One Murder For Another

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Chapter 16

“Mom.” Mina breathed out, staring astonished at the two figures of her parents in the entryway. She had hoped she had been seeing ghosts, but the arms that wrapped tightly around her torso and pulled her in for hug felt all to real. There hadn’t been a single text, not one phone call, the only indication of their existence the bright yellow sticky note they had left for her on the fridge on the first day of school, and now they were back, standing in front her with smug smiles on their faces as if they hadn’t just abandoned for a week and a half.

“Hello sweetheart!” her mom cooed, squeezing her tightly in her embrace and it took all of Mina’s self-control not to push her away in annoyance.

“Ugh” she sighed, pulling away. “It feels so good to be back home again. I feel like your father and I were gone forever.” The irony of her mother’s words weren’t lost on Mina and she struggled to suppress a smart remark that she was sure she would regret later.

“Cameron dear-” she was speaking to her father now and Mina was glad for the lack of attention. “What time do we have to be at that charity dinner at the Winston’s tonight?”

“You’re going out to dinner?” Mina bellowed before her father could even open his mouth in an attempt to answer his wife’s question. “You just got back!”

“I know sweetheart, but it’s not really like we have a choice.” Her mother cooed, grabbing her arms in an attempt to reassure her that was failing terribly. “You know that we wouldn’t leave unless we absolutely have to.” Her hand caressed the side of Mina’s face, but she shrugged off the contact with a grimace. Everything seemed to be more important than her.

“Of course” she muttered under her breath in response, though she knew her parents had heard her by the scoff that had emanated from her father.

“It’s work bug.” he shrugged his shoulders, as if those three words justified everything. They could afford to miss a day of work, they could afford a break, they just weren’t interested. Now both her parents were staring her down, both sporting disapproving looks on their faces. Her mother tutted, reaching out to stroke Mina’s chin with her thumb, and this time she was unable to avoid the contact.

“I didn’t know you had company over Mina?” Her father quipped and suddenly Mina remembered the tall skinny boy she had left in the hallway. She had never turned around so fast in her life.

“Who’s this young man?” Her mother was gazing curiously upon Khalil’s figure with intense interest now, and Mina didn’t miss the obvious subjective look she had given his homely appearance. She was clearly not impressed at her daughter’s choice of company.

“Um-” she looked back and forth between her parent’s curious stares and Khalil’s anxiously jittering figure with horror. “This i-is Khalil” she stuttered out. “He’s a school....friend.” She never broke contact with Khalil’s caramel eyes as she spoke, nervously gesturing for him to close the mile long distance he had established between him and her parents. He walked slowly concern written across his face along with another emotion that strangely resembled anger, but Mina couldn’t understand why he could be angry at her parents seeing as he had never even met them before. Maybe all the stories of her childhood she had fed him with were enough to make him angry for her. That would be sweet.

“Hi” he spoke shyly, his left hand immediately moving to clutch his dad’s pendent around his neck and Mina had to resist the strong urge to wrap her arms around him.

“It’s nice to meet you Khalil.” Mina’s dad extended his hand and Khalil, rather reluctantly, returned the gesture, though apprehension was still strewn across his face.

“Y-you as well” he stuttered. There was taunt silence for only a moment before Khalil began to spew hurriedly, still tripping over his words nervously. “Um-” he scratched the back of his head, discomfort written across his face. Mina felt exactly how he looked.

“I-I should probably get - um- get going. My parents are probably going to start calling any second.” Mina pursed her lips tightly together at the mention of Khalil’s lie.

“Of course dear. Of course” Mina’s mom plastered a faux smile on her face as she gave Khalil one last judgmental glare.

“I’ll walk you out.” Khalil nodded silently as Mina grabbed his free hand that wasn’t gripping onto his parent’s heirlooms in desperation, giving her parents a curt and tight smile as she dragged him past the both of them and towards the front door. She could feel their eyes boring into she and Khalil’s figures as they pushed past, but she didn’t dare speak until they were both standing out of earshot on the front steps.

“Hey, are you ok?”

“Fine.”

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“Not a ghost just-” he paused. “Just another pair of judgy, pretentious rich people.” he scoffed, and as soon as the words had left his mouth he began to apologize. “I didn’t mean that Mina! I’m-I’m sorry I-”

“It’s fine!” Mina shook her head unobliging, acknowledging the truth in Khalil’s rants. Over the course of 17 years, she had said far worse things about her parents. “Nothing you said wasn’t true. I’m just sorry that I’m related to them.”

Khalil chuckled. “Me too!” he agreed.

“Do you really have to go?” Mina questioned, the sheer disappointment in her voice evident and she was sure she had seen a small smirk pulling on the sides of Khalil’s lips. “We didn’t even get to work on your assignment.”

