Today’s daily prompt: Cousin It
We all have that one eccentric relative who always says and does the strangest things. In your family, who’s that person, and what is it that earned him/her that reputation?
My aunt is a shopaholic. She works as a dentist in HK and earns a decent amount. Whenever my sister or I go back, she takes care of all our living expenses and she takes us to special trips to Thailand, Korea, Japan, Macau, etc. When I go shopping with her, she goes hardcore. I’m talking about boxes of the same product (are we opening a store?). She’s really into those point cards and collecting rewards. I think she receives free gifts with her purchases at almost every store. She’s also the only person I know who actually buys stuff from those duty-free shops at the airport- not stuff like toothpaste, she buys stuff like watches.
You wonder how a woman can fit so many things into a HK apartment. She said she likes to give it to her friends as gifts or whatnot. I kind of see her as a hoarder.
But then again, my mom does the same thing with food products. Our basement is always stocked up with snacks. I think we’ve had meat in our second freezer since the beginning of time.
Maybe my whole family- myself included- is strange.
My short story series, inspired by NaNoWriMo/NaBloPoMo and the daily prompt.
“What the hell is he doing here?”
An older Stevie towered over Connor in the middle of Samantha’s cramped living room. He was even taller than Connor remembered, with a short buzz cut and a piercing on his left ear. Connor thought he saw a glimpse of a tattoo inching up his neck but Samantha stepped between them before he could get a better look.
“Stevie, he’s my friend.”
Stevie’s eyes bulged out of its sockets. “And I’m your brother!”
A silence fell upon the three of them with Stevie and Samantha engaging in a non-verbal conversation. Connor backed away from the pair of siblings. “It’s alright. I can leave.”
Stevie made a snorting sound and shook his head exaggeratedly. “No, no, no. Please sit, you’re a guest.”
Stevie threw himself onto one of the sofas and sprawled his arms out, gesturing for Connor to take a seat. Connor exchanged a puzzled expression with Samantha at her brother’s sudden switch in attitude, but he took up Stevie’s offer and sat down. Samantha only sent him an apologetic smile and sat down next to him.
“This is my manuscript for my new book. If you have time-”
Stevie dismissed Samantha mid-sentence with an eye roll. “Just give it to mom.”
Samantha bit her lip. “Alright.”
Stevie clapped his hands with a fake enthusiasm. “Let’s catch up, then! Tell me Connor, what have you been up to?”
Connor always thought that Stevie was a male version of Samantha. They shared the same eyes, hair, and the way they sit with their backs straight were identical. Now, the differences in their personalities were shining through. Whereas Samantha had always been calm and serious, Stevie was aggressively sarcastic.
Connor didn’t know why he felt scared of him. “Just school.”
Stevie nodded, a fake grin still imprinted on his face. “I just came back from the army.”
Connor had no idea where this conversation was going. The insincerity in Stevie’s voice was unmistakable.
“And how’s your dad?”
Connor’s lips pursed into a grim line. “He’s doing fine, thanks for asking.”
Stevie just nodded with a righteous smirk- the same smirk Samantha gives him when she knows she is right and she had proved her point.
Connor could feel himself getting pissed off. Samantha had mentioned before that Stevie and his father were very close, but he was sick of being Stevie’s emotional punching bag. The accident happened over ten years ago, and even if that wasn’t a good enough reason to start letting go of the past, Father had done as much as he could to repent for his mistake. Connor wasn’t an idiot; he knew the reason Stevie talked about his army service was because it indicated to free education. That meant Stevie had refused to take the money Father had given to him for post-secondary. To him, it was dirty money.
That was fine with Connor. He didn’t give a fuck whether Stevie used Father’s money or not. What he did care about was how Stevie had to bring up the accident at every opportunity. He would not let the guilt die, and at the same time, he wouldn’t give him or Father the satisfaction of rectification.
“Oh, by the way, mom called earlier. You should call her back.”
“Alright, I will.”
“I mean now.”
Samantha looked at Stevie and then to Connor. “Now?”
This time, Stevie let out an almost genuine chuckle. “What, you think I’m gonna do something to him when you’re gone?”
Connor nudged Samantha, refusing to feel afraid at the thought of just him and Stevie alone in one room. “Go ahead, it’s fine.”
After hesitating again, Samantha excused herself and left the living room, commencing a staring contest between Stevie and Connor.
“You love my sister?”
Connor thought he would choke on air at his sudden accusation. Stevie’s eyes pierced through him like spears.
“No, we’re just friends.”
Connor tried to relax even though Stevie was still giving him a stony expression. He had received this question dozens of times in the past few years when his classmates saw him and Samantha together. He prepared the answer that he always used. “I like her a lot as a friend. I think she’s very admirable and ambitious. She’s helped me through a lot of things as well.”
Stevie still didn’t look convinced. “I don’t like you, you probably already know that. Not just because of the accident. You’re like a lost puppy following her around. And you look like a frat boy.”
Connor suddenly felt self-conscious of his blue polo shirt. “I’m not involved in any fraternities.”
Stevie snarled. “Doesn’t matter. You’re a douchebag and you’ve been one since high school.”
Connor knew it was useless to try to convince Stevie that he wasn’t a douchebag and that he didn’t have feelings for Samantha. Therefore, he said the only thing he could think of that could possibly hurt him.
“What happened to becoming an astronaut, Stevie?”
For a second, Stevie’s biting glare faltered and Connor knew that he still held onto that dream.
“Just don’t touch my sister. She’s too good for you.”
Connor felt like he was asking for someone’s hand in marriage. He resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Samantha was a great person and all, but if Connor was serious about wanting one, he could get a girlfriend easily. He just didn’t want one right now; that was all.
Samantha reappeared at the doorway and jutted her chin at Connor. “Time for us to go.”
Connor left Samantha’s house without a second glance.
To be continued…