16: What a Handsome Man He Could Be, My Step-Brother!
PoV Sarah :
I kept my eyes wide open for a moment shocked by what I was seeing, how is that possible? Why is my dad on this screen?
- “You’re probably wondering why I made this video, right ? Well first of all, if you’re seeing me here on this screen, it means that I am no longer part of this world...“. I got closer to the screen without removing my eyes from it. My father knew he was going to die? Why? How? Dad stayed silent for a moment probably trying to think of what he was going to say. His stare was vacant, he kept his fingers crossed on his desk and his face seemed sad and tired, he seemed...overwhelmed.
Yet, I had never noticed it before. Were my parents pretending that everything was fine when everything was going wrong? Were the smiles shared at each meal not real? I began to memorize all the good moments I thought I was sharing with my family, was I living in an illusion where I thought I was the only one that mattered?
- “Sarah, what I am about to tell you will certainly change your vision of things. First of all, I would like to apologize, I’m sorry to impose this heavy responsibility on you. You are everything I have and the only one I could trust. You should know that no one can see this ″video″ except you, thanks to the cat that I brought from Japan, it might look like a simple decoration but it’s a brilliant system that can record your prints and identify them the second time you touch it, and I already asked you to put your fingers for a moment on it, remember ?“. I looked at the statue in absolute confusion. So it means that when I touched this...cat, it identified my prints and activated some sort of a system that can allow me to watch the last video that my father did specially for me? Oh god...
-“I know you may feel a little surprised but the worst is yet to come. You have probably noticed the appearance of some incomprehensible papers, right? They will be the main reason for my death. Everyone wanted them, Everyone...to reach the precious jewel of our family. But these papers can not be deciphered without the knowledge of certain signs. Indeed, these papers are coded. I was receiving many death threats lately and that’s why I’m doing this video. This person will do whatever it takes to steal these papers and I know that he will go after you too to reach his goals”. He stopped for a moment looking down. This person? He? Going after me? What in the world is happening? I’m shaking from dad’s words. Did he know the person that killed him? And if he was receiving death threats, why didn’t he tell the authorities about that? So many questions are jostling in my head and I don’t know where to put myself...I looked at my father’s face with tears in my eyes, I miss him so much, and seeing him shaking like that and looking at me with a desperately tired stare is shattering my heart.
-“I miss you so much, daddy !“. I want him to hug me like he always did and reassure me with kind words like he was doing when I couldn’t sleep because of my illness.
I miss him...I miss him so bad and I can’t do anything about that. My tears began to flow as I was getting closer to the screen, reducing the distance between us to a few centimeters.
-” Sarah darling...I...“. He covered his eyes with his hand and as if he was with me feeling my pain, a tear started running down his left cheek. He composed himself seconds later, rubbing his red eyes and finally facing me through his camera.
-“I’m demising all my fortune to you, everything will be poured on your account when you reach eighteen !“. I wiped my tears and tried to stay focused on what dad was saying but seeing that he was thinking about me even when he was in a critical position made me cry more than before.
-“I don’t care about your damn fortune dad! I don’t care about anything! Why did you have to leave me, you and mom? Wasn’t there a better way to dodge all these dramatic situations? Didn’t you think of what could happen to me after you leave me?“. I screamed in pain, falling on my knees, and trying to catch my breath. All the pain I thought I could handle after these six months of dealing with my parents’ death, is crashing at my heart like a grenade and blowing it up into small pieces again.
God, I feel so lonely...Make it go away, please...
-“Could you do me a favor, Sarah ?“. I looked up to the screen devastated. My dad was still looking at me, like he was in front of me, with the same lost and vacant stare.
-“I want you to find those papers and burn them to ashes! Make an end to this treasure hunt Sarah! Eighteen years ago, before you were born, I made the mistake of not trying to look for this diamond and now I’m paying the consequences. I should’ve found it and sold it before it went too far but I thought that leaving it in its place and not trying to get involved with this mess will spare me all the problems but now I realize I was wrong. Your grandfather said that it was the legacy of our family and we must not sell it for any cost but now it’s getting too dangerous to leave it like that...I want you to live happily Sarah, I don’t want you to live in fear like I did”. My dad forced himself to smile.
I don’t get it, why is he asking me to burn those papers while he could’ve done it when he was alive? My uncle told me that my dad succeeded in finding the exact emplacement of this stupid diamond and that’s why my grandfather chooses dad over him. Maybe he didn’t know where it was exactly. After all, my uncle gave me the only document that my father was possessing, another was with this unknown person before my aunt took it and hide it from me and the rest...I don’t know.
-“People will be ready to kill to have it, your grandfather and I are the greatest proof. Be careful, Sarah! Never have full trust of the others, so many people will stay with you just to take advantage of you, you’ll never be safe enough...“. My dad got up from his chair and squat down in front of the camera, letting me see his ocean eyes. They were the same as mine...
-“I love you, Sarah, you and your mother were my only guide in this life and I regret so much not spending more time with you two”. He looked down for a moment crossing his fingers then whispered :
-“Take good care of your mom, will you ? I know you will, ’cause you’re the best daughter a dad could ever ask for...I love you so much...“. He tried to smile but tears began to flow down his cheeks and that was the last image I had from my father before the screen went black.
