Chapter - 8
I for one sure knew before sleeping that Bella is going to give them a hard time. Alex forgot to keep the door open and as everyone is sleeping in my bed so she hadn’t got a chance for her adventure at night.
This floor only belongs to Alex and me. Other rooms are on the 2nd floor. Ma must have instructed it while renovating it. Both Alex and I are quite private people.
Rishi and Bella are exceptions. Well, self-proclaimed exceptions to be exact as they had inherited an extrovert nature from Black family; so that makes them part of our private life without our consent.
According to my father, only I am the one introvert in the whole family as Alex at least could hold a conversation with anyone. It is very hard for me.
When I woke up at 1 am Bella was kicking Alex so she could sleep next to me and Rishi was confused by her actions.
Never in a million years, wake Rishi at midnight; as he could not even identify himself. All he could do was look at a person or thing till he passed out.
He was doing the same at this time; I took Bella in my arms and cuddled with her.
She hates to share anything or person with Alex, But he has to share everything with her.
She even wants to see what he gets to eat. Alex groaned and threw his leg on Rishi’s chest and slept peacefully.
I guess I am on a heavy dose of medicine because my eyelids started to drop after 10 mins.
"Do you know what this is?" An old lady asked me.
"A mansion," I answered in a clipped tone.
"The palace." She said, smiling at me. I just nodded in response.
"Do you know who this belongs to?" Did she ask again?
"The King." What is she? Dumb?
"No my love, it belongs to you."
I glared at her. Did she think that I would be interested in the so-called princess story? I don't have time for that
I was about to turn around and walk out of the place when she stopped me.
"You don't believe in that, do you?"
I just stared at her.
"Miss Rhea Black, I am not just bluffing but telling the truth. This place belongs to you. You inherited it from your ancestors."
"I don't see where it is going?" I asked her, looking directly into her eyes.
"Well, today is your first lesson of training. So I thought to give you insight."
"You mean the second lesson. I got my first lesson from my father on my 3rd birthday."
"And what was that?"
"It's not for public knowledge. So my second lesson is-"
"Yes, your second lesson is that Rhea Black can afford everything in this world except one."
"No, I don't." I snapped at her.
"Don't intervene when I am talking." She snapped back at me.
"I am your instructor." She took a calming breath.
"So, Do you have any idea what you can't afford?" she asked sweetly.
I didn't utter a word. She doesn't need to know about me.
"Can't guess?" She asked again.
Only if she knew, I already lost something which I can't afford.
I shook my head in denial
"Mistake. Rhea Black can't afford to make mistakes. Because consequences could be unpredictable.
One mistake Rhea is all it took. Remember that your temper should not affect your decision."
I glared at that lady. How dare she mention my anger issue?
Who the hell is she to judge me?
She can't even imagine how it feels to get punished for nothing.
" Getting angry Miss Black??" She mocked me.
I was about to throw a Vase at her when she gestured to me to stop.
"Lookout," she said
Outside in the palace garden, Rishi, 3 years old, was playing with my bag zip. He was happy that he finally figured it out.
"Your single mistake and there might be a chance that he will be the one to pay for it.
Remember Rhea, great power comes with great responsibility. So stop hooking up with the past and build yourself. There are lots of wars awaiting you."
I woke up with a jerk. That was a memory from my training days. Those were hard days. My body and mind both were always tired. Especially when she was my instructor. She never showed it openly but I knew she used to loathe me.
I searched for Bella who was seated on a floor with my dozed-off Father with a milk bottle. She is using crayons to paint his white t-shirt.
Welcome back to parenthood papa. I made him sleep on the couch and took my little devil to sleep.
When I woke up again, I was alone in bed. Bella must be having a bath in my bathroom as I can hear my mother’s voice from there along with her giggles.
Alex and Rishi were on the floor of a walk-in closet with an open suitcase.
“What the hell are you doing with bags this early?” I asked them.
Alex’s OCD has no limit. He sometimes arranges my closet also. Thank god! My underwear drawers are topmost; not that he would go through them but still.
“Your clothes were placed by my Ma and not me so don't yell at me. We are searching for something that Bella would agree to wear. She has been so choosy since we came here.”Alex replied without looking at me.
“You need to go shopping, young lady.” My mother came out through the bathroom with Bella wrapped in a towel.
