4fe 44 – Rivals
-Hey sis, what the hell are you even doing?
-I’m sewing, jerk!
The little girl glared, before turning her back to him, as if he didn’t have the right to even see her attempt at making a plush. She was younger than he was by quite a few years and as such it didn’t take him much effort to turn her back so she’d look at him again.
-Show me that!
-No, give it back! Moooother!!
He grimaced at her high pitched yowl and gave her a small kick to her leg to make her stop. She glared at him, defiant.
-Shut up, I just want to see!
-No give it back! You can’t touch it, you’ll dirty it!
-I just want to fucking see.
-Moooooooooootherrrrrr! Greg hit me!!
-Shit, would you stop lying?!
There she was, starting her stupid act, crying her lovely fake tears. She pissed him off so badly, that little manipulating jerk. Sure enough loud steps were being heard, coming closer, and he’d get scolded again. Why couldn’t they see she was making this up?
-Fine, fiiiine! If you shut up, I’ll snatch you something good. What do you want?
Instantly the little girl stopped crying and gave him a huge, victorious smile. He sighed in annoyance. Oh no, you little pest, you didn’t win anything.
The steps in the hallway stopped, with a pause, then a harsh female voice spoke.
-Is everything fine in there?
-Yes, mom! Thank youuu!
-You little bitch!
-What was that?
The siblings glared at each other, both of them giving various warnings; the first telling him at the first error she’d yell to their mother again, the second telling her that if she dare, he’d rip her creation right in her face and run off. Only after did she look away did he allow himself to look at what he was holding. It looked like it was supposed to be a teddy, only it had bunny ears of some sort. While it was a little awkward, it was sewn pretty good for someone her age and while he wouldn’t admit any of it, he was kind of impressed.
-You better get me a caramel apple!
-No I won’t, stupid!
-But you promised!
-I just wanted to look at your stupid toy! I don’t owe you nothing!
-I’m gonna tell on you!
-Don’t you ever get tired of yelling?
Seeing as she was about to yell again, Greg quickly put a hand to stop it. He looked around, and all he could see was how girly his sister’s room was and he grimaced. Was it really fucking necessary to have pink everywhere and take the tea with you stupid dolls? Even Mary Ann herself was wearing a frilly pink dress. He heard someone sigh from the upper buck bed in the room.
-Would you two shut it? It’s early, you’re loud and Greg, for God’s sake, why is it that every time we see you around, it’s hard to get any sleep?
-Shut up, no one asked you!
The one talking finally let out another sigh, before sitting up. It was another one of his sisters, closer to his age; older by a year or two. She had dark brown hair and her ears were a little lighter, and she was wearing a man’s shirt. He frowned.
-Did you steal one of my shirts again? Goddamn it, that’s mine!
-Who cares, you always wear the same stupid shirt and you’re not even here half of the time!
He glared at her and was just about to climb in her bed and get him back himself when the youngest grabbed his sleeve and held on tight.
-Give back Mister Bubbles! He’s mineee!
-Mister what? How lame is that fucking name?
-Stop picking on her. Why are you here? I doubt you have any money to share.
He glared at her for a moment and thought about just letting out some more swears and leaving. Mary Ann was still trying to get her plush back and his elder sister was staring at him, accusing.
-Oh, and just so you know. Your good old pal came by today. Could you please tell him to stay away from our house? I don’t like seeing the smug brat of the family who stole our business.
-Shit, are you even implying that Nichols could be my friend?! Louisa, come on!
-Then act like a man like you’re supposed to and keep him away from here! I thought you were going to be the man of the house after dad left, but you’re just fucking useless. Get the hell away from here.
They glared at each other for a good moment before he ended up being too pissed off to care and stormed out. On the way he hit his other sister with his shoulder by accident, but didn’t stop to apologize over it. She turned around and looked at him, kind of surprised.
-Greg? Are you going to eat with us tonight…?
-Leave me alone!
