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Author’s Note: The response to the first part was unexpected to say the least. I thought I went too far with how dark the story got. It makes me very happy to see that the majority seems to have enjoyed it anyway! If you wish to leave negative reviews, I ask that it be constructive. But if you simply want to offend me, I’ll remove/ignore whatever you said so don’t bother wasting your time. This is the second and final part to “Blood of the Covenant”. I hope you enjoy. There’s even a special cameo!
Chapter 9: Parallel Mistakes, Divergent Choices
“Family meeting, bug!” Claire poked her head in Banri’s room. “Dining table.”
Banri followed her down, Emily and Zoe joining them on the stairs. Claire remained standing while the other three sat at the table. Banri looked at his sisters to see if they knew what was going on but they just shrugged.
“I’ve talked to my lawyer.” Claire began. “I’m rewriting my will.”
“I didn’t even know you had a will.” Banri said.
“Well I have to make it easier on people when they’re going through my things.” Claire explained. “Anyway. The old will included Faith and her family. I was going to give them the property that our dad passed down to me.”
“That farm we visited years ago?” Emily asked.
“That’s the one. It’s just sitting there after Dad died. I figured Faith’s family could think of something to do with it.” Claire nodded. “They don’t get a damn thing now. Everything that belongs to me goes to you three kids and only you three kids. Property, investments, cash. All of it.”
“Us three?” Banri frowned. He made two mistakes just then. He put too much emphasis on the word ‘three’ and he had frowned.
“Yes, bug. Three. Why is that surprising?” Claire put her hands on the table and stared down at him.
“Yeah, Banri. Why?” Emily glared. It took Zoe a second to realize before she joined the women in glaring at Banri.
“No reason. Just confirming.”
“You’re my son, Banri.”
“No. It still looks like you don’t.” Claire snapped. “You have been my son since the second I got the phone call saying your parents and sister died.”
“Sorry.” Banri’s ears burned as he stared at the table. He had fucked up bad. What else could he do?
“You are getting a third of my things because you’re my son.”
Claire moved to hug him from behind and kiss his ear. “I love you, middle bug. Please stop being surprised when I say you’re mine.”
Banri wondered if she would still say that if she found out about what was going on between him and her daughters. If she knew about what he did with Zoe the other night, would she still hug him like this?
“That was a great open house!” Simon shut the door behind the last couple. “Offers will start coming in over the next few days.”
“That’s great.” I said, sitting down on the bare floor. All the furniture had been moved out to a storage unit and all the memories I wanted to keep were in a guest room back home, waiting to be sorted through. I hated how empty the place was now. But at least it had a reason to feel so lifeless now that everything had been taken out of it. “Be sure to ask each of them the question I gave you. Best answer gets the house.”
“I have a feeling you’re going to be one of those insane rich assholes that send people on dangerous treasure hunts to get rewarded with money.”
“That sounds fun.” I grinned.
“In one word, how would you describe your family?” Simon sighed as he sat down next to me. “You’re asking people this. Do you have an answer?”
“Forged.” Simon repeated. “I like it.”
“Thanks. Came up with it right after you asked.”
Simon laughed. “Great on the spot thinking then.”
“I’m cool like that.”
“That you are…” Simon looked at me. He was giving me that look again. Like he was trying to read me. It didn’t make me uncomfortable, but I did wonder why he did it. “Can I tell you a story?”
“Great.” Simon’s smile was small as he stared at the floor. For the first time since I had met him, he looked old. His shoulders slumped and wrinkles appeared on his face as if from nowhere. “When I was 15 years old, my parents were murdered. Home invasion. My Dad tried to use his gun, but the robber was a better shot. Mom was next. I was sleeping over at a friend’s house or I would have died too.”
“Did they ever catch the guy?”
“No.” Simon shook his head. “Afterwards, I went to live with my aunt and uncle. They had two kids of their own, a boy and a girl. My aunt and uncle treated me like a son and my cousins treated me like a brother. They didn’t have to do any of that, but they did. I think you would be able to empathize with how grateful I felt and still feel.”
They didn’t poker oyna have to, but they did. I just nodded. “It never goes away.”
“It won’t.” Simon laughed humorlessly. “No matter how old you get, you’ll always feel like a lost little boy who was rescued by a few beautiful souls. It’s both humbling and frustrating.”
“Do you like feeling indebted to someone?”
