Oh Brother - S01 E11

5 months ago

Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 11

We were now sitting on a bare area of grass, facing each other but looking anywhere else. I was happy for the break, but I hadn’t expected it to involve more silence. A part of had hoped he would try to talk to me. To at least get on my good side. He had to know that hiking wouldn’t cut it, yet he wasn’t trying. I didn’t understand.

Tired of waiting for him, I looked at him. He was looking to his right, staring at a tree that was enormous. From its size I had to guess that it was at least a hundred years old. Maybe more. That was why Christian seemed to be staring at it with great interest.

“Christian,” I said, causing him to look at me with his bright blue eyes. “Why aren’t you talking to me?”

“I’ve tried to in the past,” he replied, lips twitching up into a smile. “But all I get are shut ups.”

I couldn’t help but blush as I looked down in shame. From the start I knew I was being a b---h to him. It was obvious to everyone, yet I didn’t do anything to change. I had assumed he deserved it, even though I didn’t have a good or even clear reason to hate him.

“Well, this is our day to take chances.” I smiled as I looked back up at him. “I promise I won’t snap or even tell you to shut up.”

His eyes shone with a happiness I rarely saw in him. Which was strange because I always thought he was a genuinely happy person. He was Mr. Perfect. Everything was handed to him on a silver platter.

“I can ask you anything?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Anything you want.”

The happy shine in his eyes slowly turned into a challenging shine, and I found myself feeling defensive because I suddenly remebered. We were in a contest where I was the judge. The judge who would decide whether to continue to hate him forever or accept him as my new – still unwanted – stepbrother. This entire day would be the basis of the contest, and I knew he was determined to win. But, so was I.

“Tell me about yourself,” he said, smiling slightly as I crossed my legs.

I sighed. “Ask me something more interesting.”

He shook his head, but smiled. “Were you always like this?”

I couldn’t help but smile as well, even though I should’ve taken offence. At least he was asking a question that should matter to him.

“Kind of,” I replied honestly. “You might’ve brought it out more.”

“I can tell.” His smile grew. “You ask me a question as well.”

“Anything?” I asked, just in case.

“Anything.”

“Were you okay with your dad marrying my mom?”

Honestly, I always wondered that. In a way, Christian was in the exact same position I was in. Forced to live with strangers who would now be apart of your family you had been used to. It sure as hell wasn’t a good surprise for me, so I wondered if it was for him.

“Are we being honest for today as well?” he eventually asked.

“We’re taking chances, remember?”

He smiled at that and looked down, contemplating something. I couldn’t help but watch him, slowly becoming amazed by his long eyelashes that casted a shadow across his face. I never understood why guys got long eyelashes that girls would die for.

Eventually, he looked back at me and simply said without a hint of emotion, “I don’t know.”

I blinked, dumbfounded by his simple reply. When it came to me, I knew. I definitely knew how I felt about the news.

Because we were taking chances, I said, “You don’t know? Really? Because I was pretty horrified. When my mom told me on her birthday, I nearly shoved her cake onto her face because I hate change. Especially unexpected change.”

Christian looked away, but I noticed the corners of his lips turn up. “Well, honestly I guess I was pretty mad too. Especially because I had no idea my dad had been dating some woman for two years.”

“Me too!” I exclaimed. “She didn’t even dare tell me she was seeing someone and she expects me to welcome her news with open arms.”

“Same. Then next thing I know I’m forced to pack up my stuff and move in with a bunch of strangers.”

I fought back a smile. “Same, but strangers actually moved into my house. They made it quite crowded too.”

Christian looked back at me with a huge smile now plastered onto his face. I couldn’t help but smile as well because I realized I had finally met someone who could relate to me. Relate to all of the stress of having your life thrown upside down by the one person you thought would be your rock. This person was living with me, yet I had closed a door on his face at the first sight of him. Guilt twisted within me.

“You can ask me the next question,” I said, wanting to change the subject.

“Okay… Best memory?” he asked.

I couldn’t help but smile as an answer quickly popped into my mind. Shaking my head, I realized I had nearly forgotten about that day. The day of my twelfth birthday, which was also the last one I spent with my dad.

“On my twelfth birthday we went to this festival,” I said, still smiling. “It was called the Festival of Lights because it was a festival held at night to give praise to the beautiful lights of the world.”

“Oh, I’ve heard of it,” he interrupted.

Ignoring him, I continued, “So my dad and I went together and it was fun and all, but near twelve o’clock we were given golden lanterns. The ones that you can let go so that they float up into the sky.”

“Like the ones in Tangled.”

“Exactly.” My smile grew at the thought of him watching Tangled. “So, exactly at twelve we let go of the lanterns and so do about a hundred people. They all float into the sky and the sight is beautiful. It’s like stars, but somehow even more beautiful. So as I watched them my dad told me that this was how you let go. You do it and watch as something beautiful disappears with a smile on your face.”