“Next time, yeah?”

“Next time?”

“Yeah. Unless of course your parents are going to throw a temper tantrum if they see us together again.” he laughed, and Mina mimicked the gesture.

“Oh my mom definitely will, but that’s what makes it even more fun isn’t it?”

“I’ll see you tomorrow Mina.”

“Bye Khalil.”

The high Mina had been riding all day with Khalil had suddenly disapparated as the booming sound of her oak front door closing brought her crashing back down into reality.

“Where’d you find him from?” Mina groaned aloud at the sheer ignorance of her mother’s question. A person wasn’t defined by their wealth, but of course if she tried to tell her mother that she would have to endure a never ending, headache inducing lecture.

“Dedra.” her dad reprimanded and Mina gave him a soft smile as she pushed past them and back into the kitchen trying to ignore them both, but of course her mom followed with her dad trailing right behind her.

“I didn’t find him mom.” Mina sighed, moving back to the kitchen island where she grabbed the plates and cups that she and Khalil had been eating from, padding over to the sink in frustration. “He’s my classmate!”

“He goes to.....Palm Valley.”

“Dedra!” her dad exclaimed again, though of course she didn’t listen to him. She didn’t listen to anyone.

Mina slammed down the dishes in the sink now. “Yes mom! He goes to Palm Valley.” she gritted her teeth in annoyance.

“Mhmmm” she hummed in interest. “His parents must be very influential people.”

“Something like that.” Mina quipped, her back still towards her parents as she rinsed the dishes out in the sink.

“He seems like a very nice boy.” Her dad spoke, attempting to alleviate the tension that hung in the air. It didn’t work.

“Yeah. I’m not sure if I would let him dress like that if he were my son though.”

Turning around on her toes seething with anger, Mina gripped the sink behind her tightly, trying to balance herself and calm her rising aggravation at her mother’s words.

“Are you serious!” she exclaimed

“Lower your tone young lady!” Mina rolled her eyes. “I’m not sure who you think you’re talking to with that attitude, but I suggest you fix it....and fast!”

“What? Just because Khalil doesn’t spend hundreds of dollars on his appearance like you do, I can’t hang out with him? Just because he isn’t sucked up into all-” she paused thinking before she gestured to all the material possessions everything around her. “-all this we can’t be friends?”

“Frankly...no!” she crossed her arms over her chest as if she was the one getting aggravated now and the irony of the situation wasn’t lost on Mina. She had to resist the strong urge to laugh at the sheer stupidity of their argument. “How does Asher feel about all of this.”

“This isn’t about Asher! He has nothing to do with this!” but even as the words left her mouth, Mina couldn’t suppress the guilt that threatened to rise up in the pit of her stomach like bile.

“Doesn’t he?”

Shut up. Shut up. Shut up.

“He’s your boyfriend Mina. He’s your boyfriend, but instead of spending time with him you’re home alone hanging out with a boy who looks like a high school dropout who

“Mina, sweetheart.” her dad’s soft voice replaced the seething tension that had filled the room . “How about next time you want to have friends over you just ask, ok?”

Mina couldn’t resist this time, all her pent up rage spilling over in a fit of insane laughter.

“Who am I supposed to ask!” she was yelling at the top of her lungs now, her eyes burning with the imminent threat of tears. “Huh? The statues in the hallway! The walls!”

“Mina-”

“No! Really dad.” she cut him off before he could finish his thought. “Who? Who am I supposed to ask, because the two of you are never around! Never!” She was practically screaming now.

“Mina!” It was her mom this time who tried to cut her off, but Mina didn’t hesitate to bulldoze over her just as she had done her dad. She was in no mood for their antics today.

“You don’t get to pick and choose when you want to be involved in my life, that’s not how parenting works. So you guys just let me know when you decide to come off those high horses that you sit on and actually pay attention to your daughter.” She didn’t wait for a response, instead storming out of the kitchen and up the stairs in haste, taking care to stomp her feet dramatically as she pounded through the halls. She slammed her door shut with a thud, plopping down onto her bed with an inaudible cry, and she could no longer repress the tears burning behind her eyes. Lying on her stomach, she wept into her sheets silently, choking on her own anguish and she began to cry harder as she realized she was in a fight with the only person she wanted to talk to. Noah always understood, but there was no use crying over spilt milk.

Rolling over on her side, Mina grabbed her phone from where it sat on the bedside table, and, without thinking, she hit the call button.

A/N:

Would you guys want a song list for each chapter? Each song would be an embodiment of what happens in the chapter, or if you guys don’t like that idea I could always just find some gifs to put in as well. Comment which one you guys want.

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