AN: Thanks LTJM for reviewing every chapter! Its nice to know at least one person is enjoying it! :) I hope you like this chapter!
By the time they'd reached Julie's house, Malcolm was filled with an irresistible urge to punch Reese in the face. He was just so relaxed around Julie, it was infuriating! What made it worse was Reese was stupid! How could someone like Julie be interested in someone like Reese? Yesterday morning he'd asked Malcolm how come his toenails always grew back however many times he cut them, and now, Julie was actually listening to one of his moronic jokes! And laughing! There really is no justice in the world, Malcolm thought.
They worked on painting the walls of Julie's bedroom for a while, Malcolm gazing sullenly at the paintwork while the other two talked. After a few minutes, Julie put down her paintbrush and stood back from the wall.
''You know what, I'm real thirsty,'' she said, ''I'll go fix us all a snack. Back in a minute!''
As soon as she'd left, Malcolm and Reese stood facing each other, Malcolm glaring, Reese grinning smugly.
''What you looking at?'' Reese asked, amused.
''I don't know, but the label says faker.''
''Oh, so now we're resorting to cheap shots.''
''Reese, I'm not going to pretend I know how your tiny brain works, but even you must know that pretending to like someone just to annoy someone else is just evil. Not to mention stupid.''
''I'm not pretending!'' Reese insisted. ''I like her and she likes me - you're just gonna have to accept that.''
''I can't believe how low you're willing to stoop just to score one over me,'' Malcolm said, disgusted.
''When are you gonna learn that everything isn't always about you? Just cos you're a genius doesn't make you the most important!''
''Will you just shut up?''
Before he could even think, Malcolm was barrelling forward, bent over, and within a second he'd headbutted Reese in the stomach.
Caught off-guard, Reese tumbled to the floor, right near the tub of paint.
''That is it,'' he muttered darkly. He dipped his paintbrush in the tub and threw it at Malcolm. Malcolm ducked out of the way, and it landed, white paint flying everywhere, on top of a box full of Julie's stuff which she hadn't unpacked yet.
An open box.
Malcolm gasped, as he saw all the books, magazines and other items inside were covered in paint. ''You moron!'' he yelled. He picked up the paintbrush - it was a thick handled one which would probably hurt quite a lot if it hit you - and threw it back at his brother.
It hit Reese square in the face, he'd been staring in shock at the ruined box of Julie's belongings.
As it hit him he doubled back against the wall, hands flying to his face.
Malcolm could hear the sickening ''crack'' as the heavy metal handle made contact with his brother's mouth.
For a split second he allowed himself to hope that Reese wasn't hurt, that he'd managed to miss him.
Then Reese stood up, blood gushing out of his mouth, his eyes narrowed in fury.
Malcolm was frozen; his gut instinct being to get the hell out of there but his legs refusing to move.
It was almost like everything was happening in slow motion: Reese lunged for the tub of paint, picked it up, leaned backwards, ready to launch it in Malcolm's direction...
...just as Julie opened the door...
...and then the paint was flying everywhere, all over the pile of boxes in the corner, all over Malcolm, and all over Julie.
There was a tiny moment when everything seemed like a dream, like it wasn't really happening...
And then Julie was screaming, and they knew that it was.
Reese was just standing there, eyes open wide, the practically empty paint can still in his arms.
Malcolm was wiping the paint out of his eyes and trying not to swallow any as he struggled to breathe.
Julie was still screaming.
We are so dead, Malcolm thought.
Julie stopped screaming and started shouting instead.
''How could you do this? You idiots! All my stuff's ruined! And there's paint everywhere! What were you thinking? What is wrong with you?!''
Now she sounds like Mom, Malcolm thought. Uh-oh.
''We're really sorry, Julie,'' Reese said sheepishly.
''SORRY?'' Reese flinched. ''You think sorry is gonna be good enough? Look at this! I can't believe you, I thought you were my friends! I actually liked you, and trusted you! I never knew you were such jerks!''
And with that, she turned and left the room.
Malcolm and Reese were left standing there, Malcolm covered in paint, and blood still dripping off Reese's chin.
''Well,'' said Malcolm slowly, ''I think we both know we've been pretty dumb.''
''We should probably go home,'' Malcolm said worriedly. ''Your mouth's still bleeding.''
Reese tried to talk but he just got a mouthful of blood. He nodded again.
''Mom is gonna kill us,'' said Malcolm as they left the room. ''But she still won't be as mad as Julie.''
Malcolm emerged from the shower an hour later, having got most of the paint off at least, to find Reese sitting on his bed, pressing a large white bandage against his jaw.
Shivering through his towel, Malcolm sat down on the bed he shared with Dewey, opposite Reese.
''Well, I think we both learned something today,'' he said, trying to make a joke of it.
''Yeah,'' said Reese, ''Never argue with someone holding a paintbrush.''
''Look, Reese,'' said Malcolm, sighing, ''I'm sorry I hit you with the brush. I was just so...''
''Save it,'' said Reese, wincing, as he'd spoken a little too fast and got a jolt of pain through his bottom jaw.
''Does it still hurt?'' said Malcolm, trying to be sympathetic.
''What do you think?''
''Yeah. Stupid question I guess. What did Mom say?''
''I told her someone chucked a ball at me at basketball practice. You're already grounded enough as it is for the paint.''
''Yeah. I guess I deserve it.''
''So. I guess we won't be seeing Julie around for a while.''
''She'll get over it.''
''Yeah. Give her a couple of years.''
Reese smiled weakly. ''She wasn't my type anyway.''
Malcolm grinned. ''Yeah. Any girl who doesn't take her top off within five minutes isn't your type.''
''Shut up!'' Reese said, laughing despite himself (and despite how much it hurt.)
They laughed for a minute, then there was silence.
Finally Malcolm said, ''I'm sorry I was a jerk, Reese.''
''You didn't do anything that bad.''
''I flirted with a girl you liked to make you jealous, then I showered you with paint. I think I'm just as big a jerk as you.''
''Let's just stay out of Julie's way for the rest of the summer,'' Reese said.
''Shouldn't be too hard,'' Malcolm agreed. ''She's not gonna want to talk to us anyway.''
''Boys! There's someone here to see you!''
Julie was standing in the living room with their mother, looking immaculate, with not even a spot of paint to be seen.
''I just came to return Reese's sweater,'' she said, in a fake-cheerful voice, holding out Reese's red sweater which she'd borrowed at the park.
Reese took it from her. ''Thanks.''
''No problem,'' she said. ''If you ever need to redecorate your room, I'd be happy to help with that too.''
''Julie, we're really sorry,'' Malcolm put in. ''You've got to believe us.''
''I do,'' said Julie. ''It still doesn't make a difference. Goodbye!''
And with that she was gone.
''All right,'' Lois said threateningly. They'd forgotten she was still there. ''What did you do to her?''
And Malcolm realised then that his summer was going to be even worse than he'd thought.
AN: Please review! I would like to know what you think!
I have known it was going to end this way since about chapter 3, I was going to have Julie stay with one of them, but I realised I love them both too much to choose! (Also I thought this is more like MITM! They never get the girls! Well, hardly ever.)
Anyway...please review! :) and bear in mind this is the first time I've tried anything like this, please tell me even if you think it's rubbish!