There was a knock on Jason’s room.
“Come in.” Stacey entered.
“Hi brother. May I join you?”
“I want to be alone, Stacey.”
“Come on brother; are you still angry with me because of what I said of that woman?”
She said as she joined him on the bed.
“You know I’m honest with my feelings and I think she’s nothing….”
“Okay, I’m sorry.”
“You’ve never liked any girl I brought home.”
“That’s because they all look devious. You know I care, right? Maybe, I feel compelled to feel a little overprotective but who can blame me? You’re my only big brother and I don’t want to lose you to some schemer.” He smiled as he put his arm around his sister and kissed her face.
“I know; I care about you too. It’s just that, dad has been irritating me recently. He’s always on my case.”
“You know how he can get sometimes; I think it’s because he’s growing old.”
“Maybe; because we never used to have problems. He was my best friend; I was like his favorite pet. What happened to us?”
“You grew up, Jay. And you started…you know, getting on Dad’s nerves and mother always supported you; sometimes I wonder why.”
“Are you jealous?”
“No, of course not. But I think mum is the reason for the drift between you and dad.”
“That’s how I feel sometimes but you’re right to feel the way you do.”
“Sometimes I feel dad hates me.”
“Of course he doesn’t, Jason. Don’t ever think that. I think he enjoys arguing with a man in his own house.”
“You don’t think he wants me out of here.”
“Please don’t even consider that. You can’t leave me here with two aging people.” He chuckled.
“Of course; I’ll never leave you, sweetheart,” he said assuredly as he kissed her hair. There was a knock.
“Dinner is served, Sir.”
“I’ll be right down.”
“Yes Sir.” They heard her walk downstairs.
“Let’s go; I’m starving.”
“Honestly, I don’t think I have the appetite.”
“Oh please, is it because of dad? Well, you know you can’t skip dinner or else no one will sleep tonight. He’ll rant all night long. Come on,” she said, pulling him by the arm.
They left his room and went downstairs. Their parents were already seated at the table.
“Good evening dad,” Jason greeted as he pulled a chair and sat.
“Good evening, son.” Jason looked at him. It had been a long time since he called him ‘son.’
“Are you okay, Jay?” his mum asked.
“I’m fine, mum.”
“Won’t anyone ask me how I am or at least, how my day went?” Stacey asked, looking at both parents.
“How are you, my dear?”
“Fine dad. How was your day today?”
“Stressful but fine, thank you. How was your day, son?”
“Fine, dad. I stayed in my room all day.”
“Please meet me in my office after dinner. There’s something I’d like to discuss with you.” Jason glanced at his father curiously. Susan looked from father to son, wondering what that was all about.
“Are you going to give him a job at one of your companies, daddy?” Stacey asked happily. Gordon smiled. Jason swallowed, as he took a glass of water and sipped.
“Of course not,” Susan said suddenly. They all turned to look at her, shocked.
“Well, it is obvious Jason doesn’t know a thing about the corporate world.”
“Come on mother, don’t be so naïve. Jason has always been a smart guy. He can learn in seconds. Isn’t that right, brother?”
Jason smiled as he pulled her cheek. She giggled.
“As I said, after dinner. Shall we share the grace? Stacey, please lead us.”
“Heavenly Father, thank you for this family and this meal You’ve provided us. Please sanctify and bless it in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“Gosh I’m starving,” Stacey said, rubbing her palms together.
After dinner, Gordon excused himself with Jason to his office. Stacey noticed that her mother was nervous.
“Mum, are you okay?”
“I’m fine, why?” she snapped.
“I do? Well, I’m not. I’m just wondering what they could be talking about. That’s all.”
“But if it’s true that Dad is going to give Jason a chance at the company, it’s a good thing, right?” Susan looked at her daughter. She gave her a tight smile.
“Of course it is. It would be the best thing that would ever happen to everyone,” she said and walked away. Stacey watched her mother enter the master bedroom. Did she sense sarcasm in her mother’s voice as she said those words or did she just imagine them? She shrugged.
