I pop a handful of Cheerios into my mouth and threaten, “It’s under my name, so step back, or I’m gonna tell Mom.”
My brother snorts loudly and crosses his arm, “Then what, I’m gonna get a spanking?”
I ignore him and continue stuffing my mouth full with Cheerios while waiting for the announcement to board. I give Jeremy a shrewd sideways look, munching on my food loudly. Everyone keeps saying that I’m the luckiest sister in the whole world to have Jeremy as my brother. “He’s hot, San.” “Is he overprotective? That’d be cute!” “Can I have your brother’s number? Pizza treat from me!”
I choke on the Cheerios amidst laughter. Hot. I turn my head fully to Jeremy, trying my best to find which freakin part of him is ‘hot’. Brown hair, brown eyes, moderate build. I gag. What’s wrong with these people? I’d give him up for a little sister A-N-Y-D-A-Y.
“Would you stop that? I think the whole airport can hear you munching that thing,” Jeremy shakes his head, sinking down in his seat. “Oh god, you look like a cow, San. What’s wrong with taking small bites?”
See? The supposedly sweetheart, overprotective brother. As if.
You might think that I should have at least shared a few cute moments with him when we were younger, but no. He’s been an animal since I know how to crawl.
Just when I’m about to chuck a few rings of Cheerios at his face, the announcement comes. Man, he’s quick. By the time I’ve wedged my food back into my bag, Jeremy is already in line, tapping his foot, his backpack slung across his shoulder. And I thought fighting over a window seat is what only kids would do.
“Don’t you dare, Jeremiah Baker,” I toss him my killer look. He shrugs while whistling casually. He’s three people ahead of me. There’s no way I could beat him to it. So I do what I have to do.
Darting to him, I stomp on his foot causing him to bend over and howl in pain. Surprise, dear brother. Seeing my chance, I snatch away his boarding pass and hurry to the last in line. Don’t call me bad names yet, he does that to me all the time as well. And I’m the little sister here.
I let out a breath of relief and glance up to see everyone staring at us. Jeremy narrows his eyes angrily and walks towards me. He’d have flown across the air if people aren’t focusing on us right now. I shove his pass into my jeans pocket and smile up innocently.
I never like weird looks from the crowd but today, I’m grateful for that. Jeremy doesn’t even dare to tackle me right there for his boarding pass. He simply crosses his arms and glares at the air, fuming.
By the time we have our boarding pass checked and are making our way through the walkway, Jeremy starts sprinting for the plane looming ahead of us. I chased on, slapping my converse against the gravel. I trip and lurch and stagger and trip again, while on the other hand Jeremy’s practically gliding through the air. God, is he an animal?
“What are you, XLR8? Slow the heck down, you moron! I’m taking that seat!” I yell desperately from behind.
This, is exactly why it’s no fun at all to have Jeremy as a brother, and also why, I goddamn hate him. I stumble to a halt when I reach the stairs. My face starts heating up and my mouth is already dry from the short run. Huffing, I look up to find Jeremy’s backpack dash out of sight. That animal.
After having the wind messing up my hair and a tedious climb up the stairs, I finally make it up the plane. In a haggard manner.
“Aw please don’t cry, sister,” Jeremy coos mockingly from his window seat, sniggering at my out-of-place bun and probably tomato-red cheeks. Sweet Jeez I feel like punching the lights out of him this very second.
Grumbling, I attempt to toss my backpack straight into the overhead bin. And fail miserably. My bag falls back onto the aisle and Jeremy starts howling in laughter. I glare daggers at him, and pointing at him, I make a neck-cutting motion with my other hand promising that he’d be doomed sooner or later.
“Still can’t change the fact that I’m having a window seat, sis,” Jeremy shrugs and sinks down comfortably.
I plop down onto the middle seat and stow my backpack under my legs. I turn to Jeremy, “The very second this plane touches down, I’m gonna stab a stick right through your chest and barbecue you on a bright hot flame and dip you in salty gravy and-"
Jeremy and I both snap our heads to the source of the voice. A guy no older than Jeremy is smiling down at us while shoving his luggage onto the bin above.
Jeremy starts introducing himself while my eyes are glued to the two novels the guy has in his hand. He moves around, adjusting his backpack and stuff, and my eyes just can’t seem to read the titles of the books. Is that Harry Potter? No way.
The guy settles down beside me and laughs, “Why are you guys staring at me like that?”
I snap out of my attempt and realise Jeremy’s staring at him as well.
“What are you guys looking at?” he frowns while his mouth is slightly tipped in amusement.
Jeremy and I both answer at the same time. “Your jumper.” “Your book.”
Jeremy pops his eyes and half-chokes, “BOOB?”
I flounce around in my seat and shove his head roughly, “BOOK, you idiot.”
“Well pronounce it clearly next time!” he whines, rubbing at his temple while the stranger beside me laughs at our stupidity.
Ignoring my brother, I turn to the boy and hooking my thumb towards Jeremy, I say, “Sorry. He’s um….a little retarded.”
