Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Oh Brother Episode 16-18

Roars of laughter were erupting from the kitchen. That was where Christian, Stephen and my mom were cooking, bonding, doing whatever. From where I sat in the living room, I could tell they were having a great time. One without me. Sighing, I turned the volumn up on the television, trying to block off the sound.
The sound of their laughter made me feel horrible. Not because I felt left out, but because I felt like I was back to the beginning of my hellish life. It was me against my family, which felt depressing when I thought Christian could be on my side. Even though I was the one ignoring him, the thought of my last hope getting crushed was unpleasant. But at the same time, I knew he deserved it. After what he did, he needed to learn that he was not my actual brother.
Sighing, I brought my attention back to The Vampire Diaries. It was a Delena scene – the reason I watched the show – but I couldn’t focus. Not when the one person I was furious at was laughing loudly, sounding as happy as ever. The idea stung, knowing he was happy without me. When it actually came down to it, he didn’t need me. He never did. Maybe this entire time he was trying to be the nice guy and get to know me. And just maybe, he pitied me.
I scowled at the thought, knowing that if Christian pitied me I would go back to hating him. Pity was the last thing I wanted, so if anyone gave me it I would detest them. Want them out of my life, in fact. My life may suck, but I didn’t want anyone’s pity.
“Autumn!” Stephen called. “The food is ready.”
This time instead of getting up and going to them, I sat still. For a single second I contemplated going to them, eating with them like a family, but then I sighed. If we weren’t a true family, what was the point in that.
“I don’t want to!” I yelled back, turning the volumn up higher.
“Why?” Stephen asked.
“Why should I?”
My insides began to tingle as adrenaline flooded through me. It had been a while since I showed any of my family members my wrath, and a part of me was itching to do so now. Every single one of them annoyed me, and they needed to realize that.
Stephen didn’t reply, but I heard his loud steps come my way. Exiting the kitchen, he stood at the door with a frown plastered onto his face. My eyebrows raised as he crossed his arms over his chest, leaning against the doorway.
“You’re not hungry?” he asked, staring at me with his eyes that almost matched Christian’s.
“Yeah,” I replied. “But I don’t want to come to the kitchen.”
“Because, I don’t want to eat with our dysfunctional family.”
Stephen suddenly sighed. He put a hand to his forehead and massaged his temples, looking exhausted. I rolled my eyes, but felt happy at the thought that I was acting bothersome. Hopefully that taught them to leave me alone.
“Autumn, if we spend more time together we can become less of a dysfunctional family,” Stephen said, sounding cautious.
I scoffed. “Yeah, because all that time we’ve spent together in the summer has helped us so much.”
“Dad, stop. Let me take care of this.”
I tried not to look surprise as Christian walked into the room, also looking tired. Ever since the Nate incident, we hadn’t spoken. I didn’t even go home with him ever since that day because I was that angry. Now that he wanted to suddenly talk to me, I was caught off guard and annoyed.
“Autumn,” Christian said, eyes hardening slightly. “You’re mad at me. Don’t take it out on our entire family.”
“What family?” I asked. “My own mom won’t talk to me and you two are practically strangers. Why should I go to a kitchen with you people?”
“I don’t talk to you because you act like this.”
This time, I didn’t try to hide my surprise as my mom entered the room. Her eyes narrowed at me as I froze on the couch, shocked she was here. This was the first sentence she said to me in a while.
“You’re my mom,” I replied, trying to fight away the constricting of my throat. “You can’t expect me to be fine with everything.”
“You didn’t even give anything a chance,” she snapped. “You just decided to hate everything the second you laid eyes on this change.”
“Because it was a horrible surprise!” I exclaimed. “You just changed my entire life without any warning. How do you expect me to be happy with this!”
“Shut up Autumn!” she yelled back, causing me to jump. “You’re so ungrateful! It’s because you’re a spoiled brat that you’re not happy with this change!”
