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Taneesha, fifteen-year-old girl, is torn. Her parents are separated and as much as she loves them both, there is nothing more than she wants for them to get back together.
However, her older half-brother, Dirk, doesn't seem to want that...


Submitted:Apr 21, 2013    Reads: 38    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


'EEEYAAAHHH!! WHY? WHY WON'T I GET AHEAD? I DID EVERY STUPID THING!! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG?!' I heard the frustrated screams of my older brother, Dirk, from the living room. Sighing, I put down my cake mixture and made a beeline for the living room - nearly running over our cocker spaniel, Shrimp - to find out what was his problem, and to remind him that cussing was forbidden. Strictly.

As I entered the room, I couldn't help but gape. There he was standing, teeth bared, eyes wide, red and glaring at the TV screen, the PlayStation remote control in his hands. Even from here I could see his knuckles were also white.

Some aspects of Dirk-at-school were very different from Dirk-at-home. For one thing, none of his basketball buddies - or those girls - knew he was a video game nerd because at school he had on his 'cool dude - popular man act.' Which annoyed me a lot but I had never said it aloud.

If looks could kill then the TV would definitely have fried by now. At first moment, I'd honestly thought that I'd entered the wrong room because I hadn't ever seen him make such an expression - in my presence anyway.

Normally, I'd complain that, thanks to him, I, too, get lectured but at the time, due to his crazy expression, I inquired instead 'What's with you?'

Immediately, his expression switched to something much more humane, something close to annoyance, 'What do you want? Weren't you supposed to go back to that woman today?' he asked irritably.

For a whole moment I stood there, shocked. Never before had he said something like that. Sure, at times he got a little short-tempered but never did he ever try to get personal. Instantly, my shock switched to hurt and anger. Our parents have been separated for two years now ever since Mum moved out. They aren't divorced though. It appeared that she couldn't tolerate Dad's attitude anymore. Now I live half the time with our Mum. Not Dirk, though. He doesn't get along well with her (never has), partially because he blames her for the separation. Partially because she's not his real mother but still that didn't give him any right to speak about her that way. If he had had a problem with her still, he was bound to keep it to himself or at least not speak of it in my company.

Tears began to well up in my eyes and I felt myself flush with anger. 'I'm going home to my mother, tonight!' I shot back, putting maximum emphasis on 'my mother.'

He grumbled something under his breath but I never caught it as I was already on my way to the kitchen. What was his problem today? Normally he's such a good, gentle and caring brother. He'd never said anything like that before. Though I can't say that about the conflicts between him and Mum, he'd always been - especially since separation - the perfect big brother.

Still hurting over what he'd said, I went over to the shelf, grabbed the mixing bowl with my cake mixture and started mixing furiously. I'd been baking a cake to take home to Mum and no way was I going to let his stupid remarks get in my way. Meh, I sound like a warrior ready to kill, I thought. God knows I felt like it too.

Finally, the mixing finished, I poured the mixture in a star-shaped silver pan, chucked it in the oven and ran out to the lawn. I had almost an hour to kill, til the cake was ready. Weird thoughts ran across my mind during, almost as if Dirk had become my number one enemy.

How horrible! For that moment, I truly despised myself for thinking something that. So what if he had said something like that? He surely didn't mean it, right? Anyone can say something so insensitive without thinking. No one's perfect after all!

I hadn't even realized that the hour had passed. Trying to convince myself that he only said it because something was bothering him and didn't really mean it, I returned to the kitchen and got the decoration equipment out. Using a practically ancient napkin to get out the now-baked cake, its delicious aroma made me momentarily forget about all my problems. I inhaled the delicious chocolaty scent, my mouth watering. Ah, heavenly!

