I was still going week at the knees when I entranced to the kitchen. I don't know why I came there as I wasn't even hungry. I guess I didn't want to follow Vince and I preferred to wait a bit before going upstairs.
I picked a few grapes and was chewing them slowly, one after another, leaning across a cupboard. I was staring blankly at the floor. My whole conversation with Vince was going around in my head and I couldn't snap out of it. Especially out of his last words.
That's when Dylan came in. I looked at him and felt how my body tenses up at one moment. He didn't ignore me, as usual, just stood in front of the coffee maker and turned it on, at the same time boring into me. He looked angry.
"What was that supposed to mean, you running away, huh?" he asked ominously. He sounded angry as well.
I slowly swallowed the last grape I had in my hand, thinking about the answer.
"I couldn't listen to you anymore." I confessed honestly.
Coffee grinder sounded and Dylan came closer to me, significantly invading my personal space.
"I don't care. You do as we tell you and that's it. It doesn't matter if you like it or not."
I straightened up.
"Yeah, but... I. Couldn't. Listen. To. You. Anymore." I repeated, putting an emphasis on the last words. I wasn't doing it in a mean way, really. I knew better than talking back to Dylan. I spoke normally, in a bit defending way, but still normally.
He took one more step towards me and if only I could, I'd stand back.
"Well, next time you cover your ears." He growled in a low voice.
"I'm sorry but I still can't listen to you." I blurted out and passed by him to run away as fast as I could from this talk. Ok, that actually came out accidentally. I knew that I overshot the mark right after closing my mouth.
Dylan grabbed my arm, stopping me from escaping.
"You became sassy, little sis, didn't you?"
"Let go of me." I mumbled, not looking at his direction.
"Firstly, we need to explain something..."
I clucked my tongue in irritation.
"I've had a talk with Vince already." I spitted, hoping that that will do the thing.
"Amazing. Now, you'll talk with me."
"I don't want to."
I tried to break free from his grip but, of course, I couldn't.
"You're so huffy because of what happened to your little boyfriend?" he asked irreverently.
I gritted my teeth out of rage.
"Let me go!" I hissed.
"Let's hope that in the future he'll watch his step, hm? That'd be a shame if he fell down again."
He didn't say it.
What kind of person says such things?
I looked at him with disbelief. What an arrogant asshole! My previous signs of anger were just tiny stings but now, after his last words, I felt the whole wave of it going through my body.
"Let me go, let me go, go!!!" I yelled, this time putting all my energy to wrench myself free, pushing him away with my fists, what quickly turned into hitting.
At first, Dylan looked at me totally surprised and then he frowned as if he tried to understand what the hell I was doing. I wasn't strong enough to hurt him with my attack, he didn't even step back, although at some point he slightly lost his balance but quickly regained it anyway. Finally, one of my blind blows landed dangerously close to his manhood and that's when Dylan instinctually pushed me back.
I landed on my butt with a quiet "ouch" escaping my mouth. It hurt a bit but helped me to snap out of the trance which I'd been into. I raised my head up to see Dylan who was towering over me now with an inscrutable expression on his face.
"What is going on here?" Will, who just came into the kitchen, asked us.
For a moment, Dylan and I had a stare competition and we ignored the question. Suddenly, Dylan broke it.
"Get up." he said, sighing and offering me his hand.
I looked away with resentment, ignoring it and trying to pick myself up on my own.
"Oh, for fuck's sake." He growled. He bent to catch my arm and lifted me up as if I was as light as a feather. When I was back on my feet, I moved away from him.
"Hailie, why were you laying on the floor?" This time Will's voice was low and severe.
"Because I pushed her." Dylan admitted.
"You pushed her?" Will repeated with disbelief, paying his whole attention to his younger brother, who shrugged in a reply.
"I didn't expect she'd instantly fall to the ground."
"Dylan, she's not like Shane or Tony who you can fight for fun with! Look at her and then at yourself. Of course, she instantly fell to the ground!" Will growled. His blue eyes, boring into Dylan, became very cold and he really looked as Vince a bit. Just a bit of course, because Vince is one of a kind.
"I know but she trew fists at me first."
Now, Will was looking at me.
I was still boiling, so my answer was adequate for my emotions.
"Because you started talking shit about Jason!"
I got surprised myself with my choice of words. I wasn't used to speaking like that. I wonder where I picked up such expressions...
"Hey, watch your mouth!" Dylan hissed, raising his pointing finger at me.
"What kind of vocabulary is that now, Hailie?" Will asked at the same time.
Now both of them were looking at me strictly. Great, again there was me versus them. I felt my eyes starting to water. Why was it me who always has to cry?
Will was this brother who was always kind of good and gentle for me but situations like that one were reminding me that he also doesn't play around. Unfortunately for me, I was in a warlike mood.
"You keep swearing all the time." I pointed out.
I could say that they didn't like my remark.
"Yeah, we also do a lot of other stuff that you are not allowed to." Dylan spat.
"And it is non-negotiable." Will added seriously.
Oh how much they were irritating me with those stupid, possessive comments!
"How is that that all of you tell me what I am and I am not allowed to do? It's only Vince who's my legal guardian." I said as I really was annoyed with the fact that even Dylan and the twins had the right to boss me around and they weren't even that much older than me...
Will just raised his eyebrows.
"Should we get him here?" He asked, pointing with his thumb at the stairs.
We were gazing at each other for a moment and then I lost and dropped my head, shaking it. Will wasn't joking, he was really ready to call Vince and I'd had enough interactions with him for one day. Besides, I was sure he'd agree with my brothers.
