I knew we were going to get caught sooner or later. I knew that, and even still, I carried on with him as though we had nothing to worry about. Nothing like potentially breaking up our parents, and ruining their happiness.
But of course, they found out at the most inconvenient of times. I suppose, in their defense, Miguel and I were being loud enough to draw some concern. I guess the door being wide open didn't help very much either. They were used to us arguing and raising our voices, but I suppose what really drew them to come check us out was when Bruno, my 13 year old step brother screamed:
"GOD, WILL THE BOTH OF YOU CHILL THE FUCK OUT ALREADY?" He was seething, and I was kind of taken aback because I had never seen Bruno so angry before. Our argument had nothing to do with him, so his presence there was a surprise in itself; I hadn't even really noticed him standing next to us.
I gazed at him. "What are you even doing here—"
Miguel cut me off. "This has nothing to do with you, Bruno."
Bruno snorted and folded his arms across his chest. "Like hell it doesn't. You're both yelling at each other about something as stupid as—what was it, personal space? Get over yourselves, and just talk about the real issue here."
Miguel and I both stiffened, and he asked, "What are you talking about?"
Bruno glared at his older brother. "Don't belittle my intelligence, you jerk. The UST in here is so palpable that it's like walking through Boston Harbor fog. Just eff each other's brains out already, and get on with your lives!"
"EXCUSE ME?" My mother exclaimed from the doorway.
The three of us all whirled around to see my 6 months pregnant mother standing there, hands clutching at her stomach protectively, as if to shield her unborn child from the horror of the situation. Dan was standing behind her, an expression of horror and fury and confusion and disgust written all over his face. He moved past my mom to move deeper into the room.
Miguel and I shared a look—mine was guilty, his was blank, but everything he was feeling was clear in the stormy look of his eyes. Bruno turned to look at me, as apologetic as anything, because he knew as well as I did that the shit had just hit the fan.
"M-mom!" I stuttered. "What's—"
"I knew it was bad idea. I knew, before she even got here," Dan hissed, glaring at me, "that something like this would happen."
I took a step back, as if steely eyes would, or could, hurt me. "Excuse me?"
"Dan, please!" My mother said. He snapped his head to her, eyes softening a little, although they still remained plenty cold.
"No, don't try to talk this away!" He said. "I knew that when she got here, everything would be tossed up in the air!"
"What are you talking about?" I demanded. "I didn't do anything!"
"Oh but you did." He resumed glaring at me. "You came here, and suddenly things changed. Everything shifted. Miguel started acting strange, your mother was more stressed, which caused problems for her health, as well as the baby's. How could you do this to us?"
"What—But I didn't—"
"DAD, THAT'S ENOUGH. Astrid didn't do anything. If anything, I'm the one to blame." Miguel said. He took a step forward, and was suddenly in front of me, blocking me from Dan's view. "She's right though, nothing happened but I would be lying through my teeth if I said I didn't want it to."
"Son—" Dan started.
"No, I'm not going to let you try to solely blame Astrid for everything. I was the one that pursued her."
The silence following that admittance was the heaviest thing I had ever felt in my life. I was peering up at the back of Miguel's head. He was rigid, arms straight as a board down at his sides, fists clenched. He was turning red, and I knew that everyone knew, that that was a really, really bad thing.
"Miguel, you don't—"
I blinked. "But—"
He ignored me, continuing on. "There was something that sort of… clicked as soon as I saw her, but I thought it was just acceptance of her into our family. She's fun, and nice, and beautiful, and very easy to talk to, and the more I got to know her, the bigger that feeling got, and then one day, about 3 months ago, I realized that I wanted her. I didn't see her as a friend, or as a sister, even though I tried, really, I tried Dad. I did, but no matter how much I tried to change it, I wanted her to the point that it was driving me crazy, and I had one hell of a time restraining myself. Astrid was the one who always spoke logically, the voice of reason, saying things like how it would mess up your happiness with her mom, and how we had a new brother or sister on the way, and how it would never work because we were, brother and sister, even though we have no blood relation whatsoever. I love her! Do you hear me? I love this girl very, very much!"
