Chapter - 12
A 19-year-old guy was making pancakes for breakfast in a huge kitchen. He was standing in the kitchen shirtless. His upper body was on display and from one corner some young female house helpers of the house were ogling at him.
As it is, they are not allowed to enter the kitchen when he is in the kitchen. Not that he cares but his mother hates it when other women look at her boy. She had disciplined her boy to be a one-woman man. Not that it was necessary, he was in love with someone since he was a kid.
He is tall, well built, 8 pack abs, veins popping out on his forearms, messy charcoal black hairs and mossy green eyes with gold flex, a dimpled smile, and a well-chiseled jawline. His intense gaze could make anyone nervous. He is a typical example of a momma's boy.
"Again in the kitchen? "His father glared at him. His father loves him with everything he has but his son does not love him back.
Well, he had a reason for that. There was a time when his father was depressed because of constant loss in a business. He started to drink a lot in those days.
One night, the husband and wife got into an argument and he slapped her and his son saw that. From that day he stopped calling him dad and even talking to him. He apologized to his wife and son a lot. His wife forgave him but his son didn't.
The man was looking hopefully at his son that at least he would yell at him. But he didn't get any reaction from his Son. The man retreated to his room.
It's been ages since he heard his laugh or voice except for voicemail on phone and some assessments while they are in a meeting. He was craving his only son's love.
"Happy birthday Darling." The Man kissed his wife.
"What happened?" She asked him.
"Nothing." The man knew that he couldn't hide anything from her. She knew him so well after all.
"Did he not answer you again?" She asked her husband.
"It was my fault and I should get punished. I want to tell him something important but I don't think he would like to hear that from me." The man said to his wife.
"What is it?" She asked.
"Well, I know it's your birthday but I got a surprise for him." The man had a shy and embarrassing expression on his face. That made his wife more curious.
"Rhea Black is back to Bellwood." He said while rubbing the back of his neck. It's not every day his wife gets to see his nervous face.
The woman shrank in happiness and jumped in her husband's arms.
"Mom?? What happened? Are you alright?" The guy left the trolley filled with breakfast and things at the door and ran into the room.
"Rhea is back in Bellwood. " The woman screamed in happiness. The look on the boy's face was worth watching for. He had an ear-to-ear smile, cheeks, and ears tinged in a slightly pink shade, heart hammering inside the rib cage, and glossy eyes.
It's been 12 years since their son had smiled. He looked down and rubbed the back of his neck and said, "I… I made your birthday breakfast mom."
He couldn't look at her. He got nervous all of sudden. He wanted to ask so much about her but he didn't know how to. The only person that makes him nervous is Rhea Black.
"Don't you want to meet her?" his mom asked him.
"I don't know mom. It's been years. She may not even remember me. I… I don't know what to say or how to say it… She has just always been so smart but hard to approach. You know how beautiful she is. There are thousands of boys who must be in love with her.
There is nothing I have that could impress her. I don't even know what my chances are. Besides, whenever I looked into those deep green eyes, I made a fool of myself. "
He babbled while looking down. Since he heard the news he can't stop smiling.
" If you could not embarrass yourself in front of the person you love then it is not loved. Your father still makes those idiotic mistakes. Trust me, I love him more when he does that."
He still can't believe that his mother loves his father even after he slapped her. Not that he has ever been a bad father but he is not going to forgive him.
'How to love someone unconditionally' is an art. He had inherited it from his mother. After all, he is in love with HER before he knows the word love.
Rhea's POV :
I entered my house with my eyes glued to the floor and hiding behind my father; Thank god! for my tall and well-built father. Alex stiffened beside me and that made me more nervous.
“There you are, Come baby. Guys! These are my babies. This little sweet pie is Ridhhima Isabella Black, we call her Bella. The handsome boy is Rayhan Alexander Black, we call him Alex. And that’s my daughter Rhea. She likes to give us a hard time.” Mamma grumbled the last line in annoyance.
Alex’s face turns white and I know what that means. Finally, I look up and my eyes lock with brilliant blue eyes and the last expected person I want to see, Ethan the player.
He and his friends were standing there with my mum with drinks in their hands and a smile on their faces. I squeezed Alex’s hand and looked at him to say ‘play it cool’. He quickly morphs his expression into pleasant hosts.
We walked down to the living room where some elders were looking with an amused expression on their faces. I suddenly feel like an animal in a zoo.
