Her Stepbrother, Her Hero(5)

By: Terry Towers

Gabriella's head jerked up and her eyes caught his, as she raised a questioning brow at him.

"Why do you hate me so much, Gabby? After all these years. Why?"

A growl formed in the back of her throat as she placed her utensils down on the table before her. Crossing her arms over her chest, she sat back in the wooden kitchen chair. Years of anger boiled up inside and she began to rant, her words spilling from her mouth like verbal diarrhoea. "Well, let's see. Our parents take every opportunity to stress how fucking wonderful and heroic their son is. How proud of you they are, while in the same breath scolding me for wasting my life as a waitress, flaunting my tits for tips."

He shrugged. "Sorry for doing my fucking job, Gabby," he responded, sarcasm dripping from his tone as he picked his fork back up and shovelled another spoonful of mashed potatoes into his mouth.

Her anger flared as she continued. "Added to that, let’s not forget that you treated me like shit when we were kids. Teasing me. Pulling pranks. Chasing away any boy who even showed a remote interest in me…"

"I was protecting my sister. So sue me," he countered.

"That wasn't your place to decide, Anthony." Her eyes narrowed as she leaned forward. "But you want to know what pissed me off more than any of your juvenile pranks? The thing that I thought was truly heinous – even for you?"

"No, but I have a feeling you're going to tell me anyway." He grabbed his glass of water and took a drink while eyeing her.

"You told David Gould I had crabs!" Grabbing a dinner roll from the basket between them at the center of the table she chucked it at him, hitting him square in the chest. "And I never even had crabs, you asshole! I hadn't even had sex!"

Just as the roll went sailing through the air, the water he had been in the process of drinking came spewing from his lips, sailing across the table, and leaving him sputtering and gasping for air.

"I did not tell David you had crabs!" he defended, once he regained control of himself.

"Well, someone did!" Gabriella responded, her voice rising as she stood and planted her palms on the table in front of her.

"Well, it wasn't me!" he yelled back, standing as well and glaring back at her.

Gabriella snorted as she crossed her arms over her chest and kept his gaze, but her conviction was wavering. "Then who?"

Anthony's jaw clenched.

The dirty bastard knows who it was and isn’t saying! She could see it in his eyes. He had known all these years and never told her. The girls had called her crabby Gabby behind her back the last two years of high school because of the person he was protecting.

"I asked you who!" She grabbed another roll from the basket and chucked it at him, putting all of her strength behind it. It hit his right shoulder this time and bounced onto the floor.

"Stop throwing food at me!"

"Then tell me who it was! I know you know." She grabbed another roll and threatened to chuck it. "I'll do it, Anthony," she threatened, pulling her arm back.

"It was Ashley Vaughn."

Gabriella's mouth fell open. "Ashley Vaughn! That slut you dated your senior year?"

He shrugged.

"And you dated her even after she said those things?"

He gave her a lopsided smile and shrugged. "She had big boobs and let me fuck her."

"You are such a pig, Anthony King!" She thrust another roll at him; this time he ducked and it went sailing over his left shoulder.

"You know I graduated a virgin because of you!"

His grin widened, amusement dancing in his eyes. "You should be thanking me. Think of all the losers you'd have been regretting sleeping with right now if it weren’t for me!"

She wagged her index finger at him, her other hand planted firmly on her waist. "Even my prom date Mark Gibbons wouldn't venture from the waist down and he had me home by 11pm on prom night. You asshole! You ruined prom!" Gabriella was seething. It may not have been as bad as when she had thought he'd been the one spreading the nasty rumours, but his lack of remorse over his old girlfriend's behaviour stung.

Anthony huffed. "Mark was a dork. I was embarrassed my sister was even going to the prom with him, to be honest." He gave her a quick wink. "So again. You're welcome."

This was why she hated being around him. Everything with Anthony was a fucking joke. Grabbing another roll, she took aim, thankful she’d overdone it baking way more dinner rolls than needed.

"Hey!" Anthony's smile faded though the humour in his steel grey eyes remained. "Throw that roll and there will be consequences."

Gabriella's blue eyes narrowed at him. "Yeah, really, like what?"

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