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message 1: by E L L E (new)

E L L E (lacustrine_dreams) | 255 comments Mod

message 2: by Emily (last edited Aug 07, 2018 11:30PM) (new)

Emily | 44 comments

Scotland didn’t believe in warm weather. Although it was still technically summer, Renny found himself flipping the hood of his navy sweatshirt over his head of unkempt, wavy brown hair and pulling the drawstrings taut. This, he had learned, was the warmest that the weather would be for some time, before the temperatures plummeted again and left him choking on the sharp cold air every time he dared to step outside. Tucking his curled hands into his sweatshirt pocket, Ren stuck out a leg without much effort and let Nora’s unruly pass of the soccer ball bounce off his ankle. He nudged it right back across the fresh cut grass, watching the battered ball roll its way straight to Nora’s awaiting foot.

He hadn’t said much of anything since they had come out here to knock the ball around “for old time’s sake;” his stormy blue eyes kept to the ground, sometimes briefly flickering across Nora’s beaming smile, before they would return to watching the ball tumble between them. He couldn’t believe she had kept this from him. A scholarship? To Aldridge? Moving here, to Scotland, leaving their mum home alone with… him? The two of them had always been incredibly close as siblings, as they always looked out for each other and kept each other’s secrets. He was rarely angry with her, but this was not one of those times. Renny was bothered. How long had she been planning this? How long had she known, and why hadn’t she told him? She of all people had ought to know that he wasn’t one for surprises!

Moreover, why? He understood that they missed each other, but did it really warrant her working that incredibly difficult in school just to get to an overpriced private academy? Ren was miffed, and although he had swept her up into his arms in a rib-crushing hug when he’d first opened his dorm door, he wasn’t feeling too fond of her bright laughter as she stumbled with the ball. How could she just pretend that this was okay? Sighing huffily, Ren gave Nora a look when the ball hurtled past him and bumped against a tree. “You’re still no good at soccer,” he snorted, forcing strained conversation to come out of his mouth.

“I don’t want to play anymore. I’m tired,” Ren announced curtly when he returned with the ball, refusing to make eye contact with his sister and instead, letting his gaze drift to three students setting up a hammock between two trees across the meadow. He brushed past her wordlessly, headed for the dormitory knowing full well that sooner or later, Nora was going to pester him for his feelings, and sooner or later, he was going to get angry. And he didn’t want to get angry, not when he just got her back after a full year without her.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Nora watched the ball carefully, feeling pressure to keep up with her brother. He was always so good at soccer and she was always decent. Her whole life she had struggled to keep up with him, and now she was. Now she was here, free of the trial, of the drama, and the pain from back home in London. In Scotland, she was a whole new person. In Scotland, she could be anything and do anything and would t have to worry about the gossip and rumors that spread around school. No one knew her dad was in jail. No one knew...including Renny. She riddled with their moms class ring on her middle finger, a gift given before she left. Renny didn’t know she was coming. He didn’t know about their dad, and it was her moms fault. They wanted him to focus on soccer and school and if he had known about the abuse that was going on, he would have given it all up. Nora couldn’t ask that of him.

After the initial hug Lorenzo shut down, and barely made eye contact with her which made her insane. They hadn’t seen each other in a year. It had been an entire year since she has seen her brother and he’s not even gonna talk to her? Ask her how she was? How mom was? Nora refused to let that drive her too insane, instead choosing to be happy. She told him all about how their old childhood friends were, how his old soccer buds were doing, how mom was. She stayed away from the topic of dad and how their parents marriage was (awful), instead focusing on the easy stuff. The happy stuff. He didn’t really say anything back. So when they got outside to the meadow, Nora shut up, only a soft “I’ll get it” or “sorry” escaped her lips when she kicked the soccer ball too far, or too wide or up in a tree (it happened once).

She returned the kick to him, wincing when it sailed right past him and into a nearby tree. Crap. She was awful. Renny gave her a look before chasing after it and telling her that her skills hadn’t improved since he left. Yeah. She knew that. He wasn’t there to play with. He wasn’t there when dad Came home wasted and screamed. He wasn’t there to pick up the broken bottles in the morning, and he wasn’t there when their mom cried herself to sleep every night and Nora locked her bedroom door. He wasnt freaking there. And now he was upset about something, and it was about her because he was fine when she first got there. He was fine before he opened the door and saw her. He was fine and now he’s not and Nora was determined to figure out why. Renny got the ball and sent it right to her, before announcing that he was done. He was done? No. No fricken way.

