Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Oh Brother Episode 1-3

My eyes narrowed at the boy who was helping his dad carry a computer into the house. My house . The place he and his dad would be living in, for maybe forever. I felt nauseous at the thought.
The boy, Christian Woods, was a golden boy, and his dad was now my mom’s husband. After two years of hiding a relationship with some man named Stephen Woods, my mom told me she would be marrying him in two months. My jaw had dropped at those words, the same as my heart. I hated change. Especially unexpected change.
My eyes darted away as Christian and his dad walked into the house, holding the large computer together. Once they walked past me, I decided to glare at Christian as he carefully walked up the stairs with his dad. Surprisingly, I hated Christian more than Stephen, even though Stephen was the reason why this change happened. For some reason, I just couldn’t stand Christian. Not at all due to his golden boy glory and intrusion of my life.
In a few minutes, Stephen and Christian walked back down the stairs. Once again, my eyes darted away so that I was looking at the ground. Neither of them deserved the idea of me even looking at them.
“Christian, you can take a break.” I heard Stephen say. “There’s not much left. I can finish up.”
“Are you sure dad?”
“Yeah.”
I heard Stephen’s boots thud in my direction, to where I stood near the front door. He was a large man made of all muscles and broad bones. You’d always know when he was around.
Before Stephen left the house, he suddenly said, “Hey Autumn.”
“Hi,” I muttered, only to be polite.
Stephen was a nice guy. He made my mom happy and he bought me things, so I didn’t really hate him. I hated what he did to my life, but I didn’t necessarily hate him.
Once Stephen left, I lifted my head up and watched him go to the moving truck. He was forty and still looking somewhat young with his neat black hair and lively features of bright blue eyes and a big, perfect smile. If I was my mom age, I might have seen what she saw in him.
Still watching him, I heard footsteps near me. There was only one person in the house right now, so I knew who it was. The very person I despised. The person who was causing the blood within my veins to boil.
“Autumn,” he said, sounding surprisingly gentle.
The way he spoke to me was always like that. Much to my annoyance, it seemed like he didn’t want to hurt me. It seemed like he thought I was some delicate little thing. That was one of the many reasons why I hated him.
“What?” I asked, looking at him to emphasize my annoyance.
Quickly, I raked my eyes over him, as if to sum him up. Christian looked like his father, but at the same time he didn’t. He definitely did have his father’s bright blue eyes and chiseled facial structure. But then, he wasn’t built as big or as hard as Stephen. He was like a softer version, with lean muscles and a younger appearance with his soft-looking skin. Unlike his dad, he also had messy black hair and was slightly taller.
“Autumn,” he said, keeping his gentle tone.
I snapped out of my thoughts, remembering we were in the middle of a conversation. If that had happened with anyone else, I would have blushed.
“I know you’re not happy,” he continued. “But I hope we can all get along. My dad and your mom are happy together, and there’s nothing we can do to change that. Let’s try to be a family.”
I scoffed, narrowing my eyes at him. Christian knew I hated him. Anyone with eyes would be able to tell I did. It was that obvious, so the idea of all of us getting along was laughable.
“Look,” I eventually said, faking a smile. “We’ll never get along, so I’m not going to try. We’re just going to pretend the other doesn’t exist. Okay?”
Christian stared at me tiredly. “Autumn, we’re family now. I’m your brother.”
I s----d in a breath, knowing I would lose it if I didn’t. From what my mom went on about to me, Christian was smart, kind, handsome, and athletic. Seeing what he just said, I doubted he was smart.
“You are not my brother,” I hissed. “You and Stephen are not my family.”
“Autumn-”
I stormed off, tired of talking to him. He was the reason why I was unhappy. He was the only person I hated with a passion. Getting along with him was impossible.
*****
“I’m home!” I heard my mom yell.
Getting off my bed, I rushed downstairs. I had been bored to death and I was thankful she had come home. Especially when I could smell Chinese food.
As I rushed down the straight, narrow stairs that separated the kitchen from the living room, I took a quick turn to my left to go to the kitchen. My face nearly smashed into the chest of someone wearing a black v-neck, and I glowered. I knew who the person was.
“Move,” I said, glaring up at him.
Christian looked slightly amused as he stepped aside. As usual, my blood began to boil from the sight of him.
“Autumn, don’t give Christian attitude.” I heard my mom say. “You’re the one who nearly crashed into him.”
