There’s some cussing in this chapter, including the ‘f’ word. And I’m a bit nervous about this one since it’s so long, more like my old chapters used to be. Please let me know if you like the way I did this one, I would appreciate it very much ❤
“I’m hooome!” I called when I came into the house after Dr. Laroche dropped me off. It was a bit later than when I normally got home but I had called my parents to make sure it was s’all right, which luckily my daddies said it was. I just wasn’t sure how often they’d agree to let me stay later than normal once I admitted to being Henri’s girlfriend.
“SJ! SJ!” Kaylee came boundin’ over, eyes huge. “Omigosh did you know? Were you there?” She began tugging at my arm.
“Whoa–know what?” I asked, trying to get my arm free. I did a quick examination of her emotions but couldn’t really figure out what she was referrin’ to. “What’s going on?”
“Duncan!” she exclaimed, shaking her head in a rather disapprovin’ manner. “He came home totally schnockered!” She lifted her hand like she had a glass there and tilted her head way back. I gasped, clamping a hand over my mouth. Duncan? Drunk? “He was screaming and crying and cussing up a storm,” she added in a whisper.
Which means he probably drove home drunk, I thought, my stomach squeezin’ up like I was gonna throw up. First day of havin’ his license I suspected would be his last as well. No way our daddies would let him keep it after something like that. “Did he say why?” I asked, though I knew perfectly well why.
Kaylee looked ready to punch someone. “He said his girlfriend was a bitch.”
“KAYLEE!” I smacked her arm, though not real hard. “You aren’t allowed to say words like that! Mom would have a total cow if he heard you.”
Kaylee merely shrugged. “It’s what Duncan said. But Mom was too busy having a cow over the fact Duncan was all drunk. You know…” She began rubbing her chin in thought. “With his complexion and hair color, just stick a big ol’ tricorne on his head and some eyeliner, and he could be Captain Jack Sparrow with the way he was stumbling around.”
I smacked her again, this time even less hard. “Don’t make fun of your brother.”
“Whaaat? I think any guy should take it as a compliment to be called Captain Jack,” she complained, spreadin’ her hands out.
“I don’t think he’d find it too amusing right now,” I hissed out. “He pretty much dumped his girlfriend today.”
My sister gasped and stood on tiptoes. “You know the story? What happened? All I know was that Kelly’s now a–” She stopped and rolled her eyes. “A ‘b’ word. I’m sure he said more to Mom and Dad but by that point, Dad made all of us go to our rooms. Stupid River said it was none of my business and wouldn’t let me leave the room.”
I smirked at that, easily imagining River holdin’ Kaylee down or something. “Duncan wanted to show off his license and when we went by Kelly’s house, she had some other guy there and lied about it,” I said then realized perhaps I shouldn’t have said anything. It wasn’t really my place to say. Too late, I thought with a sigh.
“OOOOH!” Kaylee squealed and then she whistled just as loudly. “She IS a bi–” I glared, and she coughed. “A female dog.” She stuck her tongue out at me and I rolled my eyes. “I say we go to her house and beat her up.”
“Beating Kelly up isn’t the right thing to do,” I said, though it was a rather temptin’ thought of hurtin’ the girl who hurt my brother. “Come on, it’s late and I–” Well, now wasn’t exactly the best time to be tellin’ my daddies I had a boyfriend, what with Duncan being so depressed and drunk. “Wait, he’s really drunk?” I demanded. “Where did he get the alcohol?”
“Iunno!” Kaylee added a shrug to prove her point. “But he was more smashed than a bug under my shoe.”
“Oh jeez.” I shook my head at my sister’s turn of phrase. “How angry are Mom and Dad?”
“Super-totally-incredibly angry,” Kaylee answered. “Like, completely angry. Mom took Duncan over to Grandma and Grandpa’s cause he didn’t want to leave a drunk Duncan in a room with Simon and Mal.”
“When did all this happen?” I asked, glancing at the clock.
“He got home about half an hour after you called about staying late at Henri’s,” Kaylee said and then snickered. “Good thing you did call. If you hadn’t–you would have been in hot water too! Course right now Duncan isn’t so much in hot water as in juice.”
“Juice…?” I eyed her at that.
Kaylee giggled. “Yeah, he’s totally pickled!” And she began laughing as I smacked her a third time, tryin’ not to laugh as well since it really wasn’t funny that he got so drunk.
In the mornin’ I volunteered to go with Mom to get get Duncan. I wanted to see him and see how he was doing, and also warn him that I had told Kaylee about what really happened. I figured if he had a hangover when I told him, he wouldn’t yell at me too much.
“Grandpa!” I ran out of the car and over to my gramps who was waiting near the door.
“Peanut!” he exclaimed and wrapped his arms around me tightly, kissing the top of my head. “Boy, I’ve missed you.” He rubbed the top of my head and I smiled, not just because I was excited to see him but because he remembered who I was this time.
