I know it has something to do with my dear brother. I’m dying to find out what’s going on outside, but here I am stalling and pretending that I care cleaning up this huge mess that I made. Seems like my mom was the same as she gathers up the glasses and carry them to the kitchen. The very thought makes me wanna puke. She just came back beside me when another shriek pierced the night. It came from only a few feet away from me. Wind gushed on my side, blowing my hair out as my mom rushed past me towards the source, and my eyes widened from their usually half mast when I saw aunt Mich supporting Nana’s crumpled body with her arms.
“Call 911!” She frantically screams at no one, her attention all on Nana’s face as she gently lowers her to the carpeted floor. Aunt Louise was already talking on her phone but I doubt aunt Mich even realizes that what with the stream of tears streaming down her puffy eyes and her huge sobs.
Mom took ahold of Nana’s legs and snapped her fingers at aunt Mich. “On the couch. You hear me, Michie? Come on.”
For a moment, aunt Mich’s glazed eyes sharpened and she nodded to mom, moving her arms under Nana’s armpits as they carried and lay Nana down on the soft cushions, but in a matter of seconds she reverted back to heaving and crying. She shakes her head, rubbing at her chest.
“Oh my god, mom…” her soft pained voice murmured. Her hands shake terribly that mom needed to steady them as she offered her a glass of water to drink.
Kneeling beside Nana, I took her bony hand in mine, carefully squeezing it. I don’t know how that’ll comfort her in any way but I felt helpless enough it was worth a shot. Her body had seized and her other hand was clutching at her chest. “She’s cold.”
With the deadly silence that followed, I knew that I’ve said the wrong thing.
Aunt Louise rushed to Nana, helping her chew on aspirin. Then she reached for her purse and took out her keys. I almost didn’t catch them when she threw them at me. “Ane, please start my car, then go call your dad. We can’t wait for the ambulance. Den, you’re coming with me. You, too, Michie.”
For a moment, aunt Mich only stood frozen with bulging eyes staring ahead. Mom had to shake her a couple of times - a little bit annoyed, too, as far as I could tell - before she nodded, but even then she seems to still be in a trance. She’d be of no help at the hospital if she stayed like that. Hell, they might end up taking are of her, too, alongside Nana if they bring her. I guess that’s the logic behind it.
I’ve heard of aunt Mich’s anxiety attacks from when she was younger from daddy and mom’s conversations, but never really got to witness one. I’ve always thought one grew out of those kind of mental shit once they’re older. I wonder if Callie was the same, that’s why she was so coddled and protected. Then again it might just be Harry’s own obsession with her or her mom’s undiagnosed Münchausen syndrome by proxy. The fuck do I know?
I ran outside and found aunt Louise’s pretty red 2016 convertible Ford Mustang parked on the sidewalk and wondered what good I did in my life to be given such an honor to ignite it. The leather seats are immaculate and it smells new inside even though I knew aunt Louise have had this car since I was in first grade. It’s the same company car she used to drive, ever so careful of it because it was borrowed. Such a waste though when she don’t even use it a lot since she’s always out of the country.
For a brief moment, I was tempted to take it around for a spin but my grandma is probably dying and shit ambulance is shit so I pushed the car door open and proceeded to the side of the house to see what the fuck my brother has caused that needed two grown ass men to interfere. As I walk over there, I caught my mom and my aunts helping Nana out of the house and into the car. Only, this time they were all carrying what seems to be her limp body.
Did she become unconscious?
Oh, and to inform them all that Nana was being taken care of the women, no thanks to them and their stupid pissing contest, after she collapsed.
Rounding a perfectly trimmed bush, I heard different noises all at once. The sound of clothes ruffling, grunts, muffled sobs, and my daddy’s bored, deep timbre saying, “Let them have it, Ted. They’ll soon be too worn to stand on their two stupid feet.”
And Abe wondered where I got my foul mouth from.
The scene came into view as I rounded the corner, and my vision reddened for two different reasons. One, Abe was on his back with his arms crossed in front of him as Harry brings down blow after blow of punches. My brother never disclosed his dealings with me and I know nothing of them except for the fact that he works for the bad guys. Maybe it’s even illegal and I always chew his head off every time I notice his bruises and cuts, the dark bags under his eyes that kept on being sunken, the emptiness in his stare even as he reassure me he’s fine and I don’t have to worry. I know I don’t have to be, I trust that he can protect himself or else he wouldn’t have joined whatever shit he sold his soul to just to find someone who doesn’t want to be found. I watched him gain muscles, results of whatever the fuck they made him do for training. He won’t say anything to me, except to complain like a bitch when he’d been beaten up worse on some days than the others.
