Chapter 27

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A/N- OK! SO! I have to run to work so I can't waste time apologizing but I am so so so so so sorry for the 2+ year delay in updating. I fell into a rut of not writing and being consumed by college life. I realize this is a short chapter but I just really wanted to get something out today to thank all of you for all your continuing support over the years, despite my unexplained and unfair absence. I'm going to finish the rest of this book (only 1 more chapter) tonight after work, and that will be up within 1-2 days. Pinky promise. Cross my heart and hope to die.


As always, please leave feedback if you enjoyed! (Also please let me know if anything seems inaccurate--I've forgotten a lot of details about this story.....)

*****

"I refuse to have dinner with that tyrant."

I rolled my eyes at my esteemed older brother. After carrying himself with so much confidence on the stage last night with his band, Kevin was now sitting on the floor of Mom's and my hotel room with his legs crossed, arms folded, and a pout on his face.

"You refer to your own father as 'tyrant'?" Mom demanded.

"Among other terms," Kevin muttered, but only loud enough that I could hear it.

Dad had been behaving oddly since last night. By that I mean he was in a good mood. And it wasn't at the expense of someone else--normally, his children--which was the shocking part. Before heading out on a long walk this afternoon, he'd announced that he was treating everyone to dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. And not a cheap one, like he'd usually default to. An expensive, lavish, celebrity-approved eatery. According to Yelp, at least.

Dad had also invited Alexander and all of Kevin's bandmates to the dinner. I feared he'd gone insane.

Whatever fear I was feeling, Alexander was definitely feeling that times a million. That was probably why he'd spent the day with Vanessa and the rest of Kevin's band, exploring the city. He kept sending me pictures every hour to update me on what he was doing. Trying to make me jealous. It was working.

"Come here, Kevin." Mom patted the spot beside her on the queen-sized bed, indicating for her son to sit down.

Kevin eyed her warily. Apparently, he'd forgotten how to be a son during his little leave of absence from the Pang family. "Why?"

"Because I will beat you if you don't."

"Please, Mom. You wouldn't beat me." Kevin laughed. Nervously, like he didn't quite believe it.

Mom's eyes narrowed. "It seems you've gone too long without proper parenting. Want me to refresh your behind with a nice slap?"

Within moments, Kevin was obediently sitting, shoulders hunched, next to Mom on the bed. She began ruffling his hair fondly, like she hadn't just threatened him into submission.

"Geez, Mom, what're you doing? I'm not five anymore."

"Could have fooled me."

"Really. I don't need to be coddled. I'm a grown man. I have my own band!"

"You'll always be my baby boy," Mom said softly, her fingers still coming through Kevin's short hair. "I know this family has been cruel to you at times. But we missed you while you were gone."

"There was food in the fridge for once," I put in. "It was strange. Very strange."

I couldn't see Kevin's expression, but I imagined even he couldn't have still been holding a grudge after all that had happened. "You guys were pretty mean to me," he mumbled. "I'm not sure I'm ready to forgive any of you just yet." He paused. "Especially Dad."

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