//chapter//\\three\\


"Help Uncle Roger with his tie, will you sweetheart?" I put the lid back on the sauce and stepped over to straighten the tie. With a sigh, I turned all the burners down and set the salad in the fridge to keep cool.

"I'm going up to get ready." I told my uncle. Dashing up the stairs I went from door to door, searching for Bren's room. The last one I tried was hers. Hanson posters covering the walls, a queen size canopy bed in one corner, with a huge mirror next to it. I found my suitcases and ripped open two of them, searching for something to wear. Finally I decided and changed, ran a brush through my hair and then stood in front of the full length dressing mirror for self-inspection. My yellow polo shirt brought out the shimmers in my hair, and the dark blue capri pants seemed to create the illusion that I had a slight tan. After taking my medicine, I slid on a pair of platform flip flops and bound down the stairs to put in the garlic bread. The sound of beautiful piano notes floated closer as I reached the living room. I stepped in there to find a dark haired boy plunking away at the Beethoven's 5th Symphony effortless and mistake free.

"That's wonderful." I whispered. His fingers froze as he whipped around to face me.

"I didn't know you were there."

"I'm sorry, I, I.. just.. " I stammered. "It was perfect."

A grin spread over the boys face, showing me that he was flattered.

"Thank you." He spoke. "I'm Dave. You must be Gwendolyn." He stated, glancing at my picture.

"Good guess." I smiled. "Are you one of Scott's brothers?"

"Unfortunately." I laughed and turned toward the kitchen as Dave started playing again.

"Get your fingers out of the frosting, Clint." I heard Scott scold.

"Get your fingers out of the frosting, Clint." A very skinny and tall boy with short dark hair and bleached bangs mimicked in a mock female voice as he thumb.

"Get your fingers out of the frosting, Clint." I repeated, approaching him. He backed away instantly and whipped his hands off on a dish towel from the counter. Another boy, looking exactly like the one who I now knew was Clint, only with all dark brown hair, just past his shoulders, was sitting on at the kitchen table, reading a magazine. He looked up at the sound of my voice.

"Hey, Jail Bird, you clean up pretty nicely." I commented to Scott. He was wearing what looked like new jeans, and a soccer jersey.

"Thanks." He replied sarcastically.

"These are my brothers. Clint and Bob." He went on. "Dave's playing the piano."

"I know. If only you three were as talented as he is." I said, sprinkling garlic salt over a sheet of buttered bread slices.

"Hey, I have talent!" Clint said defensively. "I play the bass guitar. And Scott plays guitar too. Bob's a drummer, but neither of them have talent. They just play instruments."

I rolled my eyes and shoved the cookie sheet into the stove. Noticing that Bob looked a little down, I went to sit by him.

"Hey." I waved my hand in front of his face to catch his attention. "I thought only old foggies read Prevention?"

"Make that old foggies and really board guys." He joked, tossing the magazine back on the roll top desk.

"Oh, come on, you can't be that old!" I joked. He gave a little laugh.

"I'm Gwendolyn." I informed him, "What's it like having an inmate for a brother?"

"Not too bad." He shrugged. "But I have to get the mace out every once in a while." Bob smirked.

"Oh, so you heard about that, huh?" I raised my eyebrows, looking up at Scott.

"Yeah he told us all about you." Clint said, flopping down into a kitchen chair across from me. I felt the blood rush to my face. What exactly did they know?


"That chick can cook." Clint said, stretching out across the sofa, rubbing his recently stuffed tummy.

"You're tellin' me. That cake really hit my note." Dave agreed. I smiled, glad that they had enjoyed the meal and desert. Even though they were shoveling in spaghetti, salad and garlic bread, they kept up quite a conversation. Mostly asking about Tennessee, where I found out they were from also, and country music. After clearing the table and putting away the minor left overs, I went in search of a helper.

"Who's the best dish drier out of ya'll?" I asked, peaking my head into the living room.

"Not me." Scott answered immediately.

"Oh come on, don't be so modest. You can dry for me." I nominated him.

"No thanks, really." He insisted.

"Fine, then I'm calling your parole officer!"

"Yeah, Scott. You better be careful. She's one fierce babe." Clint warned.

"Okay, okay." Scott gave in. "I'll dry half."

I held the door as he passed by.

"Dave, play something for us." I requested. "And Bob, you can help with the dishes too."

"What's my punishment?" Clint questioned.

"You GET to keep Uncle Roger company." I smiled. A huge grin spread across his face. I knew it was because he got the easiest job.

"And then you get to take the garbage out!" I said enthusiastically, turning on my heel and stepping back into the kitchen.

"That is SO unfair!"

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