19: Piper-Heidsieck

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'There are two side to every story'

I lock eyes with myself in the reflective surface of the mirror in front of me.

A rustic knee-length blood red dress held together by a black off-brand belt. My lips tinted to match the dress, my hair cascading down my back freely. I liked this of version me.

I wouldn't call this dress old. Although admittedly if anyone were to look through the pictures of any formal function I have attended in my late teens, the probability you would see me in this very dress is alarmingly high.

I like how this dress makes me feel. I feel confident. I feel comfortable in how I look, pretty even.

"Liv, can you come here for a sec?" Kayden's voice echoes through the halls of their enormous house, snapping me back to reality.

I breathe in. And breathe out. Then pulling myself away from the randomly placed mirror in the hallway, I mosey my way to where I assume his voice originated from. The dining room.

"Mr. Ashford, I can assure you I'm fully capable of doing my job."

"You can do your job, I agree. But how well is debatable," Kayden retorts impressively. I roll my eyes.

I walk into Kayden and some brunette in a pantsuit arguing. On one hand I want to applaud the young women on her bravery to stand her grounds with my asshole of a brother--step-brother--but on the other, I want to facepalm knowing that her bravery is just a complete waste of energy.

"Mr. Ashfo--"

"Liv, good you're here," Kayden cuts her off as soon as he catches sight of me. I sigh inwardly.

"Can you please tell our interior designer here that this ivory table cloth suits the table better than the beige one," he says. An undeniable smugness hides behind his cold exterior.

'They're arguing over the table cloth!' Calming in internal disbelief I glance at the two pieces of cloth another woman dressed in a similar suit as the first is holding up. I tilt my head sidewards, to facilitate better inspection.

"They look the same," I conclude sincerely. My words successfully managing to offend not just the two women, but also--surprisingly--Kayden.

"What?" I mumble nervously at the stares my previous statement has warranted from the group.

"That's beige." The first lady points to the first piece of cloth. "And that's ivory." She points to the other. I nod.

"Why does this matter?" I grumble. "Who cares if it's either?" I frown.

"Kayden does." I snap my head to the entrance of the room to find Enrique and Wesley to be the ones who answered. Kayden rolls his eyes at the accusation, but doesn't deny it. 

"Anyway," Wesley dismisses Kayden before shifting his attention to me. "Your mum's here," he informs and I just nod wordlessly.

"Everyone else will be here shortly," Enrique announces after a brief glance at his phone.

And with that, he leaves the room, momentarily after Wesley does the same before turning to Wesley with the remark in good humor, "spare the kid from your madness."

"Do you want to go see her?" Kayden asks casually ignoring his brothers remark, while barking orders at other random staff members regarding the placement of the cutlery. Apparently, the water glass is placed before the wine glass...

"No," I reply thoughtlessly.

'I don't know if I want to see her' Or so I make myself believe.

"That's understandable. You talk when you're ready to, okay?" he assures sincerely. I forget at times how mature he can be. "You could always stay here and help me make these women realize that ivory is the superior shade, and hence better," he adds as an afterthought. And the clown is back.

I offer him a supportive smile, before letting it drop and adding, "you're on your own," before hightailing it out of there, ignoring the way his eyes narrowed at me as I did.

I find solitude on the balcony overlooking their massive property that extended further than my vision range. The light fragrance of musk and amber imbues the air with hinting traces of different scents mixed in it, remanence of the perfume worn by the people that were here.

I fold my hands against my chest as a motion of comfort as I just aimlessly stare into the night.

What is so special about this dinner tonight? I don't know.

Why am I here? I don't know.

What will I say if--no--when I see mum? I don't have a clue. Guess I'll just have to wing it.

"Liv, honey?" Mum's unmistakable gentle voice that once brought me comfort, now causes the hair at the back of my neck to stand in attention and my stomach to churn unpleasantly.

I maintain my stance facing away from her. My mind still pondering what my response should be, if any.

"Baby I know these past few days I've been nothing but an absolutely terrible mother," she continues, realizing I will be holding my silence.

"And I'm not justifying my actions." She steps closer, but not close enough to invade my personal space.

"It's just after what happened at the beach house..." She trails off. "I hated myself for what I did."

"So you punished yourself, by punishing me?" I question, letting my anger do the talking this time.

"I-I." She opens and closes her mouth at a loss of words.

"I never mean for any of this, Liv. You have to believe me."

I turn to face her. My hands wrapped tightly around myself, with nothing but impassiveness to offer her through expression.

"I didn't think you would remember any of it," she confesses. I frown. 'What?'

"Remember what?" I ask suspiciously. Shock takes over the guilt on her face, and soon realization sets in.

"When you went back to the marketplace that day, how much of it do you remember?" She tentatively asks. I shrug.

"Liv," she sighs, followed by tensed silence.

"I was scared. I am scared," she admits breaking the silence that prolonged from a good few minutes of us just staring at each other.

"Scared that you might remember."

"Remember what?" I press for more details. My confusion persisted, as I try to piece everything together.

'Is she talking about the giraffe slide?'

'She didn't want me going back there. Is this why?'

'But what could I remember that has her so scared?'

Author's Note:

Hey guys I'm back, with another update and late as usual.

Hope this chapter was worth the wait and that you enjoy it.

Comment &vote

~Kia

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