Where there is growing up, growing old, and drifting apart.
*** We've been trying like mad to organize our 12 year plan, but... we fail, bottom line. On the bright side, however, we've got a bunch of chapters to post that were supposed to be for later. So here's what we're going to do for you: We're going to take a page out of the EPP book and start posting whatever we write for the future, unchronologically. Good deal? We'll post lots more, this way! And likely have a lot less six month long lulls. Lol.
Ps - WE LOVE YOU GUYS, OMG
"Just because you know furniture polish, Bonsie, does not mean you know paint," Dorcas declared as she poured the last of the warm rusted copper coloured paint into a tray. "I know art. I know how much paint you go through to make art. You'll just have to go out and get more."
They'd just moved into a new house and to Dorcas' surprise, the girls had been excited about redecorating on their summer home from school. Of course, that was probably because they got to completely do over both of their rooms as well, and though they were doing the living room today, the girls had already chosen colours for their rooms. Chele had gone with a mysterious, smoky purple and Manny had chosen a succulent, full red, though when they'd heard Dorcas' plans to paint a mural across one of the living room walls, they'd insisted on doing something funky in their rooms as well, and Dorcas had, of course, encouraged them. Chele had designed an intricate floral inspired swirl, and Manny had plotted a bright abstract piece. Their enthusiasm, of course, meant Dorcas wasn't surprised to hear what came next.
"We'll go too," Manny said immediately. "We still have to pick out colours for our bathroom. And we can get food on the way home, right? I'm starving."
"I suppose," Edgar half-agreed, looking at his watch. It was 4:30, and they'd been painting since the morning. "Pizza and drinks though, girls, I don't want to hear about cheese bread or wings or chips."
"No promises," Chele said, grinning at her sister as she fixed her ponytail.
"Come on, Daddy. We're growing girls. We need things like cheese bread and wings," Manny said, already pasting on some puppy dog eyes.
"Girls, don't be manipulative little wankers. You ought to respect your father," Dorcas said, trying to sound stern but she was smiling. Personally, she thought it was Edgar's own fault that he could never say no to his daughters. "Mommy's going to make a nice family sized batch of midday margaritas, so hurry back."
"Strawberry, right? It's my turn to pick, and I want strawberry," Manny said, smiling. She was the only thirteen year old she knew who was allowed to drink everything from beer to martinis, depending on what her mother felt like.
Edgar sighed, climbing to his feet from where he'd been tracing an edge brush along the corner of the room closest to the dining room. Patting his pocket to see if he'd put his wallet in his shorts, Edgar wondered when, exactly, the line between the acceptable spoiling of small children had been crossed, and he had entered the land of unnecessarily indulging his teenage daughters. Grabbing his keys off of the kitchen counter he said, "Come on, then, I don't want to be out all evening. I'd like to finish the living room tonight and be in bed by ten."
"Gosh, Daddy, when did you get old?" Chele asked teasingly. "Nobody who's any fun goes to bed before ten!"
Edgar was distantly reminded of something similar Dorcas had once said to him, and couldn't help but laugh.
"Don't dawdle. I'm hungry too, and I don't want to wait around for you lot the whole fucking night!" Dorcas called, knowing the girls had a tendency to get sidetracked, and drag Ed along with them. It was usually cute, but not when it meant she had to wait for them.
"Okay, Mum," Manny called as she stepped into her flip flops before running and jumping onto her sister's back. "Giddy up!"
"Brat," Chele said fondly, hoisting Manny up before shoving on her own shoes and running out the door after Edgar.
"Love you!" he called to Dorcas, grinning at her as she walked into the doorframe to close it.
"Love you too," Dorcas replied, rolling her eyes as she watched the girls climb into Ed's truck and crank the music up as soon as he started the vehicle, loud enough that Dorcas could hear it even after she shut the door. They were a handful, but she'd loved them both for every single second she'd had them, and she'd never give back any of it.
"Hey, Daddy, can we get a new bath tub for our bathroom?" Manny asked, after reaching out and turning the music back down again. "I saw this totally funky chrome one. You remember, Chele? In that home magazine? It had a matching sink, too. It was really cool."
"Yeah," Chele agreed. "It'd look really good in our bathroom too, because you could take out those side shelves for us, and the vanity is longer, so there'd be more room for our girly things."
"There's nothing wrong with what's already in the bathroom," Edgar said, pulling out of the driveway and onto the street. "The house was remodelled two years ago. It'd be a waste of money to replace everything that still functions fine."
"Yes, but Daddy," Chele said, sighing and rolling her eyes at her father's completely lack of understanding about style versus something being practical. She'd tried to explain it to him once using high heels as a comparison, but he'd only muttered that it seemed like unnecessary punishment, and then told her she couldn't have a brand new car for her birthday. "It would look so much better."
"It really, really would," Manny agreed, batting her eyes at him, for all the good it did with him watching the road. "We'll help. We've been helping. Besides, you're just oh so amazing at all this home renovation stuff, it'd probably take you like, three and a half minutes to do it. And we really will help. Besides, it'll totally up the resale value, and chrome is like, indestructible. It'll still look great in five or ten years if you ever want to sell the place."
"Flattery isn't going to make me deal out money for a bathtub no one needs," Edgar said, holding his ground. "Ask for new clothes, or a book, or something, but there's no justifying renovating the entire bathroom."
"Can we have new clothes?" Chele asked, raising her eyebrows. "Because there's this dress I've been eyeing. It's like, this purple-ish blue colour, with skinny straps, and there're these slinky stilettos that'd just look smashing with it."
"What do you need a new dress for?" Edgar asked.
