Isn’t it Funny?

#strongwomen #writer #author #entrepreneur #blog #blogger #canadian #alberta #chapter #romance #drama #novel #asaviourspath #excerpt

Andre Goldberg’s heart-breaking, amber-brown eyes contemplated Calgary’s classic skyline with absentminded speculation. It seemed he’d been sitting there for too long, though, and was starting to get restless. At just over six feet and two inches tall, he was able to rest his legs on the edge of the windowsill without moving the huge plush chair from behind his intimidating executive desk. But it wasn’t helping anymore.

“Isn’t it funny,” he mused to Katie as the smoke from his cigar caressed his face, “how the Calgary Tower was one of the tallest buildings in Canada a hundred years ago? I remember going up there a few times as a kid. It used to have some pretty great views. How hard to imagine that it would be dwarfed one day.” He waved a hand at the photo he kept for posterity’s sake, taken the day just before he’d had the monument knocked down. It had taken a lot of work and bribes to clear the area of protestors so that he could capture the historic moment. “Just look at it. Like a little matchstick in a forest of redwoods.”

Katie O’Malley knew not to say anything when he was in this mood. She shifted in her chair across from him on the other side of the desk, trying to release the tension in her shoulders and breathe past the smoke in the air.

Dre smiled, but it was chilling. Arrogant, cold, and almost malevolent. “Oh, well. No point in holding onto the past.” Finally, he turned to her, stamping out his cigar and stretching his arms above his head. “What was it you wanted? How did it go with picking up the twins?”

Katie cleared her throat, bracing herself. This was it. “Umm, I didn’t.”


“Pick them up.” She glanced down, biting her lip. “Murphy did. He got there before I could.”

Elbows on the desk, Dre steepled his fingers under his chin. “Katie.”

“I tried. I even called to double-check with Summer. But you know how she is. She probably didn’t even remember what Sam said. By the time I was about to leave the house, they were already home.”

“Let me guess. Kirkby.”

Mutely, Katie nodded.

Dre let out a slow breath, rubbing his fingers along the dark brown stubble on his cheeks. “Those little witches. They knew this was important to me. They were supposed to go to my house.”

She decided to get into that later. “But that’s not all. They said they received a package for you.”

“For me? Why did it go to them?”

“It’s from…New York.” Katie caught herself before saying the name of the sender. Just in time.

As she’d predicted, his whole body went rigid, and his eyes darkened to deadly rage. “Are they still in Kirkby?”

“Yes. I told them I was coming to get you anyway, so they decided to stay and wait for you.”

He was already reaching for his leather jacket and pulling a red beanie over his curly, dark bun. “They’d better be waiting for me. Let’s go.”

“He’s here,” Summer said breezily, lounging in the upstairs guest bedroom of the Kirkby house.

Sam hadn’t heard anything, but she wasn’t surprised. Her twin just knew things. “Batten the hatches and load your weapons.”

“Don’t be dramatic,” sighed Josie, rolling her eyes while she put makeup on at Summer’s vanity. She’d taken the plastic cover off of it, not caring whether her cousin was upset at this small defiance of his planned sale of the house. “You guys are the ones who screwed up.”

“You’re one to talk, Josie,” Sam snapped. “You shouldn’t even be here. You’re just going to make it worse when Dre gets home.”

Josie pouted, and her whiny voice grated on Sam’s ears. “Mom won’t be home until the party, and Auntie Ruth is driving me crazy.”

Sam wanted to kick her cousin, but refrained. “Well, you better not get in the way. Dre’s already going to be angry enough about the guitar.”

“Maybe we shouldn’t let him see it,” Summer mused. “I’d hate for him to smash it.”

“He wouldn’t smash Daddy’s guitar,” Sam protested in horror, but couldn’t be sure. “He’s been looking for it for years.”  

She wished they had thought to lie about where it came from. Maybe they should have just told Katie that they’d found it in some abandoned storage facility of their father’s, not that it had been shipped from New York. Then Dre would have been happy, and not much else. But Sam had been so excited she hadn’t even realized she should censor her words.

Suddenly, they perked up at the sound of a creaking door downstairs, then flinched simultaneously at the voice that followed. “Girls!” their brother bellowed from downstairs with a great slam of the door. “Get down here!”