“I will go back to sleep instead of that,” I answered while dropping my head to the pillow.
“Everyone is waiting for you to wake up and join others to have breakfast. We are hungry so get up and freshen up.” Mumma ordered.
These medicines are taking a toll on me. All I want to do is sleep. After winning, I got out of bed and walked to my bathroom.
After 10-15 mins I walk down to the dining room to have breakfast. Having breakfast and dinner together is an unbreakable rule in the Black family.
We don’t have many rules to follow by our both parents (mom, dad & uncle, aunt). Fact that we have been raised as siblings and not as cousins, rules in both homes are the same except my earning rule I guess.
It was never necessary for me to have a part-time job but I should learn how to treat people who work below you was the main reason for my part-time job in Berkley.
I don’t think it will apply here. Pa and papa were always against my part-time job but they didn’t have a say in my grandpa’s decision.
Being the Queen of Bad Luck, I am still quite lucky in family matters. I got cool parents like those shown in TV series. Those with whom your friends want to hang out.
My parents were never judgemental, quite young to have an 18 yr old daughter and free spirit. My Ma had even permitted me to date any guy at 14. Who the hell does that?
On the contrary, rules for boys are quite strict in the Black family as Snow does not have any boys. The dating age is 17.
All family heirlooms, properties, and money are specifically given to girls rather than boys.
As I am the first girl in a Black family after 9 generations, I am loaded with money from previous generations.
I always thought that it’s very absurd of my ancestors to think like that but according to my grandpa it was a very thoughtful thing in that era. Well, I could not argue about that.
“Di! It's mixed fruit flavor juice, you don’t like it” Alex’s voice brought me back from my thoughts.
“Umm..” I asked him again.
“You are zoning out so much; is everything all right Rhea?” Mumma asked me with worried eyes.
“Yeah! I am all right. It’s just medicine making me sleepy. You know those things mess up with my system.” I answered her and put down a glass of mixed fruit juice.
”I want coffee” I changed the subject. I was always a delicate baby. So my Pa was always concerned about my diet.
I have all my eating habits from my Pa. He always preferred home-cooked food, water instead of sodas, no alcohol, and allergy to cigarettes or tobacco.
Uncle was recovering alcoholic. That's why no alcohol and cooking is his hobby so home-cooked food.
“You need juice now, why are you being stubborn like Bella? What happened to you?” Mum asked me again.
I don’t have an answer to that. Since I woke up this morning I had that nagging feeling of getting caught. I have not lied to them or anything but I am getting irritated with everyone, I don’t know why.
“Ma, she only drinks Guava juice and I forgot to tell you that don’t add bacon in her sandwich, she hates it,” Alex explained to them.
“Just try to keep up with her eating habits. It would be easier to deal with her then. She only eats chicken and fish in meat, hates orange juice & green teas, like a perfectly grilled sandwich, prefers water over sodas, no vanilla ice cream, blueberries with pancakes,” Alex explained to her.
“He also likes everything the way I like except he likes all drinks and yes to all types of meat, ” I piped in.
“How could Mili put up with you two? She loves bacon and vanilla ice cream.” Mum grasped horrified at us.
“These are our habits, she always eats what she wants Mumma; besides Pa keeps up with our eating habits, not Ma. She is just irritated with his OCD and my clumsy & inexpressiveness.” I answered her.
“Now I get why she was not sure about having Bella. You both gave her quite a hard time, didn't you?” Mum scowled at us.
“Mum, Don’t you think it should be us complaining about her and not the other way around.
I mean she is more energetic than Bella. It was quite hard to keep up with her mood swings in pregnancy.
No wonder Bella turns out to be drama queen just like she and Rishi turn out to be cocky and fashion addict like both of you.” I smiled at her.
“Well, he took after his father for being cocky.” Mum tried to push blame at papa.
“Don’t forget my queen, you fell for that cocky boy in the past.” Papa winked at her.
“Jesus! Get a room, guys. I don’t think Alex and Bella need any human biological information that soon.” I scrunch my nose at them.
“Wait till your time sweetheart. We will see how you keep your hands off from your man.” Mum teased me.
“I don’t think that will ever happen,” I said curtly.
“Umm... Should we expect a daughter-in-law instead of a son-in-law?” mum asked hesitantly.
