"MACKENZIE!!!" I sighed and set my shopping bags down as I waited for the boy who accompanied the yelling to arrive. A few seconds later Joel came thundering into the kitchen
He eyed the bags hungrily, "Did you get food?"
I rolled my eyes, "Yes, but I'll only cook it for you if you help me get the rest of the bags out of the car."
Joel nodded eagerly, "Okay. You start putting those away and I'll get the rest." He ran out of the room before I could answer. I just shook my head with a smile.
I had three brothers, all older, and Joel was the youngest of them. We were only a year apart and, as such, were pretty close. Actually he was one of my best friends in the whole world, but that's not saying much because the only friends I had were my brothers, their friends, and Ty. I may be anti-social, but my brother's most definitely are not. They're the kind of guys that all the girls want and all the guys want to be. They were take-your-breath-away gorgeous, or so I'd been told, and I was actually proud of their God-like status, but I wasn't about to let them know that.
We were a football family, through and through. My dad had been the star quarterback of his high school team, they had won state and he got a full ride to Texas State. Unfortunately, he got hurt his freshmen year and lost his scholarship. He came home, with the head cheerleader as his wife, and joined the police force.
Trae, my oldest brother, had followed in my father's footsteps and was the quarterback who, of course, led the team to state. He was as the University of Chicago studying to become a doctor. I was extra proud of him because he was there on a scholarship for his grades, not sports, though he was still on the football team.
Nate was the middle brother, and the biggest. He was well over six foot tall, but he was fast, so he ended up being a running back. He had been a huge player, until he fell for the farmers daughter, Eva. They got married right after graduation. I think that she's pregnant, but they've yet to announce it.
And that leaves Joel, the star wide receiver. He's a junior this year and, other than Ty of course, my best friend. He's also a bigger player than either of the other two ever thought of being.
Each of my brothers had their turn at ruling the school. Trae took it by force at the end of his Sophomore year; the chosen heir was the graduating quarterback's little brother, who was going to be a Senior. Unfortunately for him, Trae was better at it and took the throne even before the previous king had graduated. Trae had focused mainly of keeping the guys in line and squashing any competitors; girls came more as an afterthought, but that didn't mean that he didn't have a different girl every couple of weeks.
When Trae graduated, he handed the school over to Nate. He might have had the title handed to him, but it didn't mean that he had to fight to keep it. Nate was most definitely a ladies man. He could have any girl he wanted, pretty much whenever he wanted it. There was this one girl who wouldn't take any of his crap though; he ended up marrying her. He was a Senior and Joel was a fresmen when Nate took over.
I was a freshmen and Joel was a sophomore when he took the throne. In my opinion, he was better at it than either Trae or Nate. Joel took the best from both of them, combined it, and then added his own personal flair. He kept the guys in line so well that he never even had competitors, and he was so good with the girls that he could have any girl he wanted, twice. And they kept falling for his stupid ass lines. He still had yet to pick a successor, but he still had another two years, so no one was worried, yet.
I know that it's probably wrong, but I'm pretty proud of my brothers' player status. I know their hot; they know their hot; everyone with eyes knows their hot. They actually treat their girlfriends pretty well, they just don't keep them around very long. They don't cheat, they don't lie, and they're upfront about their intentions. If a girl's stupid enough not to expect what happens next, then it's her own fault. They were generally gentlemen, albeit slutty ones, my dad had raised them right and I had trained them well.
Joel's voice broke through my thoughts as I handed him the sandwich I had made him, "Why is it so small?"
I rolled my eyes, "Because Eva's coming over to make dinner and I don't want to ruin your appetite." He grumbled in response and started eating. He was done about the time I had finished cleaning.
He put is plate in the dishwasher, "Did you get chips?"
I sighed, "No, sorry, I forgot. You'll have to pick them up tomorrow, 'cause I'm not going back to the store."
"But you forgot the stuff for cookies too." He was pouting and I didn't need to even look at him to know that he had his bottom lip stuck out.
I rolled my eyes, "It won't kill you to wait another day. I just made cookies last week." He just sighed and grumbled some more. A few seconds later Sammy, our black lab, came bounding into the kitchen her tail wagging. She yapped at me, her eyes, bright and shinny.
I sighed and hung my head, "Damn it. I forgot the dog food."
He grinned, grabbing the keys off the table, "I'll drive you, because I know how much you hate it."
I glared at him, "Why can't you go without me?"
Joel grabbed my hand and started pulling me towards the door, "Because you know I'll forget a whole bunch of stuff."
I yanked my hand away, "Yeah, well, if you didn't eat so damn much then I wouldn't forget stuff. I miss Trae, he would go for the store for me."
He rolled his eyes, "He's only been gone for a few weeks, and you know you love me." I just rolled my eyes.
When we got home from the store, I made Joel unload the truck, just out of spite. I sat at the kitchen table and started painting my nails, with the nail polish that I had made him buy me, partly because I didn't like the smell in my room, but mostly because I knew it would annoy him. It didn't take me very long finish the actual painting, what took a while was letting the paint dry.
