It's not that hard to guess that after Tony's little warning I got scared of him even more. The best thing I could do was to avoid him. It was also the easiest as he also didn't really seek any interactions with me.
Days were passing and I earned a new nickname. "Miss Perfect" and it was used willingly not only by my friends but also by some of my brothers. It didn't actually bother me. I even liked it a bit, I liked the fact that people see me this way. I'd always had good grades, but now I really was surprising myself (at least for now). I liked the new school. I felt good there, I had a great group of friends and I was fuelled with additional energy. Firstly, I wanted my mom to be proud of me, so I set myself a goal to do my best and get a wonderful average. Secondly, I wanted to save the honor of the Monet family, so devastated at the teachers' eyes by my brothers...
Apart from that, I have always tidy clothes and neat hairstyle. My brothers mock me a bit because of that, but I know that deep inside they like the way I am. Especially Vince and Will.
To school I go in rotation with Dylan, Shane or Tony, depending on their plans. There we don't talk too much. I got closer with Mona, Audrey, and Marshall though. One day, we decided to make use of the sunny weather and we spent lunch break outside. A lot of people had the same idea. We were sunbathing and relaxing before the second part of the day when suddenly we heard some hustle.
Together with a gaping crowd, we got closer to see what happened. Two boys started to fight and I froze when I realized that one of them was Tony. To call it a fight was an exaggeration. Only my brother was fighting, the other guy was just inefficiently trying to cover himself. Since always I have been very sensitive to this kind of stuff, so without thinking I headed towards them. Of course, I got so brave just because Tony is my brother. Otherwise, I'd watch them, not able to move just like the others. Tony can threaten me, but he wouldn't beat me, right? His own sister?
I didn't find out the answer, because before I managed to get between him and the boy with a now bleeding nose, I felt someone grabbing my arm, stopping me. I turned my head back. It was Dylan. He was looking at me with a warning and a bit of disbelief in his eyes.
I couldn't watch my brother, who I ate breakfast with this morning and was sitting at the same table, how now aggressively and mercifully was beating someone's face, leaving on it bruises which will heal for long weeks. I tried to escape Dylan's hold, but with his strength, I stood no chance, so I turned to him.
"Help him" I pleaded worriedly. Dylan just looked at me with emptiness.
"Please, he's hurting him..."
"He's going to be in trouble..."
"Dylan stop him!"
In the end, I shouted hysterically.
"Stay out of this," he growled finally.
The boy was now laying on the ground, barely conscious, while Tony leaned over him and whispered something to his ear. Then he punched him the last time. At that moment, the furious principal came. Well done, just in time. Tony just finished beating him into a pulp. Immediately, he was called to the principal's office. Someone went to get a nurse too. The crowd started to leave. I was watching it all with watery eyes. Dylan dragged me with him towards the school building, but he stopped in the middle of the way and faced me.
"What the hell were you thinking? Trying to step in between them? You could've got hit." he barked.
"Why did Tony beat him like that?" I asked, trying hard to prevent my tears from rolling down my cheeks.
"That's none of your business at all."
"Why didn't you stop him? That boy was bleeding!" I squeaked reproachfully.
Dylan just looked at me weirdly and after a moment, he sighed.
"Go back to your class, Hailie."
"Now." he hissed sharply.
I obeyed. On my way, I went to the bathroom to dry my tears out. I was still tensed-up because of what I'd witnessed earlier. I know that Tony is quite ill-tempered, but anyway, I never expected to see him in such action. Dylan, on the other hand, didn't look surprised at all.
Later, I could hear many people speaking about that fight. I didn't want to listen to it, but I heard snatches of some conversations. Some people believed that the victim was in Tony's debt, whatever it means. Some said that he even got what he deserved.
I came back home with Shane and Dylan. I sat at the backseat (of course) and I kept quiet, just like my brothers. As soon as we arrived, I saw them disappearing together upstairs. Apparently, they didn't want to talk in front of me.
I was eating alone when Tony entered the kitchen. Right away, I felt uncomfortable. I understood that I really am afraid of him. I was a bit scared of all of my brothers, but Tony seemed to be the most unpredictable out of them. I watched him getting food on his plate. I couldn't move my eyes away from his muscular and strong arms... The same arms which just a while ago were covered with his opponent's blood. Which even now had some fresh scratches visible. I shivered.
I think he didn't pay attention to me, but I left the kitchen as soon as possible anyway. I was doing my homework in my room when I heard some quiet knocking. It was Vince. He seemed to be tired, but still presented amazingly in a white shirt and with a big, white shield watch on his wrist. He sat on my bed and I turned around on my chair to face him. His voice and eyes were icy, as always.
"Hailie, I want to talk with you about Tony's fight," he announced. I didn't answer, so he continued. "Dylan told me you'd seen it."
"The whole school's seen it." I murmured.
"He also told me how you'd reacted."
I looked into his eyes with eagerness.
"Vince, that boy was laying on the ground and couldn't defend himself and he was bleeding!" I explained.
He gazed me in silence.
"Hailie, I'm not saying that a school is a right place for dealing with this kind of stuff, but that was Tony's business. I want you to keep away from similar situations in the future and for sure not to participate in any of them. Do you understand?"
"Hailie, that wasn't a request." Vince's look became even more intense.
"So what, if I have a problem, I can just walk around and hit people?!" I summarised with disbelief, what was a mistake because his eyes darkened.
"You and Tony are two different stories."
I looked at the side, avoiding his sight. I didn't like what he was saying, but it was hard for me to keep eye contact with him longer than a few seconds.
"Hailie, now listen me carefully." he said, getting up and now he was looking down at me, what made me feel more intimidated. "If I were you, I wouldn't provoke any fights. I wouldn't want to be in your place if I was informed that you did. "
And he left.