So pray, tell me god, why is my brother losing out to Harri-fucking-son? I mean, the guy’s also ripped, he’s an athlete after all. I’m pretty sure though that my brother was more skilled in hand to hand combat than his pussy ass who knew nothing but delivering sloppy jabs and aimless hits. Abe could easily flip them over and do the five point palm exploding heart technique for all I know. Why isn’t he?
The second thing that made my nostrils flare and my heartbeat thump a million miles an hour was how my daddy has Callie wrapped tightly in his arms, pressing small kisses on the top of her head as he clasp the back of her neck tightly. My stomach churns realizing how he didn’t want her to see the fight because obviously it would upset her. So he had her face pressed on his chest, soaking that pale blue shirt of his that was my favorite because it was the same color of his eyes when they stare long enough directly in the sun.
Useless uncle Ted who was supposed to be the one consoling her daughter was crouching on the sidelines, his arms stretched wide as if he was about to join the scramble or tackle the two. Either one would be more entertaining to be honest than just seeing him debate on it in his head. I knew he wanted to stop the two idiots, but then I remember what daddy said.
My burning eyes went back to him and Callie. It would be devastating for him not to know about his mother’s heart attack, wouldn’t it? He’s a mama’s boy just as much as I’m a daddy’s girl. His girl. And it’s the second time now today that he’d shown affection he’s supposed to show only me to another girl. Fuck it even if she’s my cousin. All after he left and made me wait with the wicked witch of the house, he had the decency to make me fee this way.
Harry reared his arm back and my body tightened looking as Abe stared on straight ahead, not even attempting to fight back. In my head, I can hear my Krav Maga coach’s voice yelling, “Use your upper body! If that’s indisposed, use your limbs! You’ve got strong legs, bend your torso upwards and use your legs to dislodge your opponent.” Then, “Finish him,” said the Tekken referee who replaced coach Anders. It made a small smirk appear on my face despite my sour mood.
Before Abe could accept another hit, the sound of a horn startled all of us. They all looked at me, as if I was the source of the distraction, realizing their little freehand boxing match has gained another audience.
“Nana has an attack,” I informed them hurriedly, like I just arrived and have not been seething from where I stand for a good minute or so. “The EMT will take long. They’re taking her to the hospital.”
I purposely didn’t meet daddy’s eyes and I hope he got the message. My gaze landed on Abe whose intense glare went from me to Callie. With one strong shove, he pushed Harry away from him and stood up to his feet. See? Why didn’t he do that minutes ago?
Before anyone could get over their initial shock, aunt Mich came around haggardly with mom on her heels. “Michie, come on. We have no time for this!”
Aunt Mich, of course, ignored her and her frantic eyes rounded each one of us. When she spotted her daughter, she stomped over to her and yanked her hard from daddy’s hold. My little heart did a twirl.
“You’re coming with us,” she declared in her usual firm tone with a slight waver.
Mom exchanged looks with daddy and I know what they were communicating mentally as they both looked at uncle Ted who only nodded to them. He slowly made his way to his wife and daughter while mom tried to talk to aunt Mich.
“We don’t have space in the car. Valerie already takes up the whole backseat - “
“I can drive my daughter over there, thank you, very much,” cut aunt Mich, her voice was shaky.
She looked at everyone, silently asking if anyone would oppose her, when her eyes locked in on Abe. “She’s not going anywhere near you!” She suddenly screams at him.
To say we were all shocked was an understatement. Composed, disciplinarian aunt Mich losing control? Never heard of. Until now. This is getting even more interesting by the minute.
I love family dinners.
Uncle Ted reached them and he carefully raised his hand like one would do approaching a rabid animal. Because that’s what aunt Mich is turning into. Could this night get any fucking worse?
“I’ll drive us,” he offered, laying his hand on aunt Mich’s quivering shoulder. “Harry will come with us, and Ken will take the twins.”
Seems perfect to me. I’m sitting with Abe on the backseat, though. I don’t want to be close to daddy right now.
