Chapter Eleven: Wrath
“You did WHAT?!”
Okay, I’ll admit, there are nicer ways that I could have dropped that bomb on my unsuspecting parents. I could have eased into the subject. I could have forgotten to tell them all together. There are many avenues I could have taken instead of simply saying, “Good morning, dearest parents. I would like to inform you that I have become a criminal, just as Grandma predicted the morning of my birth. You remember the Knightlys? Of course you do. Well, after Adrian broke up with Anabelle I went and broke his car. Yes, I know that was over a month ago and I should have come clean sooner, but, well, things have fallen apart and I am no in trouble. You wouldn’t have any suggestions, would you Oh Wise Ones?”
Alright, maybe that wasn’t as simple as it could have been. My sister did always say I should go into theater. Drama seems to come naturally to me, growing up and especially now.
“There is no need to shout, Mother,” I reply easily, flipping my hair over my shoulder in an attempt at covering the bruise. I had assumed that the second I entered the house this morning, if my parents were up and waiting with their morning coffees – which they most definitely were – that the bruise would be the first thing they would notice. I was wrong. They were quite furious at my being out until seven in the morning. Honestly I don’t know why. It’s not as though this is the first time it had happened.
“Spencer Tierney Goode!” my mom screeches, small and trembling from where she sits on the couch. I’m pretty sure that the only thing keeping her from combusting is my dad’s hand on her shoulder. Granted he looks only one small centimeter above reacting the same way that she is.
Completely blowing her head off in horror, in case one was wondering.
“You know, one of these days I am changing my name. And I won’t tell you what I change it to,” I deadpan, stepping into the kitchen to get a glass of apple juice. “Then how are you going to properly scold me?” I ask as I come back, knowing I need to face the music – and all of it – if I want to get out of the house by the time I have to work.
“Spencer, watch your tone,” my dad says firmly, giving me a glare that was intent on being intimidating but was actually quite hilarious to my sleep deprived mind. “Now run this by us again. You, feeling so bad about your sister’s breakup, decided it would be in her best interests if you vandalized Adrian Knightly’s car?”
“Spot on. And to think I assumed you weren’t paying attention,” I grin. “Well, now that we have that out of the way, I’m going to bed.” I get up and go towards the stairs. I don’t get any farther than that.
“Sit back down this minute, young lady.”
Ooh, pulling out the big guns. Me thinks I am in serious trouble.
I park my rear end on the stairs, elbows on knees and head in my hands. I watch my parents, waiting and waiting and trying to keep my cool even though I know they hate me even more than they did last night. I can’t say as I blame them. I just proved Grandma right, and they had spent years trying to convince that woman that I would turn out a model citizen. Well, they were wrong.
“Now, in WHAT universe did you THINK trashing a millionaire’s car was a GOOD idea?” my dad explodes, voice so loud and booming that it pretty much shakes the entire house.
“Well,” I start, and that is also where I end. Parents. They want an explanation but will they ever give you a chance? Heaven forbid us being capable of articulate speech.
“Exactly. You DIDN’T think. You never think.”
Now that’s a little harsh.
“Spencer, what is wrong with you?” my mom asks, looking about seconds away from crying. As if she has anything to be upset over . . . okay, maybe she does, but it’s definitely not cry worthy. If anyone should be this upset it should be me. I’m the one facing jail time and a ruined future – forget the fact that I don’t have much of a future to look forward to working at McDonald’s.
“Obviously a lot,” I answer, dropping my hands so I can cross my arms. I puff out my chest, trying to look unaffected even though I am a tiny bit hurt – emphasis on the tiny. Who would want their own mother to tell them they are screwed in the head? Any hands? Any at all? None? Didn’t think so. “Why don’t you go and list all of my faults. It’s all you ever seem to do. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had this giant, scroll-like list titled The Things I Hate About Spencer. At the top would probably be my name. It’s always the first thing people nit-pick about. ‘Why do you have a boy’s name?’ they say.”
“No, no no no,” my dad says, shaking his head. “You don’t get to turn this around on us. You’re the one who ruined that Knightly boy’s car.”
“I know that. I was there when it happened, remember?”
“Don’t use that tone with me. We’re trying to talk with you like adults, but obviously you’re incapable of mature conversation.”
When you put it that way . . .
