My Very Social Brother

My sister and I just got back from a party at my boyfriend’s house, and when my mom showed up with my three-year-old brother, Max, he hugged and shook hands with a bunch of my friends, which they found adorable. He even high-fived our very intimidating 6′ 3″ friend (when he crouched down very much so that Max could reach his enormous hand), which was a surprise to everyone. When you take into consideration the fact that he usually just covers his face up whenever he sees someone unfamiliar, it’s pretty impressive what he did tonight, don’t you think?

Okay, so I actually have a story for tonight, because it occurred to me during the car ride home that I can actually just use all the little segments from unwritten stories that I have planned out for my story-a-days. Then, when and if I ever get around to writing the rest of that story, if I get to a writer’s block, I’ll have something sitting around that I can use! Isn’t that nice?

So, here it is. This is a little snippet of a story that my one and only reader will recognize from last summer. The part I’m going to show you is somewhere near the beginning of the story, so you won’t be too in the dark about it all. Besides, the only person who reads this blog has basically an entire summary of the story that I told him last year, so there oughtn’t be anything too confusing in there.

Jamie stormed in and all seven pairs of eyes in the room fell on her: two women, five men in all. They were all sitting on their thick mattresses on their cold metal bed frames. She cast a frigid glare around the room.

The seven of them got up and left immediately. One of the girls, Anya, smiled uncomfortably at Jamie. The rest didn’t look at her, just kept their heads up and walked away. They had all known Jamie since she was young, and they all knew that she was to be left alone when she was getting ready for bed. None knew why, but they listened to her. Everyone listened to her.

Jamie marched to her bed, the one in the southwest corner of the room, farthest from the only window. She moved rigidly, still steaming mad from the news she had just received: that boy, that stupid boy from the Italian branch was coming in to “supervise” her home. The League didn’t trust her to run it anymore.

“I’ve been doing just fine all these years…” she muttered. “What makes them think that I need supervision?”

Jamie started through the familiar process of removing the rarely-washed afghan from beneath her mattress and laying it out under the standard-issue gray duvet that covered every bed in the league. She hugged a stuffed animal–a hippo–and crammed it under her pillow, just like she did every night while her dorm-mates were politely out of the room.

She checked, as she always did, to make sure that neither her hippo nor her blanket were showing, because if it got around that The Jamie Facello (not that most of them knew her last name, of course) needed to sleep with comfort items, they would lose the respect that she had spent so many of her sixteen total years cultivating in her peers.

Jamie was tough, cunning, and elusive, and the youngest and most fearsome agent in the International League of Espionage (ILE or Island, for short), and she wasn’t about to blindly follow some Italian guy in a leather jacket who said he was in charge because he had a piece of paper. This girl didn’t give up.

Her ears were naturally sensitive, and before the knob was even turned all the way, she had her pistol aimed at the door, where the cursed Italian entered.

He saw her gun and held his arms up defensively. “Hey, down, girl,” he said.

“Don’t talk to me like that,” she growled. He sat down on  bed near the door.

“I just came to talk,” he told her. He pushed some sun-bleached hair out of his eyes and looked at her firmly. “I understand that you require your dorm-mates to leave at certain times.”

“Yeah, I do. Everyone knows to leave me alone when I’m getting ready for bed, and you’re no exception to that rule. Get out of my room.”

“This isn’t your room,” he pointed out calmly. Infuriatingly. “Everything in this base is property of the ILE, and you don’t have the authority to dictate whether or not people are allowed in some rooms.”

“That little monster,” I said, indicating the big bird that landed on his leather-clad shoulder, “is certainly not allowed in this room, or any room in this base.”

He stroked its neck and fed it a little morsel from a pouch on his hip. “Phoebe is not a monster. She is a tracker, and I’ve been training her since her birth. She was part of a program we initiated in Italy and hope to spread to the League’s other locations around the world, the training of small birds of prey like the Levant Sparrowhawk–an Italian native–to inconspicuously track down enemies. Don’t call her a monster.”

Jamie glowered at the bird. “Get it out of my room. And get out with it.”

He sighed. “Jamie…”

“Don’t call me that. Just leave.”

“Fine. Facello, then. I know we got off on the wrong foot, and I know you’ve been doing this–running your branch–for a lot longer than I have. You know the people here, and they trust you; I have the leadership training and people-skills. If you can help me a little bit, I think I can really make the American branch into something worth being proud of. Friends?” He held out his hand, his tan-skinned, calloused, squarish hand.

Jamie just stared it down. “No. You really think I’m going to help you?” She looked him in the eye. “Not on my life. You don’t belong here, you don’t know us. Leave.” This time, she wasn’t just asking him to leave the dorm. She wanted him gone, gone, gone.

He got up off the bed and Phoebe flapped in protest. Absentmindedly calming the bird, he said to Jamie, “You haven’t left me with any choice, then. I’ll earn their trust and you’re not going to hold any power anymore. You can’t run this place like a dictatorship, and I won’t let you do that anymore.” Jamie glared at him, her eyes as hard as stone. “Have a nice night, Ja–Facello.”

He left, and she glared at the spot where he had been sitting. She was still holding her gun.

Okay, that’s it. That was actually much more tense than it was meant to be… They aren’t supposed to want to kill each other, just, y’know, not get along well. That’s alright, though, I can handle that. I have to go to bed, so good night, my chickedies.

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