Joel waived his hand over my fingers, "What would you do if I messed up your nail polish?"
I didn't even look up, "Touch them and I kill you."
He laughed and ruffled my hair. I opened my mouth to yell at him but was cut off by Eva's voice, "Kenny, let him be. He's just doing it to get you angry. Now, all three of you, get the hell out of my kitchen."
I stood up and bobbed a curtsey, "Yes ma'am." The three of us, Nate, Joel, and me, filed out of the kitchen and deposited ourselves in the living room.
"You know, painting her nails is the only thing our dear, sweet baby sister does like a normal girl. I'm not too sure about the color though. Black isn't very ladylike." Nate laughingly told Joel.
Joel smiled to himself, already distracted by the TV, "Yeah, but it's hot. I think that's my next goal, to date a girl with black nails."
I rolled my eyes, "You both are disgusting."
Nate held his hands up defensively, "Hey, I'm happily married. I have nothing to do with this, this one is all on Joel."
I glared at him, "Yeah, well, you're a former man whore, so you get lumped into it. The only reason you're even slightly reformed is that you finally met a girl smart enough to make sure you had a ring on her finger before she gave it to you."
Nate grinned, "I know, aren't I lucky?"
I nodded, smiling at how puppy like he was, "Yes, yes you are." Joel finally decided on Mythbusters so we were quiet for a while.
Joel came and sat next to me on the couch, a little too close for comfort, "Kenny, will you eat lunch with me on Monday?"
I didn't look away from the screen, "Nope."
He scooted even closer, "Why not? You're a sophomore now. You already had a whole year and then some to enjoy your anonymity."
I raised my eyebrows, "Wow, anonymity, that's a big word, especially for you. You should be proud of yourself. Congratulations."
Joel groaned, "Come on Mackenzie, I want to eat lunch with you. Why won't you eat lunch with me?"
I sighed, "Because I don't want to. I already have to deal with you at home; why would I want to deal with you at school too? And if you dare tell anyone that I'm your sister, I will kick your ass in front of the entire school. And you know I can too." Joel grumbled under his breath and stretched out on the couch, resting his feet and legs on my lap. I didn't really care, it was the price I paid for his defeat.
I know it's strange. My brothers were the schools royalty, so it would of only made sense that, when I became a freshmen, I took my place beside them, but I didn't want to. We lived in a miniscule town in the middle of north west Texas, and growing up I was always just the Millers' little sister. Luckily for me, our town was so small that we didn't have a proper High School, so we had to drive to the town about twenty miles away to go to school. While the school wasn't that big, it did have over a thousand people, which was more than enough for me to blend into. No one ever made the connection that my last name was Miller, so I might just be related to Joel and them. Most of the football team knew who I was, but they also knew not to breathe a word of it to anyone. I wanted to just be myself and I didn't think I could do that if I was dragged into the spotlight along with my brothers, or, at least that's the reason I gave them. The real reason was that I was scared. My brothers were a legacy, and I didn't want to ruin their perfect reputations by being, well, not perfect. The only one who knew the real reason was Ty, and even he thought I was crazy.
About an hour later my dad walked in and, almost simultaneously, Eva called me in to set the table; she was handing me plates when she asked, "Is Ty coming over?"
Ty answered for himself, kissing her cheek, "Of course I am. Like I would miss out on your cooking."
Eva jumped before grinning and handing him the plates, "Good, you can help Kenny set the table." Ty grinned and took the plates.
Ty Gordon has been my best friend since we were three and he shared his ice cream with me when mine fell on the ground. He was, admittedly, gorgeous, with his light brown, almost blond, hair, dashing blue eyes, long eyelashes, and toned body. He was freakishly tall, nearly six four, but he had the muscles to go with it. He was on the school's track and basketball teams, and got almost as many girls as my brother. I'm not entirely sure why he puts up with me, but he does, and every time I ask him he just grins and say that I'm the only girl who actually doesn't annoy the crap out of him. A lot of people think we're dating, or at least screwing around, but we're not. We like them to think that we are though, it's funny.
"Dad, make Kenny eat lunch with me on Monday." We hadn't even been sitting at the table for 30 seconds before Joel started whining.
Dad chuckled, "I'm not getting into that. This is between you and your sister."
Joel turned to me, "If we win the game tonight against Bently will you eat with me on Monday?"
I shook my head, "Nope."
He sighed, "If I score the winning touchdown tonight?"
"Nope." I forced myself not to smile.
He groaned, "What will it take for you to acknowledge me as your brother?"
I thought for a moment, "When you score the winning touchdown at the State Championships, then I'll eat lunch with you."
Joel groaned, "You're impossible, you know that? Absolutely impossible." I just smiled sweetly.
Eva grinned, "You know, I don't blame her. If I was her, I wouldn't eat lunch with the jocks either."
Nate put his arm around her shoulders, "But you ate lunch with me when we were in high school."
She shrugged, "Well I wasn't sleeping with you, so I had to give you something to hold on to."
