He came to a stop in front of the restaurant Hansen asked that they meet. Glancing round the parking lot, he spotted his brother’s blue Ferrari and was thankful that for once, he came early.
Anderson turned off the engine and then headed inside. A waiter approached him and after he told him the person he was meeting, he led her to Hansen. His brother was drinking coffee and reading the newspaper when he sat down. He found it strange that he was reading the paper, because Hansen was not a fun of the morning news.
“Hello brother.” He said, drawing his attention. “Why did you call me out here so early in the morning?”
Hansen sighed and folded the paper, turning the front page downwards. He folded his hands on the table and then looked pensive. He opened his mouth to talk, but no words came out and he sighed.
Anderson was starting to get pissed off, as his brother was silent and kept staring at him as if he just lost the lottery. “What is it?” He asked. “Speak now before I walk out of here. I have to get home fast.”
The waiter arrived and then Anderson ordered coffee and some doughnuts to go.
“Anderson,” Hansen sighed and then continued his staring.
Anderson groaned angrily then got up to leave, that was when Hansen blurted it out. “You are engaged to Kathleen!”
He stopped and came back around, returning to his chair. “I am what?”
“It happened last night at the party. She is back from her studies and will be joining her father at their company and the parents want you too to marry. Kathleen doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, but my concern is you.”
Anderson was surprised to hear that Kathleen was back. When did she return and hasn’t contacted him yet? Weren’t they friends? “Kathleen is back?”
“Yes, she returned two nights ago. But that’s not the problem.” Hansen sighed. “The question is do you want to marry her?”
Anderson looked at his brother as if he just grew two heads. “Why would I want to refuse marriage with Kathleen?” She asked and then his brother looked stunned.
“Ander… Anderson…” Hansen stuttered, still shocked to hear his question. “You will marry her?” He gasped.
Anderson shrugged and then added. “I see no reason why I will want to refuse it. Kathleen is my friend and we used to go way back. She knows my likes, dislikes, what I want and do not want. It would be good marrying someone I know than a total stranger. After all you failed at finding me a bride.”
“I found you a good bride, goddammit!” Hansen banged his hands on the table and rose to his feet, glaring at his brother. The people around glanced at him, but he did not seem to care one bit.
“I found you a goo bride.” He repeated each word through gritted teeth. “You just refused to see it.” With those words, he tossed the paper in front of him and then added. “I wish you all the best in your wedding.” Hansen stormed out of there.
Anderson looked down at the newspaper. Written on the front page, in capital letters were the words: ONE OF THE HEIRS TO THE NILES MULTI-BILLION COMPANY, ANDERSON NILES IS ENGAGED TO THE BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER AND HEIR OF ALISTAIR CERAMICS COMPANY, KATHLEEN ALISTIAR.
Anger boiled inside him as he read the headline. He crumpled the paper inside his hand and tossed it away. He rose to his feet and went to the counter to take his order. Once he got it, he went out the door.
Anderson stepped on the gas pedal and sped to the highway, heading home. He was gripping the steering wheel so tightly that his knuckles turned white. He was upset with his parents for setting this up. How could they get him engaged without his knowledge? This wasn’t how things were done? What happened to talking things through with the children before making a decision?
He was not so surprised as it were his parents’ favorite things to do: making decisions for their children, even if they did not like it. They have always been like this, but he never did what they wanted him to do. That is why they never really got along with each other.
But Hansen, his poor brother never stood up to them. He obeyed their every word, making him their favorite and hence pampered him into the spoilt brat he was now. He did not blame him thought. He just felt sorry for him because he never became what he wanted to be and that is a pianist.
Anderson whizzed his car into his compound and was surprised to see two cars parked there. He grabbed the takeout and a shopping bag from the backseat and then exited the car. He quickly recognized his mother’s SUV, but did not know whom the other white Porsche car belonged too.
What the heck does mother want now? He thought, irritated.
“Who are you and what are you doing in my son’s clothes?”
He heard his mother yell as he entered the house. She must have found his guest and clearly was not happy to see her. Doubling his steps in got into his living room and then answered, gaining their attention.
“She is my guest.”
Anderson moved passed his angry mother and a smiling Kathleen to stand beside his guest. He would have taken Kathleen in his arms and hugged the life out of her as he missed her a lot, but right now, he had to save his poor guest from his mother’s burning gaze.
He could tell his guest was very relieved to see him from the way her brown eyes bore into his as he walked towards her. He was a bit surprised when he saw her. Her long black hair, falling over part of her face made her look like a character from a horror movie. There were dark circles under eyes and she looked very exhausted. Aside that, his sweater looked good on her. He was considering letting her keep it.
“Who is she?” Mary asked again, placing her bag on the sofa.
“She is my guest.” Anderson replied and then looked at her. He was surprised to find her looking smallish. She stood at his shoulder and had a tiny body.
“Mother, Kathleen…” he glanced between the women and then added. “…meet…” he looked down at her for assistance.
Her head instantly came up and their gazes locked. As if reading his mind, she mouthed her name to him and then he spoke it. “…Sydney.”
“I am not interested to know the name of a slut.” Mary fired and fixed a mean stare on Sydney. “Get out!” She said, slowly and deadly.
Anderson felt her flinched beside him and then stepped back, gasping painfully. He looked at her and saw that she was struggling to stand. Placing the bags on the sofa nearby, he scooped her up into his arms and she gasped, surprised.
She looked at him and he stared back. Something about her eyes captivated him and he did not look away until his mother yelled.
“Get your slut out of this house!”
Anderson’s jaw clenched and his eyes flashed anger. He looked back at his mother with the same amount of resentment she gave to him. He did not want the guest to be even more uncomfortable than she already was, by starting an argument with his mother, so he picked up the bags off the sofa and then headed upstairs with her.
When he got to his room and placed her down on the bed, he apologized. “Am sorry for everything, but please stay here. You can take a shower in there…,” he pointed to the bathroom door. “…there are clothes and food in the bags. I will be right back.”
Anderson moved downstairs and then quickly threw his arms around Kathleen. She hugged him back with the same force and when they separated, he said to her. “You have a lot of explaining to do. Can we meet another time? I want to talk to my mother.”
“Okay, I will call you.” Kathleen smiled at him, hugged Mary one last time and then walked out.
Once the door closed, he focused his eyes on his mother. She was fuming as much as he was.
“What is an engaged man doing with a bimbo?” She yelled.
“She is not a bimbo. Her name is Sydney!” He yelled back.