He didn't want her to leave but she had to. His parents tried constantly to make him see that this was his sister's path in growing up. Yes, he was acting bratty but he was allowed to. His older sister was and still is a major aspect of his life.
Elijah depended on her for comfort, reassurance, and stability apart from their parents. To his eleven-year-old mind, he won't have the attention he grew up with, now that there's a new addition to the family.
He loved his little sister and already felt the big brother protective instinct building in him already, but he missed being the baby.
A bit immature of him but once again he was allowed to be.
"I still don't understand why you are remodeling your old room when you simply will be at your house whenever come back, " Elijah voiced.
Seated on the floor with Ares sleeping in his lap and Apollo sitting on the bed like a king, Elijah's eyes followed his sister as she placed sticky notes on certain parts of her freshly painted and remodeled room. He frowned at the decor, it was more manly than her normal style but he brushed it off as making it welcoming for the twins.
Currently one was currently in Texas at Baylor University 's training camp, getting ready for his debut in the upcoming season.
Carson was doing last minute packing and preparations for his departure. He only had one week to do so before he goes out to work for the summer holidays.
That one week will be spent packing and spending time with Mari.
"I'll be sleeping here also, " she argued but her tone said differently.
"Right. So everyone is ready?" he asked petting the now awakened cat.
"Yup. Uncle Justin sent the large jet for us. First stop will be Texas, Cali then finally New York. I can't believe it. College already, "Marielle gushed. Elijah stayed silent and simply watched her flitting around the room like a bee.
Not knowing what to say and feeling like crap, he made up some excuse and escaped to his room.
Marielle watched him leave the room, holding onto Ares tightly as he cleared the door. Releasing a heavy sigh, she took in the work that she did over the past few weeks leading up to her departure. She was content with it all, their mother will place the final touches and her gift will be complete. Moving to the desk she had specially ordered, she pulled open one of the drawers and plucked out the letter she wrote. Left in the drawer we're two jewelry boxes and another package.
"You'll be fine, bug. Don't worry, " she muttered to herself. Checking the letter once more, she placed it on the desk and left the room.
This was her last day in Spencer and the only sad part to it was leaving her family. She wished to be part of Shaye's upbringing just as she was for Elijah's but college awaits.
A few months ago her friends and herself received letters that shaped their educational futures and their budding relationships.
Luanne and Issac got lucky. They both got accepted into colleges a few towns apart from each other, deciding to try dorm living before getting an apartment together between their schools. Isaac has been getting better and better over the months, learning to stand on his own feet and not wait for his real family to come crawling back. Luanne was a great help to him. Loving and caring for him not only as his girlfriend but someone who will always be by his side.
Jerron and Kade decided to branch out from the group to find themselves. Create their own identities than simply being the friends of the rich kids. They all understood but reminded them if they ever need anything, never hesitate to call. The two being the best of friends, they settled on Chicago to expand their learning in mechanics and other programmes that caught their interest.
Charisse was beside herself when Biole University personally called her. Due to her grades, references and present work in a medical field, she was a shoo-in. She hasn't told Lane as yet, a little white lie was told which his parents were a part. They were all waiting for the new semester to start to see and hear his reaction. His parents searched for an apartment with two rooms near the college, after persuading him to move out of the dorms for much needed quiet. He agreed reluctantly while griping of not having his girl next to him for the new school to him.
Guess who will have a surprise roommate come September.
For Bryan and Katie, it was a hard time not only for the couple but for their friends. Bryan had a decision to make. MIT reached out to him after a representative from their prestige school got word of his technical skills. The app he made for Issac which helped him deal with daily life, stunned the faculty. They wanted to help him reach further not only in apps for challenged people but others also. His father placed his name as one of the creators when the new watches were revealed. The same watches that helped them find Issac on that dreadful night.
It was a great opportunity but he wanted to go with Katie to New York. Julliard accepted her and he was so proud that he brushed off MIT's deal to focus on her. Katie wasn't having that. She saw his love for technology and wouldn't dare hold him back. They fought about it, broke up for three days after some hurtful words from Katie and finally sat down and talked things out. It all boiled down to Bryan's fear of losing her. He saw himself as tainted and Katie being way too good for him. With a heavy heart and a promise from her, he accepted MIT's offer.
The twins gave Bryan hope by simply giving him access to the jet their father purchased for them. He can fly out to Katie and vice-versa whenever they wanted. Marielle promised that she will keep her safe. The two girls decided its best for Katie to stay in the five-bedroom townhouse, Eli Johnson purchased for his daughter in New York.
