I snuck into Tania’s room not really caring what she’d think about it. I quickly sat down at her desk and turned on her computer. I waited impatiently as it turned on.
Why has this stupid computer always been so slow? It’s not like Tania doesn’t have enough money to buy herself a new one that’s way faster and has more space, so why does she even bother keeping this piece of scrap metal? I thought before I could stop myself. Then I laughed before I could help myself because I actually felt guilty about I thought about Tania for the first time in my life.
I knew for a fact that even though Tania has always had money because of her modeling, she never spent it on something as trivial as a new computer. No, instead she spent it on fixing up the town and all its crumbling awesomeness. Even if she’s helping people who completely despise her and are jealous of her. She doesn’t even bother to spend money on herself more than twice a year. The rest of her money had always gone into one of her many saving accounts as her college funds or something.
I remembered the day that I had actually thought that Tania waited until she knew that she was going to be making big bucks before she actually spent anything. And that the only reason that she waited was so that she could spend it all at once.
That was all before I saw how much she got at one of her low paying jobs. Nearly half a thousand dollars per hour when mom took her to one of the big cities about twenty minutes away from here. And she never spent more than about a hundred and fifty dollars on herself per shopping trip no matter how much she needed something.
Sometimes I really did think that she was a saint even though we’re not even catholic. Who knows, maybe Tania will actually become a Christian before she dies so that she’d actually have a chance of becoming a saint when she dies. That probably would never happen though....
Setting aside those thoughts I clicked on the internet icon and waited impatiently for the internet to start. Instead of getting really annoyed as I continued to wait for the stupid computer to speed up, I slipped out of Tania’s room and downstairs to the kitchen to get some food.
As soon as I was in the kitchen I had no idea of what I was looking for. I wasn’t even really hungry, but mom always made sure I ate, so I grabbed the milk and pored a little bit into the bottom of a bowl. I slashed the milk around to fully cover the bottom before I dumped the rest of the milk in the sink. I quickly rinsed the sink out so that it left no evidence of what just happened. I even looked down the piping to make sure that there was no trace of milk there either.
I looked at the clock on the microwave and groaned. It was quarter past seven and mom would be down here any second for her first cup of coffee and breakfast. It happened every day at this precise moment, so I knew I had no hope of escaping her. And I’d been doing so well recently. I caught myself thinking. The only time I had seen her yesterday was at suppertime and then, only because she cooked it. As soon as she had put it on the table she had scurried back to her office where she was doing her Christmas-time financing. I wish that one day – maybe it would happen in a million years or something like that – mom would pay me some attention. At least for a second or two...
Just then I heard the quiet thud as mom reached the last step. Even though Tania and mom had always been really quiet and you could rarely hear them moving around this place, that last step always gave away their entrance.
“Hello, Steve. Why are you up so early this morning?” mom asked as she came around the corner and spotted me.
“Woke up early is all....” I muttered and looked down to the ground.
“Already had breakfast? Or would you like to join me for some nice hot cinnamon rolls?”
“I ah... already ate, mom. Sorry to disappoint you....” Again. I added as an after thought.
Mom laughed. “Oh, Steve. Just listen to me this once. It doesn’t bother me when you’ve already done something you were supposed to do. It’s only when you lie that I get disappointed.”
“Uh... ya. Sorry mom, but I’ve got to go do some... stuff.”
I really felt rotten about now saying yes to those cinnamon rolls – they were my favorite and I was actually starting to get hungry.
“Okay, then. Go and do some stuff but remember that we’re going to my restaurant this afternoon for a quick bite to eat before the movies, so don’t take all day. And we’ve got to pick your sister up at ten so that I can drop her of at Vivi’s house for that sleepover of hers. I hear that they’re going to try to stay up all night watching movies – like Vivi’s mom would ever allow that!”
I quickly walked up the stairs before she could make me feel even guiltier. As soon as I was upstairs I slipped back into Tania’s room so that I wouldn’t run into dad, too.