"Well no reason," Chele shrugged. "It's just nice to have in case an occasion comes up."
"You know, your mother was never half so preoccupied with clothes as you lot," Edgar commented. "Still isn't. She wore a dress your grandmum made for her to Narcissa Malfoy's wedding. You two sniff when she sends you anything."
"Well, sorry, but grandmum just does not know what's fashionable now," Manny said, shrugging. "It's nothing personal. We just think the clothes she makes are ugly. Not that we don't appreciate the thought, of course. We love grandmum. ...We just don't love looking like prudish Amish girls. There's nothing wrong with showing a little skin, you know Daddy."
Edgar made a grunting sort of uncomfortable noise, then said, "Susan and Norah wear the dresses she makes them. And Willem wears the shirts. Are they unfashionable and prudish, then?"
Manny snorted, and exchanged a look with Chele. "Uh, yeah, Daddy. Chele and I have been investigating, and you wouldn't believe all the weird shit Susan blushes over."
"Ooh, Manny, remember that time we took her underwear shopping with us?" Chele squealed, laughing. "We could not convince her that thongs were sexy."
"I don't want to know," Edgar said, before the girls could get started. "And I don't think you should be goading your cousin like that. Especially since she's older than the both of you."
"That's what makes it worse," Manny moaned. "She's finished school, and you can still make the girl turn red as a tomato by just whispering Neville's name. We're trying to help. She's supposed to be an adult, and she's a shy little mouse."
"Blushing over his name?" Edgar asked, surprised. "I thought they were dating?"
Chele sighed. "They've been dancing around it for years," she said. "If they don't screw soon, they're going to miss the opportunity and end up alone forever. I don't even supposed they've even snogged properly."
"It's terribly sad, Daddy," Manny told him. "We're working on it, though. Chele snuck some sexy lingerie into her luggage before she left school this year. We're hoping it'll encourage her. If all else fails, we're just going to get her drunk and rent her porn, then call Neville ourselves."
"Mmm," Edgar said. "So long as you've got her best intentions in mind, right?"
"Well of course. Anything for family," Chele said. "Norah's next. She once asked Manny what a penis felt like. At least Willem seems to have his head on straight. I saw him holding hands with Em Prewett."
Manny giggled. "Daddy, your face has gone all red. Chele, you're not supposed to say things like that in front of Daddy. He gets all embarrassed and angry and protective, and that's why the Christensons don't talk to us anymore, remember?"
"He was standing on the sidewalk in broad daylight!" Edgar growled. "Where I come from it's hardly mannerly to stay in viewing range of a girl sunbathing with an obvious stiffy. Besides, we moved. We don't have to worry about the Christensons and their crap talk."
"Daddy, we've been to where you come from," Chele said. "It's all farmers and bible thumpers. Most of them think shagging is only for making babies. If I didn't know first hand that you and mum were cut from a different sort of cloth, I'd be surprised that I even exist."
"Ooh, paint!" Manny quipped before their dad could respond, and flung the door open before the truck had even stopped, laughing as Ed slammed on the brakes so she wouldn't jump out while they were moving. Manny took Chele's hand and tugged. "Come on. If we can't have a new tub, we have to decide what will best spice up that boring white one."
"Christ, Manny!" Edgar said, straightening into the parking spot and climbing out, frowning at his youngest daughter. "Don't do that. Wait until the ruddy car stops! You're going to get yourself killed!"
"Oh, Daddy," Chele said. "Don't be melodramatic. We're only in a car park."
"You worry too much," Manny responded, still holding Chele's hand as she pulled her big sister into the paint store, heading promptly for the paint chips and hopping up onto a table to pull a book of colours and trims into her lap, leaving their father to ask someone about the Copper Sunrise paint they needed to finish the living room. "Hey, Chele, what do you think of like, blue and green stripes or something? Or we could hand paint vines on."
"Ooh, Mum'd like that. She finished that tangled vine back piece for the bird with the gauged septum. You should've seen it. One of her best bits to date, I think," Chele said, admiring some of the colour choices Manny was showing her. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed that the bloke mixing the paint for her father was looking at her out of the corner of his eye, and Chele smirked before striking a pose that would show off her arse in the shorts she was wearing.
Manny looked up from the book, as though intuitively aware of the chance to show off, even if she wasn't as well developed as Chele. Manny might be young, but she knew she was already hot, and looked a fair bit older than she ought on top of that. She smirked at her sister and then stretched to grab another paint book, watching for the fellow's reaction.
Predictably, his eyes widened accordingly as Manny's shirt rode up, and she said softly to Chele, "Daddy's going to flip if he notices. Hey, how old do you think he thinks we are? Or do you think he just doesn't care?"
"Probably doesn't care. Knows he doesn't have a shot anyhow," Chele answered, arching and pulling down a book as well, her breasts bouncing when she brought her arms back down. "He's cute I guess. I might shag him."
"I wouldn't, because he's much too old," Manny said, wrinkling her nose. "I want to shag someone though. Maybe I can still convince Ron when we go back to Salcombe for Grandmum’s August barbecue. We got pretty close to shagging last week in the backseat of that stupid, rust bucket of a car of his. Except, he kind of turned red and ran away whenever he saw me around town the next couple of days. Honestly, he's way too fucking hung up on my age. And I'll bet you he'll be back with Hermione before the end of the summer, too. You just know he's going to tell her about me, and thank God she's graduated. If everything you've said about her is true, going to school with her after almost getting Ron in the sack would be torture."