My grandpa was pretty awesome, a lot like my grams. He was very intelligent usually, but sometimes had a bit of trouble keeping things straight. He often called me ‘Viola’, while Simon and Mal were ‘Sebastian’. Because of our hair color. When he wasn’t remembering things right, he had no idea who Duncan, Kaylee or River were. It was real scary but didn’t happen too often.
“Is Duncan doing okay?” I asked, my arms still around him.
Grandpa snickered. “He’s got a wicked headache which I might not have helped by blasting the TV at 6am.”
Mom came over, grinning. “Blasting the TV, eh, Dad?”
Grandpa put on an innocent look. “What? I’m old, I can’t hear things properly.”
“Oh, yeah right,” Mom laughed. “I know perfectly well your hearing is as good as mine is.”
“WHAT?” Grandpa yelled, cupping his hand against his ear while I giggled. “I CAN’T HEAR YOU! SPEAK LOUDER!”
“Serenity, stop encouraging him!” Mom snapped, though he was just as amused as I was. “Well, let’s go collect the little hooligan.”
Inside, Duncan was at the table with a plate of pancakes in front of him but he wasn’t eating, he was just staring very intensely at the food like he was tryin’ to mentally absorb them or somethin’. He glanced over when we came in and made a face. “Hey Pops. Hey Serenity.” His voice was very low, just a whisper.
“HEY DUNCAN!” Mom exclaimed so loudly it caused me to jump and Duncan to cry out in pain. “Oh right sorry, you have a HANGOVER! I forgot that HANGOVERS cause SENSITIVITY with HEARING!” Mom went over and smacked Duncan lightly on the back. “And the more often you get drunk, the more often I’ll FORGET.”
“Okay Moooooooooom!” Duncan wailed. “Just stop! Please!” He covered his face and sniffled loudly. “I’m never getting drunk again.”
“Good,” Mom said, in his normal voice then glanced over at Mom who was coming in from the other room, wiping her hands on a dishtowel. “Thanks for letting him stay. I didn’t want him wallowing in drunkenness around his brothers.”
“No problem, dear,” Grandma assured him. “Hopefully we won’t have to do this again.”
“Hopefully we DON’T!” Mom said, leaning towards Duncan who cried out, covering his ears and wincing in pain. Mom smirked and turned back to Grandma to talk.
I sat down next to my brother and dragged the plate of pancakes over, since he wasn’t gonna be eatin’ them. “You doing okay?” I asked, stuffing the food in my mouth.
“Other than the fact Pops is a d–” He stopped and looked over at Mom who was still talking to Grandma but I knew he could hear anything said. “Jerk,” Duncan said, changing what he was gonna say and probably for the better. “I guess I’m all right.”
“I told Kaylee what happened, to an extent,” I said, shoving half a pancake into my mouth.
“Why doesn’t that surprise me,” he grumbled, folding his arms on the table and burying his head in them. “I’m probably grounded for five years, not that it matters. I’m never going back to school anyway. I’m going to become a hermit.”
I snorted loudly at that, grabbing the bottle of syrup and dumping some of it onto the last pancake on the plate. “So you just gonna lay in your room like a lump, feeling sorry for yourself?” I inquired.
“Shut up! And hey, those were my pancakes!” He grabbed the plate and yanked it back, angrily shoveling the single pancake into his mouth. “Pops, I’m never going back to school,” he stated loudly, syrup dribblin’ down his chin.
“That’s nice, dear,” Mom replied.
“Everyone’s a jerk,” Duncan grumbled and put his head in his arms again.
Duncan was allowed to stay home that day and discovered he was grounded for three weeks (apparently our daddies grounded him the night before he just didn’t remember). He moped around the house all day and moped even more in the morning when he found out he had to go to school. Just before he left, I gave’m a quick hug and told him if Kelly or Jeff caused any trouble, me and Kaylee would go punch their faces in.
“Great, just what I need, my dorky little sisters fighting my fights,” he grumbled, pushing me away as he went to catch the bus although I knew–thanks to my abilities–he felt a bit pleased I had offered such a thing.
Mom had a big meetin’ with his publisher that day, one he was super nervous about. Apparently he had been working on some big project he was real passionate about but wasn’t sure what his editor and his publishing house would say. Like Duncan, just before Mom left I gave him a hug. I didn’t offer to punch his editor’s face in though, even though if she didn’t help Mom get this book–whatever it was–published, I’d want to punch her stupid face in.
“I’m hungry!” Simon said as soon as the door closed.
I whirled around, hands on hips. “You couldn’t eat when Mom offered to make us lunch half an hour ago?” I asked and Simon shook his head, feelin’ all hopeful and I knew why. “Okay, okay. Get me the phone.”
