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Title: Just Who Are You Talking To?
Description: Tagged Edwin

Hadley Wyatt - January 21, 2012 03:19 AM (GMT)
Keeping her Mom’s declining health a secret from all of her friends began to talk a toll on Hadley. The nurses at the hospital were understand and would talk to her when she needed it, but they really didn’t know what she was going through. Her Dad avoided the subject unless it was absolutely necessary. Hadley felt like she had no one to talk to, until a nurse handed her a piece of paper with a link to an online support group forum for teenagers dealing with a dying parent or one they already lost. Having someone to talk to made things easier for her, just a little bit of that burden was off her shoulders.

While she never intended to meet any of the people from the forum in person, in fact she went as far as saying her name was Rachel and she lived in Bullrose instead of being Hadley Wyatt from Cathwell. But she got talking with one boy in particular who had lost his Mom a bit back. He was easy to talk to and she got along with him well. Soon Hadley was focusing more on talking with him than the rest of the support community. That’s when they decided to meet in person at a local coffee shop in downtown Bullrose right across the street from a park.

This is why she’s currently sitting at a table, a row over from the window, facing the door of the coffee shop. Hadley plays, nervously, with the lid to her hot chocolate. They had decided to meet at 2, but she came twenty minutes early. Meeting a stranger from the internet is a bit unnerving for her, being early made her feel a bit better. As she plays with the coffee lid she can’t help but think this whole thing is a bit silly. They really should have exchanged pictures so they’d know who to look for. Instead of relying on the silly system of wearing an article of clothing they’d both recognize. She fiddles with the brass string of leaves necklace that dangles down to the dip in her black v-neck. It’s what fashion forward people would call a statement necklace. It does stand out, which is why she told the boy from online that’s what she’d be wearing.

Edwin Hunter - January 24, 2012 11:27 PM (GMT)
It had been years since Edwin's mother passed away. It had been even longer since he thought about it. But ever since his father moved into town with his new, young wife, Edwin had been thinking about her more and more. Especially since Albie wasn't around much anymore. It seemed like everything was reverting back to how it use to be. Albie was off in his own little world, not really caring about anyone but himself. And as for Edwin....well, no one ever paid him much attention to begin with. Max was the golden child. Charity didn't really care for attention. Albie was probably too stoned to notice. So that just left Edwin out in the cold. That was why it was so weird that Edwin had stumbled upon a support group for teens with dying parents or parents that were already dead when he did. It was just the pick-me-up he needed.

An online life wasn't new to Edwin. He had been online many times before. Most of them were local chat rooms where every teen (sometimes adults) in Cathwell would chat. Even a few from Bullrose came in from time to time. So when he met an actual girl from Bullrose in the chat room, he automatically clung to her. He used his real first name only. He didn't like the idea of walls. It may be the internet, but he was an honest person when he could be. He didn't mind if other people did it, though. Although, he had never really thought that he'd be meeting this girl. After all, he was only doing it to find somewhere where he could be himself and be liked for it. He never expected to make a friend.

The day finally arrived when it was time for the two to meet. He was a bit excited. He was also a bit nervous; but that was to be expected. They were meant to meet at a cafe in Bullrose. He was familiar with it. It wasn't too long ago he was there with an old friend of his from Jersey, having a bottle of fine water. But this time it wouldn't be Donnie he was going to see. It would be a girl named Rachel. He would know it was her from the odd leaf necklace she would be wearing. He told her that he'd be wearing a red, leather jacket and have his blonde hair gelled back. He wasn't hard to miss. He was a rather odd looking guy to begin with. Hell, some would say he was a bit of a pretty boy. But as far as pretty boy looks go, he was no where near the attitude of one.

He walked into the cafe and walked along the lines of tables. He gulped when noticed a red headed girl wearing the necklace that Rachel had described. It was now or never. He walked up to her and flashed her his best smile. ”Rachel?” he asked as he sat down. ”I'm Edwin. If you are Rachel, then it's a pleasure to meet you. If you aren't, then holy crap, I feel like an idiot.”

Hadley Wyatt - February 3, 2012 08:28 PM (GMT)
It takes Hadley a couple of seconds or so to realize the voice speaking to her is actually speaking to her. She was so caught up in her thoughts that when the boy called her Rachel, it didn’t register that it was directed to her. Until the seconds she realized, she was Rachel. “I’m Rachel.” She blurts out suddenly, feeling her cheeks warm with embarrassment. When she looks up from her cup of hot chocolate the color fades from her cheeks leaving her a shade of sick pale. Standing in front of her is a boy she’s seen in pictures and once, maybe twice, in passing. Edwin Hunter. The brother of her best friend, Albie. The same best friend she had kept the secret of her Mom’s illness from. Now she just spent weeks confessing her biggest secret, her fears and worries with the brother of her best friend.
Hadley jerks her gaze back down to the coffee cup, wanting to keep Edwin from recognizing her. Surely there had to be at least a few dozen redheaded teenage girls in the Cathwell and Bullrose area, chances are there were at least a few that looked like her. She knows right away she’ll have to spend a few months avoiding any potential run-ins with Edwin to keep him from recognizing her. Even in her panic, Hadley knows she has to keep her secret.

