Miss Perfect and Her Brothers (Part I&II)

20. Christmas Gift

Shane Monet is an asshole.

That sentence was written on the door of one of the cabins in a ladies room on the third floor.

"You've got a pen? I'd like to sign." muttered Jason. We came across this creation during our last meeting before Christmas break.

"The author must be one of his abandoned lovers..." I said, ignoring his question. Maybe it was this whole Jade girl, who was always hanging around my brothers, although they made themselves clear that they weren't interested in her company. How could she be so desperate? And why did she even care so much? I mean, I'd give anything for them kicking me out from their table.

The relief I felt the last day of my torture was indescribable. I was sick of all those stupid jokes, which of the half I didn't even understand. Of course, the last day had to be the worst, just as a matter of principle.

There haven't passed even ten minutes of the break when to my brothers' table came up some boy. He could be at Dylan's age, had a quite big posture, but looked completely harmless. Like a bear that wouldn't want to hurt anyone. He also had funny, chubby cheeks.

"H-hi" he grunted, stopping next to Dylan. His voice was very quiet but the attention of the whole table, including mine, focused on him.

"Andy! Just about time, I've started to think that we'll have to bother to reach you ourselves!" said Dylan. He seemed to sound friendly but I knew him well enough to notice a slight warning and tension in his voice.

"No, no, I always remember..." Andy ensured him. He was very tall but now he slouched awfully.

"That's what I like about you, Andy." Dylan grinned at him.

"Yeah, but... It's just... I wanted to talk."

Dylan's face stiffened immediately and sitting next to me Tony tightened. I had no idea what was going on.

"Andy, you do know that your time for talking passed and now came the one for debt repayment. Let's keep it in order, shall we?" said Dylan slowly and politely like to a child.

"P-please..." whispered Andy and I felt sorry for him.

Dylan sighed.

"Fine, Andy, tell me, for the old time's sake, ok?"

I didn't like this scene at all. Andy looked like he was about to faint and neither Dylan nor anyone else could care less.

"T-the money I borrowed was f-for my cousin and-d she was supposed to give it back but... yesterday she was r-robbed. They took her bag, she had everything in there..."

Tony spat with contempt, Shane raised his eyes and Dylan hit the table with his fist so loud, that I jumped.

"Oh, Andy, you know exactly how much fuck I give about excuses. You're coming to me the third time to postpone your date limit. Third time! Normally, I wouldn't let it slip the first one, but we used to be buddies in the sandbox, so I agreed. Out of sentiment, that's it. The second time, when you came, you pissed me off already, but I was in a good mood, so I postponed your date again. For today. And you dare to come here and now and tell me some bullshit about a robber? I don't give a flying fuck about your cousin and her bag!" My brother's voice was rising gradually, making his speech scarier and scarier with every next word. At its end, I felt like covering my ears.

"T-that was an unfortunate accident..." stammered Andy, defending himself with raised hands.

"Unfortunate accident will happen in a moment." hissed Tony.

"You think we are idiots, Andy?" asked Dylan.


"Well, I think you do. Let Tony make sure that I'm wrong." suggested Dylan. He was looking blankly at Andy, who was shaking now, dangerously close to crying. Tony stood up slowly, cracking his knuckles.

"No!" I blurted out and caught his arm with both my hands.

Everyone got quiet and looked at me, surprised. Even Andy. Tony tried to lightly pull out his arm from my grip but I almost hung on him with my whole body.

"Tony, don't beat him, please!" I whimpered worried.

"Hailie." warned me Dylan ominously.

"Not your business." muttered Shane, who sat at my other side and caught my wrists, pulling me away from Tony and when I tried to escape his grip, he didn't even blink.

"Please..." I begged and tears appeared in my eyes. They really wanted to hurt that guy!

I saw my brothers sharing a look. Their friends were excluded what just made me sure that they didn't have any real power here.
At least, Dylan rolled his eyes and waved at Tony to sit, what he did with a sigh, and then he turned to Andy, who still was standing there, waiting for the verdict.

