I never imagine that I need to come back to the place where I was born and grew up with. After all these years, he managed to track me and reached for me. He is a dying old man, the only person I never expected that will also turn his back on me. I idolized him since I was a child, my grandfather, Nigel. My whole family disowned me when I told them that I am a lesbian when I was 19 years old. My parents, my sisters and my brothers, my close cousins, they all turned their back on me. I know the adults in our family forced their children to never reach out to me and never interact with me again.
I had no choice that time but to confess my sexuality when the girl I had a crush on with run away from me when I kissed her cheeks and confessed my feelings to her. Her name is Lyra Keevin, she’s been my high school crush and her parents are very religious people. When I confessed to her, rumors started to spread to our school until it reached to our family since we are only leaving in a small village where everyone knows everything in your life since it’s their only job but to judge and spread false rumors in someone’s else life. Our family is well-known to our village since our grandparents owned a massive land.
I am not interested in it, I never joined horseback riding with my siblings and cousins, the family parties, or any events. I love being in my own space, my own safe haven. But my relationship with them is good. I have my 2 best friends and they are my cousins, their name is Owen and Alessia. They are siblings and my best buddies, but also they have no choice but to turn their backs on me because I pushed them too. Their parents are too strict and I only wanted is to protect them from the anger and hate that will come to their lives if they chose to protect me. We are only teenagers at that time and we are weak. We don’t have anything to protect ourselves from this cruel world at that time.
My sisters, Analise and Julia, my brothers, Ken and Zack, never look at me again when I told them about the real me. I am the 3rd oldest to us, Analise is the eldest, 2nd is Zack, Julia and Ken are the youngest since they are twins. Our parents were so furious after knowing the truth. And what most hurt is that our grandparents agreed to my parents to disown me. At the age of 19, I was forced to leave our village. I only carried the important papers of my own, few clothes, and the cash I saved up from my allowance. I was miles away from them and I lost contact with them.
I was angry, devastated and I was in my own sorrow when I left that place. I regretted confessing my feelings for Lyra, I was not ready that time. I was naive and young at that time, dumb and stupid for letting my feelings to succumb everything in me. But most of all, I feel so betrayed when my own family did that to me. I already cried for them for 3 years until I stop shedding tears because of them. I learned my lesson, I began to fix myself, I work hard on my own, I graduated from college with my own money for working various partime jobs. Until I met Joaquin Jules 3 years ago, a businessman who has everything. Well, not everything because he never had any children on his own because he was married to his own business. He owned one of the biggest car manufacturing companies in every country. He adopted me and another girl named Eloah, I am older than her for 2 years. And we really love each other as sisters even though we don’t share the same blood. I found a real family to different people.
I am no longer a Bridge, I am now Aston Jules, 26 years old and the other heir of Joaquin Jules. I and Eloah helped our father with his business. Until one night, an older guy approached me at a bar and he mentioned Nigel Bridge, my grandfather who I learned to hate. The older guy was a private investigator and he found me. He managed to track me after 7 years. He told me that since I left our village, after a month, Nigel hired the investigator to find me no matter how long it takes. The investigator gave me a letter that was written by my grandfather. Our grandmother already died from a heart attack 4 years ago and I never feel any sympathy about it. Nigel wanted to see me from the last time before he leaves the land of the living.
So here I was at the airport. After 7 years, I finally came back to this place that I want to bury in my memories. I don’t know why I came back here but when I talked to Eloah and our father, they encourage me to face them again.
“This place looks...small,” Eloah said while getting inside the car after our private plane landed. The car is already prepared and anything we need. Our adopted father wants Eloah to come with me here which she gladly took. Eloah has long straight brunette hair, had piercing brown eyes, heart shape lips, and a cute pointed nose. We have the same height and she’s more feminine than me in the way she dresses. Because most of the time, I dress like a man when I’m in a foul mood and when I’m not, I wore feminine clothes. Even I am a lesbian, I have long black hair that I dyed in silver. Eloah is the one who picked the color in me and she’s the one who decided where I should dye my hair. Honestly, when they work on my hair, I almost fall asleep. My silver hair looks natural on me and Eloah loves it to the point she won’t stop having photos of me while dressing me from boyish clothes and feminine outfits. That’s why I love being a woman, I can wear everything I want because it looks natural in me. My golden-brown eyes looked more into gold if you stare at me for a longer time. I noticed it to the girls I tried to date and had flings with and keeps saying how beautiful my eyes is.
“I told you this is a small village that is full of garbages people,” I told her while Eloah chuckled.
“I can feel your hate already, sis,” Eloah winked at me.
I rolled my eyes. I learned to hate this place and most of all, to the people who look at me in disgust. Is being a lesbian is a sin? People reasoned out that the bible doesn’t accept people like us. Such hypocrites beliefs they had. I want to burn those people with their bibles. Let’s see if those bibles can save them while being on fire. I just smirk when I imagined it.
“Stop thinking creepy things again, Aston. We will stay here for a week because I wanted to explore the place where you were born. Dad will surely love seeing the picture I will prepare for him and some videos. He couldn’t wait,” Eloah excitedly said while pointing her phone at the window of the car.
