Detour | Teen Ink


February 23, 2011
By Mehnaz Ali Khan SILVER, Fulton, Maryland
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Mehnaz Ali Khan SILVER, Fulton, Maryland
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Mehnaz A. Khan

Ever since she could remember, Andrea Gregory had been her parent’s ideal daughter. She never dared to disobey or even voice her own opinion once in awhile. Other adults persistently demanded to know what type of leash her parents had on her, but there was no leash. Andrea simply acted like the perfect child because she thought it was the right thing to do. Plus, what reason did she have to be rebellious? That was until she graduated high school.

At the age of eighteen, Andrea was convinced she needed to see more of the world. Whether she ended up in Cambodia or Taiwan, she wanted to get out of Connecticut at any cost. Upon graduation, she confronted her parents with a serious expression and determination glittering in her eyes.

“Mom and dad, could you please let me take a year off before going to college?”

Her mother, Miranda, and her father, Peter, looked up from their dinner plates in pure confusion.

“Is this a joke?” Miranda asked in her thick Spanish accent.

Peter set his fork down and adjusted his eyeglasses to get a better look at his teenage daughter. “Are you serious?”

Andrea nodded, folding her arms across her chest. “I need a break.”

“A break?” Miranda repeated in ghastly horror. “From what, mi hija?”

Andrea’s mother had the tendency to add Spanish into English sentences without even realizing it.

“From all of this, mom.” Andrea tried to explain, stretching her arms out to represent the significant amount of stress that had been accumulating on her shoulders over the span of four years.
It started in ninth grade when she entered Centennial High with hopes of setting aside her gawky middle school image and start anew. She was, for once, happy with her life. She had tons of good friends, a boyfriend, and played her favorite sport freely. There were no restraints and no worries. Then, it happened. As soon as it did, Andrea’s world turned around and she no longer experienced the joys she once did. The normal set of tasks she usually underwent was tripled and her free time was slowly drained. She no longer went out with her friends, she ended her relationship with her boyfriend, and she stopped playing her most favorite sport. Yet, under the circumstances, she couldn’t find herself to become angry. She was numb to emotions at this point; it had caused her to become what she was- a blanked faced zombie that traveled without purpose.

Then, as she entered her senior year of high school, she began to understand that she could not carry on with her existence like this. She tried to return to her old life before it had imprinted her life, but never became one-hundred percent successful. Her parents continued asking her of favors and Andrea, being the flawless daughter she couldn’t help but be, didn’t dare to refuse. Andrea always agreed because she felt her parents were incapable of doing the many things they regularly did because it had happened. Soon, the things piled up and she felt as if her life was solely dependent on what chore she was asked to do next. Her parents weren’t trying to be mean to their only daughter; they just didn’t comprehend how much their actions were affecting Andrea.

After the last year of high school ended, Andrea felt as if she couldn’t continue ruining her life. Day after day, her life had started to follow a schedule- come home to yet another set of duties she was to fulfill such as cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, buying groceries, and making dinner.

That was until now.

“We don’t understand, Andrea.” Peter said after a brief pause. He had stood up, towering over his daughter at nearly six feet tall, and glared down at her.

“Dad,” She struggled to explain. “I’ve been held prisoner here since freshman year of high school. I want to get out.”

“Then go to college, honey!” Miranda stated. “The college you were accepted into was all the way in New York! Isn’t that far enough for you?”

“No, mom, you don’t get it!” Andrea felt like screaming. No college schoolwork, at least for now. No more living her life the way her parents wanted to. No more.

“Peter, she won’t listen to me.” Her mother sighed, scrapping the leftovers of her dinner into the trashcan.

“Andrea, where is it you want to go?” Peter asked, calmly.

She responded without a single second of hesitation. “Spain,”

“Spain?” He repeated with a snort. “Why go there?”

Miranda slowly turned around after she set her dirty plate into the sink. Her expression was of nothing but genuine curiosity. Everyone knew that Miranda Gregory, even with her husband’s British surname, was of pure Spanish blood. Miranda had born in Spain and stayed there until she turned twenty-seven. Then, she moved to the United States and met Peter who had been working at the same law firm as her. Soon, they were married and even later, the birth of Andrea.

Since Andrea’s birth, Miranda had only been to Spain once- all the way back when her daughter was five and a half. Ever since then, Miranda had solemnly been sending her parents postcards and telephoning them on her birthday or a special holiday.

“You want to go to Spain?” Miranda asked Andrea. She folded her arms and grinned widely.

Her daughter nodded. “Yeah, what do you say about that?”

Peter was silent as Miranda clapped her hands together in happiness.

“Would you visit your abuelos? They miss you so much, hija!”

A faint smile spread across her face as Andrea bobbed her head again. “As much as you want me to, mom.”

“Wait,” Peter suddenly interjected after his short vow of silence. “What in the world would you be doing there?”

“I’ll going to an American college that specializes in the arts and architecture departments. You know how long I’ve wanted to became an architect!”

Her father narrowed his eyes, ignoring his daughter’s last comment. “What do you mean by, ‘I’m going’?’ Don’t tell me that you already signed up for the class?”

Andrea chuckled nervously, fidgeting with her fingers and averted her gaze to view over her tennis shoes. “Yeah… I already signed up for it online.”

Peter threw his arms up into the air, a sign of ultimate defeat. “I can’t believe you.”

Miranda rubbed her husband’s back; all the while, winking at her daughter in approval. Andrea giggled into her palm. She truly loved her mother, especially in situations like these.
In the end, the women of the household always won the arguments.

Andrea stood beside the luggage belt, waiting patiently for her two suitcases to arrive. She had done it- she was finally in Spain. Unfortunately, she had only seen the inside of an airport for the past hour. Barajas Airport, located right outside of central Madrid, was the most impressive airport Andrea had ever been to before. It was like something out of The Jetsons, not like something she could actually see with her eyes and touch with her hands. The architecture of the airport was beautiful, including tall arches, clear walls of glass, high ceilings with wide, circular windows, and metal sculptures virtually everywhere.
She looked up at the blinking sign that hung over the belt and gratefully her four years of taking Spanish allowed her to decode what was written on it.

“Reclamación de equipaje,” She read out loud to herself. Yes, she was at the luggage claim, but where was her luggage?

There were five other familiar people gathered around the belt with irksome expressions pasted onto their faces. Andrea could faintly recall them sitting somewhere near her on the flight, but she couldn’t remember too well because she had slept most of the duration of the direct flight. The conveyer was moving slowly and had, for the past thirty minutes, been displaying the same three duffel bags.

