Mabel stormed into the house and shut the door behind her violently. The sudden noise alerted the people on the next room. Her mother came running from the kitchen.
Mrs. Pines asked in confusion. She saw her daughter standing on the living room with her backpack, having just arrived from school. Her breathing was heavy, her hands were turned into fists, and there was an extremely rare angry look on her face.
"Mabel!" Her mom said walking to her. "Sweetie… what happened?"
The girl didn't say anything for a moment. Then she looked at her mother and shouted.
"I hate him!"
She walked quickly to the stairs.
"Wha…" Her mom asked. "Who?"
Mabel stopped and turned around.
She ran upstairs. Seconds later, the loud sound of her bedroom door closing was heard.
Mrs. Pines stayed there motionless, with a shocked expression on the face, her mouth slightly open. She wasn't completely sure about what had just happened.
The front door opened again, and Mrs. Pines turned around to see her son entering.
"Dipper! What happened to your sister? And why does she.."
Mom stopped talking as soon as she noticed the boy's appearance. His hair was completely wet and over his face, like he had been swimming. His T-shirt was soaked too.
"You… you… what…" She said as she pointed a finger to him.
Dipper sighed and let his backpack fell to the floor.
"Okay, please tell me what's going on because I'm totally lost." Mrs. Pines asked.
Dipper looked down with a sad expression and spoke.
"I think I just ruined our birthday."
Mabel leaned against the door inside her room. She had calmed a little bit, but she was still trembling.
I shouldn't have done it… I shouldn't have done it… She repeated in her mind.
That was too much… I think I hurt him. She went on. It was stupid… I should have…
Mabel stopped thinking and let out a sigh of frustration.
"I shouldn't have done it." She whispered.
Closing her eyes, she recalled the events from about thirty minutes ago. Everything was perfectly fine until they exited the arcade at the mall. Then they walked near the fountain, and that was when they saw…
"Ugh!" Mabel opened her eyes and the anger returned.
"But he deserved it! He can't treat me like that!" She went to her bed and emptied her backpack. Many colorful objects fell over the covers. Mabel stared at them. When she bought them she felt so happy. But now, they looked so ordinary.
It was going to be an awesome party, but Dipper had to ruin it. She took a sparkling can and held it in her hand.
"Why did he do it?" She asked herself.
Dipper, Mabel, and two other girls walked out of Party Crashers Video Arcade. The twins had gotten out of school really fast and then they headed directly to the mall. They needed to pick up some "supplies" for their birthday party which was almost upon them. The video arcade offered hours of fun, as well as all kinds of items to whatever celebration anyone could imagine. The kids would've loved to have the time of their lives with the video games, but their parents had told them to be early at home because some relatives were showing up that afternoon.
"I can't wait for tonight, Dipper! This is gonna be the best birthday party ever on this side of the country!" Mabel said in excitement.
"Yeah, yeah. You say that every year, you know?" Her brother answered.
"I know right?! That's because every year is way much better than the last one!"
"You got that right, sister!" Said one of the girls at her side. "Nobody can blow up the roof at a party like Mabel!"
"Oh you." Mabel said, smiling widely at her friend. "That's the spirit, Angelica!" Mabel raised her hand for a high five.
"And there's much more of it, Mabellica!" The two girls hit her palms and laughed loudly.
"Save some of that for tonight, girls." The other girl said.
"I'm hoping they don't save too much." Dipper told her. "Danielle, can you promise me you will look out for these two so they don't do something beyond crazy tonight?"
"Well, that's totally out of my control. But don't worry, Dip. I'll try to be the mature one and keep them out of danger."
Mabel put an arm around Danielle's neck. "No she won't! She'll be the first one to jump into Mabel's pool of irresponsible fun!" She brought Angelica closer and put her other arm around her.
