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Standing Up for Conner
I feel all their eyes on me. I honestly can't lie to them. If they want to know, I'll give them the truth.
The memory ripples back to me without much effort. I remember I was sixteen at the time; Conner was nine. I came home from my shift at work, only to be surprised at my younger brothers huddled in the corner of the living room. Adam and David were sitting on the armchairs, tense, while Ottis was loyally at Andrew's side, green eyes scared. Kyle was whimpering beside him, lower lip trembling. Instantly alert and wary, I went to Adam, questioning him.
"Where's Conner?" I urgently interogated. Adam's lips moved, but no sound escaped from the fifteen year old. I noticed a bloody mark scraped under his chim. Furious, I heard my Mom's scream in the kitchen.
"Damnit Conner!" She snarled, followed by his weeping. I sprinted towards the kitchen, my whole body shaking as I take in the scene below.
Conner's skinny body was below my mother's, who was holding a knife in her trembling hand.
"Mom!" I indigantly barked, immediatley hovering over Conner's vulnerable position. A purple bruise was visible on his shin already; his left hand had a bleeding cut. My mom pointed the knife in my direction and I staggered back, picking up Conner in the same motion. It wasn't hard to do; he has always been so scrawny for his age. Conner cowered in my chest, shaking. I clutched my youngest brother against me, trying to calm him down.
"Shh, buddy," I gently whispered, still watching my mom with caution. Her brown eyes were glazed over, and I knew she was hungover or completely drunk."Now what happened?" Conner shook his head, his blonde curls tickling my nose. I set him down delicatly, pushing him along towards the others that were now watching in the doorway. Adam envoloped him within his own arms, intently watching. I stood in front of my mom, my heart madly pumping in my head.
"What did you do!?" I angerily yelled, my hands clenched into fists. Too blinded by my rage, my mother unexpectedly swished the dagger upward. The last thing I remembered was closing my eyes, and that's when the pain came.
I stop there, reflecting in the silence that now engulfed us all. Unique was the bravest of them all to speak.
"So you sacrificed yourself for you brother?" She asks in awe, trnasfixed. I nod. Zach bites his lip like he wants to say something. Terrelle stares at me extremely, her blue eyes peircing.
"You are remarkable." She quietly says to me, a flicker of love flashing on her features. It's gone in a pulse. Terrelle gets up and leaves, her statement hanging in the air. Zach smirks, getting up herself.
"What she said." He grinned, patting me on the back. I muster a grin. Unique is still transfixed, her emerald eyes amazed.
"It's not that great," I mumble, trying to break the awkard silence. And for once, I'm completely off guard.
Unique collapses on me, and for a while my breath is taken away. Zach rolls his eyes. It hits me. Unique is giving me a hug. When she lets go and looks at me, her emerald eyes are filling with tears.
"It's the greatest." She exhales, her auburn curls brushing my cheeks. Anf finally, I believe it.