Birds of a Feather
Chapter 1: The Chase
Living alone with your older brother can be great at times, and horrible at others. Because he's old enough to drive, drink and hold a steady job, it's great. But because he's not yet old enough to realize that macaroni and cheese is not a suitable breakfast food, or to pick up his dirty clothes off the living room floor, it's not so great. I, his sixteen year-old younger sister, am required to cook meals and to clean. But, even though he's a dirty pig with no knowledge of proper nutrition, I would be lost without him.
His name is Bryce, and my name is Francesca. Strange names, I know, but they grow on you. Besides, all my friends call me Frankie instead. Bryce doesn't have a nickname. He's not cool enough. Mom's name was Claire, and Dad's name is John.
Yes, I said 'Mom's name was'. That's because she's dead. It was quick and painless. She died in a car crash when I was six and Brice was nine. Our parents were already divorced, but Daddy wouldn't take us. We spent most of our lives being passed around family members and distant relatives until Bryce turned eighteen and rented our lovely little apartment.
Now, when I say that our apartment is lovely, I'm lying. It's very small, very pathetic, and looking. Ok, so it's ugly. But it's home. It has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room and kitchen. The kitchen is the biggest room, because it also fits a small four-person dining table. The living room is relatively nice. It's the only room we painted. Our aunt Gloria gave us the huge, comfortable couch when Bryce rented the place. She was the only relative that we ever liked. But she was old, and too frail to take care of two obnoxious teenagers. So now we live alone, in this small dingy apartment, and are happier than we have ever been. We don't have a lot of money, a lot of nice things, or a cocker-spaniel named Rusty, But yeah. We're happy.
"Frankie, have you finished your paper?" Bryce said from his seat in front of the TV. I ignored him. I hadn't even started my paper. "Frankie…how's the paper coming?"
Ignore him and he'll stop asking. Ignore him.
"Frankie, you'd better be writing that damn paper when I get in there…"he said warningly, getting off the couch. Shit, shit, shit. I got off my bed and ran into his room before he got there. I turned on the monitor, and opened a word document, any word document. I began to type random sentences on the screen. He walked into the room and smiled,
"Ah. That's better. I'm glad you've started, because I remember how much of a bitch Ms. Linton could be if you hadn't done your homework. Trust me; you don't want to be part of any of her after school detentions." He walked over to the window and opened the curtains. The sunlight glistened on his freshly washed cherry-red hair. "Try working with light in the room, it helps. What have you written so far? Let me see,"
I blanched visibly, and covered the screen with a pocket folder, "No! You know how I hate it when people read my writing before I've finished…"
He frowned, "No, I don't know. You always let me read you stuff. Come on, let me see." I held the pocket folder closer to the screen, "Frankie, move the pocket folder."
I shook my head violently, brown hair flying crazily. He lunged for the folder, but I put my free hand on it to hold it in place. I now had two hands pushing against monitor, and Bryce was trying to pry it from my fingers. Unfortunately, him being a man, and older than me, he managed to move the pocket folder down to reveal the title,
"Moneen lyrics? Fuck it, Frank! Have you even started your paper yet?" he asked me, throwing his hands in the air.
"Uh…not exactly. The creative juices haven't started to flow yet! It's not my fault." I explained shortly. He looked at me and arched a pierced eyebrow,
"Frankie, stop lying. You and I both know that you could have started last night, and this morning, but you were just too damn lazy. Now you'd better start writing, or you're not doing anything this weekend until you've finished it." He said, putting on his best fatherly tone. "When I get back in here, it better be at least half done."
"Yes, Dad." I replied simply, smirking. He laughed and walked away, shutting the door on his way out.
I started to type the title of the actual paper. My Feelings on Earth's Exhaustion of its Natural Resources. I tapped my pencil on the desk. It was plywood with that crappy plastic stuff stuck on. Only, the crappy plastic stuff was peeling off the side, but I helped it along by peeling loose bits of it off as I thought about what to write.
