I Will Not Fall

Already at a young age is Arabella forced to grow up and take care of herself. She manages to live by herself thanks to her friends. But what happens when her apartment gets water damage and she is forced to move in with Peter and his nephews. How will she deal with the knowledge of the family’s secrets and their past?
I Will Not Fall is a story about friendship, love, family and growing up. It follows how Arabella and her best friends Rose, Roxann and Joey cope with the everyday life of a teenager and all its problems.

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5. Brothers

Arabella woke up when Peter poked gently at her. She had fallen asleep in the car.
“We’re here now” Peter said, smiling kindly at her.
“What time is it?” Arabella asked. She had a vague feeling in the back of her mind that it was important to know.
“Ten minutes in four, how so?”
“ Ten in four?! Shit! I start work in ten minutes. I will never get there in time”
“Even if you got there in time, it wouldn’t be a good idea to work today Arabella. You are still in shock and should rest the coming days. Give me the number to your job and I’ll call and explain the situation”
Arabella just stared at Peter. Why is he so nice to me she wondered. First he lets her stay at his house, drives  her in his new fancy car and now he’s going to call her boss and explain that she can’t work. She gave him the number without a word.
“If you go in and follow the hallway to the left you will come to a staircase. First door to the right on the second floor is the guest room. You can put your stuff in there for now”
He picked up his phone and started to enter the number on it. Arabella went out of the car and glanced at the house for the first time. She understood exactly what Peter meant when he said it was too big if it was just he and his nephew who lived there. The house was enormously. Arabella walked gently up and looked curiously around in the hallway. The walls were decorated with paintings and photographs of different people, both adults and children. Arabella took of her shoes and started walking along the hallway to the left until she had reached the stairs. She got up and went into the first room on the right side. There was a large bed, a dresser and a desk in the room. It was very cozy and nice with different pictures on the walls pictured Peter with children next to him. There was a special photo that caught Arabellas attention. It was a photo of Peter and two more men around the same age as himself. They were all long and had black hair. She noticed that they all had green eyes too. They were very similar and Arabella figured out that it must be Peter and his brothers on the card. He had said that his nephew lived with him. The only question was which of the brothers the father was and who was the son.
Arabella kept looking at the photo and noticed a thing. All three smiled to the camera but at one of them, the one to the left (Peter stood in the middle) so did his smile not reach his eyes. For some reason started she to shudder when she met his eyes in the photo. It was the kind of look that told you that if you’re not in the man’s appreciation then he will knock you down, or something similar. In any case, it was not a nice look if you say so
“Do you like the photo?” Arabella turned around and found Peter standing right behind her. She hadn’t heard when he entered the room.
“Is that you and your brothers?” she asked and ignored his question.
“Yep. It was taken two years ago. That’s me there in the middle. To the right you have Elliot and to the left Jules. Jules has two boys and Elliot have one. It is he who lives here with me. Just pure curiosity, which one of us do you think is oldest?”
“Oldest? Hmm…” Arabella examine the card. All three looked to be around the same age. The photo told her nothing that could make her say who the oldest one was. But the fact that Jules had two children, Elliot one and Peter none helped a little. She thought that Peter was the one who has the youngest. When she looked at him she guessed that he was about 28 years old. That he was still quite young could be a reason that he didn’t have children yet. Whit the thought of how many pictures there were picturing him and a lot of kids made it clear that he wasn’t against children. Maybe he just hadn’t found the right one yet. But being able to determine who was the oldest between Jules and Elliot was something Arabella couldn’t do. If not…
“I think that you are the youngest one and that Jules and Elliot are twins, fraternal twins” Arabella guessed. She couldn’t decide which was the oldest between Jules and Elliot so twins were the best thing she could come up with.
Peter looked at her with a surprised and impressive glance. “You are the first who responded that way when I have asked this question and you the first one who is right too. Jules and Elliot are fraternal twins. But if you’re going to be picky, it’s Elliot who is the eldest. He came into the world ten minutes before Jules and he like to remind him of that very much”
“How are they?” Arabella asked curiously.
“My brothers? They are like night and day. Sure, they look alike, we all do but theirs personalities are very different from each other. Elliot has always been very happy and funny. Taking things as they come, living in the moment and not been too serious but more calm about things. Jules has been very determined from the start since we were little. If he wants something he’ll fix so that he gets it. He can be quite bossy and a little priggish, but don’t tell him I said so” Peter winked at her. “So this will be your room for now, then if it is so that you will stay here for a longer time we’ll fix something else that’s bigger and nicer for you” he gave Arabella a light pat on her shoulder and walked out of the room.

