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That time I shot my brother. (6)

That time I blew up a car

8

He picked up Libby off John Street. She was wearing jeans and her sweater was zipped up to her neck. She was playing with the zipper. There were remnants of last-night’s mascara under her eyes.

The moment she saw her brother pull up, she ran to his car—she was wearing her old sneakers, untied—and slipped into the passenger’s seat. The left side of her face was red and tender. Give it a couple hours and a bruise would appear. She was shaking.

“Hey—” Leo didn’t get to finish his sentence as she slung her arms around his neck. It felt like a giant razor blade just ran down his back but he bit back the pain and rubbed her back soothingly. “Hey, it’s okay.”

“I-I n-never th-thought he’d hit me!” she exclaimed. Hot tears ran down her cheeks and dampened Leo’s t-shirt that smelled strongly of booze. She pulled back, wiping her tears with the edge of her sleeve. “You smell like shit.”

“Yeah. Charlie’s birthday ended with getting blackout drunk and passing out on the roof.” He smiled a little and she smiled a little too. It made them both feel a little better.

“Can we go? I can’t stand to be here.”

“Yeah, yeah, of course.”

He started to drive and couldn’t help but glance right every couple minutes to examine his sister’s face. Peter-fuck hit her hard. Peter-fuck would—

Pay

—never see his sister again. The headache was suddenly a thing of the past. They stopped at a red light and Libby caught his gaze the next time he looked at her.

“Don’t,” she said. “Don’t stare at me.”

“Sorry.”

She didn’t respond. She looked down at her hands and burst into tears again.

“What if he comes by the flat again?” she sobbed. “What if he-he comes up and-and—”

“He won’t,” Leo assured her. “And if he does, we’ll call the cops—” No they wouldn’t. “—we’ll figure it out, I promise.”

His shitty soothing seemed to help. Her sobs began to fade and she stared out the window. No music.

“Libby?” he asked cautiously.

“Yeah?” Her voice was soft, child-like. He thought (again) that it might literally shatter his heart.

“Why didn’t you call the others when I didn’t pick up? I’m really fucking sorry by the way, I was—”

“I did.” She hugged her knees. “I did, but Hailey’s went to voicemail and Candy said to fuck off.”

Hailey’s phone, Leo knew, was probably dead or otherwise she would’ve picked up. He thought of her warm smile and even warmer embrace—she would never leave someone stranded. But Candy?

“Candy said to fuck off?”

“Well,” Libby said slowly. “Not exactly, but she might as well have.”

“What did she say?”

“She said it was early and not to bother her. I told her it’s important and before I could finish my sentence she said ‘call you brother’ and hung up on me.” She paused. “I think she was high, or partying, or something.”

Silence. Leo turned a corner and on the next red light checked his wallet. No cash. His credit card score was already shit. He was thinking about buying Libby something warm to drink—maybe a cup of chai tea or coffee—but the chances of that were becoming progressively slimmer.

“It hurt, Leo,” she said quietly. “It hurt. He hurt me, but Candy hurt me too.”

He offered her his hand and she squeezed it. He told her everything was going to be okay, and she said that she really hoped it would. He told her that she’ll always have him, and she told him that he’ll always have her, not knowing that the words that just came out of her mouth were a lie.

9

As Libby was telling him what had happened, Leo was already planning his revenge. The idea itself was compulsive, but the planning that went into it wasn’t.

Libby had come over to Peter-love (fuck)’s apartment they day before and he made them dinner. He lived in a shitty neighborhood with a shitty smell dog and made shitty food. Nevertheless, she ate a decent amount of it before pushing the plate away from herself—it was seriously fucking disgusting–and thanking him for the meal. He wasn’t too pleased, but accepted her gratitude. After dinner, he fucked her on his dirty couch and then fucked her again in his dirty shower. He loved it and thought she was the “sexiest little creature” in the universe. She, just like his shower and couch, felt dirty but told him that she “loved being his sexy little girl”. When she was telling Leo this, she could feel a gag reflex building in her throat, and she could tell by her brother’s expression that he was too.

That night Peter fell asleep quickly. He snored peacefully next to her while she blankly stared at the ceiling. The room felt hot and stuffy. Moonlight fell through the windows and onto the sheets. The apartment smelled foregin; wrong.

“Wrong?” Leo repeated. They were sitting at home now, both of them in dire need of rest. He had made them both a cup of instant coffee–milk, no sugar—and they were drinking it on the couch under a shared blanket.

“Yeah,” Libby said. “It felt wrong. I can’t describe it, really, but it just felt wrong, like I wasn’t supposed to be there or something.” She looked down into her coffee. “I thought about leaving then—and I should’ve—but I convinced myself that everything was fine.”

It was fine until Libby went into the bathroom in the early hours of the morning. She had gotten very little sleep—if you could even call it that—and felt nature calling. After she was done with her business, she washed her hands in his dirty sink.

“Seriously,” she said. “It was fucking nasty. I think that’s what made me want to go.”

“But Peter woke up?”

“Yes. And he was furious. He wanted to take me to some car show—or rather he wanted me to go with him to some shitty fucking car show.”

