"Sit down," Caleb sighs as he points towards the kitchen chair in front of me.
I resist the urge to roll my eyes as I yank out the back of the chair and plonk myself down on the seat. "Before you start shouting, at least hear me out," I whine as Evan looks between us hesitantly.
"Zara explained what happened," Caleb says as he sits down in front of me, prompting Evan to sit beside him.
"Great," I mumble as I sit back in the chair and fold my arms over my chest angrily.
"In any other circumstance I would congratulate you but punching Aria, that's low Myla. That is really low." I can tell that Caleb is trying to understand but deep down I know he wanted to shout at me.
"She was saying shit," I grumble as I glance out of the kitchen window.
"What did she say?" Evan asks softly from across the table.
"She told me that I had deformed arms, that they were retarded." My voice grumbles out, hating that I had to repeat these words.
"Oh my love," Evan frowns at me and attempts to reach over the table, his hand a few inches from me. "That's not true."
"What do you mean it's not true?" I say bitterly. Evan blinks back at me and Caleb stares me down. "Of course it's true, have you seen my arms?!" I say angrily.
"Myla," Caleb warns. "I know you're upset but we are not the enemy. We are only trying to help you."
"Then don't be angry at me for what I did, she deserved it," I huff out, avoiding eye contact at all costs.
"We aren't mad," Evan says, grabbing my attention again. "You know I hate violence but she upset you, what she said was unfair and out of order. She might have deserved it but in real life you can't just go around punching people."
"Well I can try," I reply quickly.
"What we are trying to say is that you need to deal with your anger in other ways," Caleb places his hand onto Evan's shoulder, giving him a squeeze. I knew this was hard for him, to find out your daughter can throw punches is probably going to alarm him.
"Then why did you teach me self-defence if I can't use it?" I question.
"The clue is in the title, self-defence. You threw the first punch, I didn't give you a class in fighting. Did I?" Caleb's expression is challenging me.
My eyes want to roll at his annoying tone. "Guess not," I mumble to myself.
"Sorry can't hear you," he leans forward over the table.
I stick my tongue into my cheek, despising when Caleb spoke to me like a child. "I said guess not," I announce loudly.
"That's what I thought," he nods to himself.
My eyes stare him down across the table, Evan sits up in his seat and attempts to cool down the air. "So let's discuss what Myla can do when she gets angry instead of using violence,"
Caleb tears his eyes away from me and agrees with Evan. "Yes, that was the whole point of this conversation," he breathes out harshly.
"Why don't you try and channel your anger into words instead?" Evan suggests and opens up his hands to me.
"You mean call her a fucking stupid bitch instead?" I question as I tilt my head towards them both.
Evan winces and Caleb sighs. "I'd say go for it," Caleb says which earns a tut from Evan. "But verbal abuse also isn't the answer, why don't you be the better person and make it seem like she hasn't got to you?"
I hated their proposals, how can I express myself without shouting a few curse words here and there?
"Yeah," Evan agrees with him. "Aria so clearly wanted you to react and she got what she wanted. If anything like this ever happens again then you should give her a smart and sassy reply. Nothing severely rude or a grouchy comeback. Something smart like I know that little brain can whip up."
Caleb grabs my hand which forces me to lock eyes with him. "Be better, make better choices. I know you know that punching people and swearing at them isn't the way forward. We live with her, we can't be having daily fights."
Their eyes both pleading with me and honestly, I didn't want to let them down. "Fine," I say eventually.
"Anyone who says that you have deformed arms doesn't deserve to be in your life," Caleb says, his hand giving mine a squeeze. "You have every right to ignore her and cut her out. I know how much that would have upset you."
"Thanks dad," I say quietly.
"I know you've struggled with accepting your scars, but they don't define you Myla. They aren't your fault, what happened to you that day wasn't your fault." He says openly, his voice low but soft.
Caleb slides his other hand over Evan's shoulders and pulls him into him. "We will grow and learn as a family," Caleb says strongly.
Evan glances at him and they smile. They wanted the best for me and I could feel it, and I wouldn't want them to be disappointed in me.
. . .
I wait downstairs for Jake, ten minutes past six. Had he left already without me? Leaning on the edge of a table, my black denim jacket folded over my arms, converse dug into the floor.
Shit, maybe he just said what he said earlier because he didn't know what else to say. I curse again and again in my head, praying to god he hasn't just gone off without me.
The jangle of keys alerts me from behind and I instantly push up from the table. Whipping my head towards the sound, Jake bounces down the stairs. I didn't want to admit it but he looked good, his style fresh and unique. Wearing a vintage acid washed t-shirt, the front tucked into a pair of light blue denim jeans, the ankles rolled up showing off his white socks and black converse.
"I thought you left," I admit.
Jake's eyes slowly flick down my attire before he shrugs and clutches onto his keys in his hands. "Fashionably late," he replies, waltzing past me to open the front door.
He presses a button on his keys and his car lights up. "I didn't know you have a car," I say as I slam the door shut behind me.
Jake flashes me a soft smile over his shoulder. "I don't drive much, not the biggest fan of driving," he tells me as he slides into the driver seat, quickly walking to the opposite door and getting in beside him.
"Not a big fan of driving but has a car?" I question as I watch him jam the keys into the ignition.
"My dad got it for me, he said I needed it for my independence. He was right." He nods once before putting the car in gear and slowly reversing out.
"Lucky you," I comment as I gaze out of the window.
"You're right, lucky me," he sighs, resting one of his hands onto the steering wheel. "Do you drive?"