That eased his mind but they all knew it will take some time for them both be okay with the distance.
Marielle and Carson lucked out. Colombia accepted them both, even better, Carson liked working at the New York office of the architectural firm. Making New York their home for the next four to five years wasn't a hard decision and Jayden was pleased with it all.
Looking in the direction of Elijah's room, Marielle decided to give him some time and spend some time with her parents and little sister.
Janine looked up from her book to welcome her daughter but her smile turned to a frown when she saw the sad look on her face.
Eli looked up from his soft conversation with his baby girl to focus on his firstborn. She will always be his little princess, he will miss her but this is part of their growing up.
Not seeing Elijah by her side said a lot.
"Give him time. This will be the farthest and longest he will be away from you. He'll understand, " Eli said. Marielle came and sat next to him, taking the wiggling bundle into her arms.
"I know. I feel so sad about leaving him like this. I will miss him so much but I have to go, " she returned. Gently she stroked the soft cheeks of the baby, loving how her dark brown eyes were focused intently on hers. Her caramel brown skin was soft as any baby's but her wild tuft of black curls made her so damn adorable. Eli boasted of having a daughter once more, showing the love he shared with Janine. His three kids were a perfect example of interracial love. Different skin tone, eye color, and hair helped them all to stand out.
"And this one, " she added softly. Eli pulled her closer to him and simply hugged her to his side.
"Girl we are rich. Like filthy rich. Take the jet and come visit us or we can even send the little rugrats to you. Everything will be fine. There are all types of calls you can do now. Just work out a schedule. When the empress over there gets older expect lots of video calls. She's already attached to you, " Janine said with a cheeky grin.
"Couldn't have put it better, my love, " Eli teased. His wife simply stuck out her tongue and got back to her comfortable spot.
"Thanks, mom, " Marielle said holding Shaye closer to her.
"Now that's settled. I'm going to confirm our reservations. Love, do you want to take that salt bath now? I can run it for you, " Eli said rising to his feet.
"Sure thing, baby," he said softly, kissing her lips before heading inside.
"I'm so happy that you found the love I have, baby girl. You three survived high school, now the hardest part. College. You make sure and keep your head. Don't let anyone have a word about your relationship with the twins. Your family is okay with it, your friends are okay with it. That's the circle you should focus on, not the world. I've done my best with you, sweetheart..."
"You and dad did great," Marielle interjected. She saw how her mother's eyes got teary and that motherly smile she always has for them.
"Now I get to do it all over again with Elijah and Shaye. I'm so proud of you. You've blossomed into the woman, I know you would be. You're strong and the love you give others especially those boys are strong. Oh, remember your father and I want first copies of your book," Janine continued.
Marielle chuckled and simply nodded her head.
After the Christmas and New Year's holiday, Marielle took it upon herself to send a copy of her book she has been writing for a few months, never published online and never read by her family. She wanted to test the public's unbiased opinions. The three companies she sent her work to loved it and began a bidding war over her book. As they said, it was fresh, touched a lot of social issues and targeted a wide genre of readers. Her father sought out the best literary agent to help her on her way to become the best selling author. The book is set to go on sale for Christmas with the company asking for more works from her. Things were looking up.
Dinner at the local restaurant was a loud and joy-filled affair. Parents and kids were talking over each other sharing jokes and teasing their kids while eating great soul food. Due to a large number of guests, the restaurant was rented out for the night, wanting to have a great night without interrupting anyone else. Marielle made sure Elijah was with her the entire dinner. She got him to smile once or twice but the sadness in his light brown eyes was still there. Carson noticed his down mood and pulled him outside for some fresh air.
"I know you're sad that Mari is leaving but it's hurting her also to leave you. You do know that she loves you, like a lot, more than Jay and I, right?" Carson asked with a raised eyebrow.
"No, I'm not," Elijah muttered kicking a stone into the parking lot.
"Dude, if she has to choose right now between us and you. She will surely choose you. You're her blood, her baby brother, that says a lot. Look, put yourself in her shoes. You're ready to go off to college and Shaye is extremely sad watching you leave. How would you feel?"
"Sad also. Hurt that I'm the one who was making her sad," Elijah replied softly.
"Mari feels the same way, dude. She's not only leaving you but she's also leaving Shaye plus your parents. You do know I won't keep her away from you right?" Carson asked.
"I know. I'm sorry for being so bratty."