It was my mother who replied. "Miguel, do you have any idea, any idea at all what this means?" She asked. I looked around Miguel and saw that she was still in the doorway, although she then looked like she was fighting the urge to cry and losing. "Did you ever stop to think how this would affect this family? God, what will the neighbors think?"
Miguel flipped. "Is that all that matters to you? Really? Your daughter is like a Godsend, a saving grace, not just for me, but for plenty of other people, and you can't even bring yourself to care about her feelings in all of this?"
"I can't even bring myself to look at her. I didn't want to believe that this was all brought on because of her presence, but how can I continue to deny what's right in front of my face?"
Miguel was floored. "I can't even—do you hear yourself? You can't bring yourself look at your own daughter? That is bullshit!"
"Miguel!" Dan shouted. "Don't you use that kind of language in my house."
"You two are so unbelievable!"
Dan and Miguel got into a shouting match while Bruno went over to my mother to try and comfort her, although he looked like he could use some comforting of his own.
I couldn't take it.
"Everyone please, just stop. STOP!" I screamed.
All eyes were on me.
"Miguel, please stop trying to take all of the blame. It wasn't just you, it was me too. I knew that there was something going on, something that we should have stopped a long time ago, but I didn't want it to end. I could have put my foot down at any time to end it, but I never did." I turned to my mother, who was peering at me with tear filled eyes, and I felt my own eyes sting a bit, but I blinked to push away any forthcoming droplets, and stare back at her. Hard. "I'm so sorry about what this has caused. I never meant for anything to happen, it's just everything got so out of hand, and so very serious all at once and I was scared, but that doesn't matter. Nothing happened. Not a single thing ever happened. I'm telling the truth, and I will swear on Gran's grave if you don't believe me." I ignored her gasp, and directed my gaze to Dan, who was glaring down at me. I flinched, but did my best to stand my ground. "I know you tried hard to like me and accept me for my mother's sake, but it's okay if you don't ever do that because in all honesty, she hasn't much done it herself. I am the one product of a previous relationship, that thorn in your side that won't go away. I know how much you try to look to future, and never look back, and I'm sorry I made such of a mess of things by being here."
I smiled sadly at all them. "You don't have to worry about it anymore. I will not stay where I am unwanted."
I'd made up my mind, and no matter what any one of them said to me, whether it was to "stop and think about this" or "perhaps that is for the best" or even "Astrid, you don't have to", I was not going to change my decision.
No matter how much it broke my heart.
The previous week, I had been selected from a qualified few of graduating students, as the recipient of an extremely generous scholarship program. Should I choose to accept, I would be provided with room and board at a prestigious school out of state, my tuition would be covered for all four years of college, although I would have to come by my texts books and any other necessary school items myself. It was an offer too good to pass up.
And I had been thinking of doing just that, because I didn't want to be too far when My mother finally gave birth, or when Dan got his promotion at work, or miss out on the summer before everyone went off to college, but mostly I just didn't want to be away from Miguel for any length of time.
But by deciding to take it, I could ease my mother's stress, appease Dan, and let Miguel off the hook. He was only sticking up for me, and creating a rift between himself and his dad because he thought he was in love with me. I'd be able to let him off the hook.
I told him as much the day I left. The look on his face was angry, and hurt, but I could do nothing but smile at him and say, "Trust me, Miguel. This is for the best. It's what's best for everyone."
"What about you?"
"What about me?"
Miguel stared at me for a moment, before closing his eyes and shaking his head. Then he opened them again, and eyed me, calculating and firm. "Nevermind."
I smiled again. "Trust me," I repeated, more for myself. "This is for the best."
He smirked, but it wasn't smug or knowing. "We'll see." Then he turned and walked away from me.
I did my best not to fall apart as the image of his back was burned into my mind forever.
Our parents and Bruno were in the driveway, watching me as I turned and got into the cab. I waved at them weakly, and they in turn, did the same. The cab started off down the street, and I knew that if I looked, I would stop the cab, get out, and run after Miguel, damn what the rest of the family thought, hug him tightly and never let go.
So I didn't look back. And I haven't, not even once in the four years that I have been gone.
It's for the best. Trust me.This is the first original I have uploaded in YEARS. It was meant to be a oneshot, but yeah, that didn't happen, so NOW it's going to be a tri-shot. bear with me People. Please review! Hearts for all.