- Genre: Romance
- Age: 18+
- Status: Completed
- Language: English
- Author: David Fox
I lean my head back and look out the window. It’s almost dawn, the time when blue turns pink at the edges. The new color creeps up until it has completely chewed up the dark and then spits the sun out. It happens so fast, a blink and you’ve missed it. That’s probably why I’m still wide awake-I can never sleep when I travel. Or it could be because of the four coffees I downed earlier and the headache I’ve been trying to ignore for the past few hours. I swear the stupid drive from the airport’s endless.
Don’t get me wrong - I’m not excited to get anywhere, I just need a shower and a smoke. The latter definitely won’t make the taste in my mouth less sour, besides I won’t get one anytime soon, cause I was stupid enough to throw the pack away once we landed and I regret it by the minute. I know. Olivia doesn’t check my stuff anymore at least, but still. I can’t predict when she might get paranoid again and start searching and lecturing until my head goes numb. It’s like a limb you’ve fallen asleep on, wasted in the weirdest position, and wake up hours later.
There wasn’t anything she could do in that sense in the last few weeks, though- my mother insisted on coming to Canada earlier with my father last month to prepare everything before we arrive. It was clear to all of us she was doing this just because she was afraid Dad would start cheating on her the moment they were more than two miles apart.
“We’ll be there in no time,” my father’s new assistant says, looking up at us in the rearview mirror. “Canmore’s not that far from Calgary, anyway.” He can’t stop there so he goes on, “It’s a very beautiful place, September’s when it gets a bit chilly, but you’ll get used to it quickly.
I shouldn’t roll my eyes. I’m cold- the way you’re cold when you haven’t slept the whole night and your eyes are so itchy you feel them turning red. How is the guy so cheerful when he most likely had to get up at 3 am just to do someone a favor is beyond me.
Even if that someone’s the owner of that new big ass company here.
“It was very nice of you to pick us up, Sir.” My brother says in his “Oh, I’m such a nice guy you- are going- to love- me” voice and smiles. “I hope we didn’t trouble you very much.”
“Really?!” I mutter turning to Nathan and he just winks in response.
“Oh, not at all, it’s my pleasure.” The man says, “I can put on some music if you want?”
“Yeah, sure, why not?”
Well, it’s a Yes for you Nate, thank you- you slept through the entire flight from England.
Wait, okay- fine. I pretend to be angry, that was entirely different from the times he used to nod off at the dinner table or mid-conversation and way different from the habit he’d developed of dozing off on the couch in the home library at 4 am, glass in his hand, its content mostly spilled on the carpet.
The reggaeton, or whatever they’re playing on the local radio station pulls me back to reality. I resist the urge to put my headphones on and completely ignore them. My battery’s dead.
Lucky me, aren’t I?
* * *
We arrive in what feels like decades later.
“The guy’s quite cool- for an old man, I mean,” Nathan says, pulling out a cigarette from his pack after we’ve exchanged goodbyes with our driver, topped with some extra niceties and fake smiles.
“Yeah, whatever his name is.” he shrugs and lights it.
“He said it a few times. Anyway, yeah- it’ll suck when Dad slips in jerk- mode again and starts firing people at random.”
“He pays all those people’s salaries.” Nathan says, exhaling, “He can do whatever he wants.”
All right there, King Jr.
Neither of our parents made it to the front door to meet us. It’s quite cold for September, as Derek said, so I can understand. We are welcomed by - I presume - the new maid, as my mother didn’t take any of the employees we had back in England with her. But again, they weren’t holding their breath to come here, trust me.
“Thank you, Alice,” Nathan says when the woman offers to carry his bags.
I glance at her apologetically, but she just smiles and nods. My brother never bothered to remember any of the household’s employees’ names before, regardless of how long they’d worked in the family estate. He just called them by random names he just came up with. I’m sure he sometimes did all that on purpose, just to prove something and obviously, that hasn’t changed.
“Thank you. I’ll bring mine; we don’t have many things anyway.” I say, “Everything else must’ve arrived already.”
“Oh, there you are!” My mother exclaims, coming down the stairs when she sees us in the hallway. “I’ve been waiting for hours.”
You bet she has.
It’s not even seven yet and her platinum blond hair’s already been done. That must’ve been excruciatingly inconvenient, having to go through all that trouble so early in the morning. She gives us both a kiss on the cheeks like we’re in a French movie and we’re old friends, meeting for afternoon tea. Or is it coffee? Wine maybe, since it’s France? The scent of her preferred fragrance is so specific it hits me the moment she leans towards me and I almost forget about the headache; no wonder she’s never noticed I smoke. Her receptors must’ve lost their sensitivity years ago.
“How was the flight?” she asks, excited.
“It was okay. A bit tiring, though. “Nathan interrupts me while looking around the spacious mansion’s hallway, keeping his hands low on his waist. My brother makes a face at the Matisse painting, hanging on the wall opposite him, and says. “I’m hungry by the way.”
I’ve already accepted the fact he’ll forever have Olivia’s undivided attention. He’s always had it, but now she’s committed to giving it to him at two hundred percent.
“Of course, yes.” my mother says affectionately, “There’s breakfast prepared in the dining room- Marta’s made pancakes, it’s your favorite. Your father will join us in a minute.”
That’s the actual King, by the way. You’ll know why I call him that once you meet him.
But there’s something else I’ve been meaning to tell you- that now’s probably the first time my mom, me, or whoever else has known Nathan for the past 3 years hears him saying he’s hungry, or that he wants to have anything to do with any of us at all. He most likely finally sounds normal to Mother again, because she’s all smiles and sunshine- and they don’t look forced, on the contrary- she seems to be genuinely happy.
It almost feels like the last six months never happened and we can all wipe our brains clean, spotless like this new house, and start everything all over again.