“Hey, that’s not fair.” She turned, jogging after him for a second and grabbing his arm, forcing him to look at her. “You don’t get to do that. What’s wrong? Talk to me.” They were close and knew everything. She knew when he was upset and when he was happy, and he knew he couldn’t hide it so why was he even bothering? Eleanor ran her fingers through her dark hair, huffing out a sigh. She had not wanted their reunion to be so disastrous, but here she was, fighting with her brother on day one. “Are you upset that I’m here? I mean, I know I sprang it on you...but I just didn’t want to distract you or get your hopes up if my scholarship fell through. Is that why you’re upset? That I didn’t tell you?” She shifted on her feet, suddenly avoiding his gaze. Did he not want her here? Was she not good enough anymore? Maybe she was just another reminder to him of their shitty childhood. She should have gotten into another boarding school instead. Nora could have escaped their father at another school. She would leave if it came down to it. He was there first. She just wished that it had gone as planned. That he was happy she was there. That was all.

message 4: by Emily (last edited Aug 08, 2018 12:49AM) (new)

Emily | 44 comments

And there it was; the Nora arm grab, the classicwhat’s-wrong, the beginning of something Ren didn’t want to deal with. Not with a critical team practice later that evening, and certainly not on Nora’s first day here. He was perhaps being selfish for being upset that she hadn’t told him. Nora had never been the type to do something out of spite or have ill intentions, he knew her heart was always in a good place and that she would never intentionally try to lie and hurt him. But didn’t he at least deserve to be informed about his sister flying across the UK to attend his boarding school? It made him wonder what else Nora kept from him, what other big secrets were behind her concerned brown eyes.

Ren leaned his weight on one hip as he pocketed his hands, opening his mouth as if to say something only to close it with a silent shake of his head. Knowing that he wasn’t going to jump at the opportunity to indulge her in the state of his woes, Nora dove into the conflict headfirst. You see, the difference between them was that Ren liked to pretend that everything was fine; that he could soldier on and ignore things that bothered him on the inside. The silent-sufferer. That’s how it had to be, from the beginning, because he couldn’t let his little sister get upset about his problems too. Nora, on the other hand, never liked to let un-had arguments sit unconfronted, and she had this thing about always trying to know everyone’s feelings.

Today was no exception; and in classic Nora fashion, she walked herself through rationalizations of why he could be bothered with her aloud while he stood stoically by, pretending to not look peeved. When she reached a conclusion, it took everything he had not to snort and sputter, roll his eyes at her assumption. She was such a genius. What did she want, a gold star? Silence had once again settled between them, Ren’s lips refusing to utter a single word despite all the thoughts flying round his head.

“We tell each other everything, Norrie,” Ren finally said through his teeth quietly, looking down at his untied shoelace. “This scholarship, moving here- you don’t think that’s worthy news to tell me? I’m happy for you,” he faltered, “but why did you keep such a huge part of your life from me? And mum? You left mum, in London?” He was starting to crack as the words started coming all at once. Because of her, now he had another responsibility. All his life he’d taken care of her, and mum, and always was fretting about the two of them. He finally had gotten to be a teenager, more concerned with soccer games than father’s latest drunken obscenities howled at half past two in the morning, and now Nora being here was bringing it all back to the front of his mind.

His problems at home were becoming all too vivid again. To add, he would have to guard over Nora again, fuss about the pervy rugby lads from down the hall getting in her pants. At least at home, he knew his mates would protect her, and his father had always been gentler with her when he wasn’t around. While he loved her terribly, he almost found himself wishing that Nora hadn’t come. He had tried reinventing himself here, he had tried for the love of God to be a bit more like everyone else and less of a scowling arsehole. How would Nora even take that? He felt he had changed tremendously in her absence, but now? Would he regress? Ren was ashamed that the thought even crossed his mind at all.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Nora and ren were complete opposites when it came to feelings. She was passionate and loud when she was in pain, and he was silent. Mum always liked to say that they were so close because they were so different like they, but Norrie thought it was the one thing that caused them to fight. She couldn’t stand to let anything go, and Renny would be happy if she never confronted him again. Knowing that unless she started questioning him and what was going on in his brain nothing would get solved, she dived right in. Already feeling a little heated, her cheeks were flushed, and she felt the need to start screaming in Spanish and he hadn’t even replied yet. They stood in silence for what felt like ever, Ren gathering his anger before he finally felt stirred up enough to reply to her. And when he did, she couldn’t mask the hurt.

