I made sure to put the soft part of my foot down first, and slow. Like a cat. If I went slow like a cat nobody would hear, and I’d have it all to myself. My chest got tight and hot as I came closer, so I breathed less. One more step and the handle was in reach. In my head I told the floor, Please don’t creak. Don’t you dare creak.
It creaked, and suddenly my brother was scampering into the kitchen. He cut in front of me, opened the fridge and grabbed the milk. The floor bugged me, and he bugged me too because I wanted to eat cereal by myself and have it first. He’s older and always has things first, and even when he doesn’t he still gets credit like he did.
I followed him to the bowl cupboard, but he shut it. So I opened it and grabbed one really fast so I could get a spoon before he shut the drawer, too. I beat him to that one even though he’s fast. He reminded Mom and Dad of a monkey. All skinny and small and fast. “Little Monkey,” they called him, but they didn’t get that he wasn’t smart. He may of been my big brother, but I’m bigger and faster and smart. Like a cat.
We ate breakfast at the table like we were supposed to. The walls we made around ourselves with cereal boxes weren’t perfect because I could still hear him chewing, but at least he couldn’t look at me and I didn’t have to look at him. He finished before I even got half way, but I was glad he was gone so I could be by myself, like how I wanted at first. My cereal didn’t have a prize in it anywhere, so I bet Kelson already stole it. The puzzles on the box were still blank, though, and I liked those.
After I was done I thought to put my bowl in the sink because Mom got mad when we didn’t, but instead left it on the table. The trip was out of my way. She always takes care of those things even when she gets mad, so it should be okay. She’s nice, and Dad’s asleep.
When I walked in the living room my little brother was sitting with his face inches away from the TV. Going past him and sitting on the couch, I tried to focus on the Ninja Turtles. I tried a lot.
“Don’t sit that close.” He ignored me. “Don’t sit that close, Bambi.”
“You isn’t my boss.”
“Dad’s the boss, and he says.”
“You isn’t my boss.”
I glanced at Kelson for some back-up, but he was mesmertized by turtles. “You’re going to ruin your eyes.”
“Shut up, you isn’t my boss.”
He made me start to get loud. “Aren’t! Are not my boss. Yer so stupid. Get away from the TV, stupid!” I knocked him over and he scooted right back, so I punched him. He cried, but I didn’t even punch him hard. He’s always crying about everything, but it’s his own fault for not listening. Stupid baby.
A door slammed open upstairs. The three of us bolted like we were sling-shot, and my legs took a long time to get me to my spot. I flung my blanket over me, went flat, and stayed still all in a second. My heart burned with every step Dad took down the stairs. A dull thump behind me. Kelson got it. A couple of stomps, a smack and a scream and Bambi’s blanket busted out crying. I stayed still. If I stay still and don’t breathe, I’m only a pile of Mermaid blanket. A big hand came down on my back with a slapping sound, stung like fire, but I clenched my teeth hard and stayed still.
“You shut up, all of you,” he yelled. “I’m trying to sleep. I better not hear another peep er I’ll give you something to cry about.”
Dad stormed back upstairs, muttering, and slammed his door. But it wasn’t new, I didn’t hurt, and I didn’t cry. It was all I could do not to say “peep.”
There was a moment of stillness until the groundhogs started stirring again. Kelson got out first, whispering at us all angry for fighting. I got up and didn’t say anything more. Bambi’s lucky Dad would come down if I made a peep. If he would just listen like he’s supposed to that wouldn’t of happened this morning. Whimpering over there like a poor baby. I could give him something to cry about. Stupid baby.