This one can be thought of as a short midquel to Of Twins and Tropics. If I ever get around to publishing that story someday, I'll probably incorporate this into it.
Josephine took a slow, deep breath as she lay stomach-down on her bed, which was actually an airplane seat that had been deeply reclined until it lay flat. It had been barely three days since she and her twin brother had crash-landed on Isla del Exilio, and yet it already felt like it'd been a year. The two had already explored every inch of the uncharted, tropical paradise, gotten situated in the castaway-ridden Shipwreck Village, and even gained a pair of rivals who they were stuck in a small space with for who knew how long. Not just any rivals, but the children of the man who rivaled their own father.
For someone who always appeared so stoic, bitter, and rarely fazed by anything, Josephine actually had quite a lot going on in her head, and it wasn't just the knowledge she'd gained from her studious habits. Normally, she'd just take setbacks in stride and barely spare them a thought, but this time was different. As a result, she definitely felt the need to let all of this sink in, allowing the sunset's rays to beat down on her back through her clothes as she daydreamed. But it wasn't just these recent events that she couldn't stop thinking about, but also the fact that today happened to be Father's Day, and the first time she'd have to celebrate it without her own dad.
The twins' father, Michael Gene Seymour, was a wealthy business tycoon and the second richest one in the United States. Like most billionaires, his riches were mostly inherited, and Josephine would most likely be inheriting it after his inevitable passing… assuming her idiot brother wasn't a candidate. He'd stated before that he and his wife had no intention of bearing children, but even when the twins came into the picture by complete accident, he still buckled down and raised them as if they were planned. Just the fact that he'd admitted to them not being planned was already a red flag in Josephine's eyes, and one of several things that made her a bit wary of him.
Throughout their eighteen years on earth, the Seymour twins were raised fairly well. Mike would almost always be there to help them out, and do nearly everything a good parent was expected to do, but somehow it didn't feel entirely genuine. Whenever either of them got in trouble, they were never punished for it; instead, their parents would silently take care of whatever problems they caused, in an almost shady manner. Even as someone who enjoyed her freedom, it still made her a bit suspicious. It could've been something as harmless as bribery with a wad of cash, but still questionable to say the least. Not to mention just how spoiled the twins were. Prior to arriving on the island, Josephine could hardly remember the last time she didn't get something she wanted.
Then again, maybe there was a more sinister meaning behind all this. Maybe the twins' father spoiled them just to keep them out of his hair. Maybe the way he'd raised them was so they'd get shaped into his aloof, morally ambiguous image. And not to mention the fact that he'd sent his children out on a summer-long trip they didn't even ask for. He wasn't betting on their plane getting downed along the way, was he? Could it have been a way to keep them busy while he and their mother focused more on their business and generations-old rivalry? Come to think of it, Josephine also had similar suspicions about her mother too, but today wasn't the right holiday to delve into those.
Where was the fun in celebrating a holiday about her father, if she felt she couldn't even trust her father? Even as someone who cared about very few things, with holidays not being on that list? The more Josephine thought, the more aggravated she became, grumbling as she roughly tossed and turned onto her back. Immediately after she did so, however, she quickly noticed her slightly older brother, Mike Jr., jogging into their shack-turned private jet.
"Whew! Oh man, what an evening!" he chirped, clothed in nothing but leopard-print swim trunks and a jaguar-print swim cap. Wasn't unlike him to not get the finest of details right. "Here I was, just minding my own business and trying to get a sunset tan, but then I saw Justine going topless on the beach. Heh, I know I degrade women all the time, but if anything, she was degrading herself that time. If only my phone wasn't already dead, I could've secretly snapped a photo and humiliated her online!"
"Tch, if only… but for once, I don't feel like antagonizing those stuffed-shirts," Josephine replied as she sat up. "Also, you can't get too tan during the sunset. It'll take even longer than during broad daylight."
"Whatever. But if you don't mind, I'll need you to get out and let me do my thing before my mental image of her boobs disappears."
"Ugh, fine… but, uh, before you do that, mind if I ask you something, Junior?"
"Er, I guess so," Mike Jr. scratched his head as he sat on his own bed.
"So, um… you know how today's Father's Day, right?" Josephine asked, eliciting a nod from her brother. "Well, this year I'm having a hard time celebrating it, not only because Dad's not with us, but also because I'm feeling a little suspicious about him. From the unusual way he raised us, to how he's always trying to keep us busy, to even the fact that he and Mom openly admitted that they contemplated aborting us."
"Please, last I checked, they're Republicans. I doubt they'd go through with that."
"Well even pushing that aside, I find it uncomfortable to celebrate a holiday when it pertains to someone who I feel I can't fully trust. I mean, I know each parent is different, and I know he's raising us to take after him, what with the questionable morals and willingness to fight dirty. But still…"
"I'm asking you: do you feel it's right to celebrate Father's Day given everything that's off about him?"
"That was fast. Do you really mean that?" Josephine perked an eyebrow. Typical of her twin to not think before he spoke.
"Hells yeah, I do! Dad may not be your average… well, dad, but he's still a damn good one. He and Mom could've aborted us, but they didn't. He could've abused us, but he didn't. For our entire lives, he's given us love and affection even when we don't deserve it. He's given us everything we've ever asked for, and he's even given us nice things we didn't ask for! Like this trip, for instance. Sure, we got a little sidetracked, but that doesn't mean this isn't an interesting place," Mike Jr. explained.
"Huh, how oddly profound of you."
"Right?! Look, you might as well just suck those doubts out of your freakishly large brain and celebrate the good he's done for us. I'd like to think he's already hard at work searching for us as we speak, refusing to give up!"
"I guess so… alright, I guess I'll leave for now. I could stand to stretch my legs for a bit," Josephine stood up. "And since we're honoring our dad now, what say we continue his lifelong mission for him? I hear there's some village tournament in a couple of weeks. Should be a good opportunity to kick those Simmons twins' asses."
"Sounds great, sis. Looking forward to it," Mike Jr. plopped onto his own bed.
"Mm-hmm. Oh, and Junior?"
"Thanks… thanks for the little sibling talk. For once in my life, I actually feel happy about something, and not just from being spoiled," Josephine put on a small smile, a rarity that surprised even herself.
"Yeah, whatever. Now scram!"
Josephine just chuckled as she finally left. Her brother may have been an egotistical, misogynistic jock with more muscles than brains, but he was a surprisingly good listener. And she wouldn't have him any other way.