Nothing in my brothers' behaviour has really changed since recent events. I had no other choice than just accepting the fact that this is how they were - mainly cold and uncaring. Dylan, for example, right the day after his cute apologies started to boss me around again.
However, I had to admit that he was noticeably stopping himself from making things awkward for me during lunch breaks which I still had to spend at the Monets' table. Now he let me stay there unbothered. He didn't tease me and the others followed his example so the only discomfort I was forced to stand was their disgusting jokes about some girls, who I felt sorry for with all my heart.
I still also resent my brothers for how they destroyed my relationship with Jason. This time they did it irrevocably. When I saw him the first time after his "accident" I thought my heart would jump out of my chest. I had no idea what kind of reaction should I expect from him. I was also afraid to see him hurt, with some wounds and in pain or something but the only sign of Dylan really carrying out his threat was a big, protruding bump on his forehead with a plaster stack on it.
I didn't want to have an eye-contact with him because I felt embarrassed about the fact that I was the reason for his suffering. On the other hand, I couldn't prevent myself from glancing at his side, hoping that maybe he'll reassure me with his calm look.
But he was avoiding me. He seemed to always be turned away from me and those few times when I actually appeared in his vision, his eyes were slipping through me just as if I was a ghost.
Of course, I understood that he didn't want to get into even bigger trouble with my brothers but deep inside of me I hoped for at least some letter or a few explaining our current situation words quickly whispered to my ear. After all, a moment ago we were kissing passionately so it'd be nice to say goodbye in a more civilized way. I didn't want to hate or blame him for how he was behaving now though because I knew it was my brothers who crossed the line, not him.
Anyway, no matter how gloomy I was because of being ignored by Jason, it was nothing compared to how I felt when almost a week after I saw him with Lavinia Linden. She was a year older and we didn't have any classes together so I knew her only by sight.
"Lavinia Linden has the slimmest waist in the whole school." Mona informed us as if it was some historical fact.
"I have dance classes with her. She's really skinny."
I rolled my eyes. I didn't want to know any details about this girl.
"Really, in the beginning, I thought she's missing some ribs." Mona continued.
"Stop it." I muttered. "I don't care about any Lavinia."
Mona got quiet and shared a look together with Audrey and Marshall. It was obvious that I did care. But my friends let it go anyway, seeing that it was a touchy subject for me.
And I... well, since that moment, I couldn't stop thinking about Lavinia Linden's damn waist.
To be completely honest with myself I have to admit that my genes weren't that bad either. It's not that I had some problems with my weight. As I mentioned before, I was skinny and tall, taller than Lavinia. My mom had the body of a model and I remember that it was something she really liked about herself and I was lucky to partially inherit it.
But Lavinia Linden's genes were even better.
Objectively, Lavinia was sickly thin and it wasn't attractive at all but the only thing I saw was Jason's arm wrapped around her waist. He actually couldn't get his mitts off her. Apparently, he was into her body. And he didn't have to hide in the toilets with her.
It was extremely tough for me to see those two together. I still dreamed of the moment when Jason looks at me with his huge, blue eyes and gives me a smile with those cute dimples. Every time I saw him smiling like that at Lavinia, I felt my heart sank.
I don't even know when I started to watch my body closely in the mirror. I was gripping rolls of fat between my fingers in the places I thought I had it too much. I remember that the first time I did it, I got worried and sat on my bed, for half of the evening thinking what should I do about it. I grabbed my laptop and read a bit about effective weight loss in incognito mode, just in case. I didn't want my brothers to somehow find out about my actions. It was their fault anyway that Jason stopped being interested in me.
It was hard for me to change my diet into a low-caloric one as Eugenie was our cook and if I asked her to do some correction of the menu, she'd surely discussed it with my brothers first, most likely with Vince, and I preferred to avoid it. That's why I started to look for other ways. I found a forum where many girls were sharing interesting tips about how to get thinner. One of them recommended eating some seeds and sip water which made them puff up in the stomach and cover hunger. Another advised to wrap yourself in plastic wrap. And some other one swore that smoking a cigarette from time to time works perfectly as it speeds up metabolism.
I closed my laptop with a huge sigh. That was idiotic.
But Lavinia still had the smallest waist and Jason's arms still were happily wrapped around it. One day I witnessed how they were bantering together until he threw her over his shoulder and she squealed loudly, laughing and kicking her legs. I got sad for the rest of the day.
On one Saturday I was staying home, watching Netflix and studying a bit. With both those actions, I loved having snacks. Especially jellies, sour ones. I was completely happy with my laptop, books, and sweets until the moment when in the late evening I saw a picture on Instagram added by Jason. He wasn't really active on his social media so it hurt me, even more, when I saw him sitting on the bench, kissing Lavinia. So it must be serious, huh.
I immediately felt like a loser. I spent the whole Saturday at home, without any physical activity, just gorging myself on some unnecessary calories while Lavinia dated Jason. Ugh. That had to stop.
A new dose of motivation hit me like a whip. I sprang out of bed and rushed to the kitchen to get a glass of water. On the forum, they said you need to drink a lot of water. It was a bit after midnight but the lights downstairs were still on. At the moment, when I left my bedroom, I could hear some weird noises coming from there. Silently, I started to creep down the stairs and suddenly, I witnessed a shocking performance.
