LIV. How Unfair
“I don’t think you have the right to tell me who I can and can’t like.” I walk towards her until my body hovers over hers. I crouched down, and my face hangs above her sudden red one. “Don’t you ever-” the tone in my voice drops, ”ever call the girl I love stupid again.”
She scoffs, “Or else what?” Jasmine isn’t the type of girl who is afraid of a threat. Instead, she closed the distance between us. “You’re going to hurt me?” I can tell this situation amuses her.
“From what I know, the Rose’s family has quite the uprising this year.” The smile faded from her face. “Don’t want that to be ruined, do you?”
“Threatening me, Greyson?”
“You’re a friend. I would never." I smile, “But, do watch your words next time.” I mess up her wet hair and walk away.
And now I’m pissed.
Everyone was passed out inside the room. It didn’t matter where they were lying. They were off to dreamland.
A quick shower and change of clothes didn’t de-escalate the emotions.
Sometimes, I wish I could be more like my dad. When someone pisses you off, simply push them off a cliff. It’s translated to bankrupt their company.
That’s my dad.
Once, someone made mom cry at a party in front of everyone, before my parents got married, and dad ruined their family. Everything was gone in a blink of an eye. Wealth. Status. Power. Reputation.
No one else messes with you.
That seems appealing right now.
But, I was raised to be better than that.
Mom would always remind me of that. She knows dad isn’t exactly a straight path kind of man. Good husband. Good father. Horrible role model.
Mom is probably afraid I’ll be like dad when I grow up because I look like him the most. Apparently, I’m a reflection of dad’s younger days.
I don’t choose how I look.
I threw on my coat and made my way out of the room and towards the fireplace. There’s barely anyone in the lobby. It’s nice. Quiet.
I close my eyes and snuggle deeper into the single couch.
“Why are you here?”
I want to ask the same question.
I look up to see Crystal. “I thought you passed out.” I want to close my eyes badly.
She sat on the empty chair beside me. “Quick sober.”
“Ah,” I respond. I don’t really care.
Crystal exhales, “Thinking about Hailey again?”
“You’re young. Why are you overthinking things? You like Hailey, and Hailey likes you. Keep it straight. Keep it simple, cuz.”
“Being the good guy sure is hard, isn’t it? You want to confess, but at the same time, you want to respect her parents’ wishes.”
I exhale and cross my arms. My body slides down the chair, “Hm.”
“Have you tried withdrawing? Pushing Hailey into confessing her feelings? Loophole.”
I chuckle, “I don’t want her to be hurt.”
“You don’t want to hurt Hailey. You don’t want to confess to her. You don’t want to disrespect her parent’s wishes. What are you willing to do?”
I exhale, “Wait.”
“Waiting is a time-waster.” She smirks, “I heard Hailey’s biology lab partner likes her.”
My eyes open, “So?”
“Maybe, one day, he will get the balls to ask her out.”
“And she’ll say no. Your point?”
Crystal grunts, “Oh, and there’s the Greyson’s confidence.” She smirks, resting her chin against both palms. “Being overconfident can be your downfall.”
I smile, copying her actions. “Being noisy can be yours.”
She hit my arm lightly. “Geez, cuz. I’m just looking out for you.”
“Next time, if you want to look out for me. Don’t fake a pass out and allow Hailey to kiss someone else.”
Her face scrunches, and she backs away. She leans on then another side of the couch and twirls her hair. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You’re such a great actress.”
“Is that a compliment I hear?”
I smile, “You can perceive it however you like.”
Crystal places a hand on her chest and exhales, “Being praised by the master warms my heart.”
“I’m a good guy.”
“Keep telling yourself that. Maybe one day you can fool yourself.”
“You’re a horrible cousin.”
“Sorry to burst your bubble, but you ain’t so great either.”
I exhale, “How’s the family?”
Crystal chuckled, “How should I know?”
“Thanksgiving passed, but Christmas is still around the corner. You should at least spend the holidays with them.” From what I heard, Crystal doesn’t spend the holidays with her family. Aunt Piper would often call mom and cry.
Crystal smiled, but it wasn’t a friendly one. “Who would want me around?”
“Stop it.” I don’t want her to do it. I don’t want her to start again. “No one hates you. So, stop thinking like that. Go home. Have fun with your family during the holidays.”
She picks on her shirt, “You sound like Uncle Matt.”
I stood up and kneeled in front of her. My hands clasp over hers, and she looks up from the thread. “No one hates you.”
Crystal nibbles on her lower lips. I can see it. The tears in her eyes. “Mom hates me.”
“No, she doesn’t. She loves you.”
“Jack hates me.”
“He loves you. You know it.”
“Phillip hates me.”
“Your younger brother loves you very much.”
“Then why am I here?” The tears drip down her cheeks. “You came here willingly, but I didn’t. They sent me here, Josh. They sent me here because I’m too much to handle.”
“That’s not true.”
Crystal rests her forehead against my shoulder and exhales. “It makes sense. Mom hates me because I killed da-”
“Don’t,” I said. “I’m warning you not to start it.”
With my warning, Crystal didn’t talk any further. Instead, she cried on my shoulder. I hate it when she’s like this. She may be a brat, but she’s still my closest cousin.
Crystal exhales sharply while dabbing her eyes with the tissue. “I heard auntie is giving birth soon.”
“Not really. She’s fine.” Dad will make sure she’s fine. The doctors come to our house every day. Plural. More than one doctor comes every day. A third opinion is never a bad thing is what dad says.
Heck, we have two helicopters in the backyard just in case she goes into labor early. Two. Just in case one doesn’t work.
“I heard they’re twins.”
I groan, “Don’t remind me.” I love my brothers, but sometimes it can be overwhelming. Constant screams in the ears, and as a big brother, I barely catch a break.
I knew how to change a diaper at the age of seven.
We do not lack staff, but mom insisted I learn for future reference.
I was seven.
I learned that the taste of pee isn’t good.
Last night, I listened to a three-hour session of how Theodore feels like his body is getting weird, and he feels weird when he looks at girls. He wanted to talk to dad, but dad was too busy with the company and mom’s pregnancy.
Growing up, my brothers and I understood that dad has other families to take care of—thousands of them.
And one day, I have to do it too.
There’s no room for error.
One mistake, and a family is ruined.