"Umm.... that's how a normal eleven-year-old act."
Rolling his eyes at his big brother, he playfully pushed him before they both returned to their family. Rushing to her side, Elijah threw his arms around Marielle and buried his face into her neck.
"You're the best big sister, ever," he said to her. Marielle's arms tightened around him, he felt her kiss on his forehead and allowed her to keep holding him.
"And you're the best little brother ever," she returned feeling contented with the night now.
Elijah opted for holding Shaye and watch the jet being loaded up while the parents say goodbye to the older kids. "Mari will be back for a visit before you know it," he muttered to her before placing her gently in her car seat. He sat beside her and allowed her to grip his index finger, getting lost in his thoughts. It was still early in the summer holidays, he thought about going to visit Mischa and Harem in Minnesota. Hiking, wake-boarding, whatever they wanted to do. Three months of being an eleven year old before starting a new grade. The four friends he had in Spencer either traveled or planning to go summer camp. He never went to a summer camp before, maybe he can try that.
"Hey. About leave. You good?"
Elijah turned to his sister and smiled.
"Yeah, just had an epiphany a moment ago," he answered with a soft laugh.
"Oh really. Please do tell."
"Be a kid. I'm always being told of having an old soul or mature for my age and I feel like it. So I've been thinking either go spend the summer with my cousins or try out summer camp," he said with a wide grin.
"Or contact Mischa and Harem then all three of you can go to a summer camp. It's still early and I'm sure dad can persuade them," she offered.
"That's wicked. I'll do that. Thanks, sis," he beamed.
"Keep me posted. That summer camp thing sounds interesting, why did I think of that at your age."
"You spent your summers in Boston or wherever the grandparents carried y' all too," he teased. They stayed silent after their low chuckles.
"Love you, bug."
"Love you, MJ."
Elijah stayed rooted in that spot looking out the window for twenty minutes. The jet already left the runway and has disappeared from his line of sight but he still couldn't move. Tears still rolled down his heated cheek, unable to stop them. He missed her already.
"There's something at the house for you. Mari left it for you. Why don't we head home?" Eli said gently to his son. Janine was silently watching from afar while she nursed Shaye, keeping an eye on her little angel. They all became emotional when Marielle disappeared through that door. She's their first born, the first child who was a gift of their love. She's now an adult, already making a name for herself and on her way to start a career she wants. So much time has gone by and it's only getting better and better.
"Okay," Elijah answered softly. Eli walked him over to his mother, who pulled him into a hug as he cried quietly into her shoulder.
"Come on now. Dry those eyes. Let's go see your surprise from her."
Elijah said nothing, he simply allowed his parents to lead him out of the airport and into the SUV. Throughout the drive, everyone was silent, he opted to talk to his cousins and friends. They were all in one chat group, he introduced them all after Christmas break and the getting over of Bree Lincoln situation. He didn't know the reason for her newfound despise for him but he got friends to forget about her. Back and forth they texted and learned of the summer camp the girls were going and proceeded from there.
"Can I go to a summer camp with my friends? I've never been and the cousins want to come also," he asked softly from the backseat. Janine eyed her husband and as always their conversation and agreement were made by their eyes.
"No problem, kid. When we get home, you tell me the camp and I'll set the ball rolling. Think you will need new stuff?" Eli asked.
"Ummm.... camp clothes? I don't know," Elijah chuckled.
"I'm on it," Janine said excitedly. They both sighed in relief when they heard their son calling Mischa and Harem, relaying the news excitedly.
Pulling into the driveway of their home, Janine led Elijah out of the van while her husband took Shaye out. To say he was confused by his mother's excited state was major, she was naturally energetic and the life of the party but to be this excited was different.
"Janine, what is with you? Did you buy something new again for Shaye and can't let dad see?" Elijah asked aloud with a smirk.
Janine stopped on the stairs and turned to her son, "You're a horrid little boy. How did you know? Did your sister tell you? You won't tell him right? I had to but the matching hat and shoes, " she whined.
"Fine. That means you won't be choosing my underwear when we go shopping, " he bartered.
"But the Batman ones are so cute."
"I'm a Marvel fan, woman, " he said exasperated.
"Oh. Right. So... I will just call and take off the superman boxers I saw online, " she said grinning nervously. Elijah shook his head at his mom knowing that she will still buy them because they will look so cute on him.
"Okay come on, " she continued, grabbing him by the arm and pulling him further up the stairs. On this side of the house were his and Marielle 's room plus the three guest rooms, on the other side was their parents' room and now baby Shaye's.
