Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Oh Brother Episode 28-30

It was hard to be in the same room as him. My eyes were focused on my breakfast, but I couldn’t help but be completely aware of his presence. By now I only felt anger at what he had done yesterday. Only because I had a bad feeling that his actions were a way to somehow punish me for how I’d treated him in the past. Kind of fair, but even then, I hoped it wasn’t true. If it were, I knew I would be crushed.
Sighing, I dug into my French toast. For some insane reason, my mom wanted the four of us in the same room eating. It had been a long time since this occurred, and with everything that had happened since the last time this seemed to be really awkward.
After a few minutes of eating in silence, my mom spoke, “Okay, our cousins are visiting from France. They’re currently living with my sister and today they’re holding a party. We’re invited.”
My interest sparked at those words. It had been a while since I had seen any of my cousins, so this event was something I actually wanted to attend. Especially with all of the awkward tension at home, this almost seemed like a blessing.
“How come you didn’t tell me about this?” Stephen asked, frowning.
“Because I need to tell all of you this, together,” my mom replied, sounding tired. “Everyone needs to behave. I want us to look like a happy, united family. Got that?”
I rolled my eyes. It was funny how she wanted us to look like that, when she was the one who made us the exact opposite of that.
“Autumn,” my mom snapped, seeming to notice I rolled my eyes. “You especially need to control yourself. Got that?”
Despite my annoyance, I agreed, “Yeah, I got that.”
As long as I didn’t have to be around my family at the party, I was fine with agreeing to anything. Knowing Christian’s eyes had been on me this entire time, I knew I couldn’t stay here any longer. I needed some sort of distraction, and the party was that.
*****
I sat on a couch, waiting for the rest of my family. Somehow, I had gotten ready the quickest. In a strapless white, laced dress, I had just left my natural waves out. It wasn’t like there was anyone to impress, so I didn’t spend too much time on my appearance.
Too busy staring at my petite feet, I didn’t notice that someone had entered the living room. I didn’t even notice that someone was standing in front of me, staring down at me. That was why I jumped when the person said my name.
Looking up, I saw that it was Christian who was dressed in a black button shirt and jeans. He was staring down at me with those gentle eyes of his, and I quickly rose. I didn’t know what overcame me, but I suddenly felt insecure as I stared back at him. My heart skipped a beat as I hugged myself, remembering the events of a few days ago.
“Hey,” Christian said, sounding surprisingly breathless.
Only then did I realized his eyes were on my shoulders, moving to where my collarbones were. His eyes then followed along the bones, and I remembered the feeling of his lips as I watched his eyes travel. To my absolute surprise, I suddenly wanted his lips to be placed where he was looking. My face heated up at my disgusting thoughts, but for some reason I shivered. And at that moment, I remembered what Cheryl said. She said that I liked Christian. It was impossible, I had to remind myself at that moment.
“Hey,” I replied suddenly, trying to ruin the moment as I moved away from him. “What do you want?”
He snapped out of his own trance, bringing his eyes back to mine. To my surprise, his face reddened as he brought his eyes away from me. I was glad to see that I wasn’t the only one feeling embarrassed.
“I’m sorry,” he suddenly said, not bothering to look back at me. “About what I did. I can’t give you a reason, I can’t pretend it didn’t happen, but I don’t want it to affect the way we are. Like I said, I like being around you. I don’t want to lose that because of something as stupid as what I did.”
A part of me was glad to hear his apology. All I wanted was to put this behind us, but a part of me was slightly offended. He said what he did was stupid, but it had left me with a pounding heart and butterflies. It made me wonder if I was the stupid one here.
Despite that, I said, “Yeah, it’s okay. Let’s not ruin what we have.”
Christian smiled at that, but it looked forced as the smile didn’t look like his usual childlike one. “Okay, good. Let’s have fun today.”
I forced a smiled as well, still unsure of how to feel. “Yeah.”
*****
I was sitting off to the side, feeling disappointed. There was no one at the party that I was close too. No one I really knew in fact. Years of avoiding contact with cousins showed me that you really do become an outcast once reunited with everyone.
Sighing, I rested my head on my fist that was propped up on one of the arms of the couch. I was incredibly bored, but I didn’t know what to do. I was never a social butterfly, so making friends was out of the question. Going home was out of it too, because I knew my mom would murder me. To seem like a united family, we all had to be here. I knew that much.
Frowning, I realized I did have a single option of who to hang out with. Someone I did need to hang out with, so everything could go back to normal completely. Even though I did need space from this person, I also knew that I wanted this person to remain in my life. I wasn’t about to lose Christian because of how uneasy his lips made me feel. He was right, that was stupid.