Gleefully, I put it on the shelf and grabbed my weapons, uh, I mean cake-decorating equipment. Abrupt mood switches were normal for me and by the time I was done with nearly half the cake, I'd almost got over my anger because this was one activity that I truly enjoyed. When Mum was here we used to bake together all the time and this had developed in me a special love for such kind of artistry. I'm not the kind of person who brags but I'll say this: I really was good at decorating. Maybe I'll go into baking business when I finish high school, I thought, fantasizing myself becoming an award winning baker and decorator and my family looking at me proudly. Again I felt tears cloud my eyes. I realized just how much I wanted us to be together again. But, alas, that was not what fate had in store for us.

Finally done, I stepped back to admire my handiwork. It looked beautiful. Appetizing too. The little blue flowers on the warm, brown chocolate gave it a really enticing look. Practically gloating with satisfaction by now, I put cake in the freezer so it would be just right by the time I was ready to take it to Mum. She had been rather stressed lately and could sure use something nice and delicious.

'Taneesha? Dirk? Where are you guys?' Dad was home early today. Usually he's out for almost 10 hours. It felt as if he only came back to sleep. Still does sometimes. To me anyway. One reason why my family is in two now. There's an advantage to this though. Dirk and I - we get plenty of freedom. We do whatever we feel like and there was no curfew. It's a surprise we aren't juvenile delinquents by now, considering. I thought wryly.

I ran out to the hall and saw him standing in front of the main entrance. He was smiling broadly. 'You're home early today!' I blurted out, unable to mask my surprise.

'Yep. I was thinking that we hadn't done anything together for a while. You know, as a family. So, I thought I'd take my son and daughter out and we can a little fun. Also, I've got a little good news for guys.' He sounded jubilant. That was nice of him, to think of us once in a while.

I heard Dirk's familiar footsteps behind. He, too, was unable to conceal his surprise, 'Dad? Well, this is something you don't see everyday.' He sounded mildly happy. Quickly, Dad briefed his plans to him.

'Out? Yeah, sounds like fun. I'll get ready in a minute.' he ran off to his room. The nerve of him! How could he be so insensitive as not to even give me an apologetic glance? Maybe I was wrong about him. Again I felt myself getting angry.

I'd been silent for a while now, so Dad said, 'What about you, dear? Aren't you going to get ready?'

I was feeling edgy by now, so did nothing but ruin his entire planning. But then again I never had a choice in the matter either. 'Sorry, Dad. Can't go. Have to go to Mum at six.' I mumbled and stormed off to my room. I didn't even wait to see his reaction but no doubt he'd be more than just mad.

Slamming my door with a loud thud, I turned on the music full blast and fell on the bed.

I'll stop the whole world,

I'll stop the whoooooole world!

From turnin' into a Monster;

And eating us alive…

I could hear Haylie Williams' girly voice and absorbed the irony of the lyrics. No way could anyone stop the world from becoming a monster. It already was. I looked at the clock. 3:47 p.m. Thak thak thak! Was it just my imagination, or were there weird sounds coming from somewhere? Maybe something was wrong with the CD player. I ignored them until they got louder and louder and I realized that someone was knocking on my door. Tuning down the music, I called out, 'It's open!'

The door swung open and I saw both Dad and Dirk. Dad didn't look angry and Dirk was being careful not to meet my eyes. Automatically, I felt my brows knit. 'Why are you looking at me like that? I didn't do anything.' Dad exclaimed.

Ashamed, I griped, 'Sorry.' I stared at my feet.

'Okay, guys. Tell me, what happened? You two are certainly acting weird. All I did was ask you to have some fun with me.' He looked at Dirk expectantly.

'Ask her.' He grumbled.

Seething, I shrieked at him, 'Me? What's your problem anyway? You were the one who bad - mouthed Mum!'

Now, Dad looked gravely taken aback, 'Is that true, Dirk?' he asked sternly. Dirk simply shrugged.

'Dirk…!' his voice indicating that unless Dirk got serious, he would be in serious trouble, 'I'm telling you, there may be some issues between but you have absolutely no right to speak of her like that. She has been nothing but tolerant towards your behaviour and done her best to fill the empty space of your biological mother. But you have never tried to even give her a chance and I will not tolerate such talk under this roof. You better think thrice before you speak, young man!' his voice was tight.

