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“Goddammit Becca!” Anson shouted from the laundry room.
“What did I do this time?” Rebecca groaned when Anson stormed into the kitchen where she was eating her favorite cereal. Upstairs, they heard Damien slamming his door shut and trudging down the hallway. Secretly, Rebecca hoped Anson had found her tarantula in his room, but when she looked up, she found that wasn’t the case. She began to giggle, covering her mouth with her hand.
She swallowed the food in her mouth and managed to choke out, “That was not me. Maybe you dropped your own sock into the washer by accident.” Anson glared at the girl.
“I can’t believe you’re lying. F***, now my hockey jersey is pink. Pink! Becca, I am going to kill you,” Anson growled, inspecting his light pink jersey. The guys were going to rag on him forever. Damien slid passed Anson on his way to the counter where their dad had set our their breakfasts and lunches. He grabbed his granola bar, slipping it into his pocket and snatched the brown bag with his name written on it. He nodded his head along with the loud music that was blasting from his headphones, oblivious to the conversation being held by his siblings.
Anson ignored Damien, his eyes fixed on his younger sister; holding up the red sock he began to shout again. “Rebecca, I know this is your fault, and I will prove-”
“Hey, thanks for washing my sock, I was looking for this,” Damien interrupted taking the sock from his brother. He pulled up his baggy, black pants, revealing one red sock and one that was striped light pink and green.
“That’s my sock!” Rebecca laughed, pointing at the striped sock. Damien shrugged tossing the red piece of clothing onto the chair beside his sister.
“You’re not getting it back until my next laundry day,” Damien warned her in his quiet, normal voice. Rebecca shrugged.
“I don’t care. I’m wearing your hoodie anyways.” Damien smirked at her with a tiny smile pulling up the corners of his lips.
Rebecca glanced back to Anson who was gaping at them. “I hate both of you,” he grumbled, dropping into the chair next to his brother. “I wish mom was back from Aly’s wedding.” He slumped down in his seat, a scowl on his face. He brushed away strands of white-blond hair out of his sea green eyes, that made the girls at his school swoon. Rebecca’s spoon clinking against her empty glass bowl was the only sound that could be heard as she stood up and dropped it into the sink.
“You guys ready?” she asked, leading the way to Damien’s car. As they drove closer and closer to the school, Rebecca grew visibly anxious. Rebecca wasn’t nearly as popular as her brothers, which she was fine with, but she always managed to receive unwanted negative attention by both girls and boys.
Every day, she dreaded going to school because everyone there was either a complete b**** or an asshole. Even the kids who were at the bottom of the social scale ignored her or b****ed at her. Some people were kind of nice, but they had no interest in being her friend. The best friends she had, as much as it pained her to admit it, were her brothers.
“Somethin’ botherin’ you, Becca?” Damien asked, glancing at her in the rearview mirror. Rebecca shrugged. She hated dragging the boys into her problems; they had enough to worry about, without involving them in her drama.
“Probably on her period,” Anson said, not glancing up from his cell phone.
“Nope, I’m right as rain, Damien,” she replied, smacking Anson upside the head. On the outside, her skin was steel. To other, it appeared like she didn’t give a s*** about what anyone said about her, which she truly didn’t. She just wished that someone would see past her tough exterior and notice that she was capable of being more than just a cold-hearted freak.
As soon as Rebecca, Anson, and Damien entered the school (late, as usual) her exterior hardened even more and she melted into the crowd of kids running to class as the late bell rang. She slunk down the emptying hall toward her locker, which had the misfortune of being located right next to the boy’s locker room. Rebecca hated it more than anything else because it gave the jocks the perfect opportunity to harass her every afternoon when she grabbed her backpack and school books.
Most of the time, she managed to avoid them b leaving class early and waiting for Anson and Damien to finish hockey practice out by the car. That day, however, she wasn’t so lucky. It was well after five o’ clock, when she realized she’d left her trigonometry book in her locker.
“F***,” she muttered, grabbing the door handle of the only unlocked door, near the boy’s locker room. She glanced at the clock on her phone and debated whether or not she should grab the book or skip math homework. Ms. Quinn will kill me if I fail another test, she thought, stepping out of the biting wind, into the school. It was always creepy and weird after all the kids were gone for the evening (not that it’s any better during the day). She hurried quickly down the dimly lit hallway. Just grab the book and get the f*** out, she chanted in her head.
To be perfectly honest, being alone scared the s*** out of Rebecca Harken. Her mother (adopted mother) called it “abandonment issues,” which could have been true. All Rebecca knew, was that she hated being by herself. The prospect of losing what little family she had, terrified her.
She made it to her locker and let out a deep breath as her heart raced and her eyes scanned her surroundings every few seconds. She tried to input her locker combination, but it took her a couple of tries because of her sweaty hands. On her second to last attempt, she heard voices, male voices, coming from the locker room.
