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For The Fans: Chapter 4

Kyran

Tumultuous_ho3b4g: I’m not feeling myself today. Can I feel you instead?

One Year Later…

The muscles in my arms are tight, fighting the tremble.

They burn as I push with all my might, lifting the barbell up, then controlling it back down. My chest strains, sweat lining my forehead. I puff breaths on each push as my partner counts.

Twenty-five. Twenty-six.

My mind is clear while I focus on the hurt. The pain of the weight I’m holding…

It feels good. The ache is like a companion, a comforting presence that strokes my hair and whispers to me.

You’re so strong.

There’s nothing you couldn’t rip apart with your bare hands.

Garrison, who’s spotting me, says thirty, then helps me guide the bar back into the uprights, before I’m even done.

I would’ve kept going… But I guess thirty reps of this much weight is more than you’re normally supposed to do.

Weaklings. Give me more. I can take it.

Sitting up slowly, I wipe sweat from my brow while Garrison slaps me on the shoulder.

“Nice work, killa,” he rumbles his support.

“Fuckin’ show-off,” my friend Marcus says with a smirk from across the room.

He’s only doing one-fifty. I guess he doesn’t need pain the way I do…

Grabbing my towel, I sling it around my neck, getting up and stretching my arms over my head. I sip some water, glancing around the weight room at my teammates. I’m going to miss this…

College football will be similar, but also different. I’ll have to get used to all new players. Form bonds of camaraderie with new dudes.

Playing for the Eagles will be intense, but honestly, I’m looking forward to it. The football field has always been the place where I shine. I play because I’m good at it, but also because I need it. Football is the biggest part of my image.

“So, Ky…” Garrison says my name, and I peer at him. “You break up with Becca yet?”

A few of the guys laugh. And my chin dips. “No…”

“Come on, man.” He chuckles. “You gotta rip that shit off like a Band-Aid.”

“It’s gonna be so damn awkward.” I run my fingers through sweaty strands of my hair. “She’s going to Emerson… It would be like, really easy for me to stay with her.”

“But you don’t want to…?” Marcus blinks up at me from where he’s sitting on the weight bench.

“Uh, no.” I roll my eyes. “I mean, Becca’s cool and all, but BC will be a sea of new pussy.”

“You got that right.” Mack, one of my other teammates, grins wickedly. “And QB of the Eagles is guaranteed to have you drowning in it.”

I shove off the smile that wants to curve my mouth. “If I get QB…”

“Bro… you’re gonna get it.” Garrison slaps my arm. “Manifest destiny, homie.”

I can’t help the amusement on my face that leads me to chuckle.

“Man, what the fuck are you talking about?!” Marcus cackles at him.

“It’s a thing! I’m telling you!” Garrison defends himself.

He’s always been the hippy of the group.

“And, not to mention that Lexi is going to BC…” Mack shoots me another devious look.

“Hm…” I nod along, not really knowing how to react to that.

Lexi Erikson is this girl who lives in Everett. She’s fuckhot, and sometimes shows up at parties in Somerville, at which point all the guys drool over her, stalking around her like a bunch of territorial lions looking to mate with the only lioness.

I didn’t know Lexi had gotten accepted to BC. We follow each other on Instagram, but we’ve never really talked much. She cheers in Everett… Maybe she’ll cheer for the Eagles.

My fuzzy mind springs back to Becca, and my stomach starts flopping, bringing on a wave of nausea. I need to just break up with her, but it’ll be hard. We’ve been together for a while at this point. We’ve said the I love you words, although for me they were just that. Words.

I think she actually meant them.

My mind is stuck on this while we all make our way into the showers, the guys still laughing, joking and fucking around in the background of my internal dilemma. If I could love someone, I’m sure it should be Becca. On paper, she’s perfect for me. Beautiful, smart, similar background… My dad likes her.

But I just don’t feel it. I don’t know what love feels like. And at my age, I’m a little worried that I’ve never felt something more than a basic shell of attraction to any girl. Most of the guys I know either have girlfriends, or have been through relationships where they say they were in love, even if they try to be macho and downplay it. Still, it’s obvious they felt something for these girls…

But not me. My chest is hollow any time I think about love. Like a simple circle; an outline, with no solid substance to fill me up.

I might be broken… And the thought brings on a scratchy sensation, crawling up my esophagus like claws.

Moving in front of the mirror, I stare at myself for a second, willing down panic I can’t display in front of these guys. Fingers digging into the counter, I close my eyes and take a deep breath. When I reopen them, I lock eyes with myself.