As I closed the door behind me I looked over at the computer screen. It had finally gone to Tania’s internet. As I sat down I looked at her homepage and quickly regretted it.
It was the town mayor’s website where everyone posted the town’s gossip. Although I was deeply annoyed that she would bother even looking at the stupid thing, it had really surprised and irritated me to no end to finally realize that Tania was spreading rumors like everyone else in town. When everyone at school said that Tania had written on the site the most, I had simply ignored them at first. But as the stories went on, I turned to the kids who were saying that stuff and told them that I knew Tania and she’d never say anything about a person that wasn’t true – that she believe that gossiping was wrong and hurtful and stupid – and she would never betray a person’s trust. Eventually I had end up telling one of my best friends, Emilie, to go stick her head in a toilet because my sister would never write on this stupid blog-thingy and that if she thought so she could go straight to h– except the teacher caught on to what I was saying so I cut of immediately.
Now, to know that all of the rumors were true; to see the facts with my own eyes and to read her name under many comments – I couldn’t even finish the thought. I couldn’t even bare to look at what she had written.
That’s it! I can’t stand it any more! I don’t care what she does to me after I tell mom and dad that she’s been spreading some of the most awful rumors at the worst place you could go. I don’t care if I get in trouble for sneaking into Tania’s room to use her really, really, really slow computer. I don’t care if I even get grounded for the first time in my life! All I know is that she has gone way too far this time. I don’t even care who it’s about I just –
One of the names in a comment right before Tania’s caught my attention before I could help myself. I quickly scanned through the comment once, twice, and again for the third time. I still couldn’t fully comprehend what it had said. And to think that it was about me! The main reason for the comment scared me half to death. And it was so long!
I re-read the comment about me again. This time paying very close attention to what it said about me. The context of what it said was easy to understand; I was different, a threat to anyone I talked to. The gossip was – as usual – boring to me. It said:
Steve is a threat to anyone he comes into contact with. I heard about what he said to Emilie. HE HAS TO BE STOPPED! Do you want what happened to poor, defenseless Emilie happen to you or anyone you care for? Do you want it to happen to your wife, husband, sister, brother, cousin, aunt, uncle, child, or anybody else that you love with all of your heart? I know I don’t. What would you resort to if your loved ones were threatened by some young boy? As he grows older, he’ll only get worse. If I could help it, I’d never let Steve in on this or for that fact, near anyone I care about. I don’t want to have a potential serial killer rampaging through my town. Let’s settle this once and for all – ignore the little monster for all that its worth. And if that little protector of his, Tania, tries to stop anything from happening, then we get down deep, and turn the hate on the whole family. I mean, why love the people that are loved and love this little killer?
The letter was signed by the town’s call boy himself, Mayor Matthew Majonamas. By now it was obvious that our beloved mayor would go to any extents to get what he wanted. And this time it was revenge on me and my family from the day that my mom rejected his proposal of marriage and instead married the town’s hunkster – her words, not mine – instead.
Instead of riding with my first instincts to turn off the computer and run, I read Tania’s note. It was simple, but I still read it four, five times easy before I started to understand it.
Steve is my brother and I’ll never care what anyone says about him. You of all people should know him, Mayor, seeing as you were his inspiration since he was a little kid. Sure my mom did dump you for my dad. Who wouldn’t? He’s hot and you’re definitely NOT. Everyone in town knows that you’re just jealous of my dad and wish that you were in his place. She never even went out with you yet you asked her to marry you. Bring it on mister Mayor. Me and my family are totally and completely ready to whip your ‘butt’ all over town. I know plenty of people in this town that would stand up for Steve even if they do follow on your every word. Oh and by the way, the only reason that Steve said those things to Emilie was because you got her mom, dad, brother, and sister convinced that I was the bad guy. Steve was just trying to defend the person he thinks I am, so don’t you dare try to turn this town against my family. I don’t care what you say about your stupid diplomatic immunity and how no matter what you do to my family we can’t touch you. Watch what happens when you put that to a test. News flash, it isn’t called diplomatic immunity if you place yourself in the safety of the laws you created in the town you rule. You’re just not smart enough to realize that you’ve met your match, so back down before I turn things really ugly on your side of the line. You know that I can do much worse to you than you can do to me and still get away with it. Even with this little message on the net I can still whip you into a pulp and get away with it. Yours truly, the only person in the world that could kick your arse and live to tell the tail, Tally Youngblood. AKA Steve’s awesome sister, Tania.