An announcement came over the intercom of the airport, addressing the U.S. Airways flight 163 from the Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.

She vaguely listened as the lady on the speaker first spoke in broken Spanish that Andrea could hardly decode, and then the woman switched to her native language- English.

“Ladies and gentlemen who were on Flight 163 from Hartford, Connecticut: the remaining pieces of luggage have been moved to conveyer belt C5.” The woman briefly paused. “On behalf of U.S. Airways, we are sorry for the inconvenience.”

Andrea sighed as she searched for wherever luggage belt C5 was. Luckily, it was only three conveyers down, and the walk was short. The five remaining men and women who followed her seemed to be at their limit, angrily mumbling to one another regarding how they would never ride the airline again because of what had happened.

At C5, as the lady over the intercom had promised, Andrea found her two black suitcases traveling around the belt. She grabbed both of them and pulled with all of her might, landing them safely beside her legs. She pulled up the handle on both cases and began rolling them towards the nearest exit she could find.

Finally, she’d get to see the real Spain for the first time in her entire life.

She stepped through the automatic double doors that were labeled in Spanish, and sucked in a deep breath of air before she opened her eyes. The air was different from the States. It cleansed Andrea’s body as she breathed it in. When was the last time she had felt this calm? When was the last time she had felt this free?

And then she opened her eyes.

She was standing in the middle of the sidewalk, directly in front of the airport, and looking at what seemed to be a single road that was crowded with taxis. Beyond the roofs of the cars, Andrea could see the Madrid she so often had seen on television. Except this time, it wasn’t something displayed on a screen- it was right in front of her. Well, not right in front of her. She’d need to get a taxi before she was right in front of the Madrid she saw of TV.

