Nothing I Can Do About It
Most people that look at us don’t realize that not only are we siblings, but we’re twins.
Yes, twins. He’s everything that I really am not…
Amazing with both genders.
I’m short, awkward, I have too much junk in my trunk and far, far too much in the chest department. I have plain blue eyes, not nearly the exotic dragon green that my brother has. So yes, I’m totally jealous of him; he’s beyond charismatic and can sweet talk pretty much anybody into absolutely ANYTHING.
It’s sad when your brother can bat his eyelashes better than the average lady and not think twice about doing so to get his way in an argument.
During our growing years, it was less than easy for us to attend the Human’s educational programs. Our governments were on rocky terms at best, and with the controversy of Human laboratories taking Giants and Dragons in for experimental studies… Tensions were high. We barely managed to get approved for attending high school, and were almost dropped from the school when there was a flare up about policies regarding the safety of Humans among size-changing Giants were being fought. Throughout all of the controversies, abductions, and politicians hoping to curry favor from the fickle masses, I had dreams of going to school after we finished high school.
I wanted to be a mechanical engineer.
Yes, that’s right. A female that wants to be a mechanical engineer.
I had already been turned down from the courses in my high school due to both my gender and my race. That did not stop me from applying to courses the summer we graduated and trying to at least get a volunteer position at a local shop to learn more from people working in the field. Sadly, no matter how many places I tried to get some help people just refused to take a female seriously. Most of the major colleges and universities were not opening positions to Giants or Dragons, and even fewer were accepting females into any sort of courses except the Arts.
I…was forced to settle.
It was some sort of degree in the Arts or nothing at all for me, despite my best efforts. I majored in Design and Décor, and minored in Photography. I had the highest marks in my classes and graduated with full honors despite being an unwanted member of an unwanted race in my school.
My brother on the other hand went through law school, completed his licenses, and began practicing immediately.
That’s another reason I love and hate him; he managed to break through one of the more prestigious floodgates and attended a school that had a very strict No Giants policy. Not only did he attend, he graduated with top marks, honors, and had a full time position within a firm that started two days after he actually got his diploma.
Meanwhile I was sitting in my shitty little studio designing décor themes for a rich and stuck up couple that only chose me because I was “exotic” to them. And by studio, I mean one of those eight feet by ten baby barns one can purchase from a hardware store. I made certain to never meet a client anywhere but their own homes or a park, somewhere that they would never ask to see my work studio. As time went on and I established a healthy client base and network, I upgraded my studio… Just bought a few more baby barns and joined them together to make a bigger barn to suit my needs. I honestly could not afford to rent an actual office in the city, as Giants paid a premium in case of damage and I simply did not make enough steadily to afford that bill.
They day my brother knocked on the door of my studio in his three piece designer suit was the day I realized exactly how jealous I was of his success. And of how horrible it was to feel that jealousy loud and clear as it resonated through my core. He looked… so well put together. Crisp, handsome, and like the world had done nothing but pat him on the back.
I suppose the world had done a great deal of good to him; he had never lost a case yet, made more money in a single day than I made in a month, and had free time whenever he felt like it. His clients were very affluent, and for a year or two he was representing the wealthy in divorce cases… Always a lot of money to go around there.
He leaned against the doorway and looked in, as it was late summer and I always had the doors open unless it was too cold. I remember him telling me he was building a house about a half an hour’s walk away, and that he would like to build me a nicer studio…
It hurt, and I made sure he felt the pain through our twin bond.
A spasm crossed his face as his hand rested over his heart.
“I don’t want a damn studio. Get out of my space and go build your stupid house!” I screamed it at him, throwing an empty garbage can in his direction just as soon as I could reach it.
He caught it, set it down, and nodded. The pain he felt cut my own heart all the more.
I knew he wasn't meaning to be mean, possessive, or even remotely a braggart. He wasn't tossing his money in the air to be a dick… He legitimately wanted to make me a nicer studio for my work.
I cried and closed the four doors of my studio, my home.
