Chapter One

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

I watched as the time flew by painfully slow, my muscles tense as I sat in antagonizing silence, watching my father's stern expression scan the paper in his hands. His muscles hard and sharp as his glasses adorned eyes were expressionless. It was moments like this that made me edgy and cold with chilly goosebumps. He should say something, anything already. What's the worst he could do? Rain hell, if I may reply.

I swallowed dryly as his gruff expression mixed with a low growl. He dropped the paper on the glass stool next to him and gently took off his glasses. I braced myself for the moment I dreaded the most.

His words!

I awaited the venom he'd spit. His rage was always ferocious. I might be acting all calm but deep down I was frightened of his rage. It contributed to the reasons why I always wanted to please him. Being on the receiving end of his anger was always devastating. A word from him alone could make a man hang himself.

He wasn't a man to raise his hands at petty cases. At least I was grateful; he's never hit me before. Rather he chose to say the perfect combination of words that could undo a man's mental health, deteriorating it drastically till all you can feel is just numbness to the pain, the heartache.

His glare made my mouth go painfully dry. It was almost impossible to breathe.

"Look me in the eyes son!" He demanded. Hell no! I knew better than to oblige. Looking him in the eye would mean sealing my fate. I won't. "Look. Me. In. The. Eyes. Eldse!" He gritted each word with filtered venom. Each word pierced my hearth and made my breathing faster. My heart rate was qualified to be declared medically unsafe for a human.

He scoffed and clicked his tongue. I was preparing myself for the worst ones yet. I gritted my teeth quietly, chanting my life long mantra.

They're just words Eldse, words only hurt you if you let it. You're bigger than being a pathetic wimp. You're stronger and you'd be better.

I reassured myself with a mental prep talk. I closed my eyes and opened them, putting on a wall around my heart. I wasn't going to let his words get to me. I'd be better. I won't let him bring me down.

"What do you have to say Eldse? Six rejections? This wasn't what I trained you to be. A loser wasn't what I brought you up to be goddamnit!." How eyes never left my figure, he was observing my every movement, anticipating my actions. "Answer me?" He growled.

What did I have to say? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I wasn't proud of myself either. How could I have been rejected by six freaking institutes? Was I that much of a dumbass?

"Your brother Oscar, never faced such rejection. He was always bargained for..." But I'm not Oscar, I'm not him, I'm me. I'm not him and I can never be him. I've tried.

I stuck my eyes on the ceiling, trying to convince myself not to give up, not to explode. So many angry thoughts ran through my mind. Can't they see my efforts? Can't they appreciate it? I'm not always a failure that they claim me to be. They want a perfectionist like them. Oscar was, but was I? No. Not as obsessed as them.

I was trying to curb my emotions. Always keep your emotions in check, my father always said. Trying to keep my tongue in check. "I tried." Was all I could say.


I wasn't supposed to say anything.

"What did you say?" He rose his eyebrows in a skeptical look. His look alone could make even the toughest criminal crack. Makes a lot of sense how he was a respected general. His presence alone was powerful. Who dared defile him or his wishes?

"I said I tried." I gritted, feeling agitated.

"And was it good enough?" He knew the right words to say that always injured my boldness.

"I followed every instruction you gave, did everything like you told me. I graduated highschool with more A's and just TWO B's. Haven't I tried?" I spat out slowly and calmly, with my eyes closed.

"Well your best wasn't good enough. Oscar always did it as it should be and his grades were and are perfect!"

That was it. I couldn't endure it anymore. The magnitude of his insensitivity was overwhelming. "But I'm not him. If you wanted me to be him, then you should have just named me after him."

"Don't talk to your father like that Emilio. Give him respect!" The curt feminine voice from the blonde next to him made me sigh.

"As he should to me!" I stood up and made my way to my room. I was heartbroken. Oscar wasn't so perfect, he had faced a couple rejections back then but they were understanding with him. Why was I any different? Couldn't they see I was giving it my all? Were my efforts invisible?

Anger radiated through me, plain, rouge rage. I had feelings too. I wasn't a robot, programmed to feel as per their wish. I was human, not just that, I was their son. I wanted their affection too.

Sitting on my bed, I felt a sting in my eyes. My heart was racing, each beat spitting rage. My brows furrowed in the deadliest frown. I gritted my teeth to control my rage but my anger was more than my calmness. It burned through me, destroying every thread of calmness left.


So much anger, my attention was drawn to the screen glaring at me. Marching towards the laptop, my eyes darkened, I gripped the device and in one swift motion, watched the device lie shattered on the floor. I upturned the table and flung the chair across the room. I needed anything to vent my anger. I wanted appreciation, recognition from my family. It was breaking me apart.

