In The Spotlight by J.L. Ostle
I takein a deep breath and look out the window of the cab I’m sitting in. I can’t believe I’m here. I pay the driver and hop out. He helps me grab my suitcases from the trunk and wishes me a good day.
Today is a good day.
I’m finally away from my controlling parents and moving in with my sister. I shake my head, getting rid of all the nasty words they spewed at me as I was leaving. They basically disowned Lake, their eldest daughter. Since I was the only child left, they put all their expectations and demands on me. I felt all the pressure to be the good daughter. The one with a future they can dictate and manipulate.
I push the memories away, not wanting to ruin this moment. Rolling my suitcases up the marble path to a two story house, I look around and see children laughing as they ride their bikes; people talking, waving at each other as they walk past. I feel like I walked into Pleasantville.
I love it though. It’s different from my norm and that is exactly what I need.
I take in another deep breath as I knock on the white door and wait. My heart is beating frantically. I haven’t seen my sister in over four years. Not since she left, telling our parents to basically go fuck themselves. Her words, not mine. She found love and moved in with her boyfriend, Leon. She knew how to get out of their clutches. She found the loop hole.
The day she left, I felt like my whole world crashed down around me. She was the one thing that kept me going. She made the horrible days bearable. She begged for me to come with her but I was underage, so I couldn’t. I was stuck with them.
I remember holding her, not wanting to let go. Tears sliding down my cheeks as Dad pulled me away. Telling his oldest daughter that she was a waste of space. Nothing but a disappointment. She had screamed for me to stay strong, that she would stay in touch. That we would be together again. I knew it broke her heart to leave me. But I understood why she did it. Growing up in that place was our personal hell.
I wanted to leave so many times. I wanted to run away and never look back. They knew I couldn’t. If I left, I wouldn’t be able to touch my trust fund. The trust fund that my grandmother left me. They found a way to dig their claws in and never let go. Until now.
I packed my things and left without looking back. I know it will catch up with me, but now, now I am free. Lake kept her promises and we stayed in touch over Facebook. She kept me updated on her life and her relationship with Leon, which is still going strong. He’s in a band that she helps manage. They aren’t anything big, but my sister has high hopes for them. She sent me their songs from time to time, knowing I love music, and I’m sure I know every word at this point. I think they will make it big.
As soon as I told her I was leaving, she offered me the spare room in her home. She lives with Leon and the guitarist of the band, Dominic. She mentioned him a few times, but she normally gushes over her man more than anyone else. She is head over heels and I couldn’t be happier. She deserves to be happy. We talked for months, planning and preparing for this day, and now it’s finally here.
The door slams open and noise from the inside filters out. The person standing there is my gorgeous older sister, Lake. She still looks mostly the same from when I last saw her, but there are subtle changes that make her even more beautiful. Her hair is longer, and she looks curvier. I saw pictures on her Facebook page, but seeing her in person is so surreal. I run to her and wrap my arms around her. I can’t help the tears that fall down my cheeks.
I missed her so much.
She holds me just as tightly before taking my hand to step back and look me up and down. I do the same. Where I have raven black hair and white, pale skin, she has dark brown hair with bronzed skin, obviously spending loads of her time in the sun. We both have blue eyes, hers a clear, ocean blue, mine dark, like the evening sky. That’s how we were named. You would never think we are related. She is the confident, gorgeous one. The one that guys turn their heads for. I am more the shy, quiet type. I keep to myself.
“I can’t believe you are finally here.” She smiles brightly at me.
“Neither can I!” I return excitedly. We both laugh.
“Come on in. Let me show you your new home.” She grabs a suitcase and guides me into the house.
We walk down a cappuccino colored hallway to a huge living room. The first thing I notice is the fifty-inch TV hanging on the wall, a sound system and a few game consoles. There are three dark brown couches with cream cushions surrounding a glass coffee table. There are paintings hanging on the walls. It feels very homey.
“Want something to drink?” Lake asks and I nod. We leave my things and head to the kitchen. She grabs a bottle of water from the fridge and hands it to me. I look around as I open my bottle and take a sip. I feel so overwhelmed for some reason. I grew up in a huge house with the top of the line furniture and appliances but it looked more like a show room. A museum. Something to show off to my parent’s friends. This place… it’s actually a home. Like I’ve seen in the movies. The black granite counters, the oak cupboards. I can even see magnets on the fridge.
I follow Lake to a door that leads to a dining room with a beautiful carved table and chairs. She sits down and I follow suit. She takes my hand in hers and I see sorrow and guilt in her eyes.