I looked to where my mom stood, right in front of Stephen. Stephen had his arms wrapped around her waist and he was snuggling his face into the crook of her neck. I felt like gagging at the sight.
“But Mom-”
“No buts,” my mom said sternly. “You need to learn how to treat Stephen and Christian with respect. They’re your family now.”
“They’re not my family,” I spat.
Stephen lifted his face up from my mom’s neck, looking sad as he stared at me. My heart tightened with guilt, but I pushed that feeling away. They deserved the way I treated them. They deserved my wrath.
My mom sighed tiredly. She had seen me like this before, at the wedding. That was the first time I met Christian and Stephen. When I did meet them, I was rude, harsh, and unwelcoming. My mom caught onto that and she lectured me throughout the party. I didn’t listen to a word she said though, not even now. My mom seemed to be giving up on me due to that.
“Autumn, let’s just eat as a family,” my mom eventually said. “Come here.”
Robotically, I marched up to where she stood. Stephen let go of her and smiled sadly at me. I averted my eyes and watched as Christian left.
“He’s such a good boy,” my mom said to Stephen. “It was kind of him to get my car keys.”
“He’smy son,” Stephen teased.
My mom giggled like a little girl.
I found myself wanting to throw up again, and this time on the both of them. Seeing my mom like this was strange, bizarre because she had always been this strong, independent woman. Now that Stephen came into the picture, that trait of hers had been demolished.
Christian soon came back with a small smile on his face. Despite wearing all black and being eighteen, he looked surprisingly young when he smiled. Younger than my age of sixteen.
“Why haven’t you guys started eating?” Christian asked, handing the car keys to my mom.
“We were waiting for you,” my mom replied, taking the car keys. “Thank you so much Christian.”
I looked at my mom, feeling like someone had jabbed a dagger into my heart and was now twisting it slowly. The way my mom looked at Christian was the way my mom should be looking at me. A look of love and adoration, of protectiveness and care. My mom never looked at me like that, not ever since Stephen came into the picture.
“Well, let’s dig in,” Stephen said.
Everyone smiled simultaneously, except me. Throughout the day they all smiled, leaving me left to sulk in a corner. All I wanted to do was be alone for the day. My mom wouldn’t allow that though, so I was stuck sitting beside the boy I hated and his father I wanted gone. I had a bad feeling that was how my life would be from now on.

I was sitting on the black sofa in the living room, reading manga. My mom and Stephen were out, and so was Christian. For the first time in two weeks I was home alone. The thought had never made me happier.
Like I expected, things had been awkward and quite annoying around the house. My mom was intent on making the four of us one big, happy family, so she would make the four of us spend an extraordinary amount of time together doing random activities.
Just yesterday, we had baked as a family – which was quite awkward because only Stephen and my mom would speak. Flirt, would actually be the better term for what they were doing. That left Christian and I alone to fill the cupcake trays with batter together. Neither of us spoke as we did that, we didn’t even look at each other. I was glad to see that he was planning on leaving me alone, just like I had asked him to.
Suddenly, I heard the doorbell ring, causing me to jump a little in surprise. Putting my manga down, I walked to the door, hoping it was my mom. Turned out, it was Christian.
Once I opened the door, I turned around quickly and walked back to the couch. Falling onto it, I picked up the book and began to pretend he didn’t exist.
“Autumn.” I heard him say.
I looked at him, trying to make myself look as annoyed as possible as I raked my eyes over him. Christian was wearing a black leather jacket over a white v-neck. He was also wearing black skinny jeans. I didn’t understand why he always wore black. It wasn’t like he could ever look like a bad boy with his child-like smile.
“Yes?” I raised an eyebrow.
“Our parents are coming to pick us up in about thirty minutes,” he said, sounding tired. “We’re going bowling as a family.”
I sat up quickly. “We are?”
For the first time in a while, excitement filled me. Seven years ago – when my dad was still alive – was the last time I had gone bowling. It had been a family tradition with my dad, but the second he left us my mom couldn’t stand bowling. I couldn’t believe we were going.
“Yeah,” Christian replied, confused.
Finding myself smiling, I stood up. My heart was pumping in a good way for once.
“Wait,” Christian said cautiously.
I looked at him, suddenly remembering I hated him. My pumping heart soon began to pump with hatred as well.
“Let’s try to have fun together today, okay?” he said.
I rolled my eyes. “How about no. You have fun with your family, and I’ll have fun by myself.”
“It’s your family too.”
Once again, I rolled my eyes. I wasn’t in the mood to have this conversation again.