“Yeah, because screaming and cutting me off is really mature,” I snap. Gosh, what I wouldn’t give for a cup of coffee right now. And sleep. And to not be here at all. Yeah, that would be even better. “I told you what happened. Why? Because I figured the truth would come out eventually. Better to come from me than the news or the cops when they come to arrest me, right? I put water into his gas tank. I blew up his engine. Am I sorry? No. Just that I got caught. He hurt my sister. He humiliated her. A broken car is the least I could do. And I do mean the least.”
My parents share a collective sigh.
“And that is what the problem is,” my mom says. “You’re never sorry for your actions. You never learn from them. You don’t understand the consequences—”
“That’s where you’re wrong. I do learn. I do understand. I can be sorry, just not this time. You didn’t see Belle when she came home. She was a wreck. I only did what a good sister would do.”
“A good sister would offer a shoulder to cry on!”
“When have I ever been that sympathetic? I did what I’m good at and that’s getting payback. I made the breakup more bearable.”
“And how is this making it more bearable? Anabelle doesn’t even know you did it. No one knows it was you. Spencer, the police might think it was actually your sister who did it. She has the motive. Did you even consider the danger you just put her in?”
“I’d give you an answer but you already have one made up in your head. No because Spencer never thinks.”
My dad drops his head into his hand. “This is going nowhere,” he mutters, getting himself a consoling hand on his back as my mom tries to rub out the tension. “Do you know how much money this is going to cost us? Do you even care?”
“Why do you always do that? Act like I’m stupid and I only think about myself? Why do you guys hate me so much?” I yell. “Of course I know it’s expensive. Yes I care. I’ll pay for it.”
“You don’t have enough to cover . . . Spencer, rebuilding that engine is going to cost a couple hundred thousand. At the very least!”
I blink, surprised. Now, I knew it would have taken a good deal of damage; that was why I did it. I knew it was going to be an expensive fix, but that expensive? I never would have considered . . . I am AWESOME at vandalizing things! Dude, Anabelle should be so grateful that she has a sister like me.
Maybe I shouldn’t have sounded as I excited as I did.
“Spencer!” they screech together.
“What? Look at this from an outsider’s perspective. It was pretty smart—”
“No,’” my dad hisses with a shake of his head. “No, Spencer, it was stupid.”
I frown, but say, “Stupid is my forte.”
“Enough with the jokes already! This is serious! You are in serious trouble. Don’t you get that! Your father and I don’t have that kind of money lying around!”
“Well, I should hope not. That would be pretty stupid of you,” I say.
I groan. “Look, I’m not asking you guys to pay for it. I wasn’t even going to say anything to begin with. This is my mess. I did it. No one else. I’ll figure it out. If I’m stuck paying things off until I’m fifty then fine. That’s what I’ll do.”
“Working where you work you’ll be lucky if you pay it off by fifty. You’re going to be in debt for the rest of your life. You’ll never be able to afford a place of your own.”
“I’d say that you would let me live here for as long as I need to, but that’s obviously not the case,” I snap, getting so sick and tired of all these accusations. Yes, I screwed up. I know I did. But I’m owning up to it. I’m not hiding and I’m not relying on other people to fix it for me. It’s not like I have anyone willing to help, anyways. “I’ll figure things out. I’m not asking for advice, I’m not asking for help. I’m not asking for anything. I’m telling you what I did and now I’m telling Adrian. Maybe the next time you’ll see me is in jail. Wouldn’t Grandma just love that,” I joke, standing up. “Well, this has been a wonderful talk. Let’s never do it again.” I spin on my heel and storm upstairs, going straight to my room where I change into fraying jeans and a Captain America T-shirt – that man is damn sexy.
When I go back out into the hall Anabelle is just walking up the stairs.
“Hey,” I say, shifting past her and keeping my bruised face hidden behind my hair.
“Hey,” she returns. She stops walking and goes for my arm. “Spence, are you okay? Did something happen? Mom and Dad looked a little pissed.”
I shrug. “Cat’s out of the bag. They’re trying to decide if they should share the good news with Grandma or keep it to themselves.”
“They know?” she gasps. “How?”
“I told them,” I explain easily.
“The deal’s off between me and Alvin. Adrian’s going to find out in an hour, unless Alvin opened up his big fat mouth and spilled the beans already. They were gonna know one way or another so I figured it might as well come from me. It was a stupid idea, apparently. I should have just moved out and let them deal with the surprise.” I draw a hand through my hair forgetting about the bruise that I am trying to cover up. “I’ve gotta go. Lives to ruin and all that jazz.”