“I hate that I left you there with them. You know if I could have taken you away I would have. I even formed plans of kidnapping you,” she chuckles. I place my free hand on top of hers that is covering mine.
“I know. I’m not angry with you for leaving. I understand, trust me. That place was awful. You found love and were able to leave without them punishing you. Hurting you any more than they did,” I try and comfort her.
“I still feel bad. I’m just happy you are here. We won’t let them take you away. This is your home now.” I don’t comment, but nod. I would love to never go back. I would love to find my happily ever after, too. “Right, let me show you your room.” She stands.
We grab my suitcases and walk up the stairs that are near the dining room. As we move down the hallway of the huge second floor, she points out her and Leon’s room. Dominic’s room is further down and directly opposite of my new room. We walk inside and my mouth hangs open. It’s painted purple, my favorite color. Even the bedding and curtains are purple. I remember growing up telling Lake that, one day, I was going to have a purple room. There is a bookshelf and desk on one side of the room. I see two doors and open each one. One leads to my own bathroom and the other a closet. It’s perfect. I run to Lake and give her a hug.
“This is amazing. Thank you so much. It’s perfect. My dream room.” I beam up at her. I feel like it’s Christmas day.
“I knew you would like it. As soon as you said you were coming, I ran to the hardware store and painted. I’m going to go make dinner and let you unpack okay? If you need me, you know where I will be.” She hugs me.
“You can cook?” We always had someone to cook for us so I’m surprised that she can. But a lot can happen in three years.
“Yup. I always wanted to learn so I got some books and taught myself. If I say so myself, my cooking isn’t bad.” She winks at me before leaving.
I stand in the middle of my new room and look around. I feel like I’m dreaming. This is too good to be true. I see my huge bed and do what I have always wanted to do, knowing I wouldn’t get in trouble for being unlady like. I jump up and down on my bed, ruffling the sheets. I jump one last time and land, lying on my back, laughing and squealing to myself.
If I am dreaming, I never want to wake up.
* * *
I unpackmy things and decide to go help with dinner. I may not be able to cook but I can help set the table or cut something. I close my door and can’t help but look at the one opposite me. I wonder where the guys are. I hope they like me. As I near the kitchen, I can hear giggling and walk in to see a tall guy with his arms around my sister, nuzzling her neck. I feel my cheeks flush. I recognize Leon from the pictures that I’ve seen. Feeling like I am walking in on something, I try and walk back out before they notice me, but as I’m not at all stealthy, I bump into the door frame, banging my elbow.
At the noise, they both turn. I can’t believe I have only been here for an hour and already I feel like I’m in the way. I should’ve yelled or shouted that I was coming in the kitchen. Maybe I should have waited till she called me for dinner. I look at the ground, my hair blocking my face.
“I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt. I’ll be in my room. Just tell me when I need to come down,” I say quickly and turn around. I don’t take two steps before Lake grabs my arm and turns me around. I feel like such an idiot that a tear escapes.
Lake swipes it away, holding onto my cheeks in her palms. “Don’t you dare apologize; this is your home too. You come and go anytime you please, you don’t need permission to leave your room; you do what you want now, okay?” She wraps her arms around me, but I still feel bad for interrupting them.
“I interrupted you and your boyfriend.” She pulls back and gives me a serious look.
“You weren’t interrupting anything. This is just how we are; very touchy-touchy when we’re around each other. It doesn’t mean you have to leave the room. Now come meet my lover,” she says wickedly, linking her arm with mine.
We take the few short steps to a guy that towers over both of us and could definitely pass as a model. He has light brown hair that is spiked up, giving him that Edward look from Twilight. I never watched the movies but I saw the posters. He has dark brown eyes and tanned skin. I can’t help but look down his body and it appears he works out by how his clothes cling to him. No wonder my sister is in love with him.
He watches me and I see confusion in his eyes as they wander to Lake and back to me. Her hair is down, framing her beautiful face; my hair hides mine. Lake wears clothes that fit her figure; I wear clothes that make me look like a librarian.
We are total opposites.
I never felt comfortable in wearing clothes that showed off my breasts or stomach. I don’t even feel comfortable wearing skirts that show off too much leg. Mom always taught me that if any guy is going to want the real me, I don’t need to show off my body. That people who show too much attract men who will use them and walk away.
“Baby, this is my little sister Sky. Sky this is Leon.” Her smile is so huge that it lights up her entire face. I see the adoration that shines in his eyes when he looks at her and can’t help but feel jealous. Not of Leon, but of what they have. I hope one day someone will look at me like I’m their world.