You’re here. This is you.

More laughter tugs me out of it as all the guys strut around naked behind me. Swallowing still feels thick, but I push through the discomfort, just like when I’m lifting, and I join them.

I’ve always made it a point to move quickly in the locker room showers. It’s not exactly a place you wanna get caught lingering anyway. I’m obviously pretty comfortable with my body and all, but I’ll admit, sometimes the nonchalance of showering next to a bunch of other naked dudes feels tense.

Nothing to dwell on. Lather, rinse, and move it along.

When I’m done with my two-minute shower, I hop out and get dressed. And it’s while this is happening that I make a decision. I need to go find Becca and end it. It’s the right thing to do.

Like Garr said, rip off the Band-Aid.

I think she’s still here, at school. She’s on the Graduation Committee, and they’ve been meeting pretty much every day after school since graduation is only a couple of weeks away. Nodding to the guys, I stuff down the impending doom of how she’s going to take this and storm out of the locker room.

Outside of the cafeteria, where they usually have the Grad Committee meetings, I pace for a few jittery seconds, before taking a deep breath and pushing through the doors. I spot the group of them, sitting at a table, chatting. But I notice right away that Becca isn’t there.

A few of the kids look up as I approach, and I give them a polite smile. “Hey, guys.”

“Kyran… Hi,” Julie chirps, shooting me this sort of wide-eyed look that has my brows zipping together for a moment.

“Is Bec here?” I look around.

“Uh… no.” She peeks at Josh by her side. “She went to get her charger.”

“Her charger…” I repeat, eyeing them and wondering why they’re acting so shifty.

“With Ash,” Josh says, and Julie elbows him.

“With Ash?” I narrow my gaze.

They’re both just staring at me, nodding. A pit is forming in my stomach, but I ignore it, muttering, “Thanks,” while I spin and stomp away, back toward the doors.

“I’m sure she’ll be right back!” Julie shouts after me, but I’m not listening.

I’m going to find my girlfriend. Right now.

Stalking the halls, I’m tense. The charger story is obviously bullshit, because the halls are empty and she’s not at her locker. I check every room, frantically searching while my mind spins and spins, until finally, I hear voices coming from the music room.

Peeking through the small window in the door, I spot Becca, and Ash. They’re just talking, and my shoulders drop, a relived chuckle puffing as I shake my head. I can’t believe I just started panicking over nothing.

Nope… Not nothing.

Ash leans in, smiling while pressing a slow kiss on my girlfriend’s lips. Her hand runs up onto his jaw, fingers threading in his shaggy black hair as she kisses him back. Like she wants it.

She’s not pushing him away… They’re just standing there, out in the fucking open, making out like she doesn’t have a care in the world or a goddamn boyfriend who’s looking for her so he can break her heart.

My jaw strains as I reach for the door handle, ready to whip it open and storm inside to kick that loser prick’s ass.

But I pause. And my hand falls by my side.

“Fuck it…” I mutter to myself, turning away.

Of course I’m pissed that my girlfriend of almost two years is making out with another dude. But I guess in a way she’s doing me a favor.

Pulling my phone out of my pocket, I type a quick text to Bec.

Me: We’re over.

And that’s it. It’s done.

If she doesn’t have the respect to talk to me first before just hooking up with another guy, then I sure as fuck don’t respect her enough to end it face to face.

Still, I’m sort of fuming as I head outside to my car.

Really, Bec? Ash Holloway??

He’s so not her type at all. He plays guitar, wears ripped jeans and paints his nails black. Dumbass emo nerd. He reminds me of…

My fingers curl into a fist at my side. Goddamnit.

I drive the ten minutes home in silence, stewing in my awful mood. I know I’m being childish… I was going to break up with her, anyway. But still, if she could hook up with that clown in school, where anyone could see them, then I’m guessing this wasn’t the first time they’ve done that, which means that bitch was cheating on me.

While I’ve been passing up advances from other girls this whole time—from some of her best friends even—she’s just out here… kissing Brandon Bruce fucking Lee.

Bullshit.

Pulling into our driveway, I slam on the brakes and growl out loud. There’s a Jeep in my spot. Motherfucking stoner fuckhead…

I dive out of the car and storm into the house, fuming. The moment I’m through the door, I’m shouting, “Avi! You’re in my fucking spot again!”