Getting up, I fixed my dresses position and left the room I sat alone in. With a destination of finding Christian, I made my way through the hallway of many rooms. Most of the adults were in the living room, but none of the kids were. They were either in these rooms or outside. Knowing Christian, I wondered which room he would be in.
Most of the rooms I passed were empty. A few of them had my cousins who I said hi to, but otherwise the hallways were empty. Quiet too. Frowning, I wondered if Christian was lame enough to stay with the adults.
But then, I heard giggling in a room nearby. Curious, I walked up the the room and popped my head inside. Once I did that, I wished I didn’t as I found my heart freezing painfully at what I saw.
Christian was there. He was sitting on a couch, but not alone. In his lap was a blonde girl who I recognized from school – the girl who had asked me who I was with eyes that told me she thought she was better than me. That girl was laughing as she kept a hand on Christian’s chest, looking like she wanted to make out with him as she kept her face near his. To my disappointment, Christian was smiling his real smile back at her.
Christian seemed to notice I was standing at the doorway because his eyes flew to where I stood frozen. He looked surprised and the girl’s eyes also flew to the door. She looked annoyed by the sight of me, but somehow pleased with the situation. At that, I felt angry.
“You again,” the girl said, not bothering to hide her annoyance. “Can’t you live without your stepbrother?”
“I can,” I replied, sounding equally annoyed. “But I can sense when he’s around s--t. I need to protect him, you know.”
I glanced at the girl’s dress that barely reached passed her butt. She gasped at that, her eyes narrowing at me as my own eyes hardened. I suddenly had the urge to rip her away from Christian, so I clenched my hands into fists to refrain from doing anything I would regret.
“Excuse me?” she snapped. “At least guys want me. You’re going to die alone if you haven’t noticed with that face and attitude.”
I rolled my eyes, not really caring about what she said. Sadly for her, she didn’t hit a sore spot.
I smiled sweetly. “Sweetheart, guys want you temporarily. No one wants to wife you.”
Her jaw dropped at that. She quickly stood up, rage filling her eyes. I smirked as I felt adrenaline pumping through me. If a fight was about to go down, I was ready.
But to my disappointment, Christian intervened. He got up and grabbed the girl’s hand, pulling her back. I pretended not to care as he held onto her hand.
“Liz, relax,” Christian said. “Ignore her. Actually, I’m going to talk to Autumn.”
He looked at me, but there was no anger in his eyes. Christian never got angry at me, but I wished he did. I was about to go off on him, and it would be nice if he’d respond in some sort of way that could fuel my anger.
I stepped out into the hall as Christian marched towards me. Facing him, I was surprised to see that he was still walking towards me, nearing me when we already had a close enough distance. My back hit the wall as I backed away, and my heart fluttered at the thought of being pinned against the wall by him again. Forcing those thoughts away, I glared at him as he stood a foot away.
“What was that about?” he asked, a fire entering his eyes.
I was glad to see that fire because they meant I could explode. With him also fired up, I could let out everything I’d been feeling at the sight of him with that girl. Liz . The name gave me an unpleasant feeling in my stomach.
“What was that about?” I asked back, narrowing my eyes at him. “What were you doing?”
He raised his eyebrows. “Spending time with my friend. Well, until you rudely interrupted.”
I scoffed. “Really? A friend? What type of friend sits on your lap!”
“Autumn, this is none of your business.”
“Yes it is!” I exclaimed, feeling frustrated. “Just like how Nate was your business, this is my business. How dare you judge me when you were ready to make out with that girl.”
“I’m eighteen. I’m a man.” He sighed, running his fingers through his hair.
“A man with bad taste,” I shot back, feeling rage at the depths of my heart. “What are you even doing with a girl like her?”
At that, Christian’s eyes lost their anger. He looked almost caught off guard as he stared at me, seeming to wonder something. With this pause, I realized my heart was pounding.
Eventually, Christian asked gently, “Why are you even mad?”
At that, I froze. Because at that moment, he saw past my angry exterior that was telling him I was mad because he was with a girl when I couldn’t be with a guy. He was right for thinking I wasn’t mad because of that. I wasn’t even mad because of who the girl he was with. The truth was, I was hurt. Actually, my rage came from the jealousy I felt at seeing him with another girl.
I didn’t know why I felt this way. It shouldn’t hurt to see him with another girl. It shouldn’t make me feel like pushing the girl away from him, so far that they could never make contact again. But it did. And with those feelings, what Cheryl said hit me hard. I liked Christian. The most reasonable reason of why I felt like this was that. But even knowing that it made perfect sense, I had the urge to throw up as I denied it. There was just no way that this could be true.