“Nice to meet you.” I put my hand out. Before I know what is happening his arms are around me giving me a hug. When he lets go I can’t help but look at the floor. The only person who ever gave me any sort of affection is my sister yet this guy hugs me like I’m family.
“No formalities needed. You’re going to be my little sister one day so, remember, if you need anything, you come to me. Need to kick someone’s ass, you come to me. Okay?” I look at him and he gives me a warm smile and a wink. I can’t help but giggle at him.
“You got it.” What else can I say? But with the look on Lake’s face, she is thrilled that we made a good first impression.
* * *
We ate dinner and talked. I still can’t believe that my sister cooked this. I told her over and over how amazing it was and she beamed with my compliments. She made lasagna with homemade garlic bread and I never tasted anything like it. After having some ice cream, the day started taking its toll. My stomach also feels like it’s about to explode.
I kiss my sister goodnight and give a small wave to Leon. I walk to my room and can’t help but notice that I still haven’t met Dominic. I hate that I never brought it up. At least Leon likes me. Well, I hope he does.
He seems to.
I quickly grab a shower and change into a tank and shorts before I take out the Kindle that I hid from my parents over the years. The only literature I was allowed to read was what they permitted; anything else would delude my brain. Lake bought me this before she left and downloaded some books. Trust me, the books she recommended definitely had some hot scenes that made me blush. I tuck myself in but realize I don’t have anything to drink.
I walk back to the bathroom to see if I can find anything to use as a cup, but no such luck. I sometimes wake up dehydrated, so I learned to always have a glass of water near me so I don’t need to leave the warm comfort of my bed. I walk down the stairs and head to the kitchen, opening the fridge to see it stocked full of bottled water. I take one and am about to head back up the stairs when I hear my name being said.
I know that it’s wrong to eavesdrop. I know I should just go back upstairs and tuck myself in, finish the book I’m reading, but I can’t help myself. What if Leon doesn’t want me here? Or what if I did something wrong? I need to know so I can make it right. I tip toe closer so I can hear them clearer.
“I missed her so much, three years away from my baby sister; I can’t believe she is actually here. She was strong enough to leave the comfort of her life, the only life she knows. I just hate how much she hides herself. She has turned into such a beautiful woman and I bet they made sure she covered that up; they really dug their nails into her. I hate them for it. I hate...”
“How submissive she is?” Leon finishes her sentence. I flinch.
“The way she kept apologizing, hiding behind her hair, looking at the ground constantly. They’ve really done a number on her. She listened more than talked during dinner; spoke when spoken to.” I swallow and look down. I hate that I just looked down, it’s a bad habit.
“She’s here now. She’ll come out of her shell with the help of her loving, big sister. She has you. Now she has me. I have to admit I was shocked when I saw her. You can see her innocence a mile away. That look in her eyes, you can tell all this is new to her. We need to make sure we keep her safe. There are some dicks out there that would take advantage of that. I love you Lake, I’ll protect her for you. The line of business we are in; the bands, the future tours, they will eat her up if we don’t keep an eye on her. But we need her to spread her wings. We can’t smother her.”
“I know. We will. Talking about dicks, why didn’t he show up? I told him my sister was coming and he couldn’t take ten minutes out of his life to meet her?” Her voice rises.
“You know what he’s like. Was probably screwing some girl and forgot. I’ll have words with him.”
“The one thing I’m glad about is that he wouldn’t go near her. If I didn’t know his number one rule, I would threaten his dick and balls. My sister deserves happiness from everything she’s been through and no womanizer is going to take her light.”
“Light? Is that what kids are calling it these days?” I hear him chuckle followed by a thump, which I think is her hitting him. “Ow.”
“You know what I mean. I want her to be happy, find love; if she doesn’t...” I feel tears in my eyes, and I know she is probably getting upset.
“I can’t lose her Leon. I can’t let them take her away. I can’t let them control her anymore. It would kill me. I know what they want from her. She won’t be happy.”
“They aren’t going to take her. They don’t know where you live. Plus, they would have to get through me.”
“I love you. Thank you for being there. For Sky.”
“I love you, too. I will always be there, for both of you. You are my world; I won’t let anyone upset my girl.” With that I walk away, wiping the tears away.
I walk back to my room and lay down. I’m new to being independent. Well more independent than what I was before. I will find my way. I don’t feel up to reading anymore, so I stare at the ceiling till sleep finally takes over.