One Night

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Chapter 4

Two Years Later

I was late and I didn’t give a fuck.

Taking my time, I decided to put on my best pair of jeans and a my favorite blouse that gave me chest a nice cleavage. Strapping on some low heels, I turned to my mirror and debated what to do with my hair. Did I need to braid it? Would it be too hot outside, per usual at this time of June?

Settling on braiding it, I then grabbed my bag and left the apartment. I had thirty minute drive to the airport, and my step-sister was landing right about now. Oh well. The diva would have to wait for once in her glamours life.

As I turned on the engine of my Hyundai and began the trip, I couldn’t help but scowl at the thought of having to pick up Rosalyn. My father, Raymond Sheridan, was the founder of the Sheridan Corporations, which meant he was one of North America’s top 100 wealthy men. He had two biological daughters – aka me and my older sister, Emma – and his wife, out mother, died when I was four and Emma six. For ten years after that he’d serial-dated women in and out of his life, until he found Scarlet Howard, a divorced mother of two kids who were, surprise-surprise, my sister and my age. Roman was a year older than Emma while Rosalyn was my age exactly. That, added to the fact Scarlet was a bombshell for a woman her age, and so my dad fell deep and hard for her and they got married not even a year after they started going out.

I didn’t have any problem with Scarlet, and neither did Emma. She was fine, I guess. But her kids were different. Like Emma and me, Roman and Rosalyn’s father was filthy rich man who had his own company of something, only unlike my sister and me, their father spoiled them rotten. Both of them were unbearable divas. I didn’t stand either of them, and while Emma pretended she did, I knew for a fact she felt like me. Although she did have a soft spot for Rosalyn, since the two of them were in the modeling industry together.

So my supermodel step-sister was coming back from a tour in France, and since Dad and Scarlet were away on a vacation in Hawaii, Emma was having some photo-shooting for a new Armani commercial, and Roman was working twice as hard, seeing as he was following Dad’s footsteps, it was up to me, the unemployed, uneducated, unsuccessful black sheep of the Howard-Sheridan household to pick up the bitch.

You see, unlike my sister, who was the next Heidi Klum, or Rosalyn, the brand-new Miranda Kerr, or Roman, the studious smartass who had enough brain to take over Dad’s company when my father retired, I was basically nothing. I dropped out of college in the middle of my English Lit degree when I realized I’d rather see the movies than read Shakespeare’s cringe-worthy plays, and I focused on music, which was the real deal for me. I wasn’t the best pianist out there, but what I had was enough to help me snag a part-time job at a posh restaurant downtown. I played piano and got paid for it. For me, it was enough for now. In my family’s opinion, I was a lost cause.

But after what happened two years ago, I could give a flying fuck about what my family thought. They were proved wrong about everything concerning me more than once. I was done trying to pacify them, lease of all damn Rosalyn.

The roads were clear, thank God, and I arrived the airport five minutes earlier than planned. After I parked the car, I got out and went to the reception hall. I’d been visiting this place more than I ever wanted my entire life, but never to myself; it had always been to pick up someone or greet someone, usually just family. I had no friends left after the incident of two years ago.

I leaned against a pillar and played Candy Crush on my iPhone. After a few minutes, the doors into the hall opened and a stream of new arrivals came through. Families threw themselves upon their loved ones, kissing and crying and whatnot. There were some men there too, one of them even holding a bouquet of roses. He handed them to a flustered woman, who immediately burst out sobbing and hugged him tightly. So touching. I hated flowers.

Then I guess it was my turn to greet my loved one with misty eyes, but that wouldn’t happen, ever. Rosalyn Howard walked into the reception hall, and just her presence made both men and women turn their head and stare. She was a tall woman (obviously, since she was a model) with wavy light brown hair and greenish-blue eyes. She had a natural tan and a slim figure and she walked and emitted such confidence and surety that no one couldn’t not look.

Once upon a time, I’d been dumbstruck by how pretty she was too. Then she spoke and that spell broke.

Like right now.

She plastered on a big fake smile when she saw me, her Colgate teeth shining so bright, a blind man would’ve been able to see the light again if he looked at them. “Blair!” she called in such a feigned enthusiasm, I couldn’t help but grimace in pain. She then stepped forward and gave me such a skin-crawling hug I wanted to spit on the ground and ward myself against evil. “I’ve missed you so much, sister!”

I said nothing, waiting until she let me go and stepped back, giving me doe eyes. Fucking step-sisters and their fucking evilness. “Rosalyn,” I said coldly, pursing my lip and looking at her neck. She was one head taller than me and I would die before I looked up at her, both figuratively and literally.

She giggled and I could see from the corner of my eye the man with the flowers from before staring in awe at her and his woman about to burst into a different kind of sobbing. Fucking stupid men. “You’re so cold,” she said, and when I looked at her, she was pouting. “It’s been a while since I last saw you. You should be more excited.”