“I have to go.” Hadley says as she grabs her coat, pulling it on with haste. She’s glad her hot chocolate is already paid for; she doubts she’d be able to pull out the correct amount of money for it now. She grabs her purse and the foam to-go cup and gets up from the table. “I’m sorry to have wasted your time.” She avoids eye contact at all times and before he can protest she darts for the door. She can’t help but take once glance back at Edwin before she heads out the door. A part of her really wishes she’d come clean with her big secret because she finally had someone she could relate to. But she knows she never will.

With anxiety forming in her chest and tears pooling in the corner of her eyes, she knows she’s in no shape to drive. Hadley settles for heading across the street to the park and collapses down on the first empty bench she comes across. A part of her thinks she should continue to a place further away and out of sight of Edwin but the other part says he’s probably so weirded out by her actions he won’t follow her. Hadley pulls her knees up to her chest and rests her head ontop of them. “How could I have been so stupid?” She whispers to herself. All it would take now is for Edwin to place her, to figure out Rachel is actually Hadley, and then her secret is blown. She’s no ready for that fallout, not for the reactions from all of her new found friends she’s lied to since day one.
[OOC: Like I mentioned in my FB message to you, I can't believe my original reply didn't go through! Sorry for the long wait!!]

Edwin Hunter - February 4, 2012 01:38 AM (GMT)
There were many things running through his head right now. A lot of them were telling him that he should just leave and forget this ever happened. After all, Edwin was good at running away when he needed to. He ran away from all the girls that he could have had something with. He ran away from his brother and family. He hid behind emotional barriers that he never spoke about out loud. That was the only way to protect himself from the pain. And yet, he felt it ever day. The day he tried to reconnect with Albie and move on in a better direction. It ended with him feeling like this. Feeling like he never belonged. But that wasn't the reason he was here. He was here to meet Rachel. Or at least that's what he thought he was here to do, until he saw her heading for the exit.

”Now what?” he thought to himself as he watched her leave in a rush. He couldn't even bring himself to speak as she went on about how sorry she was for wasting his time. He didn't know what to say. He had just stood there, frozen to the moment. Maybe it was her face. She looked somewhat familiar to him. Unfortunately, he just couldn't seem to place a name to her face.

”Follow her?” he muttered out loud, just to make sure it sounded as good as it did in his head. ”Follow her...” he repeated. It wasn't a question this time. It was exactly what he intended to do. He walked straight out the door and walked around the vicinity of the cafe. He didn't know exactly where she went, but she couldn't have gotten too far. She was in a bit of a state, so she probably had to stop to compose herself. He didn't know why. Had he said something stupid? Maybe it was his face. Many people often said that him and Albie looked a lot alike. Maybe Albie had done her wrong in some way. If so, then he was definitely curious to hear all about that.

As he walked along, he soon found himself in the park. And just as fate would have it, Miss Rachel was sitting on a bench, lost in her own thoughts. He walked up to her and stood directly in front of her with his hands on his hips. ”Of course it would be the last place I look. Mind sharing exactly what I did wrong to make you run in fear? Is it my breathe? I swear it doesn't normally smell this bad,” he said with a half smile, hoping his attempts at joking would make her laugh. Anything was better than the frail lump he saw sitting in front of him.

Hadley Wyatt - February 5, 2012 07:58 PM (GMT)
Hadley holds her breath as she hears someone approaching in the park. She’s too afraid of it being Edwin to look up and see, so she just silently prays it’s a jogger or some dog walker. But she only hears on set of feet and they are walking so both the jogger and dog walker are a no go. She can’t help but mentally curse when the person comes to a stop in front of her and speaks, she knows it’s Edwin.

Hadley’s about to open her mouth and call him some sort of stalker, something to draw attention to him so she can make her escape. But logic takes over before she can open her mouth, a) it would most likely make him angry and more likely to blow her secret and b) she can’t do that to Edwin not after the weeks she spent talking and getting to know him. Knowing the shelf life of her secret is rapidly ticking away she leans her head back with a sigh. She takes a second before turning her gaze from the sky to Edwin. “My name isn’t Rachel and I kind of know you.” Hadley explains. It was only a matter of time before her secret was out, she might as well have the control over its release to the public, “We met quickly before, I’m Hadley. Your brother, Albie, and I are kind of best friends.” Thinking about Albie makes her nervously run a hand through her hair, “Of course he’s not going to see it that way when he finds out I’ve been lying for months to his face about my mom.”