“Watch what you’re saying, squirt!” Jeremy elbows me in the stomach and I yelp loudly, gaining the attention of a flight attendant nearby. Approaching us, she asks if everything’s okay and when all three of us just smile up at her (I think mine is a smile-grimace), she walks away.
“So what’s this book you’re reading?” I lean forward the boy’s books curiously, trying to peek at the titles.
“Sorry, I didn’t catch your name,” he chuckles slightly while passing the books to me.
“Sandy,” I introduce simply, my eyes busy scanning over his books.
Jeremy whistles and chirps, “Sandy and Danny. Danny and Sandy. Hey that rhymes. Sandy and-“
I bang the book on his head, earning a loud bark from him and a stern gaze from the male flight attendant in front, who’s busy demonstrating stuff.
I grimace slightly and smile apologetically at Danny, “Sorry about that,” I say, referring to his book. And after that, we chat about novels while Jeremy remains ignored in his corner seat, which is kinda a bad thing because, he just can’t stand being ignored, so he’d always butt in with some provoking remarks. I decide to let him be, until this one time.
“Are you flirting with this guy, Sandy?” he interrupts loudly.
As if on cue, Danny stops talking and lifts his brows, looking over my shoulder at Jeremy. I swallow the dirty words itching to come out from my mouth and mutter, “Danny can we switch seats please?”
“Sure,” he nods, standing up from his seat. The old woman next to Danny across the aisle is staring at us all too enthusiastically and to make things worse, Jeremy then proclaims happily to her across the air, “My little sister here is trying to get herself a boyfriend. She’s always desperate, you know.”
I get myself out onto the aisle, allowing Danny to take my seat before sitting down again. Take a deep breath and count from one to ten, Sandy. You can’t kill your brother right in front of these people. One….two….
“She always gets dumped…..awww my poor kitty,” Jeremy continues loudly.
“And now she’s trying to get Danny’s phone number. Hey pal, you don’t wanna do that. My sister’s a purebred monster.”
“Wait, you don’t happen to like her, right Dan Dan?”
I jump up from my seat, about to give Jeremy two impressive black eyes when a hand catches my shoulder. I turn around to see the previous female stewardess. “Take your seat and buckle up, please. We’re about to take off.”
I shot a glare at Jeremy, imagining myself tearing off his every single hair and skinning him alive. Jeremy Baker, you are so, so, doomed.
After the plane takes off and a few light conversations with Danny about films, I find myself drifting off every now and then, my head dropping and snapping up before dropping off again. I am so close to dreamland, really close, actually, when the devil’s voice pops into my head again.
“Awww….would you look at her, Dan Dan, she’s trying to sleep on your shoulder….so cute, eh?”
With that, every bit of me that has wanted sleep so bad minutes ago disappears altogether.
"Danny you have to stop talking to an animal, really,” I advise, gritting my teeth.
Jeremy coos, “See that? She’s awake in just a second. She was simply pretending to drop off.” Jeremy wiggles his brow at Danny. “Told. Ya.”
I was just trying to make a friend here, and my brother’s all about ruining my life. He might be a good company at movies and video games sometimes, but when he’s not, he’s an animal, which is what he is right now.
Peeking at me subtly, Danny nudges me and suggests, “Well I can ignore him if you want me to.”
“That, and punch him for me would ‘ya? A blow right through his nose, do that,” I demand.
Danny gazes on steadily, and I could practically hear his thoughts out loud. “This girl is crazy.” “This girl’s got a tendency towards violence.” “Oh why do I have to end up sitting here?”
Here goes another possible new friend.
And I was right. Danny doesn’t even bother to ask for my contact number after the plane lands and Jeremy’s suddenly acting all innocent and guilty. I shrug my backpack on and when we’re in the airport, I continue walking on, leaving Jeremy behind.
He catches on quickly, “Hey San, you called Mom yet?”
“My phone’s out of balance,” I reply, trying to sound blue and flat-out tired. It’s easier to pull a revenge on Jeremy that way. Guilt is his weakness, so I’ve learnt.
Jeremy fishes out his phone, holding it out to me, “You call.”
I snigger inwardly. I feign a sigh before snatching the phone from his hand roughly. I nod towards the other direction, “You go collect our luggage.”
I force a groan, complaining, “Ugh she’s not answering,” I frown disapprovingly and swipe across his phone. Jeremy simply shrugs and walks ahead of me, totally unaware of his little sister’s jiggery-pokery.
I swipe furiously, trying to locate Zara’s contact number before Jeremy even realises what I’m doing. Zara, Zara, Zara…. Ah, so he’s saved her number as “Zara the Troll”…. How very civil of my brother. I mean, it’s not like she’s been acting all clingy and needy like the other girls have been to him…. It just so happens she has a gigantic, coy crush on Jeremy and Jeremy’s doing everything he can to keep her kisses attack at bay.
I smirk, typing a quick message to Zara.
'I miss you, baby. Can I see you now?'
“What’s so funny?” Seemingly to finally notice something, Jeremy strides towards me, his brows already knitted into a mess.
I dangle his phone in front of him before he grabs it away, suspicion written all over his face.
I click my tongue, smiling up at him. Surprise, my dear brother.