They stopped before Mari's old room in which the door was closed with a note stuck onto it and his name written in his sister's handwriting.
Plucking it from the door, he opened it quickly and read it aloud.
"For the now oldest sibling in the Johnson household.
'With great power, comes great responsibilities.'
Yeah, totally an uncle Ben line but it suits the moment.
Now go in before mom actually pushes you in."
Looking to his right, he easily stepped away from his mother who was bouncing on her toes with the most excited and shit-eating grin on her face, barely containing herself. Taking his sister's advice, he opened the door and stood in shock. Gone was any trace of Marielle 's favorite colors and her decor, in its place were the colors of white, gray, black and sea-green, he saw over the past few days. The end result was a room designed for a pre-teen boy. The words Eat, Sleep, Game, Repeat were drawn in different fonts on the walls over each designated area. He was gifted with a gaming station and a homework area, his bookshelf was built around his bed, filled with all his books from his room.
Elijah frowned in confusion when he noticed all his decor, personal drawings and things from his old room were now placed there.
"I had a few of my workers do the quick moving. Mari left pretty detailed instructions. I think she should try interior decorating as a side job. This is fu-freaking amazing, " Janine said correcting herself last minute. Elijah raised his eyebrows at her in which she huffed in response.
His mother was right. It was his style and colors that he loved and which calmed him. Weirdly, he felt older than eleven, the older sibling. "Get a feel for your new room. Ares' spot is near the balcony doors next to Apollo's, " Janine said taking one last look around his new room.
"Wait. She left Apollo?"
"Why break up those two, when the Huskies are being sent Boston to the Hector Estate. It was your sister's decision. Now, meet me downstairs when you're ready to go shopping," she said moving towards the door.
"Okay, mom," he answered over his shoulder before heading to the upgraded gaming station. Sitting in the orange and black chair, he spotted an envelope before him. Recognizing her handwriting, he quickly opened it and pulled out the one-page letter.
To my only little brother,
You may think this is a death bed letter but it's more of a passing the torch and giving you a few guidelines to make it from elementary to senior year. Expect calls from me and texts, you know our normal stuff.
This is it, bug. College years. I won't lie to you and say I'll be visiting every weekend and holiday because I can't. School work and this adult life I'm starting will have me away from you and I don't want you to think I'm deserting you. Dude, I asked mom for a baby brother and the gods blessed me with you. I will miss you but I won't forget you. So, my room is now room, take it as a rite of passage. Few rules of being the older sibling.
1. Help the 'rents out. They aren't just our goofy and loving parents, they also owners of extremely major companies and on call 24/7.
2. Be there for Shaye. She won't remember it now but always be there for her, even when she turns a teenager by then both of us going to be there for her.
3. Have fun. You aren't just billionaire couple Eli and Janine's son. Be a kid. Be yourself. I was so happy when you made new friends this past school year instead of having your head buried in books. The same can be said about me. Mom and dad got their wish, their kids made friends, real friends.
4. If or when you do get a girlfriend, wait one month before you let mom know. That means no adding of said girl on any social media page or status posting. No tagging. She's worse than Mi6 and the CIA put together. The degree of embarrassment will lessen.
5. Sex talk. You go straight to dad or the guys. Mom will have you watching porn before you even finish a question. On the long run, it's informative but that talk needs to be done in baby steps.
6. Be there for mom. This should have been step one but this is the last and most important one. Mom is the best ever. She's an awesome mother, a great boss, and the most loving wife but I can tell that she's still hurting. Her family's failure to accept her life hurt her even more. I know they love her but can't see past their black and white perspective. Things like that will happen. The whole skin color thing and state of wealth, it's not something new, it will keep on going. I pray to God you won't have to go through this but that's just wishful thinking. People may see you as white but you know your roots.
Oh bug, I wish I can protect you. Wrap you up in bubble wrap so the real world won't taint that intelligent and smart mind of yours. Your innocence and the way you see the good in everyone is what I wish to cherish forever but the world won't let me. Don't keep things bundled up. Talk to someone you trust and keep those who will freaking fight for you by your side.
I love you, dude.
If you need me. Call me.
Look in the left-hand drawer and you will see three boxes. The largest one is yours and the other two are for you and Shaye. The older cousins and I decided on starting a tradition for this Johnson generation. There will be a lot of you soon, can't wait to see it.
Head up! Confidence level high!
Love your big sis,