“Dad, he’s gotta go to the party tomorrow or else they’ll be evil rumors about him,” Stevie complained. “You can’t ground him for something we did. He can’t abandon his duty just because you’ve grounded him.”
“If he wants to go that badly, then it’s time for him to move out,” Hank riposted. “He’s twenty-four and is still living at home.”
“You can’t make him move out!” Lenore cried out. “You can’t let him move outta here either! What kind of a father would you look like if you did that? Howie still lives at home and his parents don’t mind!”
“I’m not Howie’s dad, now am I?” Hank retorted. “Now mind your own business or else!”
“Just goes to show which family cares about their kids more!” Lenore rejoined. “You probably wouldn’t even care if one of us got hit by a bus, unless it was one of the little rug-rats in the other room!”
“Lenore, don’t!” Brian snapped, then told his little sister sternly, “I don’t want you getting into anymore trouble for trying to defend me. I don’t need you to defend me all the time!” He then left and walked upstairs to his room to think about things.
“Well, I have to go out now,” Hank informed the two of them. “Brian’s in charge as usual, and you two are only to leave this house to put your bikes away and that’s it! Understand?”
“Yes dad,” they said in unison. “We understand.”
“Good. I should be back by midnight; don’t you even think of staying up that late,” he instructed. “I’ll see you two in the morning, bye.”
“Bye dad!” They called after him.
“Ya need me I’m doing my homework,” Stevie replicated. “I’ll keep an eye on Jessica, Emily, and Tessa; I know that ya probably wanna go knock some sense into our big bro.”
“Thanks Stevie,” Lenore rejoined kissing him on the cheek. “You know me too well.” With that she ran up the stairs to her big brother’s room to see how he was doing. She knocked on his door before entering the room; she walked over to his bed and sat down next to him.
“Hey Lenore, wuzzup?” Brian queried. “You know that you don’t have to defend me all the time, don’t you?”
“Not much,” Lenore replied. “I know I don’t have to Bri, but I want too; I always have and I always will defend you.”
He apologized, “I didn’t mean to snap at you earlier, but I didn’t want you getting into more trouble on my account.”
Lenore nodded, then smiled, “So, Brian, old buddy, old pal, oh dear big brother of mine; have I told you lately just how much I love you?’
“What do you want now Lenore?”
“What do you mean ‘what do I want’? Can’t a girl express her feelings for her brother without being suspected of something anymore?”
“No,” Brian teased. “Now what do you want?”
“Well, I know that we’re both kinda grounded, but do you think that you can give me a lift over to Katie’s so that I can at least give her, her gift on her birthday?” She asked batting her green eyes at him. “It would mean a lot to me.”
“Lenore, I’m already in a whole lot of trouble and so are you,” Brian reminded her. “Do you really wanna risk getting into more?”
“But Brian it’s her birthday!” she whined. “She’s my best friend, you know how it’d look if I didn’t show up to at least give her, her gift?”
“You know that I don’t like whiners!” He rejoined. “You must now suffer the consequences.”
“These consequences,” Brian said slyly. He then knocked her back onto his bed and started to tickle her. He smiled at her mischievously as she tried to fight back while laughing hysterically.
“Brian, stop! Please stop!” Lenore begged still giggling. “Can’t breathe, please stop!”
“Okay,” He responded lifting her into his lap. “That better?”
“Much,” she answered snuggling her head under his chin. “You still haven’t exactly answered my question Bri.”
“If it really means that much to ya, then let’s go,” Brian riposted setting her on her feet. “But, we’re not staying any longer than we have too.”
“Thanks, you’re the best,” Lenore said kissing his cheek. “Just let me get her gift and my coat.”
Brian grinned, “I know I’m the best; now hurry up before I change my mind.”
The two of them snuck out of the house, not bothering to tell Stevie where they were going, for they didn’t want him getting into trouble if they got caught. They made it to Katie’s house in twenty minutes; when they got there Lenore rang the doorbell, then they both stood there waiting for someone to answer. Mrs. Valencourt came to the door and told them to come on in, and that everyone was in Katie’s room waiting for her. When they got to Katie’s room they found Erika Kravajorova and Kerrie McKenzie sitting on air mattresses, Brian suppressed a laugh when he saw that every inch of the room was plastered with posters of him and the other guys. Katie showed up a few minutes later smiling when she saw her best friend.
“Hey gal, I thought that you weren’t gonna show,” Katie told her best bud.
“What took ya so long?”
“I’m kinda grounded and not supposed to be here,” Lenore replied. “I only came to give ya, ya gift, watch ya open the other ones, and to get some cake and ice cream.”
Katie suddenly realized that Brian was standing in the room too. “Oh, hey Brian,” Katie replicated. “I saw you guys win the ‘best artist of the year’ award yesterday, congratulations on winning! Any ways how’s it going?”
“Okay, I guess,” Brian replicated. “I’m only here ‘cause Lenore wanted to give ya, ya gift so badly. I’m supposed to be at home right now, ‘cause I’m kinda grounded too”
“You’re twenty-four years-old and ya grounded?” Kerrie said. “Whoa, I wouldn’t still be living at home if I got grounded when I was that old.”
“Yeah, neither would I,” Erika agreed. “I’d be moving out as soon as I possibly could.”
Lenore glared at her two other friends; “Don’t you dare go giving him any ideas!”
“Well, now that we’re all here, anyone up for some cake and ice cream?” Katie queried. “This way Brian and Lenore can get home a.s.a.p.”
“Yes!” They all shouted.
Then the five of them walked to the kitchen to have the cake and ice cream.
Afterwards Katie opened up her gifts; she’d received a new bike from her mom, the She’s All That movie from her brother Jeff, and a basketball with Michael Jordan’s signature on it from Kerrie. Erika had gotten her roller blades. Brian gave her a kiss on the cheek, and Lenore had handed her a gigantic BSB poster, which she’d gotten Brian and the other guys to sign. Katie thanked everyone; then they went back to her room to play a game.
“Uh, Lenore we have to get going,” Brian informed her. “If we don’t leave now we risk the chance of getting caught.”
“Can’t we just play a couple games?” Lenore asked looking pleadingly up at him. “All I want is to play three games and that’s it. Besides, dad won’t be home until midnight; you know he never comes home early.”
“Fine, but then we’re leaving no matter what.”
Lenore smiled “Thanks Bri, you’re…..”
“I know, I know, the best. Now we’d better get in there so we can get these games done and over with.”
They then went back to Katie’s room to play a few games. They played Chinese whispers, pin the hat on Nick Carter, had a drawing contest, did make overs (all but Brian), and player Candy Land. It was then that they realized that Brian had fallen asleep on one of the air mattresses. Lenore decided to play one more game before waking him up; the girls all voted for Truth or Dare.