Chapter - 2
The dinner was indeed delicious and grand. I was feeling like I just had graduated, But then again Lily has her charm to make everything work like perfect little moments.
I always wonder how she can make wonders from small things, her usual answer is if you love everything by heart then magic happens.
It is indeed true in her case and exactly opposite to my case. I was always alone and had my reasons; one of them was blunders.
It’s not like I never tried; it is like the more I tried to work things out, the more deep shit I got in! That’s what life gave me; but still no complaints.
For some people love is their companion while for some others regret & sorrows. After all, 'Something is better than nothing.'
After our little ice cream party; everyone decided to have a walk. Lily, I, and Bella were walking behind.
“Rhea! I want to talk with you if you don't mind.”Lily said nervously.
“Since when do you need my permission, Lily? You are like family & friends to me. Say it anyway!” I encourage her.
“See Rhea! At every stage of life, you have to let someone enter your life. All these years, we try to fill those places; in the future, we will also do our best. But we can’t always be everything in your life.
We all want to see you happy and normal like every other child. Seeing you alone makes our hearts squeeze in pain.
Like your parents, I am not going to say that you should date. Of course not! The date would be a huge step for you, but you surely can take baby steps right?
You would join college soon; you may have to be moved to a different city also. Don’t let your past ruin your future baby.
Try to keep an open mind. Let people in, I am not saying that make 20-30 friends but at least one or two.
I am not asking to blindly trust anyone but to try to trust a person. The world is a huge baby!
Maybe you would stumble to someone who is just like you. I am not forcing you into something you don’t want to be, but at least expect from you to try.”
“Do you think it is that easy? Don’t you know I am the queen of bad luck?” I asked her.
“Rhea! You were the reason I got Smith. How could I say that you are bad luck to anyone?
You set a blind date for us and we found love & friends in each other. Before him, I also had family and siblings but still, there was void space in life.
Life would always be difficult for some people but it would be better to have someone with you than fighting everything alone.
You won’t understand what you don’t have until you find it. You know what I am talking about right?” Lily looked at me for an answer.
“I know what you are suggesting to me but I can hardly talk to any of you, and everyone knows how difficult it is for me to hold a conversation.
No one ever wanted me in their life Lily. It took a lot for me to accept that thing. It’s just harsh but the truth” I smiled at her while saying it.
“I think we should see what the future beholds for you. But I am indeed counting on you to at least go with the flow.” She squeezed my hand in comfort.
Lily is quite wise. She always sees people well. Like everyone else, she never had been judgmental about my situation; for that, I could not thank enough to her.
“Come on kids, bedtime.” My mom shouted at us. We had dinner at Smith’s and we walked to Ninny’s place to sleep. Alex and I mostly sleep here on weekends. There is some unsettling feeling in my stomach but I could not figure it out.
Just like Bella, Ma always tucked me into the bed; sometimes I get annoyed because of that. But if she doesn’t get a chance to tuck me into my bed, she can’t sleep peacefully; All she does is check up on me the whole night. Thank God! I don’t date; it would be difficult to sneak out of the room.
“OK young lady! I don’t want any adventure tonight. If I found any of you out of bed; you will be grounded for a year. Do you get that?” Ma always threatens us with the same dialogue.
“Don’t worry Ma! I will be glued to bed till morning. You can go & make babies with Pa. Have fun guys and keep the volume down.” I snickered at her.
“Ms. Black! Are you trying to make fun of me or giving me sex tips? Should I be ready to become a grandma?” Ma wittily replied to me
“For the matter of fact, that is called teasing and no, you won’t get any grandchildren. You are too immature to handle grandma’s position. Besides isn’t it too late to ask about sex tips? I mean you surely had figured it out after two kids. You, not that dump Ma, I know that for sure.” I answered her with a grin on my face.
Ma walked out of the room muttering something like how her daughter is teasing her about sex life when it should be another way around.
Every part of my body is aching. I can’t open my eyes but I can hear shuffling around me. I am practically dehydrated. My throat is dry and aching. I want to cry but tears have also dried.
“We need to keep her alive for our benefit. Why can’t you get that? If our plan backfired, we should have a backup plan and this girl is that backup plan.” Some man yelled in frustration at her.
They must be standing on the side of the room where my back is facing. They did not know but I had heard most of their conversations.
They are working together also & against each other also. She is crueler than that man.
When he is on duty; he keeps me blindfolded but gives me food, water and sometimes allows me to shower also. She doesn’t know that. I guess he is smarter than her, I never even saw his shoes.
“I will do her duty, you go and rest.” After some time when all sounds died and there was complete silence, I tried to move from my place.
As soon as I shifted, I got a blindfold. He gave me water & some soup. After a shower, he was tending my wounds also.
“Why are you guys not killing me? It would be more efficient than acting bipolar.” I said frustrated.
“You guys! You are a smart one I think. Others still could not figure out two different persons were working around them. I don’t think it’s necessary to answer your question.”
“Please at least release him; see man, whatever you want; you will get it. You don’t have to keep both of us. My family is not one of them who favor boys over girls. It is not like I would run away. Try to be reasonable at least.” I tried to make a deal with him.