“Oh, God! No! I mean no offense to all gay people, but I am straight Mumma. If there will be any rare chance of love in my life, that would be a man for sure, not a woman.” I clarified myself.
Only my mum could imagine me as lesbian, I mean I technically drooled at all-male Hollywood stars and she is asking me about a woman.
“If you are done talking about sexual preferences in your life, can we discuss something less personal and more important things in life?” Rishi snapped at us.
Having any man in my life always makes him uncomfortable; not that I blame him. He is so protective of me. He never gets accosted with my past.
Bella is his strength and I am his weakness. He is the exact opposite to Alex except for one thing; sharing my time with someone else always makes both of them angry.
For Alex, Bella is his weakness and I am his strength. Both of them love their strength more than weaknesses.
“What does my baby want to do?” I cooed at him. He never accepted it openly but I know he loves it when I call him baby or buddy and coo at him.
“Can we go out today for shopping? I want to buy some things for my girls. I swear I won’t make you try every outfit.
I kind of need new specks also as Bella broke mine and Alex’s. We will make it fast and if you get bored there is a coffee shop where you can wait.
I want you to buy me pizza also as I was not there at your celebration. We will have lunch there at the mall. I will pack Bella’s bag so you don’t have to worry about anything.” He was all in his planning mode.
I raised my left eyebrow at mum, she gets that this is what my brother got from her.
“OK, we will leave in an hour. You just have 2 hours for shopping. In any case, if you get late, I am not giving you a treat. I am counting on you for an outfit trail” I ordered him.
I am 100% sure that they could not shop in two hours; so he would have to give me a treat.
“I need to talk to you about something, Rhea,” Papa said out of the blue.
I panicked, suddenly. Those words always got me in trouble. Alex placed his hand on my back whereas Rishi placed his hand on my knee.
They could feel my coldness and numbness through clothes also.
“Is there something wrong dad?” Rishi asked.
“I mean she just got out of the hospital and all. I don’t think there is anything important that could not wait. Let her settle down a bit.” He tried to warm my cold hand that I placed on the table.
“I am her father Rishi, I know her more than you. It’s just her phobia about this sentence that makes her cold and numb. There is nothing serious about this discussion.” He explained and faced me.
“Rhea, I know I should have taken into consideration your plans but we want you to join college here.
I want you all three moved in here permanently with us.
As your parents, it’s our right to spend time with you all. I have already talked about Alex’s admission. If you have any questions about his school you can visit it.
We will manage our schedule according to you guys so that Bella will not be alone.
We always respected your decision about living with your grandparents and uncle but we do want you three with us here now.
Victor didn’t raise any objection about Alex and Bella but he said he can’t decide for you.
Please choose a college in such a way that you will live here with us. You can choose your car; it will be your homecoming present.” He paused for a drink.
Just by a single look on his face, I can tell he is as nervous as me.
His hands are shaking lightly and his forehead is covered in sweat.
Fear of rejection is clear in Mumma, papa, Rishi, and Alex’s eyes. Mum is blinking back her tears.
He started after gulping a full glass of juice “I don’t want to pressurize you but I do want a fair chance of having you in my life. This is your card; I will put money in your account for monthly expenses.”
I cut in and said, “Papa, you don’t-”
he holds out his hand in wait gesture and continued,
“I know your Pa & Ma give you monthly expenses but this is from your Mumma and papa. You are not doing any part-time job here.
You are going to college; I want you to enjoy your life, Rhea. It is something that your mother and I never got.
We had never regretted that thing because we always knew that you would do that for us.
You were always so different from us and we could never be so proud of ourselves that we made this fragile, brave, beautiful, smart, and little thing in our life.
Please give us that place which we were waiting for so long.” He had tears in his eyes till his last sentence.
I was so ashamed of myself that I had done this to my parents. They were waiting, waiting, and waiting for more than 12 years without complaint.
What happened to me was not their fault but still, they got punished. I for one never saw my father this helpless.
People in the business world say it is impossible to crack Matthew Black. And here he is seated in front of me lost, helpless, and on the verge of tears.
His life’s journey was like climbing and descending mountains. He never chooses a straight path or rather life has never been simple for him.
It was a constant struggle for him; even for love from his childhood. He always faced everything with a smile and now he is looking like he will get down on his knees and will beg for love.
What have I done to my parents?
“Papa, why are you crying? Did I ever say that I don’t want you?
