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From The Not So Organized Mind Of A Middle Child: First Days
I couldn’t find my trainers.
It was my first day of real school and I couldn’t find my trainers. There were nowhere to be found in my rather small room that was in no way big enough for a boy my age, but in my parents defense it was very hard to find a house on this side of suburbia that can house two adults and their nine children comfortably while still being considered affordable.
With that being said, I took one last look around my room, under the large piles of clothing, behind my Breuer, under my pillows, under my bed, and, of course, in my closet of no return. It was to no anvil. They were still missing in action and I was at my wits end.
I let out a long groan and was still in the midst of groaning when my older brother, Nash, came into the room to check on me. “I’m sorry am I interrupting a private moment between you and-yourself?” Nash asked cheekily, because there is no other way for him to ask or say anything.
“I’m not in the mood for you and your crap this morning Nash,” I glowered at my older brother from beneath the strands of my hair. I needed a hair cut quickly before I started to look like him.
I must have said it out loud because Nash looked insulted and made a sound of utmost disbelief. “Why Nico!” He gasped dramatically, letting me know that this was another one of his impromptu shows. “How dare you insinuate that looking like me is a bad thing!”
“But it is a bad thing Nash,” I insisted and made a floppy gesture with my right hand in his general direction. “I mean just look at you!”
My brother looked down at his ensemble, a long sleeved black and orange stripped shirt, black leather jacket, ripped jeans that gave view to the orange and blacked stripped thigh high socks that he wore underneath, and black combat boots. His face scrunched up in a way that I’d heard so many girls call adorable when he locked eyes with me once more. “I don’t see a problem,” Nash told me.
I simply rolled my eyes in exasperation. “It doesn’t matter Nash. Just forget it. Have you seen my shoes?”
“Those electric blue things that smell very very bad?”
“Oh, they don’t smell that bad!”
“You obviously haven’t smelt them recently.”
I glared at him, “Shut-up, I’ll just wear my other trainers.”
“The ones that don’t smell please!” Nash just barely dodged the book I toss at his head. “Ha! You throw like a bird Nico. I’ll see you down stairs little brother.”
He was out the door before he could hear me say, “I hate you.”
I reach under my bed and pull out a pair of black and blue checkered trainers that Natalie, my eldest sister and Nash’s triplet of a sister, had bought me a while back. They were practically brand new having only been worn on a number of occasions that I could count on my hand. The laces still even had the aglets on them. I pulled them over my light gray socks and tied them, double knotted. Then, I grabbed my back pack and left went down the stairs.
I was half way down the steps when I heard the voice of Nero, another brother of mine, shouting out to me. “Nico Llewellyn you tiny little thing, get your butt down here!” He called. I bit back the retort at that statement knowing that pointing out the fact that Nero was shorter than me would only start an argument between the two of us and settled for smiling at him cheerily.
“My tiny little butt has arrived Nero Bianchi,” I announced as I descended down the stairway.
Nero grinned at me. “Well it’s about time!” He told me his bright baby blue eyes gleaming. Nero was the only one out of us that had baby blue eyes. He was also the only one who had blond hair, not that anyone would know because he was constantly dying his hair outrageous colors, and the only one without a tiny patch of freckles along the bridge of his nose. It was strictly because he was our step brother and not our biological one, which was a very good thing because Nero had this disease where every word he said sounded like he was flirting; however, Nash, my poor older brother, suffered from the same disease. It was safe to assume that large family gatherings were awkward for everyone who attended them, especially those who sat near Nero’s very Catholic grandmother.
