“Lydia, just because our moms are married now doesn’t mean you’re in charge,” Danny says, his tone full of fond exasperation for his new step sister.
Lydia pats his cheek, “Of course it does sweetheart. Because I’ve always been in charge. That’s not going to change now.”
Danny smiles and gently bats her hand away, “Of course. My mistake.”
Lydia sits down on the edge of Danny’s bed, and smooths down her dress. Her sharp gaze lands on him, and Danny fights the urge to squirm.
“You’re hiding something.”
“You are ,” Lydia insists. “And I can tell. You’re not exactly good at hiding it.”
“Hiding something .”
Danny smirks, “That’s very specific of you Lydia.”
Lydia sighs, “Look, all I’m saying is, if you need to talk about anything. I’m here. You might not be my brother by blood, but we are family now. And I’m here for you.”
Danny puts down his book and sits up. He rests his arms on his legs, and looks straight ahead. She’s not wrong about him hiding something. He’s been battling with something for weeks. He’s just afraid to say it out loud. But this is Lydia. And she might be opinionated as hell, but she’d also never judge him.
“I think I want to dye my hair blond,” Danny says finally.
It’s silent in the room for a moment, before Lydia let’s out a quiet, “Oh honey no.”
“Because so many people’s first mistake is dying their hair blond. After that things are off the rails. And I’m not letting my step brother become some drug addict.”
“How did we get from blond hair to drugs?” Danny asks her.
“That is the question isn’t it,” a voice says from the door.
Danny looks over to see Laura, Kira, and Allison standing there. It was Laura that had spoken. They all move into the room. Laura and Allison sprawl out onto the bed behind Danny and Lydia while Kira takes the chair nearby.
“Why are we talking about blond hair?” Allison asks
“Danny here said he wants to dye his hair blond,” Lydia says.
Kira wrinkles his nose, “Don’t so that. Not that blond is a bad look, I just think you’d look better with something else.”
“Anything else,” Laura agrees. “This isn’t the 90’s. People aren’t going platinum anymore.”
Allison laughs, “Unless you’re planning on going back and joining *NSYNC.”
Danny grins, “I don’t know. I think I could give JT a fun for his money.”
Lydia pats his leg, “No one is denying that sweetheart.”
“So what brought on the need to dye your hair?” Allison asks him. She pulls him down until he’s lying between her and Laura.
A hand comes up to brush through his hair before Laura speaks, “I like your hair. It’s nice and soft.”
“It’s not too… I don’t know. Plain?” Danny asks.
“Please,” Lydia scoffs. “There’s nothing plain about you.”
“Is that why you wanted to change it?” Kira asks him. “Because you think it looks plain?”
“Or did someone else say that?” Lydia asks.
Danny rolls his eyes towards the ceiling, realizing he’s not going to get out of his. “Jackson did. I know he was just being Jackson. But the thought still got in there.”
Lydia sighs, “He is just being Jackson. And you shouldn’t listen to him.”
“Yeah, you’re perfect the way you are,” Kira tells him.
“And he might be jealous because literally everyone wants to sleep with you, girls and guys,” Laura says.
“And before you argue against it, it is true,” Allison says.
Danny smiles, “Thanks guys.”
Kira moves to sit on the end of the bed next to Lydia, “So, are you still wanting to dye your hair?”
Danny thinks about it. Blond may have been a bit extreme but…
“There was something I was thinking about before Jackson opened his mouth.”
“What’s that?” Lydia asks.
“It’s not my hair,” Danny tells them.
Allison sits up on her elbows to look down at him. “What is it?”
Danny grins, “I want a tattoo.”
“Oh boy,” Laura says. “Because that’s not a permanent life altering decision or anything.”
Kira and Lydia share a look, before Lydia clears her throat. “If that’s really what you want, we’ll support you. But you do need to think this through.”
Danny waits a moment, taking in their carefully neutral faces, before he starts laughing. Kira nudges him with her foot, “What is it?”
“I don’t really want a tattoo,” Danny tells them. “But man your reactions.”
Allison’s hands dig into his side and he tries to move away, only to find himself being attacked by Laura in the other side. He laughs and tries to squirm out of their hold.
“Please,” he gasps. “I give. I’m sorry.”
“Do you really think he’s sorry?” Lydia muses.
Kira tilts her head in thought, “I don’t know. But he looks sorry.”
“I am!” Danny says. “I’m sorry! Please!”
The hands stop their assault. Danny takes a moment to try and catch his breath. Allison leans over him with a grin, “Is there really something you were thinking about doing?”
Danny nods, “There is.”
When he tells them they all share a look before breaking out into matching grins. And that’s how he finds himself sitting on his floor, with old towels spread underneath all of them, bottles of nail polish scattered around them. Lydia is painting his toenails while he paints Allison’s nails. Laura and Kira are working on each other’s. Danny’s nails have already been painted bright pink.
“We should have just done this from the beginning,” Allison says.
“True,” Laura says, “but where’s the fun in that?”
“I cannot believe this!” His mother shouts from the door. “Natalie get in here.”
They all pause and look towards the door as Natalie appears next to his mother. She shakes her head as she looks down at them. “Well this is unacceptable.”
His mother sighs, “I know. I can’t believe they’re doing their nails and didn’t think to invite us.”
Lydia rolls her eyes, “There is room if you want to join us.”
“I could use a touch up,” Natalie says. She takes a seat next to Lydia when she scoots over.
Danny’s mother takes a seat next to him. She grabs his hand and looks down at it. “It’s a good color. A bit bright for me though.”
Danny reaches over and grabs the pale pink he’d seen earlier and holds it out to his mother. “How’s this?”
“Perfect,” she says. She kisses the side of his head. “And so are you.” She pulls back and holds out her hands to him. “Will you do the honors?”
Danny grins and opens the bottle, “Gladly.”