It surprised me that Tania would go to such lengths to defend me. Everyone knew that Tania hated me at the best of times, so her sticking up for me was a shocker. But I guessed that everyone who reads this thing already knew how protective of me she was. I didn’t even know until now. Wow, am I slow!
I stared dumbstruck at the computer for a few more minutes. The harder I tried to wrap my head around it, the harder it as to understand why Tania would go to such great lengths to defend me.
Weren’t all siblings supposed to hate each other or something? A quiet voice in my head asked.
So then why was she starting to care about me? She’s my sister, she has to care at least a little about me because of that fact. Another voice in my head tried to counter.
She never has before. And why should she care? It’s not like she knows why you’ve been acting strange lately. And even if she did, no way would she defend you like that. She doesn’t really care about you, she just doesn’t want her reputation ruined by her stupid little brother. The first voice said.
“Gaahhhhhhhhh! Just shut up!” I yelled at myself.
I heard mom stir downstairs and froze. A few seconds later I heard her hit the noisy last step. I knew that by now it was too late to safely sneak out of Tania’s room without being caught, so I sat still and held my breath.
I heard my mom quietly knock on a door. I didn’t dare let my breath out in case it was my room door that she was knocking on. I couldn’t hear the quiet squeak of my door so I didn’t know if mom was still waiting for me to answer or not.
The breath I had been holding in started to get uncomfortable as I waited to hear some sort of noise. A few seconds later I heard a quiet groan from across the hall from my room. Hearing this sound made me relax. I exhaled with relief – I could hardly have kept that breath in for much longer – when I realized why mom had gotten up.
She hadn’t been up here for me – no. She probably didn’t even hear me through the closed door. I smiled as it finally sank through. Mom hadn’t come up for me. Nope. She had come up for dad. Probably going to be telling him that she was going to work for a while because the holidays tended to be busy as her restaurant was going to be a disaster if she left much later than five or ten minutes from now. And that we should still meet her at the restaurant with plenty of time before lunch so that we’d still be able to catch a movie before we went to go pick up Tania in the next town over from her photo shoot. Mom would go ahead and tell him to get his lazy butt out of bed. I listened harder so I could hear through both wall and into my parents’ room to hear their conversation – something I was just starting to be able to do.
“... and it’s going to be really busy today.” I heard mom through the walls. Huh, it sounds like she’s mumbling.... I thought. “Get your lazy butt up and out of bed so that Steve won’t ruin the house –” It never happened! Get over that. Plus it was TANIA’s fault in the first place. I wasn’t even awake, yet you believe everything she says like she’s this perfect angel. “– while you sleep the day away in that comfy bed. You know that you would if I’d ever let you so don’t make that dumb face. Get your lazy butt up before I come over there.” Mom started to get louder as her stress leaked through her words and soaked into her voice.
I knew it. Mom can be so predictable sometimes its scary. But nobody had ever told her this or else she’ll start to freak and nobody should ever have to deal with it or witness it with their own eyes it’s so bad. I thought and then smiled. The last time anyone had told mom that she was predictable he ended up getting fired from his job at the bakery (which my mom bought a little while ago) until he apologized. Then mom let him work there again, except he started at minimum wage again.
I heard dad sigh. Then he grunted and I pictured him getting up out of bed with the look he reserved for when he was really ticked off.
“Look at it my way for a second, Lynn. Everyone here knows that your multiple jobs put you in a tough spot around this time of the year, but you can’t start taking the stress out on all of us. Tania and I didn’t do anything and I doubt that Steve did either. But, honey, watching you get stressed out gets me stressed. And I don’t want to get stressed. It would be bad for everyone, as I don’t handle that kind of stress very well at all, now do I?”
