The Bartender

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Chapter Seventeen

Life had a way of screwing me over. Honestly, I don’t remember a time when I had been happy, plain and simple, with nothing to contradict it. Every time something remotely good happened to me, something else would just come and screw it up. This was the perfect example of it.

When dad said my “brother’s” name was Niall, my first thought went to Niall, the boy in my school, who was apparently Kyle’s boyfriend. I still wasn’t okay with that, just saying. I brushed that thought aside because, how in the world would Niall be my brother? I bullied him, and I’m sure he hated me by now.

I just wondered who it was. I was angry though. I just didn’t know how to deal with that anger so I went straight up to my room and laid on my bed, hoping to sleep it off. This person, my brother or whoever, knew my dad way fucking more than I did. And he wasn’t even my dad’s son. He was his partner’s or whatever. Ugh!

I hated feeling this way. I was sad, frustrated and angry at everything. I hated everything this house, this family was made of. My dad was gay, my mom was lesbian, and they had lied to me about it. Somehow, I wondered if my life would have been any different had they come clean to me earlier. Maybe I wouldn’t be as homophobic as I was. Maybe, what happened to me in middle school wouldn’t have happened.

As I laid in my bed, my face buried into the pillow, the only question I could ask myself was, when did my life start crumbling down to pieces? The worst part of it all was that it all happened right under my nose.

I wanted the pain to go away. I didn’t want to feel anything to be honest. And worst, I felt tears welling in my eyes when I felt someone sit beside me. I should have probably locked the door.

“Aiden” dad called. I pretended to be asleep because I didn’t want him to see me cry. I didn’t want him to see me as the weak boy that I was. He sighed when I didn’t answer and placed his hand on my back, squeezing slightly.

“I am really sorry. If there was a way I could go back and change what happened, I would have. Chance and I... We love each other. I love him more than I’ve loved anyone in this world. If I thought that coming out all those years ago would have changed something, I would have. But you see, Aiden, given my line of work, and what...who Chance is, we couldn’t. It would have brought unwanted attention” he took in a deep breath and continued with his monologue. “I know you probably hate me by now. I’m sorry Aiden. We are not like those boys who did that to you. Not all gay people are like that, hell, not all human beings are like that. God, I wish you were awake to hear all of this” he sighed.

I still didn’t get up or show any signs of being awake but dad continued his monologue anyway. Somehow, I felt he was doing this more for himself than for me. And I wouldn’t blame him too.

“I love you Aiden. More than you know. I wish I was there for you. I want to be there for you sweetheart. Your... Your brother was so excited when we told him. He has always wanted a big brother” he said. “I love you Aiden. We all do. And I’m sorry for what your mother did. It was my fault anyway”.

I didn’t hear what he said afterwards and I was drifting to sleep. One thing about my dad was he had a very soothing voice. All I remembered was him kissing me softly on the head and a whispered good night before he left the room.

When I woke up the next morning, my head was aching, my neck was hurting, my back was aching, hell, my whole body was in pain. I yawned and I got up. The moment I got in the shower, it all came back to me. Kyle, my mom, my dad, Chance and my brother. Was he really excited to meet me? Somehow, I doubted it. I looked down at my arms and took a deep breath. Maybe this would help me numb it out, I thought as my eyes landed on a shaving stick.

Nah, even cutting wouldn’t numb it out. After I finished dressing up for school, I opened my box full of bracelets, took out my blade and a few pills, about five of them. I had a whole stack of them. I bought them off this guy called Killian a few months ago. They were really good last time to took some. I was out of it for days. That could help later in the day I thought. When I was done with the blade, I put it back, cleaned my hands and put on a long sleeved jacket.

They were all in the living room when I got downstairs. When they turned to look at me, I rolled my eyes. I hoped they were not planning an intervention.

“Aiden, are you okay?” Dad asked. I nodded, rushing to get to the door, only to be blocked by mom.

“Don’t forget your lunch” she said, handing me a brown paper bag and then held onto my arm making me hiss in pain.

“Aiden!” Dad exclaimed, looking at me with wide eyes, Mom’s expression the same as his.

Ah fuck, I guess I wasn’t as subtle as I thought. I run out of the house before they could say anything.

