2000 Liston Hills
“Kylie Bray get your bee-hind in here young lady, don’t make me come get you.”
I climbed out from under the dining table, “I said I ain’t eating it!” Putting my hands on my hips I creased my lips together.
“Kylie you are too, your mommas on her way back. Don’t make me call her.”
I stamped my rubber covered feet, “I’m eight I can do what I want and I ain’t eating it Aunt Milda, I ain’t eating that meat. I saw them cut cows last week, papa said that’s where momma buys her meat from, I ain’t eating it.”
I turned and ran through the front yard, the green lawn crunching under my feet. My aunt was screaming, but I didn’t care, my papa said she needed the exercise, and I agreed. If those dresses of hers got any smaller her boobies were gonna pop out. I turned my head, and laughed as her yellow flower dress creeped up her thighs, I knew she’s coming after me,
“Kylie,” She yelled so loud, “you love meat, Tanner made it just for you, Kylie, come on I don’t wanna run, KYLIE.”
I ran faster, laughing, because there was no doubt in my mind that my aunt could catch me.
I jumped on the cemented frog, then on the fountain bowl. I’d done it many times. I had not a care in the world.
Big hands hauled me up and spun me around. Giggling hysterically, I shrieked, “Put me down, Stone.”
He didn’t listen, he never did, instead he threw me over his shoulder, “Michael I’m so tellin’ your papa.” He laughed and jumped up and down, causing me to flop on his shoulder.
“You need to be careful Ky, didn’t I tell you about jumping on the fountain,” he scolded me.
My small fist drummed on his back, “You tell me a lot of things Stone it doesn’t mean I’ma listen.”
Michael, my second eldest stepbrother had ten years on me and a brain that was unmatched, he was a genius. My eldest stepbrother, David was currently I quote ‘suffering’ in Harvard University studying law.
Vincent, who just turned fourteen a week back lived with his mother in Seattle, I hardly ever saw him and when I did, he pretended that I wasn’t there, like I care, psssst. Uncle Hector told me Vincent wouldn’t be allowed to visit much anymore because he had ‘stuff’ to do. Uncle Hector didn’t seem happy about that ‘stuff’ but whatever, I had lots of brothers and two sisters.
Kevin my half brother was twelve going on thirty. Once, I watched him fall off the tree and hurt his back, he shed one tear and was so quiet I cried for both of us. I remember thinking maybe the fall made him lose his feelings. I asked Kevin that day if he lost his feelings he just smiled and said he ain’t got any. It didn’t bother me as much as it hurt momma, so I made sure to have them for him. Whenever I was around him, I helped him out when he didn’t know what to do. We had eye signals and hand signs. We even spent three hours last month teaching him to laugh and frown. My stomach pained at how much laughing I did. My momma walked into the game room and looked at us like we were crazy.
And last but not least is my favorite brother, Jace my baby half-brother, he’s eighteen months younger than me. They’re all the children of my mommas husband, Hector Stone, owner of Stone Fort International and the 7th richest man in the world.
Except me, I’m the only girl in the family, but I’m not a Stone, I’m a Bray, Kylie Bray. Daughter of billionaire extraordinaire Marcus Bray and Heiress Hunter Orniel.
My papa had two children from his ex-wife Janice, Mason who’s a few months younger than Jace and baby Natasha she’s like five. My papa don’t see them too often but Janice apparently isn’t too well so that’s gonna change. It might be nice being the eldest for a while. At the Stone’s house they were always trying to boss me around. My momma liked making me stand by the wall. She said it was good thinking time, apparently having an answer for everything wasn’t ‘good behavior’ I didn’t get it, I wasn’t even that naughty. My papa let me say what I wanted, why couldn’t my momma just do the same.
I’ve always stayed between my momma and papa. They both love me equally, but my momma said my papa didn’t know how to tell me no and it’s important I learned it from her. I asked her why did he have to tell me no, when it’s so easy to just say yes.