She tries to catch my arm again, calling my name but I’m already down the stairs. Dearest Mom and Dad are still sitting on the couch, talking quietly. It’s probably about regrets over having another child. They should have just stopped after perfect Anabelle. Nothing good ever comes out of the second child. We’re the universal rule breakers and all-around trouble makers. They should have known not to push their luck and they’re probably discussing ways to get rid of me.
They needn’t worry. I have plans of my own.
“I’m off to face the music. Wish me luck,” I grumble, knowing that they won’t.
“Spencer, we aren’t done—” my dad trails off abruptly.
My mom follows him with what comes off as a muffled gasp. “What happened to your face?”
I freeze, suddenly caught with something I have no clue as to how to handle. I can’t tell them about the deal. They’ll hate me even more than they already do. I can’t tell them about Alvin. I honestly don’t know what their reaction will be. If Grandma were here she’d say it’s likely I deserved it for my smart mouth.
“Nothing,” I murmur, busying myself with rummaging through my bag. There’s a change of clothes inside – work clothes to be more exact – along with my keys to the store. What I’m missing are my shoes, which I find quickly to the side of the front door.
“Spencer, what happened?” my dad asks, suddenly sounding so concerned and calm.
I turn around and glare at them. “It’s nothing.”
“That’s not nothing!” my mom cries.
“It’s none of your business!” I scream back, finally losing my cool. How they can do such one-eighties with their emotions I will never know. “It’s a bruise. So what? I got it, and now I’m dealing with it. Is that good enough for you? Besides, I think it’s an improvement. Makes me look tough, wouldn’t you agree?” With that said I walk straight out the door, climbing into my jeep and flooring it down the driveway. I make the drive to the Knightlys’ mansion in record time, finding myself ringing the doorbell by four minutes after eight.
The man who answers I recognize as the butler.
“Hey, FDR,” I say by way of greeting. Hey, it’s not my fault the man holds a striking resemblance to one of our greatest presidents – in my opinion, at least; don’t want to start up another argument. “Whassup?”
He is unimpressed. “Shall I fetch Mister Alvin for you, Miss?” he asks. All that is missing is the posh British accent that would make him the perfect butler next to Bruce Wayne’s Alfred Pennyworth.
I shake my head furiously. I never want to see that jackass ever again. I never want to hear his name mentioned ever again. “No. I’m actually here to see Adrian.”
He gives me a look that is just the lifting on his eyebrows. “Mister Adrian is currently sleeping . . .”
“I can wait.”
That is the last thing he wants to hear. “One moment, Miss.” He shuts the door in my face and I prepare myself to wait until Adrian gets up on his own and comes outside simply to leave. I will be here when that happens, and then I will come clean about my involvement in ruining his precious baby.
And so, I am relatively surprised when, barely two minutes later, the door opens and Adrian is standing there, dressed in silk boxers and nothing else.
“Eww! Dude! Put on some clothes!” I yell, slapping my hands to my eyes, wincing when I strike the bruise that I keep forgetting is on my face. “Ow.”
“You’re the first girl to ever complain,” he returns around a yawn. “Now what is it? I should still be sleeping and I don’t appreciate you interrupting.”
“If you’re referencing beauty sleep, sorry, hate to break it to you, but no amount is going to remove your repulsiveness,” I retort with no thought on my part. Okay, maybe my parents had some truth behind that statement. Maybe I don’t think as often as I should before opening my mouth.
He gives me a look.
“Okay,” I sigh, suddenly a tad nervous. “Here’s the deal . . . You know your car.”
“The one that some unsuspecting vandal ruined? Yes.”
I laugh jumpily. “Well, that unsuspecting vandal was me.”
Stares some more.
Adrian doesn’t even blink.
He only stares, stares stares stares.
“Hello? Earth to Adrian!” I call, waving my hand in his face.
He jumps back, blinking and coming to life once more. “Why are you telling me this, Spencer?”
“I had a deal with someone who knew it was me. They wouldn’t tattle if I did something for them. The deal is off and I figured it would be better if I tattled on myself before they could. So there. If you want to have me arrested then arrest me. If you want me to pay for the damage I will . . . it’s just going to take a couple decades for me to pay everything off. I’d say I’m sorry for what I did, but honestly, I’m not. You deserved it for what you did to my sister.” I let out a long breath, looking everywhere but at Adrian. “So . . . yeah . . . Surprise.”
