Getting to Me

Chapter Eleven

"Where's my sister?" Brian asked Zacky bright and early the next morning as he walked into Zacky's apartment without even waiting for his friend to invite him into the apartment. Zacky rolled his eyes and sighed as he pointed towards his bedroom, knowing that Brian would be pissed off that Mandy was sleeping in his bedroom, but also knowing that Brian would be pissed either way. He wouldn't have wanted Mandy to be sleeping on the couch either, so it was a lose-lose situation that Zacky found himself in.

"Shut up before you wake her up, alright?" Zacky groaned, earning a rather harsh glare from the older boy as he quietly pushed his friend's bedroom door open so that he could see Mandy sleeping on the mattress. She was half falling off of the bed, dragging the heavy blue blanket with her, and there was a steady trickle of drool slipping out of the corner of her mouth. Zacky thought it was absolutely adorable, but he refrained from saying what he was thinking in front of Brian, who sighed as he pulled the door closed to turn and look at his friend.

"Why's she sleeping in your bed?" He asked suspiciously. Michelle was the next to speak as she moved between the two of them, glaring at her....Well, Zacky wasn't quite sure what to label Brian and Michelle's relationship as just yet.

"Because he's a nice guy and let her sleep in the bed rather than making her sleep on the couch," Michelle interjected, poking her finger at Brian's chest. "You should be downright ashamed of yourself, Brian. He's your best friend! He wouldn't do shit with your little sister if he didn't at least tell you about it first. Stop jumping down his throat and accusing him."

Zacky wanted to agree with Michelle, but he also wanted to keep his friendship with Brian intact, so he just stood there quietly for a few moments longer before sighing as he pushed his hand back through his sleep-toussled hair as he began walking towards the kitchen. He spotted the cocoa mugs sitting in the sink and inwardly smiled as he grabbed a box of Grape Nuts out of the cabinet and poured some into a bowl before moving to the fridge and grabbing a carton of milk to fill it.

"She went right to sleep when you guys got back here, right?" Brian asked, ignoring Michelle as he walked into the kitchen to watch his friend prepare the cereal. Zacky nearly choked as he took a bite out of the cereal at Brian's question, but he knew that he couldn't tell him the truth. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Brian would flip a lid if he knew that he and Mandy had cuddled the night before on the couch, much less flirted with one another.

"Yeah, man," he nodded slowly, not meeting Brian's gaze as he sat down at the dining room table to finishe eating the cereal he'd started to eat. "We argued for a few minutes about who was going to sleep where, but when I finally insisted on staying on the couch, she just walked into the bedroom and went to bed, I guess. Unless she was doing other things in there."

Brian's eyes narrowed at Zacky's words, and the green-eyed man paled when he realized what he'd said had sounded like as he held his hands up in self-defense. "I didn't mean it like that, dude. I just meant that I went to sleep before she did, I think, so I'm not sure if she went right to sleep or what."

"That better be what you fucking meant," Brian growled angrily as he grabbed the front of Zacky's shirt in his fist, twisting it and glaring at his friend. "I'm not kidding. She's my little sister, Zack. Hands off. Off limits. Whatever the hell you want to call it. I don't care if she's legal or not. She's not just some fucking hussy you can play like those other girls. And I'll kick your ass if I find out that you so much as fucking flirt with her."

Zacky knew Brian well enough to know that he wasn't exaggerating. He had no doubts in his mind that Brian would indeed carry out his threat, and he didn't even want to know how far Brian would go to keep him away from Mandy. In a way, though, he found that he didn't care. Brian was right about her. She wasn't just some hussy that he was going to play. She was...unique. She was beautiful both inside and out, and she never failed to make him laugh. She was always so full of happiness and she just seemed to radiate like a bright star or something. He knew it was cliche to think of her like that, but it was true. He really did think that highly of her, and if there was one thing he was absolutely sure of, it was that he wasn't going to just use her and throw her out like yesterday's newspaper.

"I know, man," Zacky sighed. They both stopped talking as the bedroom door opened and Mandy tumbled out into the living room, rubbing her eyes sleepily as she glared over at Brian.