"Oh, she's a real bitch," Chele said, smiling as the guy behind the counter almost dropped the paint he was about to put in the mixer. "Know-it-all, possessive. You should've heard the ream she put on me after Harry and I shagged. Ridiculous."
"Do you think Rian would get weird if I asked him to fuck me?" Manny asked contemplatively, stretching one of her long legs out on the table and picking at a spot of paint on her thigh. "I don't even think he's hit puberty yet. Maybe I'll fuck Atlas. What do you think?"
"Nah," Chele saidm 'accidentally' dropping one of the books onto the floor and bending to pick it up. The guy helping Edgar spluttered. "It won't really make much difference," she added, just as her father noticed what was going on.
"Michele! Amanda! What are you doing?" Edgar snapped, glaring at the bloke helping him as he handed him the mixed paint.
Manny ran her fingers over the skin of her thigh she'd just picked paint off of, startled into looking up by her father and noticing the guy behind the counter staring with glassy eyes at her and Chele. God, she loved being able to do that to people. Hopping fluidly down off the counter and curling an arm up over one of Chele's shoulders, she smiled at the guy and informed him, "I'm only thirteen. You're a dirty, dirty man."
Edgar sighed with exasperation, rolling his eyes and taking the paint roughly before stalking in the direction of the nearest till. "We're leaving, girls. Now."
"Oh, but Daddy, we haven't picked the colours for our bathroom yet!" Manny whined.
"Later," Edgar growled. "I said we're leaving, and we're leaving. No buts, or 'Daddy's', or anything else." Edgar dropped the paint bucket at the register and paid as quickly as possible, Manny and Chele trailing after him.
"Daddy, you're being ridiculous," Chele complained. "He was just looking."
"Boys always look. And they're always going to look," Manny added, almost having to jog to keep up with the pace their dad was setting back to the truck.
Yes. Yes, boys were always going to look. And Edgar hated it. Whatever happened to the cute little girls in their pigtails and sundresses, with teddy bears and Barbie dolls? Whatever happened to story time, and tea parties, and arts and crafts? Somehow Chele and Manny had started growing into long legs, and short clothes, and breasts, and it made Edgar sick to his stomach. Dorcas said it was inevitable, and that they had to grow up whether their parents wanted them to or not. It was what kids did. She also teased him about the fact that their offspring had been dubbed the 'Hot Bones Sisters', and that there was nothing he could do about that either.
Edgar loved his girls. They were his life. Dorcas and Chele and Manny made every tedious bill, annoying customer, and gossipy neighbour worthwhile. He just wanted them to wear clothes that covered their private areas, and not talk about shagging when he was around, and to offer up just a little God damn modesty.
They climbed into the truck, and it wasn't until they'd started driving again that Edgar said, "I know that you girls... you know you have the sorts of... of things that boys like. And you flaunt them. And you also know that it drives me batty when you push the limits and lead people on and tease them. That's the wrong sort of attention. You girls have to see what you're bringing on yourselves. You can't always be in control of what you're doing. I don't. I don't want to see you girls get hurt."
"Oh, Daddy," Chele said.
"Daddy, you don't have to worry about us so much, you know," Manny said gently from her spot on the other side of Chele from him. "We can take care of ourselves, and just in case we can't, we're always watching out for one another too. We're smart. You taught us that. We just like to be sexy too. Blame Mum. That's where we get it from."
"I can't help but worry," Edgar said. "You're my baby girls. It's a Daddy's job to worry."
"You should teach yourself to take your frustration out on something else then, instead of poor, unsuspecting blokes," Chele said. "Like a punching bag. Or... beat up Uncle Aidan or something."
"He can't, Uncle Aidan goes on TV all the time, silly," Manny scolded. "Go to Salcombe and beat up Uncle Sirius. He'll just look like he got in a bad bar fight."
"Uncle Sirius wouldn't take that lying down," Edgar said, amused. "He broke my arm once, you know. Albeit we were seven at the time, and there was a lawnmower involved, so he did have an unfair advantage."
"Don't start with the reminiscing. Last time we were up until three in the morning listening to hours and hours of stories," Manny said, neglecting to mention that it had been her and Chele who'd been prompting him to talk. She just wasn't in the mood for it at the moment, however, so she grinned and quipped, "Anyway, not like Uncle Sirius could do much about it. You could totally take him. Oh! Turn left! Left now, left for pizza, Daddy, left!"
"Okay! Left turn," Edgar said, half-laughing as he turned hard. "Your mother would kill herself laughing at me if she could see us now. Put your seatbelt on, Manny."
"Mum'd be screaming louder than Manny just did," Chele said. "'Left Bonesie, swing a left! I don't want to go around the block!'" she added, doing a rather good impression of her mother.
"'Oh, it was just a red light. We didn't die, did we? Calm the fuck down, Bonesie,'" Manny chimed in as she dutifully pulled on her seatbelt. "I want vegetarian with extra cheese, and barbecue chicken wings."
"Mmm, pepperoni," Chele said. "With pineapples, and cheese bread with extra garlic."
"Didn't I put my foot down about the wings and the cheese bread?" Edgar questioned. "I distinctly remember saying pizza only."
"Yeah, yeah, Daddy," Chele said dismissively. "You know you want barbeque wings. Besides, Mum'll want them too, you know she will."
"Please Daddy? You said no about the bathtub. Say yes about the wings and cheesy bread," Manny said, smiling charmingly up at him. "You know you want to. Don't you love us?"
"I don't think that cheese bread and love are mutually exclusive," Edgar said. "But fine."
"Yay! Thank you, Daddy!" Chele squealed. "And just for that I swear I won't complain about the smell of all the extra onions on your pizza."