Anyway, at the foot of the stairs I was greeted by Nero, of course, who was dressed in an outfit that I would have sworn came straight out of Nash’s closet if I hadn’t been in Nero’s own on several occasions. The outfit consisted of a short sleeve blue fish net shirt that was worn under a sleeveless black shirt that had a blue devil emoticon printed on the front. Over the shirt, he wore a black hoodie that I just knew had to belong to Nathanael, our eldest brother who Nero was always stealing cloths from, because it was way too big for Nero’s tiny frame and too long for his short torso. The hoodie hung past his waist and stopped just above his knees that were in view thanks to the giant gaping hole in Nero’s black jeans. Both his hands, which were covered with lacy fishnet gloves, were clinching the strap of his bright orange backpack as he bounced from one blue High Top covered foot to the other waiting in barley concealed excitement. We, and by we I mean those of us in a 100 mile radius, were reworded with a loud clanging noise that came from the silver bracelets, or manlets as Nero would stress, he wore on his right wrist banging against one another with the movement.
Next to him stood my twin sister Nicolette and she looked just as nervous as I felt about today, for today would be the first day that Nicolette and I had ever been to a public school. Despite that however, Nicolette looked positively gorgeous, as always. She was dressed in dark pink baby doll dress that was trimmed with black lace at the top and puffy sleeves that looked absolutely adorable on her when paired with the pink ballets slippers on her feet. Her hair, that was the same sun golden brown as Nathanael, Natalie, and mine own, was pulled into two low pigtails that were curled slightly on her shoulders with a few strands that framed her face. She also wore a cute black knit winter cap atop her head that had a fuzzy pink ball, that matched the poncho she was currently wearing open, and the fingerless gloves on her hands that also had those fuzzy pink balls.
“Morning Nicholas,” She smiled at me. Nicolette was the only one I allowed to call me Nicholas much to Nero’s displeasure.
“Morning Nicolette,” I acknowledged with a grin hiking my own backpack higher on my shoulder as I went to stand next to her by the front door. I glance down to the strawberry pink binder that she held close to her bosom, recognizing it as the folder she kept her sheet music in when she was not using it.
Noticing me looking at her folder Nicolette pushed a piece of hair out of her face and gave me a sweet smile. “It’s for my band auditions,” She told me, “Father set it up with me to have them today so that I can be admitted into the music program. Nash took it upon himself to take my flute, saxophone, and clarinet to the school ahead of me so that they will all be ready and waiting in the band room.”
“That’s great Nicolette, but if Nash has already left who are we suppose to be riding to school with?” I asked.
Nero smiled. “Nathanael, he’s giving us a ride to school in his uber sweet ride. Oh, and FYI I already called shotgun,” Nero finished with a giggle and I had to roll my eyes at the fact that he was practically radiating excitement.
I frowned at my own idiocy for not realizing why he was so happy sooner. Another reason why those family dinners were so awkward and I was so glad that Nero was only my, our real, brother through marriage was because of the fact that Nero was infatuated with our oldest brother Nathanael who, in all honesty, was about as cuddly as a cactus. It wasn’t that he was a bad person, per say, it was that he had little tolerance for those who were like Nash and well, Nero was very much like Nash.
I turned to my right and gave Nicolette a blank stare, “We’re going to crash and die aren’t we?”
“I do believe we are,” She answered with a long sigh. She too knew what to expect if Nero were to ride in the front of the car with Nathanael at the wheel. Speak of the devil, Nathanael was headed our way.
At seventeen years of age, my older brother Nathanael was a diligent and hardworking person. He was not on to find pleasure in mundane things that most would call fun. Nathanael was serious if not a bit cold hearted and stoic. He was also blatantly honest with his opinion that was, more often than not, what one would call harsh. Not that it mattered to him, Nathanael didn’t care what people thought of him and that was one of the few things that I admired about my eldest brother.
He walked out of the kitchen that had a door that was attached lead to his downstairs room. His backpack was being held on his shoulder by one strap and his cloths and hair were both rumpled as if he was in a rush to get here. “You look like you just woke up,” Nero commented. Nathanael made grunted in response that made Nero frown, “Well someone is grumpier than usual!”
