Dominic (Slater Brothers #1) by L.A. Casey

1

I was late for school today, but it wasn't my fault; it was Branna's fault.

Branna was my older sister and became my legal guardian nine years ago when our parents died in a car accident. She was twenty-eight years old while I was pushing eighteen. She might be my guardian, but the girl was all sister when it came to pissing me off. She hogged the bathroom for twenty-five minutes this morning.

Twenty-five fu**ing minutes!

She was the sole reason I was fifteen minutes late for school and why I looked like shite. I was currently entering the school when the urge to 'fix' myself got the better of me. I paused mid-stride and then turned in the direction of the girl's bathroom. I wasn't one for constantly thinking about my appearance but I did want to be as put together as I could before I went to class.

When I got to the girl's bathroom, I did my business in the toilet and then went to the sink to wash my hands. When I was finished I looked up at the small mirror over the sink and frowned at my appearance. My bright green eyes looked tired, the bags under them proved me correct. I was a bit of a mess today. I didn't have time to do much more than French plait my hip length, chocolate brown hair to keep it under control, then put a few strokes of mascara on each set of long lashes, and brush my damn teeth. My chubby cheeks were red from wind burn, and my usually pale pink lips were a little chapped and puffy. I was pretty sure that if death was a person then that person would resemble me.

I stood up straight and moved to the full-length mirror in the bathroom to stare at myself. I sighed; I was so white I could give Casper a run for his money. I was Irish, and my skin repelled any sort of tanning. Natural tanning anyway. I was probably the only girl in school who didn't put on fake tan and wore makeup that actually matched my skin tone instead of trying to make myself appear darker than I was. Why try to be something I wasn't? I was pasty white with a splash of light freckles across my upper nose and under my eyes. Branna said they made me look adorable and that I should embrace it; so embracing my pasty whiteness and freckles was what I was doing.

I fixed my school skirt, pulled up my stockings, and adjusted my school jumper. I ran my hand over my uniform to smooth it out. I tilted my head to the left as I studied myself. I liked how I looked. I had big h*ps and a small waist; I didn't have a big bust, but I had something else that was huge. I turned to the side and rolled my eyes; if I could change one thing about my body it would be my arse. It was big, and more than a few times I have gotten crude comments about it. It made me mad because it messed with my need to be ignored.

I liked being practically invisible.

I grunted as I left the bathroom and proceeded down the corridor to registration class. It was a stupid class we had every morning; our tutor - the person we went to if we got in trouble or needed the bathroom pass - took attendance and then let us do whatever we wanted for forty minutes until the class was over.

Usually everyone chatted about random stuff, but I didn't have any friends so I just kept to myself. That sounded pathetic, but I really didn't have any friends. It wasn't for lack of trying on my classmates part; it was all down to me really. Ever since my parents died I had been closed off and guarded. I didn't like the idea of getting attached to someone new knowing that they could be taken away from me. That's why I chose not to make friends with anyone in school or anyone at all, it was too risky. Branna said it was stupid and that I couldn't be closed off from people forever, because it wasn't healthy. I got that it was weird - I was weird - for just wanting to be on my own all the time but I was content this way so I didn't let her words get to me.

When I reached my classroom, I opened the door and looked directly at my tutor. "Sorry that I'm late, miss," I said, hoping that I looked like I cared about my tardiness.

My tutor nodded her head to me like I knew she would. I was never late for class, and if I did make it a habit, I doubted she would give me late stamps in my school journal, because she liked me. I was her quietest student.

I moved across the room and, as usual, none of my classmates bothered with me, but for some reason today everyone was very talkative and giddy. It was when I walked towards my desk that I realised why.

I looked to the lads that were seated at my desk; they were identical twins, that much was obvious. One had hair as white as snow while the other had a colour much like my own, dark chocolate brown. I didn't linger on looking at them, because they seemed to be enjoying the suggestive stares of my fellow female classmates, so I kept my eyes down as I neared them.

"That's me desk," I said when I reached them, my tone flat.

The twin with white blond hair made a move to get up but his dark-haired brother, the one who was in my seat, placed a hand on his shoulder halting his movements.

"Your desk? Does it have your name on it or something?" he asked, his eyebrow raised.