My eyes widened at her words. Never had she ever spoken to me like this. Even with some of the terrible things I did in the past, she would never have said those words. My heart clenched and to my horror, I found my eyes tearing up.
Not knowing what to say, I looked at Stephen and Christian. Both of their eyes were widened, and I knew they didn’t expect my mom to say that either. This wasn’t who she was. Well, that was what we all thought.
“Alice,” Stephen said gently. “Relax. Autumn has every right to be unhappy. You have to understand that.”
My mom’s eyes lost their coldness as she looked at Stephen. She still didn’t look happy, but at least she didn’t look ready to murder someone. Knowing I made her look like that, I found myself fighting back tears.
“I don’t understand,” my mom replied, shaking her head. “There’s nothing wrong with you guys. She’s being unreasonable.”
“She’s a kid. We shouldn’t have thrown this at her.”
My mom rolled her eyes and turned around, storming off. Stephen looked uneasy as he glanced at Christian, and I didn’t know how to describe how Christian looked. From what I could tell, he looked empty. But looking down at his hands, I saw that they were clenched into fists. My eyes widened, wondering why he was mad.
Stephen soon walked after my mom and I was back to feeling like s--t. More than anything, I wanted to run upstairs and bawl my eyeballs out, knowing my mom hated me. Detested me even. She probably wanted me to die, I realized.
I really wanted to run away at this point, but I didn’t want to give anyone the satisfaction of me bawling my eyes out. Honestly, I also didn’t want Christian seeing me be the delicate thing he thought I was once again.
Suddenly, I heard footsteps move away from me. Looking back at where Christian once stood, I saw that he had left. Sighing to myself, I decided to bring my attention back to the television. Although, it was hard to focus with a heavy heart and teared filled eyes.
However, literally a second later I heard footsteps enter the room. My eyes flew to the entrance, and they widened as I watched Christian walk to to me with two plates in his hand. Seeing the expression on his face, I knew he was angry. But not at me – surprisingly – but at something else. I wondered if it was my mom.
Once he was in front of me, he handed me the plate of noodles and said, “Here.”
I stared at him for a second, wondering what his intentions were. Deep inside I knew he felt bad for me, but right now I didn’t care. I couldn’t care because I did feel pitiful.
Taking the plate for him silently, my attention returned to the television. I expected him to leave, but to my surprise I felt the couch sink beside me. Glancing to my left, I saw that Christian was sitting beside me, digging into his food as he turned his attention to the television.
I suddenly heard footsteps entering the room again, and my eyes widened as Stephen walked up to us with his own plate of food. He had a sad smile on his face as he made eye contact with me, but he quickly sat down next to Christian and also turned his attention to the screen. My once sad heart was now beating rapidly, wondering what was going on.
“Alice is mad,” Stephen whispered so quietly to Christian, that I barely caught it.
“Good,” Christian simply replied.
At those words, I found myself smiling to myself. Even though I still felt like crying, I now felt like crying for another, better reason. A reason that was because they had chosen me. Over my mom, they picked to eat lunch with me. Knowing at least two people who I had to see everyday didn’t hate me, I suddenly felt both relieved and to my surprise, happy.

I laid in bed, staring up at the ceiling as my manga book lay on my stomach. Closing my eyes, I thought about yesterday, of how my mom snapped at me like that. It sure as hell hurt, but I was over it. Mostly over it, because there was literally nothing I could do.
After the whole incident, I had run into my room and stayed there for the entire day. I didn’t cry, I didn’t throw a fit. I just sat on my bed and thought. Thought about ways of just leaving, running away from my problems. My mom wouldn’t care, I didn’t have anything or anyone left here, so why didn’t I?
The answer was simple. What Stephen and Christisn did yesterday showed me that I might actually have people who care about me. Who would stick by me, even when I didn’t deserve it. What they did really touched me. Especially since Stephen chose me over his wife, who was actually pretty annoyed that the three of us were eating in the living room. Knowimg he did that, my respect for him grew a lot.
