"No way! No way! You're not getting me this time! I'm so close, so close!"
"Aaaaand… THAT'S the end of the game, I win!" River proudly announced as she crossed the finish line on, what must have been their one hundredth game of Mario Kart, a grin plastered on her face.
Her twin brother on the other hand, was a well-known sore loser, and so he threw the Wii remote onto the bean bag across the room, "Dammit!"
"Another game?" River taunted, her grin never leaving her face. A dirty look from Jasper was all the answer she needed before he stormed out of the room, and into the kitchen.
The ravenette burst into laughter, not caring in the slightest if he heard, it was always amusing beating his ass at, not only Mario Kart, but pretty much everything ranging from Halo and Call Of Duty to Snakes and Ladders and Chess. River was a pro, well that was what she thought anyway.
Just as she had turned the game off and instead put on one of her favourite T.V programmes, Sex and the City, angry steps could be heard from the kitchen, as someone made their way to the living room.
"River Ellen-Marie Hanes!" and in bounded her older brother, Jonah, who was twenty, an annoyed look on his face. Oh dear, what had she done this time?
And did he have to use her full name?
She reluctantly dragged her golden brown eyes met his forest green ones, and her smile fell, "What?" she asked none too politely, she was pissed that he chose now to interrupt her down time.
"What is this I am holding?" He held up a formal looking letter, and River squinted her eyes, pretending like she did not have a clue what a letter was.
"Um… It looks like a, oh what is it called?" she paused as if in thought, and suddenly snapped her fingers as her eyes widened in recognition, "Ah! Yes, that's it! It looks like a letter!" she mocked, lifting her legs up onto the sofa, not bothering to take off her black combat boots, and crossed her feet, and interlaced her fingers behind her head, her eyes turning back to the plasma screen T.V that hung from the wall.
"You're funny! Do you want to know what it says?"
"Actually, could we take a rain check on that letter? I'm kinda busy," she drawled.
Jonah snorted, walking around the sofa so he stood in front of it, and consequently blocking River's view of the television set.
She sighed in annoyance, looking up at her brother literally towering over her, he even did when she was standing, he was at least a good six feet tall, "This had better be important if your making me miss my show,"
"It reads," he paused holding up the letter in front of him, and proceeded to read from it, "'Dear Mr and Mrs Hanes, I regret to inform you that your daughter, River Hanes, has been unusually absent from her lessons throughout this term, and the few lessons she has attended have involved River behaving out of character, and receiving numerous detentions from her teachers. The lack of attendance to her lessons seems to be putting a strain on Rivers grades, and consequently, River has not been making progress, and has failed in receiving set assignments from her teachers. I would very much recommend we arrange a meeting to discuss Rivers behaviour, and if it were possible for River to attend would be indeed helpful, please contact me with a date and time that suits you.'" Jonah stopped then, bringing his penetrating green gaze back to his little sister.
River averted her eyes, instead choosing the ceiling to be much more interesting at that point; she really did not want to have this conversation, although she had known form the start that it would come.
To her surprise, when he spoke next it was in a gentle tone, "River, are you being bullied again?"
River made no answer. Jonah had now clue how far from the point he truly was, but River was not about to give anything away, although she knew he would take her silence to mean something different, it would not change the fact that she would not tell him the truth.
Jonah took a deep breath, and walked to the other end of the sofa, lifting her patterned netting tights covered legs, and sat down, immediately sinking into the soft plushness, resting her legs on his lap, not caring about her dirty combat boots, "You know River, you can talk to me, I know you don't like talking with dad because he really wouldn't understand, and mom would worry too much, but I'm here," he squeezed lightly in comfort.
"I know," was the only reply River could provide.
Her brother sat patiently, waiting for her continue, he knew it could not exactly be easy to talk about, he immediately regretted shouting at her a few minutes ago.
River took a deep breath, "I'm not being… bullied… exactly…" she said uneasily, a frown appearing on her brow.
"Okay… What is happening then exactly?" Jonah spoke carefully, not wanting to cause a reaction out of his little sister.
"You know what? It really doesn't matter, I'm over it, and I'll attend all of my classes now, so we don't need that meeting," she spoke in rushed sentences, not wanting to say more than she already had.
Jonah frowned, confusion plain on his face, he scrutinized her face, trying to decipher what she was hiding, but River was good hiding what she was feeling. Besides, with her current situation, she had to be.
Her eyes met his, and she smiled in reassurance, she sat up swinging her legs off the sofa, and she placed a hand on Jonah's muscled forearm, "Just don't worry alright? I'm working through this,"
"But what is 'this'? Whatever 'this' is, it has gotta be pretty big for you to miss nearly all of your classes this semester!" he prodded, River sighed, he just could not let it go could he?
"For crying out…" she grumbled under her breath, before speaking up, "There is nothing wrong, I'm all sorted, it is sorted, and everything is just sorted alright? I'm fine; everyone is fine, so please just drop it now, okay?" River did not raise her voice, but Jonah could hear the obvious distress and frustration, and as much as he wanted to help his little sister, well there was no way she was letting him, so, for now, he just had to trust her.
