ROSETTA’S POV, AN EXCERPT FROM HER PERSONAL JOURNAL:
Past the bustling village and over the rich green hills, at the end of a lonely road, you will find the house where I live. I read once that all families are different and mine is certainly no exception. I believe, in fact, if you were to look up the word “unusual” in the dictionary, there might even be a photo of my family.
My parents love my twin brother and me. Of that, I have no doubt, even if said brother thinks otherwise. I’d be the first to say, however, that at times, mother and father could be a little distant. Mother’s cousin Olivia became our tutor while we were very young and in the end, she contributed the most in bringing us up because of our parents’ work.
Looking back, I realize Holden and I grew up much differently than other children. We have never been to school. A lot of our socialization came from the other kids in our dance class and outings to the park. At home, invisible hands did everything behind the scenes. Dirty clothes were washed and neatly put away in our dressers and closets, beds were made while we studied or played and meals suddenly appeared on our little table in the nursery. Once in a while, I caught a glimpse of these “invisible” people but they were so determined to remain unobtrusive, I never learned their names or saw their faces up close. This gave me an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach I couldn’t shake whenever I thought about it.
Once, I inquired about this. I was told by father to appreciate the things quietly done for me and to remember that my job was to study and learn as much as I could. This didn’t make me feel any less uncomfortable about it, though. Mother, on the other hand, seemed to take a less disciplined approach which pleased me and Holden a great deal. She had some suggestions for us which we took to heart. From that moment on, we made our own beds as soon as we rose for the day and cleaned our own rooms. Doing these things for myself made me feel like I was in control of something and as if I had a private space these strangers wouldn’t violate.
On sunny days, after our studying is done, you can find me in the back garden. There is a little peaceful corner with a beautiful tree surrounded by flowers.
There’s a swingset so close, you can smell the sweet blooms every time there is a breeze.
“You don’t have to push me,” I told Christopher. “I just want to sit here and enjoy the scenery.”
“Boring,” Holden mumbled. He was always restless to do something and often I wondered if he ever had any thoughts deeper than what to wear for the day.
“Are we even going to talk about how much trouble I’m in because we got in a fight?” Christopher asked. “I don’t suppose Shelly has anything up her sleeve to get us ungrounded?”
Smirking to myself, I shook my head. “No. I mean she can teach us how to get rid of monsters but being grounded by our parents is something quite different.”
“I meant that rhetorically.”
“Oh.” I wasn’t always the best at understanding when a serious response was warranted.
“We’re all in trouble,” Holden mentioned. “Not just you.”
“Yeah, but my mom is likely to find chores for me for the next twelve years while your parents will barely remember you were grounded in the first place.”
I couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across my face. Christopher was right, of course. Before too long, Holden and I would be off the hook completely. And if we weren’t, I could appeal my case to father who, I knew, would change his mind if I presented my case properly.
As soon as my eyes met Holden’s, though, my smile evaporated.
There were times I couldn’t help but stare at him. More often than not, I imagined him as an angel. Even though he wasn’t literally an angel, he always struck me as too good for this world. There was a simple innocence in his features that the blond hair framing his delicate face and gray eyes only amplified.
I could imagine what he was thinking, he didn’t have to say a word.
“Holden – ”
” – It’s cool,” he said, interrupting me.
He was doing that sort of thing more and more. When we were younger, we always told each other everything. Lately, he’d been keeping it all to himself. I could have pressed him, but that would only anger him.
MARTY’S POV, THE DIARY OF THE HEIR:
Dear Diary, I’d been so upset inside lately, all I’d been focusing on was my martial arts. After the kids were brought home by the police and Holden with a bloody nose, no less, I was determined to find out what really went on that night. It seemed though, the kids were just as determined not to tell me anything helpful. Where did they get their stubbornness from, anyway? It was off the charts!
I felt so helpless being shoved into the role of bystander. When exactly had Rosetta and Holden stopped talking to us about important things?
“Marty,” Xalen said as he joined me in the gym. “You have killed that dummy a thousand times over.”
“Hmph,” I muttered after planting one more kick to my imaginary villain. Panting, I wiped my face and hands on a towel. “I’m mad at us, Xalen.”
He raised his hands feebly. “I know you are. What can I do?”
“Stop putting off speaking with the twins. It’s what we need to do. How is it our children are rounded up by the police and brought home bloody? We still don’t have the full story on that one.”
“Whatever occurred, the authorities did not pursue anything and the children seemed to have handled the situation.”