“F***ing goddammit,” she growled under her breath. They drew closer as she finally managed to input the right combination and throw open the locker door.
“Ooh, look who it is guys,” Chad Monty jeered when he spotted Rebecca. “It’s the freaky goth girl.” Rebecca wasn’t really goth. She didn’t wear make-up or anything, black just happened to be one of her favorite colors.
As much as she wanted to look tough, Rebecca had a lot of fears. She’d managed to overcome and control most of the ones she’d had when she was younger, thanks to Anna and Thomas Harken, but there were some she didn’t think would ever go away. Such as, her fear of enclosed spaces, of being touched, of the dark, and, of course, being alone.
Chad and his four friends chuckled darkly as they made their way toward her. Only one of them really hung back, as the other four eagerly surrounded her. Scotty Freeman was the biggest and meanest looking of them all, but he didn’t like to pick on people or hurt anyone intentionally. He also had a mild dislike for Chad, Ricky, Tyke and Marco.
“What book you got there?” Ricky sneered as Rebecca slammed her locker shut and turned to face them.
“None of your damn business, asshole,” she replied, trying to slip through the guys, but they closed the gap before she could.
“Where you think you’re goin’?” Chad’s eyes raked her body hungrily; just the way… she stopped the thought in its tracks. Tyke ripped the book from her grasp and he and Marco began to thoughtlessly destroy it, laughing like Hyenas. Scotty rolled his eyes and tugged the strap of his gym bag higher on his shoulders. He hoped they would hurry with their antagonizing so Ricky could give him a ride home. Normally, he didn’t give two shits about their deserving victims, but there was something in the girl’s eyes, real fear. He turned his back so he wouldn’t have to see it. If he said something he knew he’d lose his ride home and he didn’t want to be forced to walk four miles in the freezing cold. He thought about hiding in the bathroom ‘til they were finished, but somebody had to make sure things didn’t get too out of hand. Normally Chad just harassed a girl for a bit, hit on her a little and then he was done.
“You’d be a hell of a lot prettier if you weren’t wearing that ugly hoodie,” Chad said lifting up the hem of her sweatshirt.
“Don’t touch me,” Rebecca snapped looking for a way out. The four seniors kept moving in closer and closer until she felt like she could hardly breathe. She was beginning to hyperventilate as Chad pinned her to the lockers. Her heart was racing , and she could feel his hot breath on her neck. Distantly, she heard the others cackling like idiots.
“Feisty,” Chad purred, “I like that.” He tugged on her hair as he reached up to stroke her face. Bu this point, she felt like she would pass out at any moment. Chad began to touch her more.
“Stop,” she whispered shakily. “Stop, please.” Her voice was pleading, but they were having too much fun. Where’s Damien and Anson? her thoughts shrieked. Why aren’t they coming to help? Chad leaned down to steal a kiss, and that was all Rebecca could take. She kneed him in the balls as hard as she could. But the kid was still wearing his goddamned cup. She heard him hiss in pain nonetheless.
“You b****,” he growled, slapping her as hard as he could. Rebecca shrieked as her legs gave out. Her breathing stopped and hot tears rolled down her face.
“What the f***!” she dimly heard Scotty shout as he shoved his teammates out of the way. While she was on the ground, she felt Chad kicking her again and again, until he was ripped off of her. Seconds later, she heard a crash, followed by pounding footsteps.
Rebecca curled herself up, and allowed herself to fall into blackness. Being jolted awake only when she felt huge arms wrapping around her. Her eyes shot open, and she squirmed viciously, trying to get out of the arms that were trapping her.
“Sh… it’s okay, it’s me, Scotty. I’m not gonna hurt you,” Scotty whispered, attempting to soothe the girl. But it didn’t work. He looked down into her beautiful dark brown eyes and saw terror unlike any he’d ever seen before. He saw he open her mouth to speak but nothing came out. Tears streamed from her eyes and she broke into uncontrollable sobs that shook her entire body. Never before had he seen someone freak out so badly. He thought that it was because of Chad’s groping, but he had no idea that it went much deeper than that.
He heard voices of two of his friends, Damien and Anson. He thought about asking for help, but figured they would laugh and walk away, but oh how wrong he was. He glanced down at the girl for a second, trying in vain to calm her down.
“What the f*** is going on?” Anson growled as he and Damien raced toward him. Scotty opened his mouth to speak, as Anson ripped the girl from his grasp and Damien punched him so hard in the face, tears momentarily sprang to his eyes,
“Becca,” Damien said gently as Anson set her down. Anson hit Scotty again and pinned him to the lockers, his face red with rage. They both watched as Rebecca sat up against the wall and drew her knees to her chest. She rocked back and forth, hiccupping. “Just breathe, okay Becca. You’re alright. It’s me, Damien. Remember? I don’t hurt you. Take deep breaths for me Becster.” Scotty didn’t think he’d ever heard Damien say so many words in his life.