He was upset that she left mum in London. He wanted her to stay in London with their father. He wanted her to stay with their father her eyes watered, and she couldn’t help the guilt that took over her chest and stomach, holding her heart with a tight fist. She felt like she was going to throw up. “You’re mad because I left mum in London?” She whispered, shaking her head slightly. “I don’t...I don’t Even know what to say Ren. You wanted me to stay in London where our father came home drunk every night, where I had to lock my bedroom door and pray that would keep him away. You wanted me to stay there?” She was getting loud, her voice rising with every accusation. She couldn’t help it. Her mom always said she got it from her father, her passion, that it was the Spanish side of her that went to the extremes. Nora knew that she should calm down but she couldn’t. Not now.

She backed away from him, feeling like she was going to throw up. Eleanor couldn’t name the feeling that gathered in her chest, it wasn’t guilt anymore, it wasn’t shame, it wasn’t anger, but it was overwhelming, it was getting hard to breathe because her best friend, the only person she could count on her whole life wanted her to stay with her father and mum for the rest of her life. Maybe it was time to tell him. The big secret. It wasn’t fair of her mum to decide to keep it from him, but maybe jt was time so he could see that her coming was the best thing for all of them. She was quiet for a minute, looking down at her feet as she tried to gather the courage she needed. Lorenzo was not going to like this one bit.

“Dads going to jail.” She said softly...considerably more calm than she had been five minutes ago, but only because she knew her brother was going to lose it. “Mum made me promise not to tell you. She didn’t want you to worry or come home. She wanted at least one of us to get away from him because she couldn’t afford to send me anywhere. She said that you not knowing was the only thing that kept her sane. But he’s going to Jail Renny and I had to do it all by myself.” She had not wanted to have to do this. At all. Ever. It was going to kill their mother. “You weren’t there. You got to wake up early in the morning to study for an algebra test but I got to wake up early to clean up broken beer bottles. How’s that for fair?”

Nora knew that this wouldn’t go over well, that Mum would be so angry she told, that Renny would be so angry that she didn’t tell him sooner, but when your mum says it’s the only thing that gives her can’ can’t break your promise. She couldn’t take that way from her mother who was losing her mind every time she got a phone call saying her husband was thrown out of another pub for starting another brawl. Not when her mother got so little joy. Whenever Renny called home her mother was lively and loving again. Nora couldn’t have taken that away from her. No matter how much it hurt her brother.

message 6: by Emily (new)

Emily | 44 comments

Ren knew he didn’t exactly have the right tell Nora what she could and couldn’t do. She was her own person most of the time, he probably couldn’t have dissuaded her from coming even if he tried. What went on at home had always been unsightly, Ren had at first planned to turn down the scholarship when it was offered to him because he couldn’t bear to leave his mum and sister alone with his father. He didn’t trust that man. What would become of them when Ren left? Would it get worse, would his father spiral out of control and do something unspeakable to harm them? He hadn’t even considered moving away until he could pry away his sister with him at the least.

But it was Nora who had insisted that he go. It was a tremendous opportunity to be awarded heaps of money to attend some posh private academy, all to play soccer and pursue better academics. Renzo had denied it and called it selfish to leave them behind to fend for themselves, but they weren’t taking no for an answer. Of course his father was belligerent that the scholarship money couldn’t be turned into liquid cash for the needy family to spend instead, and that Ren, who had been working two shifts to support the bills, was abandoning them for a bloody lot of rotten spoiled twats when the education was “perfectly well” here in London.

But Nora had promised him, that she and mum would look out for each other, that father was less likely to come after his only daughter if Ren wasn’t around, instigating. It was likely because Nora could still be kind to their alcoholic Andres, while Renzo couldn’t find a single fiber in him that could ever fetch his father a glass of water when he was hungover. That, and Nora would be out of school within two years in any case, and by getting a job she could avoid going home to that disastrously dirty flat. After much urging and reassurances aplenty, Ren had agreed to come to Aldridge.

And now, Nora was standing in front of him on campus grounds, making him feel all sorts of guilty and incompetent as a big brother. He should have been there. Ren was dead silent as she prattled on about their father, about what “home” really was, unable to find words to justify why he was upset with her for leaving mum. After all, he had left mum first. They had promised that their father would get better, but he hadn’t. Now she was yelling at him, her short brown hair tossing with every animated hand gesture she made.

Had she told him how conditions really were rather than softening them whenever he rang, Ren would have come home. In an instant, he would pack up and leave this place. He didn’t belong as it was, and he wasn’t trying to force himself to assimilate with these posh, opulent children. Instead, Nora had elected to keep that from him, flying to Scotland and leaving what was likely a heartbroken Mum by herself. How could she? But of course, Ren couldn’t relay any of this to Nora, because he hated to quarrel with her. It always brought on this tension that he couldn’t bear, and until Nora felt ready to come to him even if he was at fault, they wouldn’t speak.