She walked along the long line of cabs, dodging past Spaniards who were talking hastily into their cellular phones and seemed to not notice her standing there.
There had to be at least one available taxi, she told herself as she continued peering into the darkened windows of the white taxis. They each had a single diagonal red line across the driver’s and the passenger’s front doors. According to the extensive amount of research she had conducted before arriving to this foreign country; if the green light on top of the car was lit, then this meant that the taxi driver was available.
She opened tapped on the window of one of the available taxis and waiting patiently as the driver rolled down the window. He was a middle-aged man of maybe forty-years and he had dark blonde hair that framed a slightly chubby face.
“Hola,” The man greeted from inside the car with a warm and friendly smile. “Would you like me to help you with your bags?” Remarkably, the man knew English and he spoke it relatively clearly.
“It’s fine, gracias.” Andrea grinned back, making my way toward the trunk. She pulled it open, stacked my two pieces of luggage on top of each other, and then hopped into the passenger’s seat of the taxi.
“Where would you like to go, señorita?”
Andrea reached into the front pocket of her tight, dark blue jeans and drew out a folded up sheet of white paper. After unfolding it, she read the directions out loud for the taxi driver to hear.
“Do you know where that is?” She asked, worried that he wouldn’t.
The blonde man nodded as he shifted the gears of the car and rolled off of the airport’s grounds. “Is this your primera vez en España?”
Once again thanking her four years of Spanish in high school, she swiftly answered. “Yeah, it’s my first time in Spain, but my grandparents live here.”
The driver drove down the highway, following a stream of other taxis and cars. All the road-side signs were in Spanish (she could decode a few of them with slight difficulty), and she could faintly see the tall buildings from the center of Madrid- only a few miles ahead of where they currently were on the highway.
“Tus abuelos live here?”
Andrea clutched tightly onto her seatbelt as her driver quickly swerved past another car. She immediately realized that driving high over the speed limit was a part of daily life in Spain. Good thing she was wearing her seatbelt.
“Y-yes, they d-do.” She replied; eyes wide in horror as her chubby, blonde driver cut off a tiny black sedan and swerved into the next lane.
“¿Cuánto tiempo han estado viviendo aquí?”
It took a little longer for Andrea to respond to the driver’s Spanish question. “They’ve been living in Spain since they were born.”
He took an exit that brought them onto a less congested road. “You know mucho español. Usually the americanos I pick up from the airport do not know any español other than ‘hola’ and ‘adiós’.”
She raised an eyebrow. “I’ve been taking Spanish in my high school for a long time, that’s probably why.”
There were a few more turns before their taxi finally stopped at the destination. Andrea paid the talkative driver in the Euros she had exchanged with dollar bills at the airport, retrieved her two suitcases, and then waved goodbye to the taxi as it drove back onto the main road.
She then turned around to face the looming building that stood directly in front of her. It was the apartment building she was going to live in for the next year. The colorful structure was bordered by tiny shops and some large offices. When she had bought the apartment online, she knew she was going to be sharing it with someone else. Apparently, the woman’s name was Emma Silver and she had been living in the apartment for one year already.
Andrea lugged her suitcases behind her as she walked through the automatic glass doors. Once inside, she stood in awe, completely captivated by the beautiful decor. There were big stone fountains that surrounded the front desk, pouring out clear blue water. Glossy mahogany wood was spread out over the ground and there were floor-to-ceiling windows that allowed a transparent view of the indoor pool that was designed to look like a luxurious pond and already had a few people swimming around in it, the dim-lit restaurant that let out an alluring aroma, and the fitness center behind the reception desk. It could pass as the lobby of a five-star rated hotel, but in complete honestly, Andrea had gotten a great deal on her apartment. Now, as she looked around with curious eyes, she truly wondered how a miracle like that could have happened. But she didn’t care, she was more than happy to stay in a wonderful building like this one for an entire year.
“Hola, señorita,” The woman at the front desk had a massive grin spread across her heart-shaped face. She must have decided, based on my distinct American appearance, that I couldn’t speak Spanish. In a thick accent, she asked, “how may I help you?”
Andrea handed the young woman a paper she had printed off the internet back at home. On it was all the information about her new apartment room.
The woman started typing a series of things into the LCD screen computer that was sitting on a desk next to her. After a few minutes of patiently waiting, she handed Andrea the keys to her loft.
“Gracias,” Andrea thanked the woman with a crooked smile and began to drag her bags to the elevators that were to the right of the front desk. There was a couple waiting beside her as they loitered outside of three black elevators. They were speaking to one another hastily in Spanish, holding hands, and giggling at what seemed to be very funny jokes. Then there was Andrea, standing next to them awkwardly and alone. Hopefully, she thought, I’ll meet some nice people and become friends with them.
The elevator doors for the one all the way on the left slowly opened, a small group of people exited, and she filed into it along with the pleasant looking couple. Her apartment was on the sixth floor and as she punched “six” onto the number grid, she saw that there were still another six floors above hers. No wonder this building appeared so enormous from the outside.
Once the elevator stopped on the sixth floor, Andrea walked out and entered a horizontal hallway. According to the two small signs that were plastered onto the peach colored wallpaper, rooms 600 to 651 were on the left of the elevators. She turned and began to parade her way towards room number 625. There, she stuck her key into the lock, twisted until she heard the click, and turned the doorknob.
Her first impression of the apartment was that she was dreaming. When she had viewed the room on the internet, everything looked completely normal. Her father was the one who encouraged her to buy it because he thought it was a great bargain. Her mother, on the other hand, was attempting to persuade Andrea to move in with her grandparents who lived in the Chamberi district of Madrid. In the end, it was her father Andrea decided to listen to. If she was trying to be as independent as possible, what good would it be to live with her grandparents? Her parents told Andrea that she could pay for half of the rent while they paid for the rest. They thought that allowing an eighteen-year-old girl to pay for an apartment room all on her own was beyond absurd. Therefore, they would send in a monthly check that totaled around half of her rent plus a separate amount for her personal expenses. Now, as she starred in astonishment at her current home, she was in pure gratitude to her father. She’d have to call him up and tell him how amazing the apartment was.
There were two bedrooms, one for her and one that her roommate already claimed, one bathroom, a huge living room, a fully-equipped kitchen, and a beautiful terrace. From her position in the foyer, she could see the living room in front of her, the kitchen on her left, and the first bedroom on her right. The hallways had floors of grey marble which switched to glossy wood when inside of a room. The living room had a Persian rug that sat square in the center of the wooden floor. On it were two dark brown leather couches and a white coffee table with a vase of fake carnations sitting on top. There was a large Plasma television on the wall; a clear view from either of the two couches. The kitchen, on her left, had appliances that were only black- matching the black granite countertops. A small dinner table that seated four sat next to the three barstools that snuggly fitted underneath a counter. The door on her right was locked and she figured it was her roommate, Emma’s, bedroom.
As she strolled down the hallway, she saw that a fully-furnished bedroom was directly across from Emma’s bedroom. Her pulse began to beat faster as she realized that this was her bedroom. There was a single queen-size bed in the far corner, next to a window with a good view of the indoor pond-like pool, a white bedside table, a matching white dresser, a small TV, and a huge walk-in closet. On both sides of the dresser were two modern lamps and on the walls were paintings of breathtaking scenery from all over Spain.
So far, there was nothing to dislike.
Andrea left her suitcases in her new bedroom, and made her way towards the kitchen. Since she had landed in Spain, she hadn’t gotten a bite to eat and her stomach was growling in protest. To her surprise, someone was already in there.
