Over the next months there were birthdays. Several of them.
The twins became teens.
KC celebrated a round birthday: 40.
And Coleton became a teen as well.
And then the hormonal rage started trying everybody’s patience, including the teens among themselves.
While the twins were both outgoing and assertive, sometimes a little too much so
… Cole was more on the introverted shy side and preferred to be indoors playing video games, reading and watching movies. He had not made any new friends during summer, instead sometimes would tag along with his cousins. If he left the house at all.
Ethan and Esmée both enjoyed sports, Ethan the typical ones you’d expect for most boys, like baseball, soccer, swimming in the lake with some of his many friends and Ezzy, like her mother before her, had been attending ballet classes since she was 3. Her dream was to try out for cheerleading as soon as school started and one day be a professional ballerina.
The children would start high school together after the summer.
“Hey!” a boy she had not seen before appeared before Esmée as she was packing up after practice. Her friends all had plans, so she stayed behind without them.
“Hey yourself.” Ezzy’s tone was less than welcoming, which did not deter the boy.
“I have seen you dancing. You are really good.” he told her.
“It’s not a dance, it’s a routine. And everybody has seen me, that’s the point of a cheerleader.” Esmée was annoyed
“That guy you hugged earlier, is he your boyfriend?”
“None of your business is what he was!” Esmée wasn’t into boys trying to get to know her like that, usually only because she was a cheerleader. Other boys, much cuter than this one, had tried and failed gloriously. Which is why she kept to herself that the boy she had hugged earlier had been Ethan, her twin brother.
“So you hug all the players for good luck or just him? Just asking, maybe I’ll try out for the team if the cheerleaders here are so friendly. I am Benny.” he smiled.
“Can you go be Benny somewhere else?”
“Why are you so bitchy?”
“What?!” Esmée couldn’t believe her ears.
“You are Esther aren’t you?”
“NOPE.” Now he had really pissed her off.
“I thought that’s what he said. What is your name then?”
“Not one you ever need to know.”
“OK, cheerleader, what is your problem?”
“Straight back at you.”
“They said you were nice! And helpful.”
“Who said that?”
“The school secretary and the coach. Said you know this area well, because your family has lived here for generations. I just moved here, so they said to talk to you for some intel and a tour.”
“Why not ask some boy on the team? A lot of the guys are locals to the Bay. Get to know who you’re gonna be cheering for – because, no offense and all, but you are never going to be joining any sports team in this universe, oh and – GOOOOOOO PIRATES! WHEEE!”
“Because they are going for pizza now and as you pointed out I am not part of the team nor will I ever be, so they sent me to you instead.”
“Nice. Ethan gets pizza and I get the new school dork.”
“Wow. Sorry for bothering you.”
The boy was obviously done biting on granite with Esmée, turned and walked off. This made her feel bad, because he had done or said nothing bad to her.
“Ah, crap. Hey you wait … sorry about that. Let’s start over. I am Esmée, but you can call me Ezzy, most people do. Come on, let me get changed real quick and I’ll show you around, won’t take long, we have like 30 buildings and 100 souls in this town and half of those are pets or imaginary friends …”
“Sounds great. Again, I am Benjamin, but everyone calls me Benny.” he smiled.
They walked for a while through Brindleton Bay, Esmée pointed out and explained just as patiently as Benny listened. After the big loop around town they saw the school again as they were passing by her parents’ store. Her mother saw her and waved, Ezzy waved back.
“You know everybody in this town?”
“Kinda. Would be really weird if I didn’t know her though. My mom.”
“Oh, so your folks own a wood shop?”
“Wow, a genius.”
“Why does everything I say set you off?”
“So, where did you move to? You saw the town’s not that big, I don’t know of anyone who moved or died.” Ezzy ignored his question.
“Nobody did. Well, someone did, but not here. My mom died, my dad couldn’t handle it, so he sent me to live with my grandparents. He sometimes stays with us, but is all weird. Depression, grandpa says. They own the house on the cliffs.”
