Today’s prompt was to write about a flawed protagonist(as all protagonists should be), and to make that flaw pretty much center stage. And Declan’s overbearing/overprotectiveness could definitely be seen as a flaw. Even if he feels he has reasons to be that way.
“I hate you!”
Declan cringed at the sound of the slamming door then ran a hand over his face. He’d never expected to hear those words from his sister’s mouth. Maybe it was common for most siblings, but she’d always seemed to adore him. Even when he hadn’t always wanted her around. There was a nearly ten year age difference between them. And he’d spent most of the earliest years of her life with their father in Ireland.
But, now he was the one responsible for her. Both of their parents were dead, and their stepfather had refused to continue guardianship of her after they’d buried their mother. And good riddance. But, it meant Declan hadn’t had a choice but to step up. And now she hated him. Great. Just, bloody great.
He took a deep breath then headed down the short hallway to her room. “Alaina,” he said, knocking on her door, “I am sorry, but that boy-”
“You haven’t even met him,” she shouted through the closed door. “If you’d talk to him, you’d see. He’s not what you think. You’re just too overbearing to even let me have a life.”
Declan winced. She probably had a point. But, he was just trying to protect her. They only had each other now. He couldn’t let anything happen to her. She had just turned seventeen. And even though he was twenty-six, he could still remember how things had been when he was her age. How he had been.
“It’s not that I don’t want you havin’ a life, Alaina. I just don’t want you hurtin’. Sometimes, well, some boys will say anything at all to get what they want.”
“I told you, Dec, Alek isn’t like that. If you’d talk to him, you’d see that. He can come over here and-”
“Not today.” He practically growled the words. “I have to get to work, Alaina.” He tried to keep his schedule to week days, but they’d needed him to come in today even though it was Saturday. “Please, just tell me you’ll stay here until I get home. We can talk more about this over dinner tonight.”
She didn’t answer him, though. Declan let his forehead hit the door. But, he really did need to get moving. He didn’t want to be late for work. They’d given him the job as much because his father had worked for them as because of his references. It was the one job his time in the Marines actually seemed to come in handy for. And he didn’t want to screw up that chance.
But, once he had his security guard’s uniform on, he tried one more time. “Alaina.”
This time she did open her door, and she smiled as she adjusted his collar. “Don’t you look dashing,” she said. “You going to go keep all those shoppers safe?”
He knew a distraction technique when he saw one and narrowed his eyes at her. “Alaina, promise me you won’t go out and see him. Not until we can talk about this some more.”
She kept that sweet smile on her face, but he wasn’t so sure he should trust it. “I won’t go out, Declan. I promise.”
A warning went off in his head, but he brushed it aside. He wasn’t a prison warden, and he had to get to work. He’d have to trust her. “I’ll bring dinner home,” he told her. “We’ll talk more then.”
Declan rubbed his eyes as he headed into the apartment building then let out a jaw-cracking yawn. He felt like he’d been about to fall asleep on his feet toward the end of his shift. There’d been plenty of people at the shopping mall today, but very little trouble. One missing kid who’d wandered off to the toy store and a teenager who’d tried to walk out of another store with a pair of sunglasses. He’d handle days like that, even if they were boring.
His father had died doing this job, so he’d live with the less eventful moments.
He balanced the boxes of barbeque on one hand while he unlocked the apartment door with the other. Alaina hadn’t answered his texts as he was leaving work, but he hoped she was just getting a head start on her homework that was due Monday. He pushed the door open with his shoulder, but had barely stepped inside when Alaina’s voice cut through the apartment.
“I said no, damn it.”
He nearly dropped the food as everything in him went on alert. He set it on the counter before he took off for Alaina’s room. To find a boy staggering out of the room, blood dripping from a cut on his lip. “Damn, that girl is crazy.”
Declan grabbed his arm and shoved him up against the wall. “That girl is me sister. What did you do to her?”
Before he could answer, Alaina was at their side. “Dec, let him go. He was leaving anyway. Nothing happened,” she added, a little softer now.
He didn’t release his grip on the boy as he looked over at her. Her hair was , her shirt a little twisted up. But, he couldn’t see anything else out of place. He pushed the boy down the hallway. “Get out of here. I don’t ever want to see or hear of you putting your hands on my sister again.”
He waited until he heard the front door slam then turned back to Alaina. And saw she was shaking now. He pushed away the anger still coursing through him and took her arms in his hands. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” she said, but her voice wavered. “We were just fooling around. He wanted to go farther than I did. I told him to stop, and he didn’t want to. So, I hit him.”
Despite everything, Declan had to laugh. “I taught you well, didn’t I?”
She let out a watery laugh then went into his arms. “So, you don’t have to be so overprotective of me. I’ve told you, I can take care of myself.”
Maybe so. But, that certainly didn’t mean he’d just stop worrying and trying to protect her. He also didn’t want to push her right in the opposite direction. He’d have to work on that. In the meantime…”Come on,” he said, hugging her one more time. “I brought some dinner home. And we can have a talk about twisting the promises you make to me.”
Her lips quirked at that. “I said I wouldn’t leave to see him. I didn’t go anywhere.”
“Like I said. We’ll have to have a talk about the spirit of a promise.”