I hate funerals. The whole concept is creepy and pointless. And when it’s a wealthy, important person who died, all the other wealthy, important people dress up in their expensive clothes and jewellery to come out and pretend they care.
I glanced around the packed church. It was standing room only for the final farewell to my father and stepmother. Who were all these people? How many actually knew my dad personally?
Leave it to my old man to write his own eulogy. The minister droned on, his enthusiasm waning by the time he finished reading five pages of bullshit about my father’s achievements.
I squeezed Ellie’s hand when the minister called her up to deliver her eulogy. My sister was an amazing kid. When she informed us she was planning to speak at the service, I was blown away. And she wouldn’t let me read her speech!
“Good morning,” she began, taking her place behind the microphone. “I’m Eloise Hollingbrook. Most of you knew Orland Hollingbrook as a shrewd businessman and pillar of the community. My father was involved with many charities throughout his life, donating his time and money to the causes near and dear to his heart. He employed thousands of people across the nation, providing them with excellent wages and benefits. But I’m not up here today to eulogize Orland Hollingbrook, the businessman. I’m here to share memories of Orland Hollingbrook, the father. My father. And my best friend.”
I glanced over at Kinley. She was staring straight ahead, her mouth set in a firm line. My father didn’t deserve the send off he was getting. Nor did his wife. What would people say if I went up there and announced that my father was a rapist?
I wouldn’t, of course. I had to keep my hatred in check for Ellie. She knew what he did, and she still loved him and idolized him. How could she do that? What else was in those letters? I had a feeling she wasn’t sharing every secret she’d discovered.
“My father was eighty-one when I was born. But he didn’t let that stop him from being an amazing father. He took me under his wing, teaching me everything about the family business. We travelled the world together, providing me with the opportunity to explore other cultures and gain an appreciation for the beauty of diversity. I’ve lived more in twelve years than most people will in an entire lifetime. I’ve attended meetings with famous CEOs, dined in five-star restaurants. I met the President of the United States when I was six-years-old. Barack Obama was still president. I have met Donald Trump, though.”
She paused, releasing a little chuckle. The audience joined her in laughter, clearly captivated with her speech. Ellie was an amazing speaker.
“Orland Hollingbrook had flaws. Who doesn’t? But he’s gone. And today is about celebrating his remarkable life. I’ve chosen to remember the man I knew. Not the man he was before I was born. My father facilitated a propitious start to my life. I’m only twelve, and I’m already working on my undergraduate degree in business. My father bestowed me with the intelligence and the financial means to do anything I set my mind to. And I will be forever grateful to him.”
She sniffled, wiping away a few stray tears that leaked out.
Well, my little sister wasn’t a robot after all.
“I would ask you to please remember that my father wasn’t the only person who was lost that terrible night. My mother, Susan Davenport Hollingbrook, was only forty-seven. She was a bright, shining star in my life. My mother was full of life and energy. She loved game shows and soap operas. I inherited my creativity from her. When I’m not crunching numbers, I love to paint. Thanks Mom, for passing that talent to me.”
My wicked stepmother could paint? That was news to me. I never saw that woman pick up a paintbrush in the entire time I lived with her.
“And let us not forget Lance Strong, our long-time driver and loyal employee, who also lost his life in the accident that took my parent’s lives. Finally, please pray for Jason Bickwell and his family. He was just a teenager. He made a mistake, and he paid for it with his life.”
How could my sister be so forgiving?
I climbed the rickety ladder, choosing the risk of broken bones over an encounter with my mother. The treehouse on the ninth hole of The Hollingbrook Golf & Country Club was legendary. I used to sneak up there with my buddies to drink when I was a teenager. I scored more times than I could remember in that treehouse. When you owned the Country Club, it wasn’t too hard to find chicks.
Somebody had been there recently. The treehouse was clean. And there was a futon! How on earth did they get it up there? Was it employees of the club who were using it as a make out spot? There was even a blanket folded neatly on one end.
I jumped when I heard Kinley’s voice. “Are you hiding up here?” she asked, hoisting herself from the top of the ladder.
“Careful, sweetheart,” I cautioned, holding out my hand.
“I’m thirty-one, Harland. Not ninety. I can still climb a ladder to a treehouse.”
“Did you follow me out here?”
“Yes,” she said, straightening her black skirt. “I saw you sneak out the side door.”
“I don’t feel up to a visit with my mother today.”
“I doubt she’ll leave without talking to you.”
“A guy can dream.”
“When’s the last time you talked to her?”
“I’m not sure,” I replied, trying not to think about the likelihood of multiple semen stains as I flopped down on the futon. “It’s been a couple years. I think the last time I heard from her was when she called to tell me got married again.”
“How many times is that?”
“Fuck if I know,” I muttered. “I lost count after the fourth one.”
“Someone should tell her you don’t wear fuschia to a funeral.”
“That’s my mother,” I laughed, shaking my head. “Who are you hiding from?”
She joined me on the futon, releasing a long sigh. “No one in particular.”
“Did anyone ask why you left all those years ago?”
“This entire day is strange. It feels so unreal.”
“I know. I don’t think it fully sunk in until today that my dad is gone.”
“That’s exactly how I feel,” she said softly, brushing some dirt from her skirt. “I always hoped that someday Mom and I would see each other again, and I’d forgive her. And now that will never happen.”
“C’mere,” I whispered.
She rested her head on my shoulder, a slow cascade of tears rolling down her cheeks. “Sorry,” she sobbed.
“Don’t apologize for crying. She was your mother. And I wasn’t lying about her being devastated when you ran away.”
“Then why didn’t she come to Rochester? She knew where I was. Why did she choose him over her own daughter?”
“I think we both know the answer to that.”
“I’m sorry I ran off last night.”
“It’s no problem. Things got a little out of control. I never meant for it to get that far. You weren’t ready.”
“You still wanna go through with this sex thing?”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“I left you in an uncomfortable state.”
“I took care of it.”
She gazed up at me, her beautiful emerald eyes full of sadness and need. I leaned down, capturing her lips with a tender kiss.
“Will you touch me?” she whispered.
“Like, touch you, touch you?”
“Like, you mean?”
“Are you sure?”
“It’s very disrespectful to sneak off at a funeral and fool around,” I said. “Seems like a fitting, final fuck you to my father.”
“I think so.”
I kissed her again, thrusting my tongue between her lips while I slipped my hand under her skirt. My fingers skimmed over the lacy edge of her thigh high, the feel of her warm, creamy flesh turning my cock to granite.
“Don’t think, just feel,” I murmured, stroking her through her panties. I slipped a finger under the elastic, sliding it through her wetness. “You’re so wet.”
“It feels good,” she whispered, gazing into my eyes while I rubbed her clit with my thumb. “I can’t believe my stepbrother is feeling me up in a treehouse, at our parent’s funeral reception.”
“We are a class act,” I chuckled, warmth spreading through my chest when she grinned. “You have a beautiful smile, Kinley.”
“You have a talented finger, Harland.”
“Wait until you see what I can do with my tongue, sweetheart.”
I devoured her mouth with a hungry kiss, her whimpers and wetness telling me she was definitely aroused and ready for more. I circled her entrance, my finger slipping inside her tight channel. She gasped, spreading her legs wider, her hips rocking as my finger probed deeper, sliding to the knuckle.
The sound of old wood creaking penetrated the horny fog in my brain, a flash of fuschia triggering a stream of profanity from my mouth as I removed my hand from under Kinley’s skirt.
“Well, well, well,” my mother drawled, perching at the top of the ladder, a smug grin on her heavily made up face. “Like mother, like daughter.”