“What?” I stiffened at his words.
“Carter is your half-brother.” Vice repeated.
“I know what you said the first time, why didn’t you say anything before?” My focus on my lap as I spoke.
“Vice.” A deep voice called out in acknowledgement.
I zoned out almost immediately, so many questions clouding my head.
This doesn’t make sense. I thought.
“Ava?” Zade called out, bringing me out of my thoughts.
“How?” I breathed, tightening my hands around Zade’s.
Black slacks came into view as I stared down at my lap.
“Hi.” The same voice that acknowledged Vice greeted but this time soft.
“Hi.” I frowned up at him.
“I’m Carter.” His face softened down at my confused one.
“Umh.” I squeaked as he pulled me up off the couch and into a warm embrace.
“I didn’t know I had a little sister.” He said into the top of my head, his body relaxed as if letting all his worries go.
“What?” I frowned into his chest.
“What do you mean what?” He chuckled making my head vibrate against his chest.
“B-but.” My bottom lip trembled as my heart squeezed around itself.
“Hey, I’m sorry.” He finally let me go and held me at arms length.
I pulled away from the stranger and stepped back against the couch, unconsciously slipping my hand in Zade’s as I stared at Carter, taking in his features.
“How old are you?” My eyes watered.
“I’m 22.” He replied, reaching out to rub my arm in a comforting manner.
“Can you explain to me how we’re siblings?” I asked, trying to look for a resemblance between us.
Tattoos covered the exposed skin I could see, his hands were covered in different patterns of black ink and so was his neck. His hair jet-black, his facial features were prominent but nothing like mine. High cheekbones with a slight hollow to them, his jaw angular with a vertical dent on his chin, his skin a slight tan. His eye’s a warm honey color like mine, that’s the only resemblance we had. Our eye color, like Dads.
Carter frowned at me, deep in thought.
The look on everyone’s faces were in a shock kind; most of them stared at him like he grew another head.
I wonder why? I thought.
“We’ll take everyone into the dining room, lunch should be ready by the time you finish.” Fane tried ushering the families out.
“See you in the-” Vice started off.
“No, you two are staying.” I glared directly at Fane and Vice.
They both stared at me, looking like deer’s caught in headlights but nodded and stayed put as the room cleared out.
“Who are you?” Carter demanded, stepping up to Zade.
“Doesn’t matter who I am, the question is who are you!” Zade used the same tone as Carter, stepping forward as well.
“Do you know who I am?” Carter snapped.
“I wouldn’t have asked if I did.” Zade scoffed.
“You better keep this one, I really like him.” Vice laughed, clapping his hands.
“Maybe you should date him then.” I snapped, glaring at Vice.
“Sorry.” Vice put his head down.
“Someone better tell me what the hells going on.” I hissed, stepping between Zade and Carter.
“YOU HAVEN’T TOLD HER?” Carter turned his attention onto Vice and Fane and I flinched at his harshness.
“We wanted to surprise her.” Vice yelled back.
“WHAT KIND OF SURPRISE IS THAT YOU FUCKING IDIOTS!” Carter roared.
“Who are you to come into my home and disrespect me like this!” Fane seethed.
“Go suck your ass.” Carter spat.
Like brother like sister? I thought sarcastically.
“Get the fuck out, I want to talk to my baby sister.” Carter fumed and pushed Fane and Vice out of the room roughly.
I frowned at the words baby sister, this is too overwhelming.
“Can I talk to you alone please?” Carter asked, staring between Zade and me.
“I’ll be wherever the rest of them went.” Zade kissed the side of my head and left with the guy Carter came in with.
“You look like him you know.” Carter smiled sadly.
“I’ve gotten that a lot today.” I flopped down onto the couch next to him.
“Did he leave you for my mother too?” I asked, trying to blink back the tears that sprung up.
“No.” He shook his head.
“Oh.” I let a sigh of relief leave my lips.
“My mother Siena and Hayze were arranged to marry. They loved each other but Siena cheated with Hayze’s best friend Jarrod, Hayze found out and left her cutting the deal in the process. My mother soon found out she was pregnant with me, everyone and herself included thought I was Jarrod’s kid. That’s when Hayze met Maya, Fane and Vice hated each other so there was no way for the two of them to be together but it was too late, he had already fallen head over heels for Maya and vice versa. They both dropped everything to be together.” He explained, reaching to wipe my tears that fell from my eyes.
