Rachel closed her eyes and placed the page beside the box.
She leaned back and tried to breathe. Nice, slow and steady with three second gaps in between.
Each exhale came out shakier than the last and eventually, the exhale became a growl. She slid out her phone and dialed Nate.
“How could you?!”
“I have a brother.” She laughed bitterly, “Sorry, I had a brother. What I do have is piece of paper which claims the existence of my dead brother!” She took in a breath, “What do you have to say about that?”
“WESSON?! Oh … so you did know! What, did you conveniently FORGET to mention that I had a brother? Or did you just think it wasn’t important?”
“Rachel … Calm d-“
“JESUS, NATE! IS THAT YOUR FREAKING CATCHPHRASE!? NO! I will NOT calm down!”
“I couldn’t have told you about Matt…”
“And why the hell not?!” She paused, glaring at the wall, “Wait…Shit.”
“If you say that my father told you not to … I swear to God I will flip a table…”
“I’m not telling you anything.”
Rachel clenched her jaw, eyes screwing shut in annoyance, “Did that man pay you not to tell me anything? What do you get from respecting the dead man’s wishes?”
“Don’t say that.”
“Why not? He is dead now isn’t he? What good will respecting his “wishes” do? He’s gone and he isn’t going to come back! Neither is Nanna! Or Mom! Or Matt for that matter! They’re DEAD and GONE and all that I have is YOU!”
Rachel heard his breathing on the other end.
“Well, Nate … please let me know, if there is any other secret that you have been hiding about my family. Unless of course you’re waiting for the “right” time, which, won’t come … ever.”
Rachel’s hand closed around her phone and threw it across the room.
Nate Marvin sighed as the call disconnected. His fiancée gave him a concerned look and gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. Nate smiled at Hannah, shaking his head, “What am I going to do?”
Hannah put her head on his shoulder, “She’ll be fine, you’ll figure something out. She’s just a kid, Nate. We all felt everything ten thousand times more strongly at her age, its okay…”
About fifteen minutes later, there was a knock on Rachel’s door. This was strange because nobody bothered knocking on anyone’s door. At least no one in the Cabin.
Joey cracked the door open, “Raich?” she stepped inside and closed the door softly, going over to her best friend’s limp form. She poked her side.
Rachel jumped up, hair falling over her face, “I’m not dead, Rivers!” she pushed her hair aside, “What do you want?”
Joey looked around, she spotted Rachel’s phone lying near the wall, with the battery and back cover missing. She went over to pick up the phone’s remains and looked around for the missing pieces.
She found them without much effort and put the battery back in, placing the back over it and pressing it shut with her thumbs. She pressed the power button until the screen glowed white.
She nodded approvingly, “Well, you won’t need a new phone…”
Rachel frowned, “Damn, I really was hoping it wouldn’t turn on, this one’s getting old”
Joey gave her a smile and down beside her and wrapped her arm around Rachel, “You were a little loud.”
“I think just me … maybe Ben if he was in his room.”
Rachel put her head on Joey’s shoulder, “Everything is so screwed up…”
“Speaking of … “screwed up” … You owe a little over a dollar to the swear jar.”
“None of the kids are here, are they?”
“Nah, they’re out playing with Jess.”
“Do I have to?”
“It’s a dollar.”
She laughed. Joey glanced at the box, “Wanna go through that together?”
Rachel nodded a little and they lifted the lid off of the box.
On the top were a few newspaper clippings, talking about the amazing success of Fayne’s architectural firm and how he was a very promising young man who was destined for great things. Rachel just read the headlines and placed them over the page that Wesson sent. At the bottom of the box was a magazine. The cover had the picture of a young man in a crisp suit, hand placed at the knot of his tie, adjusting it.
His face had been crossed over so many times that it was hard to tell who was actually in the picture. “Wow” Joey breathed, “That … that just sucks”
Rachel was laughing. She was wiping tears from her eyes, not sure if they were tears of grief or laughter but they were tears all the same. Joey looked puzzled, “How is this funny?”
“Maybe I’m just not destined to know what my old man looks like. That way, I can’t put a face with the name and my hate … well, I don’t know Joey. This is all just stupid.”
Joey shook her head and flipped through the magazine. She was about to read something when Rachel got off the bed, standing up and walking over to her bookshelf.
“Oh spare me the details.” She turned around, “Let me read your mind” she held up her hand and closed her eyed, fighting off a smirk, “Successful young architect, Davis Fayne’s disappearance is the talk of the town. Where did he go off to? Why would he want to abandon such a prestigious project that could hold so much for blah, blah, blah, blah I DON’T CARE!”
Joey arched her eyebrows, “Come here.” She ordered seriously.
Rachel made her way to back to Joey and glanced at the page that she had opened.
Rachel gasped and yanked the magazine out of Joey’s hands. She was staring at a picture of her mother, Melissa Fayne, in a gorgeous wedding dress, smiling wide, standing arm in arm with Davis Fayne.
Her father was wearing a black tuxedo, blue eyes that seemed bright despite the aged paper and short, slightly spiky black hair.
Her mother had auburn hair and green eyes, and a smile that seemed to radiate the joy she had been feeling that day, through the paper.
“You look a lot like her, Raich.” Joey looked at her, “You’re a photocopy.”
Rachel ran her hand over the picture, “He looks so familiar.”
“He’s your dad, after all”
“Still hate him?”
“Yes.” She snapped as if there was no question about it, “But not at this particular moment.” Her voice was quiet, her eyes had gone soft.
Rachel’s gaze shifted to the last picture. It was a family photo. There was a baby girl in Melissa’s arms and Davis stood behind her, laughing. A boy sat on his shoulders; he had jet black hair and bright green eyes. He was laughing too. Rachel felt like she couldn’t breathe.
Pictures are how one preserves beauty and happiness. You take a picture and lock away the memory, trapping the emotions within it. You pull them out when you feel the need to relive a moment that was much sweeter than your present reality.
When it’s a photo of those before you, it invokes both envy and happiness because it’s proof that even though you didn’t have it all, at least they did. It may be a photo full of fake smiles and unshed tears, but it makes them seem better than us. Cause at least they had a grip on themselves.
“Who’s that?” Joey asked
“My brother.” Her voice dropped
“Had.” Rachel interjected, “had a brother.” She moved her finger along the small, thin print of the article. She stopped.
“My brother died in 2000. A bicycle accident.” Her voice shook as she read, “Mom died exactly a year after that … from some undetected virus…” Rachel paused, “What the hell does that mean?”
Joey shrugged, “They probably didn’t have enough solid info…”
No one understood why he would abandon it all. November 2002, he just up and vanished; leaving behind several unfinished projects and a three year old daughter.
Rachel closed the magazine and stared at the cover for a very long time.