Dirk opened his mouth to say something but thought against it. Sighing tiredly, Dad sat down on the bed and motioned me towards him. Hesitantly, I went ahead and sat next to him. He put a hand on my head, 'I'm sorry, dear. This must have been hard for you. I assure that he won't say something like that again. Apologize!' he glared at him.

'I'm sorry.' Dirk apologized softly. At least he looked sincere.

'It's ok.' I mumbled back. Somehow I knew that things were never going to be the same again, although I didn't know for better or for worse.

'Well anyway. Remember the good news I had to tell you about? Well, here it is. I've been promoted!' he announced proudly, looking elated, 'And the best part is, I get to work for shorter hours now! Which means more time with you two.'

'Shorter hours? That's great! Congrats, Dad!' I congratulated him.

'Yeah, congratulations.' Dirk echoed, smiling.

Holding out his arms, he hugged the two of us.

'Uh, Dad? It's almost 4:30. I should get going, don't you think?' I hated to leave him on such a special occasion, but Mum was expecting me.

Eyebrows raised, he inquired, 'Well, alright. C'mon, I'll drop you off.'

I objected, 'Uh, no, that's okay. Can you please just get me a cab?' I smiled to lighten up the mood.

'No, I insist. In fact, we'll all go. There's something I need to talk your mother about anyway.'

Did he say all of us? I wasn't sure I'd heard correctly. He did know how Dirk was with Mum, right? 'That's, uh, cool and all, but I don't think so, Dad.' He knew what I was getting at but stood his ground. At the end I was forced to relent. I wondered what could possibly be so important.

Grabbing my lovely cake and my now-packed back pack, I raced to the car and sat in the front seat, 'Shot gun!' I cried gleefully when Dirk arrived behind me. Wait, why was I speaking to him? He simply frowned and sat in the back and slammed the door shut hard. Obviously he was not pleased about going to the house of his step-mother. What did I care?

During the 15 minute ride, I wondered what could be so imperative that Dad wanted to speak to her. Furthermore, I don't think she was going to take the appearance of her husband and step-son well. While I fretted over this, Dad was trying to create a light atmosphere.

'So, kids. How's school? Everything going good?'

I felt a knot my throat, 'Yeah, Dad. Everything's great.' I forced out. I gave him a broad smile.

'Good. What about you, Dirk?' he asked.

'Fine.' Dirk replied curtly.

There was an uncomfortable silence which went along with rest of the ride. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally arrived. I wondered what I was going to say to Mum.

Unlocking the front door, I peered inside. 'Mum? I'm home!' I called.

'In here, honey.' She called from what I assumed was the kitchen. I motioned for others to follow me and took them there.

Mum's expression was just what I'd expected; one of delight that quickly changed to shock - and finally rage. 'What are you doing here?' she inquired from Dad, her voice tight. She glared at me.

Dad held up his hands in surrender whereas Dirk ignored the situation entirely.

I had to exercise immense self-control to stop myself from punching his guts. Gritting my teeth, I stormed out if the kitchen, into the living room. 'Taneesha - !' Dad started to stop me but stopped. I heard them chattering. About five minutes later, the whole lot - even Dirk - appeared in the living room looking somber. Dad motioned for us to get settled as he wanted to tell us something. I sat next to Mum on the couch while Dirk sat on the floor close to us.

Dad cleared his throat. 'I - I want us to try and live together once again.' For a moment there was a deafening silence. I could feel my face draining of blood. Together? What was he saying? Sure, there was nothing I wanted more, however, did he even remember how their final days were? No way could I - or Dirk for that matter - could stand something like that again.

'You - you what?' my Mum asked in a whisper. Dirk's face registered shock. I was the first to recover.

'But - but how, Dad?' I cried in a shaken voice.

'Well -' he began but was interrupted rudely by brother dear.