“Autumn,” Christian said gently, snapping me out of my thoughts. “Are you okay?”
I wasn’t. I really wasn’t, but there was no way I’d admit that to him. It was hard enough to admit to myself. So without another word, I ran off.


Jealous was definitely what I had been yesterday. I had been jealous of a girl being too close to Christian. Hurt too, because he had allowed her to touch him. Both of those things I admitted to myself, but I wouldn’t let those things change anything. I couldn’t.
Cheryl’s idea of me liking Christian made more sense now. Feeling jealous of another girl being around Christian showed me that I may feel something. That maybe, what I felt was more than what you’d feel for a sibling. But even knowing that, I couldn’t help but push that idea to the very back of my mind. Christian was someone I once hated. Someone who was my stepbrother. It wasn’t my pride getting in the way of liking him, it was the fact that this couldn’t be true. It was just too unbelievable.
Sighing, I got up from my bed as I perfected my plan. These feelings I could possibly have needed to go, so I had made a plan to return everything to the way they formerly were. Knowing our friendship started with a certain event, I decided to spend the day with Christian teaching him something that related to that specific event. That way, we would return to the past that didn’t involve all these complications. I knew it was kind of a crazy idea, but I had to try it. I just had to, for my sake.
Getting up from my bed, I decided to go see Christian. With my offer for him fresh in my mind, I made my way to his bedroom. Before I knew it I was knocking on the door to his room.
He quickly popped up, looking tired. Running his fingers through his hair, he analyzed me for a second. From the way his eyebrows furrowed, I knew he was confused.
“Hey,” I said, forcing a smile since the awkward tension seemed dense.
“Hey,” he simply replied. “What’s up?”
“Everything has been crazy lately,” I admitted, looking away from his bright eyes that had been locked on my own. “And I’m tired of it. I’m tired of fighting with you.”
That was the truth. Whether I liked him or not in a certain way didn’t change the fact that I was also really tired of fighting with him. We seemed to fight a lot for the stupidest reasons, and I hated it. Hated it so much because I did care about him and hated having these situations where we didn’t talk and then needed to apologize to one another. It was just so tiring.
“Me too.” Christian’s eyes softened. “By now you’d think we’d know how not to get on the other’s bad side.”
I couldn’t help but smile. “I know right. Well, that’s why I want to teach you something.”
“You want to teach me something?” He raised an eyebrow. “What?”
I smiled, almost shyly. “How to cook. I’m kind of worried that you might burn the house down one day, so it seems like a good idea.”
He smiled and shook his head. “Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Shall we?”
“We shall.”
I stepped away from his door and turned around, beginning to walk away. But then suddenly, I felt a hand wrap around my wrist. My heart froze at the warm touch, and I fought off the urge to rip my arm away from him. If we were going to go back to the way things were, I knew I needed to stop feeling this way by something as simple as his touch.
“Autumn,” Christian said as I stayed facing away from him. “I know you probably don’t care, but Liz means nothing to me. Well, she’s my friend… but nothing more.”
At that, I found my heart oddly relaxing. I didn’t even know I had been worried about that until now. With my relaxed heart, I frowned as I knew I shouldn’t be feeling this way.
“You’re right, I don’t care,” I lied, starting to walk again.
Thankfully, Christian didn’t say anything as I placed a hand on my heart that was now fluttering at the realization that my task of returning things to normal was impossible. Shaking my head, I knew I had to try.
*****
I laughed as Christian’s eyes widened in fear. Taking the pan from him, I shook my head as he calmed down quickly. It was strange seeing Christian so uneasy from something as simple as cooking.
“Why are you so nervous when it comes to cooking?” I asked, smiling as I flipped the omelet we were making.
“I don’t know,” he said, frowning as he watched me cook with confidence. “I guess because I know about nothing when it comes to it.”
“Your mom never taught you?”
I instantly regretted asking the question, knowing you shouldn’t ask about someone’s parent that wasn’t around anymore. Even though I didn’t mind, the topic of my dad was a soft spot even for me. Christian was the last person I ever brought him up to, and that had been months ago.
Before I could take back my question, Christian replied, “No, my mom had always been distant with us. She was a good mom and all, but my dad and I rarely interacted with her.”
“Why didn’t you?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“I don’t know.” He shrugged. “Like I said, she was a good mom. A good wife too. She did all of the house work and had an actual job, and she made sure that we were alright. But even though she was perfect in those aspects, she never really seemed happy. I guess that’s why she had an affair.”
