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Chapter 9 - Nancy

“Of course Zach. I will do anything in my power to keep him save and destroy all the demons who scare him.”

I thought that was a big promise to keep, considering the fierce hell Greg has been through with his biological parents. I shake my head lightly as I made my way up the stairs, only to bump into a sleepy looking Greg on the landing as Taylor closed the front door and drove away.

“You heard that?” His voice was rough with sleep as he rubbed his eyes.

“Yeah, I did. I just hope he can keep his promise though, you’re not the easiest person in the world to get along with, or the easiest with sharing your own deep dark secrets.” He looked at me with narrowed eyes. Still, he looked glad at the prospect that Taylor will stick around a little longer.

I had noticed after the first few weeks of Taylor coming over with his own little brother that Greg was getting used to Taylor’s presence. Of course it didn’t take long for Greg to fall in love with the beautiful Italian. I mean how could you not? I heard that Italian people together with those from Brazil were the most beautiful people in the world. That and the dangerous vibe Taylor projects, just makes you swoon and you want him to wrap his strong arms around you. But most of Taylor’s fan club doesn’t stand a chance; he only has eyes for my brother Greg.

I confess that I had a crush on Taylor. Yes, that’s right; I had a crush on Taylor in the beginning but now, not anymore. The only one I have eyes for and who makes my heart flutter is Taylor’s best friend Rafaël. I don’t know what it is about him, but he’s so cute and funny and wayyyy out of my league.

My shoulders drop a little as I turn my head as I hear Rafa’s cheerful laughter only to see him lean into Veronica. Her look of triumph as she looks my way makes my heart twist painfully. Although I know it’s just a one sided love, I still want to be close to Rafa. To make things worse he noticed me looking in their direction and waved in my direction. I didn’t wave back; I was sure he wasn’t waking at me and turned my head away. I looked at my lunch of dad’s awesome burrito’s feeling my thoart close up, appetite lost.

“You should eat little bella. You’re too skinny already.”

I started as Rafa takes a seat beside me and eats one of my burritos. His eyes close in pleasure as he swallows it down. “Your papi really knows how to cook.” I fidget with my hands in my lap as I murmur an agreeing noise as my face heats up under his searching chocolate brown eyes.

“Really Nancy, you should eat. I don’t like skinny girls.” He gives me a bright grin as he gets up and walls back to his table with Greg. Who rightfully looks at me with concern, I just smile slightly and bite in my second burrito with a little more vigour. For the rest of the day I am on cloud nine that Rafa called me by my name. My fellow classmates wanted to know why and how I knew Rafael Dinozzo. The easiest explanation was that he was a friend of Greg’s, which wasn’t a real lie. He was a friend of sorts.

As the day ended and I opened my locker, my happy mood disappeared as I find my locker ransacked once again. I didn’t react to the soft giggles and chuckles behind me as the cheerleading and football team pass me by. I stare numbly at the mess that is the inside of my locker. Not only was it ransacked, the whole content was drowned in several sorts of strong scented alcohol. The stench nearly made me throw up. With my hand in front of my mouth I raced to the closest bathroom. Shaking, I draw my knees to my chest as I hide in the furthest corner of the as memories of my biological parents alcohol abuse flashes through my mind.

The sounds of them yellling, screaming profanities at each other drowned out every other sound. The sounds of their hostile voices was followed by a wet crack and an inhumane groan as my mother hit her head against the scarp edge of the coffee table after my dad hit her too hard. I press my thighs further against my chest, restricting my breathing causing pain with every breath. But the pain was good, it was a reminder that I wasn’t in that situation anymore and it wasn’t real.

“Not real. Not real, not real. Not real, not real.” I rocked back and forwards as I repeat the words, pressing my face in my knees, hoping to stop the tears from flowing.

“What is not real Tesoro?”

I look up at the unfamiliar word, right in to Rafa’s concerned brown eyes. I wipe my tears away and sniffling a little. “Nothing, really.” I wobble a little as I get up and grimace as I look at my reflexion. Watery red puffy eyes, dropping nose and tears strained skin. I open the tap letting the cold water run over my raging pulse, calming my heart beat within minutes. Cupping the water and splashing it in my face, I continue to ignore Rafa’s questioning gaze, his eyes burning in the back of my head.

“That was not nothing Tesoro, you and I both know it.” I hid my face in a paper towel which I used to dry my face, as not to meet his intense eyes.

“Your brother is on a warpath ever since he found your locker the way it is. He says he has a clear idea who was responsible for it. Also Zach is here, Greg called him when he found your locker.”

