson says, shaking his head.

I shake my head and say, "I really do." I let out a deep sigh and tighten my grip on Austin's hand.

"Well, let's start with the real reason we're here. Whatever excuses we made up were lies. The real reason we're here is...is because...um...our parents died in a c-car accident," Austin mutters, looking over at me, making sure I'm okay so far. The ones who didn't know let out a gasp.

"Amy and Derek offered to take us in which we are very thankful for. Our parents listed them as our guardians in their will. And we're sorry for hiding this for this long, but we just couldn't...talk about it. And we still can't but...we owed an explanation for that little scene I put on." I let out a soft laugh and look at the ground, not sure what else to say.

"We didn't just offer to take you in," Mr. Emerson says, rolling his eyes. "You're family, Annie and Austin. So that means you're stuck with us until well...forever." Everyone laughs, breaking the tension in the room.

"Oh gee, I feel so much better," I tease. He chuckles and shakes his head at me. "By the way, is lunch ready? Cause, I'm starving."

"Yep, let's go eat guys," Mrs. Emerson says and we all walk through the threshold towards the kitchen. I take my usual seat at the island with Carter on one side, and Austin on the other. Nick on the other side of Austin.

"Pass the ketchup," Nick says, shoving a fistful of fries in his mouth.

I shudder and grimace as I slide the bottle towards him. "You're so gross."

"What? This is how I eat," he says, his mouth full of the fries. I hold back a gag and look away from him. How do they expect me to eat with him next to me? Carter chuckles next to me and taps my shoulder.

"Look," he says, turning his phone towards me. He took a picture of me giving Nick a disgusted look with the fries hanging from his mouth.

Austin lets out a loud laugh, looking over at the phone. "Dude, send me that. That's my new wallpaper."

"Sure man!" Carter laughs, proceeding to send it to my brother. I mock glare at the both of them.

I laugh and show Nick the picture. "You look so ridiculous."

"Me? How about you? You look so terrified," Nick teases, laughing at the picture.

I hand Carter the phone back and say, "Send that to me too, please." He smiles and nods.

"Sure thing," he says, popping a French fry in his mouth.

"I don't know how you can still eat those," I comment. He smirks and shrugs at me.

"I've gotten used to his eating habits," he admits, making me laugh.

"Annie, I've officially called a girls day. Just me and you," Mrs. Emerson says all of a sudden.

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by T.
@T_Harp
After a tragic accident that completely changes her life, Annie and h...
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