After feeding my rage in a wild destruction, I headed into the bathroom. I groped the white fragile sink and glanced down at the drain. Taking breaths to calm myself.

I'm not a failure, I'm not a failure. Fuck, I'm not!

My fist collided with the mirror, leaving me to stare at the dent in the middle of the mirror, which extended with cracks traveling fast. The cracks, mirrored the shatters in my life. I wasn't perfect, no matter how hard I tried.

My eyes glanced down at the red which stained the whiteness and traveled down, falling in drops onto the white tile. My eyes lined the cracks on my skin which released the red. I could care less. All I could feel was one thing,


I dashed into the shower and turned it on, letting the droplets of cold water fall on my clothed body. My hands gripped both side of the wall, letting my pain mix with the water.

I craved more than anything for the hurt to die away. Hoping to trap it back into the steel coldness of my mind, buried deep inside the farthest part of my being, in hope that it suffocates. But it ends up finding a way out, creeping in on my me, reminding me of the ugly fact that my efforts would never be appreciated.

I sighed at my reality. Who exactly was a I trying to please? Definitely not myself because my dreams were far from this. It was them, my parents. But would it ever be good enough?


I walked out of the shower with tired steps. My clothes dripping a poodle on the floor. I gently peeled off the wet shirt which stuck to my damp skin. Throwing it on the floor, I flexed my back muscles, trying to loosen the knots.

I sniffled a little, knowing fully well I had red eyes and a red nose. My Caucasian skin, had blotches of red on my face and knuckles. I stared at my pale appearance and sighed. I faced my attention at my injured knuckles and hissed.

I opened my cabinet, pulling out my first aid box. I rubbed my throbbing temple and darted to my bed, taking a mental note to digest some pills of aspirin later. I muttered a curse word as I dabbed the mentholated cotton wool on my wounds. I hissed through tight teeth at the stinging pain. Holding the bandage, I carefully wrapped it round both my knuckle with shaking hands, in turns.

Devastated and tired yet still annoyed, I dumped the materials back into the box and lowered my head, rubbing my neck in an attempt to relieve the aches. My eyes tiredly stared at the floor, feeling annoyed at my pathetic state. I hated letting my anger get the better of me. It always made me feel uncivil, beastly and untamed. But would it be my fault if my patience was always being toyed with and my mental health damned at the vague provocations?

A faint knock on the door, dragged my attention to the white mahogany. My calm, slowed breaths gave away my vulnerable state. I reverted my gaze to the floor, hoping my silence would be a hint that I didn't want to speak with anyone.

Knock, knock, knock.

I closed my eyes, silently praying to be left alone. But to my utter dismay, the disturbance persisted.

"What!" I gritted slightly yet dangerously.

"Sir, madam wants you down in a minute at the dining room. Dinner is ready." His British accent was curt yet posh.

Raising my eyes to him, I said in a gruff tone, "I'm not hungry."

"But sir..." He made an attempt to dissuade my decision to starve.

"I'm not hungry, go!"

Defeated, he curtly nodded and slowly left.

I wanted to be alone, and seeing their faces was the last thing I wanted. I let my weight land on the bed, the soft material relaxing my tensed muscles. I was about drifting away, into my unending thoughts which threatened to claim me, to wallow in my misery.

"You should be down for dinner." The familiar voice of the woman I saw with so much distaste came.

Why should I? So I'd have a complete thirty minute reminder on how Oscar always did his things right while I was the black sheep?

I scoffed. "No thank you. I like my appetite right now." I said, knowing she could smell the sarcasm off my tone.

"You see, this is the problem with you..." She started and I immediately felt myself cringe and my body go rigid." you never do as you're told; you just never do! Always having to have an objection as to how things are done." She seethed. Though her tone was calm, the distaste was clear as water from a spring.

I chewed on my inner lip to prevent myself from lashing out. She was my mother, and she deserved respect.

Brianna Romero was no different from her husband. Though nearly clocking fifty, her stature was no different from a woman in her mid thirties. Her hair always worn in a prim and prime styles, her dressing and grace was no different. It would be nearly impossible to detect she was half Asian. Her urge to always have everything about her perfect was something I always wondered if was inherited from the retired General, in their thirty-nine years of marriage.

I was more of her look alike than my father. My brother being his look alike instead which even pleased him more. I scoffed again. It wasn't fair!

"Emilio..." As she always called me. My native name. "Come down for dinner. It's not a request, it's an order! Or would you love your father to come up here himself." She said, knowing fully well that she had won. I didn't want him up here. Her eyes glanced around, not pleased at the disheveled appearance of the room. Casting her eyes back to me, she continued," and please clean up this mess quickly. We aren't running a jungle here."

