Chapter 1:

"Georgiaaaaa...I wanna play Barbie with you..."

I knew immediately who that was and grabbed my white pillow tightly. Don't strangle her.

"I know you're awake, Georgia! Play with me!" I didn't dare open my eyes. It was too early into summer vacation for me to get up at this time. I felt the end of the bed compress as she crawled onto it. Her chubby little fingers grabbed the light blanket tightly as she pulled herself on my side and she kicked me like I was a horse.

I sucked in a huge gasp of air and tried to remain somewhat calm. She dug her heels deep into my stomach and began to giggle like a demonic little witch. "Come on, pony! Giddy up!" She cheered, driving her heels into my stomach again.

"Please, Penny, get offa me." I moaned, reaching over to my stomach. She grinned like the Cheshire Cat. "Not until you get up and play with me." I looked to the door waiting for my sister to appear. Any minute now, and Penny would be off my side...


Her heels crushed past my arms and the deepest I'd ever felt into my stomach and back. I looked up and strung out a few cuss words I didn't even remember learning. Penny looked at me with an expression I can only describe as a mix between glee and hurt.

"Georgia Ellen Moore! What is going on here?" Uh-oh, I thought, enter the dragon. There she was, the dragon herself. Her thin brunette hair was held up in a silver ponytail and her hazel eyes were fixed on me. I'd finally managed to open my eyes after Penny's boxing kick to the stomach, and I was staring down the scaly queen.

Maybe I was exaggerating. My sister wasn't a dragon, or at least she didn't look like one. I think it's just all the make-up she piles on every morning. Anyway, Marlene Moore was actually kind of pretty. Her attitude was about as ugly as a junkyard rat, though.

She stomped forward, managing to catch one of Penny's Barbies under her 6 inch heel and crack its shin in half. I heard Penny stifle a whimper as she crawled behind me. Nobody liked to see Marlene mad. She sighed, smoothed out her skirt and sat on the bed next to me. "Okay, Georgia, what's going on now?"

I really wanted to let her have it. That her daughter had suddenly become a jockey and was kicking me in the stomach. That her daughter had somewhere along the line became Satan in little frilly dresses and adorned with the most adorable face anyone had ever seen. I looked at my sister and sighed too.

"She sat on my side and kicked me too hard in the stomach. She thought we were playing horsey." I turned my head to look at Penny. She had her wide eyes narrowed and me and bared her pointy little baby teeth at me. Very frightening. Marlene looked over at Penny. "Is that true, sweetie?"

Sweetie, I snorted mentally, Is it true that you're causing Georgia incredible pain and have probably given her an ulcer? Penny shrugged and looked down at my bedspread. "Well, why?" Marlene asked, giving me a good rub on my sore stomach. It didn't help much. Penny looked around and said quietly, "I wanted Georgia to play Barbie with me..."

I sighed. Now to hear Marlene finally give Penny a good scolding. Marlene turned to me with a smile. "Say you're sorry, Georgia."


My eyes widened and Penny mimicked my expression. She of all people was looking forward to being punished. Just goes to show you a part of my messed up family. "Why should I say sorry? I'm not the one who gave Georgia an ulcer!" I sat up suddenly which caused Penny to roll backwards, revealing her Pampers diaper under the yellow sundress she wore.

"If you'd just gotten off your lazy butt and played with her, she might now have kicked you."

Well, I guess that's what you get for not finishing high school. At that very moment, before I could pose an argue, Marlene held up and finger and plucked her phone out of her breast pocket. She gasped and in her girliest, preppiest voice she shouted into the phone, "Really? That's great! I'll meet you downstairs in a few! Love you, bye!"

Leave it to Marlene to have a full, well-meaning conversation in under thirty seconds. She sat up suddenly and ripped the blanket off my body. Luckily, I'd opted to wear shorts to bed for once. A wave a cold air rolled across my body and caused me to curl up. "Did you hear that?"

No, you ditz, you spoke to fast for me to eavesdrop.

"No, what?" I rolled onto my other side so I could see her better. "Kenny is coming here in a few minutes with some take-out from IHOP!" She picked up Penny off my bed and trotted away, shutting the door behind her.

I managed to wriggle into a pair of jean shorts and a yellow tank-top. My stomach growled at me like a ferocious dog, except I couldn't muzzle myself. I came downstairs just as the oak door opened and Kenny came in light as the breeze.

Kenny was Marlene's fiancee. He was the nicest guy ever, with short black hair and soft brown eyes. He was a catch, I'd give Marlene that. But unfortunately, he'd made a few too many mistakes when he was younger and obviously wouldn't live them down. I figured that's why he even bothered to stay with Marlene.

Marlene's door opened down the hall. The first one out was Marlene, skipping out even on heels with a sort of poise I'd never have no matter how much I practiced. She threw herself at Kenny who made the smart decision of setting down the Styrofoam boxes at the last second. Marlene attempted to get a kiss out of him but he refused stretching his head out of reach.