“You know you look like your mom,” Christian suddenly said.
My eyes widened slightly at that. No one had ever told me that, and I found it hard to believe.
My mom was beautiful. The type of beautiful that drew people in. She had long, wavy chocolate brown hair, and hazel eyes. Her body was long and thin, but she had the perfect hourglass figure. The only similarity we had was the same hair and clear skin. Other than that, I had chocolate brown eyes and was short. My figure was also less curvy than hers. There was no way I looked like her.
“No I don’t,” I eventually said.
Without waiting for a reply, I turned around and rushed upstairs. Now away from Christian, excitement began to fill me again. Bowling was one of the many things I missed from my old life.
*****
We were all standing in front of a bowling alley, waiting for Stephen to input our names into the computer that calculated points. I was staring at the area in awe, taking in the place I missed so much. It was quite empty to my surprise, but I enjoyed that because the place seemed to be just mine today. Mine and twenty other people I didn’t care about.
“Okay, we’re ready to go,” Stephen said, approaching us.
He was wearing a big smile, as he usually did. My eyes softened at the sight and I felt sorry about the fact that I was about to destroy him and the others at bowling.
“I made the order of names by age. I’ll go first and Autumn will go last.”
I huffed to myself, feeling annoyed. My excitement had been pumping through my veins for the past hour, and I just wanted to start bowling. Stupid Stephen.
“You did that so you could go first,” my mom said, amused.
Stephen winked and walked away. My mom giggled and I rolled my eyes. For the past two weeks she had been giggling at everything Stephen said, and I was close to banging my head against a wall. I was glad to see that Christian didn’t seem that comfortable with their flirting either.
Moving away from the wooden lane, the three of us watched Stephen walk back with a bowling ball in his hand. He looked dead serious as he walked, seeming to be in the zone. I found myself becoming amused.
Once he reached the lane, he winked at my mom again. She giggled again, and I found myself annoyed again. Then, Stephen pulled his hand back and rolled the bowling ball forward with a sudden speed. My eyes widened in amazement, but then it hit the gutter and I found myself smiling as Stephen walked back to my mom with his head hung low in shame.
When he reached my mom, she pecked his cheek and said, “You did well honey.”
He shook his head. “I got a gutter ball.”
“But you looked cute doing it.”
Stephen chuckled and I quietly gagged. Seeing old people flirt was disturbing. Especially, when one of them was your mom.
Stephen then bowled one more time, earning him three pins. He was still ashamed, but happy he had some sort of score. My mom went next.
Unlike Stephen, she hit eights pins. Years of practice was to thank for that, and if she wasn’t rusty she would have gotten a spare at least. I knew how good my mom was, and I was slightly disappointed in her. Stephen wasn’t though, he was extremely proud of her.
Christian went next. My eyes glued onto him as he casually walked over to where the bowling balls were, picked one up with his two fingers, and then walked to the front of the lane. Smoothly, he then proceeded to extend his arm with the ball back, take a few steps, and throw the ball forward with enough power that kept the ball fast but steady. My eyes widened as he got a strike.
“That’s my son!” Stephen cheered, clapping as Christian walked back to us.
My mom also cheered, “Good job!”
Christian wore a smug look as he ended up standing beside me. My eyes were still glued to him, so I was surprised to see him look at me in a way that I had never seen before. A way that was almost condescending, saying that he was better than me.
Huffing, I stormed up to the area where the bowling balls were and grabbed one. I was now annoyed. Annoyed by the stupid boy who thought he was better than me when he clearly wasn’t. I would show him that through bowling.
I walked up to the lane and played the movements I had done years ago to be a great bowler in my mind. The moves that Christian had done. When confident with them, I did them precisely as seen, and was amazed to see all of the pins fall down.
“Good job!” Stephen yelled as I stood there with wide eyes.
Collecting myself, I walked back to them with my own smug look. The fact that my mom didn’t say anything stung, but I ignored that and focused on the fact that I would beat Christian. The fact that his eyebrows were also raised, showed me that he didn’t expect that.
We continued fighting for the win after that, but to no success. Almost creepily, we would always get the same score as each other in every round. Our parents noticed that, but they were too impressed to be frustrated like myself. I couldn’t believe we kept tying.
The last round eventually came, and we were tied for one hundred and forty points. Christian brushed past me as he went to bowl for the last time, shooting me a smug look. He had been doing that the entire time, and I was growing insane from it. It took everything within me to not smack him in front of everyone.
