The Archer's Have Arrived
“You’ve brought us to a hick town.” Devin Archer, the second oldest out of all of us groans, bright green eyes rimmed with a gold ring look lazily at the new Archer estate. He scoffs, black shoes kick at the gravel beneath our feet. Devin is the only one of us who looks completely white. He holds no exotic look to him, and he has no color in his skin like the rest of us. He is a carbon copy of Reed Archer and his only legitimate wife, which makes Devin his only legitimate child.
“The four of you made it this way.” Our father, Reed Archer stands tall, with not a single grey hair in his dark red hair. The same eyes we all share come from him, perfect teeth are from him, the smart minds come from him. Everything has been given to us by Reed Archer and we will never forget it.
“Us?” My sneer is loud, I’ve never been the angry one from the four of us, I tend to keep to myself when it comes to dealing with our father, most of the time at least. “We weren’t the ones bringing in devious whores to the house. We weren’t the ones fucking them and then throwing them out.” My father’s eyes look to me quickly, those usual bright orbs are dark with anger.
“But the four of you kept your business all over the house. They got to see and know everything about your dirty secrets so now you all live here. Now you all don’t get to live in the city, you can be secluded to this shithole till you are capable of making enough money to keep all of your disgusting habits to yourself. But right now none of you can keep people’s mouths shut.” He stands straight and brushes his hand against his suit as if he had gotten it dirty by yelling at us. Sure the women he brought happened to see a few things they shouldn’t have but they never said anything. Only threatened father till he coughed up enough money to keep their mouths shut.
“Is Jamie going to come and live with us?” Magnolia, the youngest, and the only one who isn’t to blame questions. Brown hair is a mess, her hair hasn’t been combed since Jamie hadn’t been on the flight, and neither of us bothered to fix it. My excuse was because I didn’t sit near her at any point of the trip. The boys claim they couldn’t find a comb, but both of them love combing their own head of hair.
Magnolia’s skin is the color of caramel, she has the same green eyes with a gold ring around it but you can tell she is mixed with Asian blood. I never met her mother, but father said she was someone from Thailand. Her hair is pin straight most of the time except for when she wakes up, like now, her hair is turned from one side to other.
“Jamie is going to live here but not as your nanny, she’s going to stay for the next year, just so she can train a new nanny.” Charlie grunts, pushing back at his black hair. He stands just as tall as our father, jaw just as defined and shoulders just as broad. “Jamie got a taste of Mr.Archer, so he made her sign her rights away as a mother because money buys everything and everyone.”
As the oldest, and heir to every cent we have, he is the one who takes care of us the most. Reed named Charlie his heir despite him being a bastard. Why? Because he is the only one out of all of us interested in our father’s company. Charlie’s mother was another exotic beauty. I’ve seen the pictures our father has of Charlie’s mom, I’ve even heard him refer to her as his Melanin goddess. Charlie’s skin is the color of milk chocolate and the girls swoon over his eyes. Asking him if he wears contacts and how could it be possible for his eyes to be that color.
Magnolia frowns up at Charlie, she grew up with Jamie, who is my age and was always with us while her mother cleaned the penthouse we use to live in. My stomach twists up at the thought of Jamie being pregnant with my next sibling. It is happening all over again. Reed Archer’s cycle of screwed up never ends.
“Thank you for that Charlie.” Dad finally makes a move to open up the door we have been standing in front of. The estate my father had built is much larger than our last one. He had told us earlier that we all would stay in the west wing and that the east wing would be accessible to a certain point. Meaning that the one locked door was our father’s place and his place alone.
“You all know the drill, go up to your rooms, unpack your boxes and then write down anything else you need for the room. Brandy,” he pauses watching me, eyes sad. I know our father cares for each and every one of us considering he did what we wanted and when he wasn’t working he made it his mission for him to at least sit with us for a meal. “I know you wanted a job at the library but it’s closed for renovations so you can go out and find someplace else you’d like to work at.”
I know he wants us to have a sense of hard work since his father hadn’t handed him anything without him having to work for it. He was accepting of our choices in life, which was heartwarming but, Reed Archer is anything but kind. He cares enough to see our faces every once in a while and he cares enough to keep us, but his emotions always change. One second he could care but the next he was yelling and reminding us of everything we’ve done wrong. Reminding us of our worthlessness and our worthless mothers and how everyone was conniving and ready to steal his fortune, even us.
