My head snaps to Lizzy’s boyfriend, Dean. I don’t like him so much, but who am I to judge, and he seems to make my sister happy. But if he ever hurts my sister, I won’t hesitate to break his face.
Dean marches to my direction. As a golden boy, I give him a smile that I mastered since I was a kid.
“Good to see you again, man.” I extend my hand, and he grips it tightly with a manly hug.
“Welcome back, Bash.”
“Thanks, Dean. So, how’s the new lawyer?”
His face lights up. Honestly, he’s perfect for my sister. He gets the look that can be the future senator, a built like a soccer player, and a brain that could pass laws for the country’s future.
“Thanks for asking, Bash. Just got a case yesterday. A company files a lawsuit against your dad’s company. I shouldn’t be discussing this with you, but I know Liz is filling you somehow. It’s not a big deal. Your company will surely win this case. It’s nonsense. They’re wasting their money and time.” He seems so confident about what he does for a living. Being graduated as magna cum laude at Harvard Law School, he has the privilege. “So, are you going to start your masters here?” he asks.
I take a breath. “That’s the plan. Mom won’t let me go back again. Dad wants me to start working with him. So, I guess I don’t have an escape plan this time.”
Lizzy marches in. She grabs Dean’s head and kisses him like I’m not around. I’m not used to seeing my sister locking lip with her boyfriend.
I fake a cough.
“What? Can’t I kiss my boyfriend?” she asks mischievously.
I roll my eyes that makes Dean chuckle and lick his lips. “It’s really not my business, but that’s my sister who just kissed in front of me. Gross.” I wrinkle my nose.
“I think I need to set you up for a date.” Her eyes glint.
I shake my head. “Not happening, Lizzy. I didn’t come back to date.”
She rolls her eyes. “You’re no fun. You can’t just lock up yourself in your penthouse after your classes and your training in the company.”
“Lizzy, I’ll date when I want to, and don’t worry, I just came out from a relationship.”
She snorts. “I told you I don’t like that slag.”
I groan. “Liz, stop it, and we’re over.” I throw her a warning look.
She shrugs. “Fine.”
She doesn’t like Dana at all. I dated Dana for a year, but Lizzy never even talked to her or said hi. I can’t blame my sister though, Dana and I may be dated, but it didn’t get into a point of going into a deeper relationship. The sex is good, but the longer we were together, the sex was just like part of the routines every night. She didn’t even mention coming here with me. So our relationship ended up in London.
“Mom, I got to get going. It’s almost six in the morning.” I yawn as I rub mom’s back.
She is sitting on the barstool while I’m still standing in front of her.
“Can I come and see you?” she asks, running her fingers on my black hair that I got from dad.
I laugh. “Of course. I know you’ve got my penthouse keys. You don’t have to ask me, you know.”
She looks at my gray eyes longer, which makes me feel uneasy.
“What?” I stare back at her beautiful green one.
“Are you happy to be back?”
I nod, releasing a sigh. I can’t help but run my fingers through my hair. My heart still is broken, and I don’t know how to fix it. The scars are still fresh, a constant reminder that I had never moved on.
“Bash, did you expect her to be here tonight?”
I look away, shrugging my shoulders. I take a deep breath when my eyes start to sting. I bite my lip and nod slowly. “I didn’t expect her to be here, but I was hoping that maybe, she would be here.” My voice is low, but Mom can feel my emotion in those words.
Mom holds my hands and squeezed them. “You two need to talk. You both need a closure.”
I shake my head. “Got to go, mom. Where’s dad?”
“Here, son.” Dad raises his hand. He’s sitting with Lizzy and Dean.
I get in the car waiting for me after bidding goodbye to my family. Edmund quickly closes the door after me and runs towards the driver’s seat. He starts the engine without a word when he notices the expression on my face.
He plays another song. This time it’s from Lifehouse.
I glare and give him a what-the-fuck-look? He only gives me an innocent look.
