Tattoos, Tiaras & Thanksgiving

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Chapter 10 - Thanksgiving

Callum

Thanksgiving had finally arrived. It felt like it took an eternity to get to today.

I had little to no sleep last night again, thoughts of Alex and Finn together keeping me up.

Mum had this annoying tradition of having us dress up in our Sunday best for these godforsaken holidays. Today it was just irritating. But then again everything was irritating me after last night.

I fix my tie, staring at my dull reflection in the full-length mirror of my room. I couldn’t be bothered to smile.

Mother won’t be too pleased that I was dressed in black from head to toe. But that’s what my mood was like at the moment, dark and dreary.

I finally make my way downstairs, to find the family already seated at the table.

The tension in the room is so thick you could splice through it with a knife. Finn was sitting opposite from me with a smug smile on his face. Of course, he’d be wearing that smile. He’d just finished shagging the girl I had feelings for.

God, the gross realization that Finn had his grubby paws all over Alex made me sick to my stomach. Even though Finn had no idea that I was in love with Alex, he should’ve known better. He should’ve kept his distance. But clearly that was too big of an ask for my brother, the modern-day Lothario.

I was fuming, nostrils flaring – I could feel the blood rushing to my face. Before I was even aware I was doing it, I noticed that I was poking holes into mother’s table cloth – repeatedly pressing the fork down on the table.

Dad looked at me with confusion marring his face. Mother was oblivious to anything, becoming annoyed at Carlotta taking her sweet time bringing out the turkey.

At this point who cared about the stupid turkey. My heart was in tatters and Finn was to blame. It never occurred to me that Alex had some blame in what happened as well.

“Everything okay Cal?” dad asked

I nodded, forcing a smile. I was behaving like a child.

But then Finn had to open his mouth.

“Are you pouty because dinner’s a bit delayed bro?”

I know it was meant as a joke, but images of Finn and Alex having sex on the cold, concrete floor of the abandoned stable come flashing back in my mind.

Images of his hands caressing her naked, shivering body

Vivid sounds of her crying out in pleasure

I look up at my brother, shooting daggers in his direction. His smile faded. Finn had that dumb look on his face, the same look he had during Math class.

I tossed the fork aside and shot up from my seat.

“How dare you sit there and be so glib?!” I demanded

“What on earth?” Finn’s mouth hung open “What are on about Callum?”

“You’re just using her!” I continued to blurt out random, angry statements “You don’t love her! You don’t love anyone but yourself!”

“Boys, what’s the meaning of this?” dad asks

Carlotta enters the room, hidden behind a huge roasted turkey on a silver platter. Unable to see beyond the large bird, she trips over my chair that now lay scattered in the dining room.

It was all like a scene out of some olden day American holiday comedy, the turkey was sent flying across the room, and Carlotta ended up being rear ended.

And mother could always be depended upon to overdramatize, gasping and shrieking like it was nobody’s business.

“Carlotta! What have you done?!” she gets up from her chair to check on the turkey.

Not even the shenanigans going on around me could dull the fire in the pit of my stomach. I had a score to settle with my little brother. He needed to know what an insensitive oaf he was being.

“You are unbelievable Finn!” I continue on my rant.

He gets up from his seat, leaning with his palms on the table. “What have I done that is so horrible now Saint Callum?”

It was laughable, the audacity of the man.

“I saw you with Alex in the stable last night!” I finally blurt out.

Finn was taken aback by this revelation. He looked unsure of what to do or say next. I’d never seen my brother think his reaction through before. Finn had always been spontaneous in every sense of the word. He answered any difficult or challenging question off the cuff and honest, even if brutally honest.

He leans back removing his hands from the table, running his hand across his face – trying to wipe the shock away.

Dad looked equally stunned. Even mother had stopped picking up garnish from the carpet to stare at me with bulging eyes. She rose to her feet.

“What did you just say?” her eyes welling up with tears.

I regretted my decision to verbally attack my brother instantly. What an idiot I was.

There was a time and place to broach the subject with him. This was not the time and definitely not the place.

“I…I…”

And making me feel even worse, Finn came to my rescue “I had sex with Alex…”

“Finn…” mother gasped

“I’ve been sleeping with her all this while”

My worst fears had been confirmed. Last night wasn’t the first time they had been together. I thought that I was overreacting last night, when I questioned every time that they’d been away at the same time. But my speculation wasn’t far off from the truth.

I puzzled all the pieces together… Alex was the girl Finn met his first night back in Belle Meade.

How could I have been so stupid?

Just as Finn was confessing to all his sins, Alex walks into the room. All eyes were focused on her. She smiled nervously; unaware of what had just happened.

Alex looks around the room – Carlotta dusting herself off while avoiding eye contact with her; Dad trying his level best not to blush and flashing her a concerned father smile; Mother scrutinizing her with a deathly scowl; Finn scratching the back of his head with a wry smile on his lips and me… guilt marred across my face.

I was the reason for all these faces with all their stares.

Alex tries to help Carlotta up from the ground, whispering “Did I miss something?”

Carlotta jerks her arm away, looking at her sister with tears in her eyes.

Hai disonorato la nostra famiglia…” Carlotta looks at Alex with contempt and disgust.

“Carla…”

She turns and picks up dinner from the floor, ignoring her sister.

Alex gives the room the once over again. Finn shrugs and mouths “They know”

Alex’s eyes well up with tears. She looks at me, then at Carlotta. Taking in the destruction her fling with Finn had caused.

“Carla… I…”

Carlotta pushes her way past Alex, leaving the dinner remaining in tatters on the floor. She storms out of the room.

Mother sinks down in her chair; cover her face with her trembling hand.

I felt horrible for causing this. My heart sank as I looked over at Alex. A tear had trickled down her cheek, her bottom lip quivering. She was on the brink of breaking down. Her head dropped, before she turned on her heels and scampered out of the room.

Finn rushed after her.

I knew he just wanted to check if she was okay, but another rush of jealousy crept over me. I followed him out of the room.

They were outside on the back porch. He had his hands on her shoulder.

I stood in the doorway, eavesdropping on their conversation.

“Are you okay?”

She didn’t turn to face him. I could hear the sadness in her voice, she was still crying. “How did they find out?”

He squeezes her shoulders gently, “Callum…” he sucks in a deep breath before continuing “… he saw us last night…”

She turns to face him.

Like a spy I retrieve, hiding behind the door skirting.

“He saw us having sex in the stable…” Finn runs a hand through his hair “I think… I think Callum is in love with you…”

Finn paces to and fro on the porch. “I can’t believe I hurt my brother like that… we always swore to each other… that we would never let a girl come between us… and now…”

“I should never have come here…” she shakes her head, tears streaming down her face now “I hurt Callum, I’ve ruined things between the two of you and I’ve disappointed Carla… and did you see the look on your mother’s face…”

I hated seeing Alex so upset. I never meant for this to happen. All the tears she was shedding all because of me and I hated that.

Finn wrapped his arms around her. I watched as she buried her head in his chest. I watched how he comforted her.

“Listen to me… you did nothing wrong.” I watch on as they stare into each other’s eyes.

Could I have been wrong? Did they really have feelings for each other? Was it more than just a fling?

“What we had may have been purely physical…” he smiles “but babe… you’re a good person… you came here wanting a new start…”

He wipes at the tears on her cheeks.

I drop my head, having had enough of witnesses the two of them together; I slam my back against the wall. Even when I closed my eyes, I could still see the two of them together.

How was I ever going to get over this?

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