Nero looked to me and I shrugged at him. “Well don’t look at me. I just got down here,” I whispered to him just as Nathanael pushed past the two of us and walked out the door expecting us to follow. We did, of course, and the four of us loaded up in Nathanael’s hybrid that was the same color as Nero’s eyes, which was something that Nero loved to point out.
“I think that in honor of this lovely day we should celebrate with a song, sang by yours truly-umph!” Nero pouted that petulant childish pout that he did so well, looking down at the black and white sack that was tossed so carelessly in his lap.
“Don’t touch my radio and no singing,” Nathanael snapped at the boy slamming the car door behind him.
Nero turned that pretty little pout of his Nathanael’s way and even went so far as to bat his sunshine colored eyelashes also. “Ow, you’re so mean to me caro mio,” Nero whined.
Nathanael’s glare hardened at the Italian term of endearment, “Shut up Nero.”
“But caro mio!”
“Stop calling me that! I don’t want to deal with you today. I’ve got a lot on my mind.” Nathanael put the key in the ignition and put the car in reverse pulling out of the garage. He ignored the pure sulking look that Nero was giving the right side of his face which I knew wasn’t an easy thing to do. Nero was a pro at looking pitiful. It was an art form that he had down to a “T”. It was all in the eyes.
After a while though, Nero lost his interest in making faces at Nathanael and turned to face the window. “You always have a lot on your mind,” Nero muttered to the glass, “Do you ever think that you should give your mind a rest?”
“I’ve thought about it,” Nathanael muttered back, “but as much as I hate to admit it I am a tad bit scared about doing so.”
Nero gave Nathanael a beseeching look, begging him with his eyes to elaborate. “Why?” he asked in Italian for he had a tendency to switch back and forth between his first language and English. We’d gotten use to it over the years.
Nathanael turned a corner before he answered. “Because,” He told Nero, “I’ve seen what happened to you. You gave your mind a rest and now, well you just can’t get it working again now can you?” I laugh because it’s cruel and mean but comical all at the same time.
Nero apparently didn’t find the comment funny because he goes silent and I suppose that that is exactly what Nathanael wanted because his shoulders visibly relax as he continued to drive.
I am shocked when we finally drive into the parking lot of the school by how many cars and people there are loitering around the property. I’d never been to a place with this many people with the exception of one of my father’s book signings, but that was different from this. At a book signings the people were all crowded around my father who was always a great distance away from me and my large cluster of siblings. I could only hope that maybe just maybe here I would be able to finally get my own identity that didn’t include one of them.
And, so Nathanael found a place to park in the student parking lot close to the entrance. He told us to meet him there as soon as school was over or he’d leave us because he had to go to work or something like that. I wasn’t sure and to be honest I didn’t care. I knew that I would be there on time and if I wasn’t I could always get a ride with Nash and Natalie back home. Though it would be a long ride crammed in the back seat of Nash’s tiny car with his and Nicolette’s never-ending collection of instruments and Natalie’s canvases. Nash’s car was not a place anywhere would want to be, ever.
The four of us said our “Goodbyes”, or in Nero’s case “Ciao”, and went our separate ways. Nicolette’s first class was Algebra. Nero had Psychology. Nathanael had Anatomy. My first class was European History, which we all agreed was going to be an easy course since we were all in fact European and therefore European History had been drilled into our heads from an early age.
My European History class was in the top floor of the building that was strictly for History and other social studies classes. The teacher of the class, Mr. Berkley my schedule read, was a tall thin man with a full head of salt and pepper hair that showed no signs of thinning, much like my father, and had an air of pleasantness that surrounded him and filled the room from behind his large desk in the front of the classroom. He sat waiting for all of the class to enter. Then, when the bell rang he went to close the door quietly before turning and regarded us with kind almond eyes.