Dorcas and Edgar had dropped the girls off at the Lynch house before heading out with Aidan and Hestia, leaving the children together with the vague instruction for the olders to keep an eye on the youngers. It was such a common occurrence now, though, to leave the kids home alone that they hardly ever bothered to leave instructions anymore; they'd long since figured out that the kids would do whatever they wanted anyway, but could at least be trusted to keep most of the house in one piece.
Right now, Egan and Chrysander, who were fourteen and eleven respectively, were in their room up the hall, fighting over something. The crashes emitting from that direction every so often weren't punctuated by screams of pain or terror filled silence, so no one was really worried about it. Manny was sprawled across the couch, her head in Chele's lap and her feet draped across Rian, allowing herself to stare contemplatively at Atlas' profile instead of the movie that was playing.
He was attractive, she thought. He was older, if only by two years. She wondered if he was a virgin.
"Hey, Atlas, are you a virgin?" she asked suddenly. That would solve that problem.
Atlas looked away from the television surprised, and smiled slightly. "Why?" he asked, instead of answering.
"Pussy," Chele teased, grinning. "He's such a virgin. Any more of one and he'd kick Mary's ass and immaculately conceive."
"Fuck you," Atlas said, but he was still looking at Manny.
Rian kept quiet, but he didn't like where the conversation was going, narrowing his eyes at his brother and holding Manny's feet protectively. If Atlas laid a finger on her, so help him, Rian'd kick his arse into next Tuesday.
"Because you're the only one in the room whose sex status I didn't know," Manny improvised swiftly, wiggling her toes against Rian's hands, all the while holding Atlas' gaze. "Chele here is a big slut, Rian's as pure as they come, and I, unfortunately, still have my pretty little flower."
Atlas' cheeks turned red, but he smirked. "I might be. Want to do something about it?"
"No," Rian said warningly.
"Hey, just because you're not getting any doesn't mean I can't," Manny retorted, turning to smirk at Rian. "Unless you'd rather do the honours? Have you even hit puberty yet, little man?"
To punctuate that sentence, Manny slid one foot up into Rian's groin teasingly.
"Christ," Rian said, pushing her foot away. "I'm the same age as you, you know. No need to be a bitch about it."
"Ah, but that's what she's good at, my darling baby sister," Chele purred, leaning down and kissing either of Manny's cheeks. Through the flood of blond hair she whispered, "I can distract pipsqueak if you and Atlas want to go somewhere."
Manny nodded minutely, heart already starting to beat a little faster. How exciting. "Send him after me," she breathed, then sat up slowly and smiled at Rian. "I wasn't being a bitch, Ri. It's a proven fact that boys mature far slower than girls, and I mean, I've got proof. I'm pretty stacked for a thirteen year old, if you hadn't noticed."
Rian grumbled suggesting that he definitely had noticed, and Atlas grinned. "What's the matter, little brother? Jealous?"
"I'll kill you," Rian said. Atlas knew perfectly well that Rian fancied Manny something ridiculous. He wouldn't dare.
"Hey, hey, boys. Don't fight about something that hasn't even happened," Manny said, rolling her eyes and then getting up, winking at Atlas in a way that was meant to indicate yet. Rian was just being silly, anyway. They were just friends, and he probably just had some stupid pride thing about her losing her virginity before him or something. "I'm going to go make myself some food. I'm starved. Be back in a little while. You can both fight over me while I'm gone."
Once Manny had left the room, Chele raised her eyebrows at Atlas and said, "You're hungry too, right?"
"We just ate," Rian offered stupidly, looking at the spread of nachos sitting on the coffee table.
"Yeah," Atlas said, catching on. "Yeah, I'm hungry. I think I'll go help Manny wrangle something up."
"But you don't... Hey. Atlas, don't even fucking think..." Rian started, but was cut off by Sander's screams from up the hall, and Egan's laughter. Rian rolled his eyes and said, "We're not done," pointing a finger at Atlas as he ran from the room to break up his brothers.
"Well?" Chele asked Atlas. "What are you waiting for? An engraved invitation?"
Atlas didn't need telling twice.
Manny wasn't upstairs in the kitchen looking for food. She was, in fact, lying on Atlas' bed and flipping through a dirty magazine from a stash of his that she and Rian had found a while ago and waiting. When she finally heard a sound in the hallway, she smiled and called, "I'm in here."
Atlas peered nervously around the doorframe and said, "Hi."
"Hi," she said back, smiling and pushing the magazine onto the floor. "Can we not be nervous about it? I don't want to be nervous. Just come here, and shut the door behind you."
Atlas did as he was instructed, sitting tentatively on the bed beside her and chewing on his mouth. They didn't say anything, just leaned into one another awkwardly before their lips finally met. Manny put one of her hands right on his crotch. Atlas made an indistinguishable noise against her mouth and pulled her into him, trying to be forceful instead of tentative. It was obvious she didn't want slow steps, and Atlas was fine with that. He was going to get laid! He was going to lose his virginity to a Bones, and even if it wasn't Chele, who was older and probably more educated in the mechanics, it was Manny who was very hot and very guh.
"Where'd Atlas and Manny go?" Egan asked as he followed his younger brothers back into the living room, plopping down onto the couch next to Chele. He grinned and then yawned and pretended to put the moves on her by draping an arm around her shoulders and looking around mock innocently.
"You're ridiculous. And they're probably right in the middle of shagging, I suspect," Chele said.
"What." Rian deadpanned. "You didn't let them go, Chele."
"What?" Chele asked, looking up at Rian. "What does it matter, Ri? It's just a shag, not a wedding."
