Ties Of Love

“Tell me again.”

“I love you.”

“How much?”

“With all my heart.”

“And what would you do for me?”

“Anything.”

“Anything?”

“Absolutely. Why? What’s wrong?”

“Oh, nothing. Well‌…‌it’s family. My sister and that scumbag she’s with. I’ve tried being nice, but‌…‌the situation needs something less subtle.”

“Nothing’s more important than family. I’ll see what I can do.”

* * *

“Tell me again.”

“I’d do anything for you.”

“I know. And thank you. Did she understand?”

“What do you mean?”

“Did she understand why this was happening before she‌…‌before the end? Did she realise?”

“No idea. It was easier to work from a distance. Avoided complications. Was that wrong?”

“No, no. It’s just that some of the other families put a different spin on things. They’re saying it was down to jealousy, some ex of his.”

“Is that a problem? Thought you wanted them out of the way.”

“But there are still problems. The families. All of them.”

“That look‌—‌you’re not happy with my brother, are you?”

“He’s‌…‌the situation isn’t ideal. But we need to address the others first. And we can always‌…‌work on your brother in another way.”

“I won’t have him harmed.”

“Of course not. But I was thinking‌—‌we could reduce the number of families. Join two of them. Make it‌—‌this‌—‌official.”

“Really? You mean that?”

“Oh, I don’t know. We need to take things slow. My father won’t like the idea. You know he won’t approve of‌…‌of us. Of you.”

“Then I’ll have to do something for him, won’t I.”

* * *

“Tell me.”

“I’d give you anything.”

“I believe you. I heard what happened to the Grocers.”

“Terrible way to go, fire. But that old house of theirs was always a potential death-trap.”

“Not everyone believes it was an accident, though. Not with all of them there at the same time.”

“The authorities causing problems?”

“No more than normal. They’ve been round, questioning my father.”

“He okay?”

“He’s a fox. Used his illness to divert them.”

“Not feeling better, I take it.”

“He’s tough. He’ll pull through. And‌…‌the things you’re doing, he’ll appreciate them.”

“He doesn’t know? You haven’t told him?”

“Not yet. But when it’s time, he’ll owe you. No way he could turn you down.”

“But like you say, he’s a fox. He’ll find a way. Unless I can do something else to prove myself?”

“I can’t ask any more.”

“You don’t have to ask. This is as much for me as it is for you.”

* * *

“He smiled yesterday.”

“Your father?”

“Yes. When he heard about the Browns and the Connells. Said it was their own fault.”

“He believed they took each other out, then.”

“So does everyone else. I almost told him the truth, though.”

“But you didn’t.”

“It’s not quite time. He still sees your family as a rival. Maybe‌…‌maybe if your brother…”

“No! Sorry, but I love my brother.”

“I thought you loved me.”

“I do. But‌…‌family’s special.”

“But when we’re together, we’ll be a family.”

“And that includes my brother. Thought that was the idea‌—‌join the families.”

“It is! But I’m worried. I’m sure, after all you’ve done, my father will accept you. But he’ll take some convincing about your brother. I’m sorry, but that’s the way things are.”

“I understand. Really. But‌…‌can I ask you a question?”

“Anything.”

“Do you love me?”

“Do I what? You need to ask such a thing? I’m‌…‌I’m shocked. After all we’ve done? After‌…‌after all those nights? You doubt my feelings?”

“No, no. Not at all. That wasn’t what I meant.”

“Then what did you mean? You want to leave? Is there someone else?”

“Now you’re being ridiculous. Who else could there be? And if there was, I wouldn’t be able to hide it from you. You’re far too smart for that.”

“Glad you understand.”

“Please don’t be like that. Maybe‌…‌maybe I’m just impatient. I want to tell the world, you know? It’s hard to keep quiet.”

“Oh, my poor baby! But you keep our secrets so well. Believe me, nobody suspects a thing.”

“That’s good.”

“They don’t, though, do they?”

“Of course not.”

“Not even your brother?”

“It’s hardly the kind of thing I’d want to tell him.”

“I doubt he’d understand. And‌…‌and that could be a problem. We have to think of ourselves, what’s best for our future. You understand that, don’t you?”

* * *

“Tell me.”

“I love you.”

“How much?”

“With all my heart. With all my being. With all I am.”

“And I’m even more important than your family, right?”

“What do you mean?”

“Your brother. I heard about the illness. Gone away, some kind of expensive treatment.”

“That? Oh, that’s just a retreat. He takes one every year or so. Says it clears his mind. Helps with his research.”

“So he’s not ill?”

“Never in better health. But you don’t look too good. Are you okay?”

“Oh, probably just a cold‌…‌excuse me. Ah, that’s better.”

“You sure it’s not something serious? When I went to the bathroom‌…‌let’s just say there was a smell.”

“Oh, that was the cat.”

“Cat?”

“Threw up.”

“It wasn’t you?”

“Of course not! Just a cold. Think I caught it from my father.”

“He’s still bad?”

“Oh, you know.”

“Word is, he’s getting worse.”

“The doctors are doing all they can. But he’ll be fine when he understands. Only two families left, soon to be one. Right?”

“Right. One family. My brother will be pleased.”

“Your brother?”

“You mean you haven’t figured it out? You think it’s an accident that both you and your father are ill? You never asked what kind of research my brother is into, did you?”

“But‌…‌I thought you loved me.”

“You seriously think I’d have anything to do with someone so manipulative? Baby, love of my life, together forever. You think I fell for any of that for a moment? As if anything could come between me and my family.”


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One thought on “Ties Of Love

  1. Pingback: New short story ‘Ties Of Love’ | T. W. Iain

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