Chapter 2 - The Adopted Brother

*Five years later*

“Hey ma, sorry I missed your call. How are you and Pa? Is everything ok?”

“Yes baby, we’re good but we haven’t heard from you in a few weeks and wanted to check-in.”

“Everything is fine ma, just been busy with work and the expansion of the company.”

“I understand baby, but you need to take a break, you’re still young and all you’ve been doing is working.”

“Better to work while I’m young, I can retire early like you and pa”

It was an excuse, but they didn’t need to know that. As much as I loved working, I didn’t need to. Not only were my parents loaded but so was I outside of the money they provided me. At twenty-six I was already a major investor in the business world and a world-renown chemist in the pharmaceutical and medicine realm.

However, work was the only thing that kept me away and occupied my mind to avoid the one person I missed and loved the most. It was safer that way.

“Well, I can understand that. You’ve always been an ambitious overachiever like your father. However, I’m requesting you take a break and come home this weekend.”

“What’s important about this weekend ma?”

“Other than your father’s and I thirtieth wedding anniversary, nothing much”

“Oh shoot, sorry ma. I had completely forgotten.”

“Yeah, I figured. You’ve been forgetting a lot these years. Like forgetting to come to visit, forgetting to come over for the holidays, for birthdays, and anything else for that matter of fact. But I’m expecting you here by Friday night at the latest and bring enough clothes for two weeks.”

As much as I want to argue about this demand, I can’t. My parents have never been the ones to argue with, but there’s no way I can spend two weeks over there. Maybe I’ll get a hotel nearby and go from there.

“And don’t you even think about pulling some stunt like getting a hotel or crash at some basic friend’s house as you’ve done before.”

Ugh, this lady just won’t let me win. I wish I could tell her why staying at the house wasn’t a good idea but telling the truth would only be a catastrophe. How would they react if they found out I was in love with their precious son? It doesn’t even matter.

They didn’t deserve the distance I put between us; they didn’t deserve that I blocked our relationship without so much of an explanation. Even though I lived less than five hours away, I barely visited over the last five years. It wasn’t their fault I put myself and my heart in a dooming battle, it wasn’t their fault that I fell for the one person I should have never had. It was mine and mine alone.

However, being near them meant being near him, and I just wasn’t strong enough to do that, not even for the sake of my parents.

Shaking off the thoughts, I agreed to my mother’s demands and assured her I would be the filial daughter she deserved.

It was already noon by the time I got ready for the gym. Headphones in, I made my way down the elevator to the gym room. The best thing about the SandDust penthouse, you never had to leave the building to get things done.

An hour into my workout, I felt someone tapping my shoulders. Turning around I see my friend Sandra and PR with a raised eyebrow and smirk on her face. This can either be very interesting or very bad news. Can never fully know with her.

Never understood why she befriended me. Our relationship was supposed to be a business one but with her understanding yet take no bull personality, we ended up being friends. While I was fire, always on the go, erratic; she was the ocean, calm and relaxing.

“Wassup Sand?”

“Come, let's take a seat”

We sat on one of the benches while I studied her. It was fruitless, Sandra was one of those people you could never read unless she wanted you to. With all she has been through, it doesn’t take a genius to know the cause.

“Stop staring at me and tell me what the hell is going on with you and Nick”

Not this again

“Girl nothing right now. You know how it is. One week we’re on and the next month or so, we’re not”

“Then why is it in the tabloids that y’all are getting married?”


She handed me her phone and in bold letters, it claimed MILLIONAIRE PLAYBOY NICK PATTERSON FINALLY SETTLING DOWN WITH THE ST. CLAIRE HEIRESS AND CHEMIST. If the headline wasn’t bad enough, there were multiple photos of Nick and me on different outings and of him entering a jewelry store. What’s worse there were even comments from the employees of the famous jewelry store claiming Nick was excitedly shopping for a specific engagement ring.

I had to laugh. Never in this lifetime or the next would I marry Nickolas Patterson. Our relationship was one of convenience. We dated when I got lonely and needed company for a while. We dealt with each other as a form of charity. I used him for the company and social functions, and he used me for my last name to make him more popular with the ladies. Nothing more, nothing less.

I guess my laughing eased the unseen tension from Sandra, cause she let out a huge breath and genuinely smiled this time. She informed me that she already suppressed the majority of the tabloids but still working on shutting down the remainders. Supposedly the ones she’s having a hard time with are funded by the Patterson family and they have no intentions of killing the fake news. If anything, they want to heighten the hype, claiming it’s this farce of an engagement is really happening.

The whole thing was funny to me but as my PR, Sandra didn’t find it amusing. She had her work cut out for her. Usually, I’m her unproblematic client but today seems to put a dent on that title. So, in less than two hours I didn’t only get scolded and demanded I went home with a little over twenty-four-hour time frame by mom, but I’ve also become the most researched and talked about person online.

I’m better off going off to my parents, ain’t no way in hell I can stay out here and deal with these internet trolls and media sharks about a non-existent engagement or relationship. I’d rather take my chance with that situation I’ve been avoiding and continue doing so instead of dealing with a new one. You can say I’m running again but unlike last time, I’m not running for the sake of my unrequited taboo love, I’m running cause I need a break and my mother demanded it. So, why not leave earlier than planned?