My eyes widen as his words register, not really believing what is going on. Dropping the towel in the bin, I race out of the bathroom down the hall towards the murmur of voices, fearing for the worst. My shoes echo against the walls as I race down the hallway, praying with all my heart that mom doesn’t lose it. The different rhythm of shoes slapping against the tiles tells me Rafa is hot on my tail.

“No! I will not stand for this!”

Mom’s angry voice echoes through to the hallway, skidding around the corner, I see dad holding a wad of tissues against Greg’s face. He has been obviously in a fight with someone. Turning to mom and the principal, I see that Niall the quarterback of the football team in the same condition, only he has a split lip and a black eye. The principal looked flustered, clearly not knowing what to do now his star quarterback is injured and school policy says that any student should be suspended for at least two weeks for getting into a fight with another student. But I don’t think that will happen, our football team has one game to play before the season is over.

“I don’t care that they thought it was funny. They deliberately destroyed my daughter’s things.”

Mom was really letting the principal have it. Once mom was on a roll, there would be no stopping him.

“This is why I hate Jocks. Especially football jocks, getting away with everything they pull, regardless of the consequents.”

Mom clearly forgot he was a jock too in his middle and high school days.

“Nance!” Lo’s soft voice chirped as he noticed me, running over to me. “Are you okay? You can borrow Coby if you need to.” I smile lightly as I hug him tightly before ruffling his hair. “Thank you Lo, I don’t think that will be needed. Thanks for the offer anyway.”

“There is nothing wrong with a little joking among students Mr. Chambers.” Niall’s father grunts, clearly disgusted by mom’s and dad’s presence. Mom glared in his direction.

“A little joke? You call drowsing a locker full of expensive school equipment a joke Mr. Nash?! School equiptment for around five or six hundred dollars’ worth ruined because of a little joke or dare. I find it only fair that Niall and whoever did this have to pay for the new stuff. Your son has a role model function and you accept this childish behaviour?”

Mr. Chambers, surely we can find something more appropriate settling for this than have Niall suspended?”

The principal couldn’t have said a worse thing. Mom’s anger reached a new level, a terrifying new level. Mom’s visual signs of anger receded, leaving calm and collected Zach in its wake, this gave principal a false sense of security as he too called down a little too.

“More appropriate than having them suspended? What did you have in mind principal Fairweather? Niall and his friends smuggled alcohol onto school property, the guards let them get away with it already, and then they proceeded to destroy school property with the said alcohol. And you think suspending them for two is too severe? I find it unsatisfactory. They should be expelled instead. You have more than enough football players who can replace them at the oncoming game.” Mom’s voice was as cold as ice, matching his gaze.

“Mom.” I didn’t know what else to say as I rushed into his protective embrace. I was at a loss for words for his comforting touch and unconditional love for me. For he and dad loved me including my faults and insecurities. “I love you.” Those three words seemed insufficient but fitting as well. Mom seemed to get what I wanted to say as he hugged me to his chest “Love you too cookie.” I giggled at the nickname, according to mom I was one though cookie.

I looked at Greg, mouthing a thank you his way. He smiled before grimacing as his fat lip split. Taylor was hovering protectively over Greg, telling me he too was responsible for beating up some of the jocks. He too smiled my way, eyes full of understanding. Greg must have told him about what happened between my parents in big lines.

“Papi, I want to go home. I am tired.”

Lo tugged dad’s pants as he tiredly rubbed his eyes with his fist. Dad picked him up without a word giving the principal and the jocks his famous gangster glare “I believe you will punish those guilty of the crime accordingly principal Fairweather.” Although he said it normally, there was a perceivable threat laced into the words. No matter how many years passed, dad could still be very much the gangster he once was. With him Greg and Taylor left, leaving me, mom, Rafa and the rest behind. The principal looked as though he saw a ghost, and mom wasn’t making things better with his own version of dad’s gangster glare “What my husband said.”

Mom tugged me and Rafa with him out of the school building. As we walked past the hallway with my locker I saw the school janitor clearing up the mess near my locker. I felt a little sad as I watched him dumping my alcohol drenched unsavable stuff in a black bin bag and dragging it away.

After we left, mom and dad were silent the whole way and I knew we were going to have a talk about what happened at school today. Something I wasn’t looking forward to. I barely survived the talk, lot of pent up emotions and feelings were released.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that everything that was throws away was replaced with new clean equipment in a little over a week. Due to that I was excuses for most of the subjects’ pop quizzes; I had a legitimate reason for not studying. Still I made the tests, and did pretty well on them too.

The other good thing that happened was that the cheerleading and football team pretended that I didn’t exist, something I didn’t mind. In fact I am glad that they did.

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