'Impossible, Dad. You know it, we can't live together.' He obviously didn't want us to get together again as much as I wanted otherwise. Unable to take it anymore, I did something that probably made the history of my family. In a way it also brought us together. I've been known for being strictly non-violent, but I went ahead and punched Dirk hard on the nose. 'Hey -!' he cried out in surprise.

'Taneesha!!' I heard Mum and Dad exclaim in unison.

My hand aching from hitting so hard, I looked up at his face. His nose was bleeding. His face - surprisingly, considering his attitude lately - was not of anger just surprise and someone taken off-guard. Which he was, I suppose. Then something happened that made me want to kill myself or have the earth open up and gobble me up.

Dirk looked as if he wanted to cry. Him! Cry! Popular-kid! Basketball champ! I never thought that I'd have to ever face an ordeal so horrifying.

Me - making a 17-year-old wanting to cry. Seriously, if you twisted my intestines like noodles and ripped them out of my body, it wouldn't have felt worse!

Dad practically hopped towards him, grabbed him by the shoulders and started muttering. Mum jumped up and took me by the shoulders. 'What was that for?' she demanded. She was trying to control her voice, but the hardness in it was enough to make me recoil - in vain of course. Unable to control them any longer, I started sobbing uncontrollably - the crybaby I was - and stammered through the tears, 'He - he bad-mouthed you. A-also, *hiccup* he obviously doesn't want us to try and live together.'

She stared at me in disbelief. 'And you nearly broke his nose because of that?'

I whimpered. She sighed, 'Tan, that was really, I don't know, gallant of you but - ' she broke off.

She looked over toward Dad and Dirk and again sighed heavily. Moving over to us, Dad said, 'Listen, Taneesha. Dirk's agreed to compromise - and also apologize,' he gave him a pointed glance, 'So, now we shouldn't have any problems. Please.' He looked pleadingly at Mum, 'Besides, now that I've been promoted things will be different. That was the main problem right?'

'I guess so. Ok. Fine.' Mum confessed. Again, Dad gave Dirk a pointed look and he apologized. Not only to me but to Mum also.

With a cry of delight, Dad enclosed us all in a giant group hug. I'd never been happier in my entire life.

'EEEYAAAHHH!! WHY? WHY WON'T I GET AHEAD? I DID EVERY STUPID THING!! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG?!' I heard the frustrated screams of my older brother, Dirk, from the living room. Sighing, I put down my cake mixture and made a beeline for the living room - nearly running over our cocker spaniel, Shrimp - to find out what was his problem, and to remind him that cussing was forbidden. Strictly.

As I entered the room, I couldn't help but gape. There he was standing, teeth bared, eyes wide, red and glaring at the TV screen, the PlayStation remote control in his hands. Even from here I could see his knuckles were also white.

Some aspects of Dirk-at-school were very different from Dirk-at-home. For one thing, none of his basketball buddies - or those girls - knew he was a video game nerd because at school he had on his 'cool dude - popular man act.' Which annoyed me a lot but I had never said it aloud.

If looks could kill then the TV would definitely have fried by now. At first moment, I'd honestly thought that I'd entered the wrong room because I hadn't ever seen him make such an expression - in my presence anyway.

Normally, I'd complain that, thanks to him, I, too, get lectured but at the time, due to his crazy expression, I inquired instead 'What's with you?'

Immediately, his expression switched to something much more humane, something close to annoyance, 'What do you want? Weren't you supposed to go back to that woman today?' he asked irritably.

For a whole moment I stood there, shocked. Never before had he said something like that. Sure, at times he got a little short-tempered but never did he ever try to get personal. Instantly, my shock switched to hurt and anger. Our parents have been separated for two years now ever since Mum moved out. They aren't divorced though. It appeared that she couldn't tolerate Dad's attitude anymore. Now I live half the time with our Mum. Not Dirk, though. He doesn't get along well with her (never has), partially because he blames her for the separation. Partially because she's not his real mother but still that didn't give him any right to speak about her that way. If he had had a problem with her still, he was bound to keep it to himself or at least not speak of it in my company.