I had, I am and I will always love you both. I know I have never been a good child but that doesn’t mean I rejected you.
You are ideal parents for any child dad; it was always me being a stubborn child.
Of course, I will move in with you if that’s what you want.
I am sorry to make you wait that long. It was never intentional, papa. It’s just that I got used to it. That’s it.
You can just say it without any hesitation; after all, I am your child. You have every right to live with me. Were you scared that I would reject this proposal?” I asked both of them.
“Well, you never came back here; not even for holidays. So we thought, you might not want us in your life and you just came by to drop my little pies here.
We nearly lost you three days ago. Of course, we were scared of your rejection.” Mum mumbled while looking down.
“And here I thought I got the biggest room in this home.
Darn it! Are you guys trying to tell me that you were going to give everything to these three and nothing to me?
Bella would show off in the future that you love her more than me” I rolled my eyes at them.
“I will take a card from you and if you all have done with the emotional scene can we go already? If the plan gets canceled, Rishi and Bella will have my head for lunch.” I said with a smile to them.
Everyone got up and kissed my forehead one by one and went to their business. Bella also kissed my forehead and kissed it till she got bored.
I was ashamed of my behavior that made them sad. I never got back because I never wanted them to witness my suffering.
I never told anyone what happened to me. They had seen all my wounds but that's it. They always respected my boundaries.
They already had lost so much; at least seeing me happy somewhere else would fade their guilt was the only reason behind my distance from them.
I think I have to work up with my freak nighttime show. I always kept my distance from them when they used to come to Berkley to meet me.
I had so many homes there. I could always hide. I have to get this shit sort as soon as I can without their knowledge. I am not keen to see their reaction to my suffering and freak night shows.
“How about dividing us into two teams? Papa, Alex and I did other things while you chose clothes for Bella then we will meet you, mum and Bella for my shopping?” I asked Rishi as soon as we entered the mall.
I know if we go at their rate of shopping we will be here till the whole mall gets closed. I can tell he didn’t like my plan but he still agreed to it.
We had a grocery shopping list, some of our basic things like toiletries, and their specs. I went for toiletries while Alex and Papa went for groceries.
My father is going to learn at the age of 38 how to shop for groceries. If you are smart then you probably avoid shopping with Alex.
He always has some constraints about products that should match his standards.
As it was my regular chore at home also I hardly took 10-15 mins to get all things Bella, Alex and I want. I moved to grocery shopping next because I know papa can’t handle Alex alone.
When I entered Walmart, they were at their second or third product.
“Where were you?” papa asked me and sighed in relief.
“I will get it from here,” I told him and walked down the aisle with both of them in tow.
I made my father read a list, I fetched a product, and Alex as usual was taking his time to check all things.
He made us take two more trips to find suitable products.
“What exactly is wrong with the first ones?” papa asked me in a hushed tone.
He doesn’t want to hurt Alex, but the thing is Alex doesn’t get hurt with these little things.
Most importantly he got hurt if he could not find what he wanted. I explained to him his need for perfection in everything.
“I sometimes wonder how in the hell we made both of you? I mean don’t get me wrong but you both are quite different from the rest of us. I thought maybe we had sex at the wrong time.” I now get where I get this weirdness.
A normal person would have thought that they had accidentally swiped babies with someone else. And here is my father thinking of timing about sex. I have no doubts that I am his child, no need for a DNA test.
Even with Alex’s OCD, we managed to do two tasks in one hour. I sent dad to place all things in the car while we got to find specs for Alex.
I even order contacts for him. Bella has suddenly got interested in pulling people's glasses.
Alex will be so angry if he does not have specs.
Angry or irritated Alex is not something anyone should experience because it will be your last experience in life. He got this trend from me and I am not proud of that.
Even after 1hour and 25 mins, my brother hasn't called us. To kill our time I took Alex to the PlayStation and dad went in search of them.
In 2 hours they had just bought some furniture for Bella’s room and some soft toys. They were so surprised to see my father.
It took 3 more hours to shop for Alex, Bella, and me. At the end of the shopping trip, I understood why we took two cars. My parents are going to spoil us. The trunks and back seats of both cars were full with all shopping bags.
When we pulled into the driveway of our home, other shocking things were waiting for us.
Here is my new update… Let me know what you think about it.
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