Getting to Me

Chapter Six

The next morning, the roads were clear enough for Mandy to make her way to Dickinson to attend her evening class. She insisted on driving by herself, though both Brian and Brent had suggested that one of them go with her in case the roads were terribly icy or another snowstorm hit. The roads were clear, however, and she made it to the university in almost normal time.

Her professor went over the lesson relatively quickly and gave an assignment that was due the following Friday before he dismissed them a few minutes early so that they could try to avoid driving too late at night. She made a quick stop at Hardy’s to get some a burger and fries before she started the hour-long drive to return to the ranch.

When she got home, she frowned when she saw a car she didn’t recognize sitting in her driveway before closing her car door and walking into the house, wondering who else had come to the house while she’d been in Dickinson. She froze in her spot in the entryway when she heard a rather loud female screeching from the living room. She slowly crossed over to the doorway that would lead into the kitchen, and giggled when she saw a petite brown-haired woman about her size yelling at her older brother, pointing her finger at him and saying curse words that would make a sailor blush. Zacky was sitting at the dining room table along with McKenna, and when they saw her, they both gave her nervous smiles as she walked into the house.

“Who’s that?” She whispered to McKenna, who giggled as she looked over at them. Brian’s face was three shades paler than it should be, and his dark eyes were wide as he stood there, listening to the woman yell at him.

“Her name’s Michelle, apparently,” her younger sister told her. “According to her, Brian got her pregnant and then denied it.”

“What?” Mandy’s eyes widened as she looked over at her brother. Brian wouldn’t do that…would he? At least, she didn’t think he would. Their parents hadn’t raised them like that, and Brian had always been the more responsible out of the four Haner children. “Did she have the kid yet?”

“No, she—” McKenna started before the woman let out a loud shriek followed by the sound of a loud slap hitting Brian’s face sounded throughout the combined rooms.

“You’re nothing but a two-faced manwhore of a man who’s too goddamn scared to take on the responsibility of a child he helped create!” Michelle blew at Brian, slapping his cheek again before narrowing her eyes at him.

“Manwhore? I’m not the one who slept with three guys in the span of a month!” Brian retorted, his face heating not only because of the slap marks, but because he was getting angrier with each second that she yelled at him.

“I didn’t sleep with them! Zacky! Tell him I didn’t have sex with you!” Michelle turned, glaring at Zacky furiously. Her hazel-brown eyes didn’t seem to see that someone else had entered the room as she singled out Zacky, who held his hands out in front of him.

“I’m not getting in the middle of this, Michelle,” he said slowly. “I mean, we didn’t have sex, but leave me the hell out of this!”

“What’s with all the screaming?” Brian Sr.’s voice called from the entryway as he walked into the house, stopping when he saw the scene in the living room. He looked over at McKenna, Zacky, and Mandy, wondering what was going on.

“Dad, you really don’t want to know,” McKenna started, walking over to her father and trying to push him out of the house again. “Trust me. You really don’t.”

“There’s a woman I’ve never seen before standing in my living room shrieking at my son and my son’s friend, and you’re telling me I don’t want to know? This, I’ve got to hear,” he told her, peering over at the two of them before looking at his youngest daughter again. “What’s going on?”

“Uh…” McKenna muttered, looking at the floor. “I’m not really sure, Dad. Ask Brian.”

Brian Sr. sighed as he walked into the living room, moving to stand between the bickering pair and looking at the woman with a small smile on his face. “Hi, I’m Brian’s dad, nice to meet you. Care to explain why you’re ripping him a new asshole?”

“Your son,” Michelle said with a sickly sweet smile on her face before she glared over his shoulder at Brian, flipping him off when he glared right back at her. “Is a cocksucking, lying, mentally challenged, insincere, insensitive son of a bitch who doesn’t know how to use a goddamn condom.”

Brian Sr.’s jaw fell open at all of the insults that fell off of Michelle’s lips as she glared at Brian, crossing her arms over her stomach. It was only after several minutes did he actually comprehend the latter part of her insults, when he tilted his head to the side in confusion.

When Michelle saw that the eldest Haner male was confused, she tossed her hands up in the air before turning to grab her jacket off of the chair where she’d tossed it when she’d walked into the house. “What, is every male in this family mentally challenged?”

“Hey now, there’s no need to insult me,” Brian Sr. said, unfolding his hands from his chest as he gave her another small smile. Whatever the woman was pissed off about, it was something pretty big, because no girlfriend of Brian’s had ever quite called him that before. He had to admit, she was amusing him more than she was pissing him off. “I’m sure if you just tell me what Brian did to piss you off, we can work it out.”