In a way, it kind of sucks having a relatively responsible brother to take of you. I can never get away with anything. See, he's not as clueless as a real parent, but not as lax as a friend or random relative. He's like…perfect. And that bothers me at times. I can't sneak out, because the places I would sneak out too are populated with his friends and people he knows. That and this kid can hear everything. I can't not do my homework, because he checks in all the time.
I suppose it's better than living with my father who doesn't care about us. You see, when Mom dies, Daddy dearest decided that didn't want his kids. He pays for our schooling and sends loving notes written by his secretary once in a while. We just adore him.
I stopped thinking about Dad and Bryce, and tried to concentrate on my paper. But I couldn't, I was just so hyper! I couldn't write a paper when I was hyper! I'd be all over the place. I needed to get out and do something. Hopefully, I could sneak out without Bryce seeing me…
I crept back into my room, grabbed my Silverstein hoodie, my chucks, and my bag. I put my hoodie on quietly in my room, and held my shoes and bag tightly in my hands so as not to make noise. I made it to the doorway of the apartment, and closed the door quietly behind me. I did a very quiet, very awesome victory dance in the hallway on my way to the elevator. I pressed the button and looked behind me to make sure Bryce wasn't following. I felt so stealth.
The elevator door opened, and I walked in backwards, still looking out for Bryce. I didn't turn around until I hit something.
It wasn't a wall, it was a person. A very tall person, because when I turned around to apologize, I found myself staring into this person's chest. I looked up slowly, and almost smacked my forehead against the person's chin. He was looking down at me, and I was looking up at him, and this was all very, very awkward.
"Oh my God, I'm so sorry. I wasn't looking…I'm so sorry." I sputtered out apologies, and then I realized that I must've looked very strange, carrying my shoes and a backpack, and wearing pink hippopotamus socks. "Uhh…"
"It's ok; just try to get out of the habit of walking backwards." He said, with a crooked smile. His voice was so…I don't know. It was like melting chocolate to your ears. I must have been staring at him or something, because he started looking away pointedly. I snapped out of it, and began to put my shoes on. I wouldn't be able to tie them, seeing as I usually have to sit down for five minutes to tie up converse.
"I don't mean to stick my nose in anything, but, why are you running into elevators without shoes on, and very suspiciously, I might add?" he asked me, cocking his head to one side. I finished tying up my last shoe, and got up off the ground.
"Well," I began as I pulled my hair into a loose ponytail, "I just snuck out of my brother's apartment," the of the elevator began to open, and started going towards it, "and if he finds out,"
The door opened completely, to reveal a very out of breath Bryce standing in front of it,
I gulped, "he will be very mad."
Bryce began to speak, but I pressed the 'up' button inside the elevator as many times as I could until the doors closed. As soon as they were shut, I pressed the button to go to the basement parking. I could get out from there.
"I'm really very sorry about this. But, I'd rather he not catch me, because I really don't want to write that paper, and all I want to do is have fun on a Saturday afternoon, and—"
I stopped talking, because I realized that he wasn't really hearing me. He was doubled up on the floor laughing. I really don't understand what he found so amusing. By time the doors opened for the basement, he still hadn't stopped laughing. I walked out the doors, thinking about the strange young man in the elevator.
I was so deep in thought, that I smacked into yet another person. This time, I gave up when Bryce caught me.
"Alright, you got me." I said, raising my hands in surrender. He glared at me, and shook his head,
"You could have asked you know. The great thing about being your brother is that I get to be responsible and irresponsible at the same time. But I can't be irresponsible and let you go somewhere if you sneak out first."
"Well, in that case, can I go to Video Max to hang out with Leila?" I asked him sweetly, batting my eyelashes. I doubt that this would work on my brother, but he would say yes anyways.
"Go, before I change my mind." He replied, and gestured towards the door of the building. I hugged him and walked away happily. I was almost skipping. I didn't have to do my paper! Bryce shouted from behind me, "What are you gonna make me for supper?"
"I'll bring home some pizza! Hawaiian?" I shouted back. He grinned,
"You know it."