She starred at the young man in confusion. He was seated in one of the barstools eating a bowl of cereal while bobbing his head to the loud rock music playing in his earphones of his iPod. He was wearing a black Rolling Stones t-shirt and a pair of ripped up and destroyed denim jeans. His black hair, with streaks of golden brown, was spiked up and he had a piercing in the corner of his bottom lip.
“Hello?” Andrea shouted, trying to be heard over the music of his iPod.
He continued stuffing spoonfuls of Frosted Flakes into his mouth.
“HELLO?” She repeated, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. She was beginning losing her patience- something she rarely did. Then, when her intolerance rose to its peak, she trotted up the rebellious-looking boy, and yanked the earphones out of his ears.
“What the-” He snapped around and glared at Andrea with dark green eyes. It seemed like he changed his mind about what he was going to say before, and asked instead, “Who the ‘ell are you?”
She raised an eyebrow. His accent wasn’t Spanish; it was English- as if he had just flown in from England.
“Are you going to answer me?”
Andrea quickly opened her mouth to respond. “I’m Emma Silver’s new roommate.” Then she folded her arms across her chest. “You’re not a Spaniard.”
The boy shoved another spoon of cereal into his mouth, chewed hastily, and swallowed. “Who the ‘ell is Emma Silver? And to respond to that second comment, of course I’m not a Spaniard. How long did it take you to figure that one out?”
“This is Emma Silver’s apartment and I was just wondering why you had an English accent.” Andrea was starting to strongly dislike the boy.
“This is my apartment.” He walked around the counter and put his empty bowl into the sink. He then leaned his back against the ledge and examined Andrea. “Who the ‘ell are you? You never answered my question.”
“I’m Andrea Gregory and this is my apartment.”
“You just said that this was Emma Silver’s apartment.” He narrowed his eyes. “Get your story straight.”
She tightened her jaw as her anger fueled her entire body. “Emma Silver and I are sharing this apartment, hence the reason I’m here.”
“You’ve gone loca.” He grinned, revealing a line of straight white teeth which was misleading. One would think that someone with such a stubborn appearance wouldn’t bother with basic forms of hygiene such as brushing teeth and flossing.
“I’ve told you who the hell I am; now you tell me who the hell you are.” Andrea asked.
He crossed his slightly muscular arms and leaned farther back, stretching his long legs out. “I’m Simon and it’s quite nice to meet you, Andrea.”
“Why are in this apartment, Brit?”
“That’s Mr. Brit to you,” His grin got wider. “And I could ask you the same thing.”
She threw her arms up in defeat, collapsing onto one of the four chairs that surrounded the tiny dinner table. “I give up. I’ve flown over six hours from Connecticut to Madrid and I really just want to sleep.” She mumbled as she dug her face into her arms on the surface of the table.
Suddenly, Andrea heard the front door open, followed by the hollow sound of footsteps against marble. She raised her head up and watched as a tall woman trailed into the kitchen with closed eyes, rubbing the arch of her nose. She had long golden-blonde hair that stopped a little above her elbows and a tan face with freckles sprinkled lightly across her nose. She was wearing a pair of dark blue faded jeans, a black short-sleeved turtleneck sweater, and two-inch black high heels. When she opened her hazel-colored eyes, the woman screamed.
“Simon!” She hollered as if she had just seen a ghost. “I swore I told you to never enter my apartment again after you nearly burned it down a month ago!”
Simon, who had been leaning casually again the sink, was now standing straight up with horror clearly displayed within his eyes.
“And what’s this?” The woman said in her noticeable English accent, turning to Andrea. “You brought a friend?”
Simon shook his head innocently from side to side. “She snuck in!”
Andrea’s jaw dropped. “Excuse me? I did no such thing!”
The woman observed her a moment without blinking her eyes. Andrea sat in the chair nervously as the woman’s eyes grazed over her like a laser beam.
“Wait a second, are you from America?”
She nodded.
“Is your name, Andrea Gregory?”
Andrea nodded again.
The woman smacked her forehead, then walked across the kitchen and smacked Simon’s forehead. “You idiot,” She said. “That’s Andrea, my new roommate.”
Simon smiled mischievously. “Yeah, I know.” He leaned around the woman to look at Andrea. “I enjoy pushing people’s buttons. It’s a passion of mine. No hard feelings, right?”
She ignored Simon. “If I’m your new roommate, you must be Emma Silver.”
The woman turned around to view her with a warm smile. “Yes, that’s me.”
Emma seemed older than Andrea had originally thought, and certainly a lot prettier. She looked like a British model that was in Spain for Madrid’s Fashion Week.
“I’m Emma and this idiot,” She patted the top of Simon’s pointy hair, “is my younger brother.”
“Oh,” Was Andrea’s only reaction. Well, this just keeps on getting weirder and weirder, she thought.
Emma continued with introductions. “There wasn’t much information about me on the website where you bought half of this apartment,” She paused for a short giggle, “so, I’ll fill you in now. I’m twenty-two years old and I’ve been living in Madrid for a year and a half now. I had been living in England with my family since I was born, but dad’s work makes him move a lot. So, the eldest children, Simon and I, decided to follow him this time.”
Andrea struggled to keep along with what Emma was saying.
“I work at one of the Madrid fashion agencies. Thanks to my previous fashion experience in England, I quickly got a job once I moved here a year and a half ago.”
"I don't have a cool job like my sister's," Simon added to his sister's life story. "I'm seventeen, a successfully graduated senior, and I usually live with my father."
"Even if he lives with dad, he manages to hang out around my apartment as much as possible." Emma corrected.
"Who gives a damn?" He took a seat next to Andrea at the dinner table and let out a heavy sigh. "Dad certainly doesn't. He not home ninety-nine percent of the time."
His sister also sat at the table, on the other side of her new roommate. "What he means is that our father is engrossed in his work. He's hardly at home with Simon."
Andrea nodded. “What does your dad do?”
“What does it matter?” Simon muttered.
“Anyway,” Emma took a deep breath. “Mom’s at home in England with our two-year-old sister, Angela. So, that’s it for us, Andrea. What about you?”
Andrea shrugged. “What do you want to know?”
“Emma basically told you her entire life story,” Simon laughed when his sister scowled at him. “Why don’t you do the same?”
“Well, I’m from Connecticut and I’m eighteen.” Andrea froze for a second, thinking of what she should say. “I’m going to be staying in Spain for one year, just to try something new. I’ll be taking architecture classes and looking for a job. Do you have any ideas where I can work?”
The two siblings exchanged looks.
“There are always fliers all over the place.” Simon suggested. “Maybe you could take a look at one of those. You do know Spanish, right?”
Andrea nodded. “I only took four years of it in high school, though.”
Emma gave her roommate thumbs up. “That should be better than nothing. Spaniards love Americans that can speak Spanish, that’s a benefit for you.”
“That is true,” Simon chuckled. “The more foreign you are and the more you try to learn their native language, the more they like you.”
Andrea was confused. “I don’t understand why they feel that way, but okay.”
“Don’t worry about a job, Andrea,” Simon added. “You’ll find one soon.”
She nodded, but wasn’t fully content.
“Anyway, why did you come here?” Emma asked, returning the conversation back to what it previously was. “Was it a personal reason or something like that?”
“I just wanted to take a break before college, so I asked my parents and after a little begging, they agreed. Plus, my grandparents live near here, so they can keep an eye on me.”
“Man, I wish I could take a break before college.” Simon complained. “But no, I’m going to the Complutense University of Madrid right after high school. What a load of bull-”
“You’ll like it, Simon.” Emma cut him off. “It’s one of the best universities in Spain. Consider yourself lucky that you even got in; I know that I was surprised.”
He smiled menacingly at her.
Andrea stretched her arms over her head and yawned. “What time is it?”
“Nine-thirty at night,” Emma answered. “Are you tired?”
She nodded. “And jet-lagged to my limit. Do you mind if I pass out in my room? I’m so tired that I can’t even keep my head up.” With that, her head dropped back onto her arms which were laid out across the table.
“Go ahead; I should get to sleep too.” Emma added. Then, she turned to her brother. “You, go home.”
Simon opened his mouth and let out a fake yawn. “Would you look at that? I’m pooped.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Please, Simon, don’t mess with me.”
“Aw, come on!” He begged, dropping his act. “It’s summer vacation at my school and I need a break.”
Emma sighed. “Fine, you can sleep on the sleeper sofa.” She rose to her feet and tapped Andrea vigorously on the shoulder to wake her up.
Simon punched his fist into the air. “¡Viva España!” Then he sashayed into the living room, yanking off the cushions of one of the leather sofas, and pulled out a connected mattress from inside of it.