“Your son,” she said as she crossed her arms over her chest. “Got me pregnant. And now he’s denying that he ever had sex with me.”

“I never said I didn’t have sex with you! Jesus Christ, stop putting words in my mouth, woman!” Brian yelled at her, which caused Michelle to start screaming again. Brian Sr. just threw his hands in the air in defeat. He wasn’t going to get either of them to calm down, and he just shook his head as he walked towards his and his wife’s bedroom, closing the door behind him.

If it weren’t for the fact that Michelle’s allegations were fairly serious, Mandy would have been laughing. However, a pregnant woman who was being rejected by the father of her baby was never a good thing. Zacky touched her arm lightly bringing her attention away from the fight, and she smiled at him.

“Me and McKenna are gonna go upstairs and play a game of Go Fish,” he smiled at her, nodding his head towards the stairs. “Feel like coming with? I doubt these two are anywhere near done arguing.

“Sure,” she smiled at him, following her little sister and Zacky up the staircase. McKenna said they would play on the floor in the hallway since it didn’t have windows and was warmer than the bedrooms, and neither Zacky nor Mandy had an argument as they sat on the floor in a small circle. McKenna shuffled her deck of cards and then dealt the hands.

The game went relatively quickly, and by the end of the game, Mandy could tell that McKenna was getting quite sleepy. The ten-year-old kept yawning, and more than once during the game she had nodded out only to wake up suddenly again, and then her eyes would droop closed once more. In her defense, Mandy realized, it was past nine o’clock, and her bedtime was normally about eight thirty. At the very end of the game, she giggled as McKenna fell asleep against Zacky’s shoulder.

“Should I wake her up or what?” Zacky asked, poking her shoulder lightly when he realized that the little girl was sound asleep. Mandy sighed and shook her head, a small smile forming on her lips.

“When she conks out like that, it’s like she’s the living dead or something. Nothing’ll wake her up,” she told Zacky. He moved her so that she was laying on the floor before he picked her up, carrying her into her bedroom. Mandy followed and pulled the blankets back so that Zacky could put her in the bed, and then Mandy tucked her in while Zacky watched.

They walked out of her bedroom and stood in the hallway for a few awkward moments before Mandy cleared her throat and gave Zacky a small smile. “Well, I think I’m going to head to bed,” she said before the upstairs fell silent again. She stood there for a few more minutes, not sure what she was expecting. Something told her to stay there for those few extra moments however.

“Hey, Mandy?” Zacky’s voice asked her just as she’d turned around to move into her bedroom. She stopped in her tracks and smiled at him, tilting her head just slightly to the side. The sounds of Michelle and Brian’s arguing had somewhat diminished, though they could still be heard through the old floorboards as Zacky and Mandy looked at one another.

“Yeah?” She asked him, her breath getting caught in her throat as she looked up at his face when he started moving towards her. He gave her a small smile of his own before pushing some of her loose, dark brown hair out of her eyes, letting his tattooed arm fall to his side before settling into another short silence, trying to figure out what he wanted to say.

“Well, if that’s all, goodnight,” she said as she reached up to pat his shoulder slightly, thinking that it would be too awkward if she gave him a hug. He stopped her from walking into her bedroom yet again, and she let out a small giggle, wondering what he was doing as he grabbed her upper arm carefully with his hand.

“I was wondering,” he started slowly, licking over his bottom lip as he thought out just the right way he wanted to phrase what he was trying to say. Finally, he figured it out in his head and lowered his green gaze to directly meet Mandy’s. “If I could have a kiss goodnight?”

Mandy blushed at his request, but she didn’t say anything as she thought about it for a moment. A part of her wanted to kiss him, but she’d only known him for a few days, and she didn’t want to seem too forward with him. She put her hands on her hips as she stood there quietly for a few moments before she shook her head, smiling softly when his face fell.

“I won’t give you a kiss on the lips,” she started, closing the small space between them as she looked up at him, the air around them seeming to freeze still as they looked at one another. “But, I can kiss your cheek, if you’d like.”

Zacky’s face brightened as she leaned up on her tiptoes to press a small kiss to his cheek, the slight stubble that was there tickling her cheek as she kept her lips there for a few seconds before pulling away, giggling when she saw that he was blushing.

“Goodnight, Zacky,” was all she said as she walked into her bedroom, peeking out through the door as she closed it, watching as Zacky walked back down the hall slowly, a huge grin plastered on his face. A blush tinted her own cheeks as she thought about the kiss. It had been innocent, though it had felt like there could be something there, if they tried to make something of that small kiss.