Chapter 2: It Gets Better


"Ben!" calls Mercutio from the other side of the door, rapping it loudly.

-Tell your brother to stop banging on me,- states my door.

"Quit with your banging, I'm up!" I yell sleepily, sitting up and rubbing my eyes.

"Mom wants you to- ah..." there's a pause and I sigh.

"You forgot what Mom wants me to do, didn't you?"

"No..." he mumbles distractedly, probably looking at his notepad that keeps him on tabs with what he's suppose to do, "She wants you to make breakfast because she's too tired."

"I'm comin', I'm comin'," I say, throwing my covers off and standing. I pop my back, arms thrown over my head. I look around for my slippers, because the tiles in the kitchen are cold and refuse to shut up unless I wore something on my feet while I walked on them. And it was only me; they didn't care if Merc came running into the kitchen wearing cleats.

My fuzzy pink bunny slippers back some baby gurgles and giggles as I slip them on. My old girlfriend got them for me as a birthday joke, despite the fact I hate getting stuff for my birthday. More stuff meant more voices. But these slippers had the minds of two year olds so I didn't mind.

Did I just imply a pair of pink bunny slippers had minds?

I sigh and shuffle out to find my bigger brother standing idly outside my bedroom. He looks down at me in surprise, as if not expecting me to appear. He is in his beaten up denim jeans and shirtless, tilting his head a bit so his hair falls into his eyes. Poor Merc must have forgotten why he was standing outside my room in the first place. Sometimes, he's able to remember things for long while, but there are times like these where his memory is snuffed out rather quickly.

"G'morning," I mumble, patting his shoulder. He smiles brilliantly, "Mornin' Benny! What's for breakfast?"

Maybe he didn't forget.

"Let's see what the fridge says," I yawn. He doesn't take it literally, like I meant it, and he follows me like a big dumb dog straight to the kitchen. Our mother is slumped over the circular kitchen table, an empty mug clutched in her hand. The smiley face painted on it has a bleeding hole in its head. I ruffle her everywhere brown hair as I go to the fridge and open it.

-Benvolio, I have a complaint I wish to express to you,- the fridge says curtly. I make a noise of acknowledgement as I look for the eggs.

-That gas-sputtering cad,- it starts and I groan. Not again! Merc and my mother look up at me curiously as Romeo bounces merrily into the room. He was always the morning person between all of us. He all but jumps into his chair and flashes us a minty smile. His black eye is still pretty bad, but he doesn't seem to care.

-Are you even listening to me, Benvolio?!- cries the fridge as I pull the ground coffee off a shelf to make Mom and me coffee. Merc hated the taste and Romeo, quite honestly, didn't need the extra energy. And no, I was trying not to listen. The fridge was obviously going to go on about the stove. Well, the stove/oven apparatus.

-Nope, why would he listen to a screechy cold bitch like you?- purrs the oven from across the kitchen. Stumbling over itself in its flustered state, the fridge's light flickered.

"We really need to change that bulb," Mom mumbles, finally pulling herself up off the table. I nod and close the fridge door with some eggs in a bowl and a bit of butter.

-Ah, goody, my turn to create breakfast?- chides the stove smugly.

-Why Benvolio?! Why do you always let that...that...foul-mouthed, metal box of ignited flatulence take my children away from me?!- the fridge wails as I set the bowl of eggs down and dump some coffee into the coffeemaker. The fridge has the delusional the food put into it is its children. She doesn't care if I put food in the microwave, but if anything goes into or on 'the metal box of ignited flatulence"

-Because I make them taste good,- it says snidely as I smack a frying pan onto it. I mutter an apology to the pan, who yelps at my roughness. Thankfully no one in my family hear me.

I have mixed feelings about food. Some talk, some don't, like most of the stuff in the house. Eggs and coffee grounds I have never heard talk. But I've heard cupcakes and broccoli talk rather animatedly. Some foods want to be eaten, others don't. The other day I tried to eat a Twinkie but couldn't because the damn thing was blubbering and begging for its life. I stuffed in back in the wrapper and left it on the table. I think Merc ate it. Poor Twinkie.