I took a deep breath and swallowed before saying, “Hello everyone.” I and Alex said in unison. It sounded more like a robot and I flinched at our voice mentally. We need to polish our social skills.
“Hello” all boys replied to us in the same tone and that made my eyebrow raise and Xavier smirked.
“You are making them uncomfortable guys. They are quite reserved actually.” Rishi said and came in front of me. Alex and I got relaxed by his presence.
Rishi has the same calm aura around him as my father has. They are always radiating a friendly aura around them that puts everyone in a room at ease.
“Why don’t you both take a seat and I will grab your drink?” he said, taking the bag from me. Alex led the way and we took seats near the elders. I was not ready to face boys at least. Ava was standing there fighting to hold her laugh.
“You look beautiful with that peach color blush on your cheeks honey,” one lady said.
“Ohh!! She is not blushing. Meeting strangers makes both of them uncomfortable. They are tenser.” Rishi explained to that lady and rubbed my and Alex's hand in comfort.
“Yee yee.” Bella piped her opinion as yes to Rishi’s comment and Alex shakes his head at her. I hope she won't punch anyone. Mamma recently taught her how to punch! Yup! My Mamma could be childish.
“You have such a beautiful daughter Miss Black.” Ethan said leaning at the wall and looking straight into my eyes as if he was challenging me ‘to dare to defy’ way.
“What rubbish! Bella is Rhea’s sister, not daughter.” Mamma said to him.
“But I do love her and treat her like my own daughter. Thank you for your assessment!” I commented to him calmly. I know he was mocking me. But I decided to ignore it.
“So she is Victor's princess.” Another lady said.
“No! She is more of Matthew’s princess. Rhea is Victor’s princess.” Alex said to her calmly.
“Ma and Pa love us more than they love Rhea Di,” he added with a smile. Of course, they do… You are well-behaved kids.
“Of course my little pie.” Ma holds out her hand for him and he gets in her warm hug. Her eyes always turned glossy when she looked at him with so much love. As if he and Bella are her whole world.
“So, did my little prince miss his Ma today?” Mamma gets in conversation with him.
“So Rhea, how is Bellwood doing so far for you?” the same lady asked mockingly. She must know about me.
“I got myself grounded on the first day itself. For the fact, I don’t think Bellwood could surprise me anymore, I had my share already in that thing.” I replied matching her tone and brilliant smile.
Alex shot me a look that indicated ‘Behave’ and gave a tight smile to the lady. If she doesn't shut up now, then Alex will insult her. He already balled his tiny fist in anger.
“Why don’t we introduce ourselves so she can get comfortable?” A man beside my father said.
“Well young lady, I am Tom Clark and That’s my wife Meryl Clark. The girl beside her is my daughter Katherine. That's Paul and that one Ethan is my kids. Raise your hand guys.”
Mr. Clark has honey blonde hair and the same electric blue eyes. His other two kids had inherited his hair and eyes while Ethan had inherited so much of his father except hair and dimpled smile, which he got from his mother. Mrs. Clark has a pleasant aura.
“Hello, Mr & Mrs. Clark, a pleasure to meet you. I am Rhea Black which you already know and I just moved–in here.
You have such a beautiful wife Mr. Clark, quite a rare catch I must add. And nice to meet you guys.” I replied politely. For my comment, Mrs. Clark blushed and Mr. Clark smirked.
“That is Mrs. Rita Brown and her Son Ryan” Mr. Clark introduces further.
“Pleasant meeting you Mrs. Brown. Ohh! That color looks good on you.” I commented. I tried a line which I heard many times from my Ma. I and Ryan just nodded at each other.
“Thanks, Dear! It is good to finally meet you. I have heard so much about you. Please call me Rita.” Mrs. Brown replied and everyone looked at her in surprise. I guess I am the first one to call her Rita.
“All complaints about my behavior I guess,” I replied to her and she nodded.
“That is Mrs. Wright and Ava Freeman, Ian Hill.” He just pointed at another one.
“Good to see you, Mrs. Wright,” I said curtly and gave a generous smile to Ava & Ian.
“This is John King & Carol King and Xavier, Mia.” He pointed at them.
”Hello Princess. We are glad you come back to them. Your dad was missing you three a lot.” Mr. King said to me. I smiled at them.
