Chapter Two: Caught By Surprise

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*Ryker's Point Of View*

I pull out my phone as I sit on the edge of my bed in my hotel room, scrolling through my text messages. I feel anxious. Being here in Vegas, has got me so fucking anxious. I haven't been around my family in years. The past five years have been a blur— I've been traveling around with my buddies, playing in our band, snowboarding the slopes in Colorado, and meeting tons of chicks, to say the least. I remember when my mom called me after we played a gig in downtown Philly, asking me to— no, more like begging me to come to Las Vegas for spring break with my family. I hadn't seen her in years, although I talked to her via phone everyday. I remember being on the other side of the phone as she desperately waited for my reply to the invitation, with a girl I'd just met at the bar kissing down my chest, unbuttoning my shirt— the guilt of leaving my mother behind as a teenager crept up my spine and the word, "okay" escaped my lips making her squeal with joy.

All the sudden a warm hand gently rubs against my back, making my neck snap right to see my mother standing beside me. Her considerate grey eyes softly look into mine, as a tender smile appears across her face. Seeing her now, with more wrinkles under her eyes and the grey in her hair becoming more prominent, I start to feel that guilt again. But, I'm here... I'm here with her and that's the only reason I came.

"You doing okay, sweetie? You seem a little tense." She says, her voice soothing me. She could always tell when I wasn't okay. Mother knows best, they say.

"I'm alright." I confess. She motions her hand, shooing me over to make room for her to sit next to me. She sits and rubs her hands on her thighs, seeming nervous as she takes a deep breath.

"Have you talked to dad?" She asks, tilting her head to the side, speaking in a calming tone. I anxiously run my hand through my hair and roll my eyes. "Not much. He's barely spoken a word to me. It's hard mom. It's just too hard right now."

She rests her hand on my knee, giving it a little squeeze before twisting her charm bracelet around her wrist, apprehensively. "He'll come around. We talked about it before coming here. He's ready to forgive you."

I roll my eyes in disgust, and shrug, "He sure has a way of showing it. He can barely look me in the eyes, ma. Seriously."

I stand up and walk towards the mirror across the room. I look at her through the mirror, as she stares at me with sadness in her eyes. "Well, you at least know I forgave you years ago." She said, trying to cheer me up.

I turn, leaning against the dresser and sigh heavily. "I know. Pretty sure I don't deserve it, but I appreciate it." I say, staring down at the floor, ignoring any eye contact. She crosses her legs and rests her hands in her lap. "Oh honey, don't beat yourself up. We all make mistakes. We're in Vegas for heaven's sake! Let's just try to have fun. Your brother will be here soon too," she smiles sweetly as I stand up straight and cross my arms, as she continues to talk while adjusting her watch, "He's bringing his girlfriend. Remember I told you when they started dating last summer? I'm excited to meet her."

Again, I roll my eyes and turn away from her to stare at myself in the mirror again. I look at myself straight in the eye, remembering the fact that I have to see my brother again too. It's hard enough, seeing my father and all— but my identical twin brother? That's going to be fucking harder than I can imagine. When I left years ago, I left him, my best friend. He never forgave me. I never reached out. He never cared, or maybe he cared too much. But facing him will be a real struggle I'm not ready to tackle. I aggressively pull my toiletry bag towards me on the dresser and dig around for my cigarettes. If I'm going to face Anthony, I need a fucking cigarette.

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