"First day, boys, do you think you'll survive?" our mother asks, letting out a loud yawn. She isn't that old. She had Tybalt when she was in her early twenties and us when she was in her early thirties. She's forty-something, I never know the exact age if I value my life.

"I will survive," says Ro. Probably quoting that Aretha song...that was an Aretha Franklin song, right? Hmm...

"How about you, Mercutio?"

He shrugs, fiddling with his handheld Tetris. I swear he's addicted to that damn game. Worse than addicted. We painted his room like there were Tetris tiles falling everywhere. His favorite background noise is Tetris music. But it isn't like you need to remember a lot while playing it. He hates role-playing games because you have to remember to get something or which way you went. Give him Street Fighter, Tetris, and some junk food and he won't leave his room for hours.

"As long as I don't have to know what 'onomatopoeia' means," he says, eyes never leaving the screen. I sniffle, I think I might be coming down with a slight cold, and crack the eggs into the buttered pan. I drown out the sound of the stove and fridge bickering and focus on making cheese omelets for the family.

-G'morning, Ben,- I hear a familiar voice say. I smile and look over to the toaster. -Trying to play mediator between the appliances again?-

The toaster is the only thing I really like to talk to. It talks when it knows I'm okay with it, and it always has something interesting to say. So I grace it with an answer by nodding.

-Well, I leave it to you...may I suggest some sourdough toast? It'd certainly make Merc in better spirits. He went in and out of the kitchen several times, trying to remember what your mother asked him to do before passing out on the table.-

I smile and take out the sourdough loaf to pop into the toaster. The coffee is done and I pour myself a thermos full mixed with sugar and cream. I take it to school because I tend to take a long time to drink it. I like to savor coffee. I take the coffee pot over to my mother, pouring her mug full. She likes hers black. Taking a grateful slurp, she smiles over her mug at me as I return to the stove to scrape last omelet onto a plate and sprinkle cheddar onto it.

-I'm melting! I'm mmmeeelttttinnnggg!- it cries as the heat from the eggs causes it to...well...melt. I sigh, drowning it out as I set down the plates in front of my family.

-Toast's done, Ben- says the toaster. It's rather silent when the toast pops out so I never notice when it does. I go over and pluck the sourdough out and go over to Merc, plopping the slices onto his plate. He looks up at me with another toothy grin. He was the king of smiles. I could almost see the shine and hear the ting, like when someone smiles perfectly in a cartoon. His smile would make any girl stop and swoon on the spot.

Too bad my bigger brother is gay.

That's right. On top of everything else, Merc's gay. Hell, I'm even bi! Romeo is the straight one, but everyone pins him right away for the gay one. It's the fact that he's the Drama King, king of drama. Mostly Shakespearian drama. How odd how us triplets' sexual orientation was so...varied.

Merc's never had a serious boyfriend, mostly because he can't remember that they're boyfriends come the next day. It's rather annoying to him and the other guy. So he has flings with Rosaline's gay friends. Ro and I don't approve at all, mostly because we are not advocates of the player life. But Mercutio's happy and isn't exactly trying to tame a raging libido. Plus he's drilled into his memory that if he doesn't have protection, nothing will happen, period. That makes us happy.

Ro has had a multitude of girlfriends, and is actually still friends with the majority of them. Except for this one girl named Val, who cheated on him. Rosaline plotted revenge on the bitch, but was steered away by a rather calm Romeo. Little did we know that if Romeo decided to just entirely ignore the girl that her social standing would plummet. And that's exactly what Ro did. But now we switched schools and he could start fresh. The drama department's student teacher is really excited to have Ro in the class, because he used to be the student teacher of our old school's drama class. He saw firsthand all of Ro's performances, from memorable supporting characters to tear-jerking leads.

I just hoped this school wasn't that much different than our old school.


"...and that concludes our briefly summarized rules and regulations," says the headmaster as my brothers and I blink. We had been sitting there for thirty minutes going over a briefly summarized version? I had to kick Mercutio discreetly in the shin when he started to dose off. No way is he going to retain all of that rules dribble.