 

Arabella went to the bed and sat on it. She felt how her cellphone started to vibrate and pulled it out of her pocket. It was Roxann who called.
“Well hello” Arabella respond.
“Don’t give me a hello as if you were completely innocent now. I have tried to call you at least ten times without getting any answers. Where the hell are you? Wouldn’t we shop for the party today? Don’t dare use anything about your work as an excuse cause I have already called there and they told me that you had the day off. Explain!”
“It’s happened a lot, I had my phone on soundless and I forgot okay. I’m sorry”
“Okay, I forgive you for this one but don’t do it again. Do you understand how worried I was not being able to get a hold of you? But we can go shopping now instead for the party anyway so no worries”
“Roxann, about the party… There won’t be any”
“What?!”
Arabella told her about the water leak and how Peter had come as a savior and helped her and that she was right now in his house.
“You’re joking with me? You supposed to stay with a good-looking stranger in his big fat house and went to it in his fat car? Where is this house? I want to come visit you now, PRONTO!”
“I don’t really know I slept in the car on the way here but I can go down and ask Peter”
“Sure. Call me again for about five minutes and I’ll tell the others and say that the party is canceled during the time”
“Okay, bye”
“Se yea”

 

Arabella put her cellphone in her pocket and went down to the ground floor. She was looking around the house at random and managed to find the kitchen where Peter was. He stood with his head inside the refrigerator and mumbled to himself.
“Uh Peter, I would like to ask you something”
Peter jumped so much when he heard her so he hit his head on one of the shelves in the refrigerator. Arabella heard a quiet curse before his head came out of the refrigerator and he looked at her.
“So what was it you wanted to ask” he said as he smiled and rubbed his hand against the back of his head where he had hit it.
“Well I wonder if it’s okay that my friend comes by. She became very worried when she heard what happened and wants to come over”
“Yes of course she can come over. I had also become worried if I was her. It’s just fun to get people visiting if you ask me. It’s not often my nephew bring his friends home, you know”
“Thank you so much Peter. It’s very kind of you”
“Nothing to talk about” he smiled kindly at Arabella like he had done all day long.
Arabella took out her cellphone and called Roxann and told her the good news. She had just forgotten one thing. She still didn’t know where she was or how Roxann would get there.
“Uh… Peter, it would be really kind of you if you could explain to Roxann how to get here”
“Of course, give me the phone and I’ll tell her”
She gave him the phone without hesitation. She felt that she could trust Peter.
“Yes, hello. This is Peter, who am I speaking with? Hey Roxann, what a beautiful name you have. Well I live just outside of town, on the north side. If you take the bus then you should jump of at the second stop when you have left town. A little further in, turn left and if you then follow the road you will come to a big house. This is where we live. Okay do you understand? Not that hard. Good then we’ll see you in a moment. I suppose you want to talk to Arabella now. Bye, nice talking to you”
Peter gave the phone back to Arabella.
“Hey it’s me again. Okay, but I’ll see you later then. Call when you jump off the bus okay. Bye”
Arabella put back her cellphone in her pocket and directed her attention to Peter. He had gone back to have his head inside the refrigerator.
“Do you find something interesting in there?” she asked.
“No I don’t” he replied anxiously. “I don’t know what to cook for us. There is nothing good here, plus I’m a bad cook”
“I don’t believe it” Arabella said cheerfully.
Peter looked up from the refrigerator and looked interesting on her. “You will be very surprised” he said.
“It will certainly be very good. I myself am hopeless in the kitchen so I’m not so much help”
“Shoot, I could use some help”
They smiled both towards each other. Suddenly Arabella felt that she wanted to know as much as possible about Peter. He was so kind and caring. One of the kindest people she come across actually. He reminded her of her mother. It hurt a little bit in her heart when she thought about her mother. She still missed her terrible much.
“Peter, I was wondering something. I have noticed that there are a lot of pictures of you and a bunch of kids?”
“So you’ve noticed it” Peter replied a bit ironic.
“It’s a little hard to miss” Arabella said back.
“Well you see I’m working at the Children’s Hospital in town. The images are of me and some of those kids that I’ve taken care of. There are pictures of the children who made a big impression on me. Of children who means a lot to me. I have helped them to survive serious illness and they have helped me to grow as a person”
He smiled to himself as if he was thinking of some happy memory, but his eyes were sad at the same time.
Arabellas cellphone started ringing, it was Roxann. She had just jumped of the bus and was on her way here.
“I’ll go out and meet her” Arabella said to Peter and was already halfway out of the house.
Outside was it chilly and the wind was a bit cold. It was early in October, and the world around Arabella had been painted in autumn colors. For many people is spring their favorite season and autumn the one they like the least. For Arabella it’s the opposite. It’s not that she hate spring, she just loves autumn a lot. She thinks that it’s the most beautiful season out of them all. It was an avenue from the road to the house. The avenue consisted of deciduous these whose leaves had been given the autumn’s warm colors. It didn’t feel as cold anymore when she went there with the orange/yellow/brown leaves around her. She didn’t walk for long until she saw Roxann. Arabella waved cheerfully to her. Roxann ran up to her and lifted her up in a big hug when she arrived.
“I’ve been so worried about you” Roxann said while she was stull hugging Arabella. “Everything that has happened today. It’s a miracle that you’re alive!”
“Aren’t you taking it a little bit too far now?” Arabella asked amused.
Roxann let her down again and looked at her as if she examined if Arabella ate properly
“You may now take and show the way to the fat house” she said after the inspection.
Arabella smiled and grabbed her so that they walked linked arms along the avenue back to Peter’s house. Her current home. Or home maybe isn’t the best word, maybe sleeping or dwelling place may fit better
“You’re kidding me” came out from Roxann when they come so close to the house so you could see it. Even from a distance it looked very impressive. “Are you joking?  This is the house that you will live in? It’s seriously the same size as my school”
Okay Roxann likes to exaggerate a bit. The house wasn’t that big, but not that far from it. It was an old house with two floors. It looked elegant and homey. It was that kind of house that you could rebuild into a hotel.
“Are you ready to meet Peter? He’s really nice” Arabella asked Roxann.
