“Kevin, are you awake?”
“I am, Bill, what do you want…?”
The night was already at its peak. The four boys had explored the whole town and surrounding territories, and they even introduced some family members to Christian. He left to the farmhouse without coming back to the villa, and the twins accepted a ride from their father to get back home. Bill seemed strangely quiet to Kevin, and knew there was something troubling his brother, but he also knew that if the lad needed help from him, he would call him in the middle of the night, and talk about what happened to make him become that absent-minded.
“I guess I need to talk…”
“Shoot. But be quick.”
“It’s about Cousin Chris.”
“What about him?” Kevin asked, now turning all his attention towards his brother.
“I don’t know… There’s something about him… About the way he sings… I think he doesn’t sing only to enjoy himself… He sings to express how he feels, doesn’t he?”
“I guess he does… WE all do that one time or another, you know?” Kevin said, sitting on his bed.
Bill followed his twin’s example, and sat on his bed, looking to the dark silhouette of his brother. Kevin was sitting very straight, with his back against the room’s wall. Bill couldn’t see his eyes, but knew they were looking back at him with concern all over them.
“I don’t know… I feel strange about him…” Bill said.
“What do you mean with ‘feel strange about him’?”
“I don’t know… I just… Today, after he sung, we locked eyes… And I think… I don’t know… Kevin, I’m so confused right now, you know? I know he’s my cousin… And he is a boy… But I… I think I fell in love with him…”
“What do you think you want to do about it?” Kevin asked, in a casual tone “I know. He’s a boy, so what? He’s your cousin, so what?” Kevin sighed. “Have you ever seen the family tree?”
“Do you know why we got the Riveri-Thrust name?”
“Because of the union between two members of the Riveri family and the Thrust family, which were two different branches of our family. James Riveri and Violet Thrust married, and had kids, we are their direct descendants. They were cousins. Sixth cousins, yes, but still cousins.
“You mean you would be ok if Christian and I…?”
“Bill, I’m not the one who has to be ok with it, you two are…”
Bill couldn’t help but smile.
“Kev… Do you think he’s thinking about me right now?”
Kevin laughed, laying back in bed.
“Don’t be asking me those questions. You have to ask him.”
“But I’m not even sure it is love…”
“You don’t lose anything if you try to find out, do you?”
The family invited Chris over the following night, so they could get to know him better. Everything went smooth. He met Nana Mina, his great-grandmother, John and Carina Sydney, Nana’s second cousins, and their first cousin Jessica. Grandpa Zach and Grandma Paige were also there, and all their sons and grandsons: Tara and Giovani, and their daughter Mel, born eight years before; Richard and Vera, and their kids, the twins; and, finally, Lora and Tyson. Christian found it hard to get along with his brother. Tyson was shy, and he soon found out he suffered from autism. Lora was always by her younger son’s side, and always tried to please him like her life depended on that. When the meal was over, everyone drifted away from the table, talking about all things banal. Christian suddenly felt suffocated with so many people in the same room. He found out that most of the family member still lived in the big mansion. There were twenty people living in the same house, occupying eleven bedrooms. Then there were Isis, Shawn, Vince and Ella, all of them with Sydney as their last name, who lived in their own farms, but were there at the dinner. Christian followed his mother, who was getting out of the living room with Tyson.
“Lora. Uh, I mean, Mother…” Christian said.
She turned around, and gave him a weak smile. A cold and uncaring smile.
“What do you want?” She said, abruptly.
“I… I wanted to get to know you…”
Christian thought this would be because she was grieving her ex-husband, but she seemed to be more found of her other son.
“Get to know me? Oh, Christian… Don’t you think it’s a bad timing? I mean, with the death of your father…”
“Oh… Yes… I’m sorry… I just…”
“You just don’t have a clue, do you?” She hissed, surprising Christian.
The majority of the people he had met in the family always praised Lora as being comprehensive, friendly, and even helpful. But now, she seemed cold, distant… It even seemed she wanted to hurt Christian.
“What?! Of course I don’t! I’m new here!” Christian retaliated.
“Good to know.” She spited.
She looked at him, analyzing him. Lora didn’t like the boy, and he got that. That would explain why she hadn’t called him before. She walked away, with her high heels marking the compass of her steps, and her younger son walking next to her. Tyson looked at him, and Christian felt hope in the sparkle there was in his brother’s eyes. He could see, deep down, past that emotionless expression, that he was aching for help. Christian followed them to Tyson’s room, and made an effort not to be seen nor heard. When Lora closed the door, she heard her talking to her son, while she prepared him for bed.
“That little brat… He had always been insolent. He never shut up when I told him to, even after I forced him… Just like Charles… Glad he was disowned… But, Tyson, we have to get him out of the island before that bastard of my father-in-law rethinks about his decision! If Christian inherits everything he won’t give us a penny, nothing, you know!? He’ll just keep it for himself and watch those like us rotting in a pit of… Ugh, never mind, honey, let’s just go to bed, shall we?”