So that’s what the ache was. It wasn’t just being grateful. I felt like I owed Mom and the girls. Of course I did. They had done so much. How could I not pay them back? “No.”
“Me neither. When I turned 35, I finally saved enough money to send my family on a vacation around Europe. You know what the first question out of their mouth was?”
“Why there were only four plane tickets.” Simon answered. “They asked why I wasn’t coming with them.”
“Because it was a gift for them not you.”
“That’s what I said.” His laugh was still humorless. “They had a fit and refused to go unless I went with them, so I let them all buy me a ticket. It messed with the hotel reservations and other things I had planned but we made it work.” He looked at me. “Claire told me about that little question you asked after she said she was rewriting her will.”
“Oh.” I looked away. So that’s what this was about. Mom had sent her boyfriend after me.
“She didn’t tell me to talk to you about it if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“Shit are you a mind reader too?”
“No. You’re just a lot like me.”
“You think very highly of yourself.”
“You have no idea.” Simon laughed. He looked young again. “Banri you’re good with money. Tell me this. Is it a debt when person C gives person B something and doesn’t expect it to be given back or paid for?”
“No.” I knew where he was going with this.
“Then what is it?”
“Bingo.” Simon slow clapped. “Claire, Emily and Zoe don’t expect a goddamn thing from you. Get them all the gifts you want. Take them on trips and buy them all their favorite food. Be reckless with your money. But do it because you love them, and you feel like it. Not because you’re trying to pay them back. Might as well just slap them in the face.”
“How am I supposed to stop feeling like I owe them then?” I let the back of my head bump the wall.
“You won’t. The feeling will get less powerful, but it won’t go away.”
“So I live with it.”
“Yep. The curse of gratitude.” Simon stood up and gave me his hand so I could as well. “But you can make the feeling weaker if you stop going along with its impulses. Stop feeding it. That takes practice.”
“Thanks, Simon.” I hugged him. He needed to at least think he had helped.
“Anytime.” He firmly patted my back a few times. “Let’s pick up some beers and hang out with the girls. How’s that sound?”
“That always sounds good.” I smiled. “Hey, I actually had something to ask you.”
“Do you know a good lawyer?”
“You going to sue me?”
“Nah.” I laughed. “I had a fiduciary law professor that went on and on about getting a will or trust made as soon as possible. I’ve got money now. Thought it’d be a good idea. Mom rewriting hers reminded me.”
Simon stared at me. Like he was trying to read me. I stared right back. Finally he nodded. “Yeah. I know one. I’ll give you his number.”
A few weeks later, I drove back to the House and saw that Simon’s car and another I didn’t recognize were on the driveway. Simon had found a potential buyer very quickly and had called to tell me that their answer to my question was perfect. I wanted to hear it from them, so I asked them to meet me at the place.
“Banri.” Simon walked me over to the couple. Over their shoulders I saw two kids playing in the backyard. A sister and her little brother. “This is Andy and Hannah Penn.”
“Nice to meet you.” I shook both their hands. “Those your kids?”
Hannah nodded. “That’s Luna, she’s ten. And that’s Andy Junior, he just turned six last week.”
“Cute kids.” I smiled. Luna was currently throwing acorns at her brother. “Simon mentioned that you’re an AP Biology teacher, Andy. What about you, Hannah?”
“I’m a nurse over at St. David’s.”
“Hey, my mom works there. Do you know a Dr. Claire Rossi?”
“Yes she is.”
“What a cool coincidence!” Hannah smiled. “I don’t actually work in her department, but I’ve met her a few times. She’s so nice!”
“She is very nice.” I nodded. “Hate to jump right to it but I’m curious. What was y’all’s answer to my question?”
“Salvation.” Andy answered. He hadn’t taken an eye off the kids since we started talking.
“Wow. Why do you say that?”
“I uh…” Hannah looked at her husband. He nodded encouragingly. “I had a severe drinking problem. I couldn’t stop no matter how hard I tried. I was ruining my life and my marriage. Andy won’t admit to it, but I know that if it kept going I would have driven him away.” She ignored Andy’s head shaking. “Then I got pregnant with Luna. canlı poker oyna Suddenly I had all the motivation in the world to quit. I couldn’t hurt my baby. She saved me and my marriage. Then we had Andy Junior and things got even better.”
