Luke went back to playing his video games, although he kept losing. Something about being distracted?
I sat on the couch, not really watching, just staring at the screen and munching on pizza rolls. I wasn't all that hungry anymore. My stomach was still doing flips from earlier.
The boys came in, loud as always, dad trailing behind them. They all stopped and looked at me strange. Maybe because I had launched myself off the couch. Not because I was guilty of something, but because I had been zoned out. But they didn't know that.
I stood up, avoided their faces. Everything was feeling weird and off. I cleared off the table and dumped the dishes into the sink. I'd do them later. I turned to leave the kitchen, only to be blocked by a body. My brother.
"What is going on between you two?" His arms were crossed, demanding.
I was confused. "Who? Me and Luke?" He nodes. "Nothing. At all."
"It's just that, you're both acting...a different kind of weird than before."
I shrug. "We've just reached an understanding."
"And what's that?"
"Katrina!" Dad's voice sounded hoarse. Mike backed up and we both rushed into the living room. Luke was being held down by Ashton and Calum. Dad was at the wide open door. I pause in my tracks. I yank the boys off Luke, understanding. "Gavin, what the Hell are you doing here?!"
"Language," dad said, closing the door. Letting the pain into the house.
'Thank you, Mr. Clifford." Gavin smirks at me. I put a calming hand on Luke's arm, keeping him from charging. I wanted to march up to him myself, smack him around a little. "Hey Kat, control that boyfriend of yours."
"Boyfriend?" Michael whispers quietly, looking at me. I shake my head slightly, saying no, stopping him from saying anything more.
"Just--Gavin. Why are you here?"
"You said Carla and I---"
"Not "Carla and I." We said Carla, and that was last night. I didn't expect you to just show up here, the next day!"
"Calm down Kat," my dad said, putting a hand on m shoulder. "Why don't we all have a seat."
I plop down between Luke and Michael. Dad stood behind us, behind the couch. "Kat, why don't you tell us-calmly-who this is?"
I take a deep breath. "Dad, Michael, this is my step brother." All I needed to say.
Michael turns to me. "We have a step sister and step brother?"
"Yup...wait a minute." I turned, panicked. "Gavin, where is Carla?"
"She's fine, of sorts."
"What? What does that mean?"
"Easy," Luke whispers into my ear, arm around my shoulders.
Gavin sighs harshly, "She's like us, Kat."
I wasn't sure what to make of that. "Did something happen?" He shrugs, glancing at everyone in the room. Was I okay with talking about this stuff in front of them? Nobody knows but Luke, but we weren't talking about me. We're talking about her. If the same things are happening to her, I want to know. "Go ahead."
"My dad misses you." I stiffened. Luke's arm tightened around me. Gavin's eyes locked on that arm. "He's been coming to my place when I wasn't there. I didn't know, at the time. But then I came home one day, and Carla had packed up and left. She'd been seeing this guy, decided to move in with him. She's just like you, Kat." His eyes were really paned now. I cursed having to pay attention to them. "She's giving someone else the liberty of taking the pain away. Someone who's only using her. Unlike you, he makes mistakes, and she forgives him."
"He cheated on her too?" He nodes. "Where is she right now?"
"She's here. Just not here, at the house." He sighs. "I wanted to get her away. What I told you was true. Things were bad. She's my responsibility, Kat. You both were."
I nod in understanding. "You couldn't help me. She won't let you help."
"Oh, she let me help. The creep of hers has a band. They travel. And I brought her to the very city they're playing in. Sydney, Australia."
"Maybe I can go talk to her?"
"Kat, what's happened is not you fault. Any of it." I nod, gears in my head already turning. I'm going to grab my phone, call Carla, and--- "Oh, and Loverboy? I'm going to need a moment with you."
I grab Luke's arm to stop him, eyeing Gavin suspiciously. "It's okay." He slips his arm from mine and joins Gavin outside. I turn back to my phone. Hers was off, so I'm sent straight to voicemail.
"Sis, it's me. I hear you're in Sydney. Don't be mad at Gav, we only care. Please call me back. As your best friend, please."
I look up from my phone to see the same looks from before. "What?"
"Kat, honey. I want to give you your space. The things your mother turned into, the things she put you through...But if there's more that went on, you need to tell me."
"Dammit, Katrina! What was that boy talking about?"
I huff, meeting my dad's eyes. "He was the first person I met when I moved to America. We were best friends. Then we started dating."
"He trusted me enough to tell me all of his secrets, before I started living the myself. His dad married mother, and I was forced to move in. The house wasn't safe. The father is abusive. When Gavin was finally old enough to move out, he did. He took shit for years, keeping Carla safe. She didn't even know the things that went on. When I left...the things I went though, so did she."
I was near tears again. I hate reliving the past, and dad was starting to piss me off. Michael knelt in front of me. "What did he do to you?"
The door opened, thank God!, and we all jumped. Luke came in, by himself, a defeated kook on his face. "Everyone who isn't a Clifford, leave."
"Luke?" Michael asked his friend.
"Sit down." His voice was rough. He sat in the chair by the couch, He wouldn't look at me.
"Whatever Gavin told you, he had no right to---"
"It's about your mother." I could almost smile at the way he spit the word.
My father collapsed onto the couch between his children. "What now?"
"Gavin said Karen started drinking again. She...had too much. She's dead."
Was I supposed to be sad? Because I wasn't.
Super boring chapter. Very bad writing. I'm sorry everyone.
Tell me what you thought, or maybe what you want to see happen next