We all burst out laughing and Nate turned beet red, "That is enough talk about my sex life for one day! No more!" That just made us laugh harder.
The football game that night was at Bently, which was a few towns over. They were our rivals and it was their homecoming; this was not going to be pretty. To say I was nervous, would be a massive understatement. Dad, of course, drove his squad car, Nate and Eva drove their car, and I drove Ty in my truck. Joel had to ride on the bus with the rest of the football team.
We got to the stadium early, but the show had already started. There were the typical banners stating 'die Bengals die' and 'go home Bengals' and a particularly colorful caricature of a Bengal, our school's mascot, roasting over a fire. But what really caught my attention was what they had hanging from the eaves of the stadium. There were two dummies, strung up by their necks, bearing obvious signs of mutilation. They had been stabbed, lit on fire, and most likely beaten. But the most disturbing part was that one dummy had the number 43 and the other had the number 38; 43 was Joel's number and 38 was Karl's, his best friend and the star running back.
It was a tradition that one of the Miller boys had the number 43. It was my dad's number and then it was Trae's number. When Trae graduated Nate took it, and Joel did the same when Nate graduated. Karl had been Joel's best friend since before they could remember and he was almost like my fourth brother. He was even at the hospital with the rest of them the day I was born. Karl's cousins, twins named Greg and Shawn Marshall, made up the rest of the core of their group. The Marshall's were constantly saying that they were going to date me and would occasionally kiss me for no apparent reason. They were fun to be around though, and if my brother wasn't worrying about them, then neither was I.
I whimpered when I got out of the truck and Ty put his arm around me, "Don't worry, they're big boys. They can take care of themselves."
It didn't make me feel better, "But these guys might just be bigger. And there's more of them."
He rolled his eyes, "Chill! They are going to be fine. They've dealt with these guys before and lived; why should this time be any different? Now stand up straight before you embarrass me." I didn't feel much better, but I stood up straight and tried to smile. Ty didn't move his arm. And you wonder why people think that we're dating.
Since we were there early, we got pretty good seats. Ty and I didn't sit with the rest of my family, I didn't want to risk someone putting two and two together. I held Ty's hand throughout the entire game, squeezing it so hard that I'm sure it was physically painful for him; he never let it show though. It was a really close game. Bently was up by three with ten seconds to go, and they had the ball; I was dying. For some idiotic reason they threw a pass and Greg, one of our defenders, made one of the most beautiful interceptions I have ever seen. With literally seconds to go Neal, our quarterback, threw up a gorgeous 50 yard pass that landed right in Joel's hands, despite the best efforts of his two defenders. Joel then took off running down the field and didn't stop running till he was in the in zone, with the help of Shawn's amazing blocking skills, of course.
Ty and I were both on our feet screaming our heads off. We hugged, screamed some more, and hugged again. While we normally would have stayed to celebrate a bit longer, this was Bently so everyone from Radley, our school, had to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible before someone started a riot.
I drove faster than was probably necessary all the way home, but to make up for it I let Ty pick the music. He blared it as loud as I would let him, and we sang along, both off key. I generally didn't like driving and just rode with Ty in his mustang most of the time, but the truck wasn't bad. It was an old Ford, and was a hand-me-down from Trae when he left. It reminded me of him, so I drove it more than I otherwise would have.
When I got home I started baking cookies and made sure that we had plenty of chips and dip and snack stuff; I even got some vegetables ready, just in case. I knew my brother was going to be hungry when he got home, and that he was going to bring friends. Dad was spending the night and Nate and Eva's just so he could get a decent night's sleep. Why he thought that it was a good idea to leave us without any form of parental supervision, I'll never know.
Two hours after I got home, I heard the front door open and Joel bellow, "Mackenzie! Get your butt in here!" I grinned and ran up to him, throwing my arms around him and kissing his cheek. He picked me up and spun me around.
He grinned, "So, since I made the winning touchdown you're going to eat lunch with me on Monday, right?"
I rolled my eyes, immediately letting him go, "Not a chance in hell. I never made that deal."
I heard Karl's familiar laugh as he bounded up the front steps, "You didn't think that that would actually work, did you?" Joel grumbled, it was something he did a lot.
I grinned at Karl, my hands on my hips, "Well if it isn't my favorite second rate running back."
Karl grinned, "Well if it isn't my number one fan."
I rolled my eyes, "Bite me, you only scored what? One touchdown tonight, that's weak."
He smirked, "But it was a beautiful run wasn't it."
I nodded, "That it was." The next thing I knew, his hands were on my waist and he had pulled me into a kiss. Okay, so he wasn't exactly like one of my brothers, but he was close.
He pulled away, still smiling, "I stopped on the way and picked up some food. I figured you might run out."
I grinned, throwing my hands in the air, "Thank God for guys who bring food." I ran out to his car and grabbed the bags that were in the back.
I had just finished putting the new food away when I heard the familiar sound of slamming doors and yelling boys. I grinned to myself; let the party begin.