Josh came home, and saw me crying. He sighed, walked over to where I was hugging Reece, and picked me up then cradled me like I was a child. I sobbed into his shoulder as he carried me out of the living room and into his bedroom, shutting the door behind him.
He sat down on the bed and rubbed my back. “What’s wrong, baby?” he whispered.
“I’m sorry Josh.” I whispered. “I didn’t want to disappoint you. After all you’ve done for me and now I’m doing this to you-”
“Hey.” Josh said. “What in the hell do you think this is?”
I looked up at him. “What do you mean?”
“You think I do all this because I expect something in return? Just knowing that you didn’t have to move to China where I’d hardly ever see you was enough for me. You’re my little sister and I love you. And you’ll always be my baby but I know you’ve got to grow up. You worry too much. I don’t blame you for anything. It’s all Nick’s fault.”
I laughed, and pressed my face back into his shoulder.
“You can’t blame him for everything.”
“Free country.” Josh muttered. “Lay down, you can sleep in here tonight okay?”
I nodded, and Josh tucked me into bed, and kissed my cheek before leaving the room. He walked into the living room and Nick stood.
“Is she okay?”
Josh didn’t answer, and kept walking until he was standing in front of Nick. Then he swung his fist at him and smacked it into his jaw, knocking him down. Nick held his jaw and looked up at Josh in shock, then jumped to his feet. “What the hell was that?”
“You make Zac cry, I make you cry.” Josh snapped and went to hit him again but Reece grabbed his arm.
“Dammit Josh, calm down. She’s a big girl and Nick didn’t do anything. You’re the one who scared her you asshole with all this planning shit. She’s just a fucking kid and she’s going to cry. And you know what, I was wrong. We all were. She’s not ready for this. None of us are. Nick, you don’t know the first thing about virgins. Josh, you are way too overprotective and Zac can’t seem to go ten minutes without mood swings.
So I say we all just agree that this isn’t the right time and if Zac doesn’t like it we’re going to have to all stick together and just tell her no. Deal?”
Josh lowered his fist. “Yeah, deal.”
Nick nodded too. “Deal.”
“And I know she’s the center of this damn thing but we have to do what’s best for her. Alright?”
Nick sighed. “Yeah. I get it.”
“It’s probably better if she just goes back to being grounded and we stay away from her.” Reece concluded.
Josh nodded again. “Yeah, okay. Better. I’ll tell her tomorrow-” he cut himself off. “We’ll tell her. For now just let her sleep. This is obviously all too stressful for her and when she gets stressed I get stressed.”
“And I get bruised.” Nick finished.