She stood there with a hurt look in her eyes, before her sisters joined in, the youngest running after their brother, the oldest putting a gentle hand on her shoulder.
-Don’t bother, Hannah.
-Do you and mum need help with anything?
Hannah nodded, leading her downstairs, where Greg was trying to run off, their sister pulling hard on his tail.
-Give me back Mister Bubbles! Give him back!!
-Cut the crap!!
He finally ended up pulling on his own tail to escape her grasp and while she fell on the ground and started crying, took the opportunity to run off like the wind, not giving a second thought about his sisters’ annoyed glances. Once he was finally far away he sighed in frustration and gave a good kick of his boots to one of the trees, every single one of its apples falling down. He swore again and picked up one, sniffing it to see if it was edible.
-What am I seeing…? Greg, the son of the once notorious Sinclair family, playing with a doll…?
His ear twitched and his face crisped itself, already knowing whose son of a bitch was talking to him. He turned on his heels as slowly as he could, giving him his most provocative grin. In front of him was a young man, about the same age as he was though he knew for sure he was a little younger, with relatively long hair for a guy. It was blonde, and the way it was combed made his forehead look huge.
-Oh what’s this? Of course, it’s Nicole.
-Nichols. Nichols, dumbass! Nicole is a girl’s name!
-Sorry, but I don’t feel like playing with you today. Oh, and just so you know…
He gave him a warning glare as he subtly hid the plush in his pocket before his rival could make any sort of comment about it.
-Stay away from my sisters. And keep your own damn side of the street. Next time I see you on my territory, you’re fucking dead!
-Must I remind you that I have more followers than you do, Georgia?
-The joke is less fun when you have to steal it, idiot.
He gave him the kind of look you’d give someone who had just drawn a cat and called it his own creation. Was this guy for serious? He had no originality whatsoever. Greg already knew for a fact that most of this guy’s followers didn’t give a damn about him and were only there for the money. And that money, in fact, was stolen money from Greg’s family, which just made it all the more worse. Nichols wasn’t worth a single second of his time, but for some reason he’d always find a way to fucking pick on him and think he was the greatest.
-Yeah, whatever. What are you doing, going to give a gift to your girlfriend? I bet she looks just as ugly as you do!
He smirked at him and couldn’t help but find his rival’s expression delicious. He obviously hadn’t expected him to find this funny and was trying to find something new and arrogant to put him off guard. He looked pathetic. But now Greg had an idea on how to get rid of him.
-As a matter of fact, you’re completely right.
-Yeah, yeah… Wait, what?
-I am on my way to give a gift to my girl. And she’s much more beautiful than anyone you’ve ever seen.
The other boy was so busy trying to find a reply to this that it took him a while to realize that his rival was gone. He swore and kicked a rock, which landed on a dog that growled at him angrily. Poor Nichols swallowed hard, before running to his family, crying like a baby. None of this escaped Greg’s ears and eyes, and he savoured every second, before finally thinking about what excuse he had come up with. He looked at the plush toy for a moment. His sister had said it wasn’t done, but to someone who didn’t know a thing about sewing, he really didn’t see why he couldn’t claim he had found this as a gift and give it as such.
He hid it back, plugged his hands in his pockets and casually made his way to the bakery, feeling inexplicably nervous and stood in front of it for a long time as he had done before, wondering just what he should be doing next. Maybe he should have listened to his family, back when they were still united, about how to gain a woman’s heart. He pushed the thought away, spotting Charlotte and suppressed a smile when he realized how sad she looked. Without knowing much what he was doing, he entered the shop.
-Hey! What’s going on?
-Welcome… oh, Greg…
She looked away sadly and he frowned, unsure what the hell that was supposed to mean. He looked at the owner, who looked at her adoptive daughter a moment, then at him, then at the girl again, before she clapped her hands.
-Well, now. Greg, dear, why don’t you be a man and take this lovely young lady on a walk? She does need some fresh air and if you would be nice enough to take care of her.