He says nothing.
“Um,” I start, “this is usually where you go off screaming for your mother who then comes out here and tries to melt me with her nonexistent laser vision.” The silence is highly unnerving and I don’t know how to take it. I don’t think it’s a good thing, but I don’t know how bad it is, either. “Adrian?”
“I’m just surprised,” he says.
“I never thought you would ever tell me. That goes against your whole code.”
“My code?” Hello confusion. Long time no visit.
He grins down at me. “I knew it was you the second it happened.”
Now it is my turn to be stunned into silence.
“You are the only one deranged enough to come up with it. You are the only one with the motive to go through with it. I knew it was you, and then when you started hanging out with Alvin . . . I just never thought you would come clean about it. Wow, Spencer, you’re losing your edge.”
“What? You knew?”
“Yeah. This whole time.” He seems very pleased with himself.
“Then why didn’t you ever say anything?”
This is where he gets awkward and sheepish. The grin falls and he stares down at his bare feet. “I understood why you did it,” he mumbles.
I pretend to not have heard him. “I’m sorry, what was that?”
He sighs. “I said that I understood why you did it. Even though you try to hide it you care for your sister. As soon as I realized what I did when I broke up with Anabelle the way I did . . . I just knew I should expect some form of retaliation from you. You always told me to be very afraid if I ever hurt her. What I did to your sister, I’m actually surprised you stopped at exploding my car. I half expected you to spread rumors about me having STDs or being gay or dressing drag when I thought no one was watching.”
I pout. “I actually considered all of those. Breaking your car seemed like the cruelest form of punishment. So . . . you’re not going to have me arrested?”
Adrian shakes his head. “No.”
“You going to have me be forever indebted to you?”
“Because I consider myself lucky that my car was the only thing you broke. Look, Spencer, the way you look after your sister . . . I knew what I was getting into the second I asked her out. You never liked me, and I proved you right. I can’t fault you for what you did. Besides, the week after it happened and I had the engine rebuilt. My dad paid for it literally out of pocket.”
“What about insurance?”
“I told him it was my fault because, essentially it is. He wasn’t too happy, but he never says no.”
“The perks of being a spoiled brat,” I grumble. “You’re being serious? You’re not going to hit me when I least expect it?”
He shakes his head. “If I did that I would have to sleep with one eye open for the rest of my life. Whatever I come up with will be nowhere near what you dish out.”
“So you’re basically saying I scare you.”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying.” He tilts his head to the side. “What happened?” he asks pointing to the side of my face.
“It was my brother, wasn’t it?”
I say nothing.
“That explains why he was so angry when he came back.”
“No, that would be because I hit him first.”
Adrian laughs. “Serves him right. The kid never did treat women the best.”
“And you did?” I snap.
“No, I didn’t. I realize that now. After your sister . . .”
“Everything keeps coming back to Anabelle. If you loved her so much why did you break up with her?”
“I was in too deep and I didn’t know how to handle it. I’d never cared about a girlfriend as much as I did her and I wasn’t ready for that. And I knew she didn’t feel the same way so I ended things before she could. I know I didn’t it in the meanest way possible.”
“You’re an idiot.”
“Yeah, I’ve been telling myself since I saw it on YouTube.” For the first time since he told me he was sorry I actually, kind of, almost believe him. “How about a new deal? I don’t ruin your life for ruining my car and you help me win back your sister.”
Nope. I was definitely wrong.
“C’mon. Why not?”
“You remember her new boyfriend? The one I was telling you about?”
He frowns. “You mean the one you were bragging to me about?”
“Whatever. Same difference. Anyways, he’s real and I do like him a lot better than I ever liked you. He treats her the way you should have always treated her. So no, I do not want you back with my sister. In fact, I would actually prefer it if the two of them got married. I would like him to be my brother. He’d be much better than you.”
“And so very true.”
He laughs, shaking his head and crossing back inside. “Good talk, Spencer. I’m glad we cleared the air between us. But right now I really, really, really want to go back to sleep.”
“Sure thing, Princess.”
He glares at me this time.
I start down the porch, pausing half way. “Oh, and Adrian?”
“It’s about time you started growing up. You’re not all that bad.”The blush my words garner is enough to make my giving a Knightly a compliment so worth it. I never knew a man could turn that shade of red and still be alive. And so, cackling, I walk back to my jeep feeling a dozen times better than I did when I entered my house a couple hours ago.