Carter

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"Good morning, Dad." I say, answering his call. I glance over at the clock beside my bed to find that it's three in the afternoon. Looks like I overslept. Again.
"Mus, I doubt it's morning in America." Dad says, chuckling.
"Yeah, sorry, I meant afternoon." I pinch the bridge of my nose, trying to ease myself of the throbbing headache that has been after my life for the past few days.
"What were you up to? Cause you seem quite distorted." I get off the bed, and make my way toward the bathroom.
"I was sleeping, actually. Utilizing my winter break to the fullest." I smile at my own crappy joke, and my cheeks hurt instantly. "Fuck," I murmur.
"Do you have a flu, or something? Because your voice sounds terrible."
"Yeah, I think I'm coming down with something." I put the phone on speaker mode, and place it beside the sink.
"Oh, that'll be bad." Dad says, sighing, as I splash my face with cold water.
"Why?" I ask, furrowing my brows.
"I know you'll say no, but you can't blame me for trying." Dad pauses, and I know he's going to say something I won't like. After all, when do my parents ever say things that please me? "I was thinking that you could, maybe, come over to Dubai for the remainder of your break?" An idea that my mother will hate. It's also an idea that'll take me far away from America, and...the memories attached to this place. Yesterday, my mother and I, had another argumentative phone call. However, that's not something special. "Mus?" Dad's voice snaps me out of my thoughts.
"Dad, let me think about it." I say, grabbing my phone and exiting the bathroom.
"That's great!" Dad exclaims. "Tell me by tonight, so that I can get your flight booked and all."
"Yeah, sure. I'm going to go now, okay?"
"Sure, bye. Think it through, Mus and give me an answer soon." Dad ends the call and leaves me in a house filled with silence again. I chuck my phone onto the bed, and make my way downstairs. Kate's gone for the rest of the winter break. She and Liam have really hit it off. She also told me that he's left Cheryl, and now wants to build a future with Kate. Personally, I feel that they're moving way too fast. However, who am I to butt into other people's relationships, when I can't even handle my own? The minute I enter the kitchen, the same sight greets me: empty, dirty dishes, lying around the counter-tops, the sink is also filled with unwashed dishes and flour, that I spilt across a counter-top two days ago lies untouched. I lug my body towards the fridge and yank it open. A packet of Jelly-beans falls out of the fridge.
"Fuck," I hiss. The rest of the fridge is devoid of drinks, and food. Sighing, I slam the door shut. Looks like I need to go grocery shopping. However, ever since I came back from London, I haven't left the house and neither do I want to right now. I'm tired of being alone, and just staying alone in this quiet, still house. Even Nef seems down nowadays. Her mood seems to reflect mine. But I don't to be alone anymore; I have a choice now. That's when I make the choice: I'm going to Dubai.
********
"Hey!" Amaan yells, running across the terminal toward me. I embrace him tightly, already feeling happier. Rayan comes toward us casually, hands in his pockets.
"Hey, Apps." Rayan says, his eyes glued to the phone in his hand. I snatch it out of his hands, and raise an eyebrow at him.
"Your reputation isn't this important. Hugging me won't kill you and turn you into a social pariah," I say.
"Give me my phone back, Apps!" Rayan exclaims, making a grab for it. However, I'm faster and I raise my arm.
"Nope. This is mine now, until we reach home." I state, picking up Nef's cage, and grabbing the handle of my four-wheel suitcase. Rayan crosses his arms across his chest and pouts. "I know you love me, you don't have to state it." Rayan rolls his eyes, but he can't hide the small smile that tugs at the corner of his lips.
"Dad's so happy you decided to come." Amaan says, as we load my bag into the trunk of the car.
"Yeah, I'm sure." I mutter, slamming the trunk. "New chauffeur?" I question, glancing at the man who's sitting in the driver's seat.
"Yeah, Dad insisted on hiring one, since he's not always free to drive us around." Rayan says, taking shotgun.
"So tell me how's everything going?" I ask my younger brothers, as we set off toward home. The whole drive is spent with me catching up with the boys. When we reach Dad's house, Rayan is the first one to exit the car and make his way into the house.
"What's wrong with him?" I ask Amaan, as we take out my suitcase.
"Girlfriend problems." Amaan says, matter-of-factly.
"Of course," I nod my head in understanding. After all, my brother is a ladies man.
