a bad day at school for the Jackson kids
A/N: this chapter has been edited.
Willow walked across the school grounds with a bounce in her step, she held a hand over her eyes as the sun shone into them brightly, she squinted to she where she was going. Unfortunately she failed to notice a guy in her year run around the corner of a building, he crashed into her and they both fell rather heavily onto the ground in a heap.
The redhead grimaced, figured she’d end up on her butt- she usually did. She pushed herself up into a sitting position quickly, not wanting to spend forever on the ground.
“Hey, are you okay?” the guy she’d ran into sounded concerned and a little guilty. She looked at him and gulped nervously.
No! Why..! How…! It was Tyler, why, oh why did it have to be him?!
Tyler offered his hand as he got to his feet, she took it hesitantly and went a little pink in the face from nerves.
Okay, breathe. Just because your first and only crush is…currently holding your hand…doesn’t mean you have to go all jellylegs on the poor guy!
The ‘poor guy’ in question was now looking at her strangely, she winced. He probably thought she was a weirdo, great!
Willow groaned inwardly, standing up and shook herself mentally, “Um,” what was question he asked? Think, think! Oh well, just bite the bullet Jackson. “Uh, yeah?” she cringed.
*Clap, clap, clap*
She told the self-insulting voice in her head to shut up and then looked at Tyler, he looked relieved.
“I’m glad, that was pretty big fall, huh?” he said sounding amused.
She did it, the answer she gave was correct…she wondered what the question had been.
She shook herself again and smiled at the young man while composing herself, “Yeah, um, I guess I shoulda been looking where I was going.”
Tyler shrugged and she swallowed as his dark fringe fell into his equally dark eyes, he brushed the hair away and said, “Don’t worry about, Willow.”
He knows my name?
He knows my name!
Well, I know his name too but that’s different….
How is that different?
Dunno, it just is. Great, she was fighting with herself again!
“I’m Tyler…if you didn’t know…I’m in some of your classes,” he informed quietly.
Willow knew, of course she did. It was the only thing that had ever distracted her from what the teacher was saying. “I know. We usually sit at the front of the class. I’m pretty sure that we’re also the only two people in the class that actually wants to be in the front.”
Tyler gave her a half-grin, “We probably are, I’m not into Science much but I love History, that’s why had to be held back a year- the only subject that I passed was History.”
Willow grinned and eased up, “You’d get along well with my brother then.” Rupie would probably talk his mouth off about History if those two met.
Tyler stuffed his hands in his pockets, “You have a- oh yeah, that Rupert guy.” He suddenly looked a little amused and uncertain. “He wouldn’t kill me if he saw me talking to you. Would he?”
Why would he?
Willow shook her head, “Nope, not unless we were dating.” She visibly winced.
Great, Jackson. You’re doing a bang-up job of humiliating yourself in front of this guy. She shook her head, he probably thought she was…
Why wouldn’t she? She wasn’t bad-looking at all, her parents always told her she was pretty and she knew by looking in their eyes that they meant it; Still, there loads of other girls in the whole school that were prettier than her, and older.
Her thoughts were interrupted as Tyler started talking again, “You wanna go out with me?”
The bull-by-the horns approach. Faster than beating around the bush and looking like an idiot.
Willow was afraid to talk in case she said anything wrong, so she nodded looking and feeling stunned. She smiled as Tyler grinned and then relaxed completely.
“Do you know ‘O’Malley’s’?” he asked hopefully. Willow nodded.
Yeah she knew it, had eaten there about a thousand times with her family.
“Great, is this Saturday okay?”
Willow nodded smiling.
“1 am? Meeting outside the bar?”
“Sure,” she said finding her voice again. “That’ll be great.”
“Okay, see you there then,” he started moving away signalling that they should both get going.
“See you there,” she repeated.
She started, she should get going too! She glanced at her watch and her eyes widened, darn it….she was so late!
The redhead sped off quickly towards the English block and hoped she wouldn’t get into too much trouble for being twenty minutes late.
She got to class and opened the door trying to breath slower, the teacher looked at her as did the rest of the class. She flushed and Mrs Carmichael told her to wait outside the door.
Yep, she had definitely ticked the teacher off. Would she get detention?
She had not been given a detention, probably because it was her first time of being late to class in…well, ever. By the end of the Computer class despite that fact that she had missed half of English she couldn’t wipe the smile from her face.