Peter had looked at her, bewildered. She stared back at him with her arms crossed over her rose-pink bralette and told him that she wanted to go home.

“Now?” Peter had said. “Like right fucking now?” He laughed. “Dressed in nothing but a fucking bra and panties?”

Libby had glanced down at her outfit. He wasn’t wrong, but she still wanted to go. She asked him for her clothes, wondering what he had done with them—weren’t they there last night?

“I’m not giving you your clothes,” he told her. “You’re either going to stay here, with me, or you’re going to walk back home like a whore.”

That was when it got bad. She raised her voice at him, and asked him to give her back his clothes. He told her no. She began to get alarmed and said that she was going to go into the kitchen and fetch them both a glass of the world’s cheapest wine. Peter eyed her suspiciously, but her voice was sweet and innocent and held no anger, so he agreed.

In the kitchen—also known as the main room with the dirty couch—she saw her jeans lying by the T.V.. To her horror, she didn’t remember how they got there, or how she took them off.

“I don’t remember getting drunk,” she said. “All I remember is feeling dirty after the act was over. Do you know what I mean?”

He didn’t. All he could hope for was that his sister wasn’t drugged.

“You don’t think he drugged me, do you?”

“I’m sure he didn’t,” he said with false confidence that she seemed to have accepted.

Libby got dressed into her jeans and found her sweater on the couch. It was the only article of clothing she distinctly remembered taking off. She was about to put on her shoes when she heard Peter-love’s (who no doubtedly had turned into Peter-fuck for her too) voice. He was standing in the doorway in his jockeys. His hair was untidy and greasy, just like the rest of him and his entire fucking apartment.

He asked her where the fuck she thought she was going, and when Libby didn’t find any words to answer him, he grabbed her arm and shook her.

“I know that doesn’t sound that bad,” she told Leo. “But it was bad. He really shook me, like when parents get frustrated and shake their babies…”

Then he pushed her against a wall, and she could smell his shitty cologne and last night’s booze on his breath. That’s when her flight instinct kicked in and she pushed back.

“And-and when I did that—” The coffee mug was now shaking in her hands. “—he hit me. Right across the face.” She turned her cheek to show him. “He punched me, that’s the correct word.”

“Oh, Libby.”

She began to cry (again) and Leo walked over to her side of the couch. He crouched—which sent a heep of pain down his spine and brain—and she hugged him clumsily, one hand going around his neck and the other awkwardly hanging onto his shoulder.

“Hey, hey,” he soothed (again). “It’s okay. You’re okay. Just don’t ever talk to him again okay?”

She nodded, still hugging him.

“Delete his contact, okay?”

She nodded. “Yes, yes, Leo I know.”

Did she, though? Leo knew his sister had a reputation to always go back to the fuck-ups; to forgive their sins and offer them her loving embrace.

He hugged her tighter and she squeezed him back. The hand that was slung over his shoulder found its way to his back and after a couple prudent pants, she pulled away.

“Are you okay?” she asked. Her green eyes were big with worry. “You’re kind of pale, and what’s that on your back? Did you hurt yourself?”

“I told you, I got drunk,” he chuckled but this time his shitty humor didn’t fly.

“Don’t bullshit a bullshitter. Seriously, what happened to your back?”

He needed a line, or a bump, or even just a fucking taste would be enough. He could take some of the money lying between the boxers, but that was supposed to be for rent, and what about what he was going to do to Peter? He needed some cash for that. Libby wouldn’t be working the next couple of days, he knew that, so maybe—

“Leo,” Libby said, breaking him out of his daze. “Are you okay?”

He nodded quickly. “I’m fine. Seriously. But I need to see—”

Candy

“—Eddie. I promised to work some earlier shifts today and to make up for yesterday.” He touched his head. “I knew I wasn’t going to work last night, but I didn’t expect to be working hungover today.”

“Aw, sucks.” She went to get herself a refill and opened the window. The cool morning breeze made her rub her arms and she lit a cigarette. “I think I’m going to call Hailey today. Or go to her work. Maybe she needs some help, or something.”

“Maybe.”

Hailey worked at a Starbucks a couple blocks away. Leo was certain that she wouldn’t need any real help, but Libby was an expert at venting (which she really needed to do right now, and to someone who wasn’t her older brother) and Hailey was an expert at listening.

Libby climbed onto the kitchen counter and stared out the window. The conversation was over and she needed some time to think. Leo understood and slipped away into their bathroom, hoping that he didn’t bleed through the bandages.

He stripped off his shirt and found that it was dry (thankfully). He turned his back to the mirror and saw that there were a couple red spots seeping through the bandages. That was alright, he decided and gently unwrapped his ribcage. He could see clearly the long wound that started just above his wound and went up to his armpits; like a knife sliced across a piece of meat. He didn’t think it was too deep, and he was (almost) sure it didn’t require stitches. He knew because the scars that covered the rest of his abdomen and arms definitely did require stitches back when they were wounds, but they healed just fine. 

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in All Stories, Coming of Age, Contemporary Fiction, Drama, Fiction, Humor, Mystery/Thriller, Romance, Young Adult (YA)

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