"Let me help you with that." A man says, taking hold of my suitcase handle. I raise my eyes to come face to face with a drop-dead gorgeous man. The person standing in front of me has greenish-blue irises, which give off a very calm feeling. He has a sharp jawline, which only adds onto his handsome features. Surprisingly, his face doesn't seem too sharp and devoid of emotion. In my opinion, people with an extremely sharp jawline tend to give off this don't-mess-with-me vibe. However, this man's features are the perfect contrast of sexy and handsome. He's smiling and his smile gives off a boyish look; one that I like. The man's hair is light brown and is swept sideways across his forehead.
"Hey, Carter." Amaan greets the man, smiling. Carter, turns his head toward Amaan and nods his head, smiling.
"How're ya, Amaan?" Carter asks, giving Amaan a quick embrace.
"Good and super excited because my sister has finally come to our house." Amaan looks at me and winks. I ruffle his hair, chuckling.
"Yeah, I'm here finally." I say, sighing, as I glance at Dad's house.
"I'm Carter." The man says, stretching his hand out towards me.
"I'm Mus." I say, shaking his outstretched hand. His fingers are calloused, as if he's a construction worker and he has a lot of blisters on his palm. "Your hands..." I trail off, realizing that I might sound too rude.
"Oh, yeah, I'm a rower." Carter explains, glancing at his own palm. "Hours and hours of holding the paddles does ruin my once soft hands." He sighs dramatically, making me smile.
"Let's continue our chit chat inside," Amaan says. I nod and head towards the front door with Nef's cage tucked underneath my right arm. The minute I enter Dad's house, the waft of freshly cooked food hits me. After a year or so, I'll be eating home-made food. Unlike my food that tastes like crap.
"Your Dad's really happy that you're here." Carter says, as we climb that stairs. Amaan is leading me toward my room. He said I can settle in and then when Dad comes from a business meeting in an hour, I can meet him and we can catch up on each others lives.
"Yeah, so happy that he couldn't take out the time to meet me at the airport." I say, pouting. Suddenly, I realize that I said that out loud and frown. "I'm sorry-"
"No, I understand. I, too, have a Dad who's quite busy with his business." Carter smiles at me understandingly. There's something about him that I like. He seems nice enough and his voice is highly soothing; it's quite gentle.
"I'm sorry, but I just have to ask this out of pure curiosity: what're you doing here?"
"Oh, your Dad invited me over for lunch." Carter explains, as Amaan leads us into my room.
"Ta-da!" Amaan exclaims. The walls of my room are peach...not exactly my color. The minute you enter, your eyes have to land on the huge, king-sized bed placed in the center of the room, with a bedside table beside it. The bed itself is black and so is the table, it seems to be a set. The bed-sheets, however, are blue. God, why're there so many colors in this room? A small, wooden chest is lying at the foot of the bed and it's covered with a white blanket. A slim, black bookshelf is lying in the corner of the room, beside the window seat. There's also a flat screen television attached to the wall, with a shelf underneath it that holds a DVD player and an Apple TV.
"Did Dad design this room just for me?" I ask Amaan, raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah, he did." Amaan says, nodding his head enthusiastically.
"Oh," I murmur.
"Didn't you like it?" Carter asks me, as he placed my suitcase in front of the chest. The room is huge, and I can see two doors on opposite sides of the bed; one must lead to a small balcony and the other to a bathroom. There's nothing wrong with it in general, it's just that this isn't how I would decorate my room. Suddenly, Amaan's phone rings and he hastily answers. Raising his index finger, he exits the room and shuts the door behind him.
"I did," I murmur. "It's nice." Carter narrows his eyes and looks at me.
"You're lying."
"No, I'm not." I state adamantly. "It's honestly amazing. I mean, Dad, has clearly gone out of his way for me. I appreciate his kind gesture." Carter is still looking at me unsurely. However, he purses his lips, deciding not to argue further. I place Nef's cage on the bed and unlock the door. She gets out eagerly, wagging her tail. I pet her, however, she's too busy sniffing the bed to care much for my attention.
"I should leave and let you settle in." Carter says, turning on his heels toward the door.
"You can stay if you like, I have no issues." I say, unlocking my suitcase.
"You sure?" I nod my head, as I take out a stack of neatly folded shirts. It's been so long since I've had company that I crave it nowadays. Carter sitting here, and talking to me, is comforting. So comforting that I cannot even put it into words. Plus, he's a talkative man, so very soon, Carter and I are having a hearty discussion.

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