One: Highway Hell
Rolling my eyes, I send daggers my brother's way. The elder of the McDaniel siblings, Andrew James - or AJ as he prefers - is far from the most mature. Probably the least mature out of the seven of us, he is still somehow a lady's man. With no filter, outbursts like this are quite common, but I will not say that it doesn't take me by surprise to hear my twenty-three year old older brother sound like my three year old younger brother.
Family, gotta love them.
"For the millionth fucking time, will you pull the van over before my bladder explodes?" My brother's face at this point is turning a shade of red so deep I swear there is a hint of purple clouding his cheeks. The whites of his eyes immersed with a darkened tint of yellow. The man literally is about to explode.
I think my second oldest brother, Sean - who is also Andrew's twin - notices how dire the situation is because right when the words leave Andrew's lips, the lanky guitarist lunges over Andrew's overly muscular body towards the door, jiggling the handle in a desperate attempt to open the van's door.
Did I mention we're going over seventy miles per hour on the freeway?
"Boys, will you cut it out?" My mother shouts. Bless her soul, I have no clue how she a: gave birth to seven kids in over twenty years, but also b: puts up with all of us in an enclosed space for any length of time. You would have thought she'd have more wrinkles and grey hairs, but she has two remedies for that, anti-aging cream and an unlimited supply of blackberry brandy, a family speciality that outranks any store bought shit at McKay's or any of those stores.
My brother Sean cut his eyes towards the front seat where both our father and mother respectively resides, neither paying either boy any mind. But that didn't stop Sean. Nothing ever does.
"Then will you pull over before I end up covered in AJ's intestines?" Sean fires back, crossing his arms over his chest in an act of defiance only an angsty teen or adorable toddler could. Not a twenty-three year old college dropout who still lives at home and spends his day making animations on YouTube.
I groan, facepalming, and refuse to glance over my right shoulder at the circus unfolding. Sean and AJ take patience, a virtue I have lacked since birth, and an hour in the van locked with them to my right is complete hell. Now, try imagining over four hours locked with these baboons, and limited intermissions at Wawa because your dad wants to arrive in time to catch the one o'clock game he didn't know was on today. It's Saturday near the end of the football season; what did he expect?
Not that I'm complaining. Football is fun to watch, mostly because it ends with Sean and AJ wrestling one another to see who's superior and knows more. Twinalry, I like to call it. Ya know, twin rivalry. It was obvious. . . oh well.
Tucking a loose lock of wavy, dirty blonde hair behind my ear, I instantly regret not putting it back in a beanie like I intended. Oh, wait, I did. But my idiot brother, Greg - my second younger sibling who clocks in at fourteen, a solid three years behind my quaint seventeen, and is the size of a football player - tugged it off during the first twenty minutes of the ride out of sheer boredom, and because he is a younger brother after all, he refused to give it back despite my (at times) calm and sweet pleas for him to give it back or risk possible castration.
Needless to say, I hate long car rides with my ridiculous family. And you've only met three of the reasons why. Don't forget the other two.
"I think the dam to the Nile River is about to explode," AJ informs the entire van, clutching his crossed legs in despair. His eyes dart from exit to exit, most likely planning an escape, and his lip continues to twitch despite his ironclad grip from his teeth holding it in place. He is literally about to explode.
"I don't feel so good," my youngest brother, Xavier, announces from his car seat softly in his most innocent voice. This little three-year old is a little heartbreaker at his tender age with his angelic blonde curls framing his face (my Dad pleads for my mom to cut it because Xavier is always mistaken for a girl, but Mom has threatened to shave Dad's - embarrassing - mullet that he treasures if he ever laid a hand on her sons head) and adding in his huge blue eyes and naturally pouty lips, he gets whatever he wants.
Did I mention that his seat is directly behind Sean's?
"That's it, I'm out!" Sean promptly slams his fingers down on the trigger for the seat belt, stripping it and throwing it over towards AJ - slapping the pained boy on his exposed bicep - as he lunged towards the door. His clown-sized basketball shoes are kicking me relentlessly on my left leg as he flails towards the door.
And then his elbow went down on AJ'a crotch.
"I'm going to kill you," AJ and Dad mutter menacingly in one of the most frightening voices I've heard in real life, not counting horror movies. Their unity and harmony was even more freaky.
If looks could kill, Sean would be dead three times over.
"I'm sorry," Xavier mutters from the backseat. And just like that, AJ's brand new Washington Football Team hat became a bright, fluorescent shade of pink.
That, my friends, is one reason I hate pink.
"The Nile," AJ cries, unlocking the door and pulls the handle back, opening it. He throws Sean on to the ground, tucking his knees to his chest as he rolls out of the car towards the grassy terrain below.
"Can I do that?" My younger sister, Kendall, asks with a devilish grin. Ah, my demon sibling. The literal spawn of Satan himself. I swear she was switched at birth. The girl is a menace. Can't go a day without getting into some kind of trouble. The song "Troublemaker" was written about her. It's her anthem.
And I'm her favorite target. She's only nine. Did I mention she has a juvie record already? Vandalism. Demon child.
"No," Mom sighs, clutching the bridge of her nose as she shakes her head, reaching for what I assume is her daily dose of brandy. Gotta stay young and jubilant, kids. Oh, and deal with seven raging kids ranging from man-child to literally angel.
Kendall pouts, throwing heels violently against the back of her seat, arms crossed.
And then there's a scream.
I glance over my shoulder. I went in slow-mo, not kidding, and it felt like the whole thing was a scene out of a movie. And I caught it all on camera.
Sean got sucked out of the car, and flew out into the grassy overpass. Into the path of AJ's Nile River.
Isn't my family wonderful?