"Do you really feel the need to yell at the top of your lungs this early in the morning? Jesus, it's not even eight yet, Brian!" She grumbled as she made her way towards the kitchen, shuffling around to find food or coffee, or anything that would wake her up more than she was at the time being.

"I wouldn't have to if I trusted this asshole," Brian grumbled, causing both Michelle and Mandy to groan. They both knew that Brian didn't trust Zacky with Mandy, but that didn't mean either one of them wanted to hear it. Michelle thought they would make a cute couple, and Mandy was beginning to see Zacky as someone she would potentially date. That meant that neither one of them gave a shit what Brian was saying.

"Fuck off, Brian," Michelle rolled her eyes. "Mandy's a big girl now. She doesn't need your older brother protection unless she asks for it, so just lay off. If I recall correctly, my older brother hated the fact that we're together, and you didn't give a shit."

"Mandy's different!" Brian argued, causing Michelle to roll her eyes once again.

"Exactly how is she different? She's your sister! That means it's the exact same fucking thing!"

"No it doesn't, and you know it, Michelle," Brian grumbled, glaring at the brown-eyed woman. "I swear, if you weren't knocked up--"

And the argument only escalated from there. Zacky and Mandy were trapped in the kitchen as Brian and Michelle argued with one another, and neither of them was sure what to do as the pair fought. Both sides said rather ugly things that made the other two wince, and in the end, Brian stormed out of Zacky's apartment, completely forgetting that Mandy and Zacky were there as well. Michelle paid no attention to either of them too, and she stormed out of the apartment shortly after Brian, either to hunt him down or to go to her own apartment.

"Well that was...interesting," Zacky muttered as he slumped down in the dining room chair, looking over at Mandy, who was just as wide-eyed as he was. She'd never seen a woman stand up to Brian quite the way Michelle was, and though she was supposed to take her brother's side because he was family, she couldn't help but hope that Brian would end up just agreeing with Michelle. She liked the woman, and she thought that she'd be a good thing for Brian. If the two of them would ever stop arguing and could see that, she was sure that the two of them would get along just fine.

"Yeah, well, I'm just wondering how long it's going to take him to realize he left us here without a car," she grumbled as she sat down opposite of Zacky, looking at the table. She'd long since lost her appetite, and she wasn't in the best of moods since Brian had woken her up by screaming at Zacky. "How far is 'Chelle's apartment from here? I'm assuming that's where the two of them went."

"It's clear across town," Zacky groaned. "And there's no way in hell I'm walking all the way there in this weather."

"Well, then I guess we just wait out their argument until they get back," Mandy shrugged, standing up and smirking at Zacky. "Why don't we watch another movie? I'm sure you have more than just zombie flicks, right?"

Zacky chuckled and shook his head as he got up and walked over to the messy shelving unit that was by the TV as he searched for a movie. He looked for about ten minutes before he felt Mandy move up behind him, her hand touching the small of his back just slightly so that she wouldn't trip on the numerous gaming systems that were scattered on the floor beside them.

"What about this one?" She asked, pulling out a movie he hadn't even known he had. It was called The Holiday. He gave her a weird look and fake gagged, but Mandy rolled her eyes and tapped him over the head with it before moving to stand in front of the DVD player, pulling out the movie they'd watched the night before and putting the movie she'd found in instead. "Don't give me that look," she told him as she moved to sit on the couch next to him, smirking as he gave her a puppy-dog pout. "You made me sit through an entire zombie movie last night."

"Yeah, but that's different! It was to--" He started before he cut himself off, blushing as he looked at the floor. Mandy arched her eyebrows as she scooted closer to him, pushing the play button on the remote as she leaned her head against Zacky's shoulder. His arm snaked around her waist in a seemingly instinctive move, and Mandy smiled as she realized that somehow, if felt right.