Archer Architect is one of the largest Architect companies in the world. Father’s, father worked hard in building up his multi-million dollar company, and he wasn’t about to let anyone take it down. So when his shit in the hole company started becoming an empire on the boardwalk he had his only son work at the construction sights or be apart of designing buildings all over the world. Now, Father has Charlie designing the skyscrapers or lavish hotels or houses, like ours. He was the only one who enjoyed it.
Devin and I are good at plenty of other things, the family business, however, had never been something we were interested in.
“I’ll be gone starting tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll be back in the next two weeks. Jamie has her own key and should know where her new room will be.” The four of us loiter in the hallway waiting for him to finish so we can leave and get back to our own little worlds.
“I want one of you to find a nanny for the upcoming baby and for Magnolia since she’s not at an independent age, yet.” He pauses, eyeing Magnolias hair. “Find someone just like Jamie, she was one of the best.” Father walks away, heading right to the front door and closing it shut. The sound of a car turning on and driving off lets us know we are once again alone.
“I’ll find a nanny. ” Charlie speaks up and smiles down at us. “It’s still early so let’s unpack and then come down to make something. I’m sure the fridge is stocked to the brim and so are the cabinets.” He smiles and heads for the stairs, we follow. Charlie said ‘make’ as if he could cook, I’m sure we’d be heading into town and looking for food on our own.
“We’ll watch a movie after we get some food, maybe we’ll go see the beach.” He doesn’t ask because he knows we will ay agree to whatever he wants. We are his chicks and Charlie is our mother hen. The only Archer who was just as much kind as he was a monster beneath his mask.
Every Archer is sinful, none of us are saints and the Archer bloodline is full of sinners.
“Who’s taking Magnolia with them?” Devin and I are gone before Charlie can pass her to either of us. “Real nice, bastards!”
“Don’t call me your nickname!” Devin calls out to Charlie who gives us the holy finger, I wave goodbye to Charlie. He stands with Magnolia still, her hand in his, she waves back to me and I blow her a kiss making her giggle loudly. Turning my back from them I hit Devin’s arm softly.
“So, legitimate one.” Devin lets out a short laugh that ends as he claps his hands together.
“So, daughter of our father’s one true love,” I am the only child of Reed Archer’s that was purposeful. Reed had planned my conception with the love of his life, Esperanza Guerrera. He met her at the tender age of twenty-three, she was only twenty at the time and he fell head over heels over the Hispanic beauty.
Her journal, that I borrowed from Reed Archer and photocopied, states that she had breast cancer. My mother wrote very passionately about refusing medical treatment. She was a firm believer in god, and that if he wanted her to walk on this earth that he’d cure the cancer himself. Esperanza wrote that she told Reed that, and as she got to know him over the course of her three months he learned many things about her. Like how she wanted a child.
My mother was given a year and a half till she would meet her maker and Reed had walked into her life at the right moment. It’s fate. She had written in her journal, God wanted me to meet Reed, and Reed wants to make my dreams come true. What my mother didn’t know was that during the time Reed was with her, he was married and had two other kids.
I made copies of the photos he had with her, of her, and the ones he had of me with her. I was with her for nearly four months before she passed away. She’d given me my name and had left me many things. But Reed Archer has yet to give me any of the things that she had left me.
“Should we explore together or take our separate ways?” I ignore Devin’s comment, he says the things his mother used to say about us. He plays it off as sibling banter but I can’t help but feel as if at times he means it. I know he thinks about the way his mother suffered, I know for a while she blamed us bastards for her pain. Eventually, Maggie Archer began treating us like her own children, but she bit the dust too.
The day she died Devin had cried his heart out and I know I cried for a bit too. I cried because she had just begun warming up to me. I cried because I didn’t want my big brother to be sad. Maggie died in a car crash two days after Magnolia’s sixth birthday. That was a little over seven months ago.
“Separate ways, it’s fun when we all lie to people and then they find out who we really are.” Devin is a liar, he’s always been one to lie about anything and everything. His lies have gotten him into plenty of trouble whether it’s when he’s out partying every night or buying drugs. He is exactly like Reed Archer, like father like son. Although, Devin is already twenty and he still hasn’t had his first kid.
Charlie was born when father was twenty, Devin was conceived at twenty-two, and I was only a year after. Magnolia was born around the time I turned thirteen. She didn’t officially come home until she was nearing the age of four. Her mother had been juicing my father for his money, but he’d settled that quickly. He bought her out with money.