“That’s beautiful. Congratulations on beating your addiction. I know how hard it is.” I smiled. She must really love her family if she was finally able to kick her drinking. “You were right, Simon. I do love the answer.”
“Great!” Andy beamed. “The house is a little out of our price range but… if it’s for those two we can manage it. Somehow.”
“A friend of mine is opening an urgent care clinic. I can work there part time.” Hannah said. “And Andy is thinking of giving guitar lessons.”
“So don’t worry.” Andy added. “We’ll find a way to pay for everything. Worst case, what are savings for?”
That’s not right. That’s not right at all. They spend all their time making money to afford a house they’re getting for their kids. And by doing that, they’d be ignoring the people they were working themselves to the bones for. Luna and Junior would be strangers to their parents. I smiled at them. “I love how devoted you two are. Could I talk to you for a second, Simon?”
I nodded to the couple and smiled again since they looked nervous. “Be back in a minute.”
“You letting them have it?” Simon put his hands in his pockets and jingled his keys. “They seem like they’d appreciate the place.”
“Yeah but not for the price they’re offering.” I said.
“You want more? Banri they can barely afford it as is… To be honest I wouldn’t even let them buy it if I were you.”
“I want less.”
He raised an eyebrow. “How much we talking?”
His face went blank. Then he began laughing. “Jesus Christ, Banri. Claire was right. You’re unbelievable.”
“What? I don’t want them to dip into their savings for it and I definitely don’t want them spending all their time working just so they can afford a house. Their kids need parents.” I looked back at them and smiled so they wouldn’t worry. “All kids do. I can pay you for your time.”
“Nah I don’t need that.” Simon waved his hand. “I wasn’t going to take money from you in the first place. You’re letting me date your Mom.”
“That makes it sound like I pimped her out.”
He cringed. “Yeah I didn’t think that through. Don’t tell on me.”
“I won’t.” I laughed. “Alright. I’m gonna head out. You tell them the news.”
“You’re not going to do it?”
“Nah I’d start crying.”
“Positive.” I nodded. “Don’t tell Mom and the girls about this.”
“And what do we tell them when they ask how much we sold it for?”
“Our asking price.”
“What’s the point of doing a good thing if you’re not going to brag about it?” Simon shook his head dramatically.
“Whatever.” I shrugged. “Just tell them this house used to be full of love and that it’ll be happy to have more.”
“I will.” Simon promised. “I think your parents would be proud of you, Banri. Not everyone would just give away a house like it’s nothing.”
“A millionaire would.” I grinned. I hoped cracking a cocky joke would stop me from crying. But it still felt like I had a lump in my throat. I should get going. Leave this place for good.
“No. They wouldn’t.” Simon didn’t bother smiling, looking me dead in the eye instead. “You’re allowed to be proud of yourself for this. And for the other amazing things you’ve done.”
He sighed and walked away. I opened the front door and I was about to leave but I caved. I had to at least hear it. I waited just outside the door and… there it is. Shouts of surprise, crying, and laughter. Tears streaming down my face, I left.
Goodbye House. Hope you can be a Home now.
Chapter 10: Convinced
“Hey Benny.” An extremely nasal, annoying voice said from my door. It wasn’t actually that bad. But it had become that bad after working with the guy for a few months with him constantly calling me that nickname. And his desperate need to get laid that always ended up driving people away. I swallowed my annoyance and looked up.
“What’s up, Connor?”
“Those two blondes you posted a picture on Instagram with.” Connor did that thing where people sit on a desk but keep one leg on the ground and the other bent. “How’d you land two bombshells like that?”
I can’t believe I was going to have Emily date this guy. What a piece of shit. “They’re my sisters.”
“Oh sorry.” He said. He didn’t look sorry at all. “The taller one. She single?”
Yeah. Super single. Just not when it comes to you. “Nope.”
“Aw fuck. The good ones are always taken. How about the one with the dark circles? How about her?”
“Chris Hansen would like you to have a seat. She’s only 17.” I said smoothly.
“Damn. Oh well.” He walked away without even saying goodbye. Ass.
I took my phone out and texted Emily. “I would like to sincerely apologize for trying to set you up on a internet casino date with Connor.”
“Hahaha why do you say that, bug?”
“He, as our British friends would say, is a wanker.” I added the eggplant emoji since we still don’t have a dick emoji.
“What’d he do?” Two laughing emojis were included.
