Breaking All Rules
I glanced around the airport parking lot and failed to spot any familiar family member faces. My hand itched to grab for the i-phone in my tote, but refrained from doing so. I loaded my luggage into the back of my new Audi sedan that I'd left in the parking lot while I took a five day trip to a secluded island. You said something? Oh, you're asking why I went alone?
Trust me; you'd do that if you were me especially if you had a family like mine.
The new car was my dad's generous way of telling me how proud I'd made him with my new M.B.A degree from the most prestigious college in the city. Truthfully, I was more interested in photography, but my father said 'Get an MBA and the Audi is yours'
So Bam! He got the degree he wanted and I got the car. I know what you're thinking. You're wondering how I can be so brainy, right? Come closer, more closer so I can tell you some truth in your ear.
I wrote some checks and shoved it down the throats of those university folks.
That's right. Don't look surprised, I had always been a straight C student but somehow I pulled up an A in the finals. Ask my dad, he was the one sitting in the principal's office with his check book. Rest all remained history. He didn't give two shits if I hated him or paid no heed to my less enthusiastic approach towards my new study route. It was all part of the Ellery Hamilton show.
I cringed when I noticed the dust my car was covered in, someone had taken upon himself to write 'badass ride' across the passenger side door amid the settled dust particles. I tugged at the door and slid in. I passed a quick look in the rearview mirror of my new car, pulled back my hair, put on my shimmering shades of Ray-bans and maneuvered the car out of the parking lot and onto the smooth road.
I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel, humming a soft tune of Amy Lee's song. Before I could spare a glance at the dash board or my Swaroski diamond studded wrist watch, I pulled the car in the driveway of my home sweet home. The entire street was lined up in posh cars which were glinting with pride. You didn't need a mirror in case you decided to check your makeup. Yes. I'm talking about the glint. Whenever my parents or family threw a stupid ass party, the car washing companies made huge profits. Know what I mean?
And my car at this point with all the dust it had collected, it looked like I'd drove it all the way from Sahara desert.
I smoothed my silky beige gown and made towards the house, ignoring the guests in the lawn, lounging with their a la carte meals and mocktails. The way people interacted in low tones, you'd think there was a funeral going instead of a birthday party. My cousin, Ryan had just turned twenty-one. No big deal, yes?
Not for you and me, it was a big fucking deal to my family. Another way to show people what we had. Celebrating a birthday was just a sore excuse. Ryan's mother acted like she dined with the queen of England. I walked through the lavishly decorated foyer, passed by the living room filled with old women and entered the party hall. I half expected to be ambushed by my six year old brother Trevor and his notorious friends but, I realized they were probably having a good time by the pool. My mother was the first to wrap me in her arms, she was the only sane person in the house who still had morals and regarded people as human beings rather than walking bank balances.
"How was your holiday, honeybunch?" She asked me, passing me her genuine warmth filled motherly smile.
"It was great, mom. Do you see the tan? I soaked too much of vitamin D." I confessed.
She patted my cheek. "You're becoming thin and losing color. Eat something healthy."
"Where's Ryan?" I asked scanning the room full of strangers. My father had a uncanny ability of inviting people he didn't even know.
Just when she opened her mouth to answer, a large arm circled around my neck from the back and almost choked my wind pipe. I loosened his tight grip and pulled away from his murderous embrace. "Ryan! Happy Birthday, brother."
"What did you get me from the island?" Ryan passed me his tooth paste commercial smile and that smirk to die…NO! Scratch that. Smirk to gag for.
"It's in my car. It's a Rolex wrist watch."
You don't believe he asked me that, do you? Well, news flash he just did. What he says next will shock you for life.
My mother patted his arm. "It's a gift, Ryan. Gifts don't have price tags."
Ryan glared at me, and pulled his hand out to silence her. "It better be twice the amount of my new Armani shoes. Anything less than that is not acceptable by my standards."
His snobbo-meter had surpassed every limit tonight. You'd think I'd confessed on gifting him a paper plane, folded solely out of old newspapers. Bitch, please!
I smiled and showed him my middle finger. "You deserve this for your standard, nothing more, nothing less."
Ryan gaped at me. I raised my hands. "What the fuck are you staring at me for? You don't appreciate what I bought, fine. Don't take it. I still have the bill; I'll just give to charity. No harm, no foul, brother."
He gave a nervous laugh. "You don't need to be such a bitch, Elle. I was only kidding."
"Good for you. Now I don't want to starve, so out of my way." I slightly side tracked him and walked towards the wall that was lined up with food.
I grabbed for some salad and another shrimp delicacy. The waiter said something about it being the best in the city. I smiled at him, playing the good hostess part. This was my house but, looking at the way Ryan just treated me. I felt like a guest. I forked the shrimp in a dipping sauce and took a bite.
I choked on my food and took a few gulps of water.
You see that man in expensive navy suit? Yeah, the one who took long strides into the room, looking tensed and busy having a deep conversation with the two house butlers?
He's my father dearest, Tristan Hamilton. The man who was the ring master in our wealthy little circus.
He literally waved his hands back and forth, like doing that was going to prove the point. I picked up my champagne filled flute and made my way towards him. He looked immaculate, not a hair out of place just like he always did. His forehead marring a few tensed lines, otherwise his face looked ten years younger than his age. Unnaturally. He looked forty and I knew it was all an outcome of the monthly Botox treatment.