I suddenly laughed and looked away as I realized how cheesy my tale was. It was almost stupid because such a simple thing had been my favourite memory. I wouldn’t blame Christian for thinking I was insane.

When neither of us said anything for a minute, I decided to s--k up my pride and look back at him. To my surprise, he was already looking at me with gentle eyes. Eyes that weren’t pitying me, but instead seemed to be almost in awe of me. For some reason my heart skipped a beat.

“That sounds beautiful,” he replied, smiling. “Have you ever gone back to that festival?”

I shook my head. “I wanted it to be a tradition for my dad and I, but…”

His eyes softened even more, but thankfully they didn’t seem to be pitying me. That was all I wanted when it came to these cases that included my dad, and I was thankful.

“Can I ask you something?” I asked, realizing something.

“Of course,” he replied, extending his legs in front of him.

I realized we had been sitting for a while and that we should get going soon. Four hours had passed since we left home, and my mom and Stephen would be back in about three more. They didn’t know we were spending time together, and I preferred it to stay that way. I wasn’t even sure why.

“What happened to your mom?” I asked carefully. “I don’t mean to intrude but my mom never told me.”

Christian looked away and I caught the sorrow in his eyes. A part of me regretted asking him such a question, but I had to know. If I wanted to fully come to understand this boy, I first needed to know something about his past.

“She cheated,” Christian simply replied, still looking away. “Then she ran when my dad caught her in his own bedroom cheating.”

My heart clenched at the thought because Stephen was a good guy. Even if he wasn’t, no one deserved to see the person they love doing an act that showed them they actually didn’t feel the same way. I guess my mom was luckier, which was a terribly sad thing to say.

“I’m sorry,” I responded, feeling the urge to force Christian to look at me.

Sometimes I really did forget that just because he seemed perfect, it didn’t mean his life was. Maybe we both had f----d up lives, and I chose to judge him because he had been a part of the messed up parts of my life. By now guilt twisted painfully at my heart.

Wanting to return to the peacefulness of earlier, I said, “Let’s go. We should hike back.”

Christian whipped his head back to face me as his eyes shone. They shone with curiosity, and even vulnerability as he looked at me. Once again my heart skipped a beat as I couldn’t look away from his eyes that were bluer than the very sky.

“Wait,” he said, eyes slowly turning back to their neutral look. “One more question.”

I nodded, completely fine with whatever he wanted to ask.

“Why do you hate me?” he asked. “Do you finally have a reason?”

My eyes widened, surprised that he would ask that now. Of all the questions I thought he would ask, I didn’t expect it at all. Maybe that was why I just stared at him blankly, trying to come up with an answer.

“A real answer,” he said, sounding serious.

I blushed as I remembered my old response of him being perfect. By now I realized how stupid that was. His life had been pretty messed up and here I was, making sure that his life continued to be that way.

Honestly, at this point I felt like I didn’t hate him. Maybe I didn’t like him, but I had just told him things that I never told anymore. My best moment being one of them, and I wasn’t sure why. Probably because he could relate with my current f----d up life clearly.

“I don’t have one,” I eventually replied. “And… I…”

He raised an eyebrow. “You?”

“Can we walk,” I pleaded. “I promise you I’ll be honest with my reply if we do.”

To my delight, he smiled and said, “Sure. I’ll wait.”

Patient . I added that to my list with a smile as we both stood up and continued down a trail that someone had created.

*****

I climbed out of his car and sighed as I felt relief. Relief that my mom wasn’t home. Knowing her, I knew – despite ignoring each other – she’d ask a bunch of questions I didn’t want to answer. Questions I didn’t even want to answer to myself.

As I began to walk to the door, I suddenly felt a hand clasp around my wrist. Instead of throwing a fist at the boy who had touched me, I slowly turned around to face him. Face his face that was staring at me with gentle eyes.

“You promised me an honest reply,” he said.

“Do I have to?” I asked, feeling embarassed because the reply I would give was something I also didn’t want to admit to myself.

“Please,” he said gently.

Sighing, I looked down at his hand on my wrist. It was so gentle and that had been him. Always. Gentle to me, even though I had been a factor that changed his life a lot too. We were in the same boat, but he had never been a b---h.

“You win,” I eventually said, still looking down.

His grip on my wrist tightened. “I did?”

I nodded, making sure to not look at him. “Yes, but I can’t say that things will be much different between us. It just means I’ll try not to hate you.”

“So you still hate me?”

Slowly, I shook my head. “No, I don’t… Think so. It’s just that things are complicated and…”

“You rather just focus on your own issues than the stranger in your house.”

I smiled sadly and finally looked at him. “Exactly.”

He smiled sadly and nodded, letting go of me. He then walked ahead of me, and I looked down and shook my head. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I knew this was how things should be.

Christian needed to remain as someone I knew, but wasn’t close with. That seemed to be the best solution – for now..

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Oh Brother - S01 E10

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Oh Brother - S01 E12

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