I did not have anywhere else to call home, I was too proud to do that. I could not possibly go home to my King and tell him of my failure in the wide world. Not after all the fighting he’d done to make sure I COULD get an education and a job. In the far corner from my desk was my foldaway bed, on the opposite wall I had a camp stove and sink. My dishes were from the local thrift store, so was most of my clothing that I’d had to alter in order to fit my very unique body type.
I’d hidden away from everyone that I lived in four baby barns that I had pieced together. Cefiro honestly believed that I had a home not too far from the studio, and I took great pains to keep him believing that.
How could I tell my successful, millionaire brother that I lived hoping I wouldn't be accused of squatting on land I did not own?
My pride wouldn't let me. We were too far apart in every aspect for me to just come out and tell him. I did not think there would ever be a way to come clean and admit failure, but Mother Nature has a funny way of doing just that.
One afternoon I was out with a client, taking photographs of her house with the purpose of renovations in mind when a siren blared.
A tornado siren.
You would think that my being and Elemental, I would have noticed the creation of the super cell, funnel cloud, and the drastic change in the air pressure sooner…
All I could think of was the fact the tornado was headed in the direction of my little home.
As soon as the tornado was gone…it was clear to see that a good portion of the neighborhood around my home in the woods was gone… Trees were everywhere, wood splinters, cars, glass shards, you name it, it was scattered everywhere. The small clearing where my tiny home had been was nothing but a pile of splintered rubble with trees thrown about willy-nilly.
Cefiro was over in less than an hour, intent on seeing if we could salvage my studio… He wanted to help me fill out the paper work for the insurance company so that I could get a fresh start right away.
“Anna… you do have insurance on your business, right?” Black brows were furrowed over dragon green eyes.
“Insurance is overrated.” I mumbled, rubbing my face as I found a sweater buried under some wood that used to be a side wall.
His brows knit into a solid line as I continued to rummage through the rubble, trying to find anything that was mine that I could possibly save… I found my favorite pillow, hugging it to me despite the dust.
“We should go to your home and see the damage there, Anna. It’s important to get stuff like this looked after. We can dig through this later, okay?” His hand lightly rested on my shoulder.
I laughed a short, hard laugh.
“Anna?” He stiffened immediately.
“This was my home Ro. Not everybody makes enough money to buy or build their own. Now if you’ll please excuse me, I have to see if I can salvage anything else besides a sweater and my pillow. Thanks.” I rubbed my face and set to sifting through the remains. “You should go home and go call up one of your girls. She’ll take your mind off this crap. You’ll forget about everything outside your own pleasure.”
I could not bear to look at him and see the pity and shame written on his face. I could feel it welling up in his heart, anguish that he had never seen through the wall I carefully constructed to hide away my tiny, unhappy world.
Now he knew everything.
And there was nothing I could do about it.
“Don’t say it. I don’t want to hear it.” Tears were running down my face as I made a pile of things that I could keep.
“Here…let me help.” Tears were slowly running down his cheeks, I could feel his sadness as he sorted through the remains of my broken home, pride, and workplace.
There was nothing I could do about it.
“When we are done, you are coming to stay with me. I won’t hear any arguments. You can’t stay here.” His tone was soft, not at all what I expected.
“I don’t want to leave here…” I whispered.
We worked in silence for a few hours, I truly did not have much left that wasn't battered, torn, or otherwise broken beyond repair. I’d not had much to begin with, honestly. Miraculously my external hard drive and my little jump drives had survived, although my laptop was a foregone conclusion. I gathered my few things into a salvaged bed sheet like the hobo I was, and carried my things in the direction of Ro's truck.
All I could think of as we drove to his home was how much I just should have accepted the glass of sugary pop my client offered me. My allergy would have kicked in immediately, and I would have died long before knowing the tornado was going to rip what little success I had away into nothing.
Seeing Ro's very, very nice home with a well-manicured lawn and garden…
I should have taken that glass of pop.
It would have been a softer feeling, bleeding internally while my organs ruptured, than the jealousy that ripped me in half.