While Xander sulked because of his horrible detention her brother and cousin asked her what she was looking so happy about.
“You look happier than usual,” commented Lisa looking eagerly at the redhead. Rupert was equally curious.
“I gotta date,” she said and grinned. Rupert gaped and Lisa grinned, the sulking teen sitting with them immediately forgot his detention.
“You gotta date!? With who?!”
Willow decided to answer the questions, “I got a date, Tyler Sullivan, yes, I already told you his name.”
They fell silent to put the questions and answers together, Xander had almost fallen out of his seat at the lunch table and his eyes were wide. Rupert had an unreadable look on his face and Lisa was grinning from ear to ear.
“That’s great, Will!” she exclaimed almost bouncing on the seat. “You’ve had a crush on him for almost two years.”
“He’s in Senior year, right,” said Rupert tonelessly. It was more of a statement than a question.
Willow felt slightly nervous, the last time he’d acted like this was when Harry had asked if she wanted to have an ice-cream with him when she was in forth grade. The date hadn’t happened because oh-so-lovely brother had scared the boy witless, sometimes the over-protectiveness of her brother was endearing but at times like this she just wanted to yell at him.
She was fifteen for crying out loud, not five. And okay, so Tyler was eighteen- that’s only three years, Aunt Sam and Uncle Jack had a nine-year-age gab between them!
“He’s too old for you,” he said glaring at the table they were sitting at. “By this time next year he’ll be an adult and you’ll still be a kid.”
Willow scowled, “So, by the time Uncle Jack was finishing High School Aunt Sam was only starting third grade!”
Rupert glared at her, “That’s completely different and you know it!”
Xander and Lisa looked at each other, this was one of the very few real fights the two siblings got into. It was always about Willow dating even if it was innocent.
A few people started looking towards their table curiously as Willow went red, “It is not!”
“Yes it is! I’m telling mom and dad!” he warned knowing that his dad had only a slight chance of letting that Tyler guy anywhere near her. He didn’t like that guy and he didn’t want him anywhere near his sister.
Rupert flushed slightly at how childish his warning sounded, a teacher came over to the table.
“What’s all this about?” he asked sternly as the Jackson siblings glared at each other with their faces reddening with anger.
Willow gritted her teeth, “Nothing, sir.”
“Nothing!?” Rupert was livid, he knew that he was getting way too worked up about this but he didn’t care. “He’s way too old!”
The teacher looked confused, the seventeen year old turned to him, “She’s dating that Tyler guy! He’s practically an adult and she’s just a stupid kid.”
Willow flushed red with a mixture of embarrassment and anger as the teacher looked at them with exasperation,
“I can date him if I want to!”
Rupert glared at her and looked at the teacher, “This can’t be legal.”
The teacher grimaced and thought for a moment, “Actually it is, so long as it doesn’t move past dating and into what would be considered by law to be statutory rape.”
Willow went turned a deeper shade of red from embarrassment, “Like it would,” she muttered under her breath.
“Statutory- Willow, you are DEFINITELY not dating that guy!” snapped her brother looking freaked at the thought of her doing more than just innocently dating the guy.
“Oh my god!” Willow stood up abruptly knocking over the chair she was sitting on, she grabbed her bag. “You are such a…a…” she couldn’t think of a big enough insult, so she just growled furiously and stormed off.
The rest of the school day Willow refused to talk to her brother at all, Lisa had thrown worried looks at her all day whenever they were together and Xander had given her the same looks that Rupert had been giving her since she’s mentioned Tyler. She wished that she hadn’t said anything about Tyler, she would make sure she kept dating-talks away from Rupert…and maybe Xander as well, he wasn’t much better.
They walked up the path to their house quickly, the silence was tense; they had been ignoring each other for the entire journey from school to home. Scowling still, Rupert withdrew the front door key from his coat pocket and shoved it into the lock before turning it violently. He pushed the door open and stepped inside the house, she glared at his back as he did so and followed him inside.
Rupert flopped onto the couch with an ‘oof’, grabbed the remote and flicked the TV on still ignoring her; while he switched TV channels Willow stormed into the kitchen, “Stupid Rupert,” she muttered as she opened the refrigerator. She grabbed a large carton of Ice-Tea Lemon and slammed the door angrily; she put the carton down on the kitchen counter, then she opened the cupboard above her to get a glass.
