#1 The Replacement
5 months ago
“How did this happen?”, Skylar asked her father, upon seeing him standing in a pool of blood. What she came home to see was beyond her expectations as there was never a day that she would expect to see her mother dead on the floor. Her father had called the ambulance but by the time they got there, it was already too late. Her mother had been shot and due to the major blood loss from the gunshot straight to the heart it was indeed too late for her mother.
She watched as her mother was whisked away by the paramedics to the ambulance. It was so tragic to see her dear mother lying motionlessly on the stretcher. She could not do anything. After cleaning the blood of her mother, she went to her room to grieve for her mother. Her father, Daniel was a cop and though he had promised her to make sure that he would find the person who had murdered her mother, Kate, she knew that it wasn’t enough. She wanted to make the person who had killed his mother to feel how she felt the moment a daughter was separated from her mother.
Daniel had the part of the New York Police Department (N.Y.P.D.), searching for this mass murderer for months but to no avail he was still in the unknown.
Skylar on the other hand, had been diving into study for the past few months and tried to assist her father in the search for the murderer. It was just one random day that, Skylar was still busy studying that Daniel came to knock on her room door asking her, “Sky? Are you alright? I know it’s been a rough couple of months but, your mom wanted me to give you this-” Skylar went to open her room door to reveal her father who was standing there holding the necklace her mother owned. “Look, if it’ll make you feel any happier you can go out with Alexa and Brooke tonight. You’ve been diving into work for the past few months. I think you deserve a break.”
With that he stood aside to reveal her friends who were standing behind him. Skylar came out of her room - eyes welled up with tears of sorrow - to hug her friends. It had really been a long day. She never imagined that the day would turn out this way. She had been hell bent on finding the murderer that even Daniel couldn’t get her out of her room. They brought her to the living room to calm her down, but her tears would not stop falling as if it was like a faucet. She too knew that she could not do anything about it.
“I’ll go out with you guys but who else is going?”, she said when she finally calmed down. Despite still being a little reluctant to go. She knew that her friends wanted what was best for her and didn’t want to push her into doing something she didn’t want to.
“Just some of the guys - have you forgotten that tonight we were supposed to attend Jackson’s party?”, said Brooke.
Skylar stepped forward still having her head buried in the reports from the N.Y.P.D. “I don’t think it is such a good idea because I am this close to unveiling the face behind my mother’s murderer.”
Brooke, who towered over her said, “You need to get your mind off what had happened and stop blaming yourself for it. What could you have done to save her anyways?” while snatching the papers from her hands and putting it on her bedside table. “When was the last time you came and hung out with us? It’s been months and if none of the people in the N.Y.P.D. could find him, what makes you think you will have any luck finding this mysterious person?”
Alexa finally sat down beside her, “Brooke is right, Sky - you need a something to cheer you up. Get some fresh air. And forget about what had happened.”
“Alright.” Skylar finally agreed to go though she was rather reluctant about it. Skylar thought as she picked out her outfit to wear to the party that night. “I don’t have anything to wear!”, she exclaimed as she was flipping through the dresses in the closet.
“Don’t be so down in the dumps”, Alexa was right next to her helping her choose her clothes. “Think of the bright side, you might find a new boyfriend.” Alexa always pushed Skylar to find a boyfriend. She seemed like she would never need a man and that was another reason why she never wanted another boyfriend especially after the last one which happened while she was still young and did not know what it was like. After that relationship, she was just as stubborn as a mule to not fall for another guy.
Skylar ended up wearing a black T-shirt that said, ‘WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER’, a pair ripped jeans and her hair tied up into a messy bun. She didn’t see the need to dress up for anyone in particular especially when it was right after her mother’s death.
When they got to the party, the song that was playing in the background was Dark Horse. Though most of the people that Jackson’s brother had invited were older than they were. But they didn’t really care as they were always around people who were much older than they were in school. “Hey, so I’m glad that you girls could make it.”, said Jackson while passing them the drinks. It was his brother’s party but since there was room, he had asked his brother whether he could invite some friends over. The seniors were getting wasted on tequila that was supposedly illegal for them but since his parents weren’t the ones supervising the party because they were on a business trip. Jackson’s brother, Noah had planned this party out with his friends.
