Bliss – Chapter Three

“I think your brother and sister will be sad that they won’t get to meet the twins — their niece and nephew.”

I sipped my wine, and noticed my hand was shaking.

“They’re not my brother and sister, they’re his kids.”

She knew it was futile arguing with me on this point, when I was in this mood. She simply turned to look at me, noticed the glass in my hand, said nothing, then went back to what she was doing.

“What time did Dove say he would be here?” I said, changing the subject.

“A quarter past seven, so in about fifteen minutes. He’s coming with them. Haven’t you spoken to him?”

“No.”

He’d betrayed me by bringing my enemy to my door unannounced, so I’d been ignoring all of his calls and texts. He’d been meeting up with our dad for weeks behind my back, playing happy families with a man who’d terrorized and brutalized us for years. It was safe to say I was holding a major grudge.

“He’s your brother, Dakota. You can’t stay mad at him.”

“Just watch me,” I said, downing the rest of my drink. I got up to get some more.

I felt her eyes on me as I took the bottle out of the refrigerator. Then, without warning, she seized it from me and put it right back.

I looked at her in open-mouthed shock.

“That’s not the answer,” she said sternly.

I huffed and puffed and stormed out of the room. If I have to sit through this nonsense, at least let me drink, I thought, as I shut myself in our bedroom and went to lie down. I knew I was acting like a spoiled brat, but I didn’t care. Besides, after tonight, we could go back to being perfect and happy, and we’d never have to think about any of this again.

I was still lying down, wallowing in my misery, cursing the ground my father walked on, when the intercom buzzer went off ten minutes later. A shiver ran down my spine; that sinking feeling I used to get when my father came home drunk and angry returned.

I didn’t make a move to answer it. Eventually I heard Naomi go. With bated breath I listened, waiting for the knock on the front door.

I heard muffled greetings, heard my brother’s voice, heard… heard his voice. I shivered again, then resolved to stay locked in that room, where I was safe from him… and from my rage against him. I wasn’t sure what I would do if I stepped out now.

It took five minutes before I heard a light tap on the bedroom door. When I didn’t answer, Naomi came in. She closed the door behind her.

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