Christian’s world crumbled at his feet. That explained the coldness in her eyes. She hated Christian for the same reason she hated Charles, because they stood up to her, because they wouldn’t let her control their lives like she did with Tyson. He felt lost, and wanted to feel home again. Poor Christian ended up entering the only room in the house he recognized: the twins’ room, with the blue door. Bill was already there, and it appeared he was thinking about something.
“Hi…” Christian said.
“Oh, hey, how’re you doing?” Bill replied, suddenly getting nervous.
“I’m fine, thank you.” Christian lied. “We have quite the family…”
“Indeed we have, don’t we?” He asked.
“Hum, so, what are you doing?” Chris said, trying to change the subject.
“Oh, nothing… I was just drawing.”
“Ah, ok. Can I…”
“No, you can’t see…” His cousin quickly said.
Christian sat on one of the beds, not realizing it was actually Bill’s. The boy gasped, and tried to get a grip of himself. Now that he admired Christian up close, he could tell away each thread of his messy ginger hair, each reflection on his emerald green eyes.
“Billy, is everything alright?”
Christian had been asking Bill about Giovani, the Italian uncle, but Bill seemed to zone out, and only responded to that last call. He was surprised to realize he didn’t mind Christian to call him Billy. He hated that nickname, and got easily frustrated with anyone that addressed him that way. But the endearing tone in Christian’s voice, melt his frustration away. Wait! Was there really an endearing tone, or did he just imagined it? Now he was blushing, and he didn’t know what to say.
“Are you ok? You seem to be hyperventilating; you need to calm down…” Christian advised, standing up.
“Christian…” Bill whispered.
“Have you ever fallen in love with someone you’re not supposed to?”
Christian seemed to think for a while, and this gave Bill the clue that he didn’t felt anything for him, or else he would have promptly said he did. Wait… Maybe Chris was afraid to tell him, and was pretending to be thinking so he wouldn’t find out. So many thoughts running through his head! And all of them contradicted the previous one.
“I don’t know… I don’t think love is about who you are supposed to love or not, you know? It just happens… Sometimes it takes years to build, others just milliseconds...”
“So… you believe in love at the first sight?”
“Maybe… But why are you asking me? Are you in love?”
“I… Honestly? I don’t know…”
The room was suddenly invaded by a man in his late twenties, with blond hair and brown eyes. He was tall and thin, and he seemed to have an aura of joy around him. He was Shawn Sydney, one of Bill’s favorite family members, besides Kevin.
“Of course he is in love!” Shawn said, in his cheerful tenor voice.
“Stop it!” Bill begged.
“Oh, who is she?” He asked.
“Oh-oh! Then who is he!?” the older insisted.
This time, Chris’s cousin moved uncomfortable on the chair, and his cheeks went from rose to scarlet in a couple of seconds, making Shawn laugh in amusement. Christian was actually surprised with Shawn’s easy-going personality, and how naturally he talked about the possibility that Bill was in love with a boy. But that frightened Christian. He wasn’t ready to tell anyone about his true sexuality. He was going to tell his father, but he died before he had a chance to do so. Now, if he was going to come out, he would have to do so to 20 or more people. Things weren’t going to be easy for Chris. Nor for Bill, since he lived among the family for 19 years, and they all were expecting him to have a ‘normal’ family.
“Well, Christian, how are you enjoying your stay in Greenisle?”
“Pretty much, actually. I just need to get a job.”
“Aren’t you going to college?” Shawn asked, with concern in his voice.
“I wanted to, but since my dad is gone, I don’t have anyone to pay college for me, so I have to make my own money.”
“I think you can always work with me and Kevin at the Talks Corner.” Bill offered.
“Hum, I think that would actually be nice, indeed…” Christian replied.
“I’ll tell Jessica to come here on my way back to the car, then.” Shawn offered, getting out of the room, and leaving both the boy alone again.
Realizing he was alone with Chris, Bill started to blush, to much amusement of his cousin.
“What’s wrong with you today?” Christian asked. “You seem rather shy…”
“Oh… Nothing, don’t worry.”
“You know you can tell me… I mean, I know we haven’t known each other for years, but yeah, I’m family, and you can trust me.” Christian encouraged, wishing this had been what his mother had said to him.
Bill’s heart was racing, aching for Christian’s touch. He was watching his cousin sitting in his bed, and all he wanted to do was to hug him, to hold him tight, to kiss him, to feel his breath in his neck. These thoughts only made him blush even more, but he finally took a deep breath and talked.
“Shawn was right… I’m in love…”
Christian laughed triumphantly, and Bill’s heart missed a beat. It was the first time he heard Christian laugh, and his laugh seemed to him the most cheerful melody in the whole world. It was a strong and contagious laugh, that made his chest seem to melt, and millions of small butterflies moving in his stomach, making it feel as light as a feather.