"Relax, little bro," Egan said easily, removing his arm from around Chele in order to lean forward and punch Rian in the shoulder. "You're still her best friend."
"Atlas and Manny are shagging right now?" Chrysander asked, shocked. "Ew! I'm going to tell Da! He'll box him 'round the ears for that."
"You are not," Chele reprimanded sharply. "You'll keep you mouth shut, twerp, or I'll box you around the ears. Hear me?"
"But it's gross!" Sander complained. Then, after a moment, he added deviously, "Can I go listen?"
"Shut up, Sander, Christ," Rian snapped, shooting Chele a dirty look. "Isn't there a protective bone in your body, Chele? What sort of big sister are you?"
"The kind that lets her little sister make her own decisions," Chele huffed, annoyed. "What sort of little brother are you?"
"The kind that doesn't want his big brothers to get any," Egan suggested. "Or maybe just the kind that doesn't want his big brothers to get any from Manny Bones."
"Why not?" Sander asked, curious.
"You're an idiot, kid," Chele said. "Is that it, then? Are you being overprotective because you're her mate, or because you wanted to shag her yourself?"
"Fuck you," Rian answered.
"Well you could've just said something to her," Chele said. "She wasn't really too choosy about who, you know. Just wanted to get it over with. It's easy as pie after the first go at it."
"I'm not an idiot!" Sander said, pouting.
"Damn. You are an idiot, Sander. It could've been me upstairs with Manny, if not for you," Egan said as he caught his brother in a head lock and began to noogie him in revenge, though if he were honest, he wasn't all that interested in Manny. Or Chele, for that matter.
"Ow! Ow, ow, ow, let me go," Sander said, punching his little fists into whatever part of Egan he could reach. Finally, he got an elbow close enough to Egan's groin that Egan let him go, and Sander glared at him. "I'm not an idiot."
"I am going to murder him in his sleep," Rian hissed irrationally, glaring at the hallway and trying not to imagine his brother and Manny... Ugh. Oh, Rian hated him. Rian hated him, and the fact that he was older and that Manny had chosen him instead of Rian, and that son-of-a-bitch was going to get it.
"You okay there, Rian?" Chele asked. "You look like you might explode. If provoked."
"Then I recommend not provoking him," Egan said casually, though he was watching his brother warily and leaning forward a little. Rian might only be thirteen, but he was strong just like the rest of the Lynch boys, and while most of the time their fighting was good natured, Egan didn't fancy having to get between him and Atlas tonight with only eleven year olds and girls around if things got out of hand. "Little shit has an Irish temper. Hey, Rian, maybe you ought to go to your room? Just so you don't run into Atlas tonight."
"If he comes near me," Rian said, looking at Egan, the murderous glint obivous in his eyes. "If he comes near me, I am going to beat him black and fucking blue. One word out of his God damn mouth about her, and he'll never be able to talk again."
"Shit, what's the big deal?" Chele questioned, surprised. "Is it really worth it to mutilate him?"
"No, it's not," Egan said firmly, before Rian could answer. "Rian's just stupid about Manny. You Bones girls seem to inspire stupidity in men. Seriously, Rian, you've got to calm down, man. You're scaring Chrysander."
"He is not. I'm not scared," Sander piped up, but he was watching Rian a little nervously.
"Fine. I'll be in my fucking room, all right? But if Atlas values his bollocks he better not come twenty feet within the door," Rian said, and stalked off, his hands balled into fists and his face angry and red.
"Well," Chele said, watching him go. "If I would've known he was going to be such a tit about it I would've kept my mouth shut."
"Manny'll calm him down," Sander said, shrugging, seemingly unconcerned now that Rian was out of the room.
"Manny's the problem, dumb shit," Egan said.
Sander just pulled at face at Egan, and then said, "Now who's the idiot? Manny always calms him down. It doesn't matter what the situation is."
"I think it's a little different, though, what with the shagging his brother bit," Chele mused. "Though you're probably right."
"Of course I'm right. Just watch," Sander said, as smugly as he could manage for all his scrawny, eleven year old body could pull off smug.
"Where's Rian?" Manny asked as soon as she walked back into the TV room with Atlas hot on her heels, poking Egan until he slid to the floor so she could flop next to her sister, snuggling up next to her and wincing a little. "And am I supposed to be this sore, or is Atlas just a monster?"
"Perfectly normal," Chele answered, wrapping an arm around Manny. "And he's brooding in his room. I'd keep your distance, Atlas."
Atlas grinned a grin of self-satisfaction and utter smugness. "What? Does he think he's going to pound the shit out of me?"
"Shut up. He could, you know," Manny said loyally, and then hugged her sister tightly for a long moment before reluctantly getting to her feet and grabbing the remainder of a bag of crisps. "I'm going to go talk to him."
"Manny, I don't know," Egan said before she could leave the room. "He's in quite a mood."
"Trust me. I can deal with his moods," Manny said, rolling her eyes and disappearing in the direction of Rian's room.
Sander looked up at Atlas. "You have to be nice to me for a really long time now or I'm going to tell Da what you did and he'll box your ears. Or worse, I'll just remind Rian and he'll punch you."
Atlas raised his eyebrows. "Or you can just shut your mouth, and I won't smack you around myself. How does that sound?"
Chele rolled her eyes. "Honestly. What's the sense of boys, anyhow? All you're good for is cock. The rest of the time you're too busy yelling and punching one another."
"Don't say cock around Chryssie. He's too little," Egan said.
"I am not!" Sander replied. "I'm old enough. Cock! Cock, cock, cock!"