“You think you can f*** with our little sister and get away with it? I thought you were better than that,” Anson growled furiously. Scotty’s eyes widened.
“She’s… you guys…? I didn’t know,” he stuttered. It was true. Very few people knew that Damien, Anson, and Rebecca were siblings… though technically, they weren’t; they were all adopted by Anna and Thomas. The three looked nothing alike, either, Damien being of Columbian decent, Anson with his blond hair and green eyes, and Rebecca’s pale skin and dark hair and eyes. “Seriously, I wouldn’t hurt her. I pulled Chad and the goons off her man. She was freakin’ out. I was just tryin’ to calm her down,” Scotty explained. Anson loosened his grip when he spotted Chad unconscious on the ground. But his eyes still shone with anger.
“She’s afraid of being touched, so don’t ever put your hands on her again,” Anson spat, releasing the giant kid.
“Are you okay?” they heard Damien ask sweetly. Scotty never knew the guys could be kind. They were only ever shouting at the team or joking with friends. Scotty watched as Anson knelt a bit behind his brother.
“I guess this means we’re even now,” Anson sighed, with a tiny smirk. Rebecca gazed up at him weakly.
“I didn’t put that damn sock-“
“For the spider,” Anson interrupted. Damien’s face went gray.
“Uh… Becca, I’ve been meaning to tell you…” he began, running a hand through his longish hair, “Anson put him in my bed… andIaccidentallythrewhimoutthewindow.” He said the last part as fast as he could, in hopes she wouldn’t understand. Rebecca rolled her eyes and laughed weakly, more tears streaming from her eyes. Anson and Damien glanced uncomfortably at each other.
“You… guys… are idiots,” she choked out, as Chad squirmed and groaned behind them. Rebecca froze and coward away from her brothers slightly.
“You… b****,” Chad growled, sitting up and rubbing the back of his head. Damien and Anson jumped to their feet as Scotty reached down to pick up Rebecca’s ruined math book. He figured Rebecca’s brothers had Chad covered.
“Scotty, I’ll give you a ride home,” Damien muttered. “Take Becca to the car.” His eyes were fixed on the prick who’d hurt his favorite sister. He and Anson were gonna make their older siblings proud. They were gonna f*** the asshole up so bad he wouldn’t remember who the f*** he was.
“Okay.” Scotty swung his bag onto his shoulder and held a dark brown hand out to the little girl. “Don’t worry Becca,” he whispered, “I’m a friend.” The girl shook her head at his hand and shakily pushed herself to her feet. She did take her text book and followed Scotty out into the cold.
“Thank you,” Rebecca murmured, breaking the silence as they walked. She knew that if not for Scotty Freeman she would be in much worse shape.
“You’re welcome,” he replied. As they reached the car and they climbed in, he said, “You scared me, you know that?” He gazed over at her, almost afraid to admit it, even to himself. “I’ve never seen someone look so afraid. And I’ve never heard anyone cry so hard in my life.” His voice was low and soothing.
“I…” Rebecca had no idea what to say. Very few people had ever seen what her fears did to her. She looked away, embarrassed. “Just… don’t tell anyone. Please?”
Scotty frowned slightly. “Don’t worry. Like I said, I’m a friend.” He grinned at her, and she smiled back. “My spider’s name is Mrs. Piggy… though, I’m sure it’s a boy,” he told her after a long silence. Rebecca’s eyes lit up.
“Mine’s was Fang. Though I always thought it was a girl…” Scotty chuckled happily. He’d never met anyone else who enjoyed the comfort of spiders the way he did.
“I’m goin’ to the pet store tomorrow to buy some mice for Mrs. Piggy. Wanna come?” Wow, he thought, never thought I’d ask a girl to buy mice so we can watch ‘em get eaten. Rebecca was startled by the question, she had no answer, she’d never been invited anywhere before. “I’ll buy you a new spider…” Scotty sang, hoping to convince her. “It’ll be my way of apologizing for what you went through tonight. I shoulda stopped it sooner.” Rebecca grinned warily.
“Well… if you insist…” she replied with a smile.
* * *
“Oh come on Scotty,” Rebecca laughed as they pulled up to her house. It had been a month and a half since the incident with Chad, and Scotty was driving Becca home from the movie they’d just gone to see.
“But Becca…” Scotty whined. “If Anson and Damien scare me, the rest of your brothers downright terrify me.” Rebecca laughed again.
“It’s just dinner. Besides, they’re mostly okay. Not all of them are so over protective.”
“Well that makes me feel so much better.” Scotty rolled his eyes, but reluctantly followed his friend toward the house. She was quickly becoming the best friend he’d ever had.