She gave him a look filled with warnings, putting the emphasis on the second half of her sentence and he stared blankly, trying to analyze what she had said. Then he looked at her with wide eyes, realizing Charlotte had probably told her he had proposed to her. He felt his cheek grow hot.
-Wait, wait, what’s going on?! What?
-Just be a man and take her on a walk, how hard is it to understand?
-Why is everyone telling me to be a man today, what the fuck?
She glared at him, ignoring his plea and he sighed, feeling trapped. Fine, fiiiiiine, gosh. He glanced at the young girl in question, who hadn’t spoken a word since, looking down. He grabbed her hand, and before waiting for any response of any kind, walked out without looking back, refusing for anyone to see him blushing.
-Fine! I’ll bring her back before the sun is down!
They were already far, far away when he finally allowed himself to stop and check if she was following or not. Probably by habit, but he realized they were close to the fountain now, near his usual hideout by the wooden crates that left piled up in the corner, some of which were collapsed from one of his bouts of anger. Charlotte was trying to catch her breath and he couldn’t help but notice she had gained a bit of weight. Well, she was working in a bakery, so he wasn’t too surprised about it.
-Okay, what’s the big deal?
-What’s going on! Why do you look so heartbroken, what the hell happened?
-O-oh… Nothing, I’m fine, really.
His ear twitched in annoyance and he grabbed and lift her off the ground to bring her in an alley where no one would see them, annoyed as he was that they had attracted attention. She tried to struggle a bit, but he paid it no mind and let her down only to put her in between the wall and himself, a hand next to her head and staring straight in her eyes. In less than a second she was looking away and he lifted her chin with his other hand, insisting.
She gave him a glance, before looking away quickly again and he simply waited that she goes on. Her eyes and her voice grew incredibly sad as she went on.
-I saw Life holding Rosa in his arms yesterday.
-I don’t know it just… hurt.
He frowned a little, unsure why she would be feeling upset about that.
-What, you’re eyeing that brat or something?
-Are you serious? That kid’s a wimp, he acts like a stupid girl and cries so easily! How can you have an eye on him?
-W-what…? No, I wasn’t talking about Life…
He felt annoyed right now and not a single time did it cross his mind that she might be loving another girl. Slowly realizing it might be the case, from how she didn’t dare look at him and played with her fingers, he looked at her, wide-eyed.
-Please don’t tell me you’re in love with Rosa!
-Oh, shit you’ve got to be kidding me!
He let her go, walking around in circles, grabbing his hair, unbelieving. How could the one girl he propose to be in love with another one of her gender and why did it have to be Rosa?! Now he felt sick and he hated that. He took in a deep breath and tried to calm down.
-B-but… I kind of like you too, Greg…
He glanced at her and she was looking down at her fingers, blushing, her tail rolling against her tail and an overall shy pose. Damn, she looked cute. Why did he have to find out about this, though? He let out a groan, unsure what to do or think anymore and walked to rest beside her which, bluntly put, meant him hitting his head on the wall next to her. He stood there for a moment without moving, awfully aware of the young woman beside him, looking at him. He couldn’t help but notice that she was hurt and grabbed her arm.
-Oh… I just burned myself while baking a cake the other day.
He frowned a bit and she glared at him, angry.
-Oh please don’t tell me scars are ugly, too!
-No, I was about to tell you to be careful.
-Why, because you’re worried?
-Of course, why else! Am I being accused of something here?
They exchanged mean glances for a moment, before her look softened and she started laughing and tearing up at the same time. Greg simply looked at her, unsure of how he was supposed to react to that. Before he knew it she had pulled him close, forcing him to embrace her, and started crying. He felt panic and worry swirl in his mind and, unsure how to react, held her tight and heard himself talk in the softest voice he had even taken, which wasn’t without making him cringe.
-Hey, hey, what’s wrong…?
Instead of being reassuring as he thought he might be, all she did was cry some more, holding his shirt tight in her fists. He awkwardly started petting her hair, trying to calm her down, his heart beating fast.