Stepbrother's Secrets (A New Adult Forbidden Romance) (4 page)

Chapter seven

The day of my mom's wedding comes quickly. Lace and I are her bridesmaids. It's been two weeks since I last saw Jake. My heart still aches but it wouldn't have worked out anyway. We're about to be related, even if I'll never see my soon to be stepbrother again.

"What do you think girls?" Mom asks turning back and forth in front of the mirror.

"You look beautiful Mrs. Sandborn. Or should I say Mrs. Marcos Benito?" Lace asks laughing.

My mom blushes and smiles from ear to ear. She does look amazing in her cream wedding gown. Her makeup is perfect, her hair done up to an ideal. I walk over and pull her into a tight embrace. No matter my own heart break, this is her day and I won't be stealing it away from her.

"Thank you both," she says sniffling back her tears. "Sheila-boo would you mind checking to make sure everyone is getting seated okay?"

"Sure Mom," I say.

I slip out of the dressing chamber then make my way over to the chapel. It's a small ceremony so not a lot of people are here. I peek in and see that Mom's side is about half full and so is the groom's side. I frown a little at the people populating the groom's side of the chapel. A lot of less than savory looking folks over there but then I guess you can't choose your family.

One person stands up and turns towards the back just as I'm about to leave and I stop dead in my tracks. That's the man who Jake escorted out of Lapusa's! What's he doing here? I watch him for a moment as he scratches at his arm furiously then rubs his nose sniffing. Jake never did explain who he was and I was so caught up in the moment I never asked or thought of him again. I push it aside and go to the front foyer. I want to see if anyone else is still arriving.

"How's our special lady?" Pastor Stanley asks as I pass him standing outside the foyer.

"She's nervous but excited," I say smiling.

"That's good," he says. "She deserves to be happy."

"I agree," I say and I realize I mean it. Mom's had a hard life raising me on her own struggling with bills. She deserves a rich guy who sweeps her off her feet like this Marcos has.

Outside the day is overcast but the rain is holding off. The church parking lot is mostly full and there are a lot of cars parked on the street. Two of them have men still sitting in them who seem to be staring at the church. They must be on Marcos side as I don't recognize them.

"Things look great Mom," I say slipping back into the room with her and Lace.

It's time. I lead my Mom to the chapel door. We stand nervously waiting for the music queue then it starts and I walk behind Lace and ahead of my mom down the aisle. Watching her walk down the aisle, the way she glows, it almost makes it all worth it.

****

"Welcome to the family," another stranger says grabbing me by my shoulders and kissing each of my cheeks.

Marcos' family leans towards the effusive to say the least. I've been grabbed, my cheeks kissed, pulled into hugs, and more physical contact than I'm comfortable with. It's still going on. Marcos and my mom cut their cake, open their gifts, a dinner is served, and soon there will be a dance.

Through it all no one mentions Marcos' son's absence. It's like he doesn't exist for them at all. I, for my part, can't keep him out of my thoughts. Listening to their vows, I imagine it is he and I. Watching them dance, I feel his arms around me. My chest aches. An overall sadness carries itself forward with me.

An older man with greasy hair and a strong Hispanic look waits behind the current person hugging and kissing me. Next to him stands the man from Lapusa's. I exchange pleasantries with the current person then they move forward.

"Welcome to our family!" the greasy older man says. "I'm Uncle Pablo, Marcos' brother. This is my son Jesus."

The younger man steps forward extending his hand which shakes slightly as he waits for me to take it. I look into his eyes, the heavy bags, the sallow skin, and know that he's an addict. I've seen people at school fall into the wrong circles or crack under the stress of finals. I take Jesus' hand and shake it watching his eyes dodge everywhere but me.

"It's very nice to meet you," I say speaking more to Pablo.

"If you ever need anything, you call me. There's nothing I won't do for my brother's daughter."

"Stepdaughter," I say laughing.

"Step nothing, you are family." Pablo speaks with a gravity to his words that I find surprising and a bit off. I smile and nod in return uncertain how to take it.

"It's too bad that Jake couldn't make it," I say by way of conversation.

"He's gone." Pablo looks angry staring at me.

I frown. Why is he so upset? Jesus shakes his head negatively glancing quickly from his father to me. He swallows hard as he fidgets around.

"Oh... okay," I say trying to ease the tension.

