Miss Perfect and Her Brothers (Part I&II)

7. Little Girl

Vince gritted his teeth and tighten fingers on the wheel. For a moment there was a thick silence in the car and I dropped my gaze. Calling this situation up at his presence might not have been a good idea. 

"Where have you seen it?" he asked dryly. 

"In a glove compartment. He said it's his friend's. That they often go to a shooting range." I answered quickly, suddenly wondering if I didn't get Tony into trouble. Vince didn't look delighted. My relation with Tony wasn't the best, and I surely wasn't improving it. 

"That's true," confirmed Vince and got relaxed a bit. "He shouldn't have kept it in his car, especially if it's his friend's. He doesn't have a license. I've told it him many times. 

I nodded. Well, now, when Vince confirmed it, it did make sense. That's why Tony didn't want me to tell it to the others. ... Well, I did. 

I thought we had it explained and I even forgot about the whole deal, but Vince did remember. As we got home, in the living room we met Dylan, Shane and... Tony. Vince turned to him right away. 

"I hope you've already given the gun back to your friend" he snapped and I flinched. Two times, the first one because of Vince's voice, the second because of the look I got from Tony. 

The others were watching the scene surprised. 

"Of course," Tony growled icily. 

"Watch yourself next time." Vince hissed and that's when I saw how angry he really was. It shocked me because back in the car he looked way calmer. 

Tony didn't answer it, just grabbed his packet of cigarettes and taking angry steps, he went outside to the terrace. He didn't grace anyone with even one look. I was full of guilt and dropped my gaze. 

We ate lunch without Tony. The rest of the boys were throwing curious looks at Vince, but he didn't seem to want to talk with them at my presence, so I excused myself right after I finished my food. At my bedroom, I wasn't able to hear any of their conversations and I was too afraid to be caught on eavesdropping again to creep along the corridor or the stairs. 

I went back downstairs in the evening when I got hungry again and it was dinner time. I made myself a sandwich, took a book and went outside. It wasn't dark yet, so I sat on one of the sunbeds and chilled a bit. Hidden under the shelter, I wasn't seen for those people who just went to the balcony upstairs. Neither I could see them, but I recognized the voices of the twins. I heard the clicking of the lighters. I stopped chewing, suddenly abashed. 

"... is fucking annoying." I heard Tony's snapping. 

" She's a little sis, what did you expect?" Shane answered him, who was, on the other hand, very amused. 

"I didn't expect anything, I don't see the point of keeping her here." 

Ouch. That hurt. 

"Come on, she's cute." 

"Fucking annoying. That's not a place for her."

"We are family, where else is a place for her if not with us?" 

"Having her here complicates our lives." 

Then, one of them got a message from some girl and they focused on commenting on her boobs, so I used their distraction and quietly sneaked back inside. I wasn't feeling like reading anymore. I got sad and I was hating myself for it, for my sensitivity. I shouldn't care, those people are strangers for me. Aren't they? 

Tony despised me and to say that Shane defended me would be a huge exaggeration. I wasn't important to them. I came back to my room and decided to go to bed earlier. I couldn't fall asleep though, so I started to analyze my situation. 

Each of the past five days I spent with one of my brothers. I got to know a bit every one of them. Will, who was caring. Dylan, who was showing off his strength. Shane, who was constantly picking up girls. Tony, who cared only about himself. Vince,  who was colder than ice. That's not how I imagined them all. The thought of having some closer bond with any of them, that one day I could feel like a part of this family, that we could be like real siblings was impossible to picture for me. 

Saturday was lazy and I was grateful for that. Most of my brothers weren't home, at least not at the common parts. I was happy because of that. I didn't feel like watching any of them, especially after what I heard yesterday. The short conversation between Tony and Shane echoed inside my head and was saved there forever. I was in a bad mood. I missed my mom and grandma and I cried a lot this day. Fortunately, no one caught me on that. 
On Sunday morning, at breakfast, I met Dylan and Vince. They informed me that we have a reservation in a restaurant at 4 pm and we are going to have a family dinner. "We" means all my brothers and I. Everyone. 