When she’d gotten herself a drink she stalked out of the kitchen, through the lounge (Rupert ignored her) and stomped up the stairs so that she could be left alone and also to study for a test the next day, she didn’t know why she was studying- she already knew the answers to the questions she would be asked tomorrow anyway.
She excelled at Computers, Math and Science; now if only she knew as much about the other subjects, if she did then she could skip another grade- maybe even graduate. Unfortunately she needed to keep up with the other subjects as well and that meant staying in Junior year because her weakest subject was English and History; she took a test for those subjects as well and only scored enough to be put up to the History and English classes with seventeen year olds in it- if it hadn’t been for that she could have been in Senior year or maybe even Graduated. Oh well.
Anyway, what was the point in graduating early? She wanted to join the Air Force Academy as soon as she could but they didn’t let you join until you were at least sixteen; so she might as well just stay on for a year until she COULD join up.
On the bright side, if it had been ten years earlier she wouldn’t be able to join until she was seventeen. Several years earlier it was announced to anyone who cared that the youngest age a person could join Military Academies was sixteen- apparently they’d tried to make it fifteen but it hadn’t happened.
Sighing, she placed her drink on her small bedside table before jumping onto her bed, “I wish I was graduating now,” she mumbled to herself. Sitting up, she heaved her school bag onto her bed and opened it, she riffled through the sheets of paper, a lunch bag and books; she grabbed the books and papers she needed and started studying.
A few hours later Willow and Rupert’s parents unlocked the door to their house and entered to find their oldest child brooding on the couch and chewing on the plastic earpieces of his glasses. Daniel dropped the car keys onto a table while Janet carried a shopping bag full of groceries to the kitchen, he walked to the couch and dropped onto it, “Hey, Rupert. Had a nice day?”
Rupert scowled, “Yeah, it went bloody marvellous.” The sarcasm in his voice was evident as he stared at the now-blank TV screen from where he was sitting; he fiddled with the TV remote.
“No need to swear, Rupert Jackson,” Daniel reprimanded firmly. The archaeologist swiped his glasses from his nose and polished them furiously with his shirt; he then replaced them and said, “How did your day really go?”
Rupert sighed and sat up straighter, “Willow’s going out with some idiot and he’s, like, my age.” He scowled angrily.
Daniel groaned, “You two didn’t have one of you ‘Willow can’t date’ fights, did you?” oh, who was he kidding, of course they did.
The younger of the two nodded and then looked at his dad surprised, “Why aren’t you upset…she’s DATING!” he’d expected his dad to be as furious as he was, but he didn’t look it, in fact he looked accepting if a little worried.
“She’s not nine years old anymore, Rupert,” chided Daniel gently. “She’s a teenager, just like you.”
“She’s fifteen! She doesn’t know anything,” snapped Rupert furiously. He shrank back as his father glared at him for his rudeness; looking away he glared at the TV again.
“Yes, she’s fifteen,” said Daniel calmly. “Isn’t that around the time YOU started dating girls.” He couldn’t hear Janet putting the groceries in the cupboard which meant that she had already done that and was listening in on their conversation.
Rupert shook his head, “That’s completely different.” It was! She was his little sister, she was a girl and the guy she was dating was way older than her; he didn’t trust that Tyler boy with his sister. Not even a little bit.
He heard his dad sigh softly, “Rupert, I know you just want to protect your sister, but she’s growing up- as are you- she needs some space, she’s only doing what all other girls her age do. I know, you take your responsibilities as a big brother seriously- and I’m proud of you for it- but if you keep trying to suffocate her like this she’d going to pull away.”
Rupert looked sad, “She will?” he didn’t want her to do that, he just didn’t want her to get hurt.
Daniel nodded in confirmation, put his hand on his son’s shoulder and then stood up and walked away to go upstairs, he paused at the bottom of the stairs and looked at his wife, she was smiling at him, he smiled back and started walking upstairs to see his daughter.
Willow moved away from the top of the stairs as she heard her dad coming up, she didn’t want him to know that she’s been listening to their conversation; she ran as quietly as she could into her room and got on to her bed before grabbing a book to look at. She looked as if she had been studying the entire time, good.
The opened, “Willow?”
“Hi dad,” she said trying to look innocent. “Good day at work?” she knew how his work days go- good, interesting, worthwhile, but not safe and not easygoing.