I frowned at that. I never understood why people would pretend to be happy when they weren’t. It only made the situation worse in the end, like how his mom cheated on Stephen. That was one of the reasons why I never hid my feelings of unhappiness.
“I’m sorry.” I looked up at him, my eyes sad. “I hate when people say that because that usually don’t mean it in the way in these situations, but I do. I’m sorry you had to go through that.”
He shrugged, but I caught the sadness that overwhelmed his eyes. As he looked away, I felt sad myself. Thinking about what Stephen had told me, I knew what his mom did really hurt him. It had changed him to this person that I knew I would never recognize.
But then, I thought about what else Stephen told me. Of how I made Christian truly happy. The thought always touched me, and seeing how sad he was now urged me to comfort him. Because the truth was, he was the one person I wanted to keep happy. My face reddened at the thought.
Ignoring my embarrassment, I knew I had to comfort him as he continued to look away from me. Not knowing what to do, I didn’t give myself time to rethink the idea that suddenly hit me. So sighing lightly, I rested my head on his shoulder.
To my shock, he almost instantly wrapped an arm around me. I smiled at that and closed my eyes, allowing him to comfort me instead of the other way around. At first I didn’t know why I needed to be comforted, but then it hit me. Hit me not as hard as I expected, because I kind of knew it by now. I liked Christian.
Knowing I loved being with him. Knowing I wanted to keep him happy. Knowing I wanted to be able to touch him whenever I wanted to, for the butterflies and everything else, I knew I liked him by now. The thought of liking him was scary, a bit horrifying, but at this point I decided to just admit it. For once I had to let my pride fall down, and admit that I liked this incredible guy I was cuddling with.
Sighing, I smiled as I felt almost relieved at my confession to myself. Thinking back to the months of progress we had since I hated him, I realized one thing. I had been pushing him away for a long time. For almost no reason, I had. But this all made sense now. I had been pushing away Christian because of these feelings I had. These feelings, I couldn’t let become true. But now, I couldn’t care less about them being true. He made me happy, and apparently I did the same for him. Even if we weren’t anything special, I was happy with this.
“Autumn,” Christian suddenly said, snapping me out my thoughts. “The omelet, it’s burning.”
My eyes flew opened as I gasped. Quickly moving away from him, I grabbed the pan and turned off of the stove. I frowned as I saw that the omelet was burnt. I had to blame Christian for it, even though it was I who had gotten lost in thoughts.
“You’re really bad luck when it comes to cooking,” I grumbled, walking towards the garbage can.
He laughed. “Hey, you should’ve been paying more attention to it.”
I couldn’t help but blush as I dropped the omelet into the garbage. A part of me wondered if he knew he was what distracted me, but then I remembered how naive he was. I was safe – for now.
“Well, you could’ve paid attention to it too,” I shot back, turning around and crossing my arms to glare at him.”
“Sorry.” He grinned. “I was distracted by someone.”
This time, I didn’t try to hide my blush. I just stared at him. Stared at his perfectly chiseled face. With his blue eyes bright, his plump, pink lips, and messy black hair that I really wanted to run my fingers through, I finally admitted that he was attractive. Incredibly attractive, he was. Smiling to myself, I was glad to see that I fell for the perfect package. Even though I knew I would regret admitting I liked him, I was temporarily glad.


Surprisingly, I didn’t regret admitting to myself that I liked Christian. Sometimes I’d feel disgusted at the thought and slightly annoyed, but I didn’t regret it. The only thing I did regret was keeping it a secret, because it was harder to be around him nowadays. With my urges to touch him and be with him as more that what we were, I found myself annoyed with myself for keeping my feelings at bay.
Sighing as I grabbed my textbook from my locker, I wondered about what to do. A week had passed since I admitted my feelings, but nothing had really changed. To my disappointment, we actually seemed to go back to the way we used to be. The way we were when we never touched, never really teased each other. I was glad to be around Christian constantly, but I hated how we were just friends. I hated how we stopped sharing moments. Knowing I liked him, it was the worst outcome ever.
I sighed again and shut my locker, not knowing what to do. There was one part of me that was angry at myself for falling for Christian. Mad because falling for Christian was too complicated. Even though we weren’t related by blood, I wasn’t sure how everyone else would react to my feelings. Wasn’t even sure how he’d react, because he had always treated me like a sister. It also didn’t help that I fell for the guy I once hated. The guy my pride had took a hit from a couple of times.