I could hear mom laugh softly. Softly!? Why could I hear it then? And why were their voices so clear and precise? I really hope that I’m not going mental here. How much would that suck? But let’s forget about that for a second.
I knew right when dad said that that it meant I didn’t even want to try to listen at this point unless I wanted to get totally and completely sick to my stomach.
Instead I turned back to the computer. I scanned through the comments about the mayor and Tania’s conversation. Most of them were in agreement with the mayor – big surprise – but there was a few that sided with Tania. Huh, Emilie sided with Tania even though she always agreed with what the mayor wrote on his blog. This was the first time that she had ever sided against him in her whole life. Strange. I made a resolve to ask her about it tomorrow. As soon as she walked into the house I promised myself.
The only thing that concerned me was who sided with the Mayor. Only my friends and Tania’s boyfriend at the moment, James (plus Justin who still hoped to get into Tania’s pants even though he’s twenty seven and married. And way older than Tania would be for at least another twelve years or so. Probably more.... I don’t know, math’s definitely not my best subject...) had sided with Tania. Oh, and a few of the grownups around town that checked in on the Mayor’s site every other week just to make sure they weren’t written about on it. Claire Johnson; Steve and Mary Sanford; Kally Jones and her twin sister, Annie Maybeth; and Jonathan Redwood were the only adults that had left their names with the comments that sided with Tania about what the mayor had said about me. There were a few aliases used like, Johnny Dip and Stephanie M. or, James Bond and Cristina Clarkson.
It made me laugh to see that people in town were scared to side against the Mayor for fear of getting dished about harshly on the web. I still found it really sad that they thought like that no matter who they were siding with and why. Who would care what a fifty-seven year-old ex plumber thought about you anyways? I thought that it was ridiculous that people took what he thought and believed it like the Lord’s word. And it’s not like he doesn’t have the resources to figure out where the comments come from and how often. Again, I laughed quietly. As I thought more about it I started to shake with laughter.
After shaking with silent laughter – I was still nervous about mom or dad hearing me in Tania’s room – I had to wipe the tears away from my eyes from laughing so hard. After I could see again, I thought about my situation a little bit more.
I realized a few things in the few moments I considered what had happened to be written about me on the website I already hated. First, Tania cared about me even though she acted like I was a leper or something. Second, the Mayor still hadn’t forgotten about how my mom had laughed in his face about getting married and he was still trying to find any excuse to get us to leave town for good. And just so he could stare at pictures all day and be sad that we left. Third, people took what they read on this blog way too literal. Fourth, People all around town care about me. Even though I’d never done anything for them in my life. And the last thing was the biggest.
The whole town hates me now. They think I’m some kind of monster that shouldn’t let loose. EVER. And that I’d be willing to hurt their children and loved ones even though I’d never even think of such a thing. Too bad I don’t care what any of them think about me.
AA few seconds passed and I realized something.... The whole town knows I’m different. They think that I’m dangerous. And guess what? I don’t care at all. Huh, funny thing life is. Sometimes you just don’t care about the most dangerous things, but the most peaceful things seem like the world is complete. And nothing can make you think differently no matter how hard people try.
I was having one of those moments right now. As I thought about Susie I sighed once in satisfaction. I once again wondered how people didn’t care that they’ve never seen her perfect face and her perfect lapis-lazuli eyes. I’d never seen eyes that color before in my life. And they were perfect. Such rare and beautiful eyes were always the most gorgeous. Now I know someone who has a rare color of eyes. And for a second, I felt special.
And as I thought about the whole town hating me all I thought was, Ah, who cares? It’s not like it’s the end of the world or something. I just don’t really care about it. It’s not like I’d never been hated before. Just not on this scale. Still, I really didn’t care. At all.
Huh, I really am a weird person. Maybe I am going mental....