“You truly inherited all good qualities of your family; I think you will be the future of the Snow & Black family. You are even more beautiful than her. But I am loyal to her.” he said bitterly.
“You bastard! I am not offering you my body. I would prefer death over you. Go ahead. Kill us. But remember one thing; I will make sure you won’t get what you want. You can try every way possible, neither one from my family is going to break. Get ready to face a hell of challenges you freak. ``As soon as I finished, he slapped me. I was only crying… because I am sure, I will die soon.
“Reee Reee Reee Reee Reee '' I heard Bella’s crying sound, and suddenly I realized that I was having another nightmare episode. I opened my eyes and saw Ninny was seated on one side of my bed whereas Alex & Bella were on the other side.
“Did you forget to feed your little sister Alex? Why is she crying?” I snapped at Alex and took Bella from his lap.
My drama queen suddenly stopped crying and started to giggle. This girl is going to be the death of me.
“What happened to you, my little devil? Are you hungry sweetheart?” I cooed at her.
“That’s not fair Di! She was crying because you were crying while having a nightmare. I am getting scolded for no reason. Do you even love me at all? You are doing favors here. I will not accept it.” Alex got all grumpy.
He is right actually; Bella always pulled stunts and got him in trouble. Everyone knows it’s her mistake but no one scolds or punishes her. My poor baby Alex!
“Bella, did you do that deliberately?” I asked her seriously because she just gave me her famous puppy dog face. I just shake my head and get Alex in a bone-crushing hug. He is the one who got affected most by my freak show.
“Are you alright honey?” Ninny asked me.
“Was I screaming again?” I asked in return.
“No. You were crying and whimpering when Bella crawled to your room. She came back to wake me up for you. You didn’t scream but you were in unbearable pain I guess.” Alex answered me while staring intensely at me.
He was studying my dream patterns for some time; he can surely guess now my suffering pain.
“You are wet with cold sweat and tears. Go wash your face and change your top” Ma said through the door.
Since when they were standing there, I guess I didn’t notice them. When I came back, Alex was sleeping peacefully in my bed while Bella was poking his back and Ma was waiting with a new pillow to tuck me into the bed.
“Good night Love,” Ma said, kissing my forehead. I cuddle with Bella.
“Wake up my troublemakers! I want you at the breakfast table.” Ma whispered at us.
Why is it morning? Why do we have to have breakfast? I want to sleep more.
“No, I am skipping breakfast,” I mumble in a sleepy voice.
“Do you want to get grounded, Young Lady?” Ma asked me sternly. Ohhh! Did I tell you skipping breakfast is a crime for my Ma? No?? Well, you know that now.
As soon as Alex & I reached the table, we could practically feel the tension in the air. Not sexual tension, stop your pervert thinking.
“Did I miss something yesterday?” I asked, looking at my Ma & Pa.
“Nothing. Just usual complaints husband & wife have with each other.” Pa answered me.
“I know that I have zero experience with relationships between men & women, but I indeed can tell you are lying.
I don’t have a say in your matter but I will suggest keeping your ego aside and talk about problems thoroughly. You know that brain & physical power both are important for any battle.” I said to them,
“Please keep aside your male and female ego and talk it out. You know you both together can solve any problem in the world, only if you both are together. So decide first in whose team you are siding.
Remember problems will come & go, but words that have been said can’t be taken aback. Most importantly there is a difference between discussion & fight.” Alex tried to continue my point.
It is our family rule that every fucking thing is going to be discussed at the breakfast & dinner table. I had my first-period talk also at the breakfast table.
“Do I need to reverse the role of parenting?” Ninny asked my parents.
“Ma, not you too. They both are giving us talk like we both are stubborn children.” Ma grumbled under her breath.
“Then stop acting like one. Take Bella with you, I and Alex will stay here. Sort your arguments and please try to understand each other’s point of view.” I said to her,
It’s Thursday again. After that breakfast fight 3 weeks ago, Alex was with me here for 2 days. He left on Sat; thankfully I had only 1-2 freak nightmare shows after last Thursday that were too less horrible.
I was doing my usual chores to help all these oldies. My grandpa has 3-4 café at Berkley and 2 hotels. He is always busy.
Sometimes I have to fill in any of the posts from manager to waitress except chef.
My grandma is the owner of the fashion boutique so I have to do all the billing for her as I am too hot to be a receptionist. You get my note of sarcasm right?
I helped Lily to her small baker’s shop also. That is my favorite place. I do not have anything this afternoon when I received a call from Alex to tell me that Ma & Pa still are not on good talking terms so he and Bella want to come here. He will meet me at Smith’s this evening.
When I reached Ninny’s house, lunch was almost ready; so I set a table for both of us.
“I want to talk with you. Do you have a minute or two to spare?” Ninny asked.
“Yeah! Sure. Go ahead.” I am not entirely sure though. It is not common for Ninny to talk.
“I saw you last week, you know about that nightmare thing.” She started and I cut in her with
“If you are trying to persuade me in therapy then my answer is no. I am not against psychiatrists helping Ninny but talking about that thing increases their frequency.
Besides, I don’t want to forget that thing. She is out there somewhere; she should get punished for what she had done.