I stayed quiet so Carter continued.
“When I was born my eyes were a hazel color and I had no resemblance to Jarrod but no one thought anything of it until I started getting older. My eyes started changing to a light brown and then eventually changed to the same color as yours. I clearly wasn’t Jarrod’s, my mothers side of the family all have bright blue eyes like the Monrovians so to be sure my mother got me and Jarrod tested only to find out I wasn’t his and that only left Hayze but it was too late, by then I was already 4 years old and Hayze had moved on and no one could find him.” He smiled sadly.
“I’m sorry.” My tears fell uncontrollably.
“Why are you sorry?” He frowned, his facial expression turning into a pained one as he watched me cry.
“You didn’t get time with our father.” I sniffled.
“The only person I blame for that is my mother, so you don’t need to be sorry.” He smiled. “I didn’t know he had another kid.”
“I have a little brother Grayson.” I informed him, knowing he probably doesn’t know since the others didn’t.
“They didn’t tell me.” His eyes turned cold.
“I only just told them.” I quickly stopped him before he got up. “I never told them about him because I wanted to keep him safe, I didn’t want them to threaten him as well.”
“They threatened you?” He stood from the couch and started his long strides to the dining room with his hands in fists.
“No please don’t, I already handled it.” I pulled at his buff arm.
“You have fucked Grandparents.” He stated, frowning down at my poor attempt at trying to stop him.
“Vice is your Grandfather too.” I slapped his arm.
“Don’t remind me.” He chuckled at the pathetic slap I gave him.
“If you knew about Hayze being your father, how come you never came looking for him when you got older?” I asked curiously.
“I was forced not to, both my Grandfathers used their power against me. I couldn’t even if I wanted to, I tried looking for Hayze once I took over but I couldn’t. Our father was smart, anyone that would try finding him wouldn’t choose the obvious and that’s exactly what I did, didn’t choose the obvious. I hired a private investigator. I treated the search as if I was looking for someone in hiding. Hayze wasn’t hiding and he made that clear by keeping his first name and his last name associated with his father. They wiped themselves off of the records like Hayze Versana and Maya Monrovian never existed. I tried looking but I always came back empty handed and I finally gave up.” He explained, his expression stoic but his voice remained soft when he spoke to me.
Our father was always on newspapers about his fights, how hard was it to find him? I thought.
“I don’t know what kind of private investigator you had, he wasn’t a very good one anyway.” I joked, grinning up at him.
“I agree.” He nodded as he laughed.
“So you’re in the same business as Fane and Vice?” I asked softly, walking back over to the couches to sit.
“Yes, there’s five families that run our line of business and mine’s at the top, Vice comes in second, Fane comes in third and so fourth with the other two families.” He explained.
“Jesus.” I stood and started pacing back and forth.
“What are you doing?” He asked, watching me with amusement.
“Trying to think.” I mumbled, rubbing my temples.
This is too much. I thought.
Carter let me pace the living room in peace, leaving me with my thoughts to process everything I’ve learnt today. I could feel the headache forming already.
“When did you find out about me?” I stopped pacing.
“An hour before my flight here.” He smiled, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his knees.
“You aren’t shocked about the news?” I questioned.
“At first I was.” He nodded, clasping his big hands together.
“I’m happy.” He said honestly, watching me intently.
“You are?” I stared at him with slight shock.
“Of course, I’ve always wanted a baby sister.” He grinned.
Cheesy. I thought and started pacing the room again.
“Where is Grayson?” He stood, frowning.
“He’s away at school.” I didn’t feel the need to protect Grayson from Carter.
I felt like I could trust Carter and I’ve only known the guy for less then an hour.
“Would I be able to meet him?” He asked, shoving his hands into his pockets.
“He’s not back from school until Christmas break.”
“Oh, would have been nice to have met him now.” He smiled sadly.
“I wish I could say the same for him.” I sent his smile back.
“So where are you from? You have a Spanish accent and then you have some other one I can’t put my finger on.” I tapped a finger against my chin.