"Are there any questions?" the bearded man asks, though from his tone I can tell he means, "You shouldn't have any questions because I was quite clear."

And also that his horrid red bow-tie was translating everything the man said in layman's terms while he made the long-winded speech of the rules. So maybe it wasn't so horrid.

"I'm sure I speak for myself and my brothers when I say we have to questions whatsoever, sir, and understand you completely," I say saccharinely, almost tacking on 'your majesty'. The man certainly had an air of authority about him. Most of his things were quiet, I guess, in sheer fear.

After I look at both of them, they nod enthusiastically. But the headmaster doesn't buy it.

"Mr...uh," he looks down at his paperwork while pressing his reading glasses up. "Mercutio?"

"Y-yes sir?" Merc stammers, sitting up from his slouch.

"What is your opinion on the dress code? Particularly the female dress code?"

Looking upward as if searching for the answer somewhere there, my brother bites his lower lip. Taking a breath, he says slowly, "I think...the dress code is there to uphold the virtue of modesty among...model students...who need to show how the youth of today are not the mindless glue-sniffing dope addicts older generations make us to be."

"A very...interesting way to put it, Mercutio," he strokes his beard with his eyebrows furrowed. I realize I was holding my breath. Ro is blatantly staring at Merc with his jaw slack.

"Mr. Boudwell?" he suddenly asks, snapping his eyes to the headmaster.

"Yes...Romeo is it?"

"Y-yes sir."


Ro looks to me almost pleadingly and I catch what he wants to say.

"Again, I need to speak for my brother. But, we were wondering if you were informed of my brothers'...special needs?"

Pushing his reading glasses back onto his nose, Mr. Boudwell looks once again at our paperwork, "I do believe something was mentioned about your psychological health..."

"Allow me to spare you looking for any technical terms, sir. Essentially, Mercutio here has short term memory loss. In class, he might not be the sharpest or quickest, but he devotes a lot of time at home studying so the curriculum is firmly set into his mind. He has a problem remembering little things here and there, and it shouldn't be a terrible problem."

-This is certainly going to be interesting,- muses his bowtie as I clear my throat weakly.

"And Romeo has a disorder known as echolalia, where he basically mimics what he hears. He can write whatever he wants, but when it comes to his speech, he is somewhat limited."

"I've heard a great deal about his achievement in the drama department," he steeples his fingers and leans back in his chair, "Tell me, how he goes about memorizing his lines?"

"It is common for people suffering from echolalia to remember entire scripts from movies and such if they hear them read through. Usually he sees the play beforehand elsewhere or he has one of us read the script aloud."

"Fascinating," the headmaster says blandly, reaching for our papers. "And, out of curiosity, did you get that shiner, Romeo?"

"Protecting a friend from getting jumped, sir."

"Here at Stanley, we have a zero-tolerance policy for fighting and harassment. Am I clear?"


"Good," he mumbles, tapping our papers into a neat pile and setting them in a shallow box. He hands us three schedules and three student handbooks. "I'm sure you'll be fine here, given that you keep to the rules and show effort in all your studies. You boys have a nice day then and hurry to first period."

"Thank you," we say in complete unison. It didn't happen a lot but it does happen. Mr. Boudwell regards us oddly as we take our schedules and handbooks and file out. Merc tugs at his stiff collar of the uniform and mumbles, "These things are itchy."

-It isn't our fault! They used the cheap starch on us!- cries the shirt.

We are forced to wear these Catholic uniform things. With plaid pants. I like plaid, personally, but only on the flannel button-up shirt. Dark green plaid pants? I can hear them crying in agony. I straighten Ro's crooked tie with a sigh.

"Get used to it," I say, steering him into his first classroom. I pat his back as he walks in with a slight dazed look. He probably got the 'fuck, what am I doing here again?' thing he usually gets. Seeing the classroom setting might kick him back into gear, though.