“Oh the woes of menopause,” Stacey muttered as she walked into her room.
“Dad, are you really sure you want me to do this?” Jason asked her father.
“Yes son; I believe in your potential, Jason. I know when I pass away, my entire estate is safe in your hands.”
“Thanks for believing in me, dad,” Jason said.
“And promise me one thing: take care of Stacey for me, will you?”
“You have my word, dad.” They shook hands. His dad hugged him.
“Please don’t fail me.”
“I promise I won’t.”
Jason entered Stacey’s room. Before Stacey could utter a word, Jason hugged her tightly and lifted her in excitement.
“What happened, Jason?”
“It happened, sis! Dad gave me a job!”
“He did? I’m so happy for you, Jay!”
“It seems mother wasn’t very pleased with the whole idea,” Jason pointed out.
“Don’t pay attention to her, brother, it’s the menopause talking.” They chuckled.
“Let’s go and find out if you’ve enough clothes for work or else we have to get you a brand new wardrobe,” Stacey said, pulling Jason’s hand out of her room.
“What the hell were you thinking, Gordon? Jason, managing your estate? Is that your way of making us go bankrupt in the near future?” Susan bellowed.
“I seriously don’t get what is eating you up. Aren’t you excited that your son is willing to take the chance?”
“I wouldn’t be bothered if he was competent but…”
“As Stacey said, he’ll learn. Jason is a smart guy.”
“Okay if this makes you feel better; I’d put him on probation for some time and employ him actively after an evaluation. Is that okay with you?”
“His life is a webbed mess, Gordon; he needs to work on himself first.”
“I thought you wanted the best for our son, Susan.”
“I do, Gordon; trust me I do; it’s just that, the big jump into such a big responsibility could overwhelm him and make him go off completely. Have you thought of that?”
“Don’t worry, that’s why he’s got you to keep him on track.” Susan was still fuming but said nothing.
“Please get me some water, darling.”
“Sure.” She poured water from a bottle from the fridge into a glass and gave it to him. He thanked her and gulped it down. Susan joined him on the bed and put her head on his chest. He put his arm around her and patted her back gently.
“Don’t worry, Jason will be fine.”
Susan didn’t answer; her mind was far away.
The following morning, Susan noticed both Jason and Susan were fully dressed up for breakfast.
“What is going on? Why are you two dressed up?”
“We’re going out.”
“You two? Where to?”
“We’re shopping, mum; we’re going to get a new wardrobe for Jay because of his new job.”
“Oh I see; I haven’t even congratulated you, son. Congrats.”
“Thanks mum; I promise to do my best.”
“We know you will, Jason,” Susan said and sipped her tea.
After breakfast, Jason and Stacey left the house.
In the car, Stacey said, “Brother, since you’re beginning a new life, I believe you need to shed off some old ties.”
“Old ties…what are you talking about?”
“I’m talking of that…woman you brought home the other day.”
“Are you talking about Jessica?”
“So she has a name…well, her. You should let her go.”
“Why? I kind of like her.”
“Thank God it’s just ‘like’, brother. It means it won’t be complicated when you break things off with her. She won’t be suitable for the new you,” Stacey said.
“The new me? Come on sis, I’ll still be me. I’ll only be…better.”
“Exactly and Jess may only be good for you and good is the enemy of better. Let her go, brother.”
“You don’t like her, do you?”
“Honestly, I don’t. She smells…funny.”
“How do you mean…a body odor?”
“No, but you could smell a taint of alcohol on her that day but I’m referring to something else. She smells like…trouble.” Jason looked at her sister, puzzled.
“I don’t know if it’s intuition but I don’t like the air around her.”
“You’ll be worse than mother when you grow up, Stacey.”
“I pray not; but I’m serious, brother. Leave her now that there’s still time.”
“I’ll think about it. I promise.”
Susan picked up her phone and dialed a number.
“Hey, I need you to do something for me. It’s urgent.”