The penthouse is on the fifty-eighth floor. It has a two-floor with a triple-height living room with the views of the most iconic skyscrapers. Its perks with a humongous copper brown kitchen, a balcony, floor wine cellar, built-in Hi-tech appliances, and floor to ceiling glass windows.
Mom sent me pictures if I like the interior designs, but these are nothing but boring black and white for me now.
“Thanks, Edmund. I can take it from here,” I thank him, grabbing my two traveling bags with my Bottega Veneta messenger bag. I throw myself to the couch. Exhaustion starts to take over me.
“Did you talk to your mom about coming with me to college?” I ask Trinity whose lying on her abdomen with her elbows propped on the mattress. She’s scribbling something on her sketchpad, biting her lip in concentration while I’m lying down on my bed with my arms under my head.
“Not yet, but as long as I received my acceptance letter, they can’t say anything.”
I sit on the bed and cross my arms over my chest. A small smile spread across my face as I look at what Trinity has been scribbling for almost twenty minutes. She’s having fun sketching my face.
“We already talked about this many times, Tri. Why aren’t you listening to me?” I am annoyed with her excuses every time I mentioned this topic.
“Bash, I said I’m coming to college with you. Meaning, whether Mom and Dad agree on my plan or not, I’m still coming with you. Who can say no to a free house and free food?” she responds, grinning at me, showing her perfect teeth.
I grin back. “I will talk to your mom and dad, Trinity.”
She hits me with her sketchpad, and she accidentally hits me there.
My hands quickly cup my throbbing crotch as I curl into a ball. I feel the most painful pain I’ve ever felt in my entire life, and my forehead starts to sweat.
I can’t form a word other than groan and whine from pain.
“Bash, oh, my god! I’m so sorry. I don’t mean to hit you hard on your balls.” She rubs my head down to my back.
I blow some breaths before I speak. “Are you trying to kill me, Kiara Trinity?” I yell at the top of my lungs. “That hurts like hell. I don’t wanna be infertile, you ugly, goldfish!” I gritted between groans.
She is still rubbing her hands on me. “I said sorry, Bash. You don’t have to be a bully. I really don’t mean to hit you on your balls.” Trinity tries to hide her laughter, but there’s still a hint of it in her voice.
“Stop saying balls, Virgin Mary. And stop rubbing my back! It won’t ease the pain. You know where did you hit me, Nerida! Goldfish! Stick?” I take her hand off of me.
The pain lessens a little bit after a few deep breaths. I glance at her. She’s hugging her sketchpad and about to cry. I can see her lips quivering even if she’s biting her bottom lip to control it. Jeez, why does she have to cry every time I upset her? She’s so sensitive.
“Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that,” I apologize, but she doesn’t say anything anymore. She’s going to hide from me again.
“Should I rub your balls instead?” she asks with hesitation, wiping the tears fell from her eyes.
I move closer to her and pull her into a hug. I kiss the side of her head and rub her arms while she shakes to cry. “I said, I’m sorry. It hurts, and I know you don’t mean it, Tri. You don’t have to rub my balls.” I chuckle at my last words. “You’re not gonna hide from me, are you?”
“You can live without me, Bash. You will find new friends. You will have a girlfriend who will not be bothered by our friendship.” What the hell is she talking about?
“What do you mean, Trinity?” I pull away and look at her intently. She sniffs as she wipes her tears with the back of her hand.
Why do I feel like she just played me? We applied to the same college together. We planned all of these together, and now I feel like she’ll leave me hanging. Alone. She doesn’t reply, and it makes me furious. She continues crying and looking down while twisting her fingers.
“Trinity, answer me for Pete’s sake!” I can’t help but raise my voice.
She startles in her seat and sobs more.
“You didn’t apply, did you? You have no plan on coming abroad with me?” I push.
Still, she doesn’t say a word, neither shake her head or nod.