“He doesn’t mean you,” Sam ground out as Josie started to get up. “Just stay here. Or you can go clean the bathroom. You owe us for letting you stay here.”

“Whatever. You guys are worse than ugly step sisters sometimes.”

Josie’s dramatics were the last thing Sam needed right then. She shoved the other girl’s shoulder as she passed. “You wish we were so kind. Aunt Jen’s going to kill you when she finds out you snuck out.”

“Stop fighting,” Summer groaned, grabbing Sam’s arm and tugging her downstairs.

Their almighty brother stood in the doorway of their old house, hands on his hips. He hadn’t even bothered to take his snow-dusted hat off, or his boots. Maybe he wasn’t planning on staying. Just drop a lecture, grab the guitar, and drag them to his crappy Nose Hill Estate where he’d keep them for the rest of winter break.

But her hopes were dashed when she saw Katie in the kitchen, tinkering around and apparently starting lunch. Pulling supplies from packing boxes, she pretended not to see Dre. They all knew he had more on his mind than thwarting their protest of the house sale. This would be a long day.

Pausing on the steps, Sam crossed her arms. “Ah, look who came down from his temple to mingle among the mortals.”

Ever-oblivious to the mood of the room, Summer brushed by, clipping down the stairs to embrace Dre. After a sigh and a roll of his eyes, he wrapped his arms around her and pressed a kiss to her cheek. “Hey, kiddo. Welcome home.”

“Oh? And what about me?” Sam scowled down at them.

“Well, get down here then!” He scowled back.

She sauntered down the stairs, and pushed her sister aside. After gazing at her brother for a moment, she brought her knee up as quickly as she could.

As always, Dre was infuriatingly fast, and saw it coming, even though his eyes never left hers. Today, Sam didn’t care. She’d been practicing. Shrieking incoherently, she flew at her brother with everything she had. Fists, knees, feet. He blocked and dodged everything without striking back.

“You guys!” Summer and Katie protested, sounding more resigned than concerned.

Too quickly, Dre pinned Sam’s arms to her sides, pushing her backward when she tried to head butt him. “Enough!” he roared at her. “You don’t get to be angry here. You’re the one who left school with Murphy without letting Katie know. She was going to drive all the way to Lethbridge for nothing.”

“Well, that’s not my problem, is it? I told you we didn’t need a ride, and you didn’t tell her that, so it’s not my fault.”

Dre pushed his hair out of his eyes, and let her go, apparently deciding it was worth the risk.  She clenched her fists, tempted to prove him wrong. “Can we fight later, Sam? We’ve got three weeks to go at it. Right now, we need to talk.”

“We? Or you?”

“Just go sit down. Josie! I know you’re up there; get down here right now.”

“You don’t know anything, Dre.”

“Give it a rest. Her shoes are right there.”

Wide-eyed, Sam glanced toward the armoire that had kept their hats, coats, and shoes for longer than her nineteen years. Indeed, Josie had carelessly tossed her winter pumps beside the cupboard, and not inside.

“You’re such an idiot,” Sam muttered as Josie reluctantly climbed down the stairs. She grabbed Summer and pulled her to the kitchen, where Katie had the table set with tea and cookies from a box.

“Is this about the wedding?” Summer happily glanced between Dre and Katie. “I’ve been working on the invitations.”

“No, hon.” Katie handed her a plate with a single cookie, which Summer daintily accepted. Then she shook out the rest of the box between two plates for Sam and Josie. Realizing how much she was starving, Sam shoved three into her mouth at once, and grinned a disgusting, mushy smile at Dre.

Expressionless, he lit a cigarette. “This is about…Mother.” He could barely get the words out.

Sam fanned her face, scrunching her nose at her sister. “Do you have to smoke everywhere? It’s so gross. Why do you think I’m not coming to your wedding?”

But Summer would not be distracted, tears filling her eyes, and Sam cursed their brother. Why couldn’t he be more sensitive?

“Just listen, Sam. I wish I didn’t have to bring this up, but now that she’s made contact, I have the perfect opportunity.”