“The house on the cliffs is the Graingers. I am pretty sure you are not related.”
“No, the other cliffs. Across the beach from there. The vineyard. Grandpa said that at some point Liam Cameron was said to have lived in the Grainger house. Funny, I’d have imaged something much bigger. Didn’t he have like 6 kids or something?”
“Liam Cameron DID live there once, and the house used to be bigger. It was torn down and a new one build when the Graingers moved there. And he had 4 bio kids, 2 adopted kids, 1 foster kid and 2 young men he and his wife kinda raised. Not all at the same time though.”
“You should be a tour guide. You know your stuff. Liam Cameron was before our time. But I guess some of his flicks are classics.”
“That and he was my great-grandpa.”
“Oh cool, I met someone famous on my first day!”
“I am not famous. He left the spotlight and that ended that. Before you ask for money, I am not rich either. I can ask my dad for a discount for wooden furniture if you need that.”
“Did you know him, your great-grandpa?”
“No. He died before I was born. Can you quit fangirling him now?”
“So what do you do when you are not mean to the new kid?”
“Then I split my time between cheerleading, ballet and being mean to the old kids. I gotta go home now, so … you know. Good luck with school and all. See ya.”
“Okay.” Benny sighed.
This was really nothing new. He had always had a hard time making friends, shy and socially awkward by nature, and other kids just naturally rejected and resented him. At some point some other rejects and nerds would accept him into their fold.
Standing in the school’s hallway with her friends, Esmée noticed some commotion somewhere down the hall, which suddenly became physical.
“Are you kidding me?!” Ezzy interrupted her friend’s story when she was distracted by the commotion down the hall, where some guys had just tripped up a boy who had fallen to the ground and was being made fun off now.
Since all other kids either kept on walking or just stood and stared and no teachers were in sight, Ezzy ran over, to help the boy up.
It was the annoying kid from the day before. Benny.
“Thank you” he now told her smiling embarrassed.
“Aww looks like he has a girlfriend now…” The bully mocked.
“No, just someone who doesn’t need to make up for a small dick!” Esmée hissed at him. Normally she didn’t like potty-mouths, but she was livid now.
“What did you say?! You want some of this too?!” the guy offered angrily.
“I do! I’d like to see you try! Is this guy bothering you Ezzy?” As usual, where there was one twin, the other was not far, and Ethan appeared, puffing himself up next to his sister.
“Ezzy? What kinda retarded name is Ezzy?” the other boy said with disdain.
“The last one you will ever hear.” Ethan threatened.
“Kids, what is going on here?” a teacher interfered.
“She attacked and insulted me and he tried to punch me.” the other boy told him.
“LIE! He tripped up Benny, made fun of him and kicked his backpack!” Esmée corrected.
“Who’s Benny?” Ethan was confused.
“Your girlfriend’s boyfriend!” the other guy said gleefully.
“That’s my sister you moron.” Ethan told him.
“ENOUGH! All of you into the office with me!” the teacher decided.
“You have been in high school a whopping 6 months now and already I have to pick the both of you up from the principal’s office?!” Everleigh was fuming as she addressed both teens after wordlessly walking them over from the school.
“I was only helping her.” Ethan said, earning himself a jab with the elbow by Ezzy.
“Your sister said a censored word to some other boy. And then you shoved or hit him. Since when is it okay to attack other kids, Ethan?” Everleigh told him.
“No, that was me, too. I just nudged a little hard and he went to hug the lockers. With his face.” Ezzy admitted.
“Ha ha ha, that’s my girl.” KC laughed.
“KC!” Evey shot him warning glances.
“What?! You rather her be shy and scared? Better she gives them five across the eye, helps me sleep better at night when that whole dating stuff starts in a few years. Why did you shove him, was he being fresh with you?” he asked Esmée with concern.
“She was helping another boy.” Ethan answered for his sister, nothing unusual for the twins.
“What boy?” KC asked him.
“Benny.” Ezzy answered for him now.
“Who’s Benny?” KC asked her.
“A boy from school.” Ethan continued the twin answering ping pong.