Andrea woke up to the faint murmur of two voices. She slowly sat up and rubbed away the drowsiness off of her eyes. Looking around and adjusting to her surroundings, she realized that she was in a slightly familiar room- her new bedroom. She was sitting on top of the white and baby blue sheets of her comfortable bed. The lights were closed in her room, but sunlight bled through her pastel-colored curtains, signaling that it was daytime. She hopped off of the bed, steadied herself, then stretched her arms high over her head and let out a lengthy yawn that seemed to last two whole minutes.
As she sleepily dragged herself into the kitchen, following the quiet voices, she found Emma and Simon eating breakfast and chatting.
“Ah, you’re awake!” Emma declared in her accent as she opened up the refrigerator and pulled out a carton of milk that read, leche, across the cover.
Simon was sitting on a barstool and shoveling forkfuls of scrambled eggs into his mouth. He waved his hand at Andrea when he saw her enter the room.
“What time is it?” She mumbled, falling onto a chair and resting her head onto the cold surface of the table.
“About eight in the morning.” Emma replied, pouring herself a tall glass of milk. She gestured the carton at her roommate, asking if she wanted any.
Andrea shook her head and then she calculated the Spain-Connecticut time difference in her head. “It should be a little after midnight back home. No wonder I’m a train wreck right now.”
“You’ll get use to it eventually.” Simon reassured, his British accent sounding even more distinct in the morning.
Emma grabbed a slice of bread that had popped out of the toaster and nibbled into it. “Do you want something to eat, Andrea?”
She again swung her head from left to right. She couldn’t think about breakfast right now, she was just too tired. “Count me out.”
“Yeah, you passed out on the table yesterday, so I had to drag you back to your room.” Simon complained. “Good thing you’re as light as a feather or that would have been a problem for me.”
Suddenly, realization hit Andrea straight in the forehead. She lifted her head off of the table and looked at her new companions in dread. “I haven’t unpacked or anything!”
“Don’t worry; you have all of today to get settled in.” Emma said as she finished off the rest of her toast and trotted towards the front door. She was fully dressed- wearing a plain tan dress with a black-embroidered jacket over it and a pair of shiny black heels. She waved goodbye to her brother and roommate, and then shut the door behind her.
“Where did she just go?” Andrea asked, clearly confused from the jetlag.
“To work,” Simon replied, clearing his plate in the sink and piling it into the dishwasher. “She’ll be back around one in the afternoon for lunch.”
Andrea sighed, pushing herself up from the table. “It’s time to get going with my day, even though I have no idea what I’m doing.”
Simon glanced at her from the corner of his eye. “I’m free today; I can help you if you want me to. You seem a little… lost.”
She continued anchoring her body towards her bedroom. Behind her, she could hear Simon's footsteps. "Don't you work too?"
He shrugged. "Not really, but I guess it is called a job since I get paid."
"What do you do?"
"I run errands for my father's… boss."
Andrea raised an eyebrow. "What kind of errands?"
Simon thought. "Just simple things like faxing papers or helping around the… office. I'm like a secretary, but without as good of pay."
"Do you see your dad a lot at your job?"
He looked at me and frowned. "Does it matter? I try to avoid him, anyway."
Andrea quickly changed the subject. "How much do you get paid?"
"Seventy-five Euros per day; pretty good, right?"
"I have no idea. How much is that in the U.S. Dollar?"
He laughed, following Andrea into her bedroom. "You're in Europe now; get use to the Euro."