His accent made him stick out like a sore thumb, it wasn't Irish. My guess was American, but I didn't ask. I looked up at him and glared. He had grey eyes that looked slightly silver when the light hit them. I inwardly kicked myself for even noticing that about him and refocused. I simply leaned over the table and pointed to the corner of the desk.

"Yeah, it does," I replied as I pointed my name out on the desk.

I had carved it on the desk in first year when I was bored.

"Bro-what?" Dark-haired twin read aloud in a confused tone that made me roll my eyes.

"Bronagh," I said clearly.

I hated when foreign people pronounced my name, they completely butchered it.

"Bro-nah?" Dark twin correctly sounded it out then muttered about the stupidity of the G being silent.

I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, that's me name and it is on my desk as you can clearly see."

The blond twin snorted. "She has you by the balls on that, bro. Let's just move out of this lovely woman's way and sit down in the back row next to the pretty ladies."

The fact that the girls in my class giggled, and the twins grinned over this, made my stomach lurch in disgust. I didn't like pretty boys who were full of themselves; we already had one in this school, and he was an absolute dickhead. We didn't need another one, let alone two more.

The blond twin smiled at me when he stood up, I didn't smile back at him. The dark-haired twin slowly stood up from my seat. He didn't smile at me, he grinned. My glare only caused his grin to turn into a smirk.

"I warmed it up for you." He winked.

"Be sure to thank your arse for me." I rolled my eyes as I moved past him and sat down in my seat, pulled it into my desk, and put my bag onto the chair next to me, pulling it close to me also. It was obvious I was stating that no one was to sit next to me.

I heard the dark-haired twin chuckle as he moved to the back of the class.

"What's her problem?" he asked, aloud.

"Who? Bronagh? Nothin'," Alannah Ryan replied. "She just doesn't like attention or people that much, she prefers to be by herself."

Alannah was a nice girl; she always smiled at me when she passed me by and unlike every other student in our year, she left me alone. She seemed to understand that I was just content with being on my own, and I really liked that about her. I thought she was pretty cool because of that.

"She doesn't like people?" Dark-haired twin snorted as he asked, "Is there something wrong with her?"

I might be a quiet person and liked to be ignored but I wasn't a pushover; if someone pissed me off, you could bet your arse I would speak my mind to them. My mind didn't have a filter either. I tended to say what I was thinking without thinking.

"I'm sure there are many things wrong with me accordin' to you, but I assure you pretty boy, me hearin' is perfectly fine," I said aloud without turning around.

I heard some chuckles then, and when I glanced up, I caught Miss McKesson grinning down into her book.

"Inside voice, bro," blond-haired twin's voice snickered.

"Pretty boy?" dark-haired twin growled then muttered to whom I assumed was either himself or his brother. "Who does that bitch think she is talking to?"

I inwardly snorted at his little wobbler.

He thought I was a bitch?

Like I gave a fuck.

"Okay, less of that," Miss McKesson said, standing up once she heard the word bitch. "Bronagh, these lads are our new students, all the way from the United States of America."

When I realised my classmates were looking at me for some sort of reaction, I twirled my finger around in the air trying to be enthusiastic even though I couldn't care less.

"Go US of A."

Miss McKesson bit down on her bottom lip and shook her head.

"The Slater boys are twins, obviously. It's easy to tell them apart with them havin' different hair colour. Nico has brown hair and Damien has blond hair, well, more white than blond."

Nico was its name?

"I'll be sure to remember that miss, thank you," I sarcastically said with a beaming smile.

A few snorts later Miss McKesson introduced me. "And this lovely lady, lads, is Bronagh Murphy."

"It's a pleasure, Miss Murphy," Nico said.

I snorted. "I seriously doubt that, Mr. Slater," I replied making the class laugh.

I didn't care that they were probably laughing at me because it was obviously not a pleasure to meet me, but whatever, I didn't care.

"Okay, back to whatever it was that you were all doin' before Bronagh came to class," Miss McKesson said with a wave of her hand.

Not a second later the questions fired left, right, and centre from the girls to the twins, and it made me sigh. I hoped it wasn't going to be like this every day, because that shite would get old and annoy me pretty quickly.

"Miss?" I muttered to my tutor.