“OK – I am breathing … breathing … why is my 13 year old daughter beating up people in the name of Benny?” KC asked on the verge of getting upset about the merry-go round of direct answer evasions by both teens.
“That one guy was a bully. He was mean to Benny, tripped him up and then made fun of him. Nobody else did a thing. So I did! And Ethan helped.” Ezzy explained.
“Did you tell the principal that.” Everleigh asked.
“Of course she did.” Ethan replied for her.
“I was talking to your sister! So how did you get involved, Ethan? Also helping Benny?”
“I don’t know any Bennies. I was helping Ezzy.” he said.
“OK, guys. I guess your intentions were good, but no more going Robin Hood at school. If you see someone being bullied, call a teacher for help. No more self justice.” Evey told them.
“Mom, it wasn’t like I busted their knee caps or something, Gansta style. All I did was help someone by giving that idiot a taste of his own medicine!”
“No. More. Of. That.” Evey repeated, over-enunciating each word.
“Fiiiiine.” Ezzy pouted.
“You too, Ethan.”
“Ok, no more of whatever it is you think I did but I didn’t even do.” he shrugged.
“Good, now homework, then lunch. And you – stop that smirking! These are YOUR genes running wild.” Everleigh told KC.
“Sure they are, that is why I used to call you Combat Barbie.” he grinned.
“Hey.” Esmée heard behind her as she shut the door to her locker.
“Hey yourself.” she said, looking at her books and notebook.
“Just wanted to say thanks for helping me yesterday. Sorry you got in trouble. I told the principal and my grandpa that you and your brother only tried to help me.”
“What the hell happened to your eye!?” she had looked up and saw a big shiner and band-aid on his cheek.
“Nothing. I … fell.”
“Do I really look THAT stupid to you?!”
“Just let it go, okay?”
“It was that bully, wasn’t it?”
“Let it go. If you tell someone, it’ll just get worse. It’ll blow over.”
“Let it go?! You look like you got into a bar brawl! That’s a major black eye! Why did your grandpa not say anything?”
“His and grandma’s eyes aren’t that good and I told them I tripped on the stairs. It does happen, so they believed it.”
“Oh, look, it’s nerdy and the bitch!” They heard the voice of the bully behind them.
“Oh no you didn’t!” Ezzy turned around, her eyes shooting sparks before she took the swing.
“I cannot believe you, Ezzy! What were you thinking?! You nearly knocked that poor boy out cold! What is wrong with you, girl!?” Everleigh was horrified.
“I am impressed. My delicate 13 year old daughter serves a punch every boxer would be proud of. What do they teach you girls in ballet and cheerleading?!”
“KC! That is counter-productive. Do not encourage her.” Evey warned him.
“Honestly Evey, I am pretty sure Ezzy doesn’t just punch boys’ lights out for no reason.”
“KC, stop! We cannot let this go just so or she will think violence is all right. She may end up in a violent relationship thinking it is okay…”
“I pity to dude who ever tries to hit my girl. If she doesn’t shred him, Ethan will! And that is only until I get to him! There won’t be anything left!”
“YUP!” Ethan agreed.
“KC, stop it, that is exactly the kind of talk that causes this.”
“That bully from yesterday gave Benny a shiner, then he called me a bitch.” Esmée now interjected.
“WHAT?! I am going to that bully’s house and talk some sense into his parents!!!” KC went from amused to livid in zero seconds flat.
“You will not! I will call his parents. What is that boy’s name?” Evey was similarly upset and ready to verbally spank that kid’s parents.
“Mom, I didn’t stop to exchange business cards with that idiot! I don’t know him.”
“Maybe Benny knows them. What is his name and number?”
“I don’t know.” Ezzy shrugged.
“But he is your friend.”
“He is NOT my friend. You know all my friends. He is just a kid I helped out.”
“I’ll call the school. I am not sitting that out.”
A special shoutout to Audrey for her contribution of our little troublemaker to the story. No worries, we’ll see more of him. Check out her amazing blog at New Beginnings