-Fresh meat!- hiss the school's walls tauntingly, making me rather uneasy...oh come on, like having walls yell 'fresh meat' wouldn't make you uneasy too!

"Room 101," my brother says ominously, stopping at his first period room. The classes are already ten minutes in session. I wince and pat his shoulder, "Watch out for the rats."

We had an English class together in our last school with a rather fun teacher named Mr. Kade. He'd always joke about how the room set aside for people who were tardy excessively could be sent was Room 101, right next door. Especially after we read 1984 by George Orwell. Whenever we'd see unlucky and fidgety freshman pass our door, he'd yell, "Watch out for the rats!" sending our class into a fight of laughter, scaring the poor underclassmen.

Romeo gulps and dabs invisible sweat from his brow. He gives me a shaky grin before stepping inside. I watch him disappear before finally letting out a sigh and rubbing my ears. Schools were always so damn noisy.

I manage to reach my class on the next floor. This was not a typical Californian high school, where everything was one story and in portables. It was built vertically, like most east coast schools, for bad weather. Pffft, like we had bad weather. I step into my Electronic Media class. It's the class where basically you do nothing but play on the computer. Make videos and photo manipulations and stuff like that. At least, that's what was in my last school.

The teacher, a skinny man with coiffed black hair, looks up from his computer and several students turn their attention to me. I get a couple stares from what few girls are in the class as I walk over to the teacher.

"Hello, I'm your new student...?"

"Ah yes!" he says in a pleasant but a bit nasally voice. "Benjamin Asuzu was it?" he asks as he pulls some papers from the mess on his desk.

" relation, I'm sorry."

His desk seems lived in, considering it has his personality all over it. Little metal toys for sheer amusement sat spinning or shifting on the edges of the desk. Like those balls that have one smack a row of them and then the last one swings out? Yeah, that kind of thing. They are chattering merrily and entirely ignoring me. That's okay.

With a sound of triumph he pulls out a paper and regards it with a squint, "Oh, Benvolio Abruzzi. My mistake. name is Mr. D, since no one can seem to pronounce my last name..."

He sits up and looks about the room, as do I since I notice a few more heavy stares, before pointing at an empty computer next to a red-haired boy typing at an astonishing speed, "You can sit next to Val. Today we are working on some Photoshop stuff, but you can just surf the internet or something until I find something you can do you go by Benvolio?"

"Ben's better," I say with a smile as Mr. D signs my schedule. I go over and sit next to the small redhead who doesn't notice my presence until Mr. D speaks up, "Hey, Val, mind taking Ben under your wing for today? He's new."

Finishing up a sentence in a long string of HTML coding in a Notepad program, Val looks up to acknowledge the teacher before his hazel eyes on me. He has a small splash of freckles across the bridge of his nose and looks rather cute.

"Oh, hi," he says blushing a bit at his embarrassment of not noticing me. He sticks out his hand, "My name's Valentine, despite Mr. D's insistent use of 'Val'."

"Benvolio, but please call me Ben," I say, shaking his hand. His brow furrows in thought and he starts, "Isn't that from-"

"Romeo and Juliet," I say exasperatedly. "All my brothers are named after characters from the play All my siblings are named after bizarre saints," he gives me an easy smile and I can't help but return it.

"So Valentine isn't your last name?"

"Nope, it's O'Raleigh."

"Oh really?" I say with a grin. He gives me a flat stare and I laugh, "Sorry, it's just nice to make fun of someone else's name for a change."

"Okay...well, let's get started shall we?"

We get well into a tutorial of the STFU computer, swap stories, and crack a few jokes. Apparently Valentine had seven siblings, so he could relate to my sibling suffocation. I didn't tell him about my brothers' problems, or mine. Not that I told anyone, save Simon, my 'problem'.

The bells in the tower rang and everyone moved to pack up. Valentine was stuffing things into his messenger bag as I sling my untouched one over my shoulder.

"Hey, can I see your schedule-" he starts before two girls, out of the five in the room, come up to me.