“Tell me who is it? Are you in love with a boy or a girl?”
“Oh, oh, now you really have to tell me who he is!” Christian defied.
“No way!” Bill protested.
“Oh, please, please!”
Christian’s tone seemed to express he gave up, but his cheeky smile gave his really thoughts away, and Bill panicked a little. His cousin was really determined to know who he had a crush on, and was afraid of what Chris would think if he knew the truth.
“Are you going to tell me the easy way, or the hard way?” Christian inquired, standing up.
“What do you mean…”
“Come here…” Christian invited, taking a step forward.
Bill laughed, telling his cousin he wouldn’t fall that easily for that one. That was Chris’s cue. He ran towards the twin, and started to tickle him. Bill tried to escape between hysterical laughs from the tickling grip, and fell belly down on his bed. Christian didn’t give up, and soon was tickling his cousin again. Bill rolled on the bed, facing his attacker. He was actually enjoying the attention, and how it felt to be touched by the one he cherished so much. His deep blue eyes met the emerald green of Chris’s, and suddenly the tickling stopped, and time seemed to slow down to a steady point. The only sound in the room was their heavy breaths. Their mouths were slightly opened, and their eyes locked on each other’s. Chris felt his heart jump, trying to get out of his chest, and so did Bill.
“Billy…” Christian whispered.
The seductive and insecure tone in Christian voice was the spark to move Bill upwards, conquering the distance between them. Their lips touched, first softly, and then more passionately, as their tongues fought desperately to caress one another. The boys’ hands were running up and down each of their bodies, exploring, feeling, and connecting. Bill could feel every single bit of his body that had been touched by Christian’s fingers burn with pleasure, and his heart was practically jumping up to his throat. Both the boys were also aroused by the moment, and they soon found out the pressure just under their waits was nearly unbearable. Christian broke away the kiss, and looked into Bill’s eyes, shocked.
“Bill… I… We shouldn’t…”
“Chris, please, don’t…”
But it was too late. Christian panicked, and ran out of the room, leaving a tearing Bill laying on bed. He felt like he had been stabbed in the chest. He was happy they had shared that kiss, but also disappointed on the way it had ended. He could still hear Christian’s breath, and the almost undetectable moans and sighs he let escape through his soft and humid lips.
Shawn was heading towards his car when his phone rang. He smiled, when he saw the name on the screen.
“Hey babe.” He said. “How are you doing down there?”
“Amazing!” A male voice replied.
Bernard Wood, a tall and tanned man was talking on the phone with Shawn. He was a wild life veterinarian, working in Angola for a couple months. Bernard was walking through his cabin, tidying up some things while talking with is partner.
“You seemed gleeful.” Shawn laughed. “Have you been screwing the milk man?”
“You must be eager to run into my knife…” Bernard replied, laughing along with him. “So, are there any news from around the pit of intrigue?”
“Well… Yes… it seems that a couple days ago, a lost – sort of saying – family member came back to Campwall.”
“Yes, Christian. He’s Charles’s son… I believe you met Charles, didn’t you?”
“Oh yeah! Isn’t that the one who beat his wife?”
“Apparently… You are catching on the gossips, dear.” Shawn joked. “Well… Christian is nineteen… Charles died two weeks ago in a car crash, and Charles left him a farmhouse here in Campwall, so I believe he moved to Greenilse permanently.”
“Oh… I think I should really meet Christian…”
“Don’t you think he’s a little too young?” Shawn asked, mocking his partner. “I get what you mean, though. I guess you can talk to him next time we come here together.”
Bernard thought about the boy, and how lost he should be feeling in that moment. His parents had died in a car crash too, and he understood what the boy would go through.
“Honey, are you still there?” Shawn asked.
Shawn was about to say something, but he was pushed by someone. He saw that Christian seemed very upset, and didn’t even notice he had hit him.
“Listen, I gotta go. Family drama, I’ll call you back later! I love you.”
“Love you too. Good luck.”
Shawn hadn’t even put his cellphone back on his pocket when he yelled out to Christian.
“Chris! Wait! What happened, mate?” He asked, when he could finally catch him.
Christian’s eyes were pouring, and he seemed even more upset than when he told the family about Charles’s death at dinner. He suddenly felt a bound with the boy, and his heart begged him to help Chris.
Hey, hope you enjoy this new chapter. I even included a reference to my favorite song from a well known musical. (Clue: the reference is in one of the conversations that take place along the chapter). See if you can find it and feel free to tell which movie and song it is in a review (and then you can also tell me what you liked or what you didn't, so I can get better at this!) There is also another reference to the lyrics of another song, by 30 Seconds to Mars, somewhere around the chapter... :P