The front door was wide open. Two people were struggling brutally with each other in the hall. I gasped when I realized they were Shane and Tony. I stopped on the lowest step and watch the twins' fight breathless.
After a few seconds, Dylan appeared from the dark outside. He almost ran into the house and draw Tony away a moment after his powerful punch aimed at Shane's nose. I could hear a crack and he staggered. A red liquid spilled down his mouth and chin. That's also when I noticed he had to be drunk.
"Calm down." I heard Dylan growling to Tony, who was boring furiously into his twin, ready to give more punches. Shane bounced back really fast, although he was moving as if the room was spinning. He moved again towards Tony, who tightened his muscles eagerly. Dylan was stronger than his younger brothers but he had no chance to stop them alone from keeping on fighting, as those two were spoiling for it.
Then, on the stairs, behind me, out of nowhere, appeared Vince, all in black, walking fast. I almost gulped at the sight of his face. He was furious. Not like when he talked to me when he was just annoyed or impatient. Now, he was really furious. His lips were pursed but the most impressive was, as always, his icy-cold eyes, now darkened and very intensive.
I shivered when they moved to me.
"To your room, now." Vince hissed to me, passing by me and not even stopping.
I wanted to obey him and pull out but then I saw him getting closer to the twins and how he grabbed the collar of Shane's T-shirt. He roughly pushed him to the wall. That's when Dylan managed to pull Tony away.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Vince barked. It was amazing how he could play with his voice. Such a strong and full of authority tone I'd never heard before nor after. Vince didn't have to yell to make people listen.
Shane gabbled something out in a reply, something that I didn't understand and most likely either the others. He wasn't looking at Vince just a bit at sides and a bit hostilely at Tony, who, on the other hand, at the presence of the oldest brother tried to keep calm what seemed to be a struggle for him as well.
"What a fucker." He spat, what Shane obviously didn't let go unnoticed. He scrambled again, clenching his fists ready to beat but he forgot that Vince was pinning him to the wall. His sudden movement was fastly seen off with a strong and cruel blow that Vince delivered with his right, open hand while the left one was still gripped on his T-shirt.
I twisted my face at the sound of a slap. Shane's head startled aside and a red print started to form on his cheek. Vince immediately caught his jaw with the same hand he hit him and turned his head back to face him. He tightened his fingers so dizzy Shane could focus on him better.
"Stop compromising yourself." Vince snapped at him.
I didn't know what was all this about but I felt sorry for Shane anyway. If I were there, in his place, I'd die out of fear. Even being just an audience and keeping a distance, I felt how small I was getting every time when Vince opened his mouth. At some point, my legs led me to the kitchen. There I could continue watching the whole incident from behind of doorframe, which was a way better idea than being exposed at the bottom of the stairs.
I changed my position just in time because when Shane one more time tried to break free from Vince's grip, he almost threw him at the stairs. Maybe it's a little exaggeration but he pushed him violently, so drunk and bent Shane caught the banister in the last moment preventing himself from a fall.
"Get out of my sight and don't show up until you get your shit together." Vince said in a low and ominous voice.
I dropped my gaze so I'd not accidentally have any eye-contact with him. That's when I noticed a cigarette laying next to my foot. I frowned and picked it up quickly. At first, I wanted to put it on the counter. One of my brothers had to drop it. Then I saw another one, broken, also on the floor, a few steps away from me. And four more close to the front door. The ripped packet was laying in the place which the twins turned into a ring a moment ago.
Dylan moved to Shane. He wrapped his brother's arm on his neck and muttered some instructions to him, which were supposed to make it easier for them to climb up the stairs. Shane was barely conscious now but he let his brother lead him without any further discussion.
That was one, quick decision. I put the cigarette to my pocket and zipped it.
"And you" Vince started and I raised my head, panicking that he was talking to me. Luckily, he was looking at Tony. "You could finally learn to control yourself."
Tony clearly wanted to answer something but he stopped himself and still angry, he bent and caught the packet of cigarettes which I'd noticed earlier. He didn't bother himself with collecting the rest of the scattered cigarettes. He went outside through the still open, front door and slammed it noisily.
Before I realized, I was left alone with Vince. Oh no.
My oldest brother shook his head to himself, apparently still outraged. What I noticed was that Vince didn't get red when he was angry. He became pale, what was another point to check on the list of things that were scaring me in him.
Vince raised his right hand I looked at it carefully with a slight disgust on his face. It was bedaubed with Shane's blood. That's when he made a move towards the kitchen, probably to rinse it. And he saw me, still peeking from behind the doorframe.
If looks could kill, I'd be dead.
"What did I tell you?" He asked, slowly lowering back his head and coming closer to me.
I gulped. I couldn't even say a word. In my mind, I imagined how Vince grips the front of my blouse and punches me, just like he did it with Shane.
My fear was so visible that it was embarrassing. Vince surely had to know how afraid I was and maybe that's what saved me from him telling me off for my disobedience. His face didn't soften but he let his question pass unanswered.
"Go to your room, right now." He commanded and I didn't have to be told twice this time. I rushed to the stairs, tensing up when I had to pass him. I was afraid he'd catch me and stop or whatever but he just let me disappear.
When I entranced to my bedroom, I closed the door behind me and I leaned across them, still a bit stunned.
First of all, how did it happen that I went downstairs to get a glass of water and I came back with a cigarette in my pocket?