While I waited for the pizza to be delivered–something I had promised Simon I’d do next time I had to take care of lunch–I called Henri. I had talked to him the day before so he knew a bit of what was goin’ on at my house, but I really just wanted to talk to him again. I liked hearin’ his voice and even though we never really talked much ’bout important stuff it felt real different when we talked now, since we were an official couple an’ all. I was sad to have to hang up when the pizza got there.
Simon and I watched a documentary ’bout raccoons while we ate, though I was mostly payin’ attention to how Mom was feeling. He was in his meeting by now and real nervous and worried. Slowly the anxiety was being replaced by excitement and happiness, and I knew they were publishin’ his book, whatever it was.
As soon as Mom got home, I ran over to him and threw my arms around him. “Congratulations, Mom!” I shrieked happily.
He laughed and hugged back. “How do you know what happened?” he asked and I stepped back, tapping my head. “I can feel it, remember?” I reminded him. “So–what’s the book? You never told any of us.”
Mom smiled brightly, his eyes sparklin’. “A book I promised your dad a few years ago,” he said, running his fingers through his hair and grinning now. “It’s called ‘Princess Rupert’ and it’s a Rapunzel tale about two princes. I wasn’t sure if they’d be willing to publish it but my editor is backing me up!”
I clapped my hands happily. “They’re publishing it? That’s wonderful, Mom!” I beamed up, feelin’ real excited that the company was willing to do this. Despite guys being able to have a baby, a bunch of medical places researchin’ on how to be able to help two women have a baby, and gay marriage bein’ legal and all, a lot of people still had problems with homosexuality. It made me mad. My daddies were no different than a man and woman lovin’ each other.
The whole house got caught up in the excitement. It was always excitin’ when my maternal daddy got a book published but this one seemed extra special, probably cause it was so different. He had three mystery novels and two sci-fi novels out. But this was real different since it was hittin’ so close to home for all of us.
About two weeks after Mom’s announcement, the bubbly happiness of the house came crashin’ down. At least, for me an’ Duncan it did. He was still under his grounding and was having a lot of trouble at school ever since Kelly-the-bimbo and Jeff-the-bastard became an official couple, so he was usually pretty depressed but when he stormed into my room one evening he felt even more depressed than usual.
I tossed my book down and waited for him to tell me what went on between him and Mom. I had felt them in Mom’s writing room earlier, Mom gettin’ real nervous and miserable and scared while Duncan got angrier and angrier. I never heard any shouting so I wasn’t sure what had happened. Apparently, he was going to let me in on the secret.
He just stood there, fuming for several seconds before punchin’ my wall. “Fuck!”
I raised my eyebrows and was glad Kaylee and River were downstairs. “If Mom heard you–“
“I don’t care what Sebastian thinks about my mouth!” he spat out and I knew it was worse than I expected. I had never heard Duncan refer to our maternal daddy in this manner. “And he shouldn’t care either!”
“What happened?” I asked, going over to him but before I could put a soothing hand on his arm, he smacked my hand away. “Ow! Duncan!”
“I’m–I’m–” He was at a loss for words now and I saw his eyes were red from cryin’ earlier. Jeeeeez, what happened? I wanted to ask again but was worried it might upset him, so I kept my mouth shut. “I’m–not–” Tears began drippin’ down again and he rgabbed my arms, nails digging into my skin. “I’m not his!”
“His… what? Not whose?” I didn’t understand what he was meanin’.
“Mom isn’t my mom!” Duncan cried out. “He’s not my anything! I’m fucking ADOPTED!” He yanked away from me and threw himself at the wall, chipping the wood.
My breath caught in my throat, unable to believe…. I mean, he was wrong, he had to be wrong. Duncan couldn’t be adopted! “You can’t be right,” I whispered.
“I AM RIGHT!” he yelled. “Sebastian just TOLD me! You think I’d make this crap up?!” He punched the wall again and the wood splintered a bit, probably cuttin’ into his knuckles. “They–lied to me! All this time, they’ve been lying! I’m not theirs!“
I chewed at my bottom lip, rememberin’ how miserable I was when I found out Hal was not my birth daddy. Me and Duncan were both told that. “But Mom and Dad said that you and I were Mom’s and… that monster’s.”
Duncan sank down to the floor, sobbin’ now. “You are the monster’s baby with Mom, it’s obvious you got Danevbie genes with that hair of yours.” He shot a glare at me, as if this were all my fault. “But me? No! Sebastian told me… that–that–that the monster had me.” He sniffled loudly now and used his wrist to wipe at the snot runnin’ down from his nose. “And that my other parent, nobody knows who it even was!” He clenched his teeth so hard I started worryin’ that they’d shatter.
“Oh Duncan.” I knelt down in front of him and had no clue what to say, so I just put my arms around him and he threw his around me, crying harder now.