My papa only wanted me to be happy, what was so wrong with that. My momma said it was for the same reason I was asking. I didn’t understand that, so I asked my brother David, he wasn’t no genius but I liked the way he explained stuff to me, and boy did he explain it. Apparently when I grow up happiness is going to mean shit, because big people like the word no. So it’s torture to say I’m stuck with momma this holiday and that means my bossy brothers, I do love my brothers, step and real.
The one holding me over his shoulder, while I scream and drum my small fist on his huge back, him, I love the most.
“I can’t breathe Stone.” I whined lifting up my head, readying myself to do some serious damage to his back by ramming my head into it. I’ve seen how the Bulls do it, there was no better time to try it out. But I stopped short when I saw a small girl waiting by a motorbike. She must’ve been about Jace’s age, but I couldn’t be sure with her face all blotchy.
Michael put me on the ground and spun me around by my shoulders, forcing me to look at him when he knelt in front of me. I smiled and he laughed. I knew it’s funny because I had a crooked tooth in the front. Pushing his black rimmed glasses up his nose he shook his head like he didn’t know what he was going to do with me. My papa did it too.
I always liked my brother Michael the most. He didn’t have blue or brown eyes like the others in the Stone family, his was green like Uncle Hector’s. Most people found him scary, because he towered over everyone and he was all bulky and strong, but he was cool, like so cool.
“Kylie meet Dakota Larken.” He moved his back slightly to the left and all my attention focused on the small girl.
I smiled at her as she sniffled, it was obvious to me that she’d been crying. Michael stood up and ruffled my hair, I smacked his hand away. He knew I hated it when he did that, I was no boy.
“You two talk,” he said, “Make friends, I’ll keep Aunt Milda busy.”
I giggled when he walked toward the mansion and so did Dakota.
“I’m Kylie, Kylie Bray, whatchya doin’ here?”
Taking a small step towards me, she sniffed and wiped her nose with a tissue. I would’ve done it with my floral dress.
“Michaels helping me with biochemistry.”
Giggling because she sounded funny, I asked, “You a genius like my Michael?”
“Your Michael got nothing on me, I’m smarter than him.”
Hands on my hips, my head tilted to the side, “Is that so.”
She put her hands on hers as well, “It is.”
I shook my head, “How old ya”
“Eight, you live ‘round here.”
“Aha, we just moved to Liston Hills.”
“Cool, why ya crying.”
Wiping her light brown eyes, she explained, “My cousin keeps teasing me. You see my dads the President of The Sin Riders motorcycle club and they all have nicknames, I didn’t let it bother me before but my cousin keeps calling me nameless geek.”
I frowned, that’s just mean, I hated it when Kevin teased me. He always picked on me calling me ‘skinny bones’ or ‘rat face,’ it just made me so mad and we’d end up fighting. Well I would, he’d just sit there and watch me until I got tired. Then he’d ask me am I done. I always smacked his head before I answered yes, and he’d smack mine right back. Why I did it, well I was a Bray. My papa said a Bray never gave up.
“I can get you a nickname. Will ya feel better, my papa’s good at naming things.”
Her face scrunched up like she was thinking, what was there to think about. Finally she nodded her head and smiled, I smiled back. I liked smiling even though my tooth was crooked. My momma said I should wear it as an achievement, it’s part of life. “Come on, let’s go call my papa.”
We sneaked in through the back door, “ssshh, we don’t want my aunt to catch us, she’s crazy.” I rolled my eyes and used my finger, moving it in circle motions to make my point.
“I heard that Kylie.”
I squealed and grabbed Dakota’s hand. My aunt was waiting by the kitchen door. Her cheeks all flushed and red. She must’ve ran to the tree house on the end of the property.
“I need to call papa Aunt Milda,” I told her.
Her response was a stern look, but we both knew she wasn’t fooling anyone. My Aunt was as soft as mush, crazy but soft.
