D'awww... (the narrator's gender is whatever you think it is, by the way.)

Written 2012.02.16

It was with bated breath that I cautiously opened the back door, very much hoping that no one heard my arrival. The door clicked softly, and I tip-toed inside. The lights were off: good.

I turned around, slowly shutting the door again with utmost care. It was an agonizingly long time until finally the door closed, and I allowed myself a small breath of relief. Now all I had to do was get to my room; there were some band-aids under the bed, along with a few painkillers that I knew I'd definitely need.

I was still facing the door when the lights turned on.


"Where the hell were you?"

Oh, good. Just my brother. He wouldn't ask questions.

"Out," I said, still clutching the back door's handle. "I'm not home that late, am I?"

"No," he said. "But whatever. S'none of my business. Dad's working late today, so leftovers for dinner." He left, and I heard the TV click on in the other room.

"Right-o," I said after him, and went to fish a plate out of the sink. Those band-aids could wait: I was starving.

I plopped my elbows onto the island counter as I waited for the microwave to finish heating my deliciously-delectable day-old Chinese food. I rested my head in my palms, and instantly winced when I was reminded of the events from earlier that day. I lifted my head back up and glanced at my hands: some blood had chipped off onto them.

I heard footsteps approach. "Hey, do you know what channel that one-"

The voice stopped. The footsteps stopped.

"What the fuck?"

I looked up and met my brother's face. He was standing in the doorway with clenched fists; I don't think I've ever seen him that angry before.

I became defensive. "Hey, what-"

"What the hell happened to your face?"

I was taken aback. Ohhh. That.

"Umm," I started, "well, I got in a fight."

"A fight? You? With who?" If anything, he sounded angrier.

"Just some guys from school," I said, a little embarrassed at my brother's reaction. "It's not that big of a deal, I just corrected them in class and I guess they didn't-"

"They. As in more than one. You fucking moron; that's not a fight, that's getting your ass beat." His voice was strained with exasperation. "How many? Give me names."

"Umm, well," I was stumbling over my words, still rather confused. "There were… five-" here, my brother snarled, "no… six? Yeah. Six of them. Let's see… Craig Thompson was there… and I think Greg… Adams? No, Atkins, sorry. And I didn't know who the other four were."

"Fucking Greg," he hissed. "I know his sister. They live a few blocks away." My brother grabbed his car keys from the counter, and stormed to the garage.

"Hey, wait!" I called. "Where are you going?"

"Go put a band-aid on your face and eat your fucking Chinese food. I'll be back in an hour – I've gotta go beat some ass."

"What? No! It's really not that big of a deal…"

"Fuck that. I'm doing my job as a big brother. So go clean up your face, now." With that, he slammed the door shut behind him, and I could hear the car revving up.

Hesitantly, I smiled. It was unorthodox, yes… but it was nice to know that he cared.