Andrea sat beside her two suitcases, which were on the ground next to her bed, and began to unzip one of them.
“So, do you need my help?” Simon repeated.
She shook her head. “I’ll be fine. You should go ahead on to your job-thing.”
He sighed. “If you’re positively sure…”
Andrea looked up at him from her suitcase with narrowed eyes. “Go,” she ordered.
“What are you going to do today?”
“I’ll get unpacked, grab some food later, look for a job, and then come back here and sleep for a very long time.”
Simon bobbed his head. “I’ll be back before my sister; so don’t you dare wander off, okay?”
She giggled. “Simon, I’ll be fine. I’m older than you, you know. I can take perfect care of myself.”
He smiled before he headed out of her bedroom and through the front door. Andrea heard the door close behind him, followed by an eerie silence. She was alone.
As she took each individual garment out of her bag and put them into the drawers of her dresser, she let her thoughts roam freely. So far, she really liked Emma and Simon; they were friendly, British people. One thing they always seemed to not want to talk about was what their father did for a living. Apparently, he was very busy and didn’t have time for his children. And whatever he did caused him to move a lot.
“Was he a spy or something?” Andrea asked herself out loud, holding one of her underwear out in midair; her arm was frozen as she thought. Then, she shook her head with a chuckle and continued on with the unpacking. “Impossible.” She muttered.
Then, what did he do? Eventually, Emma and Simon would need to talk. Hopefully, that time would be soon because the suspicion was consuming Andrea. Before she found of their father’s hidden identity, she really had to find a job. Anything except a job in cleaning would work. That was one thing she couldn’t stand. She had cleaned around the house every day back home and she wasn’t going to do the same thing here- even if she was going to get paid. Simon had told her to look for some fliers that advertised jobs, but where would they be? Maybe they were in the lobby of this apartment building; she’d need to check whenever she got done with what was currently occupying her.
After she was done, she collapsed onto her bed sheets. All of her energy was drained from the full twenty minutes of stuffing various items of clothing into tight-fitted drawers. Her hazel-green eyes shut close and she listened to the silence that engulfed the apartment. She hadn’t heard this sound in a long time. Then, in the midst of the moment, she fell into a deep sleep.

Andrea awoke two and a half hours later. She was curled up into a ball on the ground beside her bedpost; she most likely rolled off of the bed in her sleep. She rubbed her tired eyes and sighed.
“I hate jetlag.” She mumbled to no one in particular as she rose to her feet and stretched her arms. Now, it was time to continue with her scheduled plan for the day. Mission Number Two- Find a decent job with a reasonable pay!
She changed into a crisp white t-shirt and a pair of long, light blue jeans, and then grabbed her cell phone. Andrea locked the apartment door behind her and set off for the building’s lobby.
Unlike last night when she had last seen it, the lobby was very busy. The natural-looking indoor pool was crowded with cheerful Spanish residents as they waded in the water and splashed around like little children. Music escaped through the thin paneling of the fitness center; it had a motivating pace that fueled the people who chose to use the workout equipment. Even the restaurant, which would usually get business only in the evening, was booming with the sounds of many men and women. But none of this interested Andrea- she was on a mission.
“Hola,” Andrea greeted the new, petite woman at the front desk. She had light blonde hair, a pale and skinny face, and had overdone her make-up.
The woman smiled. “Hola, señorita,” They way she spoke Spanish sent shivers down Andrea’s spine; it was so fluent and beautiful.
“Could you help me with something?” Andrea asked, unsure if the Spaniard new English.
Fortunately, the blonde-haired woman nodded. “Con qué, señorita?”
“I’m looking for a job,” She answered, still somewhat uncertain if the woman could help her. “Do you know where I could start looking? Like, on un tablón de anuncios?” She observed the woman’s face as she thought. There had to be a bulletin board somewhere around here that displayed jobs which were needed, right?
“¿Un tablón de anuncios?” She pondered for a moment and then an understanding smile spread across her face. “Ah, I see, un momento por favor.” She got off of the blue chair, scooted it underneath the desk, and made her way towards the fitness center’s front door. She gestured for Andrea to follow.
“What is this?” Andrea asked when both she and the woman stopped in front of a wall. Next to the door of the fitness center, posted onto the white wall, was a huge bulletin board filled with hundreds of papers and post-it notes.
“A bulletin board, señorita,” She brushed through her blonde hair with a slender hand in triumph. She was acted as if she had accomplished something truly remarkable, like discovering another moon revolving around Earth.
Andrea examined the so-called “bulletin board” with wary eyes. She only saw neon orange, baby blue, hot pink, and lime green colored papers with messy handwriting scattered across in no specific pattern. They boasting various things in Spanish; there were too many words she couldn’t understand.
“What the hell do they say?” Andrea whispered to herself as she squinted her eyes to read the tiny black ink on an orange flier.
The blonde-haired woman then smiled one last time and hurried off to her desk to help a young man who was waiting for assistance.
Andrea was left alone with the “bulletin board”. She took in a deep breath, held it in until she felt her lungs fill up to their maximum capacity, and then let it out slowly and easily. Pulling out her cell phone, she bravely set off to work. She’d have to take her chances and hope that every single notice on the bulletin board was for a job and not something else, like an available lot for a new home. Andrea dialed in the first long phone number that she saw and waited patiently until someone picked up. Unfortunately, no one answered the phone call and Andrea dialed in the next number. She continued doing this until she arrived at the very last number that was posted onto the bulletin board
It was an older woman who had a raspy, thick voice. Her Spanish was easy to understand, but her English was fatal.
“You need job?” The woman demanded on the phone.
Andrea cleared her throat nervously. “Yes, I do. Do you have anything in mind for me?”
“No,” She answered sharply. “No need you here.”
“W-wait!” Andrea shouted into her cell phone. Almost everyone who was in the apartment building lobby turned to face her in surprise. She looked up at her audience and felt her face redden in embarrassment.
“What now?” Crooked the old woman.
“Do you need a house maid?”
There was a pause before Andrea continued.
“What about a cook or a nanny or something?” She begged in desperation. “Is there anything at all? I’m at the end of my line here, okay? I have no other choices but this! Sure, I could go look for a big time job in an office, but do you think anyone’s going to hire a girl who just came from the States and has absolutely no real work experience? I don’t think so!”
“What you saying? I no understand your English.”
“So,” She breathed, as her body trembling in frustration. “Please give me a job!”
“Estás loca, I hang up now.”