“This place is boring,” I said to her but my heart won’t stop pounding hard in my chest. It’s been years and I’m going to see them again.
“Well, everything is boring for you,” Eloah rolled her eyes.
I didn’t say anything until a familiar road caught my attention. This place changed a lot, new buildings, new shops, and new parks. But I know people will never change unless something happened to them. But I’m hoping that this place didn’t build a cult meeting place since most people who live here are homophobic.
The car made a turn and get inside an old mansion garage. Even it looks old, the mansion never fails to look clean and well take care of. I take a deep breath. I give Eloah a grateful smile when she squeezed my hands to give me support. We both walk out in the car while the driver will wait for us.
My foot feels so heavy but I need to do this. To see the old man before he dies and leaves after this. A maid run to us and asked for what purpose we are here. When I said my name, the maid’s eyes widened and immediately let us in. The familiar mansion gives me some memories of my childhood times here.
“Nice place. I saw the large land. It’s good for horse riding or a picnic. We need to tell Dad to buy a place like this,” Eloah locked our arms together while we both walk to the stairs.
“That’s a great idea,” I agreed but the nervousness is still there. We both stop at the door that I never thought I’m going to see again.
“Relax...I am here...” Eloah softly said to me and kissed my cheek.
I smiled. I’m thankful she came with me here. I knocked on the door until we heard footsteps. The door slowly opened. The person who opened the door is the person I don’t want to face again. The person where all the problems began in my life. Why she is here? Only a family member could visit this place.
Lyra’s eyes widened and her mouth almost drop on the floor. She didn’t even blink while her eyes are so focused on my face. She changed...a lot. There are no baby fats and she finally became a woman. She’s no longer a young teenage girl. Her golden hair was tied in a high ponytail and she dressed in a white floral dress. Her green eyes look different.
“A-Aston,” Lyra muttered breathlessly.
“Aston?” Another voice caught my attention. I look at Lyra’s back and just notice that everyone is there. As in EVERYONE in my family. They all look shocked, confused and I saw fear in the adults’ eyes especially for my parents that are no longer my biological parents. For me, they are already dead after they disowned me and never listen to my pleas even I kneeled in front of them while crying.
Eloah squeezed gently my arm. “You can do it...” She whispered to me.
I didn’t wait for Lyra’s permission to enter Nigel’s room. The old man is lying on his deathbed, his wrinkles became deeper and older. He looks so fragile and weak. The beeping sound of the machine of his heartbeat is all can hear inside the room. Everyone one is watching me but I ignored them.
Everyone gives us some space. I was now standing next to Nigel’s bed. He opened his tired eyes. His eyes twinkled when he finally saw me. “Aston...” He said my name with his weak and hoarse voice.
“Grandpa,” I said to him firmly and I didn’t show any emotion to him.
He smiled sweetly at me but I know he was in pain. He’s already 92 and I can’t blame his body that is already giving up. “Can I hold...your hands?” He asked.
Eloah give me an encouraging smile and nodded at me when I look at her. I just sighed and give to him my hands. Nigel held it and with the strength that was only left to his body, he weakly squeezed it. His rough and hard hands are starting to get cold.
“Forgive me, Aston...forgive us for what we’ve done. Since the day you left us, the guilt and the pain never left my side. I always saw you in my dreams...I always hear your voice calling our name and asking forgiveness for us even though there’s nothing to forgive because you have never done wrong to us...” He weakly said. His eyes clouded in tears. Everyone is quiet inside the room. “We...are the ones who brought pain and sadness in your life. We are should be the one who needs to ask forgiveness from you...Aston...you are my favorite granddaughter. You never fail to give your love to us even you have your own world...but we fail to love you back...please...forgive me...forgive me, Aston...” A single tear came out from his eyes.
My heart squeezed painfully to hear how hard for him to speak those words to his current situation. I can feel it’s hard for him to speak but I can feel his sorrow and loneliness. I squeezed back his rough hands and slowly kneeled. I kissed his knuckles. The voices from the past haunt the old man. The regret and the guilt keep coming after him. I look to everyone, the others are silently crying. My gaze met Lyra’s eyes. She looks so sad and there’s guilt in her eyes.
“I forgive you...” I said to him that brought a bright smile to his face. But I can’t forgive the others. This is a good words for a dying person. My anger from this family lit up a fire inside me. I don’t feel anything to Nigel. It’s just a proper answer to a dying person. My heart became a stone because of this family. They ruined me. After a few minutes, a long straight ringing sound echoed inside the room. Nigel finally left this world. My blank face looks at him one last time before I left the room and let the others hold the old man.
Eloah followed me and I’m thankful that she didn’t say anything. She knows how I hate this family and how I hate this place.
“Miss Aston Bridge,” A guy in a business suit called me. He gave us a friendly smile.
“It’s already Aston Jules,” I corrected him.
He looks surprised. He’s the Bridge Family lawyer. I know what is in his mind. I’m ready to what will he say about along with the family who disowned me. I am ready to ruin them too if they give me a reason.