I don’t see anyone, but I hear laughter coming from the back deck. So that’s the direction I’m stomping next while my frustrations bubble over. At the sliding door, I pay no attention to what’s happening out there. I just bark, “Avi. My fucking spot, you assface! You parked in it again. I thought I told you—”

“Ky.” My dad cuts off my tirade with a scolding tone. “Watch your mouth. And stop yelling at your brother. It’s his birthday.”

My teeth crumble to bits as I mumble, “He’s not my brother…”

Avi grins at me from where they’re all sitting around the outside table. “Thanks for the birthday wishes, bro. You’re the best.”

Looking around, I take in the decorations, smell the food grilling… The giant birthday cake on the marble island in the kitchen.

Naturally, I forgot that today is my stepbrother’s eighteenth birthday. Because I don’t fucking care. But now that I’m being presented with the information again, I slightly recall my father telling me we were having a family barbecue to celebrate.

Awesome. Could this day get any worse??

“Kyran, come sit.” Hannah pats the seat next to her. “There’s salad and some snacks. The rest of the food will be ready soon.”

She smiles kindly at me, and I exhale, allowing myself to relax just a tad. My stepmother is actually really nice, which makes holding on to all this hostility toward the new family dynamic just the tiniest bit difficult. I know it would make things easier if I just got over it and tried making a little more effort to get along with them… After all, it’s been a while.

My dad married Hannah last September. It was a small ceremony in Narraganset. No church—duh. Just us and a couple of my father’s friends. I guess the few members of the Vega family that Hannah and Avi still communicate with couldn’t make it. But then again, my sister didn’t show up either.

I’m glad it was small and casual. I really didn’t have it in me to do the whole wedding thing. It was bad enough standing up there with Avi… Him next to his mom, and me next to my dad. He would wink at me, and I would scowl in return. It’s been like this since they moved in, and the wedding changed nothing.

Avi and I don’t get along. We’re too different, and he annoys the ever-loving shit out of me. All he does is smoke weed and draw crazy pictures. He eats everything in the house, parks in my spot, and when he isn’t popping off sarcastic comments my way, he’s rambling about all of these half-cocked conspiracy theories he apparently believes to be fact.

The dude is weird as fuck, but more than all of that, just looking at his stupid face reminds me of how much more pleasant my father is when he and his mother are around. The amount of furious resentment I harbor feels unhealthy, but I can’t help it. My dad hasn’t laughed or joked with me since I was ten years old. He only speaks to me about superficial shit; football, school, and the bare necessities of a strictly business father-son relationship.

It’s been this way ever since… since the last time I tried to talk to him about something, and it tore our entire family apart. And I know he blames me for all of it. So I never get the Thomas Harbor that Hannah and Avi get.

He jokes around with Avi, gives him advice, offers to help him with things. All stuff he would never even consider doing for me, and for that reason more than all the other bullshit, I fucking hate Avi Vega.

My stepbrother… God, it still pisses me off, even eight months later.

I can’t wait to leave. I’m chomping at the bit to get out of this house and go live on the BC campus. It’s my escape from this fake family, and most importantly, from Avi and his knowing smiles. Something about him flashing those little grins all the time just makes me feel murderous. Another reason why it’s a good thing I’m moving out soon.

I don’t think I could make it to Christmas without smothering him to death.

Reluctantly, and not hiding it, I take a seat next to Hannah at the table while she fixes me a plate of salad. My dad smiles, but of course not at me. At his wife.

He lifts a bottle of beer to his lips and takes a sip.

Avi nudges his arm. “You think I could get one of those?” He aims a pleading smirk at my father. “You know… since I’m an adult now and everything.”

“Avi.” Hannah rolls her eyes, grinning.

My dad squints at Avi, but then he sighs and shrugs. “Sure, why not. Just one.”

“Thanks, Tom.” Avi scoots out his chair, winking at me.

Why the fuck he always does that is beyond me, but it’s enraging. That’s probably why does it.

Avi goes over to the mini fridge, pulling out a bottle.

“Can I have one?” I ask, needing the alcohol to help subdue my irritation.

“You’re still seventeen,” my father says pointedly.

“Only for a few more months…” I grunt, feeling like such a child, it stiffens me with irritation. “And last I checked, the drinking age is twenty-one, not eighteen.”

I shoot a fake smile at Avi, and he returns it. But he takes out a second bottle, not waiting for my father to give his approval before he’s stepping over and handing it to me.