I just jumped into the deep end of a pool I didn't know was in front of me. The water is over my head by far. Nothing makes sense.

"Well," Pablo says. "You don't forget. We take care of our family. No matter what you need, no matter how much it costs, we'll take care of it. You're school, is it all paid for? Marcos tells me you’re a Sophomore in college?"

"Yes sir, I am. It's current. I have a few scholarships and I work summers."

"Bah, no more. You will not work summers. You send the bills to me."

He smiles and I nod feeling surreal.

"Well, enjoy the evening. I'm sure we'll see each other more."

I look around the room to find Lace. She's talking to a handsome young man in a corner so I slide up beside her.

"Lace, can I have a moment?"

She glances over and gives me a minute negative signal. I smile and pull down on her arm arching an eyebrow.

"Sure," she says. "Now you don't go anywhere, I'll be right back!"

I pull her to a corner where I don't think we'll be overheard.

"Lace, Marcos' family has something against Jake. How can they hate his son?"

"No clue," she shrugs her eyes still on her intended conquest. "Isn't he just dreamy though? He says he has a house boat!"

"Sure Lace. Seriously though, what does this mean?"

"Maybe they're scared or ashamed? Maybe he's adopted? He's pretty white for this bunch."

"Maybe," I say biting my lower lip.

"Look, he's gone. You have to let it go now. Best way to do that? Find a new piece of meat and ride it until the regrets you have are gone."

Lace laughs as she moves back to the boy she was talking up. I shake my head watching her go. None of this makes sense. I wish I had her laissez-faire attitude towards things but I can't let something go so easily. There's a mystery here and it involves the man whose touch I can't get out of my mind. I have to know more.

Chapter eight

It's winter break and I have no desire to go anywhere so I sit at home. I would have stayed at my dorm but they've closed them for the break to do maintenance. Nothing is ideal in this situation but I do my best to enjoy it.

It's noon and I haven't bothered getting dressed yet. There's nothing to do and nowhere to go so why bother? Lace took off to see her family so I'm on my own. Mom and Marcos are being disgusting. The two of them can't seem to keep their hands off of each other and while I'm happy for her, at the same time I don't want to see it. I sure as hell don't want to hear it, but I do, oh lord every night I do. Who knew old people could have such stamina?

I flip through the channels and settle on The Price Is Right while eating my cereal. Lunch of champions, toasted oats with artificial sugar. Mom and Marcos are upstairs talking about remodeling or something I don't want to know. Down here things are nice and quiet. Mom moved into Marcos' house. Well house is an understatement. Marcos has a mansion. It's massive  with sixteen rooms each decked out in the latest of styles from Home & Garden.

My rooms, yes rooms, are actually a small suite. The closet is bigger than my dorm at school. I don't even own enough clothes to begin to fill the space. It's nice. Again I'm happy for her but it's competing with the overall downer of the hole left by Jake.

I can't quit thinking of him. I lay in my bed at night, listening to them through the walls, and I imagine him over me again. When I do I smell the scent of him as my hand drifts down to my slick sex. Lightly I stroke myself imagining it's his fingers there again. As I pierce myself I mentally put him entering me. Thrusting into me to touch my core filling me in ways I've never before experienced. He didn't just pierce my flesh, he pierced my heart and soul.

The doorbell rings. Pulled from my daydream I set my cereal aside and go to answer it. There's a video surveillance system. As I approach I see that it's Jesus, Marcos' nephew. No idea what he wants but then it's probably not my problem. I open the door.

"Hey Jesus," I say.

His eyes widen at the sight of me. I know I didn't make myself up but damn I don't think I look that bad. A loose t-shirt and silk pj's shouldn't get such a negative reaction.

"What are you doing here!" his voice cracks at the end.

"Uhm, I live here," I reply frowning.

"You shouldn't be here, this is wrong," Jesus says dancing from one foot to another.

"Sheila, who's at the door?" Marcos calls from upstairs.

"It's just-" Jesus rushes me his hand covering over my mouth and nose.

He pushes me back into the foyer shaking his head side to side. He smells of onions and raw fish, the combination of which makes me gag. He shoves me up against a wall looking around wild eyed. Two others rush in behind him dressed in low riding jeans and hoodies pulled up over their heads. One of them is a scrawny white kid and the other is bigger and black.

"Shit," Jesus says. "Shut the fucking door."