Tears began to well up in my eyes and I felt myself flush with anger. 'I'm going home to my mother, tonight!' I shot back, putting maximum emphasis on 'my mother.'

He grumbled something under his breath but I never caught it as I was already on my way to the kitchen. What was his problem today? Normally he's such a good, gentle and caring brother. He'd never said anything like that before. Though I can't say that about the conflicts between him and Mum, he'd always been - especially since separation - the perfect big brother.

Still hurting over what he'd said, I went over to the shelf, grabbed the mixing bowl with my cake mixture and started mixing furiously. I'd been baking a cake to take home to Mum and no way was I going to let his stupid remarks get in my way. Meh, I sound like a warrior ready to kill, I thought. God knows I felt like it too.

Finally, the mixing finished, I poured the mixture in a star-shaped silver pan, chucked it in the oven and ran out to the lawn. I had almost an hour to kill, til the cake was ready. Weird thoughts ran across my mind during, almost as if Dirk had become my number one enemy.

How horrible! For that moment, I truly despised myself for thinking something that. So what if he had said something like that? He surely didn't mean it, right? Anyone can say something so insensitive without thinking. No one's perfect after all!

I hadn't even realized that the hour had passed. Trying to convince myself that he only said it because something was bothering him and didn't really mean it, I returned to the kitchen and got the decoration equipment out. Using a practically ancient napkin to get out the now-baked cake, its delicious aroma made me momentarily forget about all my problems. I inhaled the delicious chocolaty scent, my mouth watering. Ah, heavenly!

Gleefully, I put it on the shelf and grabbed my weapons, uh, I mean cake-decorating equipment. Abrupt mood switches were normal for me and by the time I was done with nearly half the cake, I'd almost got over my anger because this was one activity that I truly enjoyed. When Mum was here we used to bake together all the time and this had developed in me a special love for such kind of artistry. I'm not the kind of person who brags but I'll say this: I really was good at decorating. Maybe I'll go into baking business when I finish high school, I thought, fantasizing myself becoming an award winning baker and decorator and my family looking at me proudly. Again I felt tears cloud my eyes. I realized just how much I wanted us to be together again. But, alas, that was not what fate had in store for us.

Finally done, I stepped back to admire my handiwork. It looked beautiful. Appetizing too. The little blue flowers on the warm, brown chocolate gave it a really enticing look. Practically gloating with satisfaction by now, I put cake in the freezer so it would be just right by the time I was ready to take it to Mum. She had been rather stressed lately and could sure use something nice and delicious.

'Taneesha? Dirk? Where are you guys?' Dad was home early today. Usually he's out for almost 10 hours. It felt as if he only came back to sleep. Still does sometimes. To me anyway. One reason why my family is in two now. There's an advantage to this though. Dirk and I - we get plenty of freedom. We do whatever we feel like and there was no curfew. It's a surprise we aren't juvenile delinquents by now, considering. I thought wryly.

I ran out to the hall and saw him standing in front of the main entrance. He was smiling broadly. 'You're home early today!' I blurted out, unable to mask my surprise.

'Yep. I was thinking that we hadn't done anything together for a while. You know, as a family. So, I thought I'd take my son and daughter out and we can a little fun. Also, I've got a little good news for guys.' He sounded jubilant. That was nice of him, to think of us once in a while.

I heard Dirk's familiar footsteps behind. He, too, was unable to conceal his surprise, 'Dad? Well, this is something you don't see everyday.' He sounded mildly happy. Quickly, Dad briefed his plans to him.

'Out? Yeah, sounds like fun. I'll get ready in a minute.' he ran off to his room. The nerve of him! How could he be so insensitive as not to even give me an apologetic glance? Maybe I was wrong about him. Again I felt myself getting angry.

I'd been silent for a while now, so Dad said, 'What about you, dear? Aren't you going to get ready?'