Nora would never see it his way, anyway, he knew by that fierce look in her eyes that she was ultimately convinced that she was rightfully justified. Ren still hadn’t said anything, and likely wouldn’t have peeped again, until Nora decided to follow with another shocking piece of news. A shocking piece of news that, of course, had been also concealed from him until now. “Jail-?” Ren repeated abruptly, his glum expression quickly snapping into one of confused anger. As she went on, it had become clear that mum, also, had been aware, and that in his absence, his family had conspired on several occasions.

Ren was furious now, seething as shadows cast across his face. He would kill that bastard. Grasping Nora’s shoulders, Ren shook her as if to physically empty the information out of her. “What did he do? Why is he off to jail? Did he hurt you? Mum-?” He was becoming pink in the face, and the hammock-hanging students had all stopped to watch curiously. “Why didn’t you call? Am I not a part of this family? Am I not the brother who has taken care of you for so many years? I could have come home, Norrie, I could have protected you- both of you!” Ren sputtered, throwing his hands in the air. “This was a damned mistake, I can’t believe I let you fool me into coming here,” he shot a disappointed look her way, his arms crossed tight in front of his chest while his fists curled tighter under his armpits. “You said that everything was okay. You bloody lied to me.” And perhaps that was what hurt him most.

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

It wasn't fair of Nora to throw all of this onto Ren at once. She knew that. And when her and her mum had decided she would be joining her brother in Scotland, they went over what she would tell him. Multiple times. It was always 'Don't worry about mum, she's visiting Aunt Emily in Durham. Nothings wrong. Dad's just fine, better even. In rehab.' That was the line she was supposed to feed her brother, and over the phone and in letter or email it was easy. It was so easy to convince him that everything was just fine, but in person? Impossible. He knew her better than anyone, he could easily tell she was lying. And Eleanor didn't want to lie anymore. It wasn't ok.

She kept going, verbally berating him for his absence. She had begged him to go. Norrie had begged Renny to leave them, to get out while he could. She promised she would get a job that would keep her out of the house, and she promised that they would be just fine. Her mother begged too, picked up another job, both of them fighting to prove to him that they could do it without him. So it wasn't fair of her to do this. It wasn't fair. But it also wasn't fair of him to hate her for wanting the same thing. She worked hard for this scholarship, and would have to continue to achieve perfect GPA. It wasn't fair that he didn't want to give her the same opportunities that he got.

Eleanor wasn't thinking straight anymore. She was angry, and he wasn't fighting her or correcting her so she kept right on going, and dropped the biggest bomb of them all. Their father was in jail. It was assault and public intoxication charges. He wasn't even in jail for what he did to his wife and youngest child. He was in jail because he got hammered, and Attacked the bouncer who was throwing him out of the pub in the middle of the night. That wasn't fair either. The bastard would probably serve a maximum of two years, and that was if he didn't get out on parole. Andres Calderon hadn't even had his trial yet.

Ren was so angry. His eyes flared as he reached out and grabbed her shoulders which scared her so bad. She flinched, bracing herself for the pain to come. Terror was written all over her face, and she was sure it was the answer to all of his questions. Yes. Their father hurt her and mum. She was shaking harder than he had even shaken her, the tight grip of his hands hurting the healing bruises. "Renny that hurts." she whispered, unable to look him in the eyes. She was silent as he continued to demand answers she would have to give him. She felt awful for hiding it. She had done this to herself.

Norrie was quiet for a moment, shoving her shaking hands into her jacket pockets to hide them from her brother as she gathered herself. This was Renny. He would never hurt her. "Sorry." She whispered softly, tucking a stray hair behind her ear. She was in Scotland. It was ok. "Yes. He hurt me and Mum. But thats not why he's in jail. He was arrested for public intoxication and assaulting a bouncer. He's waiting on a trial and he might qualify for parole. He wouldn't...he wouldn't let me get a job and he wouldn't let Mum and I if I was ever going to get out of there it had to be now. She wouldn't...she wouldn't let me tell you." She looked up at him finally, pleading that he would understand.

"Ren she told me that you being safe and far away and oblivious was the only thing she could hold onto. She said...that knowing she hadn't subjected you to him was the thing that kept her going. She cried herself to sleep every night and every time I just wanted to tell you shed look at me with those desperate eyes. She wanted to keep you safe Renny. And I couldn't argue with that." She did lie. She did lie to him, but it was for a good reason. "I'm sorry I lied to you. I-I didn't want to."

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