She was curious as to what he'd been about to say, but she didn't push him as the movie started. She could tell that Zacky got bored with the movie rather quickly as he fell asleep on her shoulder, and she had to turn up the volume just a little as he started snoring softly. She made a face as some drool began falling out of his mouth and slid further down the couch so that he'd stop getting her shoulder wet, but his head followed and fell onto her lap instead. She smiled, deciding that she could deal with that, and rested her hand on his side as she continued watching the movie by herself.

She didn't even notice the front door open again, and it was only when she heard heavy footsteps crossing the wooden floor towards the living room area of the apartment that she noticed someone had come in before she looked up to see a big man with brown hair and hazel eyes walking towards them, a smirk on his face. "Z didn't tell me he had a girlfriend," he smiled politely at her before offering her his hand. "Matt Sanders. This fuckwad's one of my friends. Bri sent me to get his little sister?"

"That'd be me," Mandy rolled her eyes. Matt gave her a confused look as he drifted his gaze from Zacky's sleeping body to hers again, and she then blushed when she realized that he thought the two of them were involved before she shook her head, giving him a small smile. "Zacky's not my boyfriend, he just fell asleep during the movie."

"I see," Matt said slowly, the look on his face saying that he wasn't quite believing her before he stretched. "So you're the infamous Mandy, huh?"

"What do you mean 'infamous'?" She asked him, giving him a confused look of her own. "What has Brian said about me, exactly?"

"Nothing bad," Matt chuckled. "He just talks about you a lot. You'd think the sun rose and set on your shoulders or something. You definitely got the looks out of the two of you, though."

Mandy blushed at his comment, but she knew it was just friendly as Zacky began stirring awake. When he saw that he’d fallen asleep on Mandy’s lap, he jumped up all of a sudden and then looked around the room, as if he were trying to find Brian.

“Relax, he’s not here,” Mandy rolled her eyes with a smile as she turned to look at Zacky, who immediately relaxed once she told him that her brother wasn’t there. Then he saw Matt, and gave him a confused look.

“What’re you here for? Val kick you out again?” He asked his friend, scratching the back of his head. Val was Matt’s longtime on again, off again girlfriend, and he was wondering if they were ‘off again’ at the moment. Matt sighed and shook his head before pointing at Mandy.

“Bri told me to come and get her,” he said. “Apparently he doesn’t trust you with her alone, for some reason?”

“It’s because he’s an idiot,” Mandy mumbled, standing up and walking towards Zacky’s room so that she could get her duffel bag and get changed in to some different clothes. Matt and Zacky both laughed at her insult to her brother, but she meant it. She loved him to death, but he could be an idiot when it came to her love life. And right now, he was intruding when she didn’t want him to. Michelle had been right when she’d said that Brian didn’t need to interject in every little detail of her life, and once again, she decided that her brother had OPOBS.

“So, where are we going?” Mandy asked when she walked back out into the living room. Matt had been talking with Zacky, who turned to look at her with a half smile.

“We’re taking you back over to Michelle’s place. I think Brian’s gonna stay here in Fargo with her since she’s pregnant, and that means that you and Zacky’ll probably head back to wherever you came from later today,” Matt told her. Mandy thought it over in her mind, and then tilted her head in confusion as she looked at the two of them.

“Why the hell would Bri stay in Fargo if he doesn’t want to keep going to school? He doesn’t have an apartment, does he?”

“Nah, he’s staying with ‘Chelle. I think your Dad actually told him he had to stay with her ‘til the baby comes,” Zacky said, cutting in to the conversation and smiling at her. “Brian was talking about it a couple of days ago.”

“Well, we better get going then, or it’s going to be way dark when we get back to the ranch tonight,” Mandy said, heading for the door after she’d pulled her winter jacket over her shoulders. Matt and Zacky followed her, grabbing their own coats. Mandy couldn’t help but wonder as they walked out of Zacky’s apartment whether or not he was only driving her back to the ranch before coming back to Fargo, or if he was going to stay at the ranch for the winter. She hoped it was the latter of the two, but she didn’t say anything as she looked up at Zacky while they walked out to Matt’s car.
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I will be updating once more right after this update. I apologize for missing the update on Wednesday; I was in the hospital for 24 hours, and couldn't get on the computer after that because my modem died.