Chapter Four: Deal Off, Deal On

"Bailey, we got caught by our mom. We're grounded for two weeks to our bedroom. Honest, the deal is off," I say as I consciously pop my toes inside my shoes. Bailey sighs, and Keiron manages a laugh as he takes a bite of a school-served biscuits and gravy lunch. I lean over and steal a bite of slimy sausage as Keiron takes up my place of talking, motioning with his bread-tipped fork.

"Yeah, I mean, I can handle staying in our room, but seriously, Bailey, you just aren't worth it. I mean, come on, look at how you handled Honorine. She probably thinks you're a dickhead."

"He is a dickhead," I add, and Bailey crosses his arms, muttering an uncared about 'gee thanks'.

"Major dickhead," Keiron says.

"General Dickhead of the Asshole Army," I say, and Keiron chuckles before coughing over a sucked back bit of sausage. He swallows and then laughs even harder.

Bailey rolls his eyes, and I take a glance over his head to notice Honorine and the superbitch Ophelia walking and holding a conversation. "Oh ho ho, and our boy may have some luck yet if she can get along with Ophey!"

"I wasn't aware anybody could get along with Ophelia," Bailey says as they approach what ends up being our table. We do have free seats. I guess their approach logically means they may sit here.

"Hi guys!" Honorine says, her body angled so that Bailey seems excluded but she slightly turns her head to acknowledge him before turning back to us. "Are these seats taken?"

"No," my brother and I both reply, and she takes a seat, offering one to Ophelia. The redhead sits down, and Bailey looks considerably paler when it ends up that she's sitting between Honorine and himself. She does scare him. Most people scare him in school though.

"Sorry I ran off on you after the game," Honorine says, and Keiron and I shrug before I lean over and steal some of his biscuit. He steals some of my sausage, even though he has more than me already.

"I always knew you wanted my sausage," I joke, nudging Keiron in the ribs. Bailey looks up as if he didn't expect me to say something like that, but teasing my brother is one of my soul reasons for existing. I don't have to be pretending to be gay to make a joke about my brother and sausage. He was just an easy target.

Keiron sticks out his tongue. "Well, you're after my buns, so what's it matter to you if I'm after your sausage?"

"I'm appalled at you! Not before the first date. I just wanted a squeeze," I respond, and we both start laughing. Bailey looks like he's going to choke on his food. Yeah, I definitely think my bro and I have this sexual innuendo thing down to an art.

"Calm down boys, there's company present," Ophelia says with a grin on her face. Keiron's face goes into a shocked state, and I glance between him and Ophelia a moment before I understand and get the same expression no doubt. She's grinning which is kind of like a smile – and not yelling at us. And she got our innuendo!

My god, maybe Honorine is just stupid! That's it! She's an idiot!

"I'm fuckin' tired," the redhead says. Bailey seems like he's been turned into stone. I lean over and jab at his arm with my fork, getting gravy on his sleeve. He doesn't even seem to care. He looks sad.

"Bailey needs a hug!" I exclaim, and my brother gets up purposely to hug Bailey, and I do the same. Ophelia just awkwardly stares and so does Honorine.

"Why?" claims the bitch.

"Because he's sad," I explain.

"He's shy because he's enamored with your beauty," Keiron offers to Ophelia. Bailey goes to hit Keiron but he slams his elbow into my ribs. I let one hand got to rub the spot on my chest he hit as Ophelia looks like she's going to vomit. Bailey looks like he might too, but Bailey looks more scared compared to Ophelia's complete-and-utterly-disgusted-at-the-thought-of-Bailey's-affection face. I bet if Keiron said that to me, I'd have the same face.

I try and make it as I take back to my seat, Keiron deciding to stay clinging to Bailey and irritating him. Meanwhile, I move to steal back my sausage. This inspires Keiron to dash back to his seat fast enough he skids and pull his tray away. "My sausage!"



"What the hell is an elbow pincher?"

"It's a you!" Keiron argues, sloppily shoving move of the gravy slathered sausage into his mouth.

"Did I mention you two should calm down?" Ophelia says with a vaguely amused grin on her face. We both calmly respond by sticking out are tongues in the most dignified manner possible – which, by the way, lacks dignity in entirety.

