What is Matt hiding behind those icy blue eyes? Is Matt really who Isabelle thinks he is?
|“Matthew Kaine Rogers!” I shouted stomping down the carpeted stairs into the living room. I glared at my brother with fire in my dark green eyes.
He looked at me with a nonchalant expression on his face. “What?” He sounded bored, but I knew better, he was an expert at hiding emotion of any kind. The only emotion he showed was the look of boredom.
“Remember my brand new white satin vest?”
“Yeah. So what’s your point?” The whole time he talked he didn’t look at me. Just stared at the television, as if it were the most interesting thing in the world.
“A bright red stain has appeared out of nowhere. Gee, I wonder how that got there,” I said sarcastically.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He lied.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about,” my voice filled with fury, even though I tried to conceal it. Unlike my brother, I was horrible at hiding any emotion. My mother always said I was “an open book.”
“No, I don’t Isabelle,”
“Stop lying to me, Matthew. I know you did it. Why won’t you just admit it?” I put my hands on my narrow hips and wished I could think of something clever and witty to say, like they do in the movies. But my mind was completely blank. I opened my mouth to say more, but no words came out.
“Leave me alone.” He switched the television off and strode into the kitchen.
I followed him with a furious frown on my face. I wasn’t finished arguing with him, and I refused to let him walk away before I had a chance to speak my mind. I reached out and grabbed his right shoulder and quickly turned him around. “Where are you going?”
He jerked his shoulder from my grasp. “To the kitchen.” Once again he showed me his back.
“Oh no you’re not!” I shouted. “I’m not letting you walk away this time.” I reached for him, but he quickly dodged me. “What’s wrong with you? Afraid of your little sister?”
“No.” He said between gritted teeth. I didn’t notice the sound of anger in his voice, I was too furious.
“Then why are you running away from me?”
“I’m not running away.”
“Looks like you are to me.”
“I’m not.” His voice hardened with suppressed anger.
“You’re the biggest sissy I’ve ever met!” I pushed him, hard.
He spun on his heel as quick as lightning. I had a hard time containing my tiny gasp of surprise. He grabbed my shoulders in his big hands and squeezed them, hard. For the first time in my life, I saw a glint of fury in his icy blue eyes. “I’ll tell you what’s wrong with me,” he growled, “you are.”
“Me?” I squeaked. Anger was quickly replaced by fear. His grip on my shoulders tightened causing shafts of pain to shoot through my shoulders.
He lowered his head so he could look me in the eyes. “Yes, you.” His voice had suddenly become calm. Not the kind of calm you like, the kind of calm that is deadly in its purpose.
“H-how come?” I was paralyzed with fear. I had never seen Matt that way and I wasn’t sure what he was capable of.
“Because you’re a spoiled brat, who always expects to get what she wants. And of course ‘Daddy’ always give his little ‘Princess’ what she wants. Who cares about ‘Prince not so Charming’ there in the coroner?” I flinched at the sudden burst of fury in his voice. The words flew through my brain faster then I could register the information. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks, the realization that ‘Daddy’ wasn’t as great as I had always believed. .
“I-I...” I sputtered as the world around me spun and darkness threatened to descend upon my head. “Please, let go you’re hurting me,” I gasped as the feeling rushed back into my shoulders. Without thinking I grabbed a fist full of his shirt to keep from falling over. After I regained my balance, I stepped back and looked at his face, but he was looking at the floor.
Just as I was about to make a run for it he muttered, “Sorry.” A look of shame and regret filled his face and I instantly felt sorry for him. I deserved it, I thought. I didn’t understand why he was the way he was so I provoked him. Provoked him into confessing something he never meant to utter.
With head down, he walked sluggishly back into the living room. I quickly followed, wanting to apologize and comfort him because I knew he was tearing himself apart inside. “Matt,” I whispered, touching his shoulder.
“What?” He mumbled miserably.
“I-I’m sorry,” I said lamely. I wanted to say more, but I couldn’t think of anything more to say.
“For provoking you today, for arguing with you all the time. . ” I paused. “for everything.”
“And I’m sorry.”
“For hurting you, for saying all those awful things to you.”
“Those things you said. . ” I swallowed the air in my mouth.
“Weren’t true.” He tried to hide it, but I knew he was lying.
“Yes, they were. Daddy would give me the world if he could, but he won’t even give you the time of day.” It took me fourteen years to figure it out, figure out how my ‘Daddy’ treated my brother. In a way I always knew it, but ignored it. In my eyes ‘Daddy’ could do no wrong. Why can’t one always be right?
“When I was five years old,” he said quietly breaking the silence. “you were born and I was jealous of you. The day you were born was the day I learned to keep it all inside.”
“Go on.” I prompted.
“I kept it all inside because Mom was so happy to have a little girl at last and Dad was happy. The only one who wasn’t happy was me, but I acted like I was. I just couldn’t disappoint them, especially Dad, so I learned to keep it all inside.”
