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View character profile for: Zander Maurice Jefferson
View character profile for: Dawn Melody Jefferson
Talking Over Pancakes
Dawn had texted Zander, last night, right after she texted with Courtney. The siblings needed to talk and someplace where the rest of the school couldn’t overhear. They made a plan to go out to breakfast and talk there. Zander had noticed a pancake house type place but local that some of the other students had said was good. So, they decided to go there. Neither was old enough to have a license but they would just take an uber as that would be the easiest and quickest way to get there.
Dawn told April she was going to breakfast with Zander to discuss a family matter. She really didn’t want to exclude the other girl but in this case felt like she had no choice. April said she understood and would see her later, when the siblings came back.
She met Zander at the parking lot, as the two met up, she saw some of the rich kids driving off or getting their own rides but she hadn’t heard where they were going. It didn’t go unnoticed that their older brother wasn't with the rich kids.
Zander had been pulled from his room, last night, at about 2:00 AM so the chaperones could find out if he knew where Doug was. Of course, he didn’t but he wondered what had happened. It did give him a slight bit of satisfaction to find out Doug might be in trouble and even more this morning when he found out his older brother had been put on restriction until the day before the back to school dance. It wasn’t until Dawn texted him that he learned that Melissa had gotten injured. Zander though hadn’t been told about Dawn’s run in Doug earlier in the week and so he was a little dumbfounded by the entire thing.
The siblings arrived at the pancake house with the red brick building and a sign that read “Annie’s Pancake House”. The place wasn’t that busy, yet, despite it being a Sunday but it was still early. It seemed like they had gotten here at a good time. They were led to a booth with tall backs on the seats and took their seats, Dawn on one side of the table, Zander on the other. Drink orders were taken. Two Orange Juices and two coffees and they’d need cream and sugar.
While waiting for their drinks they looked at menus. Zander ordered the buttermilk pancakes with strawberry topping. Dawn ordered the chocolate chip pancakes with caramel syrup. They both got the hashbrowns with cheese and sausages. Once there order was taken and there drinks delivered, Zander and Dawn added sugar and cream to their coffee and each took a sip before saying anything to each other.
Zander finally spoke up. “So, what happened that made you think it might have been Doug that hurt Melissa?” Dawn took another sip of coffee, then another, and another until Zander put his hand gently on her arm. “Why are you stalling?” He asked. “You’ve always been able to tell me anything? What did Doug do?”
Dawn looked at her twin across the table and for the first time in her life she really wished that he was her only sibling. Despite everything, no matter how much that feeling made sense, she hated the way that felt. “He…” She sighed. “You know the back stairwell, the one with no cameras.”
Zander nodded “Yes.” Every nerd in the school knew to stay away from that stairwell; it was an easy place for bullies to target them.
“I shouldn’t have ever used that stairwell, I know. I was warned. It was dumb of me but I did. It was just quicker.” Dawn did feel kind of dumb but what had happened hadn’t been her fault. “Anyway, Doug caught me coming down those stairs and he ...stopped me.”
“What do you mean stopped you?” Zander was trying to keep his cool.
“He pushed me up against the wall and told me to stay away from Melissa.” Dawn took a deep breath, she finished her coffee and instantly wanted another one but then drank some of her orange juice. “I think...he wanted to hit me.”
“Why didn’t you tell me this, before now?” Zander’s voice came out a bit harsher than he meant it to. He wasn’t mad at Dawn, he was concerned for her. He was, however, furious at Doug.
“Because, there wasn’t anything you could have done. Besides, get mad and get into a fight with Doug. I didn’t want that.” Dawn said honestly. She knew Zander almost better than she knew herself and she knew his anger wasn’t directed at her but also this was why she hadn’t told her twin about the incident. “He’s not worth getting suspended over.”
“You said he wanted to hit you. I’m hoping that means he didn’t.” Zander settled down a little and took a sip of his own coffee.
Dawn didn’t get to answer, just yet, however as their food arrived and Dawn got a fill up on her coffee. Once she redid the cream and sugar into the cup and took another sip, she answered Zander. “No, you know that girl Elena? The one that hangs out with the rich kids, I think she’s dating Lance.” Zander nodded yes, he knew who she was. “She came down the stairs at the right time and stopped anything else from happening.”
That surprised Zander, he had thought that Elena was just like most of the other rich girls, he couldn’t imagine many of them stepping in to help someone. Then again, he hadn’t had much interaction with either Elena or Lance, he assumed that was because he was Doug’s target. He only knew that Lance tended to pick on Leonard. “Oh, I see.” Zander thought for a moment as he watched his sister pour the caramel syrup on her pancakes, cut a piece and take a bite. “So, you think he got mad enough at Melissa to hurt her?” He had known his brother to be a lot of things, most of them unflattering, but not an abuser of women. Their moms would throw a fit if they knew.
“I don’t know for sure but I’ve never seen him that angry at me and people have noticed how they are always arguing.” Dawn took another sip of coffee. “I told Courtney about it. She said she was keeping an eye on Melissa. I think she was trying but it was like one minute Melissa was with the rich cheerleaders and the next minute she was off with Doug. I don’t think anyone could have kept it from happening.”
“Of course not. I hope Courtney isn’t blaming herself.” He narrowed his focus on his sister. “And don’t blame yourself either.”
“I don’t think she is but I don’t know for sure. I feel like I should have said something but I had no proof. I don’t really know if Elena would have liked it if the school found out she helped out one of the theater kids.” She had witnessed divides in schools before, so, the ones in this school didn’t surprise her but the fact the kids lived here seemed to make it more intense.
“It’s all right.” Zander said, pouring his strawberry syrup on his own pancakes. “At least it sounds like we all, but especially Melissa, might be getting a break from Doug.”
Dawn nodded. “Yeah, I hope she’s going to be okay?” The girl went on to tell Zander what Courtney had said about Mel’s injuries.
“Well, it sounds like she’ll be fine.” Physically anyway. The two ate their food, talked about school and how much fun the beach trip had been. In an unspoken agreement, they both wanted to get through their food without more talk about Doug. It wasn’t until they had finished their food that Zander spoke up again. “Do you think we should call our moms?”
“I really don’t know. I wish we had more to go on. “ Dawn finished the last of her coffee. “I don’t want to tell them about my encounter with him. I think if our moms do anything and Doug blames me, his whole group will do the same thing, possibly most of the rich kids. I don’t want to be a target of that many people. Doug alone is bad enough.”
Zander finished his coffee. “I guess you’re right but do me a favor. Avoid those backstairs and stay away from our brother.”
Dawn said “I definitely plan on avoiding that stairwell from now on. As for Doug, I’ll avoid him as much as possible. It won’t be that different from what I’m already doing.”
Zander nodded because for both of them that last part was the truth. “I’m guessing there might be an investigation?”
“Yes, Courtney said she thought so and we might be interviewed.” Courtney hadn’t told Dawn that she suspected Doug had something on Melissa so she didn’t know that part.
“I’d be more surprised if they didn’t ask us about Doug. I was questioned last night if I knew where he was but, of course, I had no information to give them.” Zander said.
Dawn nodded. She hated this whole thing and could tell so did Zander. Both siblings had the thought in the back of their heads of what about the fall out when Doug’s world actually started crashing down around him. They both knew it was coming, it had to be given what they knew about the way Doug was behaving and the idea there was something else going on. What happened then? Would Doug’s downfall take them down in the process? Neither of them wanted that. They had both grown to like this school, and a number of the people in it; with some exemptions. Neither wanted to think about having to leave because they were Doug’s siblings. Even though not too many people knew that at the moment; who knew how long that would last.