“Asked if the blonde bombshells I’m in a picture with are available.”
“Ohhh.” A second later. “What’d you say?” Winky face.
“I said you were dating someone, and that Zoe was 17.”
“Bad boy. Lying to people like that.”
I hated that I liked that she said ‘Bad boy’. “You two deserve someone better.”
“Hmmm… Is little Banri feeling possessive?”
After Emily had realized I was interested, she had become a relentless tease whenever Mom wasn’t around. Bumping her ass into me ‘accidentally’. Speaking in euphemisms. Lots of touching. Showing off. It was amazing and it was torture. “I’m not. Just saying you deserve a guy that doesn’t call you a blonde bombshell.”
“Awwww.” Frowning emoji. “I’m not a blonde bombshell?”
“Check snapchat. You can screenshot if you want.” Two winky faces.
I got up, locked my door, then sat back down. Heart rate about three million beats a minute, I opened the snap that Emily sent. She had taken a picture with the front facing camera pointed over her shoulder. Her blonde hair and bare shoulder were in the foreground. A perfect ass graced with a pink thong was in the background. The caption at the bottom read ‘You sure?’. My fingers hovered over the two buttons I would need to press to screenshot. Five seconds left on the countdown. She had said I could do it. Why not right? Her face wasn’t in it. It could be any woman. Three seconds left. No. Don’t do it. Two… One… Gone.
“Awwww. I stripped down to my underwear just for you.” Moments later. “A man with self-control is hot though.” Emoji with hearts for eyes. It’s like she was trying to kill me.
“Who said you I had to control myself?”
“You don’t want to mess with me, Banri.”
“You think I’m scared of you?”
There was no response from her for a few minutes. She was definitely up to something, so I kept my door closed. As expected, I received another snap. She was on her back wearing one of my dress shirts. All the buttons were left undone, so her breasts were only barely covered, their curves peeking out from under. The caption was ‘Guess what I’m about to do with your shirt on’, Why’d I have to tell her that I thought it was hot when girls wore my shirts and hoodies? I had basically just handed her ammunition.
“As long as you wash the shirt afterwards, I don’t care.”
“Wooooooow.” Middle finger emoji. We have a middle finger emoji but no dick? Come on.
“I hate you.”
“I hate you, too.”
“Ever heard of the phrase ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’?”
“Still not scared of you.”
“It’s just you and me tonight. Zoe is going to Dallas with her photography club. And Mom is staying at Simon’s.” Winking emoji. “Still not scared?”
Banri tried to retreat to his room immediately after getting home. Emily was waiting for him with a wide, shit-eating grin. “You are so predictable.” She was wearing the dress shirt from earlier having buttoned all of it except the top few. As a finishing blow, Emily had put her hair in a ponytail.
“Don’t know what you’re talking about. I was just putting my stuff away before getting a snack.” Banri said smoothly, dropping his bag off by his desk and turning to leave.
“Stop. Come here and sit on the bed.”
Banri, to his eternal shame, listened.
“That’s what I thought.” Emily smirked. She turned, bent her right leg and put the left over his lap so she could sit close to him. As though by accident, her thigh rubbed over his crotch. She leaned in close and blew into his ear, smiling when he twisted his neck away. “Don’t worry. I’m not like Zoe. Won’t be a brat and beg you to help me cum.”
“You know about that?”
“She told me.”
“Mhm.” She blew on his ear again. “It made me really sad, Banri. How could you do that behind my back?”
“I wasn’t planning on…” She bit his ear and that cut his train of thought.
“No excuses.” She murmured. “But it’s okay. I have a way you can say sorry to me.”
“Take me out on a date.”
“You heard me. Take me out on a date. Give me the Banri Experience.”
“There is no Banri Experience.”
“So girls just sleep with you immediately for no reason? Bull.”
“Believe it or not, I don’t have sex on the first date.”
Emily leaned back in surprise. “Wait seriously?”
“Nope. Happens around date three. Not that it takes long to get three dates. I saw one girl three nights in a row.”
“You’re very sweet and very hot. I would put out on the first date if I went out with you.”
“I’m sure you would, slut.” Banri smirked.
“Asshole.” Emily laughed. “I’m being serious.”
“You could put out if you want. I wouldn’t.”
“There’s nothing to explain.” Banri shrugged. “I never put out on the first date. It’s too soon.”
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