“Jealous?” I asked incredulously. I knew he resented the way I acted and was treated in this house, but I never expected jealousy.
“Yeah.” He paused for a few seconds. “ I was jealous because everyone was so happy, and I just faded away like a flower facing the winter, there wasn’t a chance for me to bloom after that day.” His voice was filled with sorrow and I realized what a wonderful poet he would have made. If only my parents had been more loving, more supportive of him and his dreams. Whatever those dreams may have been. But they weren’t and he felt like all his dreams had been shattered, never to be whole again. “I remember that first Christmas, I was so excited because there was a foot of snow on the ground and Dad had promised me a new bicycle.” He smiled and his eyes took on a faraway look. “I raced down the stairs, but the living room was empty. I called for Mom and Dad, but they didn’t answer, they didn’t come.” Tears welled up in his eyes and spilled over onto his cheeks.
“So what happened? Did you get that bicycle?”
“They came home from the mall a couple of hours later. When they came home, Dad looked at me and said, ‘Sorry, son we forgot about you.’ Can you believe that? How do you forget about having a five-year-old son?” I could see the pain in his eyes. I covered his hand with mine, trying to offer comfort. He didn’t have to say it; there was no bike for him that year. “Despite that, despite everything, I’d give anything to hear him say, ‘I love you.’ That’s all I want. All I’ve ever wanted from him.”
“Matt, even if he said that, it wouldn’t erase the years of pain you’ve suffered.”
He looked at me, through the hair hanging in his eyes. “I know, but it’d help heal some of the pain in my heart.”
“Come on, Matt, I’ll fix you a cup of tea.” I said trying to fight back the tears that threatened to fall.
“Okay,” he replied, following me into the kitchen. But that’s not all I’ll do Matthew Kaine, I thought, not even close.
“Mom, Dad,” I said later that evening. We were sitting on the floor playing Scrabble, which was usual for a Saturday night. Matt was at a friend’s house so he couldn’t object to what I was about to say.
“Yes,” They said simultaneously.
I took a deep breath. “I need to talk to you both.”
“What about?” my mother sounded nervous.
“It’s about Matt.” Relief flooded my mother’s face.
“What’s wrong with Matt?” My father demanded.
“Nothing is wrong with Matt.” I said exasperated. “Actually there is something-”
“What is it?” My father cut in.
I took a deep breath and plunged in. “For fourteen years Matt has felt left out and inferior in your eyes.” There, I thought, it’s out in the open and there’s no turning back.
“What the hell are you talking about?” My father’s face was starting to turn red.
“Henry.” My mother gasped.
“Do I have to spell it out for you?” I screamed. “He feels like he’s second best and I don’t blame him! You treat me like I’m still the little girl I used to be. Well, I’ve got news for you; I’m not a baby anymore! I don’t need you hovering over me all the time!”
“Isabelle Rogers!” My father shouted, his face growing redder with each passing minute.
I ignored his outburst and continued. “Then you act like Matt is the dirt beneath your feet! You have so many expectations for him, don’t you? But Matt is never good enough for you, is he? He never does anything right, he’ll never meet up to your expectations, will he? You know what really makes me mad? He’s willing to forgive and forget. But I’m not!”
“How dare you talk to me that way, young lady? How dare you tell me your brother feels that way when it isn’t true? If you tell me you’re sorry, I won’t punish you.”
“It’s true! Ask him when he gets home tonight. And I’m not going to apologize because I’m not sorry!” I got up and ran to my room, anticipating and dreading Matt’s arrival.
“Isabelle, get back down here!” My father shouted. “I’m not finished talking to you yet!” But I’m through talking to you,I thought.
At 10:00 that night I heard the front door slam shut and I knew Matt was home. A knot formed in my belly. Will Dad talk to him? I wondered. Will he be mad at me for saying anything? Questions swirled around in my head, but I couldn’t form any answers. Only time would tell.
“Matt,” my father bellowed. Oh, no, I agonized, he’s going to yell at Matt and it’s all my fault!
“You’ll never guess what your sister told me...” That’s all I heard before Dad slammed his study door shut. I’ll have to patch things up with Dad tomorrow. I didn’t mean some of the stuff I said. Like never forgiving him. I thought. Later as I was drifting in and out of wakefulness, I heard my father say, “I love you, son.” I smiled softly knowing it wasn’t a dream.
“I love you, Dad.” My smile broadened. In my mind’s eye I could see them hugging even though I had never seen them hug with my own eyes. In that vision I saw them as they were at that exact moment, and then I saw a brown-haired little boy hugging his father with all the love in his heart. After that vision faded into a mere memory, I knew that Matt would never feel unloved again. Maybe he can finally chase his dreams, I thought before falling asleep once again.
*Note: This story is finally done! At least the main part of revising. So I'd appreciate it if you'd rate this and if at all possible leave a comment.*