Edwin Hunter - February 7, 2012 11:08 PM (GMT)
All Edwin could do was stare. He was a bit confused of what was going on. Why did she run away? Why did it matter if he had met her before? He certainly couldn't remember it. He never really paid much attention to his brothers friends. But now, she was his friend too. And he actually liked her. She was one of the few girls that he met in this town that seemed somewhat normal and down to Earth about things. But as of now, he was starting to question that thought.

”I feel like an ass for saying this, but I hardly even remember seeing you around with Albie. I mean, you look familiar, and I somewhat recognized your face when I first saw you...” he explained as he rubbed the back of his neck nervously. After all, he couldn't very well lie that he knew her from anywhere other than the chat room they met in. And the more he thought about it, the more he was starting to think the whole thing was a bad idea. Maybe he should have kept this friendship on the internet. After all, it wouldn't be the only online friend he had. He certainly had a lot more of those than he did real ones these days.

When she began to speak about his brother and how she had lied to him, he raised a curious brow. ”I'm sure he wouldn't mind. He's an understanding guy when he wants to be,” he said with a roll of his eyes. He didn't know if Albie would even care or not. He didn't really want to think about his brother today, and yet now he had no choice. ”Besides, you don't have to think of it as lying. Just think of it more as...not telling him everything because you're not ready to speak about it yet,” he said with a smile as he looked her straight in the eyes. He had no idea what she had said to Albie about her mom, but it really didn't matter that much. Albie was Albie...and he had a whole other bunch of issues on his mind right now. Or at least that was Edwin's assumption.

Hadley Wyatt - February 8, 2012 03:36 AM (GMT)
Hadley takes in another breath and can’t help but let out a laugh. “I must seriously look and sound like a crazy person right now.” She tells Edwin as she pushes some of her hair back from her face. A part of her can’t help but think Edwin is most likely assuming she’s one of Albie’s junkie friends. She’s glad Edwin brings up not seeing her around Albie, it gives her a chance to clarify her relationship with Albie and the context. “I did only move here not that long ago, that part was true. Everything I told you online was true, except for my name being Rachel and living in Bullrose. I live in Cathwell.” Hadley pauses for a second before continuing, trying to find the best words to describe her and Albie. “Albie and I met by chance, at complete random. We just got to talking and somehow we’re friends. I know he’s day and I’m night, we’re like a total 360 from each other, but somehow we’re friends. You probably don’t see me much since we met usually go out to eat or he comes grocery shopping with me.” She explains hoping she’s made it clear she’s very different from Albie.

The red head laughs when Edwin says Albie probably wouldn’t mind about her mom. “We’re talking about the same Albie right? In the few months I’ve known him I’ve lost count of the number of times I’m called him out on not fully telling the truth. It just makes me a hypocrite to do the same. He’ll flip, especially since it’s something this big.” Just thinking of Albie’s reaction causes her stomach muscles to clench in anxiety.

With more of the anxiety creeping in over her big secret being blown she lets her guard down. It’s easy for her now with Edwin sitting there, the same boy she spent weeks confessing everything to. “When my mom first got really sick, everyone looked at me with pity. Friends and family members just kept telling me sorry and that I was so pretty. I hated it, being pretty, ugly or somewhere in between wasn’t going to help my mom. I just wanted to scream every time I heard it.” Hadley tells him, “And when she got sicker my friends just kept walking on eggshells around me. Suddenly seeing movies where someone dies was off limits and when I had an essay due on Hamlet my friend wrote it inside saying the story would be too tough on me to actually read. I just got sick of it, I got so sick of them babying me. Then we came here and I was able to let go of the anger I was forming to everyone around me. Suddenly I wasn’t the-girl-with-the-dying-mom I was just Hadley and I missed that so much. That’s why I’ve lied to everyone, everyone but you. I needed someone to know my secret, because there was no way I could contain it by myself anymore.”

Edwin Hunter - February 15, 2012 11:20 PM (GMT)
Edwin took the opportunity to sit down next to her as she went off into ramble mode. He had known her for a while now. She usually rambled a lot when she was trying to make a point. It didn't really matter if he had known her as some girl on the internet or some girl in real life. She was still the same. It was just odd to see her in person finally. He knew so much about a girl that he had never met until now. He just hoped that her friendship with Albie didn't effect their friendship. Especially since it wasn't too often they had the same friend. Maybe the same girlfriend...Or more like it was Edwin's girlfriend and Albie was just messing around with her behind his back. But that wasn't the case anymore...

He waited until she was completely finished with everything she had to say. He knew she had a lot on her mind that she needed to let go of. It was no secret that Edwin wasn't really the most sensitive person in the world, but he did care about the few friends he had. Hadley was one of those friends, so he'd gladly listen to her ramble any time. Even if it was about nothing that really meant anything.