However, when it came to Christian, I didn’t know what to feel. Even though I was touched by what he did, I couldn’t help but still be mad at him. Not just because of what he did to Nate, but because he was the biggest reminder that my mom hated me. Actually, I was pretty sure she only hated me because of him. Mr. Perfect who had seemed to accept this new life with open arms, unlike me. It seemed like we were back to the start, and I was too tired to care at this point.
Opening my eyes, I stared up at the ceiling that was blank. I began to wonder what I would do from now on, or even how I would survive in this house. My mom hated me, whatever that was Christian related was complicated, and Stephen was just Stephen. Someone who didn’t harm anyone, but wasn’t very helpful anyways.
As I stared up at the ceiling thinking about my life, I suddenly smelt smoke. Frowning, I shook my head and assumed it was just my imagination. But then, I smelt it again. My heartbeat picked up, knowing it wasn’t just my imagination.
Getting off of my bed quickly, I rushed out of my room, down the stairs, and into the kitchen. Just like two months ago, the kitchen was filled with smoke. Surprisingly, I found myself smiling instead of having an heart attack as I rushed to the stove.
Christian was standing in front of the stove, waving a dishtowel around wildly. I stared at him dumbfounded, wondering what the boy was doing. Soon it hit me. He was going the steps wrong.
“Again Christian?” I asked, taking the dishtowel from him.
He looked at me, eyes wide with panic. “Why are you so calm?”
I shrugged and shook my head. “You’re the adult here. I can’t believe it.”
As I looked back at Christian, I was surprised to see that he was actually smiling. Even though he looked nervous, he was smiling naturally. I bit my lip and fought back my own smile, knowing we weren’t exactly on the best terms.
“I’ll take you through the steps of dealing with burning food,” I said. “You really need to know how to do this.”
Christian’s smile grew. “I know, but won’t the house burn down at any second?”
“No… I hope.”
Christian chuckled at that and my heavy heart from yesterday lightened up a bit. I decided to forget all about my feelings of anger towards Christian and my sadness from yesterday as I watched him chuckle.
“First,” I began. “Turn off the stove.”
He obeyed quickly and I was pleased to see that the bowl of pasta had stopped overflowing. A part of me realized how stupid I was for not rushing through this process, but at least the house didn’t burn down. There was no need to worry, I assumed happily.
“Next, open the windows. We need to get the smoke out of here,” I told him. “I’ll put the pot in the sink while you do that.”
Christian obeyed once again, eyes softening as he turned around and left. Using the dish towel I was still holding, I grabbed the pot and walked over to the sink, pouring the water out of the pot. Seeing that the pasta was completely burnt, I frowned. I wondered what he was trying to do by himself.
As I began to open my mouth to ask Christian, I heard a shriek. I jumped and nearly dropped the pot from the shriek. Quickly putting the pot into the sink, I turned to face where the sound came from.
There, standing with her hands on her hips was my mom. Her eyes were narrowed, her jaw was clenched. I gulped, realizing my mom was about to blow. Just like when Christian had dropped the Alfredo pasta a while back, she’d freak out.
“What have you done!” Mom screamed, pointing a finger at me. “What is wrong with you Autumn!”
I stared at her stunned. At this point, I knew there was no point in arguing with her. No matter what I said or did, she would be on Christian’s side. I was smart enough to know that much.
“Autumn, can’t you do anything right?” she continued to scold, seeing that I wouldn’t say anything. “Who told you to cook in the first place? You-”
“Alice,” Christian suddenly said, cutting in. “I was cooking. Not Autumn.”
My eyes widened as they flew to where Christian stood. He was standing in front of the window, staring at my mom as he crossed his arms over his chest. Somehow, he looked both innocent and stern. My heart skipped a beat, shocked overall that he was actually speaking up.
“Christian,” my mom said, frowning. “You’re too nice. Don’t take the blame for Autumn.”
I nearly scoffed at that, wondering what the hell was wrong with my own mom. Christian was not her son. They weren’t technically related. Yet, she was choosing him over her actual daughter.