"How mature," Bailly offers, but Honorine is pleasantly laughing. He gets an expression like he's swearing at himself in his head for apparently looking like a dickhead again.

Bailey is still our dickhead, so I feel the need to distract the attention from him and back to my dearest brother and I with a witty retort. "If I'm a jerkface, you're a buttface!" I'm way too delayed for the comment to have any really come-back effect, but the words were unexpected enough I gain a round of laughter at my expense.

Keiron has tears forming in the corners of his eyes from laughing so hard, and he buries his face into his arms after moving his tray. I take the moment to grab my food back, but Keiron starts to make small hiccup noises that catch my attention before he stops making any noise at all, and I can feel my face drop. Bailey catches on after me, but he doesn't matter right now. My brother does.

My brother has problems breathing from the way his organs formed, and he's stopped breathing. I start digging into Keiron's pants pockets for his inhaler, and I jerk Keiron up by his shoulders, wrapping my arm around him to hold him up, so that his face isn't buried in his arms anymore. I hope he didn't have food in his mouth because I'm really bad at CPR.

"Keir, hey!" I shout in his face. He's holding his throat now, and I smack him in the back. He manages a gasp that sounds like a hiccup again, so I press his inhaler into his face. He manages two puffs, and then he starts to breath again with one of my arms still propping him up and holding the inhaler against him, and my other hand rubbing his back. I don't squeeze him, but I hold him close until I hear him breathing again.

Keiron's had attacks like this since he was little, but my legs are shaking just like they usually do. They've always scared me because they always make me think that he's going to die on me – and he might as well be my other half.

I wipe away the tears from his former laughter with the hand I had been using to rub his back, that way I still have a hold on him, now pressing his inhaler into his shoulder blade. We are at lunch, and I don't need him picked on today. "You can sit down now, Airyn. I'm fine," he informs me. Despite saying this, he hugs my arm. Keiron shows he needs me after he has an attack. He doesn't let go of me for awhile, and so I move my chair over closer to his so that he can at least link our arms together and hold my hand. I squeeze his hand reassuringly, and he does it back.

"Does he have asthma?" Honorine asks, not seeming to have her cool broken much. Ophelia just has an arched brow, and Bailey does look mildly relieved since Keiron is okay now.

"No," we both answer. "Situs inversus totalia induced bronchitis, sort of." We've had to say that a lot. Most people don't ask further, and thus we don't answer.

The conversation dies as I decide I don't want my food anymore. I pull on Keiron, so we take up our trays together. He lets go of my arm but we walk with our shoulders touching.

As our trays clatter into the dirty dishes window, Keiron leans tighter against me. We walk away together, too, but when I halt a step, he falls back a little just to stay near me. The school nurse is so used to him now that she doesn't let him go home every time he freaks out unless he gets really bad. Today was mild, so he's stuck here, and that means gym class later. "Get the nurse to write you a pass out of gym. I'll come visit by the popcorn machine again?"

He nods obediently, and when we get back to the table, Bailey's face shoots us a look like we've betrayed him for leaving his company. "So, then Jan says something about Phil's ass, and I thought I was going to vomit," Ophelia is off talking about. Honorine seems to be half-heartedly listening, and Bailey of course is still being ignored completely.

"Like, oh my god!" Keiron responds without missing a beat to Ophelia's boring girly dribble. He looks over at me with a pout. "She just, like, totally insulted Phil's delicious, tight, man ass."

"You whore!" I spout at him. I'm not up to playing our bickering games right now, but a happy, breathing bro is best and relaxes me enough to feel the need to keep him happy. "I bet you were undressing him with your eyes again, too!"

"At least I've never grabbed his ass," Keiron quips. He leans over on me and opens his mouth so wide I expect him to start drooling on my shirt. "Tell me what it was like again, Airyn!" He reminds me of a small child getting excited for story time, and I shove him off of me.

He starts laughing. He lets off a faint hiccup that makes my heart stop, but thankfully he sucks in a deep breath a moment later.

"Shut up, both of you!" Ophelia snaps, and we fall silent. She's a scary, scary lady when she wants to be. She did stop Keiron from laughing again, though, so I guess that's good.

Another good thing is that after ten seconds of awkward silence, the bell rings.

"Victory!" Bailey calls.

"Hey Bailey, meet us in the computer lab next hour."

"I have math!" he shouts over the crowd.

