There was no way that I could meet with Jason for longer than a few minutes during the break between classes. We couldn't meet at lunch break, because my brothers would surely notice our absence in a cafeteria. Of course, no one would believe me anymore in my trips to the library after classes. I was also afraid of coming up with new lies. Hiding something from them is one thing, but lying to my brothers' faces is another, more serious.
Sometimes after French or Chemistry classes, we were staying in ladies' room to talk a bit or simply just kiss. We tried to pick those less popular ones, where there were not so many people. Everything was going well, however, I missed a longer conversation with Jason.
Vince gave me my phone back three days after our talk. Immediately I changed the name from "Jenny French" into "Mona II". I thought it'd be easier to explain why I get so many messages from Mona than from some unexisting Jenny, about who I'd never mentioned before.
Halloween passed. Mona, Audrey and I spent it at Marshall's place. We ate a lot of sweets and played on the play station. In the beginning, we were planning on sneaking out to a party, but Marshall's parents were too clever, so we quickly understood that we wouldn't succeed. Later, I learnt that Tony and Shane were there too, so I thanked God we didn't get there.
One awful, November day I was doing a history project to school. Eugenie, our housekeeper, prepared a place to work for me at the kitchen table, as it was big enough to fit all the cutouts, tissue papers and other similar stuff needed to that how creative task.
Outside, it was rainy and stormy, which had a dark impact on the atmosphere around the house, but I didn't really pay attention to it, because I was totally preoccupied with my homework.
"Eugenie, how to do it?" I sighed irritated when for the teens time I couldn't do something. She was the only one around. There was no sign of my brothers.
"Put those papers together and make holes with a puncher, then pull a ribbon through them." she advised me, looking from behind of my shoulder at my unfinished work. That woman knew everything.
"I don't have a puncher."
"It must be somewhere." she called, disappearing on the stairs. She was going to clean the bathrooms, judging by all those detergents she was holding.
I sighed again and looked around the kitchen. Here I won't find it. Nor in the living room. Eugenie cleaned everything there and we didn't have many chests of drawers nor shelves, where stuff like a hole puncher could be kept. There was no sense of checking my room, as I knew everything I had there. To my brothers' rooms, I had no courage to even peek.
Suddenly, I got enlightened. The library. I have been there only once, with Vince, on my first day here. It wasn't officially anyone's room, and no one forbade me from going there, so I did go there. The doors weren't locked.
The library was much darker than I remembered. Probably because of the ugly weather behind the windows. Still, it was neat and quite cosy. I came up to the desk right away, guessing that I'll find what I'm looking for just there.
The desk was tidy and apart from the computer screen, some notebook, a calendar and pens there was nothing. I started to go through the drawers. Just one of them had a keyhole. And the key was in! I didn't think it was going to be a secret drawer, I mean, why would someone leave the key there if it was? But it was. Because when I pulled it out, I froze.
There was a gun inside.
I was staring at it, feeling a chill going through my spine.
This weapon was different from the one which I saw in Tony's car. The other one was black and a bit massive, this one was elegant and silver.
Apart from it, in the drawer, there were some white, packed envelope and a pile of banknotes. The latter wasn't anything surprising for me as at my brothers' house you could find some money literally everywhere. I have never had the courage to collect it, even if it didn't look like anyone cared about it.
"Why are these doors open?" asked Dylan's voice from the hallway and I immediately raised my head. A second later, he peeked to the library. "Hailie, what are you looking for here?"
"A-a hole puncher..." I answered with a bigger effort than I'd like to.
"Have you seen a ghost?" he questioned mockingly, coming closer to me. My face had to reveal fear. What could I do about that? Stuff like guns, aggression, violence and blood were scaring me.
I shook my head, wanting to move quickly before Dylan sees what I found. That was my first reaction, I felt I wasn't supposed to see this weapon. I pushed the drawer back at its place, but my gestures were too nervous not to be noticed by him. He stood next to me and that's when his smirk disappeared. Instead, he narrowed his eyes.
"Where did you get that key from?" he asked, at the same moment again pulling out the drawer. He wasn't surprised by its content and closed it, as if he just wanted to make sure what was inside. Then he focused on me.
"It was here." I said quietly.
"Here?!" he repeated loudly, for a balance. I nodded and he sighed, running his fingers through his hair and mumbling to himself almost inaudibly. "What a moron left it like this..."
I didn't move, not knowing what to do. Finally, Dylan looked at me again, clearly not pleased with my discovery.
"You won't find any hole puncher here." he informed me. Apparently, he wasn't even going to explain anything to me, so I just nodded fastly and acknowledgingly. Then, I run passed him, desperate to leave the library and Dylan's company as fast as I could.
I tried to ignore the fact that it was the second time when I found a gun. When I was living with my mom and grandma, I used to see guns only on the tv. Why would my brothers keep them in their house? And the car? Or maybe I was making a big deal out of it and it wasn't anything unusual?
No one decided to explain to me this situation, so I had to deal with it myself. At school, at lunch break, I sat as always with Mona, Audrey and Marshall. I shared my little adventure with them, curious about their opinions.
"I am not surprised at all." said Mona.
"It only confirms the rumours." added Audrey.
"Which rumours? That they are dangerous? I thought that they are based on stuff like Tony's fights, not guns!" I whispered loudly. In our school, there were reports, that the Monet brothers are threatening. I didn't like gossips, so I often just ignored them. Besides, my siblings were quite popular, always good-looking, they had money... No wonder that people were weaving their own theories about them.
"I don't know, Hailie..." mumbled Audrey, pursing her lips.
"What are you not telling me?" I asked, knowing Audrey too well.
"I don't know, it's just another gossip, but I've heard it from my brother."
I rolled my eyes.
"My brother told me that one time he went to a club... and well, that was the Monet's club."
"My brothers own a club?" I broke in puzzled.
"I bet they have much more things you have no idea about." murmured Mona.
"I don't know who's it is officially, but unofficially everyone knows it's your brothers' club. They often stay there. Jerry's been there a few times and well... one time he witnessed someone starting a contention with one of your brothers and he took out a gun and some muscleman dragged him out. He doesn't know what happened later, but supposedly someone knew this guy and they say he disappeared." Audrey told us.
I got goosebumps. That's why I didn't like gossips. I didn't like to listen to this kind of things. No one knows if they are true, but they mess in your head anyway. I looked surreptitiously at my brothers' table. Would they be able to use a gun? Make someone disappear? I concentrated on Tony, whose morality I questioned the most. I remembered him beating up that guy. And how he went at Jason. How he ignores me every day... I imagined his strong, tattooed hand holding a gun...
I don't know if he sensed me staring at him, but he moved his sight at me and our eyes met.
His were dark, merciless and with no sign of sibling love.