Sam gnawed on her lip. “I mean, I wouldn’t exactly call it making contact.”

“What do you mean?”

“It was sent as a registered drone package from an airport. There wasn’t a home address on it.”

Dre stared at her, then shook his head. “Well, that make things a bit more complicated, but it still shouldn’t be too much of a hassle to find her.”

Three plates clattered to the table, and three pairs of teenage eyes stared incredulously at a man who had evidently lost his mind.

Find her?” Josie gasped at last, hand to her chest. For once, her melodrama matched the situation. “Why do you want to do that? All you do is go on about how you hope Auntie’s dead in a pit, that you hope you never see her again, and she means less than nothing to you.”

He untied his hair and carefully wound it back up again. “All of that remains true. But now I need her.”

Sam could barely breathe. “For what? Oh, let me guess. You want her to come to the wedding, don’t you? Pathetic.”

Dre’s jaw clenched, and for a moment, Sam was worried she’d pushed him too far. But he continued on. “No, you little witch. I don’t want to actually see her. I’m going to avoid that as much as possible. The last thing you girls need is that sort of confusion. No, I’m just having Henry find her.”

“Mr. Collins?” Sam shrieked, jumping to her feet. “Dre, you can’t be serious! He’ll kill her!”

He got up, too, seeming rattled. “Sam, you’re being ridiculous! You have to stop believing her stories. She lies. It’s what she does. Henry has been nothing but helpful since she abandoned us, or have you forgotten? He was able to find her before, and now that she’s disappeared, he can find her again.”

“But why, Dre? Why do you need to do this? She just wants to be left alone. If she wanted to be part of our lives, she would have come back!” Though Sam put as much rage into her words as possible, she heard the echo of the tearful conversation she’d had with Josie and Summer when she’d read the news article about “Dr. Goldberg’s Regretful Step Down from Surgical Stardom.” Those stupid writers hadn’t even realized the insensitivity of that headline.

Dre took a long drag, and sat back down. “I’m suing her.”

His simple statement was another blow. Sam wasn’t sure how much she could take. Stunned, she slumped back into her chair, and gripped Summer’s arm. On the other side, Josie took Sam’s hand in both of her own. Katie sipped her tea, eyes down, unmoving save for the mechanical motion of her hand bringing her cup to her mouth, then back down to the table.

“Why, Dre? Why are you doing this?”

“Because, Sam. She owes us. She took off with our fathers’ money, and she had no right. I’m suing her for backpay on our child support, as well as the inheritances that should have been ours.”

“The Carter fortune? This is what this is about? You selfish pig!” Sam’s fingers inadvertently dug into Summer’s arm, and her sister squeaked. Shaking free of both of them, she clasped her hands in front of her. “Mom made sure we had everything we needed. We’ve never had to worry about affording anything for a single minute, and you inhered Ferami Corp and have been printing money ever since. What possible reason could you have for getting Mom killed for money?”

“No one is getting killed! Henry has never done anything to her. All he’s going to do is find her and serve her the papers. You know how much she values her privacy. She’d rather settle with me than go to court. This will be over quickly. And you girls will be set for life.”

“Mom says money is the root of all evil,” Josie muttered. “I don’t think she’d want you to do this either. Even if she hates Auntie almost as much as you do.”

Desperately, Sam shifted her attention. “Katie, come on. Your mom knew ours back then. How do you think she’ll feel about her future son-and-law being so greedy?”

It was a wasted effort. Katie winced, glanced warily at Dre’s warning look, then went back to studying her tea.

“Fine. Let’s vote. Who thinks we should leave mom alone like she wants, and not go digging around where we’re clearly not wanted?” Sam raised her hand without losing eye contact with her stone-still brother. She had a peripheral view as Josie, and then Summer, reluctantly put their hands up. “And who thinks we should kill Mom?”

Nobody put their hand up.

“Great. We win by majority and by abstention.” She smirked at Dre, but her heart was pounding. He didn’t seem amused.

He steepled his fingers in front of him, and kept his voice low and even. “This isn’t up to a vote. This isn’t your decision at all. I’m doing what’s best for you, and I’m only telling you out of courtesy. The matter is settled.”