One of the others does. All of them are dancing around then the two with hoodies pull guns out. They wave them around holding them sideways. My stomach knots up as a wave of nausea passes over me.

"Where's my Uncle?" Jesus says.

I'm shaking with fear. I try to motion up the stairs with my head. I'm afraid to move. Scared of what they might do.

"Go upstairs, get the old man," Jesus says over his shoulder. "Hurry up!"

The other two race up the stairs. One of them stumbles on his way clattering to the ground. I tense, expecting the report of his gun but it doesn't come. Marcos does come to the head of the stairs at the noise and stops to stare. He doesn't look scared. Actually he looks scary. These three boys have guns and questionable morals but they don't compare to the look on Marcos' face when he sees them.

"Jesus, what are you doing?" he says his voice soft and somehow more threatening than if he yelled.

"I'm taking what's mine," Jesus yells then he has a gun pointed at my head. "Or she gets it!"

The two on the stairs make their way up to Marcos and stand an arm’s length to either side of him with guns pointed at his head. I can't help thinking that if they both fire they're just as likely to shoot each other as they are him. Insanely this makes me want to giggle.

"You can still walk away from this," Marcos says. "Leave. Now."

"Fuck you old man!" Jesus screams.

He grabs the front of my shirt pulling me around in front of him. One arm crosses my throat and the cold steel barrel is pressed against my temple. My arms tremble and a shiver runs up my spine. My knees feel weak like at any moment I might collapse. My vision starts to gray at the edges and I think I'm about to pass out.

"Bring him to the living room!" Jesus yells.

He drags me by my neck choking me. Blood pounds in my ears as my heart beats against my chest. I gasp in breath as I can. Cold chills run down my arms. He backs up against the fireplace so that he's facing the door. His partners drag my stepfather through the door and force him into a chair. One of them produces a roll of duct tape and together they secure him.

"Not so big now are you old man," Jesus says.

"This is a mistake. You need to let her go," Marcos says.

"No mistake. No mistake at all except you trying to cut me out. You should have known better. Replacing me with your half bastard. He didn't deserve your trust. Now he's gone and who's still here? Me!"

Jesus waves the gun back and forth between me and Marcos. I have no idea where my mother is, maybe she got away? A whimper escapes. I try to hold it back but it just slides out.

"You think you're deserving of trust? You're a junkie. You use. Never trust a junkie," Marcos says.

Jesus tightens his grip around my throat pulling me up on my toes as I struggle to breathe. He motions with his gun waving it at Marcos and one of the men with him punches Marcos. Marcos rolls with the punch but I see the blood flying from his lips as it lands and forces his head to one side. He grunts in pain and the two boys laugh. Then they begin beating him mercilessly. Laughing as they take turns swinging. Each blow lands with a loud crack of flesh on flesh. It goes on and on. Tears run down my face as I watch but I can't look away. Jesus holds me tight.

"Who's the big man now Old man?" Jesus says. "How about I just rape your precious little girl here? How about we all rape her?"

My stomach twists in knots as he speaks. Oh God don't let this be happening!

"If you touch her, you will pray for death," Marcos says through lips that are bloody and swelling.

"Where's the money?" Jesus says.

Marcos looks at him and doesn't say a word. Jesus motions to one of the boys and I brace myself for the beatings to continue but the one he motioned to doesn't move to hit him. He reaches behind his back and pulls out an old looking revolver. He spins the middle part of the gun which clicks metal on metal then comes to a stop. He holds the gun to Marcos' head then looks at Jesus.

"Where the money?" Jesus asks again.

Marcos stares at him still not speaking. The boy holding the gun to Marcos' head pulls the trigger and I jump before it clicks without further report. My breath comes in shorts gasps. God I can't take anymore. Marcos seems unfazed.

"Give me that gun!" Jesus screams making my ear ring.

He pushes me towards a chair and forces me down into it. He takes the gun and spins the middle part again. It clicks again and again then stops and he holds it to my head.

"Last chance old man," he says.

Marcos' lips move. For a moment I think he'll tell him what he wants then he shakes his head negative. I feel Jesus pulling the trigger in every fiber of my being. I know that this is it. My life is about to be gone in a flash of gunpowder and a loud bang. I wonder if I'll still miss Jake once this is done.

The gun clicks. It takes me a moment to realize nothing changed then I'm sobbing.

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