“You lied to be, Trinity! You tricked me!” I blink when my eyes start to sting and blur. I breathe heavily as I feel like I’m losing my temper. “When are you going to tell me about this? Before the flight? Did you even tell your parents? You didn’t, did you?”
She just continues crying, and it pisses me off. “You hurt me, Trinity. You hurt me!”
“I just don’t want to bother you, Bash. I’m only a burden to you and your life. You can’t even find a serious girlfriend because of me.”
I laugh sarcastically. “Did I ever complain, Trinity? I chose you over girls because you are more important to me than them. They just want me because I am a Hughes, not because I am Bash like who I am to you.” My voice cracks in the end. Jesus, I never cry in front of anyone but my family, but here I am, crying over Trinity.
“You can go and study abroad while we still are best friends.”
I laugh again, mocking the word best friend. “Best friend? No best friend ever lies. No best friend betrayed her best friend, and no best friend will leave her best friend alone!”
She cries even more, and I want to hug her so badly, but my anger is taking over me.
“Bash, I’m sorry, okay? We can still—”
I cut her off. “What? That we can still skype? Facetime? Chat? Twit?” I laugh, “No way! No effing way! I don’t wanna be your best friend anymore, Kiara!” I stand up from my bed with my hands on my hips. “Get out of my room, out of my house, and I don’t wanna see your ugly face again!” I swallow hard after those words left my mouth.
My heart crashes in my chest because I don’t mean what I say. Trinity drags herself out of my bed, takes the sketchpad, leaves me alone in my bed, in my room, and my house.
I wipe my tears and walk to my bathroom. I am washing my face when I hear a soft knock on my door. “I’m sleeping, get away from me!” I yell and walk back to my empty bed after wiping my face. The face of my sister emerges from the half-opened door.
“I said I’m sleeping, Lizzy!”
My phone buzzes from my pocket. I fish out lazily and groan when I see the screen. It’s a text from my sister.
LIZZY: Baby bash, meeting tom at Hughes building 9 am sharp.
BASH: Stop calling me baby! Can’t I have a day off?
LIZZY: Grumpy! No way! It’s time to meet the new CFO.
BASH: And who is that?
LIZZY: YOU, idiot!
LIZZY: Ask dad
BASH: I need some sleep now
LIZZY: See you tomorrow, baby bash!
I wear a white-crisp shirt, a dark charcoal gray suit, and a dark metallic gray tie and match it with black shoes. I use cufflinks with my initials. I look at my reflection at the wall-size mirror, and I run my fingers through my hair one more time.
I grab the keys that I left at the coffee table yesterday. Then I head to the private elevator. After punching some keys, it slides open. I reach the parking area with my driver waiting for me.
“Morning, boss!” he greets me cheerfully with a smile.
“Morning, Edmund,” I greet back and get in the car.
“To the office, right, Bash?”
I raise my brows. “Don’t play 90’s music, and how did you know?”
“Ms. Hughes sent me an email of your schedule.”
I groan. “Of course, she did.”
“We will stop at the coffee shop for your coffee, then we can head to the Hughes Tower immediately,” he explains.
“For a driver, you talk too much early in the morning,” I tell him, looking out the window.
“Play some music.”
“Right away, boss!”
I’m definitely loving the company of my driver.
I head to Dad’s office right away after saying hi to his PA, Elle.
Nothing has changed in his office, except for the additional family photo and my recent picture taken during my graduation.
“Morning, son. Don’t I get a hug?” Dad’s merry voice snaps my head at him.
“Morning, Dad.” I march to his desk when he stands up and puts down the phone receiver.
“Why I’m here so early? Shouldn’t I start first my masters, then train with you, but from what I heard from Lizzy yesterday, I’ll be starting right away.” I take a seat, facing him.
“I will explain that at the meeting,” Dad simply says, glancing at the wristwatch given by mom. “In twenty minutes. Would you like to see your office first?” he asks, buttoning his suit.
I nod, stand up, and button my suit too.
“Elle will show you your office just down to the left. You can use the stairs. And son?”