Her Stepbrother, Her Hero(2)By: Terry Towers
“Prom. That’s what I’m talking about. What did you do?”
He stared blankly at her again. “You’re nuts, Gabby. Totally off the rails.”
She’d had enough of his lies and lashed out, slapping him across the face, her hand leaving a faint palm print across his jaw. “I hate you!” She spun to turn away from him when he grabbed her upper arm and spun her back around to face him.
“Now who’s lying?”
She frowned. “Let me go!” She attempted to squirm from him, but he held tight. She pulled harder and stumbled. Attempting to pull her back to him, he pulled her with a little too much force and sent her tumbling onto her back onto the bed, him tumbling with her.
He landed on top of her between her legs, bracing up his weight with a hand on either side of her head. Her anger reaching a breaking point, she began to fight harder, bucking up against him. “Calm down, Gabby!” Grabbing her wrists he secured them above her head.
“No! I’m so sick of you being the pride of this family. I’m so sick of living in your shadow. And if that’s not enough you’re the favourite, you have to chase off my boyfriends too.” She began to squirm again.
“Gabby. Stop.” He spoke in such a firm voice that it caused her to still under him, but that wasn’t the only thing that startled her. His eyes weren’t angry, but there was something else in his gaze – lust. She suddenly became fully aware that her short skirt had become bunched up around her waist and his rock hard erection was pressed against her pelvis.
Frowning, Gabriella stared up at him. The need in his eyes was painfully evident. Not sure what to say, but things were becoming clear for her. He’d been so damned mean to her for so long, could he…? “Anthony… Tony…”
He pressed his erection against her again, his eyes lowering to her lips. She moaned softly. What in the hell was happening?
Just when Anthony’s lips began to lower to hers, the sound of heavy footsteps came up the staircase and both froze. Alarm replaced the look of lust in his eyes and Tony sprang from Gabriella as if he’d been burned.
“Get out,” he hissed. Grabbing her wrist, he pulled her from the bed. “Go.”
She wobbled on her feet, not sure what was happening. The door to Anthony’s room flung open to reveal his father, former Marine and her stepfather, Vincent King.
Vincent looked from her to her stepbrother and back again. “Go to your room, Gabriella.”
Gabriella didn’t hesitate. Vincent was a good man, he’d never laid a hand on her or Anthony and was quick to reward them when they deserved it, but he was firm with his parenting and expected to be obeyed without protest. At the door she glanced back at Tony, but Tony’s eyes weren’t on her, they were locked with his father’s.
The very next day Anthony King enlisted with the Marines. He was gone within a couple of weeks without speaking a word to her about what had happened between them.
"Yes, I promise to be nice to him, Mom," Gabriella King said, rolling her eyes in frustration. She had just spent the last thirty minutes on the phone assuring her mother that she would indeed play nice with her slightly older stepbrother Anthony when he came home. It wasn't as though they were teenagers anymore, and she hadn't seen him in five years so she was confident that they could put past differences aside and be civil to each other for one night. Although she had to admit, even after all these years she was still hurt and confused about what happened, or didn’t happen on prom night, whichever way you wanted to look at it.
"Your stepbrother is a hero. He helped rescue –"
"Yeah, I get it, Mom!" Gabriella cut her mother off. She swore if she heard one more story about how great her older brother the Marine was, she'd fucking lose it. "I gotta go check on supper. Bye, Mom."
Without waiting for her mother's response she hung up the phone and walked into the kitchen. Her brother joined the Marines when he was nineteen and now at the age of twenty-four he was coming home. After spending all those years overseas, helping to keep their country safe, they would finally see him again. Yeah, she got that. And she appreciated and respected him for his bravery. She admired him even, but the fact that their parents were always bringing it up and praising him constantly was really beginning to annoy her. Each time they brought him up her mind would go back to prom night, pondering the “what ifs.”
She couldn't remember the last conversation she had with either her mother or her stepfather that didn't circle around to how wonderful, honourable and courageous her brother was. Sure, she was twenty-three and still trying to figure out what she wanted to do in life, but was that so bad? She worked as a waitress at the local bar and grill, and it was an honest living. She even had her own apartment and paid her own bills. She had decided to work there until she was able to figure out what to do with the rest of her life. Bottom line was, in their little family he was the hero and she was the disappointment, and it was an open wound for her that never seemed to heal. Probably because of all the salt being thrown into it on a regular basis.