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A Brothers Keeper (Chapter 2)

Open, close. Open, close. I had been fascinated with the air system on the airplane (no, I do not have ADHD). Each person had their own little vent. When it was open you felt a fresh cool blast of icy air, conveniently aimed towards your face. Closed, though you weren’t chilled to the bone, the sticky hotness of a room filled with stranger’s breath began to close in around you and fill your nose with a scent you disliked but couldn’t define. It was hard to chose, uncomfortably hot, or uncomfortably cold.


It had been my first time on a plane if you couldn’t tell. And to tell you the truth about it, I felt a little high. No pun intended. Strider, who was trying to sleep next to me, had slapped the air vent shut with the palm of his hand. I blew out my breath slowly, making clear my slight annoyance of his disdain for my excitement. My brother was no fun sometimes. I squirmed in my seat, the blue and silver leather making an awkward squeaky noise that sounded too much like passing gas for my personal comfort. I had been sitting for far too long. “Can we trade seats?” I said turning towards my older brother. “What? We traded seats at take off because you said you were dizzy from the heights?!” I shook my head timidly; it was just a simple request. “I am use to it now. I want to look out the window.” Strider murmured to himself. “You just want to see what is out the window” Confused my brow pulled together. “That’s what I said” “Never mind”


I had stretched my neck this way and that. I could barely make out the trees far below. They reminded me of a foam model of a town I had seen once in a museum. They looked they were made of styrofoam, so easily destroyed. A silver of blue wiggled in and out among the land scape, I hadn’t realized how curvy a river really was until then. Somehow the green of the grass looked less green from way up high. I wondered if this is how the birds felt. “When are we landing?” I asked, slightly disturbed at how far away the ground looked. I was also beginning to find it weird that the floor of the plane was all that separated me from open air space. “When we land” my brother replied never even opening his eyes. “I know, but when is that?” Strider groaned and shifted. “You’re acting like a five year old!” “Well I’ve never been on a plane.” I took that should be a reasonable excuse for my immaturity. “Yes you have” he said in a really annoying soupier tone, laced a little bitterly though I didn’t know why. I cocked my head. That had been new information. “But I don’t remember it.” Obviously. Strider sighed and checked his watch. “20 minutes” “Oh good” “Hummm”


After 10 minutes of silence Strider spoke. “What are we going to do?” He sounded like someone who had yet to find the tunnel, much less the light at the end of it. I shrugged. I kinda liked the idea of having a sister. My motto was, just roll with the punches and hope you don’t turn out to badly bruised. Although, true, it was a very surprising thing to think about. “I have no idea bro” I had less knowledge about raising a girl then my brother had. We had, for the most part, grown up in the world of men. Then Strider was the one who actually talked to girls in all seriousness. The only time I talked to them was to flirt in play. I never really liked someone enough to go after them, nor did I ever feel the need to. I wanted to find someone someday I supposed, but I could tell by the way the girls acted with other guys that if they gave me their heart I would break it if it didn’t work out; it seems like such a fragile thing that must guys throw around like it was made of solid brick. I was waiting until just the right girl came, so when she gave me her heart I would have a less a chance of shattering it into little pieces and turning her into someone with their guard up, an untrusting sad little girl.


“What do you think she’s like?” I ventured to ask. Strider turned his head towards me. “I don’t know. Mr. Phillips said she was the living imagine of Mary.” “You mean mom?” I said slowly, knowing this was a touchy subject. “She was no mom to me” He spit out. I coughed. My brother had too much anger. I had always wanted to ask what had happened, but I barely remembered myself. I still don’t. Only Strider did and does. And not to mention I was too afraid to ask him. I might have before all this happened; he had been acting so happy. But ever since that phone call, he bristled at every little thing like someone was trying to pull information from his mind. He had acted like a girl who was PMSing. I had never been around girl who had, but had heard it was a horrible experience where all you could do was duck and cover. As I was doing with Strider right then.


“What else did he tell you?” I prodded. Strider cracked his neck. “Not much. He isn’t on a personal basis with her. Only that she was home schooled her whole life. Hasn’t really gotten out much. Only has like, one friend. Here,” Strider reached into his carryon bag. “Read this. It’s the info he sent me about her.”


As I opened the folder he said as an afterthought;”I don’t think you are going to find anything useful though, I’ve been over it several times, even the doctor’s note, and found nothing of consequence.” I looked at him, confused. “You read this? More than once even?” I was surprised he had bothered to read it at all. Strider turned a shade of red, whether from embarrassment (why was that embarrassing wasn’t something I knew) or anger at being caught in something, god forbid, gentle or considerate. “Well if I am stuck “taking care of” this girl…” With that he waved away the subject in a bitter, biting tone and settled back into his seat. His moment of openness, however brief, gone.

Deciding to take the high road, I let him be. I turned my attention to the thin sheet of paper that looked it had been crumbled up a few times. I had wanted to know as much about her as possible before meeting her. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw the name.

HALO OBIEDENCE PANDORA EDEN

DATE OF BIRTH: January 1, 1994.

HEALTH: Relative

ALERGIES: Garlic; Peanuts, seasonal.

HEIGHT: 5’9

WEIGHT: 106.2 pounds.


That was all. Except for medications she has taken, shots she had had and other useless information. I remember thinking that I liked her birthday. I even entered it into my cell phone. Even though it wouldn’t be that hard to remember. First day of the month, first day of the year.


I couldn’t believe I was an older brother. When I was younger I had always imagined what it would be like. I would see my friends with their younger siblings. When I saw them teasing them or telling them to leave them be I always thought; “I would be grateful to have a younger sibling to look after and who looked up to me” I imagined taking them places, and showing them how to ride a bike. Slugging any boy who got close to her. Kissing her knee when she fell down. Laughing when she messed up, but only after she did the same to me. Being there to talk to her. Having her climb into my bed during a thunder storm. Of course Strider was great, I mean he was my brother right? Then again, he was the older one who got to do everything. The one who dad talked to about private stuff I wasn’t allowed to hear. I wanted a schemer to figure out everything with and ways to get him back. Someone who I could talk to about problems. Sure I talked and still do talk to Strider a lot, but then a lot of my worries revolved around Strider. They had a lot to do with him. So of course I couldn’t talk to him about all this. I needed a partner in crime in other words.

While thinking this I had had no idea that I actually had a sibling out there somewhere who needed me! My regret then and still is, is that I hadn’t been there to do all those things for her.

However I could make it up to her. I promised myself that I would. “Well Halo.” I had thought to myself. “I promise to be, whatever it is you need right now. Brother, friend, hopefully both” And I smiled.

Strider
I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t going to. I had been too upset; a permanent knot had settled itself inside my stomach and became cemented in. I glanced over at Lile. He was plastered to the side of the plane; I could see his reflection in the window. I still remember. Pure awe. Oh Lile. He was so willingly ready for anything. This didn’t even seem to faze him. He seemed serious about the whole thing, but not upset. I just had past it off as that maybe he didn’t understand that our whole world was being messed up by this girl.
Our “sister”. Everything had been going perfect until she came along. I had wanted DNA testing done. It was impossible that she was our father’s child. As so far she was horrible, it was easy to believe Mary, or “mother” gave birth to her. On the other hand, my father was amazing. This girl didn’t deserve to be called his daughter, especially after she had just came in to ruin our newly perfect lives. The sign came alive that told us to fascine our belts. It was going to be a bumpy ride.




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