Chapter 1 (The Youngest Malone)
Let me make this one thing perfectly, incandescently clear: I am not the type of girl who gets detention. I get straight A's and never show up late to class. As long as no one messes with me - or one of my brothers - I'm perfectly content with ignoring everyone. I've never gotten drunk, smoked a cigarette, or had a pregnancy scare. It's my goal in life to be responsible and together. Okay, so I almost got arrested one time, but that's only because the school board actually wanted to install metal detectors in the high school and I organized a walk out - and handcuffed myself to the Principal's radiator. That was a special case, though. It was a complete defiance of our civil liberties as citizens of the United States. The only reason I didn't get arrested is because my father happens to be one of the most powerful lawyers in New York and he cleaned up the mess.
I'd paid for that one for months.
Apparently Dad's intimidating reputation won't save me from detention, though, because I'm sitting in the cafeteria with the "other" Westchester High delinquents. All I can think about right now is how much Matt will torture me for actually being prompt for detention.
As I look at the other students scattered sporadically at tables around me it's even more unbelievable that I've been sent here. Jenna Rink - I know her because she's an old conquest of Doug's - is filing her nails and making eyes at Jeff Klinger. I'm pretty sure the two of them have been hooking up in the teacher's lounge for the past few weeks. Bobby Williams who once set a few books in the library on fire - though it was never proven - is currently carving something into the table with a pocket knife. Jones McFadden - a musician turned druggie turned vandal - has got to be more stoned right now than anyone has ever been in the history of the world. And yet, I'm sitting among them fruitlessly attempting to make sense of my hastily scribbled Chemistry notes.
You see: I've done nothing on par with my fellow detainees. Isabella Rodreguiz (who, by the way, is completely unstable and stalks my brother Matt) called Henry Lightwood a faggot. He just stood there, his eyes brimming with tears, and I saw red. Okay, I admit that I threatened her with bodily harm, but no one was doing anything! One of the math teachers actually chuckled. Mother Theresa couldn't have resisted telling that girl where to shove it. Isabella's freaking unhinged, but does she have detention? No. It's just me.
I'm still relishing - yes, pathetically - in the unjust treatment of students in this school when the cafeteria doors swing open again. A vaguely familiar boy struts in and drops his pink detention slip in front of Mr. Woodhouse, the detention supervisor.
"You're late, Mr. Connor," Mr. Woodhouse monotones. "Again."
The boy says nothing. He just fixes Mr. Woodhouse with a hard gaze. The two of them stare at each other for at least ten minutes drawing the attention of everyone in the room. I bite my lip, brow furrowed. It's like one of them is waiting for the other to spontaneously combust from the sheer ferocity of their glares. Finally, Mr. Woodhouse sighs and grumbles, "Have a seat."
The boy looks smug as he turns and heads to an empty table. I'm still staring when his dark, gree eyes flicker to mine. They're twinkling like he's proud to be here and I look away quickly in disgust. What was even the point of that little performance of juvenile masculinity? My brothers are the most immature individuals of all time and even they don't annoy me as much as he's managed to in a span of three minutes. When I look over at him again he's staring at me and I begin to wonder how Mr. Woodhouse lasted as long as he did. I decide right then that my eyes won't leave my notebook for the rest of the hour.
Thankfully Mr. Woodhouse releases us on time so I might be able to catch Matt and Doug on their way out of hockey practice. On Monday's the team lifts and they stay on campus for that. I'm not looking forward to Matt ribbing on me for getting in a fight, but I still maintain that it was worth it. At least the school didn't call Dad. I've almost made it to the parking lot when someone behind me yells, "Alexa Malone!"
I stop in my tracks. Who could possibly be calling for me right now? That is definitely a female voice and, as far as I know, Matt and Doug haven't broken any hearts today. At least they hadn't as of eighth period. Who knows what happened before hockey practice, though. Those promiscuous little bastards move fast. Curiosity wins over how annoying this interaction will probably be so I turn around, feigning boredom. I have absolutely no idea who the incredibly bouncy girl charging after me might be. She's more Matt's type, but a little young for his taste. Must be one of Doug's. Poor little thing.
"Which one?" I demand when she comes to a screeching halt in front of me. Sometimes I disgust myself with how abrasive I am, but after three years of cleaning up my brother's messes I've kind of lost patience with the girls in this school. "Let me guess. Doug?"
She looks honestly perplexed as she asks, "What are you talking about?"
"Which one of my brothers are you currently screwing?" I demand. Now that I have a better look at her it's thoroughly gross. She probably only hit puberty last week. I really need to have another talk with them.
Her eyes light up and I almost gag. Perhaps it's the fact that we're related, but I really can't understand what gives my brothers such a hold over the girls in this school.
"I'm not anything to your brothers," she replies a little breathlessly. "They wouldn't... I'm not their type."
"So you want me to put in a good word for you or something? Because I really try to stay out of my brother's conquests." Not that anyone at Westchester will actually let me do this. "Either way you're what? Thirteen?"