I really needed to change my routine. I was really bad when it came to organising my life. I should know that I’m predictable by now. Maybe I should have taken the pills first, that way they wouldn’t notice. But who the hell cares, right?

School wasn’t that great to be honest. I kind of avoided everybody. I knew they’d figure out that I was feeling down, my friends weren’t dumb, they just didn’t care sometimes. If they saw me, they’d ask a whole lot of questions that I wasn’t prepared to answer.

When I went to my maths class, I cursed lowly when I saw Kyle sitting there. Of course. I could never escape him even if I tried. I wanted to leave the class, hell, skip it if I could but I couldn’t. That would just make things worse. So I sucked it up and went to sit by him.

“Hey” I greeted, trying to sound as cheerful as I could.

“You won’t believe what happened” he said excitedly.

“What?” I asked, turning to look at him.

“Niall said he loved me last night” he answered. Kyle looked so happy at that.

“Did he really?”

“Yeah. I thought it was a one sided thing and I guess it was taking a toll on me. But last night, we talked, you know, after you left. And... Right before we um... ” he trailed off, looking around to check if someone was listening.

“What?” I asked, getting impatient. “Before you what?”

“Well, we had sex too” he whispered in my ears.

“What?” I screamed making everyone turn to look at me. “Sorry” I laughed.

Kyle shook his head, smacking my arm. “Ow, asshole. That hurt” I whined and when he raised a brow cleared my throat. “It’s not what you’re thinking” I lied.

“Before that, I told him I loved him, because I really do. I’ve never cared for someone the way I care for him and he said he loved me too. I thought he was just saying it because I said it first but he said he realized he loved me long before I even came back”

“Aww, that’s so sweet and all but I’m kinda jealous”.

“Don’t be a jerk” Kyle said and rolled his eyes, making me laugh. “The least you could do is be happy for me”.

“I am happy for you. I want you to find the love of your life and run off into the sunset. Even if it is with... him”.

Kyle smacked my arm again. “I thought you were starting to like him” he said.

I groaned again. “I am. But it’s gradual you know. Maybe I’ll finally like him on your wedding day. I’m the best man, just so you know”. He laughed. “Speaking of which, who will take whose name?”

Kyle shrugged. “I don’t know. I was thinking that if we ever do get married, we’ll just add our names. How does Kyle Summers-Richardson sound? Or is that just weird?”

What? “Did you just say Richardson?”

“Yeah, why?”

Oh my God. Oh no! Oh no! Oh hell no! This couldn’t be, right? He couldn’t be! Why does life always treat me like this?

“Aiden, are you okay?”

“Yeah, yeah” I whispered. I got up from my seat and headed out of the class, ignoring Kyle as he called after me. I couldn’t believe this. There had to be a mistake somewhere.

“And where do you think you’re going?” the maths teacher asked me just when I got out of the classroom.

“Shut up” I said, holding my head and squeezing my eyes shut. My head was aching, really bad.

“Excuse me?”

I didn’t stay to listen to her rant about how children of this day were insolent and what not and just rushed to the bathroom. The moment I got there, I met the one person whom I’d been dreading to see.

“Aiden, are you okay?” Niall asked and then he stumbled back when I advanced towards him. I grabbed onto his shoulders. “Please don’t hurt me” he cried, fear very evident in his eyes. It made me cringe. I did that to him. I tore away from him as fast as I could and he tried to make way for the door. He was literally running away from me.

“I’m sorry” I shouted.

“What?” he asked, clearly dumbfounded.

“I’m sorry. For hurting you” I apologized. “Please, just tell me. What’s your surname?”

“Um... Richardson, why?”

Oh my god. “Oh my god!”

“Aiden... Um, is everything okay?”

“Chance is your dad right? And Michael is your step-dad?”

“Yeah” Niall whispered, looking at me with wide eyes. “How… How did you know?”

I opened my mouth a few times, not knowing what to say. “I’m... I’m your brother”.

Niall looked at me for what could have probably been the worst ten seconds of my life. And then he said, “No. My brother can never be a monster like you!”

And then he walked out -

-leaving me to understand that my only brother on earth, who I could have loved like a brother should, hated me to the core of his being.

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