"It looks like you just got a Christmas gift from my little sis. Exactly in one week, we'll visit you at home. Remember about the interest."

Andy started nodding. He was still shaking and a pure shook painted on his face as if he couldn't believe he avoided beating.

"Y-yes, of course, t-thank you." He gasped out to Dylan and then he moved his eyes at me and kind of bowed, like a gentleman from the old movies, but a clumsy one. "T-thank you."

I didn't know how to react to it, so I was just staring at him speechless. Shane slowly let me go from his hold.

"Hailie" Dylan started casually when Andy left. "How many times do I have to tell you to stay away from matters that don't concern you?"

"You wanted to hurt him!" I called out reproachfully. "You expect me to just sit idly and watch?"

"No, we expect you to look away." muttered Tony.
I opened my mouth to reply but Shane cut me off.

"That's it, quiet." And those words ended the discussion. I was staring at my tray with food which I didn't feel like eating. Soon, at the table, a chilled talk started between my brothers and their friends. I didn't take part in it.

The topic came back in a car when we were heading home. I sat inside humpty. I was a bit sad because I knew that Mona, Audrey, and Marshall were planning to go tomorrow to walk around the mall and I couldn't hang out with them. And also because I still wasn't able to understand how Tony was ready to hit someone so innocently-looking like this whole Andy guy. Did I mention I hate violence?

"Are you still sulky because of what happened in the cafeteria?" asked Shane when to his cheerful blink I responded with a look away.

I didn't answer.

"Andy's a weenie." muttered Tony from the passenger's seat.

"You wanted to hurt him and he was clearly scared!" I snarled reproachfully. I was sick and tired of them.
"He wasn't that scared when he borrowed money." spit Shane.

"Is it what it is about? The money?" I asked with disbelief. Of course, that was the reason for their dispute, that's what came from their conversation when they talked about debt and interest, but now, when they admitted it, I felt really disgusted.

"Usually everything is about money." shrugged Shane.

"I don't understand. You have tons of money. Why was it such a problem to wait for Andy to get back on his feet?" I asked sassily, going a bit too far.

"That's the point, Hailie, you don't understand." Dylan sharply hissed, glancing at me in the rear mirror.

"Enlighten me then!" I screamed.

"Watch your tone." growled Dylan.

"And change attitude." added Tony with obvious irritation in his voice.

It shut me up. It was the first time I let myself to talk to my brothers like that. My anger won with fear but just for this one moment. Now I was back again in my shy shell.

The atmosphere in a car was tensed until the end of the drive. When I get off the car, I just heard words that Tony whispered to Shane and Dylan.
"Vince's going to chew us out for it."

I didn't know what they answered because I went to my bedroom. I didn't want to have dinner now as I knew that the first place my brothers go would probably be the kitchen and I didn't feel like sitting with them in the same room for even one more second.

I throw myself onto the bed and looked at the ceiling for a moment, wondering who are those people I live under one roof with and whose I call my only family. In this mood, I fall asleep and when I woke up a few hours later, sleepy, a rumbling in my stomach motivated me to get out of my bed and come downstairs.

I slowed down on the stairs as I heard Will and Dylan's voices from the kitchen. Normally, I'd ignore them or back out. I had a trauma from my first day here when Dylan accused me of eavesdropping. And here I was now, fully aware trying to pick up the sense of my brothers' conversation. Especially, that it seemed they were talking about me.

"Firstly, he makes her sit with us during the break and then gets pissed off because she sees or hears too much. After all, he knows that sometimes we deal with our business even at school." complained Dylan.
"Vince meant that she's not ready to watch this kind of stuff, you see yourself how sensitive she is. That's why we should spare her from some situations." explained Will.

"Yeah, but Vince can't blame us in this case because this idiot, Andy, came to our table himself. What I was supposed to do? Stroke his hair just because Hailie was watching?

"You could take him away from the school area and deal with him there."

"If you'd see him... He shitted his pants before Tony even moved. If he got beaten in front of Hailie or not... well, it wouldn't really have made any difference..."

They fall silent and I changed my mind. I turned back to my bedroom, deciding to starve myself a little.