“Don’t you dare touch my dresser,” I ran after my brother, trying to slow him down as he made his way to the back of the house, but there was no hope for it. I was an eleven-year-old girl who weighed almost next to nothing, compared to my fourteen-year-old brother, who was surprisingly strong for a bookworm. I just hung off his arm as I tried to weigh him down, but he pulled open the second to top drawer and slipped the little blue notebook out of its hiding spot under a folded tank top and three or four pairs of “Fancy Dress Socks” that my mother made me own, but I tried desperately not to wear under any occasion. He hadn’t even hesitated or searched. He just knew.
“How long have you known that was there?” I asked incredulously.
“You don’t want the answer to that.” SJ answered honestly, “So, do you have a day, in particular, you want me to look at, or should I just open and start reading aloud?”
I just stared at my brother with my mouth half hanging open. I couldn’t believe what happening here. “SJ, you will put that notebook back under those socks. We will both walk away and forget this ever happened, or else I will be forced to take drastic measures. And you will not be happy if I have to take drastic measures.”
“What are you going to do, little squirt. I’m not afraid of you.” And then he opened the book and read aloud, “I’m thinking of asking Mom if we can put some temporary hair dye in for the party. I know that she raves about how good my hair looks naturally and how I shouldn’t do a thing to it, but I think I can convince her as long as I buy the kind that washes out after a week or so.”
And that was it. Not only had he called me little. Not only had he insinuated I wasn’t scary when we both knew perfectly well that I could be. But he had open the book. He had started to read aloud. It was time to bring in the big guns.
“MOM!” I may have been small, but I certainly had a set of lungs on me, and when I wanted to shriek, I really could.
“Little rat.” SJ sneered, shutting the book and shoving it into my chest. I stuck my tongue out at him as our mother came charging into the room.
“What? Oh Lord, Rose. What could possibly be happening to justify you shrieking like that? One of you had better be dying or the emergency equivalent.”
I briefly considered just saying that I had over reacted to SJ scaring me, to let the whole thing slide. But he had read out loud. And who was to say he hadn’t done it before. No, it was time for SJ to get what he deserved for all of this.
“Mom. SJ was reading my notebook. Aloud. He’d threaten to read it to his friends.” SJ was lucky the section that he read aloud was fairly innocent. Had he read anything having to do with my crush of the time, Johnny, I would have turned on the whole water works routine, and really gotten Mom riled up.
Now, in the average family, a little sister might be able to get her big brother in trouble for reading her diary. He may get a lecture about respecting privacy and have to do some sort of official apology. But in the Ashford residence, well, the sanctity of the diary was one that my mother made us swear by. SJ probably would have gotten in less trouble if I told my mother that he had physically hit me. My mother started to tear him a new one right then and there, proving that my ability to shriek had been an inherited quality.
I slipped quietly out of the room with a smile on my face. SJ’s torture was just beginning so there would be plenty of time to enjoy it later.
Right then, though, I had to figure out very, very quickly, a good safe place to hide my notebook. This time, SJ couldn’t be allowed to find it. And I had to make absolutely certain that this kind of situation would never, ever, happen again.