“We’re just glad we could make it”, said Skylar. He could hear the sarcasm in her voice, but he did not really care that much. “Hey, let’s go and join the rest inside”, said Brooke while pulling Skylar by the wrist to the living room of Jackson’s house.
“Do I have to?”, Skylar protested.
“Yes - now come on,” Brooke was still grabbing her by the wrist.
“I’ll just stay by the snack table. You guys have fun.” Skylar never felt so down before and yet she couldn’t do anything about it. She wasn’t looking where she was going and bumped into someone whom she had not met before. “I’m sorry” both of them said while he helped her up to her feet. “I wasn’t looking where I was going”, she continued. He didn’t look that much older than she was. His blonde hair matched his blue eyes. He wore a white T-shirt with a leather jacket and jeans.
“Sorry” she apologized again. “I’m Skylar,” she started the conversation. But before he could reply, there was a voice from distance, “Cody, you coming?”.
“Sorry, I got to go,” he said politely, leaving to find his friends. Skylar was left all by herself.
“Who’s your new friend?” said Alexa, who had been eavesdropping on their conversation, her eyes were that of the Cheshire Cat. “He’s hot. Did you manage to get his number?” She was really curious about the deeds, but Skylar let her down.
“I didn't even get his name, but I think his name is Cody,” Skylar admitted, and she continued to chomp into the pastry she had been holding on.
“This is worse than I thought, she won’t even socialize with anyone.”, Alexa said to Brooke, who had just come to her side. “She is more depressed than Dumbo when he lost his mother.”
“I’ll go and talk to Jackson about it. He probably knows what to do in this type of situation.” Brooke left to find Jackson.
Brooke sashayed away to find Jackson but not to ask about what the girls had talked about.
“Say, Jackson, do you happen to know who that hot senior is?”, said Brooke while pointing at Cody.
“That is Cody Frost. One of Noah’s friends from the recent basketball tournament. Why? And who's asking?”
“Oh, I’m just doing Skylar a favor - Do you also happen to know who’s his friend over there?”, she was now indicating the person who was beside him whose hair was a light brown and somewhat similar to Cody’s but just a little darker.
“That’s not his friend. It’s his younger brother; Tyler.”
Brooke was stunned as Tyler looked as tall as his brother that it made him look about his age plus, there was no family resemblance. After watching them while still trying to keep the conversation going with Jackson. She knew that Jackson was still trying to get Skylar to be his girlfriend but then she was playing hard to get.
“Do you happen to still have a crush on Skylar?” she started to interrogate him.
“Is it really that obvious?”
“Yes, the way you tried to hug her just now before you notice the tears in her eyes. Look, my point is that you could probably get her to finally be your girl if you do precisely what I say. You know how she is very depressed now? Well, you can probably be that shoulder for her to cry on. You could probably get her some flowers since Christmas is coming in a month.”
“I don’t think that is such a great idea. I mean like I really do like her but what would happen if your plans backfire, she may reject me just like the last time I’ve tried.”
“Just try. You might just brighten up her day.”
“Fine. I’ll think about it.”
“Do you know anything else about - about the two brothers I mean.”
“Cody plays basketball and Tyler, I don't really know, he’s a freshman but he probably plays basketball too, to be able to grow so tall. Anyways, why are you suddenly taking interest in the people that you’ve haven’t met.”
“Just curious. You know how Alexa and I are just like the Cheshire Cats in our friendship. Anyways, I got to go back to save my BFFs before she falls back into her depressing stage again.”
Cody was still staring at Skylar from a distance, he seemed to not be able to keep his eyes off her. The first time he saw her, he had already gathered all the information about her instantly. “Who was that girl you were talking to just now? And why are you just staring at her?”, a familiar voice came from behind him. It was Tyler.
“You say that as if you always come to these sorts of parties every day. - Her name is Skylar. Any other information - I’m not that sure because you interrupted my conversation with her.” Though he was the oldest, there was nothing to prove it as Tyler was the only one who thought logically.