”First things first, if I were to ever compare how different you and Albie were, I'd say you were more day than hims,” he began with a smirk, trying to lighten the mood once again. ”Anyways, you're right. Albie probably would guilt trip you for it. I wouldn't suggest making it out like you were lying to him about it. Try and save face. Make it out like you were just afraid of admitting it to yourself. Albie doesn't need to know otherwise,” he explained. He knew all too well how Albie was. He had dealt with that for years on end. He had discovered many ways to cover his tracks and was happy to finally pass them on to someone. Whether or not they actually worked would be anything short of a miracle.

”Anyways, I don't mind that you lied to me. I'm use to it. I call Albie out on it a lot myself. I'm just glad you didn't keep running. I don't mind lying. It's just when people pull away from me is when I get upset,” he added. It was strange for him to feel that way, considering he hides behind walls all the time. Emotional walls, that is. He built them up years ago after his mother died and his father became non-existent in their lives. It helped ease the pain of never really amounting to anything. He always felt like the black sheep of the family. Albie and Max were always hogging the attention in some way or another. Albie was suppose to be the golden child and Max wanted to be the golden child. And as for Charity, she couldn't care less if she were noticed or not. That's probably why she got some attention.

”You wanna know something funny? I don't even care to talk about my mother's death to my family. And yet, I joined that chat room to talk to complete strangers about it. I wasn't really searching for understanding over her death. I was just looking for someone to talk to. Seems like lately, I don't really have many friends. I got plenty of enemies, though,” he said with a roll of his eyes as he thought of Sean and Jessica. Not to mention all of Albie's other fan girls/boys. Life sure did suck for Edwin these days...

Hadley Wyatt - February 16, 2012 01:22 AM (GMT)
Hadley listens to Edwin’s advice about telling the truth to Albie. While she feels as though she knows Albie pretty well, their friendship was only a few months old. Edwin has been Albie’s brother since birth, and therefore an expert. “You see the thing is I don’t want to tell him, not now at least.” Hadley admits to Edwin. “I just want to be normal, well appear normal, for as long as I can. Joining the chat room was a moment of weakness; I did really need someone to talk to about my mom being sick. And well that’s where you came in.”
The redhead lets out a sigh when Edwin says he’s not mad at her for lying. “You’re far too kind. I am sorry for lying, truly. Clearly I thought I was talking to some random person, not someone I may know.” Hadley explains, even though it doesn’t excuse her pretending to be Rachel.

From their weeks spent confessing their secrets, sharing their fears and just getting to know each other Hadley feels close to Edwin. She considered him a friend before they had even met online. Maybe today didn’t have to be a huge disaster. Maybe she could make things work. “You’re talking to the new girl in town, I know the whole no friend thing all too well.” Hadley tells Edwin when he says he feels like he has no friends. “So I have this kind of crazy idea, hear me out before you say anything. I like talking to you, I really do. You’re one of the few people I know and trust that I have something this big in common with. But I am not ready to tell anyone else about my mom yet. So what if we go all made-for-TV movie and be secret friends. We can totally pass notes and have secret locations to meet up at. It could be fun,” Hadley says with a small laugh. “We both know Albie might not take us being friends so well. It might be for the best we stay secret friends you know?”

Edwin Hunter - February 16, 2012 04:23 AM (GMT)
Things were certainly getting interesting now. Edwin never expected this to happen today. In all honesty, he was expecting to meet some old man pedophile. He never thought that Rachel was actually a young girl around his age and his brothers friend. Although, this should be a good thing to Albie. Edwin didn't care for a lot of his friends, but now he absolutely adored this one. Maybe it was just his brotherly instincts kicking in, but he felt like he needed to look out for her. Especially with the whole situation she put herself in.

”Hadley,” he began as he put his arms on the back of the bench and leaned his head back. As he gazed up to the sky, he could feel all the blood running around in his head. ”It may not seem like it, but Albie understands too. I doubt he'll treat you any differently, if that's what you're thinking. I mean, am I treating you any differently?” he asked as he glanced toward her out of the corner of his eye. It probably wouldn't change her mind. She looked like she was dead set on doing things her way. He knew how women were once they made up their mind. Although, how was that even possible when women hardly made up their minds?

He shook his head and sat himself up straight. He was busy pondering on his own thoughts that he wasn't quite sure if he heard her right. ”Secret friends?” he repeated. He wasn't sure how to respond to that. He hated lying to Albie too. He had been doing it a lot lately. He wasn't sure he could hide anymore. ”I don't know, Hadley. I'm not sure it would make much difference if we were secret friends or open friends,” he said. Although, it was Albie they'd be hiding it from. He knew all too well how crazy he got over the simplest things. Edwin couldn't be too sure how he'd react if he knew that Edwin knew more about Hadley than he did. The very thought made him shudder.

”On a second thought, let's do that.”

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