"Especially because it's gonna be my two best girlfriends the ones in charge of the surprise of the night! Come on girls, what is it? Mecha-ponies that shoot lasers from their butts? Or Candy raining from the roof?! Or Oh! Maybe the entire basketball team wrapped in a box! Cute boys in a gift box!"
Angelica giggled. "He he. Well, now that you mention it, actually it's.."
Danielle slapped her on the head. "Shut up! Surprise. Remember?"
Angelica rubbed her head.
"Besides." Danielle continued. "You are turning only twelve, Mabel. You are not that ready for boys."
"Of course I am! I'm ready since I started liking them."
"Uh, Mabel, I think Danielle has a point." Dipper said. "Twelve is a little early for you to start… well you know…. dating."
"Oh Dipper. You wouldn't understand. You are too young."
"What? Well… not younger than you!"
"Five minutes! Don't forget!" Mabel said. Dipper frowned. He wasn't gonna argue about this again.
"Can we go back to the really important stuff? The party, you know?" Angelica said. "So, Mabel, you're just gonna love what we prepared for you! And as if that wasn't good enough, we are gonna start the fun with…"
Mabel and Angelica came closer and yelled at the same time. "Silly String!"
"Yeah, that's a good one. But I don't think that would cheer up everybody that much." Danielle said.
"It will, if you have one can for every person and you organize a battle of Silly String!" Mabel said. "Ugh… I have like… ten on my bag."
"Don't forget the twenty I have on mine." Dipper added.
They finally reached the big water fountain that was on the center of the mall. Angelica said goodbye to them since she had to walk to the other side of the mall to take her bus.
"So, six o'clock! Don't you dare to be late!" Mabel told her.
"Are you joking?! I'd go with you right now if I could! I'll see you all there, guys!"
They said goodbye to her.
"Bye Dipper! I'll see you at the party!" She said happily.
When she left, they sat on a bench near the fountain since the twins needed to rest because of their heavy backpacks.
"Guys, look!" Danielle said pointing to a store. "It's that new frozen tea everybody is talking about!"
"Oh yeah." Dipper said. "They bring it from the Middle East."
"They say it's really good. You know what? I'm buying a delicious frozen tea for each one of my favorite twins in the world! Wait here." She ran to the crowded store. There was a line of about ten people waiting.
"That's gonna take some time." Dipper said looking at his watch.
"Sooooo, Dipper…" Mabel said.
"Just in case you didn't notice, Angelica was really happy she would see you tonight."
"Well, yes. Apparently…"
"She likes you!"
Dipper got nervous. It wasn't that he didn't like Angelica, but she was as insane as his sister. He didn't know if he could survive a day with two girls like that.
"Well… I-I'm… not interested in that for the moment."
"Hmmm… we'll have to see what you say about that in the party."
Mabel turned around and started searching on her backpack. Dipper had a bad feeling about it. This night could bring some surprises. Dangerous ones.
But that wasn't his main concern right now. He looked at his twin, and he decided to put in words what he was thinking.
"Were… were you talking seriously when you said you were ready… for boys?"
Mabel turned to face him. "I think I explained it well, Dip."
"No you didn't. You just said you liked boys. And I don't think that's enough."
"What are you talking about? It only takes a boy and a girl who like each other to fall in love!"
"Ok. Look, Mabel." He came close to her. "I know that… in the past weeks, you have kind of started to pay more attention to other people in school besides me and your friends… and that… some people have also started to pay more attention to you."
"So what? Is that bad?"
"No, not at all. It's just that…" He paused for a moment to think. "Some boys at school… are not that good for you."
"Oh, is that what bothers you? Don't worry, I don't like the ones who always have their clothes covered in mud. Or the ones who eat like pigs. They are disgusting!"
"Yeah… that's good. But I was talking about other boys. The ones who mean trouble. Like those who are always fighting and punching younger kids, and escaping from the classrooms. You know… like the one that was talking to you yesterday at lunch."
"Oh! You mean that cute boy with sparkling eyes who was taller than you! Wait. I didn't know he escaped from the class."