“You can’t blame me that mom wants me to keep an eye on you. Wasn’t it Noah who invited you to this party? Why don't you try to enjoy the party with everyone else?” They had never actually been this close until their father’s death which was about 2 years ago. The day of their father’s funeral was embedded in their memory forever. Then again, the two of them spent most of their lives together like two peas in a pod.
“Why don't you just go and enjoy the party without me? I’ve been to too many of these sorts of parties already. I have better things to do anyways.”
“You mean talking to her-” Tyler was facing where Cody was staring at; Skylar. “I’ll go along with you if you like. She seems like she needs some cheering up anyways.”
“No. I’m good. You can go and join the rest if you like.”
Cody went over to where Skylar was. She was still beside the snack table. Skylar as always was not really paying attention to her surroundings and did not even notice that Cody was standing right beside her until he started talking.
“Hey Skylar, sorry about earlier-”, Cody started. “Was caught up by my brother.”
“Wait-” Skylar, tried to connect the two faces and then interrupted, “the two of you are siblings? I initially thought he was your friend. Why are you here and not mingling with the rest of the people?”
“I’ve been to enough parties already and plus you seem a little down. Are you alright?”
Skylar started explaining the whole story of how her mother had been shot.
“I’m sorry for your loss. I know how it’s like to lose someone you love that you treasure dearly. I also lost my father a few years back. Why did you end up coming to this party anyway especially when your mother had just recently passed away?”
“My father thought that if I came out with my friends, then I would keep my mind off the problems I’m facing right now - and look where that has gotten me. I am just blaming myself some more now that I am out of the house.”
“Then stop blaming yourself. It was not your fault that your mom had been shot in the heart because you weren’t there when all that had happened.” Cody reassured her, “You can’t live in fear forever. You will soon need to find a way out of that fear circle.”
“How did you get over it? Losing your father, I mean? Like it is really that easy to get over losing someone that you loved so dearly.”
“I didn’t. I just accepted fate and continued living life to the fullest. What I mean is that there is no point dwelling on the past if you are in the present right?”
“Thanks Cody. I feel better already.”
“Anytime Skylar, anytime.”
“Hey. Have you seen Skylar anywhere?” Alexa asked, turning to Brooke.
“No - I think that she should be still where we left her.” Brooke replied while still peering around to find her. Though the two of them were already kind of drunk, they were still looking around for Skylar. They were enjoying themselves so much that they had forgotten about the main reason that they had come to this party; to make Skylar stop blaming herself for her mother’s death.
“Oh, there she is -” Alexa was pointing at Skylar who appeared to look like she was talking to someone while still dragging Brooke. The two of them appeared out of the crowd, out of nowhere and startled Skylar.
“Sky...Who’s this hot guy that you are talking to?” Though Alexa interrupted her conversation, she still answered because she knows that they were too wasted to listen to whatever she said anyways.
“This is Cody - a new friend of mine.”
“Are these two friends of yours?” Cody asked curiously.
“Apparently-” she responded sarcastically while rolling her eyes. She was still ignoring their presence, “How am I going to get home now that these two are too drunk to walk me home?” she said under her breath.
“I could give you a ride home if you like. - I need to get Tyler home anyways.”
“Really?” Skylar clarified with Cody.
“Yeah, I mean like of course there was no way that you are going to attempt to walk home all by yourself especially this late at night.”
“Are you sure that the two of you will be alright?” Skylar was turning to Alexa and Brooke but the two of them were too drunk to understand anything that she was saying. The two of them were always the most rebellious in their friend circle.
“I think they’ll be alright. Shall we go?”, he was holding out a hand to Skylar and she saw it was just like in the fairytale where the prince was being so gentleman-like. Cody really reminded her of the prince from all the movies that she had watched. She put her hand in his. Was this a start of a new relationship? This question went through her mind when she left the party.
When she was outside where Cody had parked his car, there was a Lamborghini Urus waiting outside and she was shocked to see that he could even afford such a car.
“Come on.” a voice came from the driver’s seat.
