Chapter 8 - The Adopted Brother


I heard ma grilling Dee once I woke up. She had promised to ease up while on this vacation, but I should have known that was a lie. She just can’t seem to help it. As always, she finds something about Dee to knit pick at and Dee makes it easy. Sometimes she goes out of her way to make ma nag.

I assumed by now they would have mended their relationship. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and it might take a miracle for that to happen.

Their issues were trivial at best. Ma was in the wrong and I can’t say my involvement helped the matter. She wanted Dee to be more personable, more lady-like, more family-oriented, more available, and majorly more like her.

It was an unreasonable thing to ask of someone. I loved my parents with every fiber in me, and I know that ma clings to me solely because Dee didn’t become who she wanted. Dee who was already close to pa only distant herself more when she noticed. That distance only grew until Dee took off five years ago, leaving it stagnant.

When I walked out of the cabin, I wasn’t surprised to see Dee sitting there with a bored look barely listening to what ma was saying. She didn’t bother looking up till I took a bite of her chicken. She had one hell of a jab. I can tell and feel that she’s been keeping up with her workouts.

Ma’s stern voice took me back to focus. Glancing around the table and the retreating figure of the Liliana, ma’s annoyance was obvious. Pa looked as indifferent as ever and Dee just smirked. Afraid of where this could lead to, I pulled out my phone going over the brochure for this vacation.

We ate while discussing the details, even though we’re all aware that ma was a loose cannon and can change them at any moment. For my sake, I hope she doesn’t. After lunch, Dee excused herself and went to take a shower. Our parents went back to their cabin to prepare for their own showers. I remained at the table going through my text messages.

I received a bunch from Alicia, leaving them unread. Before I could open the group chats with the guys, Leon and Dane, Liliana walked to the table. I figured she would have done so eventually.

“You’re such a liar Jaylen. If you wanted to end things, why not be a man about it instead of ghosting me?”

“How did I ghost you? We weren’t talking, we hit it off a couple of times, but you knew what it was.”

“That’s not where you were saying when you promised to leave your girlfriend and claimed that there could be more.”

“I didn’t lie about neither; I just didn’t say that it would be for or with you.”

“You’re a pompous piece of sh*t.”

“Lil, I don’t understand why you’re this upset. Didn’t you have the same arrangements with me as you did with Leon?"

“F**k you. You’re all the same. Always selling dreams but can’t deliver.”

“Seems like I’ve delivered a lot for you to be this hung up. I couldn’t have been that great.”

“You know what? You’re right, you weren’t.” She barged off.

I don’t get it. I’ve slept with the girl four times the most and yet she’s acting like an abandoned wife. It’s been over six months since we’ve last seen each other. She had texted and called over the months, it ceased a few weeks ago. I assumed she moved on; guess I was wrong. I wished I knew she would be attending this flight, would have requested for someone else.

Going back to the group chat to read the previous messages, Leon and Dane were making bets on if I can get Dee or not. We’ve been doing these bets since junior year of college, and it’s been all fun and games until now. Knowing that this time the trap they were referring to was Dee, annoyed me.

[Leon: How much do you want to bet J is going to f**k this up? I’m betting two thousand]

[Dane: He’d be an idiot if he did, have you seen her? And I’ll match your two thousand]

[Leon: Yeah, I’m kind of hoping he does. Then I might have a chance.]

[Dane: Ha. You’d be the last guy she’d go for. You see who she’s supposed to be in engaged to. You’re not on her tax bracket.]

[Leon: It’s not always about the money.]

[Dane: You’re personality sucks and you’ll f**k anything twice.]

[Leon: Ha. F**k off. Talk about f**king things twice, guess who I ran into the other night?]

[Dane: Ran into or ran through?”]

[Leon: Ha. You know me. Anyways, you remember Liliana]

[Dane: How can I forget. You and J been swapping notes like two middle schoolers]

[Me: Leave me out of this and we’re not betting on anything.]

[Leon: Finally, you pop up. Speak for yourself. Is it cause you know you’re going to lose? How’s that sister of yours?]

[Me: None of your business.]

[Leon: stingy much]

[Dane: Lol, Lee you’re a mess]

[Me: What’s a mess is Lil being the stewardess on this flight with my family and I]

[Dane: Wait what?]

[Leon: Damn. That’s crazy]

[Me: Yeah, what I find crazier is that she was with you the other night and just pops up on the same flight as me and the family days later. Don’t believe in coincidences. Leon what tf have you done?]

[Dane: Ha. Oh damn. This is going to be good]

[Leon: Just making the bet a little more interesting. Plus, I figured you’re going to need something to cry into when you get rejected]

Why did I become friends with these idiots again? Sometimes it’s hard to believe we’re even friends. But you know what they say, boys will be boys because I ended betting ten thousand that I’d win.


With less than five hours left on this flight, ma suggested we have a family game night. Not sure what happened between lunch till now, but she seemed in a better mood and less judgmental of Dee. The drink pa slipped her might of helped.

Everyone was drinking and laughing as we played spades, Dee was losing astronomically. We moved on to poker after where Dee regained herself. After a few rounds of poker, our parents called it quits and headed for their cabin for the remaining flight. Think the liquor had them in a mood, I wasn’t interested in thinking about.

However, I was happy that they were spending quality time together, it left more room for me to be alone with Dee.

“Remember the silly games that always ended up with us getting into trouble?”

“What about them?”

“How bout we give it a go for the next two weeks and see what kind of trouble we can get into sis.”

She looked so unimpressed, reminding me of the first time I started this random bet and dare game when we were kids.

“Why should I bother?”

“Why wouldn’t you? We’ve done this since we were kids. Might as well, could help the time past. Since you seem intensely

miserable since you’ve returned.”

“Jay, we’re not kids anymore.”

“I know. Which would make it more fun. That is if you haven’t turned to the stuck-up, lifeless barbie everyone has claimed you to become. Or is that you’re afraid of dear ma scolding you to death?”

It was a bait, and I knew she’d fall for it. Dee never appreciated anyone calling her a barbie, courtesy of dear mother. Calling her a barbie would have been enough but I needed to give her an extra budge to get her annoyed enough to agree. Agree she did.

After a minute of silence, she agreed. The biggest mistake she made was not asking about the terms and conditions. That was always the first rule, make sure you have an idea of what you’re getting into and gain the advantage to set up your own rules and regulations to balance out the game. Failure to abide by rule one, you forfeit any rights to challenge or change whatever ground rules the other person set up.

“Aren’t you forgetting something, dear sister?”

“Don’t call me that and what is that?”

“Rule one”