Money is the anthem of success.
Money can and will buy anyone or anything, no matter if it’s family, friends, or strangers. Reed Archer drilled that into every single one of us. Reed Archer also told us to never trust anyone because once they know you have money, they’d never be genuine.
“I’ll see you later, big brother.” I give him a wink before walking away, my eyes had been lingering on the strip of businesses. Today I look around for a job, teens walk from store to store, adults mingle with adults, their kids at their hips.
A music store with a falling apart sign is what I go into. The desk is empty as I enter, my eyes search for CDs and I am there. Picking through them trying to see if I find anything that’s my taste. There are hundreds of CDs sitting in dozens of different crates, oldies to rock, rap to soul, country to pop. “If you need any help let me know,” I turn slightly my eyes landing on an old man with hair as white as freaking snow.
“I’m looking for anything to do with the Delfonics.” I smile lightly, the old man nods, he walks over with a limp. Hands trembled as they tap on an orange crate then a brown one.
“Delfonics are in those,” I nod, moving over to the crates he tapped. “Anything else?”
“Zap and Roger, A Lighter Shade of Brown, or any other oldies?” My mother used to love listening to oldies, according to her journal. She used to write about them so much, there are pages where she’s glued concert tickets to shows. But she was really into Mariah Carey, but I mean who isn’t? She always wrote the songs she’d liked, I’ve added all her songs to my playlists or found CDs for them. My mother believed in god so much but she didn’t let her beliefs keep her from having fun, but having fun wasn’t everything to her.
Quotes in her journal are in Spanish, a language I took my time to learn and practice just to feel a little closer to her. She would write passages from the bible or quote the things her pastor would say. Lyrics from her favorite Christian songs. Reed Archer had never taught us to pray to god or to sing to him the way my mother wrote that she did. But the thought of being closer to something greater than me makes my heart feel warm at times.
“Oldies aren’t a big thing in the town,” he pauses as if to think of himself. “Most of the oldies I had my son took for himself,” I eye this old man as he walks away from me, his limp seems to have gotten worse. “He doesn’t live in town anymore.”
Nothing leaves my lips as I take hold of the Delfonics CDs, heading towards the counter and placing them down. “At least I got these,” I offer a half-assed smile, watching the old man put in the numbers for the CDs. “it’s enough for me.”
“I’ve never seen you around town,” he pauses, putting on some glasses and his eyes suddenly seemed larger. I feel as if I am taking him in better now. He has dark brown eyes, thick white eyebrows sit on his face and his skin is wrinkled and looks dry. “Are you from the family that built that big mansion on the old picnic hill?”
Do I want to be that girl today? “No,” I give him a small smile. “My mom is the maid in that house, the Archer’s love her so much they moved us down here with them. I’m actually looking for a job, not much of a house cleaning girl.” My laugh comes out naturally, there is no forced tone to it.
“Oh my, that’s a wealthy family.” His hands shake as he tries to pull a bag from under the counter. “Are they nice people?”
“They can be very nice.” He waits to see if I’ll say more but that’s all that I will willingly say about my family.
“It’s going to be 4 dollars.” My hand is quick to pull money from my pockets. I cringe slightly at the sight of the four bills I have.
“I’m sorry I don’t have enough.” I smile up at him and shove the bills into my pockets easily. “I’ll be back tomorrow for them.” He nods, taking the CDs and putting them on a shelf behind him. Seriously, he couldn’t let four meaningless dollars go? I give him a forced smile, the place does need the money from what I can tell. The sign outside is worn away and it has a letter missing from its name.
“You know any place that’s hiring around here?” I ask just before I’m out the door and he nods, already walking away from his desk and towards the back of the store.
“You can try the body shop, they always need a new receptionist. One of the mechanics usually drives them off, my daughter’s sister in law says that Hunt is an asshole, but the man fixed my truck for free. I doubt he’s an asshole plus, my daughter’s sister in law is a little bitch.” My laugh is genuine as I slap at my thigh.
“I’ll check it out, thanks!” He hasn’t turned to look at me, so I am quick. A hand on the desk, pushing my body up. I hold my weight on my hand and reach out with the other, grabbing the bag with my CDs. I’m off the desk, tossing the 100 dollar bill on the counter. Then I am out the door in seconds, making my way away from the store.
Good karma will level out all the bad karma that’s apart of my life.