“I’m from Brazil but I used to spend a lot of time with Vice when I was younger, that’s probably why I have a Spanish accent as well.” He chuckled at my wide eyes.
“Brazil? This is insane. First Romania, then Mexico and now Brazil. What’s next Egypt?” I paced the room again.
Carter laughed a hearty laugh, I couldn’t help but grin up at him.
“There’s more you don’t know Ava.” He said seriously.
“Oh goody.” I faked excitement, making him laugh out loud again.
“Everything’s going to be overwhelming to the point of tears for you but I promise to make things a little easier.” He said softly, making his way over to me and wrapped me in another hug.
Carter asked about my living situation and how me and Grayson managed to survive without my parents. The questions flowed out of his mouth and every answer he received only resulted in him getting angrier.
Vice and Fane choose the wrong time to walk in because Carter was livid.
“THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!” Carter boomed, his voice cold and distant.
“I know.” Vice snapped.
“Please don’t.” I hurried after Carter and wrapped my arms around his torso, trying to stop him from attacking them.
“It’s your lucky day prick, if she wasn’t here I’d throw you through another wall.” Carter snarled at Vice and responded to my hug by wrapping his big arms around my shoulders.
“You’ve thrown him through a wall?” I questioned, frowning up at him.
“It’s okay Ava, they’ve never got on.” Nicholas stepped out from behind Vice.
“He reminds me of your father.” Julius jotted his chin out towards Carter.
Before I could ask questions, a maid announced lunch and we were all ushered into the dining room with the rest.
“I’m not staying, I hate being here.” Carter whispered.
“I don’t think I’ll stay either, I’m starting to get a headache.” I rubbed at my temples.
“Are you okay?” He asked worriedly, searching my eyes.
“Yeah, it’s just a headache.” I laughed.
I made my way into the dining room. Zade looked like he wanted to be anywhere but here as one of my cousins tried talking to him, flicking her blonde hair. I watched, as Zade never paid attention to her, rolling his eyes as she laughed and fluttered her lashes at him.
Zade’s eyes lit up at the sight of me, standing and made his way over. “Want to get out of here?” I whispered.
“I thought you’d never ask, your cousins were creeping me out.” He chuckled.
I apologized to everyone for not staying for lunch and said a quick bye, I was so happy to leave. I felt emotionally drained, my eyes felt heavy with sleep. We made our way out of the house to find Carter and the other guy waiting.
“I have to leave tomorrow night but I’d like to spend some time with my little sister. Are you free tomorrow?” He smiled.
“Umh sure, do you have a phone?” I asked.
“Yeah.” He grinned, pulling his phone out from his suit jacket and handed it to me.
I quickly typed my number in and added it to his contacts under Ava Vice before handing it back to him.
“Just text me with the details.” I nodded.
“Thank you.” He said gently and pulled me into a tight embrace.
“Who are you and what have you done with Carter Soreign?” The guy behind him laughed, his eyes dancing with amusement as he watched Carter.
Zade visibly stiffened at the surname Soreign, making me frown in question.
“Shut it Landon.” Carter rumbled, letting me out of the hug.
“Can you do me a favor?” Carter turned his attention back to me.
“Depends, what is it?” I asked curiously.
“Wear this? It’ll calm my nerves if you did.” He said softly, taking off one of his gold rings and holding it out to me.
Not you too. I thought, staring back at Zade.
“Take it, it’ll calm both of our nerves.” Landon said seriously.
“Okay?” I said awkwardly.
“It’s just for safety reasons, that’s all.” Carter smiled, taking a gold chain from his pocket and slipping the ring around my neck.
I wanted to question him but the amount of information I’ve gotten today I don’t think I’ll be able to handle more, I could always ask him tomorrow about it.
Landon pulled me into a quick hug, only earning himself death glares from Zade and Carter.
I said bye to the both of them and made the long walk down the driveway with my hand wrapped around Zade’s. I sighed in relief as we left Fane’s house completely, I didn’t realize how tense I was.
“Zaden?” I called out softly, staring at his handsome features.
“Go to sleep princess.” He chuckled as he watched me fight sleep, lifting my hand to his lips to lay a sweet kiss.
“Okay.” I murmured.