I was feeling edgy by now, so did nothing but ruin his entire planning. But then again I never had a choice in the matter either. 'Sorry, Dad. Can't go. Have to go to Mum at six.' I mumbled and stormed off to my room. I didn't even wait to see his reaction but no doubt he'd be more than just mad.

Slamming my door with a loud thud, I turned on the music full blast and fell on the bed.

I'll stop the whole world,

I'll stop the whoooooole world!

From turnin' into a Monster;

And eating us alive…

I could hear Haylie Williams' girly voice and absorbed the irony of the lyrics. No way could anyone stop the world from becoming a monster. It already was. I looked at the clock. 3:47 p.m. Thak thak thak! Was it just my imagination, or were there weird sounds coming from somewhere? Maybe something was wrong with the CD player. I ignored them until they got louder and louder and I realized that someone was knocking on my door. Tuning down the music, I called out, 'It's open!'

The door swung open and I saw both Dad and Dirk. Dad didn't look angry and Dirk was being careful not to meet my eyes. Automatically, I felt my brows knit. 'Why are you looking at me like that? I didn't do anything.' Dad exclaimed.

Ashamed, I griped, 'Sorry.' I stared at my feet.

'Okay, guys. Tell me, what happened? You two are certainly acting weird. All I did was ask you to have some fun with me.' He looked at Dirk expectantly.

'Ask her.' He grumbled.

Seething, I shrieked at him, 'Me? What's your problem anyway? You were the one who bad - mouthed Mum!'

Now, Dad looked gravely taken aback, 'Is that true, Dirk?' he asked sternly. Dirk simply shrugged.

'Dirk…!' his voice indicating that unless Dirk got serious, he would be in serious trouble, 'I'm telling you, there may be some issues between but you have absolutely no right to speak of her like that. She has been nothing but tolerant towards your behaviour and done her best to fill the empty space of your biological mother. But you have never tried to even give her a chance and I will not tolerate such talk under this roof. You better think thrice before you speak, young man!' his voice was tight.

Dirk opened his mouth to say something but thought against it. Sighing tiredly, Dad sat down on the bed and motioned me towards him. Hesitantly, I went ahead and sat next to him. He put a hand on my head, 'I'm sorry, dear. This must have been hard for you. I assure that he won't say something like that again. Apologize!' he glared at him.

'I'm sorry.' Dirk apologized softly. At least he looked sincere.

'It's ok.' I mumbled back. Somehow I knew that things were never going to be the same again, although I didn't know for better or for worse.

'Well anyway. Remember the good news I had to tell you about? Well, here it is. I've been promoted!' he announced proudly, looking elated, 'And the best part is, I get to work for shorter hours now! Which means more time with you two.'

'Shorter hours? That's great! Congrats, Dad!' I congratulated him politely.

'Yeah, congratulations.' Dirk echoed, smiling.

Holding out his arms, he hugged the two of us.

'Uh, Dad? It's almost 4:30. I should get going, don't you think?' I hated to leave him on such a special occasion, but Mum was expecting me.

Eyebrows raised, he inquired, 'Well, alright. C'mon, I'll drop you off.'

I objected, 'Uh, no, that's okay. Can you please just get me a cab?' I smiled to lighten up the mood.

'No, I insist. In fact, we'll all go. There's something I need to talk your mother about anyway.'

Did he say all of us? I wasn't sure I'd heard correctly. He did know how Dirk was with Mum, right? 'That's, uh, cool and all, but I don't think so, Dad.' He knew what I was getting at but stood his ground. At the end I was forced to relent. I wondered what could possibly be so important.

Grabbing my lovely cake and my now-packed back pack, I raced to the car and sat in the front seat, 'Shot gun!' I cried gleefully when Dirk arrived behind me. Wait, why was I speaking to him? He simply frowned and sat in the back and slammed the door shut hard. Obviously he was not pleased about going to the house of his step-mother. What did I care?

During the 15 minute ride, I wondered what could be so imperative that Dad wanted to speak to her. Furthermore, I don't think she was going to take the appearance of her husband and step-son well. While I fretted over this, Dad was trying to create a light atmosphere.

