"Vince seems to be quite sadistic, doesn't he?" summed up Mona, shaking her head with disbelief.
I met with girls and Marshall right before the beginning of classes to report them my weekend's talk with my oldest brother.
"Usually he is all right... Actually, usually, he's not around. Nevermind. Anyway, I'm relieved."
"Relieved? But you are still at the starting point. He didn't explain to you what's the thing about all those guns. Quite the opposite, he actually warned you that there may be even more of them!" protested Marshall.
"There's absolutely no way to force my brothers to anything, even to simple explanations."
"So you don't have to force them, but remember you still have a secret to discover." said Mona.
"Oh, leave me alone. I've got enough trouble with all those intrigues. Now, I don't even know if I will be allowed to spend New Year's Eve with you..." I sighed.
"You will if you're good." told me the voice, that made all four of us froze at the spot. It was Dylan's voice, who just came out from around the corner of the corridor. He stopped in front of us, smirking. I haven't talked to him since his Saturday's explosion.
I saw with the corner of my eye that Mona, who stood the closest to Dylan, took a step back. Dylan noticed it too because his smile widened.
"Girls, next time you want to play in my bedroom, just hit me up." He teased, winking at Mona and Audrey, who both dropped their eyes and blushed. My brother knew how to intimidate people. Then, he looked at me and pointed his finger in my direction. "And you remember, lunchbreak."
I nodded reluctantly, looking somewhere to the side with an unhappy face. After that, Dylan left.
"Oh my god..." stammered Mona with wide eyes.
"I don't know how can you function normally living with someone like Dylan under one roof." muttered Audrey. Her always pale complexion didn't match awfully-pink cheeks.
"Yeah? Well, in fact, I could say, I live under one roof with five such Dylans." I replied.
"I think if I were you, I'd get a breakdown." confessed Marshall. He went white as well, although Dylan didn't even turn to him directly.
In a moment a bell rang and we split. I felt the need to talk with them more and was really troubled by the fact that I won't see them during lunch. At least I met with Jason on one of the breaks.
"I want to take you out somewhere." he told me, holding my waist.
"Me too, but it's rather impossible. Firstly, my brothers will never let me go out with you anywhere, secondly, I am grounded anyway." I sighed.
"With the first one we'll deal somehow and the second one we'll wait out." he answered, blinking at me and literally sucked my lips before I managed to say something more.
I went to lunch with a huge reluctance. I didn't want to sit with my brothers. I had enough of them being present at some of my mealtimes at home. Besides, I was intimidated by being surrounded by older kids in this part of the cafeteria. I took some food, throw a missing look at my friends' side and headed to the Monet Brothers' table. It was occupied also by their friends, as always. One of them, who had hair so fair, that almost white, looked at me with a raised eyebrow when I got closer and stood behind Tony and Shane's back. They turned their head around, looked at me up and down and then Tony focused back at his food and Shane moved a bit, making some space for me between them both. Great.
"Hailie's eating with us today." explained Shane to his friends.
"She seems over the moon." commented sarcastically the guy sitting in front of Shane. His black complexion made a beautiful contrast with a tight, white T-shirt.
"Good. It's part of her punishment." informed Dylan, showing up out of nowhere and sitting at the table with us. I saw a shade of pleased smile on his face when he noticed my presence. I just blushed a bit at his words and concentrated on eating, praying so the break will finish fast.
"What the fuck?" asked sharply some feminine voice from behind of my back. I turned away together with Tony and Shane.
A girl with hair ruched into hundreds of tiny braids and very thick, equally dark eyebrows (now raised) was looking at me with an unamused expression. Her lips were the color of bubble gum and she had to be more or less the same height as me, but surely she was at the age of the twins. She wore a very revealing top, probably because she had what to show off...
"What is she doing on my place?" she continued and I stiffen because I realized she was speaking about me.
"Shut up, Jade. There's no place for you here." growled Shane.
"You're dating me and then you let some little bitch sitting on my place?" she spat, making a scene.
"She's my sister, you stupid cunt." hissed Shane.
Jade was in a fighting mood apparently and she was just opening her mouth to argue more when Tony broke in.
His voice was so dark, that even I shivered. Jade pursed her lips and suddenly she made a face of a poor, lost baby. She gave the last reproachful look to Shane, then to me and then she turned around. She left the cafeteria accompanied by the attention of hungry for sensation kids.