"Exactly. That's what I'm trying to say. He's not.." Dipper didn't finish his sentence. Instead, he was looking at something.
"Well, he must have had a good reason to leave the classroom. Someone that nice can't mean trouble. What was his name? It was a little funny."
"Calvin Falcony" Dipper said, narrowing his eyes.
"Right! I knew it had something to do with a bird.."
"No, Mabel." Dipper pointed behind her. "Calvin Falcony is coming this way."
Mabel looked behind her. Three boys were walking towards the twins. The one in the front was taller than the others. His hair was black and a little long. He had a black T-shirt, and stitched on it was the head of a red bird, whose eyes seemed to stare directly at whoever looked at it. Mabel thought it looked cute, rather than menacing.
"Hello there. Nice to see you, Pines twins." The boy said. He smiled at Dipper, who just glared at him. The boy turned to Mabel. "Especially you, pretty Mabel."
Mabel instantly blushed. "H-Hi, Calvin."
"So, I heard from a good source that today is your birthday. Have any interesting plans for later?"
"Well… we hehe we kind of have a little party at my house tonight…" Mabel answered.
"Really? A party? That's strange. No one invited us."
"That's because it's kind of a private party." Dipper intervened. "There's even a guest limit and we've already gone over it. So, I'm sorry pal. Maybe next year."
"Wha wha what?! Dipper, don't be ridiculous!" Mabel said. "Of course you're invited, Calvin!"
"Cool." The boy said. "Should we head there now? Or do you have some time for a little fun before?"
"Oh... in fact.." Mabel started.
"We just happen to have a little family reunion now." Dipper intervened again. "Which we are already late for. Come on Mabel, we must go." He took Mabel's hand and turned around.
"That's too bad. I was thinking we could hang out for a while in this nice mall."
Mabel let go of Dipper's hand. "Well, I guess a little 'hanging out' wouldn't take too long!"
"Yes, it will take too long." Dipper said. "…Besides… dad told us not to 'hang out" at the mall until Friday."
Mabel gave her brother a confused look. "B-but… it's our birthday! And we… we can make an exception!" She grinned widely at Calvin and got closer to Dipper. "Hehe… what are you doing?" She told Dipper without stopping grinning,
"Are you feeling oaky?" Calvin asked.
"Sure! It's just the heat of the summer!" She shouted.
"Yeah, it's really hot, but I have exactly what you need." Calvin extended his hand to one of his friends and he handled him a big soda cup. "An extra large frozen tea. From one of those countries I don't remember its name. It doesn't matter. It's exotic." He offered it to Mabel.
She took the beverage. "Oh! Now this is 'cool'!"
"Good! Now let's get going!"
"No!" Dipper yelled. Everybody looked at him. "Ahem… as I said, we should be at home by now."
Mabel laughed nervously. "Excuse me for a moment." He told Calvin and took Dipper some feet away.
"Dipper, please. I need you to do something for me."
"Well, first of all, stop acting so weird. Second, I need you to tell mom and dad that I had to stay here for some more time because… I stayed with Danielle! I'm sure she wants to… buy me a before-party present!"
"What?! I'm not gonna do that! You're not gonna be with Danielle!"
"Yes, I am… for a while. Come on, Dipper! Calvin wants to be with me on my birthday! You know what that means?"
"Mabel, I know exactly what it means. And I don't like it at all! He's not good for you."
"Okay, maybe he's a little naughty, but he has been really nice to me. I just have to take this opportunity!" She said as she drank some of her tea using the straw. "Oh, so sweet!"
"No, Mabel. That's.."
"You owe me! Remember?!" Mabel cut him.
"Mabel… no, please. Anything else, but not this!"
"You have to do this for me. You have no choice. You promised!"
"I'll be home in one hour. Trust me, bro!"
She smiled at him and went back to the group of boys. Dipper stood there, not knowing what else to do.
"Hey Calvin! Turns out I do have some time to hang out after all!"