I could feel my blood pressure rising as exasperation came over me in unpleasant waves. “But aren’t you even curious? What if something horrible happened? I think they feel like they can’t talk to us.”
“That’s ridiculous!” he exclaimed. “We are always here for them.”
“Do they know that?”
Xalen sighed and I could feel his frustration.
“Somewhere along the way, we lost touch and we need to get back what we had with them before it’s too late.”
“This is nonsense. I have been raising them just as my sister and I were raised.”
“And you have told me more than once how distant your parents were. We can’t let that happen with our kids.”
He really seemed to be thinking about what I said. His brow was drawn tight and he rubbed his chin. Finally, he turned toward me again. “I am sorry, Marty, and I want to tell our children this, too.”
“There’s something else, too. You need to understand that they have the right to lead their own lives with or without The Inheritance.”
He was quiet for a moment as he considered this. “I suppose I took for granted that they would join our team. They have incredible abilities and would be so useful.”
I tried to keep my voice steady even though it felt as if my emotions were choking me. “Yes, they would. The cold, hard fact is, Holden wants something different and Rosetta has never expressed her opinion on the matter. What if she’s afraid to tell us because Holden already has? She probably thinks it would hurt you.”
I couldn’t stand how downcast his expression was but I also didn’t want to push the kids into futures they didn’t want.
“You are right,” he finally said. “I am so very sorry.”
Putting my arms around him, I said, “It isn’t just you. I’m sorry, too. We’ll hammer this out, don’t worry. It’s never too late to work on our relationship with them.”
“Let us hope not.”
Taking my hand, he pulled me in front of him and kissed me. It was a gentle kiss and a reminder of how much we meant to each other. As we looked into each others’ eyes, he said, “I love you and I love our family.”
“I know you do. And we’ll make sure the kids know, too.”
HOLDEN’S POV, AN EXCERPT FROM HIS PERSONAL JOURNAL:
Rosetta was worried about me, I could tell. Thing is, I didn’t know what to do about it. It seemed like she always wanted to talk about every little thing and I was the opposite. While she wanted to work things out right away, I found I needed time to think about things. If she couldn’t talk about it, she couldn’t let it go.
Which was where we were at now. At least she wasn’t staring at me anymore. Instead, her attention was on Chris.
“Well?” she asked him.
“I don’t know,” he sighed. “I think you should do whatever you think is right.”
“Hmm,” she murmured, tapping her index finger on the table. “Well, you already know what I think.”
Boy, did we. Our parents wanted to meet with us later for some big talk and Rosetta wanted to tell them everything. As usual, she wanted to get everything out in the open because she thought that would make everyone happy. She hadn’t considered how it would make me feel. I didn’t want my dad to know what those guys thought about me and the things they’d said. What if it was all true? What if my dad not only hated the fact that I didn’t want to join him in The Inheritance, but also that I was more different from him than he supposed? The worst thing would be if he found all of it so embarrassing, he made me stop dancing. I didn’t think I could handle that, so I didn’t want to take any chances.
I tried to explain this to Rosetta but she didn’t understand. Instead of realizing my fear was about losing dance and being a disappointment in general, she hammered me with questions about my sexual preferences. The main problem with that is that I don’t know myself what’s going on. I’ve never had any experience. Furthermore, it made me kind of mad that I had to decide anything at all. The more I think about it, the more alone I feel with the whole thing. I’ve begun to understand that I’m different from my sister and Chris. Yet I don’t know what my definition is. And why do I have to know everything right now, this minute? Why can’t I just be whoever I am? I don’t see anyone razzing Chris or Rosetta over this stuff. Is it because they know they’re straight as arrows and that’s more acceptable?
The more time I give to these dizzying thoughts, the less I think I know and the more anxious I get.
“You okay, bro?” Chris asked me.
Not really, I thought. Instead of answering him, I shrugged.
“I hope you don’t clam up like this with mother and father. I’m certain they’re worried about you,” Rosetta said, touching my arm briefly. “They’ll worry even more if you stand there, saying nothing.”
Her fingers felt warm against my frigid skin which is what made me realize how uptight I actually was. If only I could feign illness and skip this meeting with mom and dad. I knew better than to even try that. If they thought I was sick, they would keep me home from tomorrow’s dance class.
“I’ll be fine,” I promised her…
… But as we stood in the control room, I didn’t believe myself. Somehow, meeting here was the worst thing I could imagine. Did they bring us here to remind us what our duty was? We’d been in this room before so they could explain to us what they and the team actually did. They also impressed upon us how important it all was.