Shane cocked up his eyes and Dylan shook his head with disbelief.
"What a thick-headed bitch..." he summed up.
"Jade's always been barking loudly." shrugged Shane.
"We all know when the loudest." spoke a guy with white hair and to mark his words he bayed just like a dog. He was so authentic that even I looked at him surprised. He cracked everyone up with his joke and now all the table was laughing wildly. I quickly dropped my gaze back at my tray with food, feeling embarrassed.
"At the end, she's a bitch, ain't she?" snickered Shane.
I toyed my fries which I didn't feel like eating while all the amused company around me couldn't stop roaring. I wondered if when I'd sometimes looked at their table from mine and saw them so frisky, were their jokes always so idiotic?
"Okay, that's enough. Our little sissy is listening." said finally Dylan, but still couldn't stop grinning. Because of his words, the attention of the table focused again on me. I wanted to facepalm.
"How can you put up with those idiots, hm, Hailie?" asked me the guy in a white T-shirt. He seemed to be the nicest one of this whole group. He blinked at me friendly but I just shrugged shyly and smiled gently. I knew better than answering out loud. They easly pick up stupid things and then don't let forget it. I choose well because their attention soon moved to talk over some football match.
I didn't eat much and started mind wandering about how weird my life happened to be. A year ago at that time, I was excited about Christmas. I remember how in my old high school we were making chains for the Christmas Tree sitting in cafeteria during a break. Now, I am in a different place, surrounded by different people... Without my mom and grandma.
"Hailie, hello!" Shane waved his hand in front of my face. I came back to reality. "Are you going to eat those fries?"
I looked at them blindly and shook my head. Shane, with fast moves, throw into his mouth first one, then the second and then almost ten of them at once. I leaned back in my chair, waiting for the moment when I finally can leave this place. I'd have done it right now, but I'd have to ask for permission (and drag everyone's attention again) and I was almost sure that Dylan wouldn't agree. As he said before, it was my punishment.
When I glanced at the table at the other end of the room, where my friends were sitting, I saw Mona's disgusted face reacting on something that Marshall was just saying. And Audrey, who was giggling. Oh, I'd give anything to sit there with them right now! Suddenly, I shared a look with Mona and she lightened up, sending me a kiss and raised her fist up to show me her support.
I sighed and till the end of the break, I was stuck between twins, hearing out their dumb jokes. I thought that grounding was my worst punishment but now I changed my mind. Spending lunchbreak with my brothers and their gang was way worse. After this experience, I decided to never snoop around their business again.
I managed to keep this promise till the late evening when I went out of my room to get a glass of water. I almost reach the stairs, when I saw a posture coming out of the forbidden corridor. It was walking fast so after a second I could recognize Tony. He looked angry and threateningly. His hands were tightened into fists. You could say that angry and threatening Tony isn't exactly anything new. Well, you'd be right, but this time my attention fixed on his shirt. The shirt that was undone, showing his muscular chest and more tattoos. The shirt, that was stained with something red.
Is that blood?
I am not an expert but nor an idiot. It wasn't ketchup.
After this discovery, I entered the stairs, praying that Tony will go straight, to his bedroom. I squeezed my eyelids and shivered because I've heard his loud and big steps right behind my back. He was on the stairs as well. Going down. Instinctually, I speeded up. I can't do anything about that, some clearly angry, huge guy in the probably bloodstained shirt was breathing down my neck. I panicked.
He was right behind me and that's when I slipped. I lost my balance and didn't manage to catch the rail. I felt I was falling. I just waited for the pain, that didn't come. Instead, I felt a strong grip on my arm. So strong that it'll leave a bruise but not worse than the one I'd get if I have rolled down the stairs. I looked at Tony, who a moment ago I was practically running away from and who now saved me. He held me with this hand where he had this creepy tattoo. Before I could see his face, he let me go and passed by me.
"Watch your step." he snapped at me and disappeared in the kitchen.
I gulped and tried to calm down my pounding heart. Slowly, I followed him to get this stupid water. I bumped into Eugenie, who just went out of the kitchen and now was hurrying upstairs with Tony's white, bloodstained shirt. She was shaking her head to herself and when she noticed me she smiled and quickly passed. I saw how she hid the shirt from me behind her back.
At the kitchen there was, of course, Tony with naked torso, looking for something in the fridge.
When I got back to my bedroom, I sat next to my bed and buried my face in my hands. I felt like screaming.
What the hell was going on here?