River broke eye contact, instead choosing to get back to watching her programmes, she lay back down on the sofa, her legs draped carelessly over brother's lap. Jonah did not care, and instead tried relaxing against the sofa, averting his own gaze also to the T.V.
A loud crash resounded from the kitchen, followed by a string of beautiful curses erupting from Jasper's mouth, and River's lips could not help but quirk up into an amused smile. No matter how hard her twin brother tried, he simply could not cook, and his attempts always ended in disaster, resulting in him to come whining to one of his older siblings, and, more often than not, River. However, he would always try righting the situation and trying the recipe over many times before he finally pushed his pride aside and asked for help.
"Besides, I have had a lot of help from Luka, Mrs. Peterson lied about my grades, I have actually been working pretty high, mom and dad know that anyway since they have seen my report card,"
Jonah's head snapped back to his sister, "What do you mean? She wouldn't lie,"
River sighed, "Okay, well maybe she didn't, I mean, my grades were dropping slightly at the beginning of the year, and despite my absence at school, I have been putting a lot more work in lately, and my teachers have bumped my grades up, Mrs. Peterson had just been exaggerating in that letter because she hates me, and doesn't care if my grades are rising, she just wants an excuse to yell at mom and dad about me," she spoke matter-of-factly, her eyes never leaving the screen, she did not seem to care in the slightest, as if explaining all of that had been effort on her part.
Jonah leaned his head back against the sofa, taking a deep breath and rubbing a hand across his eyes, "God, River, why do you have to make everything so complicated?"
"Look, you're not my mother so get off my case about it, it's all handled now, and I'm gonna go school tomorrow and every day after that, just don't tell mum and dad about the letter, got it? My grades aren't in trouble anymore, and they've been none the wiser this whole term," she did not exactly ask, more like demanded, not really giving Jonah a choice.
"Fuck… You know I can't do that River, you know how it is at school, first it's a letter and then it's a phone call home, Mrs. Peterson is sure to ring,"
Before River could answer, and this conversation turned into a full blown argument, loud footsteps thundered down the stairs, and into the living room came River's eldest brother Shane, he was twenty-four and only vising home for a couple of weeks with his Spanish fiancée, Alejandra, or as she preferred, Allie, he stood tall at six-foot-four, with shaggy blonde hair and green eyes, and he wore a his ever present huge shit-eating grin. He fell into the second sofa occupying the space in front of the window, and not long after, Allie walked into the room, with much lighter footfalls, and sat down with more grace than her counter-part.
They really a funny couple, their height difference being the main source for comedy since Allie was about a foot shorter, standing at a mere five-feet. Her figure was to die for too, but she was a professional dancer, her specialty being the Samba and other such dances that involved having all the right curves in the right places coupled with a tiny waist, it also meant she was good with her hips. She had long brown hair, a permanent dark tan, and big beautiful amber eyes, they held a huge similarity to a cat's eyes.
"Yo, lil sis, Jonny," was Shane's lazy greeting, his arm was now wrapped loosely around Allie's shoulders, who seemed to hold an ever present kind smile, she really was a lovely woman, and River could not be happier that she was soon-to-be her sister-in-law, they got a long like a house on fire, which had been Shane's initial anxiety, seeing as River, although as kind and loving as she could be to her family, had a sharp tongue, could smell bull-shit a mile away and tended to be just a tad too honest. Of course, it was fine with her family because they all loved her unconditionally, but it did not get such a good reaction out of strangers, which could explain why she had a hard time making friends.
But with Allie, there was honestly no bull-shit coming from her, and the first thing she said to her when she was, "Oh my god, you are so beautiful! What on Earth are you doing with my brother?" That was River's honesty; it was either good or bad. In this case good, because she could not, for life of her, find anything bad to say about her brother's fiancée.
"Hey, Shane, how are you doing Allie?" Jonah asked.
"Oh, I suppose I'm doing alright, Jonny, but your brother can be a bit of a handful," she joked back in her thick Spanish accent.
Jonny laughed, while Shane put on a feign look of hurt, "Hey! I'm offended!"
River chuckled as she raised her fist in Shanes general direction, he got the hint and fist bumped it, "How's it going, loser?" Of all of River's siblings, she was closest to Shane; they were more like best friends than anything really.
"Look squirt, show some respect to your elders," Shane warned, before getting up from his seat and scruffing River's styled hair.
She slapped his hand, "Excuse me! I worked on my hair this morning," she said disgruntled, she was sitting upright now, and began smoothing down her hair, shooting her brother a glare.
Shane just laughed, sitting back down, his arm subconsciously wrapping around Allie, who was chuckling from her seat, Shane and River's antics never ceased to amuse her, "What for? You're not doing anything 'cept for being lazy!"
"And kicking someone's ass!" she said loudly enough for Jasper to her earning a loud, "Shut the fuck up, Riv! I'm gonna get pay back for earlier!" River just laughed.
When River calmed down, she spoke up again, "And, although it is none of your business, I am going to out today actually, I'm meeting someone," she stated, earning shocked reactions from both older brothers, River's only friends were Luka and Mickey, and they both had part-time jobs, which meant working every weekend, so it could not possibly be them who she was seeing.
So, then who?