“Don’t look so worried,” Mom said with a small, tight smile. Apparently, this was awkward for her, too.
“Yes, relax,” Dad said, “we only met with you here because we didn’t want to be interrupted.”
“What’s going on?” Rosetta asked.
Mom and dad exchanged some kind of look that I couldn’t interpret.
Dad sighed loudly, then finally said, “There is no point beating around the bush. At times, it is difficult to begin, but what we have to say is very important.” He glanced at mom again who nodded at him before continuing. “I have never been good at expressing my feelings. And my parents… they did not concern themselves with emotional moments.”
Rosetta and I shared an awkward glance.
“What your father is trying to say – ”
Dad held his hand up to mom and said, “Thank you, but I can say the things I need to.” Mom smiled as dad cleared his throat and pulled absently at the neck of his shirt. “What I mean to say is that I want you to be happy more than anything else. If you do not wish, Holden, to join The Inheritance – if you decide to dance professionally – I will support your decision.”
“And we’ll be at every one of your performances!” Mom said with a grin.
“Rosetta, this goes for you as well. We want you to pursue whatever future you wish. Of course, if either of you were to change your minds, you would be more than welcome to join us later.”
This speech was so unexpected, I felt tears building up in my eyes.
“Furthermore,” Dad continued after letting the first part sink in, “it has been brought to my attention that perhaps I have been too wrapped up in work. The last thing I would ever want is for you to feel as if I cared more about work than you.”
“We don’t think that, Father,” Rosetta said with a sweet smile.
He cleared his throat again. “Regardless, I want to say that I love you both and hope to spend more time with you.”
“And I second that,” Mom said.
They’re making this so weird, I thought. But at least I knew they meant what they said.
“This was lovely, Mother, Father. May I explore the books?”
They smiled at my sweet sister and I could see the approval and admiration in their eyes as they told her to go ahead.
I got roped into chess with dad which felt kind of daunting at first. As we got into the game, though, he started telling me a story of something funny that happened to him a few years ago in Egypt. I couldn’t help but laugh along with him. Why hadn’t I ever realized how hilarious he was?
Before I knew it, I had relaxed a little and was able to enjoy being with him. It also came as a huge relief that he didn’t pummel me with questions like my sister had. For the first time in a long time, I felt like he enjoyed doing something with me, too.
ROSETTA’S POV, AN EXCERPT FROM HER PERSONAL JOURNAL:
It was near bedtime so all I wanted to do was brush my teeth and get to bed.
“Holden!” I yelled as I entered my bathroom. “What are you doing in here? You scared me half to death!” Before he could answer, I saw the pile of guy clothes on the floor. “Are those your dirty clothes? Gross!”
“I’ll take care of them,” he said.
“Why is your bathroom so huge? Mine is like half this size! And you have this goddess statue and everything!”
“That is a statue of Aphrodite. Isn’t that a lovely name? She was the goddess of fertility, love, and beauty.”
“I know who Aphrodite is.”
Of course, he did. He was so quiet, sometimes I forgot he took the same courses I did.
“So, how did chess go? Did he let you win?”
That brought a shy smile to his face. “No, he beat me. Did you expect anything different? Maybe he should have played you instead.”
He had that right. I would have given Father a run for his money.
“I’ve been wondering what you want to do? Are you going to join The Inheritance?”
This made me giggle. “Nooooo,” I laughed. “I want to do something …. intellectual. Solve the unsolvable. I don’t know.”
“I love you, Rosie.”
It had been ages since he called me that and it really touched my heart. As we hugged, we made a pact that no matter what happened in our lives, we would always be there for each other.
I think even Aphrodite was smiling.
Author’s Note: Please check your spam folders for comments from me as WP is hating on me right now. I think a lot of my comments ended up there. lol
Here is the schedule for the next few weeks so you can be prepared! 😀
April 7 – Chapter 4.29 + Heir Poll!
April 14 – Heir Poll Continues
April 18 – Heir Poll Closes at Midnight
April 21 – Chapter 4.30 + Heir Poll Results!
April 28 – no chapter/new generation prep
May 5 – Generation 5 Begins with Chapter 5.1! Woot!
The last thing I want to mention is that I have finally joined the ReShade trend beginning in this chapter. If the pics look funny, don’t worry, I think I have better settings now and I’m sure more adjustments will be required. Thank you so much, Louise, for the help through email! 😀
Finally, for those who celebrate it, Happy Easter!
Thank you for reading, I hope you are as excited as I am for Generation 5!