You Are Kidding Me!

I'm sure you'd hyperventilate if you found that you're jumping from an only child to the brother of three siblings. Make the three new arrivals a tomboy, the new favourite in the family and the girl-you-fall-for-who-hates-you-at-first-sight, and you have the makings of a nightmare. Alas for Nathaniel K. Smith, its a living one.
Despite his usual tenacity, determination and way too vivid imagination, this is certainly beyond his wildest dreams. With his reputation on the line, will he be able to keep the terrifying additions to his family a secret?
Jeer, cheer, laugh or aww in this way too cheesy reminder that coincidences are never coincidences, love is never easy and not to ever wish life was less boring...

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6. Chapter 5

Nathaniel's pov

About a week goes by without incident. I should have known it was too good to last.

When my mother announces the news, I get why I felt like today was a no good, terrible, horrible, want to puke day.

Smiling brightly, she uttered four words that made my milk taste fermented and food taste like sawdust.

"Grandpa's coming for dinner!"

Don't get me wrong- I love my grandfather. But honestly, I'm barely grasping the fact that I live with three girls in the same house everyday. How will he react?

"No need to sound so upset mentioning us," Crystal said with a hint of hurt in her tone. Oops. I knew today was not a good day.

"Moreover, it was your grandfather that got us in this predicament," She adds.

"Crystal!" Elizabeth cries out sharply. She apologises profusely to my mom, who forgives her instantly. Duh, she's done nothing wrong.

"But its true." Crystal juts her chin up defiantly, only a flicker of guilt in her eyes. A memory of that expression on Elizabeth's face floods through me for a moment and I wince.

What's worse than your crush mad at you? A second miniature fireball of that anger. I swallow thickly and focus on my french toast.

Mom sighs deeply. "My father knew how much I wanted daughters of my own. So he talked it out with your mom, and it turned out this way. "

She rubs her hands in glee. "And I'm so glad it turned out this way!" We all let out groans.

As soon as the breakfast things are cleared, I try to sneak away, but Mom catches my elbow and frowns at me. "The girls are helping to tidy up the place," she chides. "So should you." I reluctantly grunt a note of assent and head to the storeroom to grab supplies.

Elizabeth is already there, rummaging through things. As we silently work side by side, we occasionally brush against each other and goosebumps appear on my skin.

While Crystal and Esther sweep and mop the floor, Elizabeth and I are armed with rags and other things to clean the windows and furniture.

When Mom isn't looking, I flick water at one of them.

Elizabeth glares at me and resumes work, Esther giggles and Crystal retaliates.

We spend the rest of the day working hard, laughing and screaming.

Mother takes out a box of old rags and proceeds to clean the window. When I idly look up at her, I freeze and my mouth hangs open in silent scream.

She's using those boxers.

The pair she bought for me, which I obstinately refused to wear.

That red boxers with embarrassing imprints on it.

She's using them to clean the freaking window.

I want to drop dead and die in peace.

Today is definitely the worst day of my life.

Elizabeth notices first. That shrewd and wily girl sure knows how to twist things to her advantage. Her witty and cheeky nature is one thing I like about her, to be honest.

What I don't expect is she actually blushes.

Are girls okay or something? Do they feel mortified over such things? Or perhaps she's sympathising with me and feels my acute embarrassment.

Esther's whipped her camera out and taken numerous shots of the offending garment from all angles.

Crystal is just rolling on the floor and laughing.

"No, no, NO!" I scream and try to snatch it away from Mom, but she just cleans away and grins.

Moodily I finish the rest of my chores, plotting all the way how to exact revenge on the disillusioned females in my family.

At long last we are given time in the late afternoon to go off and do what we want. I pull out my bike and cycle away before the girls want to tag along with me. As I pedal furiously through the familiar dirt roads and pass places I've had many memories with, my anger dissipates and I smile again. I slow down to admire the scenery coasting past me and I can't help but regret I didn't bring Elizabeth.

Funny, right? Even when she makes me pissed I can't help but like her. And I can't stop thinking of her- its a subconscious thing.

I glance at my watch. 6 already!