My dad doesn’t look pleased, but Hannah jumps in. “I’m sure they’ll be drinking beer in college, Tom. Better they learn to do it responsibly.”

I pause before opening the bottle, watching my father carefully. He concedes with a curt smile at his wife, and I’m fucking frothing with rage just beneath my surface.

If they only knew how he really is… He would never allow vices before they showed up. Once when he found Marcus’s cigarette butt outside on the walkway, he screamed at me for so long he nearly lost his voice.

But Avi is allowed to fishbowl his bedroom like he’s backstage at a Kid Cudi concert. It’s fucking ridiculous.

Twisting open the bottle aggressively, I take a long sip, ignoring the rest of them. Their conversing continues while we eat dinner. The burgers, hot dogs, and grilled chicken are accompanied by chitchatting about my dad’s business and how excited they are over his recent signing of some fancy new developer. The money is just rolling in right now, and I know this is all a preface to him insisting that I choose Business as my major at BC.

Football is all well and good for now, but I’m fully aware he expects me to follow in his footsteps and take over the family business, which I have no intention of doing.

So help me, I’ll make it to the NFL just so I don’t have to.

“So, Ky.” Hannah says my name, and when I glance at her, I can tell from her expression that she knows I don’t want to talk about the business stuff. I have to appreciate her trying to keep the peace between Dad and me. That is, until she asks, “How are things going with Becca?”

Avoiding answering, I take a large pull from my bottle of beer. Oh, would you look at that? It’s already empty…

Picking at the label, I murmur, “We broke up.”

“Oh… I’m sorry to hear that,” she responds, sincerely.

“Kyran, that’s a shame,” my dad says, sounding much less concerned for me than he sounds disappointed in me. “She was a good girl. And you know, there’s nothing wrong with starting college in a relationship. It might even give you some perspective—”

“She cheated on me,” I cut him off, glaring across the table. His face falls as he gawks uncomfortably. My head tilts. “You still think I should have stuck it out?”

He says nothing, just gets up to grab himself another beer. None for me… Thanks, Pops.

“That’s awful, Ky.” Hannah covers my hand with hers on the table. It startles me, and I glimpse at her, shocked by the contact. “You deserve better.”

A scoff comes from the other side of the table, and my face snaps in Avi’s direction. He’s sipping from his bottle, smirk intact.

“What’s your problem?” I squint at him.

He finishes his slow swallow, eyes set on mine. “Nothing. I’m sure you didn’t deserve to be cheated on.”

“Avi!” Hannah scolds.

“I’m just saying…” he goes on with an indifferent shrug. “Karma’s a bitch. Treat other people like shit and it eventually comes back to you.”

“You sound like a moron,” I grumble.

“Boys,” my dad huffs, shaking his head. “Can’t we have one family dinner where you two aren’t at each other’s throats the whole time?? It’s getting really old.”

Now it’s my turn to scoff. I hate to admit it, but he has a point. Avi and I spend a majority of our every encounter bickering, which is why I make it a point to ignore him as much as humanly possible when you share a house, a school, and a bathroom with someone. Something about just being in his general vicinity turns up my internal frustrations a few hundred notches, and I don’t need the stress.

I just want to get away from him for good. August cannot come soon enough.

“Good point. Let’s change the subject.” Avi leans back in his chair. “I was going to wait until after cake to share the good news, but I can’t hold it in anymore.”

He’s beaming, straight white teeth nearly blinding me. In fact, it’s making me wish I was blind, so I didn’t have to see that goddamn smile for one more second. It might be part of the reason I enjoy fucking with him at school… Turning that thing upside down gives me immense pleasure.

My dad and Hannah are eagerly awaiting Avi’s news, while I’m just sitting here, vigorously peeling chunks of label off my empty beer bottle.

“I’ve decided I won’t be going to Tufts,” Avi announces, and that gets me. My eyes spring up, and of course he’s staring right at me. “Because I got accepted to BC.”

What… the… fuck?!

I feel all the color drain from my face. My heart has completely stopped pumping and is just sitting in my chest like a dead hunk of meat.

No… No, no, no. No fucking way.

I don’t even notice how hard my fingers are digging into the table until they start to ache.

“Aviel! Oh my God, that’s amazing!” Hannah cheers, jumping up to hug her son.

“Congratulations, Avi!” My dad squeezes his shoulder. “Both of my boys going to Boston College!”

I’m gonna throw up.

“Go Eagles.” Avi grins at me while our parents freak out all around him. His dark eyebrow cocks. “Right, bro?”