Unlike my family and former friends, I wasn’t a lying bitch. I prided myself in being an actual human being; straightforward, honest and truth-in-your-face-even-if-it-hurt. “I don’t have the energy to deal with you,” I told her as I turned my back and began to walk toward the exit. “Let’s just go.”

She said nothing as she walked quickly enough so she was the one walking before me. Such an egoistical woman. She also sent me a hateful look, dropping the mask of niceness. “You’re really getting on my nerves,” she murmured quietly.

“Likewise,” I hissed back.

Before we got to the exit, a girl about twelve stopped us. “You’re Rosie Howard!” she said loudly, looking at Rosalyn with shining eyes, “can I... can I have a picture together with you?”

Immediately Rosalyn’s face transformed, putting on her kind model’s mask as she smiled prettily at the girl. “Of course,” she said, and crouched so the girl could take a selfie with her. Once that was done, more and more people realized who Rosalyn was and she was suddenly crowded into taking pictures with them. She was still at the beginning of her stardom, but considering the group of fans she had her, she was doing well enough.

Fucking models.

After half an hour, Rosalyn was free of all obligation. Once we were in my Hyundai, she scowled and began polishing her nails, something she did when she was irked. “That’s why I asked Latisha to have an escort from the airport, but no, the stupid agent kept telling me to get my heads out of the cloud because I’m still not as famous as I think I am,” she huffed, “well, look how well that turned out.”

Rosalyn liked to rent. I hated to listen. Unfortunately, we were stuck in this car together for the next thirty minutes, so I swallowed my annoyance and listened as she went on and on about her agent, even stooping as low as being a racist and saying that Latisha didn’t understand the struggles of a beautiful Caucasian woman in her prime. I was so going to hire an exorcist after this car drive just to make sure no demons lurked in this car thanks to her.

Once we were in the city, I parked before the luxurious building where she, Emma and Roman all had apartments in. The building was owned by my father, who also had a small real estate company on the side, and I’d lived here once upon a time as well, until... everything happened.

Before she got out of the car, which I really waited for, she paused and turned to face me, ruining my moment. “Did Raymond tell you about the engagement party?”

I wanted to head-bump into the dashboard. My father and Scarlet had been going on and on about the fact Emma had been propose by her long-time boyfriend, Ford. Ford was an actor, son of two actors, and made his first few millions when he was twelve and appeared in some hit movie that grossed over five billion dollars. He’d been a big hit in the industry since then, and of course my father and Scarlet loved him. He met Emma when my sister was trying out an acting career alongside her modeling one and appeared in a minor role in a movie in which he was the main lead. The two hit it off and a week ago, he got on one knee when he took her to the Mexican restaurant where they had their first date and popped the question, giving her a huge diamond ring. Tearfully, my sister said yet of course – who would say no to a diamond ring, I say – and now everyone was organizing a big, fancy, paparazzi-filled party to celebrate the very happy occasion. Cue my headache.

“Yes, Rosalyn,” I said wearily, “he told me.”

“Great,” she said and gave me her favorite catty smile. “I heard Holden Knight was invited. You know, the oldest director who has ever won the Oscar for best director at the mere age of twenty-six?” she arched a condescending eyebrow when I stared at her blankly. “Anyway, according to Emma, he’s single. I’m going to make a move.”

Now I understood what the catty smile was for. “Go for it,” I said dryly, “if you’re worried I’ll make a move, then rest assured I won’t.”

She gave me a haughty look. “He’s gonna see me, and you think he’ll be interested in you?” she burst out laughing and flicked her hair back. “We saw how this vanity of yours went well for you two years ago.”

Bitch. “Get out of my car.”

“With pleasure,” with a triumphant, vain grin, she did just that.

My father could’ve remarried to any other woman, one who had normal children who weren’t so hypocritical and assholes, but instead he chose to pull a Cinderella on me. Thanks, Dad. That meant a lot.

Annoyed, I raced back to my small apartment in the thankfully normal building and holed inside my piano room, where I had my big, transparent grand piano that had belonged to my father. After she passed away and I became interested in music, the piano was passed on to me. It now lived with me, and I dedicated an entire room for it, with nothing but the piano and a big window with a view of the sea.

I played the piano, pouring all of my frustration at the poor thing, improvising and recording some new pieces I created that I would want to type out later on the Sibelius, the sheet-music maker program, and after an hour, I felt calmer, more relaxed. But that calm didn’t last for long, because the moment I went to my computer and started checking out Facebook, I saw I got an invitation to a wedding. Not my sister’s, obviously, but another.

Darren Flint and Shelby Atterberry.

God had decided my day wasn’t shitty enough that He decided to make one of my former friends actually tactlessly forward an invitation to me to my very first ex’s wedding to his new would-be wife, the one he’d been with behind my back.

Now I was enraged. I deleted the invitation, shut the computer, and kicked the desk, not even feeling the pain. When I realized staying awake wouldn’t help me in any way, I went to the kitchen, grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels, and, lying in front of the TV, watching some stupid soap opera, I drank myself to sleep.

Life sucked and then you died. Truer words were never said.

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