Happily, I watched Christian earn a spare and then eight pins. I smiled smugly as he walked back, clearly not pleased with himself. It made sense since this was an easy win for myself.
Now brushing past him, I grabbed a bowling ball and shot him a devious smile. Without trying, I knew I could get a strike and hopefully nine pins as well. If so, I would win by a lot. That was all I wanted.
I pulled my hand back, ready to bowl and looked at Christian one last time. To my surprise, his smug look had been wiped off of his face. It had been replaced by a gentle, caring look. That threw me off guard as I threw the bowling ball forward, only hitting three pins.
Christian snorted at that and my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe it. Not once in the game had I hit that little pins, and in the last round I had. I was horrified and a bit humiliated.
Taking a deep breath in, I grabbed another bowling ball and threw it hastily at the pins. I hit six pins, leaving one standing. My jaw dropped again as I realized I had officially lost. Lost to Christian who I had badly wanted to beat. I couldn’t believe it.
“You cheated,” I accused, pointing a finger at Christian.
Christian held his hands up. “I did nothing. What are you talking about?”
My cheeks heated up as I realized I couldn’t say what I wanted to say. Saying that you looked at me like you cared would sound weird, so I decided not to say anything.
“You both did good,” Stephen said, trying to calm things down. “Good job.”
I snorted and walked away, not caring about the others. I was so angry. Angry at myself to be honest. It was such an easy win, yet I lost. Lost because the stupid boy had distracted me. I hated Christian even more.

I found myself blasting Eminem songs in my room, wanting to forget about the world. Two long weeks had passed since the bowling incident, but I was still mad. Mad that I lost to stupid Christian. To his perfect self. The thought drove me insane, which was why I was listening to Eminem.
The thing I loved about Eminem was that he seemed to be angry in a way that made you feel good because someone knew your pain. Someone, was actually experiencing it as well. That was how Eminem made me feel.
I suddenly heard a loud knock on my door, making me pause my music. It was my mom, I knew. She was probably going to tell me to lower the volume on my speakers, which I found annoying. Ever since Stephen appeared she didn’t seem to be my actual mom, so I didn’t understand why she thought she had the right to give me instructions like that.
Sighing, I walked up to my bedroom door and opened it. My eyes widened when the person I saw wasn’t my mom. It was Christian.
Quickly, I closed my door slightly, so that he would only be able to see me. My room was a mess. A complete mess because magazines were scattered across the ground, posters were stuck hastily onto the wall, and I had a huge pile of dirty clothes in one corner of my room. If golden boy saw that, he would be disgusted.
“Hey Autumn,” Christian said, looking nervous.
“What do you want?” I asked flatly.
A month had passed since Christian moved in, but I still hated him. Actually, I hated him more after the bowling match. Everything about him and his perfect self was just so infuriating.
Christian sighed. “Your mom wants us to go out one more time. As a family. School is going to start soon and… Yeah.”
“Why?” I asked, exasperatedly. “Haven’t we spent enough family time together.”
“Not enough.” He raised an eyebrow. “You still seem to hate my dad and I.”
I glowered at him. “That will never change.”
“What did we do to make you hate us?”
“Just leave,” I snapped, growing tired.
I quickly shut the door, wanting Christian to leave. The thing I hated about Christian the most was the fact that he didn’t seem to hate me. In fact, he wanted us to get along. He wanted us to be the ideal family, which s----d for him because that was impossible.
Groaning, I then realized I had to go to wherever my mom would take us. She would never let me miss out on our family time, which was incredibly annoying. So sighing, I got dressed in blue jeans and a white graphic tee, and then went downstairs.
*****
I didn’t know why my mom wanted to take us out to a restaurant. We were all perfectly capable of eating at home, but she had insisted on it. I wasn’t complaining though, because I loved Chinese food, and we were now at a buffet filled with it.
“This is a nice restaurant,” my mom commented, looking around the restaurant as she sat down with her food.
Once I also sat down, I looked around as well. The restaurant was simple, but cute with its walls painted with fishes in ponds and bright lights hanging from the ceiling. There was also a blue and red theme to the place, which I liked because those were my favourite colours.
“It’s lovely,” Christian said, sitting right beside me. “Thank you for taking us here, Alice.”
My mom blushed and I nearly gagged. Around Christian she was like a typical teenage girl. Swooning over all of his actions and treating him like a god. I hated it.
“It’s alright,” I muttered, just wanting to disagree with Christian.