“Yeah,” he sat down at the edge of her bed, so she moved to the edge as well to sit next to him. “I heard you and Rupert fought today.”
She looked down at her hands, which lay clenched on her lap, and said, “I know.” He gave her a confused look. “I mean, yeah, w-we argued.”
Daniel knew then that she had listened to the conversation between him and her brother, “You know why Rupert got upset, don’t you?” He looked at Willow as she nodded.
“He’s doing the ‘big brother’ thing again,” she said solemnly. “Like, I can’t take care of myself.” She could easily take care of herself, just ‘cause she wasn’t all tall and male Rupert thought she was weak.
“He’s just trying to look out for you,” said Daniel softly. He could remember, ever since his children were very young, that Rupert had always been extremely protective of his younger sister who had, in return, idolised him; despite the two year age gap between them Rupert had always treated Willow as if she were five or six years younger than him. Willow had of course treated her brother as though he were several years older and had pleaded with him to help her on the school subjects that she wasn’t good at; she always thought, even at fifteen, that she had so much to learn from him; when, really, she was as intelligent as he was just at different things.
“I know,” she sighed softly. “It’s just…it’s annoying sometimes, I’m only two years younger than him- two measly little years- and he treats me like a little kid; he thinks I’m weak little Willow Jackson that needs her big, much-taller older brother to protect her. It’s just ‘cause I’m a girl- you know, if my own brother thinks I’m weak ‘cause I’m female then what are students in the Air Force Academy going to think? Are they gonna be like ‘Oooh, she’s a girly-girl, in the mans’ Military’ or ‘Oooh, she should be working on how to be a house-wife or something’? And…I don’t even WANT to be a house-wife, sounds wicked-boring, I mean, yeah, ya know I wanna get married someday- so I’ll be a wife…just not a….HOUSE-wife! And-
“Woah!” Daniel interrupted her potentially-huge babble-fest. “First of all, Rupert doesn’t think you’re weak- just that he thinks because he’s your older brother that it is his duty in life to make sure you’re okay. Second, men judging you in the Academy is bound to happen- just ask your mother or aunt Sam, so if they give you any trouble; well, it’s normal but not right, but we can’t change it. So, just ignore it and try not to let it bother you. And third, you can be a wife and career Military at the same time- again, just ask your mom, Aunt Sam and Uncle Jack. Although, technically, Jack won’t be a WIFE-
“Dad, you’re babbling!” Willow laughed, now looking a lot happier. “But I understand what you’re saying; I just need to deal with Rupie’s over-protectiveness.”
Daniel nodded smiling, “It’s a brothers’ right, honey.” He jumped up off the bed energetically and said, “Dinner’s ready in about a half hour, okay?”
The archaeologist walked out of the room while Willow happily returned to studying for her test the next day.
Through dinner, spaghetti and meatballs, neither of the siblings talked to each other, though the tension had faded noticeably. After dinner they continued with the silence, Willow kept studying and Rupert looked through his History book intently.
At breakfast Willow grabbed her brother and pulled him over to the side, they stood awkwardly and staring at each other, her brother spoke first.
“Will, I’m sorry I shouted at you yesterday,” he started polishing his glasses ferociously. “But I still stand by what I said; just not by the way I said it…does that make sense?”
Willow considered this, “Yeah, it makes sense.”
“So, is my apology accepted or do I need to grovel?”
Willow grinned, “Aw, shoot. Ya know that would’ve been fun to watch but…yeah, I accept your apology. Besides, it’s okay if you don’t want me to date Tyler- it’s a brother’s prerogative to look out for his sister- it’s just, I’m still gonna date him- that’s MY right, I’m old enough to make my decisions, now.”
Rupert groaned and nodded reluctantly, “Okay, but I don’t have to like it.”
She shrugged, fair enough.
“Rupert! Willow! You’re going to be late for the school bus!” yelled their mom from the other room.
They started, then they grabbed their backpacks and went to the door, “You know, Rupie. When you get another date I’m gonna happily watch you suffer at the hands of Xander’s bad dating advice and I’m gonna make sure that your girlfriend knows what will happen if SHE hurts YOU.”
Rupert glared, “Don’t call me that dreadful name, and no threatening of my girlfriend- or I will make you pay.”
Willow smirked at him mockingly, then said, “Oooh, I’m scared! Oops, come on or the bus’ll leave without us!”