"Well, I have class, too, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to go!"

Bailey laughs, and I think it's a safe assumption that he'll arrive.


"My chest is killing me," Keiron states as we take up seats in the computer lab. There are no assistants in the lab constantly, so we can be safely tucked away from the chance that the authorities will be dragging us back to class.

I start up my comp, and I have no complaints with using a log in that I got from a teacher once before. I memorized the thing, but Keiron isn't quite as lucky. He's stuck signing in with his own name. Five minutes later, Bailey comes strolling in with a deep red blush set onto his face as he plops down into a chair on my left (Keiron being on my right). "Glad to see you could make it," I say. Keiron makes no noise as he's playing some annoying internet game that's drawn up his attention.

"Yeah, yeah, I got stopped in the hallway. I don't get away with everything like some people," he argues as if I actually get away with things. I stick out my tongue at him, deciding that the computer before me is better company, and, like my brother, I end up on a site that lets me do puzzle games.

"So we didn't get to finish our chat," Bailey says as he enters his log in number. "What's this about you two quitting? If you guys help me, I could impress her eventually."

"By crying?"

"Boo hoo!"

"We already said we quit," we tell him.

"Get over it," I say.

"Alright, boys, alright – how about another bet? You keep up the act and help me look impressive, or you can get me to – uh – " he shrugs, clearly not having a benefit for us at his loss except us not having to abide by his rules. Well, we can think of something.

I look to my brother as he looks to me, and we begin to contemplate together. I whisper my punishment idea, and he shares as well, before we nod, deciding wordless that both punishments will be done, and so we turn our heads to look at him, simultaneously answering. "We pick the game, but if you lose you get to wear one of our grandma's dresses to school and kiss our feet anytime Honorine is near."

Bailey looks horrified, and I guess I can't blame him for being a pussy. He turns his head towards his computer, and I take the answer as a no. "Shame," Keiron says to me, definitely loud enough that Bailey can still hear, "he'd make a pretty grandma servant."

"Too bad, I even thought of grabbing ma's rose apron!"

We laugh together, and a harsh smack of Bailey's keyboard cues our attention back onto him. "You're on!"

"Hus up, Bales. Damn."

"This is a lab, dumbass."

"Yeah, yeah, the point is that I'm not going to let some curly haired sissy boys mock me. You're on, and when I win I want proof that you'll keep up the façade," he growls at us, one finger pointed in our directions as if we've insulted him like I know I was thinking about insulting him.

"And how is it that you think that's gonna happen? We make out?" Keiron mocks, one critical eye meeting Bailey's, the other snapped shut with the snickering he's doing which meets my own.

"That sounds perfect!" Bailey says, once again slamming on the keys like a loud-mouthed jackass. "One kiss every day with Honorine present – or at least looking like it!"

"Voyeur," I mumble.

"Scared I'll win?" he taunts.

My brother's eyes squint into a glare at our bizarre friend. "We accept."

"We what?" I groan. "I'll only accept if Bailey agrees to slap mom's ass as if we get caught. Our punishments then oughta be more equal under those circumstances."

"Your mom would kill me!" he protests. I cross my arms and calmly listen to him, and then once he realizes I'm not joking he folds. We all shake hands, and the bet is on.

"Videogames," Keiron says. "The only one of us who gets the highest score on a game of Airyn's choosing wins."

"That's unfair. You have two chances!"

"Unfair? You agreed!" we argue, and he scowls. "We pick, you play."

"Helicopter game?" I suggest, and they nod. All three of us open a window with the game, and while I fail first, my bro and Bailey manage to play for a few minutes. Well, that is they manage to play before one of the lab assistants walks in with another student.

She taps on Keiron's shoulder, and his helicopter crashes as he turns his head. "No playing games!"

Bailey doesn't heed this warning, and he definitely wins. "How's that, boys! How's that!"

"Detention!" the assistant bellows, and Bailey's face pales. Apparently, he didn't even notice the woman. "All three of you, detention in my room, tomorrow morning!" She takes down our names, and writes us slips that we have to sign, but Bailey has a smile on his face regardless.

He won, alright.

Fuck, I need to learn how to back out of a bet. At least I never plan on going to the gamboling boats, but, then again, I'm poor and underage.

Maybe I'll go when I'm older.