Pushing away any thoughts, I focus on getting myself home in time.

By the time I wearily pull my bike into the garage and trudge to the front door, I find Elizabeth leaning on the front door.

"You're back," she says. She looks relieved and I indulge myself in the thought that perhaps she's concerned about me. Then her smile disappears and she steps out into the light.

My jaw wants to drop but I force myself to stay presentable. Which is difficult when I'm sweaty and dirty and longing to gasp at her.

She's wearing an elegant and simple blue dress that reaches her knees. No sequins, no lace, just a satin bow at the side. Her hair is done up in a bun, revealing a pale neck and a pretty butterfly necklace.

Her eye twitches in irritation as I just stand there and she impatiently gestures at me to get it.

"Grandpa is coming in twenty minutes!" she bellows as I race up the stairs. I dash into the bathroom to get my things ready, only to pleasantly find my clothes and towels are all stacked neatly at the side of the counter.

I turn to close the door and jump out of my skin. Crystal is there now, leaning on the door. She's wearing a black dress with pink and red polka dots. I spot long tights under the dress, despite the fact that the dress covers her knees. I smirk. Always the tomboy.

"What is it?" I ask, trying to put on a kindly smile as befits an older brother.

"My sister laid out your clothes, you know?" she said quietly. "Thank her later."

Then she left. No giggles, no snickers, nothing.

Then she turns and says, "Don't put on that simpering look in future. I like you- we like you just the way you are."

I hear her signature giggle, and she's gone in a swirl of ruffles and ribbons.

I gaze at the clothes and recall Crystal's remark. I pale at the thought of Elizabeth going through my clothes. I hurriedly look through everything and spot a small note attached to the back pocket of the pants. I take it out and scrutinise it.

Hey Nathaniel,

I know its been a terrible week for you. I know the move was utterly unexpected, and that life seems really rotten thanks to Crystal, Esther and me.

I'm sorry... please try to understand how I feel. My parents... they're gone, Nathaniel.

I spot a tear blot near the word gone.

Moving away, getting used to life here was absolute torture. But you know what? It was fun too. Your parents are nice. You are even nicer. I've had so many enjoyable moments here. I do miss my old house a lot, but I'll only go back if something really sad occurs and I need to seek refuge.

So for now, I say we call it a truce. Both of us try to get to know each other a bit more and not bite each other's head off.

I've always wanted an older brother-figure, and now I've got my wish. Well, except that you're only two months older and I'm probably more mature, but still.

Here's to less squabbling and fewer cold shoulders.

Your friend and step-sister,

Elizabeth.

x¬X¬x

Nathaniel's pov

I grin at the note and place it on the table. I shower and change quick and place the note in my back pocket. I head out, ready than ever to face anything.

I run down the stairs to greet Grandpa, who has stepped through the front door. I fly to him and embrace him.

"Good to see you, Nat Nat!" He booms.

I so want to throw myself off the face of the earth now.

Urgh. The three of them are fighting laughter.

Dinner is a pleasant affair, with no mention of Elizabeth, Crystal and Esther moving to join us. After a while the conversation turns to adult talk and we are excused. As we head up to our room, Elizabeth tugs on my sleeve gently. My confident and happy demeanour turns awkward and unsure of what to do.

"Was... was the note nice?" she asks timidly.

Not trusting my voice, I nod and her face lights up.

"Good. Lets go." She briskly walks to her room but I detect a bounce in her step.

An hour and two board games later, we go down for dessert and say goodbye to Grandpa.

As I lie in bed I grin widely as I reread Elizabeth's note. Her sincere wish for us to be closer was nice. With a smile on my face I fall asleep.

I wouldn't have felt so happy if I knew what was happened in the room next to mine.

o~O~o

Elizabeth's pov

The three girls are sitting cross-legged on their bed. The oldest speaks first. "So Esther, what did you get?"

Giggling, Esther shows Crystal and me photos of the boxers and Nat, each more embarrassing than the previous.

We laugh and high five each other.

Too bad Nathaniel. Try as you might us girls always have the upper hand.

 

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