-“Mom died with you, dad”. I whispered before bursting into tears again.
I don’t know what to think, my feelings are shattered and my thoughts are completely lost. After a minute of crying like a baby, I got up with difficulty to put the remote in the drawer. My aunt should be coming soon and I don’t want her to see me here in this tragic situation.
When I closed the drawer and knelt to place the dropped books in their old place in the library, a thin dictionary attracted my attention.
It was different from any book I could’ve read. Written by hand, the pages were very damaged as if this book dated for a long time and there were strange brown spots on it that looked like...dried blood ?!
- “The Guide To Our Legacy”. I could’ve read, I inspected the book and found the same writing that was on the incomprehensible papers. Can this manual help me to know where the red diamond is?
Suddenly, I heard the door slam, and my aunt’s voice echoing downstairs.
- “Sarah, can you come please ?! “. I took the strange book and left the room quickly.
- “Yes, yes I’m coming”. I hid the handbook in my room and went down the stairs at a crazy speed.
-” Watch out ! “. I slid on the last stair which made me fall on my back. My aunt put down the bags she was carrying on the ground and ran towards me.
- “Sarah are you okay ? “. She looked at me anxiously and I raised my thumb to say that I’m fine.
-” Not even hurt “. She let out a small laugh and helped me to get up.
- “Here, I found the key you were looking for”. I handed her the key and she looked surprised.
- “Thank you but, where did you find it ? I looked for it everywhere”.
- “In the bathroom, under the doormat”. I lied. She seemed surprised but didn’t bother to ask again.
- “Oh ok, thank you...wait were you crying ?“. She frowned.
-“No...I think I caught a cold”. I said with a broken voice.
-“Oh come here. I’ll make you a hot drink, you’ll feel good the second after”. She wrapped her arm around my neck, leading me to the kitchen.
″ Be careful, Sarah! Never have full trust of the others, so many people will stay with you just to take advantage of you, you’ll never be safe enough ″.
Who are the people that my father was talking about? Is my aunt one of them?
I feel like the more I trust, the more I invest in my own disappointment.
PoV Noelle :
I was sitting on the couch watching an episode of my favorite American sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle”, laughing like a crazy girl and annoying my step-brother, in the way. I can’t help if this sick family makes me laugh all the time.
- “Give me that”. Taylor snatched the remote from my hands and changed the channel.
- “Hey, are you insane ? I wanted to know how Dewey was doing to keep his fish alive ! “. I tried to take the remote from his hands but he avoided each of my tries.
- “Sorry babe, but there’s an important match tonight, I’m not going to miss it because of your stupid series “. Oh, so you wanna play with me? All right, we’ll play.
I got up from the couch and unplugged the socket of the TV, he glared at me and I shrugged.
- “Next time you’ll watch your mouth when you talk about my favorite series”. I gave him a fake smile and he rolled his eyes while sighing.
- “Ding-Dong”. The sound of the bell ringing made me jump. It was pretty late to have a visit and the parents had just left, maybe they forgot something in the house.
I was going to open it when someone pulled my arm towards the sofa making me sit on it brutally.
-“You know what ?! You can watch, I have something better to do”. Taylor hurried to open the door and my surprise was huge when I discovered that the person behind the door was none other than Jessica, Britney’s ex-best friend. When Taylor ditched this poor Britney, her friend didn’t hesitate to turn around her ex. I write most of the articles in the magazine of our high school, so I have the right to know everything that could happen there.
- “Hey Jess, you’re pretty early ! “. WHAT? Don’t tell me he’s the one who invited her? So this was the better thing to do...Asshole!
- “I wanted to spend more time with you, sweetheart !“. She smiled falsely. Sweet what? I almost lost my breath because of her stupidity. Not even a half-day went by from the break up of her friend, and she’s already in it, and look at this idiot who is smiling like a jerk, like he was going to have the best time of his life. Strangely, I felt the disgust mixed with the anger that was going to make me explode at any time.
“What is she doing here ? “. I glared at Taylor, without giving any attention to this slut who steals the boyfriends of her best friends. As for her, she didn’t feel any discomfort to scrutinize me with her long false eyelashes.
- “Well, it’s a long story ...“. He scratched his neck, seemed to be embarrassed at not being able to tell me what kind of long story they had. A slight bitterness tightened my heart a bit, reminding me of the days when I was angry at him and I don’t understand why. He can do whatever he wants, it doesn’t concern me but, there is something in me that doesn’t want things to happen like that, something I can’t explain and it makes me more annoyed than before...
- “Well you’ll carry your long story OUTSIDE ! “. I pushed Taylor out of the house before he even realized it and hurried to lock the door.
- “Hey ! Are you insane ?! Open the door, Noelle !“. I heard him screaming and swearing at me but I paid no attention.
- “Noelle please, stop pissing me off !“.
- “I will NOT open as long as the girl next to you doesn’t get out of here !“. I screamed.