“Hey beautiful, Do you want to have ice cream with me?” I asked Mia. She is the same age as Alex.
“Yes. Do you have chocolate flavor?” she asked curiously. I nodded at her.
“Where did you get these green contact lenses?” she got near me and asked, staring at my eyes.
“That is the natural color of my eyes and I don’t wear contacts. Bella and Rishi hate it.” I explained to her. That girl talks a lot.
“Why are only your eyes green?” she inquired further.
“Because I am a special one. I inherited it from my maternal great-grandpa.” I answered her question and led her to the dining room.
Everybody was listening to our conversation. There was pin-drop silence; I hadn’t realized it up till now.
“You don’t look like your parents.” She observed.
“Well, I do get little from everyone. I got my chin and smile from my mother, skin, and hair from my paternal grandma, nose from grandpa, and behavior from my father. I am more like my father.” I explained it to her as she was taking my every feature.
”Eyebrows and ears are also from father, right?” She is indeed a good observer. I nodded at her. My father had more beautiful eyebrows than I.
She raised her hand to pick her up in arms and Alex shot up from the seat yelling,” Careful.” He is getting on edge as I just removed my cast.
I picked her up and walked down to the dining room with Alex in tow.
“Go ahead, guys! Give us some alone time with our friends.” My father told all the boys.
“Rishi, hand us bowls, ice cream, and spoons. Please join us.” I said to others. I want to run away from there but I can't.
After introducing to his friend and handling us to all things, Rishi walks outside of the house with his friend. I felt like a lost child. So many people around me, looking as if I am an alien or something. I wanted to hide somewhere.
Everyone was settled down at the table with their ice cream except Ethan and me.
I was of course feeding Bella her vanilla ice cream but he can’t decide I guess.
“So is that you? I mean Rishi told Paul once that he went to visit his grandparents and sisters but I thought he was lying or dating a girl.” Ethan asked me.
“Ohh Yes! That was always me. Besides, he is just too young to date anyone.” I replied to him. Why is he so nosy?
“What if he is already dating someone? I mean, isn't his choice more than yours?” Katharine asked me.
“I would find it anyhow and yes, it is his choice to decide whom he will date. But I know he is not at the moment.” I replied to her.
'Wow! These people are so much interested in our lives.' my mind commented annoyingly.
“Good picture, rather quite beautiful. Is it candid?” Kathrine asked me pointing at my back.
There was a picture of us that contained me lying on my stomach in a tank top and shorts on a bed reading book, Alex was on the floor in front of the bed with some toys, Rishi breading my hair and I guess talking on the phone also and Bella was holding bed for support while kicking Alex’s back.
“What the hell?” Alex and I yelled in unison. It was a scene in my bedroom one evening here. Then we looked at other pictures. So many candid moments were clicked and framed in the room. When the hell did they put all the pictures?
“Why hadn’t you told me that Mumma was clicking pictures of us?” I asked Alex.
“Do you think I would have allowed it? I mean look at that I am shirtless and in the towel.” Alex was horrified.
“Mum, what the hell is this?” I yelled from the dining room. And as usual, my mother ignored me.
“Didn’t you see your pictures in the living room?” Ryan asked us.
“Of course not! Do you think we would have allowed it?” Alex exclaimed to him. We both ran towards the hall.
There were 4 candid pictures of us arranged in the rectangular fashion above the fireplace with 2 empty frames 1 at right and 1 at left.
In the left bottom of the rectangle, Alex’s half body in a grey shirt is pictured watching the sunset. I guess it was from the light on his face, leaning against the railing of the balcony.
At the right bottom & next to Alex’s picture, Bella in her favorite purple dress in 1 hand she had Candy and in the other her soft toy smiling at a person who must be standing beside the photographer.
Above Bella’s picture on the top right of the rectangle, Rishi’s leaning against my car with a folded hand against his chest, smirking at someone; side angled picture. He is wearing sunglasses and twinning to Bella while wearing a purple color shirt.
And last, but not least on the top left corner above Alex’s picture is mine. In a messy hair bun with some loose strands of hair coiling near my ears & waving with evening air some of the hair flicks on the left side, sitting on a garden chair wearing a grey top, looking and smiling at someone. I guess it was Bella.
“Ma what is all of this?” Alex asked my mother.
“I always wanted to decorate my home with your pictures so I did it. Do you like it?” She asked hopefully.