“I’m home,” Rebecca shouted, dropping her bag on the floor and kicking off her shoes.
“We’re in the living room!” Thomas called. Scotty followed Becca into the room where a bunch of people were lounging around.
“Yes, now we can finally eat dinner!” Bryce exclaimed, winking at Rebecca.
“Becca,” Zane said with a smirk, “I heard about what happened to your stupid spider.” Zane and Rebecca never really got along that well when they were younger, and sometimes still couldn’t.
Rebecca smirked back at her older brother. “I got a new one, wanna hold it?” Zane visibly trembled. He never understood his youngest sister’s obsession with spiders and black and creepy ass s***.
“No thank you. But…” his eyes narrowed, “you can introduce me to your friend.” His statement was met with several nods of agreement. Rebecca rolled her eyes, but secretly she adored most of her older (adopted) brothers and sisters.
“Family, this is Scotty Freeman, Scotty this is the Harken Clan.” Rebecca spread her arm out in front of her as she introduced them all.
“Now that the kid knows who the hell we all are, can we f***ing eat?” Jake’s question was answered by a chorus of agreement.
“Dinner is on the table,” Anna Harken said with a grin. She squeezed Thomas’ hand and he kissed the top of her head. As frustrating as the kids could be at times, they absolutely loved it when the kids came home for the holidays. Though their kids were constantly arguing and playing jokes on each other, they were always around when one of their siblings needed help. That’s how Anna and Thomas had taught them to be.
“So… Scotty, right?” Oliver asked, raising his eyebrows. The gigantic family sat at two long tables that had been set up in the living room. Somewhere (in the basement?) kids were screaming and laughing.
“Yes sir,” Scotty replied. He couldn’t believe he’d agreed to join Rebecca at this gathering. “We heard what you did for Becca.” Scotty nodded his head politely, what was he supposed to say to that?
“Did you hear what we did to the prick?” Anson chimed in, leaving Scotty feeling grateful. He felt like everyone was staring at him. They weren’t, but he couldn’t shake the feeling.
“Oh man,” Bella coughed, “that was you?” Anson grinned.
“One of these days, you’re going to get arrested again Antsy,” Harriet, Oliver’s wife, said with a roll of her eyes. Anson grinned.
“Haven’t had a run in with the cops for six months,” he replied proudly. Harriet put a hand to her mouth and fake-gasped.
“Just don’t go around giving my boys any bad ideas.”
After dinner was over, Rebecca was dragged away by a mob of little kids, leaving Scotty alone. He was grilled by her older sisters who were questioning whether or not he liked their younger sister. Bella seemed to be convinced that he was in love with their Becca.
“Yo Scotty,” Anson called from across the house. “Come out back!” Here we go, Scotty thought sarcastically. When he reached the backyard he was met by seven very intimidating men, including: Gus, Oliver, Bryce, Jake, Zane, Damien, and Anson. Gus was the first to speak. He stood taller than everyone except Oliver. His arms were folded and he was scowling cruelly.
“Scotty, we understand that you’ve been spending a lot of time with our little sister.” Scotty nodded. He couldn’t help the feeling that they would string him up by his toes if he gave them a chance. He opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off immediately.
“Becca has had to deal with a lotta s***. And now she’s finally living a stable life,” Jake began. “She had made tremendous progress in the last few years.”
“And if you destroy any of that progress,” Bryce continued.
“We’ll kill you,” Zane finished. Oliver, who was closer to Rebecca than most of them, stepped forward.
“If we find out that you hurt her in any way, you can bet that your body will never be found, got it?” By that point, Scotty was frozen. He wasn’t sure whether he should be terrified or furious. He decided to go with the latter.
“I appreciate what you’re doing for Becca, but I’m her friend. And if you jackasses opened your eyes a little, you’d see that. I like Rebecca. I would never hurt her. So you assholes are just gonna have to trust that,” he hissed, trying to keep his voice down. As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he regretted saying them. The look on their faces made him feel like he may s*** his pants.
After an excruciating second, Gus’ face brightened and he threw an arm around the kid. “I dunno about you guys, but he’s alright by me!” His exclamation was met by reluctant, grumbled agreements.
“For your sake,” Anson said as his older brothers disappeared into the house, “I hope you never break your promise.” Scotty groaned to himself as he heard Rebecca shouting his name.
“Oh! There you – Oh no,” she growled. “I told them to be nice.” Scotty laughed at her pained expression.
“Don’t worry,” he said with a smile, “I think we came to an understanding.” Rebecca rolled her eyes.
“Oh yeah,” she snorted, “and what would that be?” Scotty winked at her. He leaned closer to her and whispered,
“They’ll protect you, or rescue you, no matter what… and so will I.”
The End… for now…