“Good morning class,” The man greeted in his low timbre, “My name is Mr. Berkley and welcome to European History. Now if you would all take out your schedules and set them on the far corner of your desk so that I can check them off as I take attendance and make sure that you are all in the right class? While I do that I am also going to need you to fill out these student information sheets for me.” Mr. Berkley held up said sheets of white paper to show the class. Subsequently, he handed them to the girl who was in the desk just before him, instructing her to take one then pass it.
Behind me I could hear a low groan. I glanced over my shoulder to see what the commotion where it came from. She was a pretty light skinned girl with black hair pulled over her shoulders in pigtails, much like Nicolette had her own hairs done up, except this girl’s hair had two long orange braids in her bangs that stopped just above her right cheek. I noticed that both of her cheeks had large swirls drawn on it in what I assumed was silver eyeliner which heavy outlined her bright auburn eyes. Eyes that were rolling in a nonsensical pattern around the room while her fingers drummed an even more random pattern on the desk top.
It might have seemed or appeared odd to anyone else who may have glanced in her direction, but not me however. Coming from a family filled with artist I had learned how to appreciate people and things that were categorized as being odd. Their oddities, as I had come to notice, were what made them unique. It was what made them beautiful. And boy was she beautiful.
I must have been staring a lot longer than I thought or she must have felt my gaze boring into the side of her head for the girl looked my way and tilted her head to the side in a wordless question of what I wanted. Embarrassed at being caught doing something as rude as staring I flushed and looked away focusing back on the sheet of paper in front me. I didn’t look back until class was over and was rewarded with a fleeting glance of the back of her head as she passed by me. We had the same backpack I noticed.
My next class was Algebra, after that I went to Literature which was then followed by lunch. Originally going to lunch had not bothered me because it was not my knowledge that I would go almost half of the school day without seeing either one of my siblings. It was then that I realized that I had no one to sit with. And so tugging nervously at a piece of my dark hair that I still believed needed to be cut desperately I turned to walk the direction opposite of everyone one else with plans of going somewhere to myself until the bell signaling me for my last class which was Art.
I had just gotten a few steps away from the Lunch room when a hand reached out and grabbed the strap of my backpack. I shrieked and the hand quickly released me at the sound. “Whoa, sorry dude, I didn’t mean to scare you like that,” The person said honestly, but the amusement was still clear in the apologetic tone.
I turned around and to my surprise I found myself facing the girl from my European History class earlier that morning. I frowned. “I wasn’t scared,” I told her.
“Sure you weren’t,” She agreed a small smile on her face.
“I wasn’t,” I assured her.
“Oh, believe you. It was just reflexes or something, right?” She chewed thoughtfully at her thumbnail for a moment and then smiled at me brightly. “Look, I didn’t stop you in the middle of the hallway during the most busiest time of the school day to tease you. I came to invite you to join me at lunch guy-who-I-caught-staring-at-me-during-first-block.”
“Busiest,” I found myself saying before I was even able to process the word and she stared at me with confusion written across her face. Her head tilted in the same owlish manner as she had it in class earlier this morning.
“I’m sorry what?”
“Busiest. It’s just busiest, not most busiest, “I answered finding myself blushing far more embarrassed than I had ever remembered myself being all my life. “I’m sorry,” I apologized. “My father is a writer and I-“
“No,” she said, “that’s aright really. My older sister, Darcy, corrects my English all the time at home. This is just the first time that I’ve been corrected outside of my home life that it just shocked me.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
She waved her hand at me,” Don’t be it’s cool really. So are you accepting my offer of joining me for lunch or not?”
It took me a short amount of time to recall what she was talking about until it hit me. I nodded, “Sure that’s fine.”
“Great!” She exclaimed clapping her hands on loud time. Then she reached out and grabbed my own right hand in hers. “My name is Niko by the way. What’s yours?”
“My names Nico, too” I answered with a shy smile.
“For cereal? That’s totally awesome!” Niko exclaimed grabbing my hand and tugging me along giggling.
I laughed too, despite the weird looks we were getting from everyone around us. I could tell then and there that Niko and I were going to be the best of friends.