"Sweet, girl! You're not gonna regret this."
"We should better hurry. Hey, can you carry my backpack? It's a little heavy for me."
"No problem. I can.."
"Ok, stop right there!" Dipper called them.
They turned to see Dipper behind them. He had a very serious look.
"Dipper… we talked about this, didn't we?" Mabel said, a little annoyed.
"Mabel! That's enough! We are leaving right now!"
Mabel frowned. "Why?! Why can't I stay here? It's my birthday!"
"Because this isn't a good place to spend your birthday!"
"Hey man, calm down." Calvin said. "She's right. It's her birthday. She can do whatever she wants."
Dipper looked at Calvin in the eyes. "Look… Calvin. I don't want to be rude, but this isn't really your business."
"Well, it is, since I invited her. You should let her decide, bro. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with a little walk on the mall?"
Dipper took a deep breath. "Fine. You know what? I tried to be nice, but it doesn't seem to be working. To be honest, Calvin, I don't want my sister to hang out with you."
"Yeah, I can notice that. Why?"
"You're a bad influence on her. And she's not ready to deal with guys like you."
"Dipper!" Mabel yelled.
"Wow, that almost hurt me. But you shouldn't be that protective to your sister. She has to live her own live, you know?"
Dipper clenched his teeth. "That's not your decision."
"No it isn't. It's hers. And it seems she has already decided to come with me."
"She's just a little girl. She's too young for you…"
"Dipper!" Mabel walked to him and yelled. "Stop saying those things!"
Dipper looked at her. "We're now really late. Mom and Dad are gonna be mad at us… and dad is gonna know about this, you know what he thinks about dating." He took Mabel's hand again and started walking with her. He turned around to Calvin.
"And as I said before, there's no room for more people at the party." With that, he walked away, dragging Mabel.
"Dipper! Dipper! Stop it! You can't do this!" He ignored her. Mabel tried to resist.
"What's wrong with you?! That was my chance! You ruined it!"
"It's for your own good."
She struggled to release herself. "Let me go! Ugh! You're embarrassing me!" Mabel refused to take another step.
Dipper turned to her. "I prefer that than leaving you with those boys!"
"Why are you being so mean?! I didn't do anything wrong! I just wanted to have some fun!"
In that moment, Mabel could've sworn Dipper's face turned red. The boy was furious.
"Having fun? Just having fun?! That's all you can think about, right?!"
"It's like everything is a joke for you! You can't be serious for a moment!"
Calvin and his friends were standing a few feet away from the twins, watching the scene that was taking place at the other side of the fountain. Some people also noticed the two preteens arguing.
"Hey Cal, can we go now?" One of the boys asked.
"Wait just a second. I want to see how this ends."
Danielle had finally reached the counter on the frozen tea store. "At last! I want two medium sized cups of that amazing tea of yours. My friends have been waiting forever." She turned to look at them. From her spot, it seemed like they were fighting. "Oh no." She got out of the line immediately.
"For you everything is rainbows and happy songs. You are too careless to see what's important!" Dipper yelled at Mabel.
"And what's so important?!"
"The world is not pure happiness, Mabel! Some people are not good! And some things are dangerous! You never even think about it! And that's so… silly!"
Mabel didn't have a quick response for that. She looked down. She felt as if something was boiling inside her.
"I'm not a little child, Dipper…" She raised her head. "And you don't know enough about the world either!"
"No. That's why I'm cautious, and it seems that I have to be cautious for both of us! I've had to take care of you always!... Gosh! You're like a baby!"
"Uh oh" Calvin said.
Mabel said nothing. She looked around and saw all the people who were watching around the fountain. There was Calvin and his friends, and also Danielle, who had a shocked expression on her face.
"Come on." Dipper looked away and pulled her. She didn't put any resistance. Some of her cold tea fell to the floor. She looked at the back of her brother with anger.