“I was born ready”
they went into the house and into the kitchen. Peter had apparently decided what he would cook for them and was now in the process of hacking the various ingredients. When he heard them coming, he looked up and smiled big towards them.
“Hello there. I guess it’s you who is Roxann. Nice to meet you and I’m glad you found your way here”
“It wasn’t that hard when I got your description” Roxann said almost shyly, which surprised Arabella.
“I hope you stay for dinner. It won’t be long before it’s finished”
“I loved to” said Roxann.
They continued to talk to Peter a little while before they went to discover the house together. There were a large bathroom downstairs and two on the second floor, a smaller one and a little bigger one. They found a mall library downstairs, Peter’s bedroom and a working room. Another empty room upstairs, the room Peter said Arabella would have if she stayed for a longer period with a balcony. They found the nephew’s room. It was also upstairs. They only took a quick look in the room, it felt wrong to be in there when they didn’t ever know who the room belonged to. Maybe he had really private things that he didn’t want anyone to see. The last room on the upper floor was a large open room with a beautiful grand piano in. It was the most beautiful room in the entire house and Arabella felt that she didn’t want to leave it. She got a strong feeling that it would be her favorite room in the house.
Arabella and Roxann went into the guestroom. Arabella sat down on the bed while Roxann went around in the room. She often stopped and looked at all the pictures that were in the room. She stayed extra-long in front of one particular picture.
“Is that his brothers?” she asked, pointing at the photo.
Arabella walked up and stood beside her. “Yep. That’s Peter and his two brothers, Jules and Elliot”
“They are so alike”
“Mm-hmm”
“Admit that they all look very good”
Arabella couldn’t help but to smile. She knew Roxann was a little weak for older boys and she was right. They were all very good-looking. They all had it as well. That thing that made you look in their direction as the passed, that made you put them in your memory. The thing that made you want to be a part of their lives.
“Don’t they remind you a little bit of Will” said Roxann thoughtfully. “What if it’s Will who lives here with Peter? That it is Will who is his nephew”
“Haha like if. I would never have such luck. Sure they are alike but it’s probably just the dark hair and the green eyes. Beside that I don’t see anything similar between them”
It was as if she tried to convince herself when she said it. That Will was perhaps Peter’s nephew had hit her too. The idea of living under the same roof as him was really thrilling, but scary at the same time. Getting to see him before he had time to get ready with bed-hair was something she wouldn’t have anything against. But to constantly able to make a fool out of herself in front of him was super scary. Arabella was often clumsy and a little up in the blue at home but it didn’t matter as long as no one saw her. If her grandfather saw her so didn’t it matter as well but if Will would see her like that, then she would be ashamed to death.
“In any case, I think Peter is cool. You’ll probably have a good time while staying here. I have a feeling that they will take good care of you” Roxann smiled kindly at Arabella when she said it. She really cared about her and it was somehow comforting to Arabella to hear that she liked Peter and found it that she was right to stay there. As if Roxann just gave her approval to it.
Roxann had already told Joey and Rose what had happened so Arabella wasn’t surprised when they called and asked her how it was with her and so on. Rose was at Joeys place because she would help him with biology and then they would go out shopping together. Rose would help him buy a birthday present for Anya’s birthday the coming week.
They both babbled in the mouth of the other one and it all ended up with that Arabella had to give her phone to Peter again so that he could convince them that everything was fine after the both she and Roxann had failed to. When Peter spoke to them they got a bit calmer and decided that they would come and see for them self the next day. Peter just thought that it was fun that Arabellas friends cared so much about her and didn’t mind getting the house invaded by teenagers. Roxann even got to sleep over which Arabella was really happy about. She was glad to the fact that she didn’t have to spend the first night in Peter’s house alone.
Peter called Arabella and Roxann for food. He had made pasta salad with bacon in it. Simple and very good. It wasn’t quiet at the dinner table when they ate, and if it was quiet, it wasn’t one of those embarrassing, awkward silence but rather a relaxed silence.
Peter told them happily about his job at the children’s hospital and asked the girls about school. Arabella are in ninth grade, so he asked her about her future, what program she intended to seek into. Arabella had no idea which made her a little worried. She really didn’t know what she wanted to be but Peter said that it was nothing to worry about. That he didn’t figure out that he wanted to be a doctor until his last year during his gymnasium years so that Arabella had a lot of time to figure it out but that it’s important to read a broad education so that when she know what she wanted to do she could study to  it at an university. Peter became very curious about Roxann going to the handicraft-program. He asked her why she chose that line, which isn’t hard to figure out if you know Roxann. As mentioned earlier, she sews her own cloths and she wants to become a fashion designer and that’s why she goes to the handcraft-program. She’s having classes in how to sew better in school alongside the regular classes as math and English and stuff.          
“Oh just remembered one thing” said Roxann suddenly. “The dresses are soon finished; you’ll just have to try them on one last time so that I can fix the last details”
“the dresses?” Peter asked.
“For Halloween” Arabella replied cheerfully.
“I have sewn one each for me, Rose and Arabella” said Roxann proud.
“If I have understood correctly that you have sewn the clothes you are wearing now then I wouldn’t be surprised if the three of you are the prettiest there” said Peter and you could hear in his voice that he meant it. Roxanns cheeks got a little red and she also stretched in her chair and sat straight up like if Peter’s credit had made her grow.
“I don’t know if I’m that good” she said nonchalantly.
“Are you kidding me” Arabella cried out. “I’ve already seen them a little bit and they are really great!”
They continued cheerfully to chat for a bit longer and when they were finished offered Arabella and Roxann to take care of the dishes because Peter was kind enough to make food for them. Afterwards they went up to the guest room. Arabella was really tired after the long day so the girls decided to go to bed early. Arabella fell asleep quickly with Roxann at her side and started soon to dream…