Forcing myself into motion, I shove my chair back with a loud scrape. I feel physically sick and lightheaded as I stand up.

“Well… that’s just fucking perfect,” I croak, turning away from them and staggering inside the house, slamming the door behind me.

It’s a sliding door, so you really can’t slam it, which only serves to piss me off more. And I end up reopening and closing it four times just to slam it as hard as I can.

Completely unsatisfying. And now I look like even more of child having a temper tantrum.

“Fuck!” I growl out loud, ripping my hair at the roots.

This is such bullshit! I thought I was escaping him going to BC! Now he’s following me there, like some kind of unavoidable nuisance.

I’m shaking, I’m so angry. Stalking over to the birthday cake on the counter, I hock a massive, raging loogie and spit it right on top of the pretty chocolate frosting.

“Take that, asshole,” I teem.

Rushing through the house and up the stairs, I go to my bedroom and slam the door. Much better. I let out an even louder roar of frustration, grabbing the nearest item—a football trophy from middle school—and whipping it against the wall.

“Fuck you!” I seethe, pacing in circles. “Fuck you and your birthday. Fuck you and your BC acceptance letter… Fuck you and your smile! Fuck you fuck you fuck you!”

I’m fuming and can barely see through the red. I fucking hate him! I fucking despise him for stealing literally everything I have. Everything that was mine is now his, and it’s almost devastating.

Crawling onto my bed, I cover my head with my pillow and try my hardest to calm down. Sucking in breath after breath, I struggle to bite back the emotions.

Swallow them. Swallow swallow swallow.

Like fighting to eat something disgusting. Chew and fucking swallow it; push it all down; pack it into your gut.

“This isn’t a joke. You can’t just make things up like this, Kyran. I’m sure you’re overreacting.”

“Fuck you,” I breathe, choking on the emotions trying to scrape back up my throat like bile.

“I’m not making it up…”

“Yes, you are. Stop lying.”

“I’m not lying!”

“Fuck… you…” I whimper, with tears pushing behind my eyes.

Squeezing them shut tight, I scream into my bed, as loud as I can.

I’m twelve years old again… Screaming into the mattress. Screaming until my lungs hurt.

“You’ve destroyed everything…”

“Fuck!!” I scream. And cry.

And scream, and cry.

Until, exhausted and hoarse, I fall asleep, with my father’s disappointed tone lulling me in quiet torment.


I wake up to the sound of banging.

Lifting my head is difficult. It feels like it weighs a hundred pounds. My temples are throbbing, my face tight and my throat sore. Clearly, I fell asleep in a rage, which hasn’t happened in a while. Even on Thanksgiving, when my dad proposed to Hannah, it wasn’t this bad.

Slithering out of bed, I rub my eyes. It’s dark outside, which means I must have passed out for at least a few hours. Reaching for my nightstand, I grab a bottle of Excedrin Migraine and pop two. Unfortunately, the pounding in my head is being matched by the sound pounding nearby. It only takes me a few seconds to realize it’s coming from the bathroom door. Or rather, Avi’s bathroom door.

“Kyran! I need to get into the goddamn bathroom!” Avi shouts from inside his bedroom. “Unlock the fucking door, you wank!”

I grin to myself. I must have locked his door this morning before I left for school.

Oops.

Reclining in bed, I close my eyes, waiting for the medicine to kick in and fix this headache. The sounds of him cursing at me through two doors widens my evil smirk. But then it stops, and is replaced by footsteps, followed by a new banging, on my bedroom door.

“Kyran, stop being a whiny bitch and let me into the fucking bathroom!” he hollers at me from out in the hall.

“Use the downstairs one,” I grunt, just barely loud enough for him to hear me.

“No! All my stuff is in this one.” His voice is extra petulant, and it has me rolling my eyes.

“Not my problem, princess,” I huff, still smiling.

I don’t even care if he’s right about karma attacking me, because messing with him is all too satisfying. Especially now.

I’ll take it, if it means getting him back for what he’s taking of mine… My escape plan. It’s so much more important than his special Dove For Men soap he loves to use.

“You’re really being an epic prick, you know that?” he rants through the door. “So I’m going to BC… Big fucking deal. It’s not the end of the world.”

That’s it. My spine stiffens, and I stand up fast, stalking over to the door. Unlocking it, I whip it open, meeting a startled look on his face, as if he didn’t expect me to actually open it.