I didn’t chance it though, I was scared she might call me back to eat that meat.
Keeping my grip tight on Dakota’s hand I waisted no time and pushed past my Aunt.
My momma kept telephones and cellphones all over the house, so it didn’t take me long to spot the one on the white sofa.
Letting go of Dakota’s hand I threw myself on the coach and dialed my papa. It didn’t ring long before I heard my papas voice, “Kylie.”
“Papa, I need help, it’s business.” I drawled in my squeaky voice.
My papa was silent before he started laughing. I was confused as to why he was laughing. I heard a giggle behind me, which meant Dakota was laughing too. It must be something in the air making all these people crazy.
After hours, which was really just a minute my papa cleared his throat, “What can I do for you Miss Bray.”
Now I started giggling, my papa was so funny, “Papa.” I rolled my eyes. “My new friend needs a nickname.”
“A what honey?”
“A nickname papa, you know like Stone calls me Ky, she says her papa own them motorcycle clubs and she needs a nickname.”
My papa was quiet, before he cleared his throat, I didn’t know why he did it so often, “I see, Michaels new student.”
“You know her papa.”
“Yes, honey, how about you give her a nickname, then it will be special. This is something you can handle yourself Kylie. You are my daughter honey, I trust you.”
I sat up straight at the tone in his voice, my papa trusted me to handle this myself, I wouldn’t let him down.
“Okay papa, I gotta go, love ya.”
“I love you too honey.”
I jumped off the coach and eyed Dakota, tapping her foot. I looked at her face. Her hair was almost white with big dark brown eyes and her skin was so pale it hurt my eyes, “How about Snow, We can call you Snow, like Snow White.”
She frowned “That’s as bad as nameless geek, I don’t even like fairytales.” I put my hands on my hips. Who doesn’t like fairytales, psssst? A smarty pants I thought, “I’m just thinking loud, give me a break, gee,” I rolled my eyes.
The front door opened and the voices down the hall perked me up, my momma was home.
I yelled “Momma.” It wasn’t long after when she walked into the lounge and I saw the shiny bracelets with all those stones she liked wearing.
I looked at Dakota, who was gaping at momma because my momma was very pretty, I knew that, I saw it too. Blonde hair, blue eyes and white thighs, momma was the perfect Southern Woman. I looked like my papa, black hair and brown eyes. I never complained, looks ain’t important to me. I preferred strength. Michael always said a strong mind is just as beautiful as a sharp face.
I clapped my hands together, “How about Rock.” I was careful to speak better in front of my momma and drop the accent, famously known as the ‘Kylie Twang.’ My momma never wasted time giving me time out ‘by the wall’.
“What are you talking about Kylie, come give me a hug.” My momma was wearing a grey suit today, she was helping Hector with his work this past week, because we were all going to the L.A home for the holidays.
“I’m trying to give Dakota a nickname,” I said before I threw all my weight on her. I was tall but my momma caught me, and gave me a big kiss smack on the lips, “A nickname ha?”
Nodding, I smiled when my mommas blue eyes quirked up in that way that made Uncle Hector all mushy. “Yeah.”
Dakota’s small voice made me turn to face the five year old, “Rock is too boyish, I want a girls nickname.” I scrunched my brows up in concentration and turned my head to look at my momma, and that’s when I got it.
I screamed, “Diamond, Diamond.”
Moving out of my mommas arms I beamed at Dakota, “Your name can be Diamond.”
She frowned before she nodded and ran towards me, with open arms, “Diamond is good, really good, Kylie.”
I lifted her up and we both fell down, laughing, “We are so gonna be best friends.” When I said those words I didn’t know at the time how true they would be.
Together we ruled rite through high school. There was nothing that could separate us, not even us. Who would have thought that a simple phone call would do what hundreds of others had failed. But even then distance makes the heart grow fonder, for us it gave us power.