 

She dreamed that she was in a meadow with a white dress on. She heard Will’s voice shouting at her and turned around to just be able to see how a figure with black hair lay down in the meadow a little bit away from where she was standing. She ran up to him, but when she arrived was it Peter that she saw. Peter was talking to her but she couldn’t hear what he said. All of a sudden were his two brothers there, Jules and Elliot. She saw how Elliot’s lips moved but she still couldn’t hear any sound. Jules stood with some distance from her and just glared at her. He didn’t have to say anything, Arabella understood that he didn’t like her anyway, however, she didn’t understand why.     
Arabella started to get a little bit panicked. She didn’t like to be deaf if that’s what she was. But eventually she managed to hear something. It sounded like a voice far away who was calling for her.
“Bells, Bells” the voice said over and over again.
She turned around to see where the voice came from and suddenly she was alone. All three brothers were gone.
The voice that called for her got stronger and stronger as it came closer and closer. Eventually it was so close that it sounded like the one who said Arabellas name was right behind her. She felt a warm breath against her neck. She turned around to see who it was, and that’s when she woke up.

 

When Arabella opened her eyes she didn’t know at first where she was. But the she remembered, all the water, Peter who has been there and helped her, Roxann who came to keep her company on her first night in the house. Arabella heard how Roxann was lying next to her. She didn’t really snore but she made a little cute sound. Arabella smiled to herself in the dark and fall asleep once again.

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