Amongst Knights

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Chapter 1

To say that Kristen is nervous is an understatement. If anything, she is extremely tense with worry about what her three brothers were going to think of her big announcement. Brandon, Owen, and Holden finally returned home for Thanksgiving break ever since they left for their big journey to college.

Brandon, Owen, and Holden were the most famous people within the little town of Yellow Springs. They dominated over Yellow Springs High with an iron fist that made Kristen, the youngest, always compared to them.

“You’ve got to see some of the training regimen we have to do dad,” Brandon talks to Mr. McGregor with a mouthful of broccoli.

Brandon was the school’s golden boy who was the stereotypical captain of the football team and president of the student council. Girls would always hound Kristen in her grade whether or not Brandon was single. To Kristen, Brandon was the second father that she never wanted, but he was the one that taught her how to ride a bike and punch boys who got a little too close to her.

“Owen, how have your classes been?” Mrs. McGregor asks, while dad and Brandon animatedly talk about training and Brandon’s chance of playing on the field.

“Classes aren’t that bad,” Owen shrugs.

Owen was the smartest of the three triplets and graduated as the valedictorian of his graduating class. He was always the one that Kristen came to with questions about her homework. Kristen was closest with Owen and knew that he was going to support her no matter how Brandon would react to her announcement.

“I see… What about you Holden?” Mrs. McGregor points her questions to him.

Holden wordlessly nods his head and bites down on the chicken.

Ever since they’ve been born, Holden was always the troublemaker who always seemed to get into different schemes. As he got older, Holden became the bad boy that all the girls in high school wanted to date to piss off their dads. Kristen always gagged whenever girl would talk about Holden in the most R-rated way possible.

“Since when did you start wearing makeup?” Holden asks his sister curiously after examining her face all through dinner. Something about her seemed just a little different.

Kristen shrugs her shoulders. She was always interested with makeup, but Kristen was always afraid to start. It might have been the time in seventh grade when all the other girls just started applying makeup. Because of their inexperience, most girls in the grade wore just a little too much eye shadow reminiscent of brightly, colorful clowns. Kristen remembers how her brothers laughed in the car as they ruthlessly commented about how “fugly” the girls looked. She knew if she started to wear makeup, her brothers wouldn’t be so merciful as to not call her “fugly” to her face. So, in the safety of her own room she practiced applying makeup while studiously watching YouTube makeup tutorials. Once her brothers were out of the house, she could comfortably wear makeup without her brothers’ judgmental comments.

“Ugh,” Owen groans. “Does that mean that you’re going to spend an hour contouring your face?”

“How the hell do you know about contouring?” Kristen asks him strangely.

“Hey, you would know what contouring was too, if your girlfriend spent an hour in front of the mirror doing this,” Owen made exaggerated movements on applying bronzer in front of the mirror, which made everyone on the table laugh.

“Why did you start wearing makeup? I thought you didn’t like the way it felt unless…” Holden says. Kristen could feel the cogs working within his head. She hoped to all the deities in the universe that her brother isn’t smart enough to conclude that she has a boyfriend.

“You have a boyfriend.” Holden says like a fact and not a question.

All eyes are on her as all conversations immediately cease.

Kristen cursed Holden’s power of deduction. She had never gotten along with Holden ever since they were kids. Holden, used to being the youngest of the family, would always jealously steal his sister’s toys from her whenever he had the chance. When Kristen grew older and came to understand the unfairness of the situation, she sought to rectify her own justice.

Blinded with pent up fury, Kristen grabbed her safety scissors and destroyed Holden’s prized Mr. Octi, his octopus plushy named after the same doll from The Powerpuff Girls. That began the never-ending war between the youngest male and female McGregors. Holden and Kristen fight worse then cats and dogs from toys to personal principles. Kristen is convinced that her older brother suffered from major dethronement issues as a child that still remained today.

“Kristen, do you have a boyfriend?” Brandon actually asks.

Kristen instinctively wants to answer “no,” but this time is different. The night before her brothers came back, Kristen came to the decision at the wee hours of the night to announce that she had a boyfriend. She knew that her parents were going to take the announcement well, even with open arms and curiosity, but Kristen dreaded her brothers’ reactions.

“Cat got your tongue?” Holden goads her.

“Stop bullying your sister,” the McGregor matriarch quickly hushes her youngest son as she returns from the kitchen with dessert.

“What? I think I asked a very simple question,” he says innocently.

“It’s now or never,” Kristen thinks and blurts out loudly before her courage fails her, “I HAVE A BOYFRIEND!”

The entire table falls silent once again, and Kristen notices that her father has dropped his fork onto the floor in surprise. Brandon and Owen are stunned silent by the announcement that a teenage punk may have tainted their innocent little sister. Holden looks smug, while her mother beams.

“Boyfriend?” Mr. McGregor is the first one to regain his words.

“Who’s the bastard?” Brandon growls aggressively.

“Brandon!” Mrs. McGregor rebukes.

“Son of a bitch,” Owen says stunned.

“Owen!” Mrs. McGregor scolds her second son.

“I knew it,” Holden says smugly.

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