'So, kids. How's school? Everything going good?'

I felt a knot my throat, 'Yeah, Dad. Everything's great.' I forced out. I gave him a broad smile.

'Good. What about you, Dirk?' he asked.

'Fine.' Dirk replied curtly.

There was an uncomfortable silence which went along with rest of the ride. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally arrived. I wondered what I was going to say to Mum.

Unlocking the front door, I peered inside. 'Mum? I'm home!' I called.

'In here, honey.' She called from what I assumed was the kitchen. I motioned for others to follow me and took them there.

Mum's expression was just what I'd expected; one of delight that quickly changed to shock - and finally rage. 'What are you doing here?' she inquired from Dad, her voice tight. She glared at me.

Dad held up his hands in surrender whereas Dirk ignored the situation entirely.

I had to exercise immense self-control to stop myself from punching his guts. Gritting my teeth, I stormed out if the kitchen, into the living room. 'Taneesha - !' Dad started to stop me but stopped. I heard them chattering. About five minutes later, the whole lot - even Dirk - appeared in the living room looking somber. Dad motioned for us to get settled as he wanted to tell us something. I sat next to Mum on the couch while Dirk sat on the floor close to us.

Dad cleared his throat. 'I - I want us to try and live together once again.' For a moment there was a deafening silence. I could feel my face draining of blood. Together? What was he saying? Sure, there was nothing I wanted more, however, did he even remember how their final days were? No way could I - or Dirk for that matter - could stand something like that again.

'You - you what?' my Mum asked in a whisper. Dirk's face registered shock. I was the first to recover.

'But - but how, Dad?' I cried in a shaken voice.

'Well -' he began but was interrupted rudely by brother dear.

'Impossible, Dad. You know it, we can't live together.' He obviously didn't want us to get together again as much as I wanted otherwise. Unable to take it anymore, I did something that probably made the history of my family. In a way it also brought us together. I've been known for being strictly non-violent, but I went ahead and punched Dirk hard on the nose. 'Hey -!' he cried out in surprise.

'Taneesha!!' I heard Mum and Dad exclaim in unison.

My hand aching from hitting so hard, I looked up at his face. His nose was bleeding. His face - surprisingly, considering his attitude lately - was not of anger just surprise and someone taken off-guard. Which he was, I suppose. Then something happened that made me want to kill myself or have the earth open up and gobble me up.

Dirk looked as if he wanted to cry. Him! Cry! Popular-kid! Basketball champ! I never thought that I'd have to ever face an ordeal so horrifying.

Me - making a 17-year-old wanting to cry. Seriously, if you twisted my intestines like noodles and ripped them out of my body, it wouldn't have felt worse!

Dad practically hopped towards him, grabbed him by the shoulders and started muttering. Mum jumped up and took me by the shoulders. 'What was that for?' she demanded. She was trying to control her voice, but the hardness in it was enough to make me recoil - in vain of course. Unable to control them any longer, I started sobbing uncontrollably - the crybaby I was - and stammered through the tears, 'He - he bad-mouthed you. A-also, *hiccup* he obviously doesn't want us to try and live together.'

She stared at me in disbelief. 'And you nearly broke his nose because of that?'

I whimpered. She sighed, 'Tan, that was really, I don't know, gallant of you but - ' she broke off.

She looked over toward Dad and Dirk and again sighed heavily. Moving over to us, Dad said, 'Listen, Taneesha. Dirk's agreed to compromise - and also apologize,' he gave him a pointed glance, 'So, now we shouldn't have any problems. Please.' He looked pleadingly at Mum, 'Besides, now that I've been promoted things will be different. That was the main problem right?'

'I guess so. Ok. Fine.' Mum confessed. Again, Dad gave Dirk a pointed look and he apologized. Not only to me but to Mum also.

With a cry of delight, Dad enclosed us all in a giant group hug. I'd never been happier in my entire life.





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