When the time came I went downstairs in a creamy dress, which Vince bought me, and sandals. My brothers were also very elegant. I couldn't believe I was going out with a group of guys looking like them! We split into two cars. Dylan and Tony took sporty lamborghini with only two seats and I landed with the rest in Vince's car. I sat at back together with Shane. 

The only time I saw all my brothers at the same place, at the same time was during Mrs. Berry's visit, when they were at their best behaviour. Today, at the restaurant, they were completely laid back and it was the first time I saw that they are really siblings. The siblings which have known each other for the whole life and who has a specific bond between each other. They were joking, laughing, talking when they were sitting at the table, when they were ordering food and when they were waiting for it. From time to time they were trying to accost me, but I couldn't stop the feeling that I don't fit them. We were biologically bonded, but they were a team and I was a stranger. I got sad, when I finally understood it. 
"How's your lasagna, Hailie?" Will asked me when everyone was exchanging their impressions over the food. 

"Delicious," I answered with a shy smile. Those of my brothers, who weren't drivers today, ordered themselves beers and with every sip of it, the atmosphere was getting more and more playful. The only thing is that I didn't really participate in it. Well, not yet. 

"Hailie, why are you so quiet?"Shane turned to me, blinking at me with amusement when the boys got silent for a second. 

I shrugged, again just smiling and dropping my eyes at my plate. 

"Because you intimidate her, idiot," Will answered him.

"Me? I don't do anything!" 

"She's always intimidated." Dylan pointed out, meanly. 

"And you wouldn't be?" 

"Oh, shut up you all."

I giggled. It was lovely to watch them like that. In everyday life, at home, it wasn't so visible, but now I could honestly admit that they were a normal, healthy family, where everyone is teasing each other, but in the end they would risk their lives one for another. 
"Sorry, Hailie, we aren't used to having a little sis." Dylan shrugged. 

"But bro, imagine this, you are a little girl..." Shane started. 

"Fuck off." Dylan broke in.

"No, seriously, imagine that you are a little girl and suddenly you're told you have five older brothers. I'd get crazy." 

"I'm not a little girl," I protested, taking part in the discussion for the first time. 

"You are," Dylan and Shane answered me at the same moment.

"I'm almost 15!"

"It's still 14" Vince corrected me, making the others laugh.

"But I'm not a child anymore."

"You are." they all answered together, even Tony. 

"That's not fair, there are five of you and I'm only one." I murmured.

"Better get used to it," Dylan advised. 

"That's not fair," I said louder.

"That's life" laughed Shane. 

"That's bullshit." I sighed, what caused different reactions. I didn't expect it, seriously. Dylan waved his finger at me, saying "nu, nu, nu", Shane and Will frowned with disapproval and Tony snorted. 
"Don't use ugly words," Vince warned me, looking at me sternly. 

"It wasn't that ugly..." I protested, but his intense gaze made me dropped my eyes. I wanted to say a lot of things like, for example, that there are many worse words than "bullshit" or that they cuss all the time and it doesn't shock anyone, but I stayed quiet. There were no discussions with Vince and I was slowly learning it. 

We also ordered desserts and that made me over the moon. With my mom, we hardly ever went to any restaurants, because my grandma always cooked, and even if we did, we never ordered any desserts. Usually, their cost was comparable to the price of mains courses, which means it was too high for us. With my brothers and their financial situation that clearly wasn't a problem, what I also learned. I chose a huge portion of chocolate ice cream and the guys who were drinking alcohol ordered another pinch of beer each. They were eating and drinking a lot and fast, faster than me, that's why in the end they were waiting for me to finish my dessert, which at the end Shane took care of. 
It was fun and a few times I laughed honestly, but mainly I was amused with conversations between the boys, myself I didn't participate much in them. At some moment,  everyone was almost crying out of laugh and although I didn't understand all of their jokes, I shared their fantastic mood and was giggling with them, what, I think, was enormous progress in our relations. 

On the way back I was falling asleep in the car and a small piece of me felt a bit more like a part of this family than a few hours ago.