Rhys James POV
“I will never love her!”
“As if that’s even remotely a possibility! You have no heart son if you do its rock-solid ice. It’s harder than a stone on Mount Everest! You are incapable of feeling!”
“And you are the epitome of all things mushy father? That’s laughable. Have you suddenly developed a sense of humor Elijah?”
“The decision has been made. It was made before you were even born.”
“Ah, how can I forget about your prestigious cult and the pact you made on my behalf?”
“It’s not a cult. It’s a brotherhood. A gentlemen’s club that consists of men bound by honor, that have sworn to take care of each other and future generations-”
“Then maybe one of the honorable gentlemen would do the honor of marrying the ugly duckling.”
“She isn’t ugly.”
“I rest my case then,” I rolled my eyes. “Am I supposed to take your word for it father? Why can’t you let me chose my own bride?”
“Because it’s apparent you are incapable of looking past a woman’s chest. The tabloids are brimming with how you sleep with anything tall that has a practiced smile and silicone breasts.”
“What’s the problem, Elijah? Are you afraid they will pop?” I quirked an inquisitive eyebrow. “Your fears are unfounded, let me assure you.”
“I don’t care about your flimsy feelings, what I require is for you to marry her. End of discussion Rhys!” The veins in my father’s forehead throbbed dangerously, threatening to explode without warning.
My angry gaze swung to my worthless, docile mother. All she was ever good for was bearing children. She failed all her children as far as motherhood was concerned. We were all raised by an endless stream of nannies. I gave them a hard time-but that’s putting it mildly-and they always left-usually forgoing their wages in their haste to leave. I knew trying to garner any kind of support from her was pointless but I tried anyway. I was at a very rare point of desperation.
“Are you just going to sit there and allow him to dictate to me who I should be shackled to for the rest of my life?!”
“Sweetheart…” Here it comes. Whatever she was about to say wouldn’t help me out of this predicament.
“Save it,” I cut a hand through the air. “Once you uttered the word sweetheart I immediately knew that you had nothing of consequence to say.”
“Don’t talk to your mother like that!” Elijah James snapped at me. “You’re being disrespectful-”
“That’s rich coming from you father,” I scoffed, flicking lint from my expensive blazer. “I learned the disrespect and talking down from you. I witnessed it throughout my childhood. You are simply reaping the rewards of your tireless efforts.”
He lifted his hand to strike me and I caught his wrist in a death-like vice. “I wouldn’t do that if I was you daddy dearest…” I warned in a threatening voice. “Mother may allow you to continue to do it to her but not me. You had your fun but those days are long gone…” I dropped his hand like it was a piece of dirt and he glared at me, the hatred I saw in his eyes mirrored my own.
“Sometimes I wish it was you that died and not your sister.”
“Likewise Elijah,” I gave him a terse response, without mincing my words. “Believe me when I say, no one wishes that more than I do.”
“If only I had another son. Anyone but this stone-hearted spawn of the-”
“Careful…whatever you say reflects on your exceptional, admirable parenting skills Elijah,” I commented dryly, giving him a disinterested look, while I examined my manicured nails. I think they were due for a redo.
“Stop it!” My mother shot to her feet, clamping her hands over her ears. “Just stop it! Please..?” she choked back a sob and bit down on her lip as it trembled.
I applauded and let out a derisive grunt. “Well done maman, I was beginning to wonder if you could speak above a timid whisper. Keep it up. You’ll get the hang of it soon enough. Don’t despair.”
“Get out!” Elijah James commanded in a tone that could freeze Lake Tahoe.
That tone was useless on me.
He knew it. I knew it. We all knew it.
“Dare I hope you are throwing in the towel, Elijah?”
I was not phased as I casually strolled over to the bar and helped myself to his expensive whiskey. Pouring for myself a generous portion that I sipped leisurely.
“Here’s to my upcoming nuptials. For the sake of my future children…I hope she’s nothing like you mother.” I raised the glass and gulped it down in one sip and burped loudly, not bothering to cover my mouth or practice the social etiquette that was drummed into me from the moment I slithered out of my mother’s birth canal.
“Touché papa,” I wiped my mouth with my sleeve. “I’m going to indulge in a night of debauchery with my various-uhm-bed partners,” I openly flouted. “Maybe like you, I can pick up a stripper and domesticate her into a prim and proper wife. Please don’t wait up. I bid you good night,” I offered a low bow before hurrying out of the room, with my head held high, but as soon as I jumped in my Maserati the facade crumbled.
I was beginning to tire of this mindless, endless bickering. It was time for me to make a few radical changes.