“No!” Andrea yelled, pulling the phone away from her ear and staring into the LCD screen. The screen read in thick black letters, “Call ended.” Her eyes widened in horror as she began to see her life unfold before her. Without a job, she couldn’t pay her half of her brand new apartment’s rent. Then, her parents would pay for all of Andrea’s expenses and eventually, she’d become completely dependent on them. That was exactly what she didn’t want to happen.
Tucking her phone away into her pocket, she dragged herself away from the bulletin board and towards the elevator. Her mission had failed and now she felt ten times worse than she had this morning, even without the jetlag. The two black doors of the elevator slid open and she piled in next to a tall business man and his pudgy wife.
Two minutes later, Andrea was standing inside her apartment next to the kitchen table. Her thoughts wandered as she stared blankly, as if in a trance, at the silver refrigerator door in front of her. I can’t give up now, she pondered, I can still find employment, and it’s not too late. And with that weak encouragement, she trailed along the wooden floor of the hallway until she reached the living room. There, she lay down comfortably on top of one of the brown leather sofas that surrounded the small coffee table in the center of the room, and drifted off to sleep…

Simon’s voice interrupted Andrea’s pleasant sleep. Her eyes fought against the light as her eyelids flickered open. Simon’s face was inches away from her, twisted in an expression of worry and amusement.
“Jesus,” He stood up properly, rubbed the back of his head in relief and glared at Andrea. “I thought you were dead.”
She sat up and yawned. “You’re here again?”
Simon raised an eyebrow. “Any problem with that?”
Andrea shook her head. “No, not especially.”
“How was your day?” He asked as he sauntered into the kitchen, grabbed an apple, and then reentered the living room to listen to her response.
But she wasn’t so enthusiastic about sharing her unpleasant progress with her roommate’s brother. “My day was… muy bien.” She sighed.
“Something about your tone of voice tells me that your day wasn’t muy bien.” Simon sat down beside Andrea and bit into the apple. “Weren’t you going to go job hunting today?”
“Right,” She leaned her head back until it rested against the soft cushion of the sofa. “Job hunting didn’t exactly go as planned.”
He looked over at her with genuine interest. “Care to explain?”
“Well, where to begin?” She traced a box in the air above her with her index finger. “How about with the crappy bulletin board in the lobby? Have you ever seen that thing?”
Simon shook his head as he took another bite. “Should I?”
Andrea nodded reluctantly. “But only at your own discretion. You might burn holes in your eyes because of the neon-colored fliers that are pinned all over the thing.”
“So…” He thought for a moment. “You used the bulletin board, but you weren’t successful?”
She nodded again. “Yeah, that just about sizes it up.”
He glanced over at her from the corner of his right eye and grinned. “You’re really entertaining when you’re this down in the dumps.”
Andrea sat up and glared at him. “Excuse me?”
“Don’t be so sour, pudding.” He tapped his finger against her cheek and rose to his feet, looking down at her. “It’s no fun when you’re angry.”
She sighed, staring at her fingers. “I’m not angry.”
Simon tilted his head slightly to the left and cocked his eyebrow. “Really?”
Andrea scorned at him. “Don’t push it, Brit.”
“’Ay, ‘ay, Captain Americano.” He then sashayed into the kitchen to throw the core of his apple into the trashcan.
“When’s your sister getting home?” Andrea asked as she lifted herself off of the couch and followed him into the kitchen. He was sitting on his favorite barstool and facing her with his legs crossed “applesauce” style, like a little child.
“Maybe in twenty minutes,” Answered Simon. He turned his head towards the window that was above the sink and gazed out of it. “Look, it’s going to rain soon.”
Andrea walked up to the window and glanced out of it. She could see a long street filled with white taxis and frantic people who wanted to get home before it started to pour. There were in the shopping district, so there were always going to be tourists roaming around wherever Andrea would go. Even from the view in her apartment she could see them. Behind the tall, modern-looking buildings, she could see the tops of hundreds of other bright-colored buildings. Above all the shops and taxis and people, a dark cloud covered the sun, painting the entire city of Madrid a gloomy grey.
“I think that you’re right.” Andrea said as she turned around and made her way back to the barstools so she could sit next to Simon.
“Just because you didn’t find a job today, doesn’t mean that you should give up.” He randomly said, looking Andrea right in the eyes. “Am I understood?”
She giggled nervously, breaking away from his intense stare. “You’re a year younger than me and you’re already acting like my mother.”
Simon shrugged, leaning his back against the ledge of the counter and folding his arms. “It is the truth. Maybe your mother was onto something. You’re not a stupid girl, so don’t give up so easily. It’s only your second day here, after all.”
Andrea glanced at him quickly, as if trying to read his thoughts. “Are you trying to comfort me, Simon?” She said teasingly, gently punching his shoulder.
His face grew a scarlet red. “N-no!” He argued, brushing away Andrea’s hand. Then, he took a deep breath. “I’m just telling the truth, geez.”
Andrea smiled. “Thanks, anyway. You’re a cool kid.”
Simon raised an eyebrow suspiciously before he covered it up with a grin. “Right back at you, Captain Americano.”
“You’re very much welcome, Brit.”
Just then, the front door opened and in came Emma, carrying a heavy frown on her face.
“What’s wrong, Em?” Simon asked, mockingly showing his concern.
She glared at him from the corner of her eye as she hung her jacket up on the coat rack and came over to where Andrea and her brother were seated.
“I had the worst possible day of my life.” She whined, pulling a bottle of water out of the fridge, twisting the cap off, and chugging the contents of the bottle down her throat.
“What happened?” Andrea asked. It seemed as if she and Emma were both not doing so well today. “You weren’t fired, were you?”
She slammed the empty bottle onto the counter and rubbed her wet mouth with the back of her hand. “No, I was not fired. The exact opposite happened.”
“You were promoted?” Asked Simon.
Emma nodded her head, miserably. “I was promoted! But that wasn’t where my bad day started.”
Andrea and Simon waited patiently until Emma threw her bottle into the trashcan and then continued with her story.
“Well, I always take a taxi to work, right? This time, my taxi driver was completely rude and obnoxious. He didn’t want to drop me off at the metro station; instead, he dropped me of three blocks away from it!” She said in ghastly horror. “I was wearing heels too, so you could imagine how much my feet were killing me. Anyhow, once I got onto the metro, I found myself becoming very, very tired, and I fell asleep. I told myself that I’d wake up in five minutes. Guess what? I missed my stop because those five minutes turned into fifteen minutes.”
Andrea looked over to see Simon’s reaction, but it looked as if he was trying to suppress his raging laughter. What a caring brother, Andrea thought with a roll of her eyes.
“Then, once I did get to my workplace- an hour late- might I add, everyone was in the middle of a meeting. I had to creep into the meeting, trying to be unnoticed, but of course that didn’t go as planned.”
“Someone saw you?” Andrea asked.
“Yes,” Emma sighed. “It was my boss, and she wasn’t angry at all. Apparently, she was more concerned with what propositions I had for the topic they were currently discussing in the meeting. Seeing how I had no time to think it over, I just said that we should add more black-colored clothing items to the fall-winter line. Sadly, my answer got me a promotion and a box of chocolates from a sponsor.”
Andrea blinked once in confusion. “I don’t get it. You were promoted; why aren’t you happy?”
“Because, now I have to get to work an hour earlier than I usually do. I was perfectly content with my old job; why did they have to take it away?” She cried, digging her head between her knees and sobbing continuously.
“Um,” Andrea patted her roommate’s back sympathetically. “Why didn’t you just refuse the offer?”
Emma snapped her head up, mascara running down her cheeks like a waterfall, and scowled at Andrea. “That’s not how it works in the fashion industry here, Andrea! It’s a dog-eat-dog world!”
Simon shook his head, sadly. “She’s really not making any sense, is she?”
Emma wiped away tears with her arms. “I need something to take my mind off of the promotion,” She said, ignoring Simon’s comment.
“In the United States of America,” Andrea explained in bewilderment. “People usually celebrate promotions.”
Her roommate groaned. “That’s obviously not my case.”
Simon scratched his head as he searched for a solution to his sister’s grouchiness. “Maybe we could go to dinner?”
Emma and Andrea looked up at Simon simultaneously. “What?” They both said.
“Dinner at Las Flores Rosas,” He answered. “It’s the restaurant that’s downstairs in the lobby. Why don’t we all go and eat there tonight? It’ll be a great bonding opportunity, you know?”
Emma raised an eyebrow. “Are you out of your bloody mind?”
Andrea looked at Simon sympathetically as his sister beat him repeatedly on the shoulder.
“I am in no mood to dine at a fine restaurant!” She shouted, standing onto her feet and glaring at Simon. “How could you even dare to suggest that?”
He too stood up; the tip of his head only reaching to the bottom of her nose. “I thought you said that you wanting to get your mind off of the promotion?”
Emma crossed her arms. “Yes, I did, but…”
“Andrea didn’t find a job today.” Simon informed his sister. “She also had a bad day. So, why not have a dinner to get all of our minds off of the negative events that occurred?”
Andrea smiled at him. “I think that’s a great idea; I’m in.”
Emma sighed, glancing at her roommate’s glowing grin. “Fine, I’ll come too.”

The restaurant was bigger than Andrea had expected. As soon as the three entered, a petite woman wearing a red and black uniform greeted them and brought them to the first available table.

“This place is expensive, isn’t it?” Andrea asked reluctantly as she pulled out her chair beside Simon and sat down. The table could seat four, but there were only three people present.

“No, not really.” Simon answered as he unfolded his napkin and placed it onto his lap. “It doesn’t matter, because Emma’s treating us.”

At the moment, Emma had been flipping through the laminated pages of the menu when she quickly looked up and glared icily at her brother. “I am not going to pay for your food, Simon, but I’ll pay for Andrea’s.”

Andrea chuckled into the palm of her hand as Simon pleaded with Emma.

A few minutes later, the same petite woman who had led them to their table took their orders for dinner and then hurried into the back room. At the table, silence hung over the three like a plague. Simon took tiny sips of his water, while Emma drummed her fingers against the white cloth that covered the table. Andrea stared at the both of them as she twirled strands of her hair around her finger; something she always did when she was stuck in tension-filled situations. The problem was: what was the tension a cause of?

The waitress came back to the table, fifteen minutes later, carrying a tray filled with three plates. She set them down in front of the corresponding customer, refilled half-empty glasses of water, and without a single word, glided into the back room.

Andrea poked at her sirloin steak with her knife and stole a glance at the siblings. Emma was throwing spoonfuls of the broccoli cream soup into her mouth and Simon was carefully cutting his baked chicken into microscopic pieces.

“Hey guys, I have a question.” She asked as she chewed on a small piece of steak.

Simon and Emma looked up and nodded.

“Tell me about your dad.” Andrea said, avoiding eye contact. She pushed the vegetables on her plate around with her fork. “I mean, what does he do for a living?”

“You want to know what our father does?” Simon asked, gulping down the rest of his glass of water. He turned to his sister and narrowed his eyes.

“Is it really that important?” Emma asked with a nervous smile. “It’s not like he’s an assassin or something.”

“Then what’s the problem with telling me?” Andrea repeated. “Oh, I get it. Does he work for some secret agency that no one’s supposed to know about?”

Simon burst into laughter, nearly choking on his dinner. “Are you mad?” He was in hysterics.

Emma looked like she too was fighting back her laughter. “Andrea, don’t worry, it’s nothing like that.”

