Chapter Four

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31/08/12: This chapter has been edited.

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Kill me now.

            Those are the exact three words that cross my mind as I ascend the familiar carpeted stairs of our house, with an ill-tempered Connor in tow.

            Because, courtesy of my clumsiness, my mother and the depressing October weather, I am now being forced to spend more time than necessary with Connor by finding him a shirt from my absent brother’s room. Did I mention we’re alone?

            If this situation doesn’t turn out to be awkward and/or humiliating, then I’m a blue banana.

            “Brandon’s room is just across here...” I say, as we reach the top of the staircase and start across the hall. I’m not sure why I’m pointing it out, really – it’s not as if Connor requires advanced navigational skills to follow me through a door – but I feel like I should be making at least some attempt to break the incredibly awkward silence that has settled between us.

            “I know where it is.”

            Alright, Mr. Touchy, I’m tempted to add. Needless to say, I lack the courage to actually say it out loud.

            I hasten across the hall, keen to grab a shirt for Connor and return downstairs as quickly as possible. As far as I’m concerned, there’s really no need to prolong my discomfort. I push open the door, pausing for less than a second to inhale the musty scent that consumes Brandon’s old room. The place is empty, which isn’t surprising. I wouldn’t expect it to contain much after being vacant for over a year. Since my brother left for college in California, no one’s really paid much attention to this room. Apart from mom coming in occasionally to clean, it’s been practically untouched between Brandon’s infrequent visits. All that remains is a bed frame, harboring a stripped mattress and a pile of old clutter, alongside a bare desk and a dresser across the opposite wall.

            However, I don’t really have time to soak in the details, because I’m all too aware of the grouchy teenage guy standing behind me.

            And I kind of want to get out of here as quickly as possible.

            “Um, there should be some shirts in here...”

            I head over to the dresser quickly, hoping I’ll be able to retrieve a shirt and exit the room with the same speed. Unfortunately, it kind of slipped my mind that most of the furniture in Brandon’s room is either damaged or broken, and the drawer that contains his abandoned clothing also happens to be the drawer that’s near impossible to open.

            And I almost break my wrist trying to yank it open.

            Which is kind of embarrassing when someone’s right behind you, watching and waiting.

            “Look, just move,” Connor says, after at least twenty seconds of watching my pitiful attempts to wrench it open. “I’ll do it, since you’re obviously incapable.”

            Instead of retaliating, I step swiftly to the side, removing myself from his way. I would probably be a little more pissed off if I wasn’t so embarrassed at this moment in time. I swear I’m not usually this clumsy and awkward – or at least I wasn’t before Connor returned. Okay, okay, so maybe I wasn’t the epitome of elegance and class – and certainly guilty of my fair share of tripping incidents in the school cafeteria, which of course the rest of my classmates found hilarious – but I was certainly capable of opening a drawer without turning into a stuttering idiot.

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