Aunt Mich turned her head to daddy, seeking approval. Shame and regret in her actions are also evident in her eyes. I’d hate to disappoint daddy, too.
He nodded his head once, his lips pursed thin across his face and his eyes clouded with worry. Mama’s boy, alright. Aunt Mich just had to make a scene and make it even more difficult for him. There’s just something about the way he commandeered that felt solid and grounded. When he says something, it was real and true and you have no other choice but to believe him. I don’t blame aunt Mich or anybody else for feeling the need to be guided by daddy.
“Go with them,” he said somberly. “We’ll meet up over there.”
Uncle Ted guided his family to his car with Harry following behind. Mom jogged past them, no doubt joining aunt Louise. This had taken such a long time I wouldn’t be surprised if aunt Louise just up and left all of us, driving Nana to the hospital on her own. I could hear Callie’s soft voice said, “Dad, Abe’s hurt. We need to see - “
“Shut up, Calliope,” aunt Mich hissed. “With your grandmother’s condition, can you really still think of that devil?”
Under different circumstances, I’d have pulled the hair out of her pretentious head, stuffed it in her rude, judgmental mouth as my fingers choke the shit out of her pearl-clad neck.
“Go get the car,” daddy commanded Abe. He shared a knowing look with me before getting inside the house to retrieve the keys.
When I finally, finally looked at daddy, I find that he was already piercing me with his intense glare. The one that meant that I was in huge trouble. With everyone out of sight, it was only him and me and my body thrums with both dread and anticipation.
It wasn’t the time for this, was what my brain is telling me. Too bad I never listened to it or I wouldn’t have found myself breathless and wanting and so, so wet, after a bruising, punishing kiss. All tongue and saliva, but mostly teeth and, I swallow, yep. A tiny hint of blood.
Just the way I like it.
Daddy’s fingers dig on the hair behind my head. He pulled so I could directly stare at his thunderous eyes
“Naughty girl,” he murmured on my lips. “You know what you’re gonna get, right?”
I nod, but his firm grip only tightened. “Yes, daddy,” I vocalized. That’s what he wanted, to hear me say it with my needy voice so deep with want and so desperate I don’t even care if he’s gonna punish me later.
A soft brush of lips on my forehead was all I got, melting my tense heart, before he stepped away from me. “Fix your hair. Your brother will be with us.”
Knowing the drill, I tried my best to arrange my hair as we walk side ny side to the waiting Audi. It was already humming with life and Abe stood by the opened backseat door, waiting for us. Or particularly, me.
“Get in,” he motioned with his chin and I obliged, sliding in the seat. I didn’t have to look over to daddy to know his brows are knitted together in frustration, but what does he want me to do? It wasn’t like he could finger me on the ride to the hospital, anyway, when Abe is with us. He can do it again some other time, any time really, when we go out, just the two of us.
Abe caught my hand in his as we speed by, telling me in not so many words how he knew. How he’d always known. I already had a feeling as early as middle school when he caught me coming out of daddy’s tent in the middle of the night when we first took us camping. Mom hated the wild so it was just the three of us. I shared a tent with Abe and I was pretty sure he was knocked out from a whole day of fishing that he wouldn’t notice me slipping out. I acted like it wasn’t such a big deal and climbed back to my sleeping bag with my back turned on him. It was the night I lost my virginity.
The thing is, you can’t really throw stones at someone when you yourself know those same stones should be thrown at yourself. What was it that the Bible said? Take the speck out of your own eyes before taking the speck out of your brother’s? Abe knew his sins are as much as mine he wouldn’t dare preach me especially when he believes he’d done worse. I believe that he didn’t, but maybe he did. He’s still my brother and half of my soul, the only other person I knew I love in this wretched world.
Every time he looks at daddy, I knew he wanted to curse him, make him suffer, kill him. He wouldn’t. My brother would do anything for the people he loves and he loves me. He wouldn’t want me to lose the person who holds me heart in a deathly grip.
Hi, everybody! 🤗
Here's a chapter update, as I promised 🙈 I hope you like it 🥰 Thank you for all your love and support 🌹 I love hearing your thoughts about the story, so if you want to, please let me know what you think about it in the comments below 🥰 I'm so excited to write what's coming next 😆 See you all next week 😄👋
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