I am not in all revenge things but I had promised to keep. So besides that entire thing if you have something else on your mind go ahead otherwise this discussion is final.”
I know I was rude but they have to understand that every person has a different way to cope with things.
“Is that your final decision?” She asked sternly. “I will inform you if I change it,” I answer curtly.
“I can’t believe, I have been stuck in the same end again.” She said frustrated.
My Ninny never said that aloud but she indeed misses her late daughter. My maternal grandfather had a step-sister called Neel, but she died very young. No one talked about her.
Once Nana I mean my great-grandpa and Ninny’s husband told me that I look so much like their dead daughter.
Well, I am the only one in the family who had not inherited blue-gray eyes. I have emerald green eyes with a slight hint of blue or that’s what everyone says at least.
I am a lot more different in appearance from my parents; if you won’t tell explicitly no one can guess.
But my little brother Rishab (whom we called Rishi) does have inherited the same hair as me. We both have mixed dark and light brown wavy hair; natural highlighted hairs for which people spend a few hundred bucks in the salon.
So I am more like Neel in behavior also. I am too stubborn, kind of clumsy, strong-headed, and rude. No one ever speaks about her as it is declared a sensitive topic after Nana’s death.
Her only photo is at grandpa’s bedside table. It accompanies him everywhere; no one is allowed to touch it.
Ninny also doesn’t have any pictures of her daughter in this house. I do live in Neel’s room. Before me, no one was allowed to enter it.
Everybody says that I am the only weakness Mr. Nicholas Snow ever had. Yes! You got that right; he is my maternal grandfather who is a quite rich and successful businessman. I think I remind them a lot of Neel.
“Come on darling! Don’t be sad. I also have something to ask you. May I?” I asked her. She nodded at me.
“Are you planning to date that man from the store?” I asked and winked at her.
“Ms. Black, don’t make me scold you. If you don’t have life; go & get it. We are just friends.” She said sternly.
“And here I thought, grandpa, will get siblings” I snicker at her.
“Don’t you have any shame that you are talking to your great-grandmother?” She gaped at me.
“Well, Sorry. It is my mistake. You can’t have kids now but remember don’t make that man work so hard, you know with a heart problem and all.”I tried to keep a straight face.
“Get out of this room before I ground you, young lady!” Ninny yelled at me.
“If I were you, I would not have made that mistake of grounding kids. Think about some privacy woman!” I tease her further.
Ninny muttered under her breath like her time will come and she will tease more than I ever have. But I am not sure about the exact words.
“Rhea! Smith is not going there, you should go and pick up kids” Ninny howled from downstairs.
“OK. I will be out in 10 mins.” I howl back to her.
“You are not going in these clothes; go and change into something else,” Ninny ordered me as soon as I got downstairs.
If it’s in her control, she will make me change clothes every two hours. Nonetheless, I still changed my clothes in a white tank top, blue jeans, and a blue jacket. I put kohl in my big green eyes and lip gloss on my plump lips.
Everyone in my family has singular and unique taste in fashion except me as I have zero knowledge in fashion.
Only my waist-length hair and diamond-studded ears prohibit my tomboy look. I am neither too girly nor tomboy. I am somewhere a combination of those.
I have all the delicate features of girls. I am exceptionally taller than all women in our family; all are at most 5 feet or 5 feet 2 inches whereas I am 5 feet 7 inches.
I am the only one in the family who doesn’t have pale skin. My skin has a yellowish tint which makes it glow naturally and every emotion brings a small peach color to my cheek. It is difficult for me to put on weight also.
Like Ninny and my Pa, I exercised daily not much yoga, stretching, and running. I have also learned some combat skills and martial arts that too because of my extra protective grandparents. In short, I am everything that my siblings cannot be.
“Here! Take these keys and have some extra cash with you. You never keep much money with you. Drive safe and most important ‘Do not get into fights!’ Did I make myself clear?” Ninny instructed me while I was kissing both of her cheeks in goodbye.
I was about to turn when she hugged me tightly. Well... That is unusual! Ninny is the most balanced person in our family.
“I will be safe darling! Don’t miss me too much and do not date and make babies when I am away” I said sheepishly. It is so awkward for me to handle moments like this.
“Do not tell me what I can and cannot do, young lady! I will date anyone I want. ‘Just remember, you are not going to get in the fight’” she added sternly at last.
Uhhh... Yeah! I am also a trouble magnet with an anger issue. I always get into fights without knowing it.
“It’s just a 20-30mins drive. Why are you always so concerned about me? I will be fine.” I said casually but both of us know why. I bid goodbye to her and hoped in the car.
All-day I kept my thoughts in check, but as soon as I was alone; all nightmares clouded in my brain.
Even though in all those years I learned to cover and cope with them; my nighttime is not something you should witness.
This is one of the reasons I could never make friends; apart from a rich family and weird behavior. I simply could not trust anyone.
Every trauma changes a person, and that applied to me also. I never expect people to understand it as I am not a social person. I always know that even being so weird; all my family members love me a lot. In all this deep thinking I reached my Pa’s house. Little did I know another surprise is waiting for me there.
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