"Where's my baby girl?" He cooed, releasing his fiancee. She frowned and thrust her thumb backwards. "The princess is in my room." And, speak of the devil, here came that adorable demon running down the hallway.

"Daddy!" She flung her little body at Kenny, who grabbed her chubby little arms and kissed her all over the face. They laughed in a cavity-inducing scenario before he gently set her down and turned to the boxes.

I was surprised when Kenny turned to me holding a box labeled 'Georgia'. He smiled. "For my favorite sister-in-law." More like your only sister-in-law. I opened the box and my heart melted. This guy was magic. There was a warm Belgian waffle with two eggs sunny side-up and two strips of bacon. I looked up into his smiling face and dared to express emotion to him.

"You, sir, are fantastic." He shrugged with false modesty. "I try." I sat down at the dinner table in the center of the kitchen while Marlene attempted to strap Penny in. While I munched on my fluffy waffle, I imagined what life would be like without Kenny.

Actually, it all started when he moved from Seattle to our city in Illinois. He transferred to the local high school where he met Marlene. They were both sixteen, I think, and in the eleventh grade. Our tiny family loved him. He had that charming personality and everyone just felt compelled to talk to him. He and my sister were definitely in the running for Valedictorian the next year, their grades excelled.

But all good things must come to an end. At the beginning of summer break just after eleventh grade ended, my dear sister realized she was pregnant. After five months. Crazy. So she spent all her time at home and became a drop-out so she could take care of Penelope Marie Quinn, also known as Penny, my diabolical neice.

I started in on my bacon when Penny caught my attention. She waved her bacon around like a delicious fat-filled flag. "We match, Georgia!"

Penny was cute even when she had syrup and whipped cream smeared across her face. She had wide brown eyes and curly dark hair, resembling Kenny. I could barely see the dimples on her face due to how messy it was. But Marlene didn't seem to care, she was desperately trying to attract Kenny's attention away from Penny's.

Hm. Kenny and Penny. They were like the ultimate father-daughter duo. And then there was Marlene, the lone wolf. Well, actually, more like the attention-craving dragon in heels. But my sister all the same.

Kenny wiped Penny's face off and turned to me. He reached over and plucked a curly strand of brown hair off my face and moved it behind your ear. "You look cute today, Georgia. I like your hair." I reached back and pulled at the straight, choppy strands. "Thanks."

Marlene attempted to keep Kenny up to date with what was going on around the house. She was stopped when my mother opened the door with a long, drawn out sigh.

My mother once had such lovely black hair and stormy grey eyes. Now she was pre-maturely grey and her eyes almost matched. She had deep set worry lines and a thin, bony figure. She worked at the administration office doing filing and such for the permanent records among other things.

She wiped her forehead off with the back of her hand. "I hate Chicago." She muttered, taking a seat next to Marlene. Marlene gave a weak smile and kissed our mother on the cheek. I blew her a kiss from across the table, not daring to get doused with her sweat.

"So, what's going on at Juvie?" Ah, yes. Juvie, the place where my brother fit in most. Right. I have a younger brother, aged twelve, who joined a gang. Yes, a gang at age twelve. And he shot some poor store clerk in the foot. Three times. He apparently didn't have that bad an aim, either. That story always got me rubbing my foot, wondering how I even came out of the same womb as him.

"Fine. Do you remember Chester Whitcher from down the street?" We nodded, although my memory of him was foggy. The guy was kind of lanky and had yellow teeth and arms like noodles. Our mother returned the faint smile my sister still held.

"Well, Chester moved up to Chicago a good two years ago. In fact, they decided it would be good for Eric to have some one-on-one mentoring." I leaned forward in my seat. Anything to fix my dear Eric before he went and shot out Chester too.

"They have Eric signed up in a program called 'One-to-One Mentoring'." I rolled my eyes before she could finish. "How original." Marlene snarled at me suddenly, sounding vicious. I tugged at my tank top strap for air as my mother sighed and continued. "He'll be spending some time with Chester. Doing boy stuff, you know? Since Chester is also a cop up there, they'll hoping this will make Eric's..." She cocked her head with uncertainty, like saying it might jinx the family, "...Eric's sharp-shooting be used for good."

Kenny smiled. "Sounds cool. Did they say when we can come visit?" Our mother shrugged. "They said anytime next week might be okay. But that's it, before he gets too comfortable. Maybe we'll have him back by school." That was her one dream right now. Get Eric back home before his seventh grade year. But even if he did come back I doubt he'd make any friends. In fact, I bet everyone would fear him. Give him a nice pathway down the hallways and stairs.

And suddenly I felt myself wishing I'd shot somebody in the foot. Just another oddity of being born under the Moore family name.