- “Well sorry Jess, it will be for another time”. When I heard the″ it will be for another time ″ my heart tightened. Why the hell do I care for that? He can sleep with whomever he wants, his night conquests have never interested me, so why do I feel this heaviness in my chest?
- “Oh ! Okay sweetheart, I only hope you can handle this monster”. Me, a monster? Try to see your face without makeup, bitch!
I heard the sound of a smack and then heels moving away.
- ” Noelle, open ! She left ! “. No matter how many times he was begging me, I was still having this feeling of bitterness in me and strangely, I wanted him to suffer.
-” NO ! “.
- “WHAT ?! Are you fucking serious? Open the door or I’ll smash it! “. He screamed.
- “Break the door and it’s your father who’ll kick you out of the house forever”. He stayed silent for a moment, finally understanding the situation I put him in.
-” Okay...What do you want me to do?“. He said with a calmer tone.
- “I want you to sing for me”. I said with a smile that he couldn’t see.
-“What about that popular children’s song...What was his name ? Baby...BABY SHARK, THAT’S IT !“. I said after a moment of thinking. That would be the best revenge I could ever do for everything he has done to me!
- “WHAT? DID YOU SMOKE ? I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT SONG YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT ! “. He said nervously. Hahaha, you won’t get me!
-” The song you keep repeating when you’re shaving your beard the morning and when you’re going to sleep”. I said with amusement in my voice.
-“Noelle, I swear to god you’re gonna pay for this !“. He hit the door and sighed. I bet the whole neighborhood is having a nice time watching him going mad like that. Well done for him, he’ll think twice before bringing his “One-night stand” at home.
-” OK I’ll do it but, you’ll open the door right after”. He finally gave up after minutes of insulting me and I was already laughing like a madwoman. I pulled my cell phone out of my jeans to record his voice, I feel like it’s going to be the funniest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
- “I Promise”. I said trying to calm myself before bursting into laughter.
He started humming the song for children while I was suffocating from laughing.
-” Sing LOUDER, I can’t hear you !“. I said sticking my phone to the door to make the record of his voice better.
-” SHUT THE FUCK UP NOELLE ! I’M GOING TO BEAT THE HELL OUT OF YOU !“. He screamed and I burst into laughter again. Hearing him being so upset makes him so funny and I enjoy every second of it.
-” Just do it or you’ll stay out!“. I said trying to be serious, in vain.
-“I swear to god you’re gonna regret it, Noelle”. He sighed loudly and started singing the song.
Oh my gosh! I can’t breathe!
I had so many cramps in my stomach from laughing that I couldn’t stand correctly and had to sit against the front door to catch my breath.
Once he finished singing - all good things have an end - I pressed the “record button” on my cell phone, wiped my eyes that were drowning in their tears, and opened the door for him.
- “Noelle you’re a bitch!“. He glared at me and if eyes could kill, I would be already on the floor suffocating.
- “Well done for you ! I hope it will serve you as a lesson, stupid idiot !“. I smiled at him innocently and he was still looking at me with his angry dark stare, then his gaze went to my hand or my cell phone I would say precisely.
-” Noelle you didn’t fucking dare ?! “. I looked around me to see where to hide and started running while holding my phone firmly in my hand.
- “Noelle stop playing like a damn kid !“. He started to run after me and I was avoiding him as fast as I could. I jumped around the house and dodged all the obstacles that were on my way while watching Tay’ from the corner of my eye. We found ourselves face to face around the kitchen table.
- “It’s going to be a great scoop! Taylor singing his favorite children’s song “Baby Shark”. Everyone will want to buy the school’s review because of you, thank you so much, brother ! “. I winked at him and he looked at me with wide eyes as if he thought I was joking. No honey, I never joke when it comes to my work.
- “I swear to you that if you do that, You’ll never see the light agai... !“. And before he even finished his threat, I went out of the kitchen to escape from him again. My run ended when I entered the living room. I started to get tired and Taylor took that opportunity to pull me on the sofa. The situation in which I found myself with him was so embarrassing that I forgot the main reason for his chase after me for a moment. He was on top of me, and his face was so close to mine that I could see the color of his eyes. He tackled my two hands upwards and pressed his legs against mine. I widened my eyes surprised by this sudden rapprochement. His big brown eyes didn’t leave any part of my face that they didn’t examine, then he pressed his forehead against mine, delicately. The beats of my heart were accelerating more and more as I was admiring the features of his beautiful face.
In a quick move, he took my phone from my right hand and I didn’t fight back, too captivated by the feeling of tickles of his fingers on my hand that gave me chills all along my body.
- ” Seriously, what am I going to do with you ?!” “. He whispered, I felt the red suddenly rising to my face and my heart racing. Why is he so close to me? His forehead was still bond on mine and I could’ve felt his warm breath on my face. After a moment of a deep analysis of my eyes that seemed like a lifetime to me, he got up while sighing, threw my cell phone on the sofa, and left the room without a word leaving me alone with my perplexity. Why is he behaving so coldly when just a few seconds ago he was eating me with his eyes? And worse than that, I can’t believe that I didn’t push him away, I was even staring at him without saying any word...
But what a handsome man he could be, my step-brother!