The treatment Amethyst and Barnaby received at Cherry Blossom Foster Home was simply isolating. When he got downstairs to breakfast (or any meal), everyone else got up to leave. Barnaby and Amethyst were forced to eat together, Amethyst alternating between glaring and smirking at him. Whenever any of them decided to talk to the disgraced siblings (not for their sake, just to learn more about Chester's past life), it always ended up making things worse.
"Chester said that you played football. He never said anything about a wheelchair," Amy said, blunt and to the point.
"Chester hasn't seen me in a very long time, so he doesn't know about me being in a wheelchair," Barnaby explained. "I'm . . . I'm not really playing football any more."
"What happened?" another boy asked. Barnaby had learned that the boy's name was Tommy. He was the one that had called him and Amethyst scum. Barnaby was about to explain it away when his sister, his evil sister, piped up to ruin everything.
"Barnaby was bullying another boy from his school and when he ran into the road to get him and beat him up, a car came and crashed into him," Amethyst smoothly explained. Any sympathy that could have been had for Barnaby evaporated in that instant.
"I guess I shouldn't be surprised to hear that," Amy sighed, getting up to leave. If looks could kill, Tommy would have murdered Barnaby at that moment. In fact, everyone would have killed both of them several times a day. And then everything suddenly changed.
"Amethyst, Barnaby, it's time I talked to you about your brother Chester," Eva said, as they both sat in her office.
"Like we don't hear about him enough," the only Reynolds daughter huffed. "Everybody loves him here. It's all Chester this and Chester that and 'if Chester was my brother, I would have loved him so much!' Well, they can have him!"
"That's the thing," Eva said. "The paperwork for you to meet with Chester is underway, but I will have to say that it may not be approved. And even if it is approved, you will still have to be supervised due to the allegations of sibling abuse."
"Don't bother," Amethyst sighed. "I don't want to see Chester. I don't care at all, and if I ever do care, I'll tell you. But I probably won't."
"I want to see Chester!" Barnaby babbled. "Chester's my brother! I need to talk to him and say sorry to him and make him know that I'm his real family and not any of these stupid care kids! I don't want him calling Jason his big brother when I'm his big brother! He only gets to call me his big brother and not stupid Jason! Jason is not his real family! And neither are his dads! They took him from his real family! They kidnapped him! They're kidnappers!"
"They did not kidnap him," Eva said calmly, her tone measured and calm. She already looked tired of them both, and they hadn't even been there a full day yet. "Chester was given up by his birth parents and then his dads fostered and eventually adopted him. Your mum and dad gave him up. All of this is perfectly legal."
"Chester living with someone else is legal, but me seeing him has to be supervised and monitored by social work people! It's not fair! I don't want to hurt him! I'm better now!" Barnaby screamed. "You're keeping me from my brother! Give me my brother!"
"Barnaby, I don't have any real choice about this," the social worker insisted. "I have to schedule meetings and then you have to get the approval of your social worker and Chester's social worker and Chester's dads, and then-"
"I don't care! I have to see him! He's my brother!" Barnaby screamed.
"Barnaby! Barnaby, calm down!" Eva implored. But Barnaby was too far gone. His hands moved almost on their own as they picked random things off Eva's desk to throw at the social worker. A can of stationery. A water bottle. A book about sibling separation (the irony). Eva ran out to leave, shielding her face as a binder was thrown at her back. Once Barnaby had exhausted his supply of easily accessed portable objects, his sister looked at him with an exaggerated loud sigh.
"Nice going, genius," she scoffed. "What were you thinking when you did that?"
"She was keeping us away from Chester."
"She was trying to help you!" Amethyst looked at the former boy athlete with disdain. "You could have had a visit with Chester in a few months if you'd just behaved and gone to the meetings and pleaded your case. But you just had to lose your temper, didn't you? You threw a tantrum and you threw her stuff at her like a whiny baby. She's probably somewhere now, telling the social workers and Chester's . . . new family-" she shivered at the thought of it, "-that you're dangerous and unstable and the two of you should kept away from each other."
"No!" Barnaby's brown eyes were wide with terror. Chester was going to be kept away from him forever. He would go his whole life without seeing him again. Eva was coming back now, nursing her face with a packet of frozen peas, which was now looking very swollen. That was definitely going to be a black eye in a few days. Barnaby knew from experience.
"Barnaby, words cannot describe how disappointed and shocked I am." She sounded like one of his teachers after he got a bad test score, but this was much worse than a bad mark. "We were supposed to be going through the things that would have to happen for you to be able to visit Chester. But your actions have made it clear that we can't have that discussion today. Go to your room and I'll talk to you again later."
"Fine! I hate it here!" Barnaby yelled, wheeling himself out as fast as he could. That room was too small anyway, with all the stuff and the walls closing in and his smug, sullen sister. He was busy thinking about Chester, far away from him and probably never going to see him again until he was all grown up and hated him. He needed to get Chester used to having Barnaby be nice to him so he could talk to him and bring him gifts and love him. Chester was going to be so happy once he wasn't scared of him any more. They would be so much happier together, without anybody else there to ruin it, like that horrible Jason. Barnaby would take him outside for fresh air and give him snacks and defend him from bullies at school and be so snuggly and share a room with him.
But he wouldn't be doing that right now. Barnaby would have to content himself with looking of pictures of Chester and watching videos of him with his new dads and being so happy without his siblings and real family in his life.
Just the way everyone thought it would be.