"Any problem, dad?" I asked.
Dad rubbed his temples. "Honey, you wouldn't believe this."
He shrugged as if the thought of saying it out loud could've caused him greater pain than any root canal he ever had. "There's a black Audi parked out front by the yard." He leaned into my ear. "It's covered in such dirt, sweetheart. It's a shame it's parked right outside our place. It stands out like a sore thumb. Dirty, battered..I mean I know it's a new model and all but.."
He spared me a dubious glance. "What?"
"That's my car, you're talking about."
Now, his face changed shades from confused to pity. His voice came in a much lower tone this time. From the look on his face, it was a given that I might shame him. He pulled out his wallet and pushed some cash in my hand. "Get that car out of my driveway and get it cleaned up."
The circus clown was me here. I had forgotten.
That said, he straightened his suit jacket and walked out leaving me, clenching the bills in my hand.
I snorted and jabbed the money back in my purse. I could get twenty car washes with that amount. My father's cold and comical way of insulting had started to grow on me. It was funny, rather than insulting. And why do people watch the Big Bang show? Come to my house, folks. That's the show you don't want to miss.
I sipped some more of the drink and just decided to sneak out of this lunatic party when a clatter of plates and a loud shattering sound brought me back to my senses. A young man dressed in waiter uniform had done the deed. He was crouched low on the floor, picking up the china and glass pieces. Ryan fumed like the Spanish bull. You could see his nose flaring, teeth blaring. A quick glance below his shirt, towards his wet crouch and that told me why things were going to go bump in the Royal party.
The man held the tray filled with the broken pieces firmly as he climbed to his feet. He glanced at Ryan and said. "I'm sorry. It was my mistake, I wasn't…"
Ryan got hold of the guy's shirt front and he shook him violently. "You better be. Fucking piece of trash, do you have the slightest idea how much my clothes cost? It probably covers your annual year salary, you little bitch."
The man didn't look away as he repeated. "I said I'm sorry. It was an accident." I saw his teeth clench.
I'd seen Ryan do that a lot of times, but this was a limit. People were watching and it wasn't even that poor guy's fault. Those stupid clothes could be better with dry cleaning. This man could lose his job. Before he could say more in his defense, Ryan shoved him down on the granite floor and with that the broken glass pieces went flying and scattered across the floor once again.
That was the last fucking straw.
I took a deep breath, manned up my chest and walked to where Ryan sneered at him. I bent lower and offered the man a hand. He looked up, and god help me. I died a million deaths then and there. He had the most gorgeous dark smoldering eyes I'd ever seen, his wavy black hair was swiftly set back, trimmed slightly from the sides. The chiseled gruff jaw brought out his angular cheekbones. What the hell was he doing, serving drinks here? Shouldn't he be lounging in limos and drinking fine champagne?
He looked hesitantly from my hand and towards my face, then admitted defeat when he realized this wasn't the kind of joke I was pulling on him to make him fall ass flat. The kind we pull with our friends, y'know. He wiped his hand on his pant front and slipped it in mine. I noticed the ink peeking out of his folded shirt sleeve; his large arm had an impressive tat. He pulled himself up with my support. There it was the unfamiliar jolt of electricity with just a simple touch.
Once he was on his feet, I transferred my death glare towards my cousin. Looking down on people was Ryan's hobby. "You've been eating bastard food and drinking bastard champagne, no wonder you're acting like a bastard throughout the evening."
"What the hell does that even mean?"
"It means that I need to fuck start your brain, you moron." I barked at him. "Thank god I didn't eat that cake with the bastard icing."
The waiter was trying to stifle his laugher.
"You're not making any sense, Elle."
I'd been told that on numerous occasions. My friend Brianna told me I said the best things in the weirdest ways possible.
He pointed a finger at the waiter who I was playing a shield for. "This guy just ruined my party and you side with him? He's paid to do the job correctly, not ruin it."
I slammed the wad of money my dad handed me to him. "Get yourself an asshole dry cleaning."
Ryan's face was bright red; he'd probably even burst few veins. The waiter had started to pick the strands of broken glass from the floor again; I ignored Ryan as I helped the guy clean the mess. He stared at me for a moment unsure of what I was doing. He was giving me the impression that I had grown two horns.
"You shouldn't." he insisted, touching my hand. I looked down at our hands. He jerked his hand away a nano second later like his hand had caught fire.
I smiled. "I like to help." I didn't care that I had a room full of audience to watch our show.
He smiled back, the kind of smile that could make the world come to a pause momentarily. The most genuine smile of the freaggin' evening. Desire coursed through my entire body. What is wrong with you Elle?
"Thank you." He said and started to walk away from the scene.
I watched him disappear out of the living area. I assumed he had walked towards the backyard of the house where the chefs and waiters had arranged their setting. Like a Prince Charming mesmerized by Cinderella, I followed his trail. No glass shoe in my hand dammit but, I needed to…well..talk to him just one more time.
My mother gave me a proud smile and I heard her say 'You never cease you amaze me, Elle.'
She was the sole reason I wasn't disowned by the family yet. Then again, this was the actual me. I'd only pretended to play by my father's rules. That was an illusion. The real me was far from the Ellery Hamilton everyone thought they knew.
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