"I'm fifteen!" she exclaims a bit defensively. "Almost sixteen."
"Whatever. You're too young to throw yourself away on one of those miscreants. Why don't you join Key Club or something?" I say, glancing at my watch. If I don't leave now then I'll miss Matt and Doug. "Gotta go."
"Wait! Alexa!" she exclaims, falling into step with me. "I'm not interested in your brothers! I'm interested in you."
I stop again, turning to stare at her. Well, this is new. "Sorry. You're not really my type, either. You're a bit too female."
She bursts out laughing again. "No, no! I wanted to talk to you about Helping Hands. I'm new here and I asked around about social service organizations. My English teacher pointed you out."
"Oh," is all I say to the girl, caught off guard yet again. "Sorry. What's your name?"
"I'm Natalie Nutello," she replies brightly.
"Okay," I motion for her to follow me as I walk into the parking lot. Matt and Doug are leaning against our car and Doug waves at me enthusiastically. "What did you want to know?"
"I mainly wanted to know how I could get involved. At Mesthana - my old school - I tried to get something like this started, but there was never any interest," she says. I begin thinking I've judged this girl a bit too harshly. Something in her eyes reminds me of me when I first got involved. She's still hopefully that she can actually make a difference. "What do I have to do?"
"Just come to the meeting on Thursday. We can work it out from there," I tell her.
"Thank you!" she exclaims. For a minute I'm terrified she might hug me, but she doesn't. Matt, however, is frantically waving me in their direction.
"I really have to go," I tell her, nodding in Matt's direction. "Thursday right after school in room 118."
"Bye, Alexa!" she calls after me as I walk away. "It was lovely meeting you!"
Three girls have materialized around my brothers in the time it took me to finish my discussion with Natalie.
"Who was that?" Doug asks. "She's cute."
I look pointedly at the girl on Doug's arm. Matt snorts. Asshats.
"Listen, girls," Matt says. "We've gotta go."
"No!" One of them whines.
Matt gives her shoulder's a little squeeze. "We'll be back tomorrow."
"Well, call me," the girl on Doug's arm murmurs. It's unclear which one she's talking to.
When we're safely in the car, I almost laugh. "My God that was ridiculous. Girls are just appearing around you now. Where did they even come from?"
"You can't blame them, Alexa," Matt replies smugly. "Only one girl in Westchester is immune to the infamous Malone charm."
"I would share it with all of humanity if I could," I shoot back. "Imagine how much nicer the world would be if everyone could see you three how I see you!"
"Every young girl needs someone to drool after, Lex," Matt replies. "All we're doing is filling the position."
"It's unfortunate that the new class isn't wasting anytime. I think freshman are getting slutier," I say, staring at my cuticles.
"Our reputation simply precedes us," Matt responds.
"Yeah, well, you think that would scare them away," I reply. "Not to mention the fact that if the freshman know about you then your reputation is preceding you all the way to middle school. That's creepy, Matthew."
"Impressive," Doug coughs into his hand.
I laugh because I know he's being facetious. "Wow. There's something wrong with the two of you."
My brothers and I give each other a lot of crap, but we really are the closest siblings you can imagine. Two years ago when Andy still went to school with us, the four of us had been unstoppable. Doug and I were only freshman and Andy and Matt had been there for us every step of the way. Sometimes I think I miss Andy more than anyone I've ever known.
Matt's phone rings a moment later and Doug turns down the radio.
"Hello?" he snaps. I can tell from his stern tone and the way his shoulder's tense that it's my father. Matt has the worst relationship with him out of the four of us. It's always been a bit ironic to me since Matt is the spitting image of him. He listens for a few minutes then hisses. "Seriously? Harsh, Pops. Thanks for being man enough to tell them yourself."
He slams his phone shut and tosses it to the side where it bounces off the console and hits Doug's elbow.
"Ow!" Doug exclaims, rubbing it.
"So I guess that means he's not coming, huh?" I ask Matt, digging my ipod out of my backpack.
"Sorry, kid," Matt replies, his eyes meeting mine in the rearview mirror.
"It's fine. Our birthday will be better without him around to screw it up anyway," I grumble.
"Definitely!" Doug agrees. I can tell he's more bummed than I am, though. He always hopes Dad will make it home for his birthday. I've learned to stop expecting it.
I shove my earbuds in and crank up my ipod, wondering for the millionth time how Dad can affect our lives so much when he's barely even here.
A/N: This is a rewrite of another story on my account. For those of you switching over to the rewrite, thank you :) I feel absolutely terrible about doing this to you! I've never really had anyone following my story before or invested in my characters, so if I stopped writing or changed everything around it didn't matter. I'm truly sorry that I went so far into Alexa and Dom's story only to completely change it halfway through. You're amazing for sticking with me! Hopefully you like what I've done (but if not, please tell me. I'm trying to learn so I can publish someday in the future). I'm sorry that this might seem a bit redundant for you for awhile, but I think the rewrite starts down it's own path quickly enough. Happy reading!