"Hi! You just moved here didn't you?" says one, smiling flirtatiously as the other fiddled with her skirt hem, flashing more leg than I cared to see at the moment.

"No, just switched schools," I reply good-naturedly, handing Valentine my schedule. He eyes the girls warily, almost as if he's intimidated as he looks at my classes.

"Well, me and Vanessa were just wondering if you'd like us to show you around, y'know, 'cause you're new and all."

"Sorry, but Valentine has already been assigned as my official chauffeur," I say with a sweet smile laced with some apologetic tone. Her smile fades and the other girl looks shyly up with disappointment in her pretty features. Halfway through my tutorial to STFU, Mr. D had asked the red head to show me around. He had agreed to it.

"Oh...well...we'll catch you later then?" she brightens again and I nod with a chuckle, "Sure thing. Bye."

I almost drag Valentine by his arm out of the room. It isn't like I didn't think the girls were nice or unattractive, it's just that their damn jewelry and uniforms (not to mention the medley of key chains attached to their backpacks) were practically SCREAMING at me and I had to get away from them before I started yelling back.

"It looks like you have second period with me again," he says as we make it down the halls. Valentine is silent for a moment before saying quietly, "Thanks."

"For what?"

"Getting us out of there," he mumbles. "I'm not...that...composed around girls. They make me nervous and trip over my words and stuff."

"No problem, but I do tend to attract an entourage," I wince as I get a few more glances from random people that last longer than they should have. I also wince because of all the students' things talking at once as we maneuver our way out of the mass of people into a classroom. At my old school, I'd always try to beat the crowd by leaving early or very late. On top of feeling like a salmon swimming upstream, it always sounds like a heavy metal rock concert.

"You alright?" he asks, as he takes his seat. I wave my hand dismissively while nodding as I go up to the math teacher, her strawberry hair clips singing a School House Rock math song.

Today was going to be a long, loud day.


A/N: Ohmigiddygod! All these damn reviews! I love you all unconditionally!

And...yeah, to clear up something, my birthday is actually Oct. 5, I just couldn't update in time. Blame TYLER. My evil little brother.

Do not expect this quick of updates, I just felt like rewarding y'all for being uberfantastic. Song is by Jodee Messina. No idea where Psycho Killer is from

obsidiandreams: Sankyuu! (yeah, don't really have much to say...)

Back of Beyond: Really? The futon scares most people. Thanks for the reivew!

Inherent: I'm glad you made mine an exception! Makes me feel all fuzzy inside. Or that may be this odd dinner concoction I was forcefed. Hm...thanks for the review!

kristalyn: Thankies, I think so too!

Mage Dudette: Thanks! My birthday was actually the 5th, but my brother was an ass and I couldn't post it till the day after...and I forgot to make that note in it...anyway...yes, I love , that's where I go the idea.

Abigail Radle: I'm taking AP psych and decided to have some fun. I have a lot of plans for this band of nut jobs, rest assured. And I know, my grammar sucks. I usually write in past tense, so I have to actually make an effort to write in present tense so I go every which way. People complained that my first person POV tended to be sprinkled with present-tense thoughts of the person, which made sense to me but annoyed them yeah...anyway...thanks for the review!

karma7292: I do try to inject humor into it. And his family is very interesting, but Rosaline is by far the coolest Thanks for the review!

SableRiyo: Thankies! Sadly, I updated late, my b-day is really the fifth...anywho, yes talking objects is going to be a fun to write about. Thanks for the review!

Ally Lei: Awww, thanks, I will!

Harka Manakiro: Is that great times three or an emoticon? Hm...Anyways. Yes, I'm continuing because I've got too many ideas for it. Thanks for the review!

Prisoner-11: Neither do I...thanks for the review.

Rachelmorph: You don't. There are a couple people before you sadly. Still, I thank you much for being my demi-muse and partner in crime...Tou's preggers. ::snicker::

Cleo: Beyond brilliant? You make me blush, thanks for the review!

Raelyn: Totally continuing it. You and about thirty others will maim me if I don't...