“I’m not,” Christian replied. “I was cooking and I messed up. Autumn just helped me. Without her the house might’ve burned down.”
“Christian,” she said tentatively. “You-”
“Alice, stop,” he said, sounding suddenly annoyed. “You need to stop treating your daughter so poorly. No wonder she snaps a lot, you made her like this.”
My mom actually flinched at those words. Maybe from Christian’s flat tone as well. To her he was golden boy; innocent and genuinely a good child. What he said must’ve stunned her, but not me. I knew this boy better than her, it seemed. I fought back a smile at the thought.
My mom looked down suddenly and turned around. My eyes widened, shocked that she was just going to take that from him. If it were from me, I would’ve gotten screamed at. Despite everything, it seemed like my mom really loved Christian and she always would no matter what he said or did.
“Okay,” my mom said, walking away from us and up the stairs. “Just don’t do it again.”
I scoffed as she disappeared, annoyed that he only got a simple response. Shaking my head, I chose to ignore that and finally let the warmth at the pit of my stomach blossom. Honestly, it was such a small thing, but it meant a lot. A lot because it was my mom he had stood up to for me. He had put her in her place, for me. I was pleasantly surprised.
Looking at him, I was surprised to see that he was staring at me. His eyes had a gentle look to them as he stared at me, making me blush. Just like those weird moments with him, I felt like I was transforming into a girl.
“Thank you,” I said to him. “I can’t believe you actually talked back to her.”
“It’s the least I could do.” He shrugged. “Your mom… She needs to be taught a lesson.”
I couldn’t help but smile. “What you said should hopefully be a rude awakening.”
He smiled as well. “Hopefully.”
We stared at each other for a second, and I found myself feeling warm. It was strange because what he did was what anyone with a good heart would do, but it had meant a lot to me. Probably because I knew he did it for me.
Shaking my head, I decided to be the bigger person. For once, I would suck up my pride.
“I’m sorry,” I said, letting my smile fall. “I’ve been an a-----e to you lately.”
“Don’t be sorry,” he said, frowning. “I shouldn’t have tried to scare Nate away. You’re right, I’m not your actual brother. I don’t have the right to interfere.”
“No, you had good intentions in mind.” I shrugged. “I prefer you not act on your intentions, but I guess it’s nice to know you care.”
To my surprise, he blushed. Not just a small blush, but a full on reddening of his face blush. I had to fight back a smile at the sight, actually finding it cute.
To more of my surprise, he then said, “Yeah, I care about you.”
This time I blushed as I looked down, not wanting to show him the reddening of my cheeks. My heart skipped a beat from the honesty in his tone.
Not knowing what to say, I simply said, “Okay.”

Dee and I walked to our lunch table carrying trays of food in our hands. As we made our way there in silence, I spotted Christian walking in our direction with another guy – surprisingly. And even though the guy was talking to Christian, Christian’s bright eyes were on me.
Before the day Christian stood up for me, I would have scowled at him. Maybe even have yelled at him for simply looking at me. But, things had definitely changed and I didn’t want to do either. I didn’t want to be a b---h anymore. So instead I actually smiled at him as his shoulder brushed my own. I noticed that he was smiling as well, glancing at me as we walked away.
“Oh god,” Dee suddenly said, snapping me back into reality as we reached our table. “It’s so hard to keep up with you nowadays.”
I frowned. “What do you mean?”
Sitting down, she said, “Weren’t you about to murder him when he told Nate to leave you alone. What happened to that?”
“That was a while back,” I shot back, suddenly feeling defensive.
Dee smiled as her eyes softened up. “I know. You don’t need to get so defensive. I was joking.”
My cheeks reddened as I realized how I was acting. Even when Christian and I were on good terms it still seemed like I was becoming a psychopath because of the boy.
Seeing that I wouldn’t say anything, Dee asked, “How did you patch things up this time?”
“He stood up for me to my mom,” I replied, smiling at the thought. “He actually kind of told her off for me too.”
