Between the Lines

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Chapter 5

Keeley greeted her brother affectionately, hiding the trepidation she felt at seeing him. It was unusual for Aiden to voluntarily come to visit his elder sister. His idea of keeping in touch was a careless text every few weeks. She was afraid to ask if something was wrong, although she strongly suspected that to be the case. He didn’t keep her in suspense for long. He began excitedly telling her about a business opportunity that had been presented to him and for which he needed her financial help to pursue.

“You want to buy a bike shop? That sounds pretty risky,” she told him. "You don't have any business experience, and you've never even worked in a place like that before. "

“The only way to make any real money is to work for yourself. My friend Evan knows a lot about bikes, and knows of a place that’s for sale for a good price. It’s a great opportunity, but we’ve got to move fast. There’s another guy interested, so if we want it, we have to come up with the money right away.”

“Aiden, you really need to think this through. If you end up losing the money Mom left you, you’ll…” she trailed off as a sudden suspicion struck her. “You haven’t spent your inheritance already, have you?” Keeley had been the executor of her mother’s estate, which was left equally to the three children. Knowing that neither Erin or Aiden were very responsible financially, she had been reluctant to just hand over the cash to either of them, but since they were both of legal age, she had not had a choice in the matter. She’d tried hard to convince them both to invest the money, but was afraid her advice had fallen on deaf ears.

Aiden’s posture was defensive, and he refused to meet her eyes. “No, not all of it. The thing is, Evan has the experience, but he doesn’t have any cash. I’d need to put up the money to begin with. If you lend me the money, you’ll get it back with interest. It’s a great investment for you.”

“I can’t lend you the money,” she told him quietly.

“You mean you won’t lend me the money.” His handsome face turned sulky, making him look more like a spoilt child than a grown man.

“I mean I can’t, because I’m buying a house and starting a business myself, but even if I could, I wouldn’t. This idea of yours is too risky. It could even be a scam. When time pressure is put on you, you need to slow down and make sure you know exactly why they're in such a rush to sell.”

“It isn't a scam. I told you there's another buyer interested, that's why it has to be a rush. And you buying a business is a great idea, but if I want to do it, it’s too risky. Talk about a double standard. Thanks a lot for your help, Sis!” With that parting shot, he slammed out of the kitchen, and out the door. Aiden was twenty seven, but sometimes he still acted like the surly teenager he had been, Keeley reflected sadly. But she was struck by what he had said about the double standard. She did believe that him going into a business he didn’t know anything about, and with a partner who supposedly had expertise but no money was pretty much a sure way of losing his inheritance. Was her idea of opening a yoga studio equally risky? She didn’t have any experience running a business either, and she didn’t even have her yoga certification yet.

Keeley was still mulling over her encounter with Aiden when she met Kira at their favourite pub that evening. Kira listened while she recounted the conversation, and then shook her head in frustration. “Stop feeling guilty,” she ordered.

“I can’t help it,” Keeley admitted. “Aiden has never had any kind of a good role model in his life, and he’s making choices that I can’t help feeling aren’t going to help him get anywhere in life. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t worked since he got the money from Mom’s estate, and I suspect a big chunk of that is gone. Now he has this bike shop scheme in mind, and it sounds like a sketchy deal to me, but when I tried to tell him that, he accused me of saying that because I didn’t want to help him out.”

Kira held up her hand. “First of all, you’re his sister, not his mother, and you’re not responsible for him. He’s what, twenty seven? There comes a time when people have to start taking responsibility for themselves, regardless of what they’ve had to go through. He has had positive role models, you for one, and everybody else who had a crappy childhood but still managed to do something productive with their life. Lots of people had it a lot worse than Aiden, you know!”

Like Kira for one, Keeley thought compassionately. “You’re right. I know you’re right. You had to overcome a lot more than we did,” she began.

Kira shook her head. “I’m not talking about myself. Hell, there are lots of people I know that had it a lot worse than me. I just think you need to let Aiden figure it out on his own. He has to grow up sometime. It might as well be now.”

“I know , Kira. I just hope he does figure it out. And I hope he gets over being furious with me,” she added with a sigh.

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