"We'll have to talk more about this at home. Are you listening to me, Mabel?... Don't you dare to give me the silent treatment. You can't.."
Dipper stopped as all of Mabel's frozen tea landed over his head. In the blink of an eye, he was completely soaked. The liquid was so cold that it paralyzed him, especially because he wasn't wearing his hat. Mabel set her hand free.
"Dork! Ugh! Dipper… you IDIOT!"
She threw the cup at his face and ran away.
The people around exchanged some words between them and then started to leave. Calvin and his friends passed by Dipper.
"Definitely not the best way to handle it, Pines." Calvin said to him.
Dipper didn't answer. He just watched the small figure of Mabel running to the exit of the mall.
"Dipper…" Danielle said behind him.
He turned at her. She wanted to say something, but she couldn't think of anything appropriate. After staring at her for some seconds, he turned around. Then he muttered a word he wasn't supposed to say and ran behind his sister.
END OF FLASHBACK
She lay on her bed. She wondered where Dipper was. Maybe he was too embarrassed to come back home. Well, if he was, he deserved it. How could he say all those things in front of everyone? She wouldn't talk to him for days, and neither would he. Starting today. So yeah, the birthday was cancelled.
There was a knock on the door.
"Mabel, sweetheart?" Her mom said. "Are you ok now?"
She didn't answer. It was the third time her mother knocked on Mabel's door and made the same question. Mother and daughter had a conversation about what happened some minutes ago, but after that, the girl had refused to abandon her bedroom.
"Mabel, there's someone here who wants to talk to you."
She sighed. So he came back.
"Mom, I don't want to talk to anyone now… especially Dipper."
The door opened slowly. Mabel stood up immediately. Were they gonna force them to reconcile just because of the party?
An old woman entered the room and closed the door behind her.
Mabel was surprised. "Grandma? What are you doing here?"
The elder chuckled. "That's the way you say hello to your grandmother?"
"I… I'm sorry. It's just that I wasn't expecting you."
"Oh, don't tell me you forgot I was coming for my grandchildren's twelfth birthday?"
Mabel suddenly remembered. "Uh… kind of."
The woman took sit on Mabel's bed. The girl joined her. An awkward silence surrounded them for a minute.
"So…" Mabel said. "Is everyone here already?"
"Well, your father will come later as they told me. But yes, everyone else is here." She made a little pause. "Including one little man who looks very sad."
Mabel frowned and looked away. Apparently she had been sent as a peace ambassador.
"Well, he should be! After what he did."
Mabel's grandma smiled and put an arm around her. "Very well. Now, why don't you tell me what happened?"
"Haven't they told you yet?" Mabel muttered.
"All that I know is that you were walking inside the mall. Then you met some boys and you started arguing between yourselves. And then, a angry girl decided to share her drink with her brother in a very impolite way."
"That's what they told you, huh?"
"More or less."
Mabel looked at her and just had to let it all out.
"The thing is that!… There was this cute boy, and he invited me a frozen tea, really delicious! And then he wanted to take a walk with me for my birthday. It wasn't anything bad! But Dipper started acting so weird! And saying things like I didn't know about the world and that I'm not serious! And that Calvin was a bad guy and he was dangerous and… and… and he yelled at me in front of my friend and all the people! And tried to drag me to the street!... And then he said I was a baby!"
Mabel stopped talking. She was again breathing heavily. She ran a hand trough her hair.
"Okay." Grandma said. "Calvin… he is the cute boy, right?"
Her grandma thought for a moment before speaking. "Can you tell me how many times have you seen this boy, Mabel?"
"Well… counting today… just twice."
"Oh, I see. Do you know something about him, besides the fact he's cute?"
"…No…not really… Well, Dipper said he's one of those kids that… skips classes and… punches younger kids… sometimes."
"Okay." She said. Grandma broke her hug and took Mabel's hands on hers.
"Mabel… do you know why your brother did what he did and said those things?"