Unable to stand it any longer, Sam jumped up again and paced the length of the kitchen, from the sink to the window and back again. “You don’t get to decide! We’re all grown up, in case you haven’t noticed, and you’re not our father!” she screamed.

“Thank God for that,” he said wryly.

It was an old argument.

Sam reached deeper, and matched the cool tone he’d used. “If Dad was here, he’d be so ashamed of you. Say what you want about Mom, but Dad loved her with everything he had, and he’d be disappointed in how you’ve been treating her. And if anything happens to her, he would never forgive you.”

Satisfied at the way Dre’s light caramel skin lost a few shades of colour and the cigarette dropped from his lips, Sam turned away just as Katie reached for her fiancé’s arm.

“Come on, girls,” Sam ordered, going to put on her winter gear. Wordlessly, her sister and cousin joined her.

“Where are you guys going?” Dre asked, his voice choked. “We…we were supposed to go to my house. Katie’s got a welcome-home dinner…”

Summer hesitated, glancing back in concern, but Sam shoved her out the door. “We need space,” she shot back, then slammed the door behind her in the same way her brother had slammed his way in.

Outside, she linked arms with Summer and Josie, using them to shield her against the blowing snow. She pulled them along the side of the house, through the backyard gate and then the small door to the garage, knowing that Dre and Katie could see them through the big picture window.

Dre had cut power to the garage a long time ago, so it wasn’t much warmer in there, and there weren’t any lights. “I don’t like it in here,” Summer whimpered, nothing but a shadow in the feeble light coming in from the side door.

“What are we doing, Sam?” Josie chattered.

Letting go of them, Sam reached for her phone. “I’m getting Murphy to pick us up.”

“Are we going to Auntie Lilah’s house?” Josie asked as Sam turned on the light on her phone, and made her way to the door at the back of the garage. It opened with a creak, like all the other doors in this neglected house. The girls crowded closer to her for light and warmth.

Summer gasped when, after rooting in the deep crevice behind the old water heater, Sam produced a large black bag. “What’s that?”

“It’s Mom’s old go-bag. I found it in the office when we were helping pack up the house. There was a key on top of the door frame that opened a secret compartment in the floor.”

“Cool!” Josie exclaimed. “Your Mom was the coolest.”

“I know. She had a secret hideout near the border of B.C.. We’re going.” Josie carefully shut the storage room, then Sam led the group outside, lugging the bag to through the gate. Snow fell on her as she felt her way through the hole in the shrubbery next to the garage. 

Josie spluttered as she followed on her hands and knees. “What do you mean? We can’t just go to B.C. My mom would kill me.”

“Grow up, Josie. This is bigger than us. And we’re not going all the way to B.C. We’re going to New York.”

“New York?” the other two exclaimed.

Harshly, Sam yanked them into the branches. “Shhhh!” They cleared the shrubs, and emerged on a narrow pathway between their house and the neighbour’s. Sam peeked around, but didn’t see Murphy yet. “Dre’s gone too far this time. This is war now. You guys know what Chelsea’s mom said about Mr. Collins. Dre acts like he doesn’t want to believe it, but I think he knows what he’s doing. He doesn’t just want whatever bogus amount he says she owes us.”

“What does he want?” Josie asked breathlessly.

Sam set her mouth grimly. “He wants her dead, so he can have everything. And who’s to say he won’t do the same thing to us?”

Thanks for Stopping by!

I hope you liked what you saw. What did you think of the topic? Leave a comment and start a discussion with your thoughts! Don’t forget to like and share with your best friends, mortal enemies, and everyone in between. Come back later to see if your icon appears in my subscriber cloud! Even better, validate my work by leaving a tip to support this (not actually) starving author. You can also support my company, Planet Hope Christian Enterprising, by donating to our crowdfunds on at GoFundMe and FundRazr down below. We are a non-profit providing pay-what-you-can creative and communication services to individuals and organizations – including you! By donating, you can help us reach our goal to provide top-rate creative and support services to charities and others who would like our help. But we can’t do it without your support, so even if you can’t give financially, please like, share, subscribe, and comment. Many blessings to you today and every day.

Never miss a post!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.”
~ Romans 15:13


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s