The logical answer was to ask my friends for help. Dee and Cheryl would be ecstatic over the news of me liking Christian, but I couldn’t help but hate the idea of approaching them. We all still hung out, but things were still really awkward between us. I hadn’t apologized to Cheryl, and she didn’t either. The tension at our lunch table was thick due to that.
D--n . That was all I could think as I realized I was kind of screwed when it came to my feelings for Christian. Anything related to him was always complicated, yet I fell for him. Fell for him when my life was already pretty messed up. But even with that, I still didn’t regret falling for him. For some crazy reason, I just didn’t.
And that was when it hit me. Christian was someone I really seemed to like. We bettered each other, and he was perfect despite his humanly flaws. There was no point in hiding my feelings from him. No point because as long as we were happy, there was no need to worry about anything else that could occur. And even if he didn’t return my feelings, I would be glad to know I tried at the very least. There was no way he’d let my feelings ruin what we had anyways.
With a smile now on my face, I decided to run to where Christian’s locker was. I didn’t even care about the hall monitors lurking around in the hallways, all I could think about was letting out my feelings.
Finally I could tell him the truth. I liked him. I wanted to be at his side. I wanted to touch him whenever I could. When I would tell him these things, I knew I would finally let go of all of the wounds I still held onto in my heart. I just knew.
As I went to the hallway near his, smiling wide, I suddenly heard someone call my name. Freezing in my spot, I frowned as I wondered who it was. Turning around, I soon saw Nate walking towards me. My eyes widened.
“Autumn,” he said, smiling sweetly as he stopped in front of me. “Where are you running to, Christian?”
Something about his fake smile or angry eyes made me put up my defenses. It had been a while since I saw him, and suddenly I had the urge to back away. Before I could do that though, I needed to know what he wanted.
“Yes,” I simply replied, crossing my arms over my chest. “Do you have a problem?”
“Yes, I do.” His eyes hardened. “Incest.”
My eyes widened as he suddenly looked disgusted. Feeling suddenly nervous, I decided to try to end our conversation quickly.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“Don’t play stupid with me.” He rolled his eyes. “You know, I wondered why you wouldn’t go on another date with me. I’m too good for you, not the other way around. It was a huge hit to my pride, but then I got my answer. You like your brother. You disgusting little thing.”
I froze at the venom in his voice. It didn’t even seem like he was trying to hurt me, even with his harsh words. I realized that he was just trying to throw his opinions at me to somehow inform me of something. Something, I didn’t quite understand.
“He’s my stepbrother,” I corrected. “And I don’t like him. But even if I did it wouldn’t matter. We aren’t technically related.”
Nate laughed cruelly. “You think blood matters? You think that anyone cares that you guys aren’t actually related?”
My throat constricted as I began to see the way he saw everything. Even as I tried to ignore what he was trying to get at, the idea kept fighting its way to my mind.
“Guess what, sweetheart,” Nate continued, his eyes looking angry. “Everyone sees you two as siblings. They see you as family, and family can never be together in the way you want. Unless you want to be a social outcast and unless you want your own parents hating you, you can’t like him. To everyone, it’s disgusting. I feel sick thinking about it.”
With those words, I felt like someone punched me. My eyes widened as I took in his words. His words, that were actually true because Christian and I would be outcasts. If we ever got together, people would find us disgusting. Even without actually being related, we would be seen as the incest couple. As selfish as I was, I could never let the world hate Christian. Especially his own dad.
“You’re lucky I don’t have feelings for you,” Nate said, seeing that I would speak from the horrifying truth. “I don’t want to be with someone who agrees with incest.”
With that, Nate turned around and left. Leaving me on the verge of screaming, he left me on my own. Once there was no sight of him, I finally let my eyes tear up.
Even though I knew Nate had said those things because he was butthurt over my rejection of him, it didn’t change the fact that he was right. People would be disgusted by us. Our parents would be too. I never thought that people would actually view us as siblings, and now knowing that I felt disgusted with myself. I wondered if Christian would be too, if he knew how I felt.
I began to take deep breaths, trying to calm myself down. I wanted to cry. To scream too, because I had been so happy about finding out that I liked Christian. Was just about to tell him how I felt, not knowing the consequences.
But now that was ruined, destroyed even. I never knew that I would end up finding myself disgusting. Never knew that what I felt was incest, a taboo. Closing my eyes, I realized I had to forget my feelings. I had to foget they were ever real.
Opening my eyes, I then walked away from the hallway and to my friends. There I pretended that I didn’t have the most horrible realization ever. The pain in my heart was hard to ignore though, but I fought it off as I pretended that everything was okay.

To be continued

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