"Piss off," Rian muttered automatically when he heard the door creak open. He was lying on his bed and facing the wall.
"Not a chance, you big baby," Manny said, shutting the door behind her and moving to lay next to him on the bed, wrapping her arms around him and hanging on for dear life, just in case he tried to push her away or shake her off.
"You're mean to me all the time," Rian muttered.
"Only because I love you," she replied, nuzzling her face into his neck. "Come on, Ri. Cheer up. It was just a little harmless fun. It didn't mean anything. You're still my number one, and I still love you most. What's got you so ruffled, anyway?"
"It doesn't matter," Rian said quietly, and couldn't help but smile at her calling him her number one. It shouldn't matter who Manny shagged, even if it wasn't Rian, because he was still the most important bloke in her life next to her father. He relaxed his shoulders. "Are you going to be just like your sister?" he asked.
"I'm going to be me, Rian," Manny replied. "And I'm probably going to shag people. I like the attention, and I like sex, and I like that boys like me. That's how I've always been, and you're just going to have to suck it up, because you're not allowed to not be my best friend. Got it?"
"I guess I don't have much choice," Rian replied. "So. Did Atlas suck completely?"
Manny laughed and loosened her hold on Rian, though only marginally. "He was totally clueless. He tried to make like he knew what he was doing, but it was totally obvious he had even less experience than me."
"That's good to know, anyway," Rian said. "The prick. I hope he never gets laid again."
"Be nice. Siblings are supposed to love one another. Like Chele and me," Manny said, flicking Rian in the stomach.
"I love him because I have to," Rian said. "Doesn't mean I have to like him."
"Whatever," Manny said. It was a losing battle. Boys were just different, she guessed, or maybe she and Chele were. "Oh, I brought some crisps in with me. They're in a bag on the floor if you want some. You'll have to climb over me though. I'm not moving. I'm sore."
"I'm not hungry," Rian said. "I'm fine just lying like this. With you."
"How long before the parentals get back, you think?" Manny asked, repositioning her head on the pillow next to his to get more comfortable, stifling a yawn in the mean time.
"A while, I think," Rian said. "You know what they're like. They think they're still teenagers."
"Tiger? You decent?" Dorcas called softly from the doorway, and then stepped into Rian's room when she saw that they were just sleeping. She gently nudged her daughter awake, and Manny's automatic shifting next to Rian woke him up too. Dorcas smiled widely at the both of them. "Come on, Tiger. Time to go home, baby girl."
"I'll come home tomorrow. I'm sleeping now," Manny mumbled, turning her face into Rian's shoulder.
"I don't think Da'll like that," Rian mumbled. "Although Mum'd be ecstatic."
"Quiet, sleeping," Manny groaned, trying to bury her head more deeply into Rian's shoulder, though she knew it was futile. "Carry me than, Ri? Please?"
"Oh, do," Dorcas said excitedly. She, like Hestia, thought Rian and Manny would be the perfect couple. They were the same age, and had been very close ever since they were little. It would be totally fairytale, and she and Hes were pushing it every chance they got.
"You're such a baby," Rian mumbled, and sat up rubbing his eyes. "All right then, come here," he said.
Dorcas stood back, watching with a smile as Manny smiled sleepily at Rian and then crawled into his lap, wrapping her arms around his neck, shutting her eyes and just trusting him to get her safely to the car. It was sweet, and it just strengthened Dorcas' resolve to get the two of them together. They'd be perfect.
She followed the two of them outside, giving Ed a stern look so he knew not to say anything, and as soon as Rian had Manny settled in the back seat (who promptly flopped over and cuddled up to her sister), she kissed him on the cheek. "You keep trying, Rian Lynch. Her heart belongs to you, I can just see it."
"Thanks, Auntie Dor," Rian said, and hoped she was right. "Good night."
"Goodnight, Rian," Dorcas replied happily, and climbed into the car. She had a feeling something significant had happened tonight, but now wasn't the time to ask her girls. Now was the time to go home and get them to bed.
Rian stood in the drive-way and watched the Boneses pull out and drive away, half smiling, and half with a heavy heart. Maybe Auntie Dor was right. Maybe, if he just kept trying, and never gave up on her... Maybe one day he'd get her.
Heading back inside, Rian said good-night to his slyly smiling mother and his amused looking father before going to the bathroom with the intention of taking a piss, and brushing his teeth. What he wasn't expecting in front of the mirror, however, was Atlas.
"Hey little brother," Atlas said, grinning and dropping a freshly used toothbrush back into the tumbler next to the sink. "Did you have fun with my sloppy seconds tonight?"
"Don't push me, Atlas," Rian warned, hands curling into fists.
"Don't get your knickers in a twist, little bro," Atlas replied, rolling his eyes. "We fucked. That's all. God, she looks great naked. You should try it sometime, man, if she'll do you."
"Yeah, well, she said you were shit, so don't get too cocky," Rian said. "It's not like you'll ever shag her again."
"Doesn't really matter if I never shag her again, does it? I was her first, and nothing will change that," Atlas replied, a little annoyed. He had not been shit. "Not even if you finally grow a pair and manage to take her off the market. I'll always have been there first."
"What's your problem?" Rian asked, angrily. "Why do you want to rub it in like that when you know perfectly well that I wanted her? That I still want her?"
"I'm your big brother, that's why, and because you're being a childish little shit about it," Atlas answered, turning to face Rian. "It's not my fault you were too chicken shit to step up and take what you wanted. And you missed out, because she felt so good, man. You have no idea."
"Stop it!" Rian shouted, shoving Atlas forward and into the vanity.