My smile grew at the thought. Even though nothing had changed between my mom and I, I was satisfied with the silence we had. A part of me hoped Christian’s words had hit her hard, hurt her even, because she deserved to feel like s--t. From the very person she cared about, she deserved it because that was what she was doing to me. Hurting me, when I still cared about her a lot.
I shook that thought away and focused back on the thought of Christian. A smile instantly flew to my lips, feeling touched by the simple thing he’d done.
“You’re so cute Autumn,” Dee suddenly commented.
“Huh?” I frowned.
“You’re just smiling to yourself. It’s cute.”
My cheeks turned red as I huffed, feeling embarrassed. Choosing to ignore Dee’s comment, I grabbed my fork and dug into my salad. Dee did the same thing, smiling to herself as well. Much to my annoyance, her smile looked smug.
After a few minutes of silence, Cheryl joined us. Carrying her own tray of salad, she came to our table with her glasses seeming about to slip down her nose.
“Cheryl,” I said once she sat down. “Your glasses are falling off.”
She quickly pushed her glasses back up and asked, “You and Christian. You guys are good?”
I frowned. “Yeah. How do you know?”
“You seem happier, he seems happier. The usual.”
My frown grew. “What do you mean?”
Cheryl shook her head, grabbing her fork. “The both of you are too innocent. I wish you both the best of luck in the future.”
By now my eyes were narrowing as my frown stayed on my face. I had no idea what she was talking about. To me it seemed like gibberish.
“What the hell are you talking about?” I asked, wanting to understand.
“Don’t worry about it,” she simply replied.
Now, I felt a annoyed. She had been the one talking and now she wouldn’t explain. I didn’t get it.
“Cheryl!” I snapped. “I-”
I froze from the voice that still hadn’t been scared away. The one that made butterflies form in my stomach. Mentally slapping myself for sounding like a b---h in front of him for the millionth time, I turned to face Nate.
With his charming smile and lovely eyes, he asked, “How are you?”
“Good,” I replied, smiling at his gorgeous face. “How are you?”
Neither of us said anything after that for a bit. We just looked at each other, smiling for no good reason. I felt nervous, like a girl in a way I was fine with. The fact that this boy would take time out of his day to talk to me was flattering.
“Because of your stepbrother,” Nate said, smiling with amusement. “We never got to hang out.”
“I know,” I groaned. “But I dealt with him.”
Nate grinned. “Good. Cause I want to take you out on a date.”
My eyes widened. This was what I wanted. What I had hoped for secretly. I didn’t expect it to happen so soon though, but I sure as hell was happy.
“Yeah, that would be great,” I replied, grinning.
“Okay, let’s exchange numbers so I can text you the details.”
We did exactly that. Both of us wore smiles the entire time, and I felt my butterflies having seizures within me. If he wasn’t still here, I would probably be dancing in joy at the thought of going on a date with his gorgeous guy.
After we were done, Nate said goodbye and he left. I was still smiling as he walked away, feeling full of joy. I couldn’t believe it still.
“Autumn!” Dee exclaimed, making me turn around to face my friends I had forgotten about. “Oh my god! You’re so lucky!”
“I know.” I grinned. “I can’t believe it.”
“Who’s that?” Cheryl suddenly asked.
Remembering she didn’t know him, I said, “Oh, he’s this guy I find really cute. We met a while back and turns out he goes here.”
“And you’re going on a date with him?” she asked.
I nodded as my smile grew. It being said out loud was even better.
“Why?” Cheryl asked, frowning.
“What do you mean why?” I shot back instantly, wondering what was up with her.
First she spoke gibberish and now she wasn’t happy for me. She was one of my best friends, yet I didn’t understand her. I didn’t know what was up with her actually.
Cheryl shrugged and I rolled my eyes. Choosing to ignore her, Dee and I talked gleefully about my future date. Excitement was fluttering throughout me the entire time as I ignored Cheryl. At this point, I didn’t care about people who weren’t happy for me.

To be continued


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