Actually, it is,” I growl. “It is the end of the world. BC was supposed to get me away from you. And now you’re following me there like some clingy ex-girlfriend.”

He makes a face like he’s amused at my audacity, and it brings the fury back, bounding through my limbs once more.

“You don’t own Boston College.” He folds his arms over his chest. “I can go to school wherever I want. This is America… Land of the free to go into crippling student loan debt anywhere you choose.”

“Exactly,” I hiss. “So go somewhere else. You don’t even care about school.”

“What’s wrong, brother?” He smirks, leaning against the doorframe. “You don’t wanna hang out with me for four more years?”

“I’d rather get kicked in the nuts for four years,” I mutter.

“Oh, well… that can be arranged.” He winks, and I’m about to explode.

Stepping up to his face, I smolder, “If you come to Boston College, I swear to God, I will make your life a living hell…”

But he doesn’t back down. In fact, he squares up to me and grins. “Game on, superstar. In case you haven’t noticed, you don’t intimidate me.”

“You’re gonna regret this,” I growl, inches from his face.

His brow arches. “You mean like your ex regrets not cheating on you sooner?”

Nope. I just can’t stuff it down anymore.

The wrath inside me bubbles over as I roar out loud and lunge at him.

Tackling him to the floor, I grab him by the throat. “I’ll wipe that fucking smirk off your face, you self-righteous prick!”

“Not before I wipe my ass with your face cloth, you epic toolbag!” he bellows while we wrestle each other on the floor of the hallway.

There are limbs everywhere. I’m choking him while he punches me in the sides, over and over. We’re rolling around, screaming and kicking. I’m pulling his hair, he’s biting me. It’s just a mess. The stupidest fight ever, and not that I want to think about it, but we really seem like brothers now more than ever. Which, of course, pisses me off even more.

“How was your birthday cake, loser?!” I knee him in the gut, and he grunts.

He pauses for a minute, gaping up at me while we both heave for breath. “It was good… Why?” I grin wickedly, and he gasps. “Oh my God, did you jizz in it?!”

My face scrunches into one of bewildered disgust. “Ew, what the fuck is wrong with you??”

“You did something to it, didn’t you?!” He twists my arm behind my back, and I whine.

“I spit on it!” I laugh breathlessly. “Hope you enjoyed eating my saliva, asshole!”

“Bitch!” he snarls, and we’re back to tumbling on the floor, fighting like eight-year-olds.

The sound of heavy footsteps breaks into the rushing blood in my ears, and I look up from where I have Avi in a headlock to meet the irate gazes of my father and stepmother.

“What the hell is going on here?!” my dad barks while he and Hannah rush up the steps.

He immediately pulls me off of Avi, while Hannah does the same to her son.

“Avi, let go of him!” she shrieks, and Avi finally releases a fistful of my hair. “Break it up, you two!”

“This is fucking ludicrous!” my father roars as they get us both upright again. Avi and I are disheveled and breathing heavily, still glaring at one another. “I won’t let this go on for one more second. All this fighting has to stop!”

Biting the inside of my cheek, I purse my lips, refusing to back down first. This is all his fault anyway… My stepbrother, who popped into my life for the sole purpose of ruining it.

“Whether you like it or not, you two are family now,” my father says firmly. “And you will act like it.”

“I want both of you to apologize and shake hands,” Hannah demands. “Right now.”

“He started it…” Avi mumbles, and Hannah slaps him on the chest.

“Aviel Vega, you’re an adult,” she hisses. “Act like it. Shake hands right now and apologize, or so help me, neither of you will see the outside of your bedrooms until you leave for college. Do you understand?”

Our stubborn glares remain locked for a couple more heavy seconds, before Avi rolls his eyes and mutters, “Sorry…”

“Me, too.” I force the words out. But my dad isn’t satisfied, and he shoves me forward. My jaw is tight as I grunt, “I’m… sorry,” and extend my hand.

Avi shakes it, limp and unenthused. Then we immediately turn and stomp into our respective bedrooms. And I hear my dad and Hannah mumbling about how obnoxious we are as they go back downstairs.

Ten seconds later, there’s one last bang from inside Avi’s room.

“The door, Kyran,” he growls.

Rolling my eyes, I stalk inside the bathroom and unlock his door. He flings it open, face still flushed with aggravation.

“I’m serious,” I mutter one last threat. “Stay the fuck away from me at BC, or next time, I’ll break your fucking nose.”

Spinning, I leave the bathroom, ignoring his words on my way out.

“You got it, superstar.”


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