“The monster never said, and Sebastian never found out. Who knows who else I got my DNA from, probably some freakazoid criminal in jail for murder right now!” He balled his hands into fists and slammed them against my floor.
“Stop calling him Sebastian!” I snapped, a bit annoyed at this. “Just because he’s not your parent biologically doesn’t mean he’s not your dad! Dad is your dad. We’ve known for a while now we’re not his biologically but that didn’t change anything, did it? Why should this change anything either?”
“YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!” he screamed back at me. “At least you belong to Sebastian! At least our brothers and sisters are related to you! They’re not even my real brothers and sisters. YOU’RE not even my sister!”
“YES I AM!” I yelled right back. Then I sucked in some air and tried to calm down a bit. “Bloodlines don’t make a family but if you’re insisting that’s all there is then don’t forget I’m still your sister through the monster!”
He stared blankly at me for a few seconds then got up, disgusted. “That monster. It’s all his fault. If he wasn’t dead I would go fucking KILL him myself!”
I scrambled to my feet as well. “I’m glad he’s already dead then, cause I wouldn’t want my brother to become a murderer!”
“Half-brother,” he snarled and I reached over, hittin’ him upside the back of his head. “OW! What the hell?!”
“You never had any problems with calling the others your real brothers and sisters when you thought they were our half-siblings!” I snapped. “Why is it different now?”
“They’re not even my real siblings! I’m related to NOBODY in this house–except you! You just don’t under–” I quickly sprang at him, covering his mouth with my hand. “MMPH!” he protested.
“Shh!” I hissed out. “Kaylee’s coming up the stairs.”
I just finished saying that when the door opened. Kaylee stopped when she saw the two of us and then folded her arms, raising an eyebrow. “Um, what?”
“Nothing,” I said and dragged Duncan out of the bedroom and to the laundry room since it was empty. I switched on the light and shut the door. “Look, Duncan, I know you’re real pissed off right now but this really shouldn’t change anything! Bloodlines or not, you’re as much as this family as any of the rest of us!”
He smacked my hands away angrily. “That doesn’t change my genetics! I’m not even half-Sebastian. I’m half-monster, half… WHO KNOWS WHAT!” He kicked the washer angrily. Then he stood stock still and let out a sobbing gasp. “Do you know what this means?” he asked and I just stared, no clue what he was referrin’ to. “That monster cheated on Mom. I’m the product of… cheatingness. Oh… Watcher!” He covered his face again. “I’m probably full of disgusting, miserable cheating genes!”
I just leaned against the dryer, rubbin’ my brother’s back as he cried. I couldn’t figure out what to say, I felt a bit of failure for that. I wished there was something I could do. Anything! But there was nothing, and it got even worse when Duncan pulled away and stared blearily at me.
“Serenity. What all can you do with your powers?” he croaked out and my jaw dropped, not able to comprehend what he might be askin’ because goin’ from where he was to asking about my powers did not sit well with me.
“Why?” I asked, all suspicious.
He came forward, grabbin’ my arms. “Can you, like, find a person maybe?”
“Why?!” I demanded hotly. “Who on earth would you want me to f–“
“My other parent!” he breathed out, still clutchin’ me. “I… I want to know who he is. Maybe if I know, I’ll–I’ll be able to accept it better. Serenity!” he wailed as I began shaking my head. “Why not?”
“How am I supposed to even go about this?!” I demanded. “I’m fourteen for Watcher’s sake, what am I supposed to go up to random men and say ‘Are you my brother’s dad’–“
“Stop it!” Duncan snarled back.
I held up my hands quickly. “I’m not trying to push your buttons, bro, but there’s no way I can do anything to help you right now. I’m only fourteen. How am I supposed to find out anything? Your best bet is to talk to Mom and see if he knows anything, and go from there.”
Duncan snorted and kicked the washer again. “Like Mister Mom would ever tell me anything,” he grumbled and then winced, pulling his foot up to rub it.
I folded my arms, scowlin’ though he wasn’t looking. “You’re right, he’d never say anything, that’s why you never found out you’re not biologically his.”
“You stop it!” I felt like kickin’ him but knew that would help nothin’. “Be at least a little bit sensible. Talk to Mom. Check out your birth certificate. Though you might not be able to find out too much information till you’re eighteen.” I tugged at my bangs, watching my brother wallow in misery. I wondered how I’d feel if Mom told me that the monster was one biological dad and someone I didn’t even know was the other. I shivered and felt a bit sick. “I know you want to know all the answers right now…”
I went over and put an arm around him. “But if you go blindly running around with no plan and no patience, you probably won’t find the answer.”
He just grunted in reply and stormed out of the bathroom, but I knew he knew I was right. Hoo boy, I thought as I crept out after him. Looks like things were gonna be pretty hard for a while.