Mabel thought for a second. "…Because… he's my brother… and he… he's supposed to act like that."
Grandma smiled again and pressed Mabel's hand. "Honey, he did all that because he loves you."
Mabel stared at her grandmother's eyes and had a weird sensation. She knew she was still mad at Dipper.
"You know, Mabel. When you love someone, you don't want that person to suffer. You want him or her to be safe. And you also want that someone to be happy."
Mabel remained silent.
"Sometimes we don't know what's best for us. And sometimes we can't see the danger we're getting into. That's when the ones who love you come to help. And in many cases, we don't clearly understand what they are doing, and we even feel annoyed. Like when your parents punish you for something wrong you did… or like when your brother tries to keep you safe."
The girl hadn't thought about any of those things. She only knew that her brother was the villain in this episode of her life. However, now she wasn't feeling so sure about it. The words of her grandma were making her feel bad. She hugged herself. Mabel knew it all was true.
"That boy Calvin… I'm sure you like him very much, and he sure likes you. It's not bad that you meet boys and fell in love. But you will learn that being with the wrong people will lead you the wrong way. Dipper was trying to stop you from doing that."
"But he… he made me look like a little girl in front of everyone!"
"Yes… He could've been more delicate. But he's only a kid, like you. It was a mistake. I'm sure he's sorry about that."
Mabel thought about it. She was sorry too.
"Mabel, I came to speak with you because no one in this house wants that you two be separated today. It's your birthday! It's the day you two have been expecting for months, right? Do you want to just let it pass?... But more important, do you really want to be angry with your brother, when you should be celebrating with him instead?"
"…No… I don't want that…" She whispered.
She stood up. "I know he didn't want to embarrass me. And despite he did it, he was worried for me." She took a few steps and turned around.
"But now I'm also thinking on what he said… about me not being serious and that he had to take care of me always… He was right… about some things… I'm not serious the whole time, but that's not bad. I'm just happy and enjoying life. He on the other hand… I think he doesn't understand it."
Mabel walked some more around the room while rubbing her elbow. "He always tried to protect me, and I was fine with that… But this time, it really irritated me."
"You don't like that your brother cares for your safety?"
"No, it's not that… but… I can take care of myself, and it looks like he doesn't think I can."
"He just wants to be really sure you're fine."
"He doesn't have to… and besides, it would be good for him to worry less for me. Yes, I'm not serious. But he's way too serious!"
Grandma stayed quiet for a moment.
"Mabel, you can't ask Dipper to stop worrying about you."
"Why not? It's not like it is his job!"
"…Perhaps… he thinks it is."
"Then he shouldn't think that way. Because if he's gonna be like this from now on, he's gonna ruin everything for me!"
This time grandma was silent for a longer time. Mabel thought she was angry at her. Until she finally spoke.
"Honey… do you remember the day you were born?"
Mabel wasn't expecting such a question.
"Grandma… of course I don't."
"Well, I remember it perfectly."
She patted the bed beside her. Mabel came to sit intrigued.
Grandma looked at Mabel. "You know that you and your brother were inside your mommy before being born, right?"
"Well, duh… yes. I'm not that ignorant… Wait, are you gonna tell me how do babies get in there? Because I've always wanted to know.."
"No sweetheart. You'll have to wait for that. Hopefully, your parents will tell you about it soon in an appropriate way… Right now, I'm gonna tell you how you and Dipper got out from there."
"Hmmm… Okay, but I think I've heard that story before."
"Not like this." She smiled. "Mabel, do you know why you are five minutes older than Dipper?"
"Because I was born first?"
"And do you know why you were born first?"
"I… I guess it was… fate?"
"It could've been that. However, I can tell you fate didn't seem to be really on your side that day. You see, it all started really good. Your mom to at the hospital without trouble. Everything was on schedule and ready. All your family was there. When twins are born, it's a special occasion.
The doctors were total experts and because of that we were so calmed. That's also why they noticed right away something was wrong…"