"I'm tired, I want to get some rest." I mumbled, prying in my head for Will's mercy.
He was gazing at me for a while and then nodded and let me pass by him. I did so, not gracing Dylan even with one look. I climbed up the stairs and welcomed my bed with great relief. However, I couldn't relax as I kept thinking about all the things I was told today by Vince.
Firstly, my brothers have some illegal business and those weren't just some stupid gossips or guesswork but facts confirmed by Vince himself.
Secondly, I was in danger. I didn't know how great it was but the fact I needed a bodyguard itself made me shiver out of fear. Until now this kind of problems I've come across only in the movies. I have never thought that I'd feel like a thriller character.
Thirdly, with all my might I tried to convince myself that Vince's last words must have been just a joke, however, everything - the expression on his face, his look, and voice - indicated that he was a hundred percent serious...
Fourthly, Dylan is an asshole.
I directed my whole anger and fear at him. He made it easier for me. Eventually, he was the one who'd beaten up Jason and then teased me in such a cruel way. Thank you very much for such a brother.
Unexpectedly, I changed my mind in the evening when I was doing my homework. I was sitting at the desk, focused on my notebooks when I heard knocking at my door. I thought it could be Eugenie or maybe Will but it was Dylan who entered my bedroom. I tensed up immediately and pretended that I was really busy with reading one of the chapters in my history book.
He came to my desk and leaned across it.
"Hailie, I'm sorry." he said just like that, completely surprising me.
In my mind, Dylan wasn't able to say such words, so I raised my eyes at him carefully. I expected to see a smirk on his face that'd suggest his statement was sarcastic but he was serious.
"Not for what I've done to your little boyfriend, to be clear. Just for being mean to you." Dylan shrugged dispassionately (which was more like him). "I felt like taunting someone and it just happened to be you. And you're an easy target, little sis."
I made a wry face and Dylan's lips corners twitched. It was the second time today that someone called me an easy target.
"You shouldn't have run away. I got pis... angry when I found out you weren't in classes. It's dangerous for you, to roam alone. That's why I started this shit with you in the kitchen."
I was silent so after a moment Dylan didn't have anything to add and pushed himself off the desk, heading to leave.
"Dylan..." I whispered. He stopped in the middle of the way and turned away.
"Hm?" he muttered with a raised eyebrow.
"I'm scared." My voice trembled and my eyes watered. I even dropped my pen. All this just because, for some reason, at this very moment my self-control burst like a soap bubble. I couldn't handle all those emotions inside me anymore. I had to get rid of them. Dylan's peace visit just started this process.
He could laugh at me, ignore me or cheer me up and I really didn't know what his choice would be like but at that moment I didn't really care.
My brother was looking at me for a moment and then he sighed and changed the direction. He sat at the edge of my bed and gestured at me to get closer.
"Come here" He said and I, unconsciously, stood up and followed his command. Now, the tears were running down my eyes and I didn't even think that it was happening at Dylan's presence. I needed some comfort urgently and I didn't care who will give it to me.
Dylan reached me with his hands and (to my shock) he placed me on his laps. I was really small compared to him, even if in fact, I wasn't that short.
Then he cuddled me and my head laid on his muscular chest. My tears immediately wet his T-shirt. He held me with one arm, the other one was making reassuring circles on my back and at the first moment, I started to cry even more simply out of the comfort it gave me. I just needed it so much.
"What are you scared of, Hailie?" He asked.
"That s-someone will kidnap me..." I choked out. In general, I could write a book about the things I was afraid of. I was afraid of my brothers, of the fact I was in danger, of them seriously hurting Jason, of them having illegal businesses, of them using guns...
Dylan's embrace tightened and his mouth got closer to my ear.
"We won't let anyone hurt you. You are our little sis." He promised quietly.
"I'm a stranger to you." I protested and even more tears rolled down my cheeks. I said out loud the thing that I'd often thought about shyly since the first day I met my brothers.
Dylan caught my chin and lifted it, making my red eyes meet his.
"Hailie, you are our sister. Family. And family is the most important for us. Never forget it."
Such serious Dylan I have never seen in my life before.
I nodded, clinging the hope that maybe, maybe (in defiance of my usual feelings) I did matter to them at least a little bit.
We kept cuddling until I calmed down.
"You snotted my T-shirt." He complained, defusing the atmosphere a bit. I giggled quietly, still sniffing.
Finally, when I was ready, I slowly started to break free from him.
"It'd be cool if you could always be so nice to me." I confessed before I bit my tongue out of embarrassment. After all, Dylan was still intimidating.
He smirked at me.
"In your dreams, little sis." He answered, gently patting my back.
I sighed with a resign on his words. I still felt the burden of thousands of questions and uncertainties on my shoulders. I could feel their weight. But the conversation with Dylan brought some relief and I could finally relax a little.
Funny, a few hours ago I'd give a lot to claw out his eyes and now I was hugging him. Finally, I managed to stand up and headed back to my desk, where there were still a few exercises waiting for me to finish. At the same time, Dylan quickly left my bedroom without a word.
Now, I couldn't concentrate on doing the rest of my homework. With the heart full of new hope, I grasped at the thought that maybe my brothers did care about me and, what's equally important, I cared about them too.
*A/N Hi, I just wanted to tell you that I know that I don't always reply to the comments but I read and appreciate all of them. And thanks for correcting my grammatical errors. About the updates - I'm sorry but it's impossible for me to have a regular schedule, so sometimes I can update after a few days, sometimes it may be much longer. Especially, that I write this story in my native language and then translate it to English. However, thank you for your patience and I send you all huge hugs!!