The two little girls stared up at the scrawny teenager, timid under his furious glare. Two big brothers flanked them, and sat in disbelief at the news. No one noticed that tears filled the teen boy’s eyes. None of them knew what he saw just weeks before, when he got home that Christmas morning. His mother’s blood-drenched body would forever haunt him, and the fury that she was just another dead whore to the New York Police Department would never leave him. Now he was across the country, in the biggest house he’d ever been in, meeting the people he was to live with, and the father who’d ditched the young prostitute he impregnated.
The woman he’d been told was his father’s wife sat calmly. She had accepted him even though her husband had had an affair, and he was the proof. He liked her. She offered him a hug when he’d been introduced to her. His father, on the other hand, couldn’t spare a single kind word. But if his step-mother had any anger toward her new step-son, she hid it well.
For a minute, he stared at the two little girls, one raven-haired and tall, the other small for her age, with a shock of bright red curls in two pigtails and strangely captivating technicolor blue eyes. Already he hated the girl with the curls. He had to spend the first sixteen years of his life in poverty while she lived in a coastal California mansion staffed with servants to cater to her. She wasn’t even his father’s daughter, or any relation to anyone in the household, yet she was supported by the same father who wouldn’t support him, and already considered a sibling to the others.
The littler girl couldn’t take her eyes off of him. She thought he was cute. Not Disney prince cute, just cute-boy cute. But boys had cooties. So she couldn’t tell her sister that she was in love at six years old, and was going to marry him some day. Her sister would laugh and tease her about kissing. Kissing was gross. They knew because they spied on their second-oldest brother and his girlfriend one night. Kissing led to all kinds of fascinating and icky things. No, she just wanted to marry him, and maybe be a princess. That’s all.
The teen looked away from her. Yes, he hated her, but maybe in some time, he could come to see California as home. It was now, whether he liked it or not.
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