Is she kidding right now?
“Do you think he would like his shirtless photo? Or me in a towel wrapped around my hair” I asked her.
Who the hell put pictures like that in a home?
“Those are all your happy moments' princess, you were smiling and all. We loved it. So I don’t care whether you like it or not. We are not taking those down.” Papa said in an authorized tone.
“Great!” I muttered in annoyance and walked back to the dining room.
“I would assume that those are candid then,” Katherine said, smiling at me.
“Don’t get annoyed, these are really good pictures. You are lucky that they took so much effort.” Ian said half smiling. I actually could sense the sadness behind that smile.
“Besides you were glowing in that picture. Girls add filters to look that much beautiful.” Ryan said.
“I am jealous that Alex has 6 pack abs when he is this young.” Xavier piped in. I nodded and took ice cream and started to eat.
Could this meeting be more embarrassing than it already is?
“So Rhea, is your boyfriend ok that you had shifted here and all? And please call me Kate” Katherine said.
“I don’t date or I never even had a single friend in my whole life. ” I told her.
“Then with whom did you hang out?” Ethan asked me.
'With ghosts' I yelled mentally at him.
“Why do you think Rishi was visiting me at least twice in a month? And I have Alex with me all the time. I hardly need anyone else in my life.” I answered him.
After that everyone was silent for some time. Alex was still mad at his shirtless picture.
I got him in a bone-crushing hug and said, “I love that shirtless one. You look quite handsome in that.”
“Are you sure about it?” he is still annoyed.
“Well, we got to show off to Rishi and Bella that you are more loved and handsome. They will be jealous.” I told him with a wicked smile and he smiled back.
We always tease Rishi and he gets annoyed so easily. He got all grumpy after that.
“Ok kids! Everybody is staying with us for dinner. Rhea, why don’t you show them the house? And get to know them all. Alex, Rishi, Paul, and Mia will help me.” My mother ordered me. It was so unusual of her.
'Please Mamma, I don't want to get to know anyone.' I looked at my mother hoping she would get what I wanted to say. I gave her my cute crying face and she glared at me in an answer.
“Call me when you are about to finish, I will set the table,” I told her sternly. I am so angry with her.
“Helen, Kate could not attend dinner, she has plans already.” Mrs. Clark said.
“So, what are you cooking today Rhea?” Mrs. Wright asked me.
I started to laugh uncontrollably. Everyone was looking at me like I was mad or something.
“She is not allowed to enter the kitchen. Not even to fetch a water bottle from the fridge. She can’t even boil water. She had burned down the whole kitchen 7-8 times back at home.” Alex snapped at her.
“What??” Mamma and Papa were looking horrified.
“Mili never told me that,” Mumma said.
“Umm… Yeah... She doesn’t want to embarrass me.” I was nibbling my bottom lip. I always do that when I am embarrassed.
“What if there was no one at home and you got thirsty or hungry?” Xavier asked me.
“We had a mini-fridge in the dining room. I can order food.” I answered him.
'It's not rocket science. I just can't cook but can talk dude. And I was not living in the jungle.' My mind added silently.
“I never need to do anything in the kitchen. No one ever left me alone after I burned down the whole kitchen 3rd time while Alex was a baby. Mrs. William, our neighbor, always invited me to have supper or I could always go to my grandparents.” I added.
“That’s alright honey. Ryan’s dad still cooks for us. I am a horrible cook.” Rita said.
“Are you trying to suggest to her that she should date someone who is a wonderful cook?” Ian asked Rita and gave a knowing look to Xavier.
Everyone snickered at his comment except my family and Ethan.
'Only if you knew there are people who would do anything for me. I don't even need to learn anything or do anything for that matter. I am the youngest billionaire in the world.' my mind mocked them.
“Ok, that’s enough! Go to Rhea’s room and don’t disturb us. Give Bella to us Rhea; we didn’t get to spend time with her.” Mrs. Clark said.
I pointed to rooms on our way and stopped at my door. It was so unusual of me to allow anyone to enter my personal space except family.
I open the door and let them in. I took deep breaths to cool down. I was a hell of nervous. They might ask me about that night and all.
I don’t know what to tell them. I was alone with all of them and had no idea what to talk about.
Should I Google search about what to do when you invite people to your house? Or they would know about it.
Please god... End this day already. I really can't take it anymore.
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