5: Lanson

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'How petty can three adult men possibly be?'

A question I never thought I would have the need to ask.

Yet here I am, in my bedroom with a busted knee, a pile of photographs, my best friend--who looks rightfully annoyed--sitting across me, and my three sone-to-be stepbrothers hovering around us like moths around a light source.

"You should rest your leg now, you look tired," Kayden interjects our work for the fifth time now with the same reasoning. 

"I'm fine," I mutter in response--just like the other four times--all while Graham stifles a chuckle at my vexed state.

I narrow my eyes at him, yet say nothing else. Getting back to work while trying my best to ignore Kayden's gaze that's lingering on us, my eyes travel to my balcony where I spot Wesley and Enrique engrossed in what appears to be an intense conversation.      

I frown, by the looks of it whatever their discussing seems important and dangerous? I can sense the change in their demeanor towards a darker side as compared to when they first got here. 

 'They're probably discussing something to do with their business' I dismiss. 

Another thirty minutes go by with Kayden constantly trying to persuade me to take some rest and Graham and I ignoring him and completing our project while Wesley and Enrique's conversation grows in intensity.   

Yet concern only dawns over me when I catch Kayden's gaze divert from me, towards them, and turn anxious. There's defiantly something wrong, but it isn't my place to say anything so I just shut up. 

"Ouch!" I whine when the pen buckle hits me on the forehead right between my brows. 

I narrow my eyes at Graham--the culprit--who's grinning like the idiot he is, only to realize that the entire room's attention is now on us. And while I receive glances of disquiet, I don't miss the death glares they directed towards him that he's so blissfully unaware of. 

"Pay attention," he scolds me, and from my peripheral vision the mirroring fury in their eyes. 

"I think it's time you leave," Enrique tells Graham authoritatively, reentering the room with Wesley in tow. 

"Wh-why?" Graham frowns in confusion. 

"Because we say so and we're in charge here," Kayden justifies with crossed arms and a cold demeanor. 

Graham's confused gazes shifts back towards me, but all I can do is mirror his confusion. 

"He can sta--" 

"I believe it's already fairly late," Enrique cuts me off. "You should be heading home," he adds, directing his words towards Graham before shifting his attention to me. "And you should be resting," he says sternly. 

"How about we just add these two and finish it off?" I suggest before any of the three have a chance to say a word while avoiding their gaze at all cost. Pointing towards two of our most recent pictures from the trip I took with his family. 

"Hm," he mumbles inspecting the timeline chart we had completed so far while under their intense gaze. "I guess so, we've already met all the minimum requirements," he shrugs. 

"Cool, I'll finish it then," I tell him, trying my best to mask the urgency in my tone. 

"It's fine, I can wait," he insists courageously and by the change in Enriques and Wesley's faces, I can tell they didn't appreciate his words. 

"I'll do it, don't worry," I tell him desperately wishing he catches the hint and goes. 

"I guess...if you say so," he reluctantly agrees, making me sigh inwardly. 

Shoving his things into his backpack he leans in and wraps his arms loosely around me in a hug. "These guys are weird," he whispers in my ears and I couldn't agree more.

"Pick you up as usual?" He asks while pulling away from the hug and I nod while from my peripheral I take note of their rigid stances and impassive demeanor.

"You shouldn't be going to school tomorrow," Kayden remarks, and I frown giving him a questioning look.

"Why?" I voice out my expression when I get no explanation.

"You need to rest your knee," he replies in a 'duh' tone.

"I'm fine," I assure him.

"You can barely stand up on your own," Kayden points out, while the rest just watch our exchange.

"I'll manage," I shrug.

"And I'll see myself out," Graham interjects before Kayden has a chance to counter my statement.

Graham is quick to exit after that. 'Lucky idiot, at least he can leave'

"I'm sure you can take a day off from school," Wesley says and I sigh.

"I've to submit this tomorrow," I reply nonchalantly, before getting back to work on my project.

'Why do they even think they have a say in this situation?'

"You want to go? Fine, then one of us will pick and drop you off," Kayden says. "No need for that boy to be around you so much," he adds under his breath.

"No thanks," I reply curtly.

"That wasn't a suggestion," Kayden retorts sharply.

"And this isn't a negotiation," I snap back.

"Why do you trust that boy so much anyway?" Kayden questions his eyes holding repressed rage.

"Because I've known him longer than I've known any of you," I reply. My words set off a mirror reaction within all of them as an ambitious emotion flash on their faces which they are quick to cover up.

The argument doesn't go any further than this and I get back to working on the final bit of my project. All while suppressing the faint pitch of guilt I'm feeling for being the cause of their reaction.

Reading a little deeper into it, it almost feels like they are remorseful, but why would they be?

"That's his hoodie," Kayden observes and I lift my gaze to him only to find his eyes alternate between the picture on my bed and the hoodie I'm wearing.

"I know," I reply.

"Why are you wearing his hoodie?" He demands.

"Because I can," I retort wittily, but my reply clearly doesn't seem to sit well with Kayden but his next statement is silenced when Wesley places his hand on his shoulder instantly calming Kayden down.

My gaze then shifts to the picture Kayden was looking at, it's the day before I stole the hoodie from Graham, this fond memory causes an involuntarily smile to curve my lips.

"I don't like this," I hear Kayden grumble under his breath but a single stern look from Enrique has him keep his thoughts to himself.

I sigh inwardly again. 'Is this what my life is going to be like after the marriage?'

That's when I realize something, throughout our entire exchange Enrique remained deadly silent, and from what I've got to know him so far that isn't a good sigh.

'Why do I feel like he's up to something?'



Author's Note:

Hey guys thanks for reading!

I'm sorry for the late update, but my college has restarted and things are a bit busy.

But I hope you enjoyed this chapter and are excited for the next one!

Comment &vote

~Kia

      

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