At night, again, I have heard some hustle and voices, but I couldn't tell them apart. However, as soon as I saw Tony in the morning, I knew he was one of the people making noise earlier. It was noon and I was watching tv. It was the first time I decided to watch cartoons since I came here and I have to admit that I'd missed this not really productive entertainment. At first, I was a bit unsure if I am even allowed to turn on the tv, but the longer I was sitting comfortably on the couch, the more confident I felt.
Tony was the first brother I met that day. At first sight, he looked tired. He had dark bags under his eyes, was pale and visibly sleepy.
"Be ready in ten minutes," he grunted without even saying hello, yawing and radiating with animosity. It hurt me a bit, because what did I even do to him?...
"Where are we going?" I asked, but he left.
I sighed deeply, trying to keep calm. Do they have to treat me like this? I'd prefer to stay at home. I crawled out of the couch and went to my bedroom. There was a moment I felt like wearing the dress, that was under dispute yesterday, but I prevented myself from doing so.
Surprisingly, Tony chose a car that was the less striking one from all of them in the garage.
"Where are we going?" I repeated the question when Tony started an engine. I assumed he won't ignore me in a small, closed space, but I was wrong. He just turned the music on, some rap which I'd not heard before and he didn't grace me with even a look. I wished I had insisted to stay at home.
We'd been driving for about half an hour when I started to be impatient. Where is he taking me?
"Why am I even here with you?" I asked, having enough of it.
Tony didn't react again, but I kept talking.
"Do you set the schedule between you? Who and when has to spend time with me?"
I was getting really irritated but it didn't impress him.
"Something like that," he answered carelessly, not moving his eyes from the road.
I wish he didn't decide to respond to me then, because I felt a bit hurt again. I got quiet, quickly looking through the window to hide emotions from him. I don't know if he noticed, but he didn't say anything.
We stopped in front of some wealthy-looking house. It was smaller than ours but still impressive. Tony told me to get off the car and I shyly followed him, stopping in front of the front door. Before he had a chance to use the bell, a man greeted us. He looked older than Tony. He was bald and wore a white T-shirt and grey sweatpants. He had to expect my brother, but he looked questioningly at me.
"My sister"Tony growled. The man smiled at me widely and, to my surprise, agreeably. He invited us inside, where the interior was mainly in the color of sand and in general much less stark than in my brother's house.
"Baby, could you serve Tony's sister something to drink?" A man cried out and blinked at me. A blonde woman with short hair and at more or less his age leaned out of some room. She looked annoyed, but as soon as she saw me, she lightened up and nodded.
I felt really uncomfortable and I hated Tony for putting me in such a position. He, totally uninterested in me, left with the host to the basement and I stayed lost alone in this house with some stranger woman.
Her name was Emma and she turned out to be extremely kind. She took me to the kitchen, where she prepared us some water with mint, ice cubes, and strawberries, then we went to sit on a terrace. The garden was green and delightful. Emma was very communicative, so we did a great deal of talking. The age difference wasn't a problem for us, we had some understanding between us. This is when I felt how I missed some feminine company. So much, that when Tony came back for me, I didn't want to leave yet. Of course, I didn't protest. No, that it'd make any sense.
Emma hugged me for goodbye and her husband (as she told me) walked me and Tony to the car. I took my passenger's seat, while they were outside, still talking. Tony held some bundle, which I'd not even noticed before he opened the door at my side and gave it to me.
"Put it to the glove compartment." he commended me dryly, barely looking at me. I was curious about what's inside, but I didn't have the courage to peek, considering, that Tony was standing right next to me.
I had difficulties with opening the glove compartment, and when I finally managed to do it, something fell out of it, hitting my feet. It hurt a bit, so I bit my lip and looked down at the mysterious thing. That's when I froze.
It was a gun.
Tony noticed my discomfort and looked inside the car.
"Fuck" he growled and with one furious move he reached for the gun, put it back with the bundle and closed the compartment with a loud bang.
I was stiff for most of the way back. I just sat, staring on my knees or out of the window, not daring to look at my brother. Earlier I was sad that he ignored me, but now I saw him as a completely different person. What does he need a gun for? In his glove compartment, in a car? It wasn't normal... Was it?
"Listen..." he started suddenly, when we stopped at traffic lights. He didn't look at me, nor me at him, but I was listening carefully. "It wasn't my gun, just my friend's. He's got a shooting range and we go there together a lot. Don't tell the others that you saw it."
It was the longest statement, Tony said to me. Immediately, I thought it has to be a lie. He goes to a shooting range with his own gun...? Or his friend's gun? It didn't make sense. Is it how shooting ranges work? And why he wants to keep it a secret from the others? He didn't calm me down with these words, that's for sure.
"Ok," I mumbled. It was the best answer - so brief that my voice didn't even shake. Tony didn't look satisfied with it, but he let it go.
Back at home, I thought about watching some tv again, but I guess I needed to stay alone for a bit, so I went to my bedroom with a book. I haven't seen Tony for the rest of the day.
I ate dinner accompanied by Vince and Will. The first one announced to me that tomorrow's day we are going to spend together, which didn't really cheer me up. I was sick and tired of that everyday attraction, I'd prefer to stay home. Obviously, I couldn't say it to my brothers' faces.
I shouldn't complain though. Vince took me shopping. It was some other gallery than the one I visited with Will. The weather was extremely hot again and while choosing what to wear in the morning, I looked at my yellow dress with longing. Will I ever be allowed to put it on again? Instead of it, I chose some shorts and a baggy top.
Vince's car was also black, a bit smaller and more elegant than the Will's one. Inside was creamy-leathered and Vince at the driver's seat looked like a definite match with it. He wore a white polo T-shirt and black shorts and at his wrist there was a huge, black-silver watch.
Shopping with Vince was nicer than I expected. People were sending him curious and adoring looks and I couldn't be surprised. He really looked like a million dollars. He led me to a few boutiques, the ones I have never thought of entrancing too. In some of them, there were even no prices, in the others, I felt like I was going to faint just from looking at the labels.
"Take whatever you want until I say it's enough," Vince said with a sigh when he watched me shyly flipping through the hangers, my eyes shining every moment. I couldn't do anything about that, these clothes were fantastic. The only condition was Vince's approval, but I quickly learned his preferences. Later, I saved us both time choosing only the things which weren't too short, tight or revealing in general.
The shopping took us a while. We came back home with the stock that'd make it possible to open our own shop. I guess, no one has ever spent so much money on me in one day and I didn't exactly know what to think about it. Of course, I thanked Vince. He nodded approvingly in a respond. He was still intimidating with this coldness and I doubted I'd ever get used to it, but today, at the end of our little trip, I felt a bit more relaxed than normal. Too relaxed. That's why I made a mistake, which was asking about something, that I couldn't stop thinking about since yesterday.
"Is having a gun legal here?"
Vince moved his sharp look from the road at me and I got goosebumps.
"Why are you asking?" his voice was like a blade.
I panicked and immediately regretted saying this question out loud. I was about to regret my answer even more.
"Because I've seen one in Tony's car."