"Don't take your shit out on me, Rian," Atlas replied, shoving Rian back. "She probably wouldn't fuck you anyway because she knows you'd be a fucking idiot about it. Everyone knows you're obsessed with her."
"Yeah and you screwed her anyway!" Rian spat, pushing Atlas harder.
"Who's going to turn down either of the Bones sisters? I know at least six guys waiting for Manny to grow up just so they can try to fuck her, and they're going to be pleased as shit that she seems to be up for it now. Are you going to push all of them around too?" Atlas spat, shoving his brother right back.
Rian tensed, and drew back, punching Atlas across the jaw. "Shut up!" he yelled. "Shut up, shut up, shut up!"
Atlas reeled back at the punch. Christ, his brother was strong. That had fucking hurt. "You little shit head."
And with that, Atlas launched himself at his brother, punching him in the stomach, though it lacked the anger that Rian's hit had carried.
Rian bellowed as Atlas hit him, but easily recovered from it and wrestled his brother to the ground, pinning his arms with his knees. He punched Atlas across the face again as he wriggled underneath Rian, and Rian said, "You're the shit head! Think you're so fucking cool because you fucked, Manny, huh?"
"Fuck you!" Atlas spat, but when Rian hit him again, he redoubled his efforts to get his brother off, and managed to free one arm, reaching up with it to hit his brother in the face.
Hearing the yelling, Egan tore out of his room and towards the sound, seeing Atlas and Rian struggling on the floor of the bathroom. He leaned in and tried to pull Rian off, snapping, "Cut it out, you fuckers!"
"Stay out of it!" Rian said, shaking Egan off and trying to hold down Atlas' free hand while drawing off and hitting him--albeit awkwardly--again.
Atlas was bleeding from the mouth, now, and when Egan tried once more to get Rian off, only to be thrown hard into the doorframe so Rian could continue punching Atlas, Egan stepped out into the hall and shouted, "Da! Da, come here!"
It was only a second before quick, heavy steps were coming down the stairs, and Aidan appeared, looking a little sleep softened, but wide awake. Before he could even ask what was going on, Egan pointed to the bathroom, and Aidan swore and stepped in, pulling a struggling Rian off of Atlas and holding him tightly, arms wrapped around his chest from behind. "What the hell do you two think you're doing?"
"Son of a bitch," Rian said, fighting against his father.
Atlas was breathing heavy and wiped blood off of his face with the back of his hand, glaring at Rian. "You pussy shit."
Aidan pulled Rian out of the bathroom and threw him into the hall, moving to stand between the two, glaring at them both. "Upstairs, now. Both of you. And if you lay one more finger on each other, you'll be grounded the rest of the summer. Egan, thank you. Now go to bed."
With that, Aidan turned and started upstairs, expecting his boys to listen to him and do as they were told. They knew when he meant business.
Rian and Atlas shuffled after their father silently, refusing to look at one another. Hestia came out of her and Aidan's bedroom and raised an eyebrow at her husband and her bloodied sons.
Aidan continued on to the kitchen without a word. If Hestia wanted to join them, she would. In fact, he had little doubt that she'd be right behind him with her own questions. He leaned against the kitchen counter, crossing his arms across his chest and glaring. He was about to start on the questioning, but he wasn't that tough, and he passed them a roll of paper towel to share, and an ice pack each from the freezer first. "Sit and explain. Now."
Hestia stood leaning against the doorway to the kitchen with the intention of listening for now.
"He's a prick," Rian said quietly. "Bragging fucking prick."
"Watch your mouth," Hestia said automatically.
"Sorry, Mum," Rian offered.
"I didn't do anything," Atlas said. "He's just nutters and started hitting me!"
"Bullshit," Rian snapped.
"One of you better start telling me the honest truth, or I'm going to start to get impatient, and just ground you both for the whole summer anyway," Aidan said sharply. He loved all his boys, but he hated it when they fought. He'd had all sisters growing up, and they argued, but he'd never laid a hand on any of them, and while he'd fought with his friends every so often, it was different. "Rian. What was he bragging about?"
Rian cracked his jaw. "He shagged Manny."
Hestia's jaw dropped. "Not in this house, Atlas Lynch, or so help me," she hissed.
"Fucking tattletale," Atlas snapped, punching Rian in the arm.
"Atlas!" Aidan shouted. "She's thirteen! And you're only fifteen, for Christ's sake! You're both under the age of consent. You're still just children. What were you thinking? Were you using your brain or just your libido? Christ! I thought I could count on your to be smarter than that. You're the oldest, and you ought to be the most responsible!"
"Well she wanted it!" Atlas said, and flinched as soon as the words came out of his mouth.
"That is the worst reasoning I've ever heard, Atlas," Hestia said angrily, walking around and standing next to her husband. The disappointment was evident in her face, and she crossed her arms. "You took advantage of us leaving you at home when you know our rules perfectly well, when you're supposed to be setting an example for your younger brothers."
Atlas looked at his feet. "I'm sorry."
"I don't think that's good enough," Aidan said, shaking his head. He hardly knew what to say. Sure, he'd been around Atlas' age when he'd lost it, but the girl had been older rather than younger and the situation had been completely different. "When her father finds out, do you think he'll accept that? I really expected more from you, Atlas. And whatever Manny Bones said she wanted shouldn't factor into it. She's thirteen and she's just trying to be like her big sister. You should've known better."
Atlas swallowed. He hadn't thought it was that big of a deal. It was just a shag. "I. I don't know what to say."
"Why were you bragging to Rian about it?" Hestia asked. "I'd like to hear your reasoning for purposefully making him feel bad, what with you knowing perfectly well that Manny has been his best friend since they were babies."
