Darryl Braxton was slipping on his shoes as he glanced at the clock. He had a plan, and it would take a lot of work to implement, but he had to think about the bigger payoff.
If he didn't start bringing in legitimate money, he was heading for the house with the iron bars, and he just couldn't afford to do that. Not to his family.
It would take less than an hour to drive to Summer Bay. The new restaurant there was having a Singles Night and it was the prefect cover for him and the boys to start ruffling some feathers over there. Hopefully, things wouldn't get too out of hand.
He walked out of his room, banged his hand against the bathroom door to speed Heath along, and headed to the living room where the kids were.
Casey was silent and miserable on an armchair, flipping through the channels without a second sight. It drove Brax crazy, but he wasn't going to say anything just then. The kid had just been expelled from school for another fight and Brax had nearly lost it. Casey was smart, but he didn't want to do the work. It was easy to rile him up, at least for the other kids in school, and he was a Braxton. Honestly, Brax was kind of surprised he had lasted this long. Still, just because he and Heath had left Mangrove High on a rough note, didn't mean Casey was allowed to follow the same path.
The twins were fighting over their Nintendo DS, ignoring the TV and their brothers like they often would do.
Of the whole Braxton brood, the twins were a bit of a secret. Not many people realized that Nicholas and Juliette were Braxtons, since Brax had decided to give them a secondary last name, Ellis. Technically, it was their middle name and Brax just made certain to never place the Braxton after it. Mostly, he realized not many people seemed to care.
Town rumor, for those who knew, was speculative on who the twos father was. Some people seemed to think (correctly) that they were Danny's like the others, but some seemed to think they were Brax's. For his part, Brax and his brothers never corrected anyone. Let them think what they wanted.
And the second secret was that Jagger was a girl. It hadn't been his intentions initially to hide that fact. When the twins had been born, he had just dropped out of school and was starting to get a job. His father was in prison, his mother was a floozy, and Heath was making it his life mission to be a little shit. Money was tight. And honestly, the whole girl thing scared him. So he just bought boy things and would dress the twins with whatever. And Casey's hand me downs were boy things too. Jagger never seemed to mind, so Brax never minded. At ten, both twins had almost shoulder long brown hair and green eyes. They weren't identical, obviously, but it was enough that people didn't always know which was which. Jagger and Nash were always together. In school, the papers officially had their real first names and Ellis as their last name, so the teachers knew. The elementary uniform was just a tee shirt and shorts, so there weren't any gender differences there either. It just made things easier for him, and probably until the twins hit puberty, he was fine just letting them be.
"Alright then," he stood at the back of the couch glancing at them. "We're out of here. Casey's in charge. Don't do any stupid shit and get to bed on time!"
None of the kids seemed to have heard him.
Groaning, Brax reached down and grabbed the DS, yanking it away. Both kids looked up with a moan and a "Hey!" He walked over and similarly plucked the remote from Casey's hand.
"Brax!" groaned the teenager.
"Did you lot hear me?"
"Yes!" Nash rolled his eyes. Brax frowned, doubting it.
"Case is in charge," Jagger relented.
"Get to bed," Nash added.
"And don't do stupid shit," shied Casey, leaning forward and yanking the remote back. He started flipping the channels again even though he couldn't see with Brax standing there.
"Casey," Brax smacked his arm, reminding him that just because he was left in charge didn't mean he was allowed to be rude.
Casey sighed and dropped his hand again.
"Can you drop the attitude?"
"Oi! What's the hold up?!" Heath said, finally coming out of the bathroom. "You lot planning your own party?" he teased with a smirk.
"As if," Casey scoffed.
"It couldn't hurt your rep, Case," Heath 'helpfully' added.
"It could if I had to come back and kick his ass in front of his friends," Brax shook his head. He tossed the DS back to the twins, which Jagger caught, and went around to grab his keys. "No one is allowed over! If Cheryl comes back, just go to your room and lock the door. Do not engage her."
"They know all that," Heath shrugged. "They weren't born last arvo."
Brax walks towards the door, smacking Heath in the head, causing his younger brother to laugh. He leaned down, kissed the top of each kids' head and made to pull out a twenty from his wad of cash in his pocket.
"Don't make a mess of the place," he handed the bill to Casey as Heath ruffled the twins hairs and put them in a quick headlock to tickle their ribs.
"Sure," Casey sighed.
Brax walked to the door and glanced back again. Heath smacked Casey's head in farewell. Brax knew the kid wasn't his usual happy self, knew it was in part his and Heaths fault because they were setting bad, violent even, examples. But he was going to make things better for Casey. For all of them.
He headed for his ute. Summer Bay might just be the answer to all of their problems.
Go To PART TWO ->