When Miss McKesson looked up, I shook my iTouch at her, and she nodded her head, giving me silent permission to listen to it.

"Shit, you're allowed to listen to iPods here?" I heard Nico ask.

"Huh? Oh no, just Bronagh. She gets her work done every day, so she is allowed to listen to it as long as the volume is low," Alannah's voice replied to Nico.

I knew that made me out to be a geek, but I kind of was, not in the l-was-seriously-smart kind of way but just the I-got-my-work-done-on-time way. I didn't really have much else to do in school other than work so having it done on time was never a problem.

I didn't hear Nico's response to Alannah, because I turned my music on. I welcomed it and enjoyed the fact that the beautiful sound drowned everyone else out.

I took out my English copybook and read over the essay I wrote last night for class later today. I corrected any mistakes I spotted, and then re-read it again. When I was satisfied with it, I put it back in my bag and zipped it closed. I checked the time and saw that there was less than two minutes left in class. I sat up straight and took out my earphones then switched off my iTouch and pocketed it.

I stood up at the same time the bell rang. I pushed the chairs under my desk, walked out of the room, and headed towards the woodwork room. I loved this class; I really enjoyed making new things for projects. I always made jewellery boxes, makeup holders for Branna or cool shelves and bookcases. I got more creative with each one I made, and Branna loved them, so it made me happy.

When I got to class, I waved to Mr. Kelly. He was the woodwork teacher, and he was nice. He always left me alone and only came over to me when I needed help. He was cool like that; he seemed to know how I worked, and I liked that about him.

"Mornin', Bronagh," the sir beamed.

"Mornin', sir, can I listen to me iTouch? I'm just sandin' down all the pieces I cut up on Friday then I'm puttin' them together. I won't be near any dangerous machines that music would distract me from. Promise."

The sir nodded his head. "No problem, if you need to cut or saw somethin' make sure you take the earphones out, okay?" I saluted him which made him chuckle as he waved me on.

I put my bag under my woodwork desktop and moved down to the walk-in storage press at the back of the room; I grabbed an apron and put it on then put my earphones back in my ears and switched on my music. I moved back out into the classroom and noticed out of the corner of my eye that the rest of my classmates were coming in. I was the only girl in the class; all the other girls chose metalwork over woodwork, which was fine by me. I didn't have to listen to them chitchat about who was going out with who when I didn't have my earphones in.

While the lads put their stuff under their desks, I moved to the right of the room and went into the supply room that was connected to the woodwork room. I got some new sandpaper, and then headed back into the classroom to get a handheld sander from the holder on the wall. I was minding my own business when I headed back to my desk, only to come to a halt.

"Get out of me seat," I snarled as I all but ripped my earphones out of my ears.

Nico looked up at me and smiled as he sarcastically asked, "Is your name on this desk as well?"

He obviously thought he was funny, but he wasn't. I didn't find him amusing in the slightest, I found him extremely annoying. Our first interaction wasn't the best, but I now knew that he was purposely trying to make me mad, and I instantly didn't like him because of it.

"Move," I replied, ignoring his question.

He shook his head, so I gripped my sander like a bat and moved towards him only to be blocked by the sir's body.

"Bronagh, put the sander down," Mr. Kelly said calmly with his hands raised in an I-am-unarmed-don't-hurt-me motion.

I rolled my eyes. "I wasn't goin' to hit 'em with it," I lied.

I was going to hit him with it. Probably not that hard, but I was still going to hit him with it nonetheless.

"Why are you holdin' it like a weapon then?" the sir asked me with a raised eyebrow.

I shrugged then grunted, "He is in me seat! Tell 'em to move."

The sir sighed and turned around. "That's Bronagh's worktop - wait, are you new here, son?"

"Son?" I spluttered. "Don't call 'em that, he is a gobshite-"

"Bronagh!" the sir cut me off in a low warning tone.

Some of the lads in the class cracked up at what I said while I fumed in silence.

"Yes, sir, I'm new. I just started today," Nico replied.

The sir looked around to me with raised eyebrows. "You were goin' to attack a new student?" he questioned.

Would I be in less trouble if I attacked an old one?

"I don't like him," I replied, making the sir sigh and shake his head while pinching the bridge of his nose.