Aiden woke me from a peaceful nap a few hours later and led me downstairs for dinner. I was expecting awkwardness and silence to consume us; now he'd had time to think over what I'd revealed and to really wonder what had happened to me, surely he'd feel differently now...
"You know what I'm dreading?" He started as we reached the bottom of the stairs "teaching Jamie and Lucas, I've checked my schedule for the rest of the week and I've got them tomorrow. I was hoping with us being siblings the school wouldn't subject me to... them, I just know they're going to try to embarrass me. Although I've got plenty of dirt on them too so maybe if I threaten them tonight they'll rethink... what do you reckon?" He looked towards me, the same way he had done since I'd first arrived. There wasn't anything different.
Maybe he was trying really hard to treat me the same. Or maybe, just maybe he was telling the truth earlier when he said it only made me seem stronger. I didn't understand that part, how can I be strong when I'd let them do that to me. I tried to fight them off sometimes but after a while I know I gave in and accepted my life as it was. That wasn't strength, that was the epitome of weakness, surely.
He didn't know everything and that could be why he didn't fully understand how I wasn't the strong person he thought I was. I was selfish enough to leave it like that for as long as possible. It was bad enough he knew this small part of my tragically horrible life.
"Threaten them." I agreed. "They'll have s-something pla-planned I'm sure."
"Alex, how could you? I'm offended that you would think so little of us-." Lucas spoke behind me faking outrage, I whipped myself around and squeaked in surprise; I had no idea he'd been listening in "after all we've done for you, you betray us so easily... And for this creature beside you... I'm just very disappointed." Shaking his head he had to look downwards to try to hide his smile, but I caught it.
Cupping his face in his hands, he started shaking his shoulders and letting out fake high pitched sobs, "I. I thought we had something. Special." He wailed before Aiden clipped him around the ear.
"Grow up, or I'll start your class with a PowerPoint of you in the bath naked and finish with the video I've got of you dancing to 'all the single ladies' from last year and how you perfected the dance routine."
"You said you'd deleted that!" He wasn't faking his outrage this time and I couldn't control my laughter. My arm went around my stomach and over my mouth to try to contain my giggles.
Both Aiden and Lucas stopped to watch me, and started to grin at my clear amusement.
"I think this is the first time I've heard you laugh since you got here, I'm actually glad you kept that video... but you can definitely delete it now." Lucas stated still smiling.
He was right; but what he didn't realise is this is the first time I'd laughed properly like this in years. A few chuckles here and there, but nothing to this extent.
"Please let me watch it first" I begged finally, my sniggers dying down. "It was your face mostly. You looked utterly devastated that he'd kept it." A wide smile had plastered itself on my face and it wasn't leaving anytime soon.
Walking into the kitchen everyone looked up and I noticed Sandra and Karl take note of my grin before looking at each other and mirroring my happy emotion.
"Thought we could hear you chuckling, what was so funny?" Nathan asked with a smirk; He knew it had to be something embarrassing he just didn't know which brother it was aimed at yet.
"I was just reminding Lucas I still owned footage of his audition to join Beyoncé's single ladies music video." Aiden spoke up as he sat down by his plate, there was an empty seat next to him which he motioned for me to sit in.
As he was piling meat and veg onto his plate he was also doing mine and my heart swelled just a little bit at his nurturing tendencies.
"You want gravy?" He asked.
I nodded and quickly thanked him before we both started digging into our food.
"That's fine Aid. I'll sort my own plate out thanks for offering" Lucas piped up "and you've left me the crappy bits no one wants." he sulked. I looked at the bowls in the middle of the table. They were still full enough to accommodate another three or four people, he was being dramatic.
"Sometimes I wonder how old you really are. You can't actually be my twin, how is it I'm so much more mature than you?" Jamie asked in all seriousness and the table erupted into fits of laugher.
"Now, granted you're maybe a smidgen more mature than your brother, but honey don't pretend you're not as sulky and childish as he is." Sandra giggled ruffling her sons hair affectionately.
Jamie ducked out of her reach and tried to smooth his hair back down, his pout was a carbon copy of his twins now and made Sandra's words all the more true.
What had started as the worst morning I'd had since getting here had easily become the best evening and my smile carried me through the rest of the night; while I watched a comedy with most of the Spencer's - the younger ones already asleep, and then showered and got ready for bed myself.
I had higher hopes that tomorrow was going to be a better day and I hadn't felt that way in years...