Eithne: I want an attack duck too. What does ichiban mean? (Other than manly lipstick?)

eskimo vomit: I like your sn. Completely random. Thanks for the review!

CatseyeRose: Thanks, it took me forever to come up with the title. I swear, I need to update my other stories...

Rachizzle: Thanks! Crazy people are so fun. I need more crazy people in my stories...

Syl: Dude! Thanks for the review! Currently writing more!

Naomi Shemer: Totally continuing, it isn't just a one-shot. Thankies!

Jenny: Aren't you lovin' it? Thanks for the review.

Illegal Ninja: So would I. It's going everywhere at the moment...thanks for the review!

CloudyDay: I love you for lovin' it! And I will write more soon...or later. Thanks for the review.

PearlinTheMist: I will never stop writing! If I do, I'd surely die of something. Most likely a fangirl attack. Thanks for the review and e-cake/presents!

Ghostmoon Dancer: Yay, I put a smile on a ghostmoon dancer's face!

sporkess: Thankies! Ben rocks, and I don't think anyone caught the sub-genre is SUPERNATURAL, which gives you somewhat of a hint that maybe it isn't a disorder. And yes, I am mad. I frighten myself sometimes. And I like it when you babble. It gives me something to read. And don't worry, I won't ignore the other for NAWTS, which is in desperate need of an update/revision...and I can't afford to loose sleep. So I just won't do my homework! Bwhahaha. Oh and thanks for referring me to Lemon Delight.

Converse Tennis Shoes: A lot of people like the bed. And the Shakespeare names. I suppose that's a good thing. Thankies so much for the review and ego-boosting comments! (My ego was horribly deflated when I wasn't casted for a speaking role in Much Ado About Nothing today...especially after I got a standing ovation for my audition )

Nite Lewis: You are the first to say anything about the pillow. And I will keep writing, I promise. Thanks for the review!

Misskah: Happy birthday to you too! Mine was actually the fifth, but my update didn't appear until the sixth...anyway...thanks for the reivew!

lilylupin7: Several people called this brilliant, it must be true! Never read the books...I'm adding them to my things to read list, oki dai? Thanks for the reivew!

Dream Fox:, I never read the book. The idea came from personal experience, actually...not that I'm schizo, but when I was a kid I thought things had feelings so I'd always have problems choosing things over another because I thought it'd hurt their feelings. And I just found echolalia while thumbing through a medical book and it stuck in my head for years for the review!

The Great M: Thankies, the fantabulous, amazing, tremendous, stupendous M!

Rialet: Neither have I. Except in Beauty and the Beast, but everyone could hear the things talking...anyway...thanks for the review!

oliversgurl: Well, you didn't have to wait long, did you? Thanks for the review!

Lemon Delight: I'll have to thank sporkess, then! Sweet, I get a stalker. Who showers me with Entenmann's cheese-filled crumb cake. I lurve you already! Thanks for the review!

Yuki: It's the actually the 5th, but I updated on the 6th because my brother hogged the comp past midnight ...A review is just as good a present, believe me. Thankies!

distortedreflection: Sweet, my story is genius. (I don't think Drazuki is an evil genius...I don't think she's evil, and I don't think she's a genius...)

Rachaelsan: Great to hear from you! I have way to many Rachel reviewers so I mistaked a bunch of them for you Thanks so much for reviewing! And Morgan too. I'm glad you guys read my stuff. You're gonna looove Rosaline. Yay drag. Bwhahaha. Lurve you guys to death!

chocolate-philosophy: My parents do that to me too. Even when I'm not laughing really loud. They just know I'm thinking up something insane and am about to cackle maniacally to myself...anywho, thanks for the review, and I will continue writing my other stories.

MayMay: Kimberly the Pink Power Ranger says that in the Power Rangers Movie after beating a minion up with her whip, just trying to make this reply longer than a simply "thanks!".

Deviliscious: Thankies! And sort of. I had the genders in mind when I write, but Ben tries to not refer them to male/female. The fridge and the futon are female. The stove/oven and the toaster are male. So...yeah...thanks for the review!