A brother (Chapter 24)
“I’m difficult?!” My voice is shrill even to my ears “I’ve been taken from my home, taken from everything I have ever known, family, friends- my life! And then I was told I not only had to live in an alien land, but I have to have sex and babies with a complete stranger.” I gesture at a stunned Giddean “I am not difficult, if anything I am a freaking angel! I haven’t destroyed anything, I haven’t tried to escape-you-you kidnapped me!”
A tear of frustration slips out of one of my eyes and I wipe it away quickly. This is no time for weakness. I see the man from the garden cross his arms and purse his lips as he looks down at me with appraising dark alien eyes
The office feels darker than the rest of the house, if only because of the dark wood furniture that looks like it has been shellacked and polished beyond reason. Someone must have organized because Giddean’s desk while still full, has papers and books organized in small piles. Although a few piles have migrated to floor which is covered in an intricate deep red and pale blue rug.
“Not you-you” I correct quickly, “but you people kidnapped me and then you dare call me difficult! I could give you a swift kick in the balls and you would have no right to call me difficult.”
The man from the garden raises his eyebrows and glances towards Giddean, “Well I think the threat of violence wasn’t necessary.”
I shake my head, “I didn’t-”
Giddean quickly interrupts, “he wasn’t saying that you are difficult, Ivy, he was saying being your guard would be difficult because of issues that have nothing to do with you.”
“Oh” was all I could force out.
“Yes, ‘oh’” Giddean nods, “Now, Ivy this is my half-brother Sean.” Giddean pushes off from the desk and stands tall as he waves his hand towards his brother.
I look at the man from the garden, Sean. I see it now. I see the same dark hair and dark eyes, although he has broader shoulders and a tougher looked then the more polished Giddean. His arms are crossed and he has a dark expression on his face that matches his dark eyes.
Sean slightly bows his head at me, “Mrs. Senator”.
“Um…” I look quizzically at Giddean. During our integration lessons on the spaceship from earth they explained the formal ways of addressing others on Pinn, the different rules were complicated, but family was allowed to use first names. Sean, Giddean’s brother, addressed me with my formal address. I rack my brain through my lessons. Crap.
“Nice to meet you” I chicken out and avoid addressing him altogether. I hate the constant awkwardness I feel. I’m always making a mess of social situations and where I use to be confident in my social interactions, I now feel unsure. I can only imagine how many people I will offend before I understand the customs of this alien planet.
“Sean will be showing you around town from now on” Giddean informs me.
Sean uncrosses his arms only to clench his fists by his side, “I didn’t agree to-“
Giddean interrupts his speech, “we both know you will take the position if only to get away from my mother.”
Sean doesn’t reply, but simply recrosses his arms and narrows his eyes.
“And Garth?” I ask hoping that Giddean confirms that I don’t have to deal with the grumpy man again.
I breathe a sigh of relief. Garth made me uncomfortable. It wasn’t his grumpy demeanor, that I could handle, but his superiority complex. I felt like every minor issue was attributed to my femaleness, every complication explained by my sex, while nothing could be explained by his neglect. I don’t know if his mother abandoned him or a woman spit in his coffee, but he was not someone I wanted to spend a lot of time with.
Giddean just watches me.
“You are fucking rewarding him for bad behavior” Sean turns to Giddean, interrupting Giddean’s examination. Damn he sounds annoyed.
“It’s my choice”
I hear Sean huff, letting us know what he thinks of Giddean’s choice, but he says nothing else.
After a moment of silence, Giddean looks at me “Did you need something Ivy?”
“uh, yeah.” I mumble. I was eavesdropping, but I mean I wasn’t going to just admit to that. “I wanted to speak with you” I force out.
Yeah, I wanted to talk to him. I wasn’t sure at all this was the best time, between my little blow-up and what seemed like a fun conversation with Sean, I’m not sure Giddean was in a state of mind to be open to my ideas.
Giddean nods. “Sean” he says effectively dismissing him.
Through his narrow eyes, Sean gives Giddean a look before using his long legs to storm out of the room. I have just enough time to step aside so he can exit through the door frame.
Giddean is examining me again, trying to read my intent.
I lick my lips in nervousness, “I uh… I want to discuss this” I point between us.
Giddean sits down in his large leather desk chair with a small creak and then waves at me, “discuss away”
I walk forward in the room to stand before the desk like a schoolchild before a principal.
Even sitting down he is an intimidating man. He looks like a powerful business man or a sophisticated mafia leader who would crush you for looking at him the wrong way. Maybe he has that kind of power as a Senator, I wouldn’t know.
He also looks tired and worn, older than he appeared just last night. This is such a bad idea.
“I want a say”
“Who said you didn’t have one?”
“I’m treated like a child who can’t do anything without a babysitter” I take a deep breath before proceeding, “I want independence.”