She scrambled to the backseat of the car. The interior of the car was padded with cushion but then the smell of leather was still there. Skylar was surprised as the fanciest car she had ever been in was only Alexa’s mom’s Honda Civic but then this was really unexpected especially from teens.
Though Skylar was usually talkative but these were two people she did not know, and they offered to drive her home- technically it was Cody who offered.
She tried to think of a way to talk but her mouth was stuck shut like a clam. To break the thick ice that was between them, Cody said, “You know that you don’t have to stay quiet right?”
“Oh sorry - It’s just that I barely even know the two of you and yet the two of you are treating me so nicely.”
“Well, it was Cody’s-”, Tyler was saying before he got elbowed by Cody. “Habit of treating-every-stranger-you-meet-kindly.”
Before they knew it, they had already reached Skylar’s place. Her father was worried sick as he did not know why there was a Lamborghini parked outside his house until Skylar came out from the back seat of the car. Skylar thanked Cody and Tyler for sending her home.
Daniel somehow recognized the license plate number but put in behind all the rest of his thought as he was just glad that his daughter was home in one piece. “Who were those two boys?”, her father asked when they finally drove away.
“Oh, just some new friends that I met at Jackson’s brother, Noah’s party.”
As she entered the house, she wondered how they knew where she was staying even though she did not tell them anything of where she stayed. She just assumed that Cody had probably asked Alexa or Brooke before leaving. But then she could not keep her mind off Cody. Was she in love? She asked herself but then she was delirious about it and chose to set her feelings aside as she knew that she could not possibly be in love with someone she had just met.
“Why did you want to send her home?” Tyler finally had the chance to question his brother. “I mean like it is not every day that you offer a girl a ride home so why her? What will mom say?”
“I was just being nice. There was no way that we were letting her walk home alone. Her friends were too wasted to walk her back. And mom won’t know about it unless someone told her.”, Cody was giving his brother a cold stare.
“Why are you saying that as if she is your sister? Doesn’t mom always have her way to figure things out even without us telling her?”
“Let’s just hope for the best. I mean like she trusted me enough to let me drive dad’s car out anyways.”
“Just keep driving.”, ordered Tyler who seemed to be pissed off for certain reasons. For a while there was nothing but silence between the brothers until Tyler noticed that they had passed the curfew given by their mother and informed Cody who then started stepping on the accelerator to get them back home as soon as possible.
When they got to the driveway of their mansion, their mother, Zaylee, was already outside waiting for the two of them. She wore a silk robe and slippers. Her hair was tied up in a messy bun. One of her feet was tapping the ground in both rage and annoyance that the two of them had disobeyed her and went past their curfew. It was difficult raising two sons on her own especially when they went out for parties together. Zaylee had always wanted a daughter but then she was stuck with sons. At least their father had taught them well on the proper ways of being a gentleman before he passed away.
Before she could even say anything, Cody apologized, “Sorry mom, we had to send someone home just now and we know we’ve gone past the given curfew. Promise that this would not happen again.”, he knew he was the one to blame for his mother’s rage.
“All is forgiven but make sure that next time you want to go to these types of parties make sure to come home before the curfew. You had me worried for a while there when you came back so late.” she let the two of them into the mansion and continued to ask Cody questions, allowing Tyler to go to his room, “So a little birdy told me that you offered to send a girl home. Who is she?”
Cody glared at Tyler and muttered under his breath, How did she find out? which seemed to be pointless as Tyler had already gone up the grand staircase. “Mom, it’s not what you think?”
“Before you start blaming your brother, I would like to clarify that I did not get the information from Tyler. Let me ask you again, who is the girl you sent home earlier?”, her voice was firmer now.
“She was a friend we met at Noah’s party. She needed a ride home as her friends were too drunk to walk her home and I could not possibly let her walk home all by herself. But how did you find out?”
“I have my ways.” Zaylee went off to her room to watch a movie leaving Cody still clueless of how she had found out.
Now Cody was more worried as if she knew so much already and how he was going to get to see Skylar again. Does mom not like her? This question ran through his mind as he was getting to bed. It was actually impossible for him to sleep that night especially when his mother was really chill about him.