THIS IS BOOK THREE OF A SERIES
My Mom called a family meeting. She never usually calls a family meeting and to think of it... I don’t know the last time she did. Of course, family events are a drag. What fun is uno or twister when you only have two people? What fun is playing games when you know the minute something works better for her she ditches? She just picks up her phone and declares we will pick it up at another time when you know she never will. It will never be convenient for her to be a mother.
I park my car in the driveway of our house. We’ve only been living here for three years. Nothing is fully unpacked and nothing feels like home. Not since Dad and Diana left. Dad left because of the huge divorce and took custody of Diana. Mom took custody of me just because she could. She didn’t want to deal with Diana, a kid, so she took her older child. Me.
Opening my car door I peer around my yard. For some reason, boxes scatter across the lawn. Big brown boxes with black markers scribbled across them. I frown but ignore them. Maybe Mom is purging the house again. You never know with her.
I walk up the small steps and open the front door. The house is in the same state as the yard. Boxes litter every room and all of our decorations are missing. The living room is empty except for three boxes and the couch. I walk into the kitchen and find six boxes neatly labelled Kitchen #1 to six.
I find Mom standing behind the island with a glass of red wine in her hand. She always seems to be drinking wine around me. She would always drink it in the last few years of her marriage with my Dad. I think it means she’s planning to pull away or extract or maybe she’s uncomfortable because while she might not drink lots of it she always seems to be holding wine.
We look similar and yet different. We both have green eyes that seem to sparkle in the sunlight, light brunette/blonde hair, slim figure, and perfect teeth. While my body is thin and toned with muscle from cheer hers is from dieting and starving herself. The perfect teeth are natural in my case, but surgery is in her case because the genetics of my teeth came from my father.
She tilts her head to the side as she looks at me. Her eyes are cloudy and unfocused as she stands in the form of a statue. She remains frozen as the old grandfather clock ticks away from inside one of the boxes. I remain silent unwilling to bend to her will and be the first to break the silence.
As sudden as a lightning strike she jumps out of her dazed state and focuses cold distasteful eyes on me from across the room. She is aware I won the ignore-the-other-person competition. I don’t know why, but everything is a competition for her, and she is determined to win. No matter the cost. No matter the results. She wanted something to hold over my Dad’s head and she got me. She won in the sense of the competition, but she fails to fulfill her role.
“You are probably wondering why I called you here?” My Mom drawls in her I-know-something-you-don’t voice with a hint of determination. She pops a hip and rests her hand on that hip.
I jerk my head slowly, “that and why there are boxes scattered around our house full of our stuff? Why, yes, I did notice.” I level my expressionless face at her. “Please, do explain.”
My Mom tilts her nose up snottily, like how I imagine a spoiled child would act if someone foiled their grand scheme. She’s forty years old the least she could do is act like it. My Mom struts over to me. Her high heels click haughtily against the floor mocking my socked feet she even sends a distasteful look at my feet.
“A new position has opened up at work,” my Mom snips out. What she means is that she found someone with something to offer her that she wants. She craves and obsesses with something until she loses all interest. Just like she lost all interest in the family she made. Dad, Diana, and me.
I cock my head to the side and look up at her, “oh? And what might that be?”
“I’m going to be a personal assistant to one of the most sought-after and wealthy bachelors on this coast, what else would I be doing?” My Mom flips her hair smirking down at me. “It’s a great opportunity, you should be happy.”
“I’m waiting for the catch before I evaluate this matter with any feeling since they seem to... cause problems.” You told me that. I purse my lips and wait for her to continue.
She nods, “the position is very taxing and the client must always be within reach. I originally turned down the position because I just didn’t want to leave my little Sammy at home alone. They changed their proposition and decided to accommodate both of us.” She takes a step closer to my face and plasters a smile down on her face. “Don’t blow this for me.”
“I’m sorry,” I frown, “we’re both moving closer to your boss?”
My Mom lets out a long sigh. “Yes.”
“They’re giving both of us a living residence?” I try to make clear what my part in this scheme is.
“Yes,” Mom whines loudly turning to stop in a small circle.
“Where might that be?”
“In his luxury mansion? Where else would we go?” My Mom asks it like she thinks I’m a simpleton because of the unthinkable thought she would just move into her boss’s house with her daughter nonetheless.
My Mom pats me dotingly on my head. “Don’t worry while I’m at work you won’t be completely by yourself. There is a son.”
“What are you talking about?” I ask just as the doorbell rings.
My Mom plasters on a pleasing and welcoming smile. “Come in,” she calls before turning to me, “I thought meeting them here before riding with them would make you feel more comfortable than just meeting them there.”
I fume at her, but somehow manage to remain partially stoic in the expression department. I want to strangle her. I got no notice of this. None. She never even mentioned the possibility of this job option. What a load.
My Mom turns me to face my new housemates until she eventually loses interest. What I find shocks me. “Meet Mr. Hanstrung and his son-”
My brain fries as I see Eric standing in my empty living room beside a dude wearing designer clothing. He looks like a model with his ginger hair swept to the side and how he somehow perfectly fits into his...
Stop. Sammy. Do not betray your promise.
Eric's face slowly lights up. His lips curl into a mischievous grin. "Why isn't this a pleasant surprise. Hello, Sammy." His eyes meet mine and I know... I'm screwed.