"I hate you and your father and everything else you've done to me and my mother!!" Holly Davis screamed at her soon-to-be-ex stepbrother.
"Oh yeah?! Well I just hate you in general!" Porter screamed right back at her, looking down at her five foot four height at his overall height of six foot five. His blue eyes flared with anger, fire, and hurt mixed in, defending him and his father against Holly's mother and her.
"Good! Then we never have to see each other again! In fact, I hope your father dies a slow, horrible death!" Holly countered, flicking a strand of her thick, long black hair out of her face. She was mad at her stepfather, George Jackson, for cheating on her mother, and because George would slap her if she said anything about it to him, Holly instead took her anger and frustration out on his son.
"Like that will happen, Holly! Newsflash, things don't always go your way! And why are you yelling at me?! My dad's the one that went and slept with another woman, not me! I like Gretchen, she's a great stepmom! I can't fathom how she could have possibly raised such an insolent, immature girl such as you! God, Holly, it's like you deliberately try and make us hate each other!" He said, his voice raised, plowing both his hands through his gorgeous, wavy dirty blond hair. Holly didn't expect him to be so dead on with his answer. Holly had been nothing short of devastated when she'd learned her mother would be marrying Porter, her long-time crush's, father. So instead of letting her feelings get out of hand, she'd decided to turn them around, and act as if she hated him. She was surprised at how well she'd hidden it. She had been fourteen when her mother had married George, and he and his fifteen year old son had moved into their overly huge house, a picture of familial happiness. But beneath all of that was an abusive stepfather that could convince his wife he hadn't beaten her daughter, a mother that was delusional, and a stepbrother that she was unfortunately in love with. What a sick, dysfunctional family hers was.
"Porter, listen to me, okay. I know that you aren't the one that cheated on my mother, but you're related to the person that did! And I realize that that isn't a viable explanation either. But you can call me immature and insolent all you want, but that isn't going to change the fact that you have your faults too! And I realize that I'm taking my anger out on you, but I'd rather it be you than your abusive father! Do you think it's easy going to school and having all your friends and teachers ask why you're covered in bruises? No, because George wouldn't dare lay a finger on his star quarterback, god of a son! Oh no, he goes for his bookish, meek stepdaughter! Porter, you're perfect. You're popular, you have lots of dates, and you don't get hurt." Holly was holding back the tears, and the stricken look on Porter's face told her just how shocked he was to hear her say all these things.
"Holly, I didn't know he hurt you! You always said that you just fell or got hit with a ball. I know you're klutzy, so I just took your word for it! God, do you honestly think I'd just let my father hurt you? And who cares about popularity and dates? It's so judgmental and stereotypical. I don't know how I could have ended up with a stepsister like you! You're a year younger, organize your bookshelf by author's last name, and you use this girly smelling soap that my friends make fun of whenever they come over! Do you think that's easy? I'm on the football team for Lord's sake, and my bathroom smells like pomegranates. How do you think the guys take that? They think I'm a damn sissy. But I just ignore that, because you're my younger stepsister, and I attempt to be nice to you. But how do you repay me? You say that you wish my father died!"
As Porter said that, Holly's mom came rushing out, tears streaming down her face, the phone in her hand as she hysterically talked to the person on the other line. Quickly running to her, Holly and Porter reached her just as she said her final words to the person on the other line.
"Yes, I think he might be dead," Gretchen said, breaking down and sobbing. Sirens screamed in the distance, but all Holly could think about was the look on Porter's face. He was staring at her, a look of absolute anguish and pain on his face. Holly knew she wasn't to blame for this, but she couldn't shake the feel of guilt that overcame her because of her earlier comment. As the paramedics came in, Gretchen rode with them to the hospital, and Porter grabbed his car keys, taking Holly with him in his huge truck. Holly couldn't stand the silence, but she knew that if she talked to Porter, it would only make things worse.
Driving the twenty minutes to the closest hospital in town, Porter stared straight ahead at the road, not daring to say a word. Right now he was on the verge of breaking down in tears, not only because of the fact that his father was quite possibly dead, but because all in the lapse of ten minutes he’d learned that his stepsister was beaten by his father, she was bitter about his father’s treatment of her and her mother, and he loved her. And not in a sisterly way. He suspected it a few years back, but since their parents had gone and gotten married, he knew there wasn’t much of a chance of dating Holly. But then his father had gone and done one of the worst and best things Porter could have asked for. He had given his son a chance with Holly, all the while hurting not only Holly and Gretchen, but him too. Porter liked Gretchen, and she was the only mother he’d ever known. His own had died when he was two in a car accident, and ever since then it had been him and his dad with the frequent one-nighter. Then he’d gone and found a woman in the grocery store, taken her on a few dates, proposed, and finally tied the knot.
But of course his father had to go and ruin the best life Porter had ever known. And despite what Holly might think, he was the golden boy. In fact, before George had married Gretchen, Porter was the one that his father had hit and abused. He thought that now that his father had a woman in his life to make him happy he wouldn’t take all of his depression and anger out on Porter, and he hadn’t. Instead he’d taken it out on Holly, the stepdaughter that did everything she could to stay out of the way of her stepfather and stepbrother. Porter had never really understood why Holly tried so hard to make them hate each other, when he had a feeling they would get along really well if she’d just give it a shot.
He knew he didn’t act any better because he went along wit it, though. It was just sick and wrong to follow your stepsister around and worship her, though. He’d had enough experience with girls to know that. He didn’t really like following girls around, preferring them to follow him around. He knew it was sexist, but that’s how he’s always been and had been brought up. He was a ladie’s man, and he knew it, but he didn’t really care about it, unless he was in need of a little fun. The only girl he wanted was Holly, and he knew he didn’t have much of a chance of getting her were slim to none. But he needed to stop thinking of his stepsister and her sweet smelling soap that he didn't mind so much when he smelled it on her skin, like now. Argg!! There he went again.
Luckily, he'd just pulled into the hospital parking lot, and he pulled into the nearest parking spot, not caring about whether or not he ruined the car. Hopping out, Porter strode determinedly towards the hospital entrance, Holly hurriedly trying to catch up to him. He didn't care that she was lagging, but he did feel a surge of guilt that he quickly pushed away when he heard her trip and nearly fall.
"Porter, please wait. Despite what he's put my family through, he's still my stepfather, and in a sick and twisted way, I love him and care about what happens to him. Please wait. I feel horrible. This is all my fault." He heard the pleading in her voice, and he finally stopped right there in the middle of the street, no cars around for once. Porter saw the silent tears streaming down her face, and suddenly, he broke down in tears, sobs that racked through his body. He dropped to his knees right there in the street, not caring about a car that might come by and hit him. Holly ran to him and dropped down next to him, cradling him to her chest, soothing him and holding him close, her head resting on top of his, patting his head with her hand soothingly.
"Holly, that's my dad," Porter said, his voice trembling as he struggled to contain his tears. He didn't know what he was going to do. What if his dad was dead? Where would he go? What would he do? Living without a mother was hard enough, so how was it going to be without both parents? Sure, he had Gretchen, but a stepmother that loved him despite him not being her own just wasn't enough.
"I know, sweetie," she soothed, pressing a kiss to the top of his head. Despite the fact that he was crying in the middle of a hospital parking lot, he had to admit that he enjoyed his stepsister calling him 'sweetie' more than he should. But that was nothing to worry about. Right now, he ahd to man up and walk into that hospital to find out what, exactly, was going on with his father. And so, standing up and helping Holly, he grabbed her hand and squeezed tightly for support before walking through the automatic sliding doors and entering nito what he already knew deep down would be heartbreak and sorrow.