My mom frowned. “Autumn…”
“Don’t listen to her,” Christian quickly said. “She’s just cranky after listening to Eminem.”
I scowled at him. Christian seemed to want to get on my good side, but he was doing a lousy job at that.
“Oh.” My mom smiled. “I don’t understand why people listen to that man. He’s just so… Angry. It can’t be healthy to hear him rap whatever he feels.”
“I love Eminem,” Christian quickly said, sounding honest. “I feel like he understands pain in a way that makes you respect him, even though he has no filter to what he says.”
My eyebrows raised at that, but I made sure not to look at Christian as I began to dig into my food. For once, I agreed with what he said. I was also kind of happy to hear that he had good taste in music.
Stephen soon came and the three of them began to chatter away. I didn’t talk at all. I just ate quietly as they talked. No matter how much my mom wanted us to be a happy family, I didn’t care. Some feelings could never change and that was how I felt about Stephen and Christian.
After ten minutes, I realized I had finished my food. Everyone else was still eating, so I got up by myself and walked outside of the room we were in. Outside was where rows of trays of food were at, so I went there and grabbed some noodles and shrimp tempura.
With a filled plate now in my hands, I inhaled the sweet, incredible smell of the food. My mouth even began to water as I closed my eyes briefly, welcoming the scent. Even though I wasn’t enjoying my time with my family, I was happy to be able to eat Chinese food.
“The food is amazing here, isn’t it hun?” I suddenly heard someone say.
I quickly opened my eyes and became surprised to see an attractive boy standing in front of me. He had blond hair and brown eyes, giving him an innocent look. The smile he was also displaying to me was quite beautiful, which made my stomach stir with butterflies.
“Yeah, it is,” I said, smiling. “The shrimp is the best.”
“It is.” The guy’s smile grew. “My name is Nate and I think you’re pretty. What’s your name?”
Blushed instantly filled my cheeks. “My name is Autumn.”
“Like the season?”
I nodded.
“That’s incredible.” He chuckled lightly. “Do you want to hang out?”
The butterflies in my stomach seemed to be having seizures as my stomach felt extremely uneasy – in a good way. I was kind of surprised a cute guy like Nate was hitting on me, but I was extremely happy too. Today was definitely going to be worth it if we hit it off great.
I opened up my mouth to agree to his request, but I suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder. A large, warm hand that made me look up to see who it was. To my shock and disappointment, it was Christian. A serious looking Christian, who had his eyes glued on Nate.
“Sorry,” Christian said, forcing a smile. “She’s spending time with our family.”
Nate frowned. “You’re her boyfriend?”
My jaw dropped and before I could say anything, Christian said, “No, I’m her step-brother.”
“But, can’t she spend some time with me? I just want to get to know her.”
“No.” Christian pulled me closer to him, so that my back was now pressed against his chest. “Bye now.”
I scowled as I felt Christian’s hard muscles on my back. His hand was still on my shoulder, making me squirm away from him. I didn’t know what he was doing, I didn’t know why either. But, I was now furious. He had no right to interfere.
Turning around quickly to face Christian, I snapped, “What the hell! This is none of your business.”
Christian didn’t react. He just stared at me with a neutral expression, angering me even more. My hands even clenched into fists as anger boiled through my veins.
“What are you doing!” I exclaimed.
“I’m protecting you,” Christian simply replied.
“Protecting me from what?” I asked, exasperatedly. “You’re the only one causing me problems lately, so you should be protecting me from you.”
To my surprise, Christian flinched. His eyes widened as well. Ignoring his reaction, I turned around to face Nate. To my disappointment, his eyes were also widened.
“Nate, I’m sorry,” I said tiredly.
“Maybe I should go now,” Nate replied, still looking shocked.
Before I could say anything, he turned around and walked away. My butterflies seemed to die painfully as he walked away, knowing I lost my chance at being with a cute guy. Knowing it was Christian’s fault, I felt my veins boil again.
Turning around quickly, I began to scowl at Christian again. “This is your fault.”
Christian shrugged casually. “It is.”
“Stop acting like it’s not a big deal!”
“It isn’t a big deal,” Christian shot back, finally losing his patience. “He’s just one guy.”
My hands clenched into fists again, but I turned around. I then walked away, knowing I would lose it in front of everyone if I continued talking to Christian. He had that effect on me and I hated it. Completely hated it because I knew I would get in trouble for it in the end. Not Mr. perfect, but me. That was how life would work from now on.

To be continued..

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