"I don't know," Atlas said.
"Fucker," Rian spat finally, having been quiet for so long.
"Rian, your mother already told you to watch your language," Aidan said. "And don't think that just because we're dealing with Atlas right now that you're off the hook for fighting."
"Sorry, Da," Rian said. "Sorry, Mum."
"It seems to me that you don't have any reasoning for anything that you've done, Atlas," Hestia said. "I'm really disappointed in your behaviour tonight. Your father and I expect a lot more of you. We depend on you to think before you act, to set an example, and to be the bigger person. How do you think breaking our rules, sleeping with a thirteen year old, and intentionally hurting someone factors into that?"
"It doesn't," Atlas said miserably.
Aidan rubbed his hands over his face. "It's late. Go to bed, both of you. We'll deal with this in the morning. And if I hear of even one more rude comment to each other tonight, let alone fighting, there'll be hell to pay. Now go on. But apologize to each other first." Aidan smiled a little, and then added, "And hug."
Standing up, Atlas took a deep breath and said, "I'm sorry for goading you, Rian."
"I'm sorry for hitting you," Rian answered, and then, because their parents were looking at them expectantly, stepped in and hugged his brother.
After that they went back downstairs, to their respective rooms, and Hestia and Aidan didn't hear a sound. Walking into their own bedroom, Hestia dropped her housecoat onto the rocking chair and said with a sigh, "Well. What are we going to do with them? Edgar mentioned needing help landscaping. Atlas could do that."
"That's exactly what we're not going to do. Rian, maybe, but I'm not leaving Atlas alone around Ed for a while," Aidan said, rolling his eyes and flopping into bed. "Even if he is an idiot sometimes, I still love my son."
"Mmm, I was thinking cruel and unusual, but I would like him to stay alive," Hestia agreed, smiling slightly as she laid down next to her husband.
Aidan stretched and then rolled in bed to face her. "Christ, what a mess. Thirteen. Edgar's going to be so mad he might even kill me when he finds out. How long do you think before Manny spills the beans to him?"
"Not too long, I don't imagine," Hestia replied with a sigh. "Not knowing the way Manny brags, anyway. She's trying far too hard to act the way her sister has. It's not healthy."
"Yeah," Aidan sighed. But Manny wasn't his job right now. His job right now was deciding how to deal with his oldest son who obviously needed to learn how to make better decisions. "Any ideas on a punishment for our little shit?"
"Grounded for the rest of the summer, at the minimum," Hestia replied tiredly. "And he can keep as far away from Amanda as possible."
"Keep away from Manny? I think he owes her an apology that's more than just the words 'I'm sorry'. He owes her big, even if she doesn't fully understand the wrong he's done her yet," Aidan said. He thought that it would do Atlas good to get to know her, spend a little time with her until he saw her as a real person. He obviously couldn't see beyond her bravado enough to realize she was a little girl trying to be like her big sister. Aidan wouldn't believe that Atlas couldn't be a sensitive enough boy to at least see Manny for who she was. Aidan had grown up with three sisters and he knew how self-conscious they could be. He knew how boys like Atlas had affected them, and Aidan had gotten physical with boys like that as a teenager. He refused to believe Atlas couldn't be better than that, given the opportunity and the right lessons.
"That's the point, Aidan. She's not going to comprehend why he's apologizing, because you know as well as I do that she instigated this," Hestia said, raising her eyebrows. "It's redundant. Unless they're both getting something out of it, other than... Oh, I don't know, an invitation to sleep together some more."
"Give him some credit. I don't think that some shallow punishment like grounding is going to change him. He's known her his whole life, but he obviously doesn't know her," Aidan argued. "He'd never have done something like that if he did. We raised him better than that. I think it'd be good for him to spend some time with her."
"Credit?" Hestia questioned, voice snapping slightly. "You want me to have some faith in him learning anything from a girl who just wanted to lose her virginity to the first available boy? After what just happened?"
"Manny is just a kid, and Atlas is behaving like one. They made mistakes, it doesn't mean they can't learn from them," Aidan said, annoyed at Hestia's attitude towards the situation. Their kids weren't hopeless. "How can you give up on them so easily?"
"I'm not giving up on them. I just don't think they're mature enough to appreciate a situation like that, being forced to spend time with one another," Hestia replied, rubbing at her eyes with her palms. It was late. She was tired of this. She was tired of today. It had been a long enough day at work thanks to scheduling conflicts and production changes, and then her oldest kid goes ahead and makes a worse judgement call then she thought was possible? "I need to be at the station at 6:30 tomorrow Aidan, and it's 11 now. Can we post-pone this discussion and the decision making to tomorrow afternoon? I just... my brain is not going to cooperate and we're just going to end up snapping at one another."
Aidan exhaled long and slow and then rolled so his back was to Hestia. "I have to work late tomorrow. I have a meeting with one of our guests for next week and then I have to go over my batch of ideas for next month with the producer. You know that. It'll have to wait until tomorrow night."
Hestia licked her lips as she frowned. She reached for the blanket and pulled it up over the two of them. "I didn't, actually, as you never said you'd set the meetings up, except for hashing out things with Al... but never mind. Good night."
"Good night," Aidan said softly, rolling back towards her again and pressing a kiss to her temple perfunctorily. He wasn't really feeling affectionate at the moment, but he hated how tense things had gotten between them the last few minutes. "Sleep well, Hes."
"You too," Hestia replied, forcing a slight smile before rolling away uncomfortably and feigning sleep.
Chapter Five <-- Chapter Six --> Chapter Seven