“Then why can’t you tell me?” She demanded. “It’s really bugging me! You always skip over the subject whenever it comes up!”

Emma pushed a bundle of hair behind her ear and took a deep breath before responding. “Okay, okay, I understand. When we get back to the apartment, we’ll show you.”

Simon glanced sharply at her, but then he shrugged and finished off the rest of his meal in two easy bites.

After all three finished their dinner, Emma ended up paying the bill for Andrea and Simon. Apparently, he didn’t have any cash on him and he promised that he’d pay her back, even though Emma knew he wouldn’t. They left a small tip for the mute waitress and exited the restaurant, making their way to the elevator and finally, to the apartment.

Andrea changed into her pajamas as soon as she got to her bedroom and met with Simon and Emma in the living room. Simon was sitting on the couch with his legs folded in front of him. He wore black and dark blue flannel pajamas and was holding a mug of hot cocoa in-between both of his hands. His lip piercing was taken out and his spiky hair was combed out, making him look like a normal seventeen-year-old boy. Emma, on the other hand, was standing beside the plasma screen television with a DVD in her left hand. She was wearing beige robe over a black-laced nightdress. As Andrea entered the room, her expression became grim.

“Alright, show me the goods.” Andrea stated as she curled onto the couch next to Simon. She observed the DVD-ROM in Emma’s hand and looked up suspiciously. “Are we watching a movie or something? I thought you were going to tell me what your dad does for a living.”

Without saying a single word to her roommate, Emma slid the disk into the DVD player and switched on the television.

A clear image began playing on the screen. What am I watching? Andrea thought as she silently looked at the TV. Suddenly, it was as if a light bulb lit up over her head.

“This is a soccer game, right?” She asked without taking her eyes off of the screen.

“Right, it’s a soccer game.” Emma nodded, also watching the TV. “Us Europeans like to call it football.”

Andrea glanced at her. “I know that.” She turned back to the television and watched. She could easily see the uniform colors of the team the video was mainly focusing on; white and stripes of black along the shoulders. Another light bulb lit up as she recognized the team as Real Madrid, one of Spain’s topmost elite soccer clubs. Several of the players played for Spain’s national team and many others were bought from other countries and clubs for over twenty million Euros. Andrea had seen a few of their games before and they had won everyone single match. They played in international and national tournaments and placed in either first place or runner up. They were the top of the line when it came to football.

“It’s Real Madrid,” She said to Emma. “What about them?”

The video then switched to a view of the sidelines where three men stood eagerly watching the game and the team substitutes sitting behind them on the benches.

“That’s our dad,” Simon said glumly, pointing to the screen. His voice was hard and cold, as if he wished that whoever he was pointing to wasn’t indeed his father.

Andrea couldn’t tell exactly who his finger was pointed towards and studied the three men carefully. A tall man with shaggy dirty blonde hair shouted as loudly as he could at the players on the field. She could tell that he was the head coach. To the right of him was a short and bald man, probably the assistant coach. What Andrea couldn’t understand was who the third man was. He was standing all the way to the right of the two other men and had dark blonde hair. Strangely, Emma and Simon looked a lot like him…

“Who’s he?” Andrea asked, pointing to the blonde-haired man. “Is that your dad?” She saw Simon nod from the corner of her eye.
Emma closed her eyes and bobbed her head. “That’s correct.”
Andrea rose to her feet and watched the screen carefully, this time paying full attention to the British man. “Why is he standing on the sidelines next to the coach and assistant coach? Who is he to the team?”
“Our father trains football teams from all across Europe.” Simon said blandly, picking up the remote that was on the table in front of him and switched off the TV. “He’s actually really good at what he does.”
“You’re dad’s a soccer trainer?” Andrea confirmed, a little confused. “That’s it?”
Simon turned his body so that he faced her, but was still comfortably sitting on the coach. “What do you mean by, ‘that’s it?’ I’d say that it’s kind of a big deal.”
“Well, sure,” Andrea ran her hand through her hair, letting out a sigh of relief. At least he wasn’t a serial killer or a CIA agent. Her mind could finally be at ease. “I’m just happy that he isn’t what I thought he was. You really didn’t have to hide it from me.”
“It was Emma’s idea. Before you came, she told me specifically not to tell you about dad.”
Emma cast him a dark look. “I was just thinking that it wasn’t very important.”
Andrea smirked at her stylish English roommate. “I think it’s really cool what your father does. You’re lucky; my dad’s just a college professor.”
Simon grinned widely, the corners of his eyes crinkling like they always did when he smiled. He had cute, childish look that most girls could completely go for. Unfortunately, that was ruined as soon as he molded his hair into tiny spikes and put in his notorious silver lip ring. Even though his usual appearance was edgy and hardcore, he was as soft as a teddy bear on the inside.
Andrea also couldn’t help seeing the resemblance between Simon and his father. Other than the fact that Simon dyed the majority of his hair black- leaving behind strands of his natural blonde hair here and there- he looked like the exact younger version of his father. They had the same dark green eyes that sparkled in the daylight. Emma, for some reason, didn’t share the same colored eyes; hers were hazel-brown.
Without thinking about the consequences, she said, “You look a lot like your dad, Simon.”
His smile quickly disappeared. He glanced down at his folded legs and forced a sarcastic chuckle. “Why does everyone say that?”
“Because it’s true.”
He didn’t bother looking up. Instead, he continued looking down at the cushions of the couch as he spoke. “It’s not much of a compliment. I think that he’s nothing like me. I never talk to him at work, or even when we’re at home. It was like that in England, too. It’s like I’m not even his son, just some kid living with him.”
Emma silently looked at her brother, unable to say anything.
“Do you hate your father?” Andrea said warily.
He slowly shook his head, still looking at the cushions with unblinking eyes. “I just don’t know him well enough.”
Not another word was needed before Andrea wrapped her arms around him and pulled him into a tight hug. She had no idea why she did it, but she felt as if there was no reason for someone who was usually so cheerful and kind to have such an expression on his face. Especially such a hurt and sorrowful one. Seeing him sad made her heart sink, and she didn’t like the feeling.
Simon sat numbly between her arms. “I don’t hate him,” He repeated. “I don’t know him.”
As Emma watched, she felt a tear slid down her cheek and she quickly wiped it away with her finger before anyone could notice. She couldn’t break down in front of her younger brother, not like before.

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This book has 1 comment.

on Dec. 13 2011 at 11:35 pm
Argh! What last time?! The suspense is killing me! Put me out of my misery. Please? Pretty please? Pretty pretty please with a cherry on top?