I watched her slip through the door, disappearing just as she had come. Her retreating footsteps relived me of the tension that was thick. I rubbed my forehead and sighed. She was mean, but I rather put up with her than her husband.

I got up and gently began cleaning up my mess, wincing as the glass placed a cut on my mid palm, renewing the blood on the bandage but I least cared. The pain was insanely pleasing. I cringed at the numb feeling.

I took out a garbage bag and began bagging my thrash, gently. I let out a quiet sigh when I spotted a paper under a broken frame. With my bloodied finger tips, I carefully picked it up, trying not to stain the paper even more than I already had. Studying the paper keenly, I noticed something beneath it.

Plucking the shards of glass out of the way, I reached for the item. It was a picture. I dusted the picture with the side of my bandaged palm. I stared at the picture, I had never seen it before. Settling myself on the cold tiled floor, I glanced at the paper and back at the picture.

There were writings behind the picture, a date and something like an address.

November, 2002.

Preston hill's avenue.


I tried figuring out what the last sentence read but it was faded. I could barely figure it out. Turning my attention to the paper, which I discovered was a letter, a very short letter; but it wasn't written in English. Rather it was in German. I tried reading it but whoever wrote it appeared to be someone of strong German background. It was too strong and encrypted for me who was still an amateur in German.

My eyes spotted the bottom line, it was the same date and address I had seen behind the picture. So many questions ruled my mind but amongst all was the main question,

What is this?

I glanced at the picture rather more carefully than the first time. There was a man dressed in plain black pants, a white long sleeved shirt, suspenders could be seen poking out of the jacket clad top of his body. His hair neatly combed back and his moustache; he looked strikingly familiar. Dad?. Besides him was a very little boy. He was lanky and appeared to be anything was okay. He looked a little scared. Judging my his appearance, I was guessing he was one.

Standing by the rare left, was a lady. A brunette. She was dressed in a long gown and gloves. She had on a beautiful smile. One of the purest I had ever seen but it seemed to be a facade. Behind her smile were her eyes which didn't seem to glow as her smile did. There was something about out her which nipped at me as odd. Something wasn't right about this picture.

I was still trying to wrap my head around my weary discovery when a deep video bellowed.

"Your mom did tell you to come down for dinner..." His slow steps sounded across the room, "didn't she?"

I closed my eyes and swallowed.

She just had to. I told her I'd be down for dinner yet she still sent him here. She. Still. Sent. Him. Here.

I tactfully folded the odd pieces and stuffed them in my pocket.

"I told her I'd be down." I answered, not in the mood for another brutal exchange.

"Mmm." He hummed. I could tell he was looking around my room.


This was what I didn't want him to see.

"Tell me son, what have you been up to hm." There was anything but calm and interest in his words.

I ignored him and got up, taking long strides to a door three steps besides the bathroom door. I dug out a broom and dustpan, and began sweeping. When I done, I knotted the garbage bag and nearly got a heart attack to see him still in my room, plopped on my bed.

I shot him a raised brow. A clear question laced in my glare --you're still here, why?

He chuckled then said, "You're lucky you know when to clear up your mess, at least that trait is still hinting you're my son, son." He patted my shoulder with a smile. I freaked out at it. The smile was something which I couldn't quite understand. "See you at dinner my boy."

If the tension in the room couldn't have been thicker, I probably would have suffocated. It was awkwardly tense, one could slice through the tension and probably chew and swallow it.

"Your hands, take good care of them." That was all he said as he disappeared down the hallway.

My rapid heart beats caused chilly goosebumps to raid my skin. I stole a glance above my shoulder at the door and swallowed. I released a breath I didn't even know I was holding.

Bloody shit! I'm screwed.

I balled my hands into fists as I finally faced the door. I took a few deep breaths to ease my nerves then slung the bag over my shoulder. I made my way down the stairs, letting the butter take it from me. I dusted myself and headed for the dinning room. I was sincerely praying that the dinner would be silent. That way, it was end quicker.

I took my seat and the already eating couple stopped. My dad scoffed then chuckled, then gently slid a green bean into his mouth, chewing rather too gently. He gave me a look which made me stare at my mother who just smiled --a very fake smile.

"Now Isn't it wonderful to have dinner as a family?" If that wasn't creepy then I'd love to know what was. I glanced at my dad and quietly took up my cutleries.

My bloodied bandages drew my mother's attention and I immediately regretted coming down at her next words. "Resulting to self-harm I see. How expected of you my dear boy."

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