My head rotates back to him as I bite down on my lip. "Not yet," I say, my hands clasping in my lap.
"I haven't got round to having lessons but anyway the idea of driving slightly scares me," I say, shuffling my feet for a second.
Jake turns his head to me before looking back at the road. "You're scared of driving?" He asks in surprise.
I wasn't sure what exactly he was taking for this or what he was surprised about but I wasn't embarrassed about it. "Just the idea of being in control of a car is scary, obviously I know that's the whole point of learning but I've seen some people on the roads. They drive like fucking idiots."
This earns a laugh from Jake, something I realised was so rare to come out of his mouth but it calmed me. "I get you," he agrees. "At first I hated the idea of being responsible for my passangers but you get used to it."
"Then if you agree, why are you so surprised?" I say as I run a hand through my slightly tangled hair.
Jake shrugs for a split second, his eyes laying firmly on the road. "You just seem like you don't have any fears," he comments.
"Well that's a stupid thing to say," I tell him honestly. "Everyone has fears, everyone is scared of something."
"I dunno, you just seem tough. You always act tough, words don't seem to upset you. And if they do, you just punch them in the face." The corners of Jake's lips twitch at his own words which result in a playful roll of the eyes from me.
"Well I guess it's just a mask," I reply instantly. "Act tough and no one can hurt you."
Jake hums as he taps his fingers lightly against the wheel. "No one can hurt you?"
"Obviously people will hurt me in my lifetime but I've just learnt that crying and moping gets you nowhere. I'm over letting people know I'm upset, I guess now I just get angry instead. It's like my emotions have completely switched." I say as I raise both my hands to emphasise my point, realising I had just completely poured my heart out.
A deep sigh rumbles from Jake's lips. "Well, if that's how you get by then good for you."
"I'm flattered that you think I'm tough," I blurt out before clasping my hair around my fist.
I watch as Jake turns slightly to look at me, his eyes jumping between mine. Not a clue what he was thinking but really, I wasn't sure if I wanted to know. "We're here," Jake tilts his head and I suddenly realise that we are parked.
"Great," I nod before undoing my seatbelt and shooting out of the passenger seat. My tongue feeling like acid from the word-vomit. Even I cringed internally and that's saying something.
Jake slides on his jacket and rams his hands into the pockets harshly. "Let's go," he says before walking away quickly. "They're already here."
My legs quickly catch up with his as we enter the cinema, Emily, Carter and Zack already waiting for us. Nothing great was on, so we settled for an action movie we could all agree on. I somehow get lumped on the end next to Jake, his large Diet Coke in the stand between us.
I could hear everyone talk away on the other side of Jake, yet he doesn't utter a word. Soon the movie starts which I was grateful for because I couldn't hack the silence any longer. In a way, I could barely concentrate on the movie as Jake's knee edged closer and closer to mine. Not that it was in any way alarming and I doubt he had any idea he knew he was doing it, but I could see it. And it was making me nervous.
Half way through the movie his knee comes into contact with mine, lightly resting against the fabric of my tights on my legs. For a moment my body goes rigid but eventually I relax and push back into his, the feeling strange. Harmless but strange.
I didn't dare look up at him because I didn't know what this mean, in reality it might just have been that the seat wasn't big enough for him to sit comfortably so he's using my space. I ignore any other meaning and watch the rest of the movie without looking anywhere but the screen ahead.
Once the movie finished, the guys insisted on going over to the alley to see if they could grab any food that was going to be chucked out after closing tonight. The boys practically running there from starvation, Emily hands back with me and watch as they scurry down the road.
By the time we reach the alley door, the boys had already bombarded Remy at the front desk. It was quiet and she was technically the 'manager' working tonight, so freebies for us. She hands out sweets and milkshakes as we gather round the desk.
"So, what's happening this weekend with the party?" Emily questions as she pulls a strawberry lace apart with her teeth.
"Hmm I say get there for like nine?" Remy suggests as she leans back onto the ice machine.
"Whatever," Carter mumbles with a mouth full of food. "I don't care."
Remy rolls her eyes at the lack of enthusiasm. "Okay, lets just say nine,"
"What are you guys wearing?" I question and they all turn to me.
"Oh yeah," Emily's eyes shoot wide at me. "I forgot that this will be your first party!"
"Which is why I don't want to turn up wearing the completely wrong thing," I say with a quiet laugh.
"How about me and Remy come help you get ready?!" Emily exclaims and I stare back at her, Remy nodding quickly out of the corner of my eye.
I chew on the sour sweet in my mouth. "O-Kay," I nod once, adjusting to the idea in my head. "Sure."
Remy claps her hands together excitedly. "Amazing news."
"Why don't you all come to ours before the party, have a few drinks or whatever and go together," Jake suggests and I almost choke on my sweet.
"Are you serious?" Zack asks completely shocked.
"Seven years of friendship and this would be the first time we could pre-drink at your house?" Carter gapes back at him.
"Sure," Jake shrugs casually. "Why not?"
"Are you sure that's a good idea?" I raise an eyebrow at him knowing neither of our dads would be okay with this.
"It's our house too," he says bluntly.
He has a point but I didn't want to take the fall for this one. "Well you're the one who explains this to them," I say as I hold my hands up in defence.
"I'll take it," he says as he grabs a bag of popcorn off the front stand.
The rest of them begin to rush with chatter, their eyes full of excitement as they discuss this weekends antics. I just hope our parents don't rip us a new one.