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  • Olivia Moore

Brighton ~ Chapter 3 ~ Web Series

Updated: Mar 2







                     

Chapter III ~ The Things We Come to Regret

                                   

I could feel the sun shining on me before I allowed my eyes to open. My body, being engulfed by crisp white sheets and a soft down comforter, didn’t quite want to admit defeat to the glorious night of rest it finally received. A gentle breeze from an open window somewhere nearby fluttered across my cheeks. Was I still dreaming? I slowly peeled back the blankets and sat up crisscross in a room that I did not recognize. Shit.


I realized then that I must be at Finn’s. White walls grew into a teak-colored high ceiling with long heavy looking beams that stretched in three rows across the whole space. Simple beachy furniture seemed to decorate every corner and to my left, the window that carried the sea breeze wasn’t a window at all. A pair of French doors opened to a balcony that faced the beach just out below. I finally ventured out of bed and found my toes curling in protest of the cold wooden floor, my legs bristling against the frigid air. My bare legs. I picked at the unidentified grey T-shirt that hung loosely over my body like a tablecloth and adventured out onto the balcony.


My forearms resting on the railing, I took in a deep breath of the salty sea air before burying my face in my hands.


“I’m going to hell for this, aren’t I?” I spoke softly, wondering if Grandpa could hear me from wherever people go when they die.


            “Going to hell for what?”


            I jumped at the sound of his voice, nearly taking a tumble over the railing. Finn grabbed the back of my shirt and yanked me into him in a panic.


            “Jesus, Lenny… That’s twice in two days,” he said, chuckling as he let go of me.


            “I— I didn’t realize you were there.”


“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you. I just came to see if you’d woken up yet,” he said, handing me a folded stack of clothes. “I washed them for you. Although, I don’t know if that wine stain will ever come out.” He nodded toward the dress on top.


I saw it then, holding it up in the sunlight, the massive reddish stain on my favorite sundress.  


“Damn it.” I gaped at the horrendous mark. “What even happened last night?”


            He smirked.


            “NO.”


            His hands flew up guiltily. “Hey, you only called me daddy a couple times,” he said, winking and taking my dress out of my hands to bait me back inside. My jaw nearly hit the floor as I plopped back down on his bed unable to find my words.


His laugh broke my shame infused trance. “Lennon, I’m joking. I slept in the living room after helping you clean up.” I finally looked him in the eyes.


            “You mean we didn’t—”


            “Absolutely not.” He began folding my dress again and set it on the bed, before meeting my stare once more.


I couldn’t help but be offended at how he’d said it. “Oh, absolutely not?”


He didn’t flinch.


“Oh, I mean… You definitely tried.”


“Liar.”


“We got in the cab, argued. And then you started crying. I could tell you were cold, so I pulled you close to try and warm you up, but you fell asleep. By the time we reached your house, I tried to get you to wake up. But you were speaking gibberish.”  He made air quotes, “You kept calling me annoying and handsome. Then you proceeded to march down the road to my house and puked all over your dress and my welcome mat.” His face looked as if he was re-imagining the scene all over again.


Sighing, I pinched the bridge of my nose. He stayed quiet for a moment, allowing me to regain some of my dignity before continuing.


“I finally got you to come inside after you apologized for the hundredth time, promising that you weren’t normally like this… I helped you clean yourself up and got you in a clean T-shirt. And that’s when you tried to—”


I held my hand up for him to stop before I heard anything my pride could not recover from. “We didn’t do anything, right?”


“We did not. You were too far gone, that’s not really my thing.” The tan skin around his eyes crinkled a bit as he grimaced.


My mortification couldn’t have been anymore apparent. I stared absently, yet wide-eyed at the wooden floor as I flung my arm out to him to hand me my soiled dress.


“I should go,” I said, taking the dress and turning away from him to change.

I slipped the shirt over my head and begun to pull the dress over myself when I heard a drawer open and close. Finn sat on the bedside with a tube of ointment and a new bandage, waiting for me attentively.


“Come on. You know what time it is,” he said. With a smirk on his lips, he didn’t take his eyes off mine as he looked at me through his dark lashes and tore the bandage wrapper with his teeth. Annoying. Obnoxious. Annoying. Annoying. Annoy— handsome. So handsome.


Rolling my eyes, I stood in front of him and lifted my dress once more over my thigh and hip. He cupped the inside of my leg and pulled me closer to him before gently rubbing the ointment over my sting. I watched him, not realizing I hadn’t taken a breath in a while.


He looked up at me, a brief glare shining in his eyes. “You’re not breathing, Lennon.”

I couldn’t help but look away.


“And your blushing…” He chuckled and finished laying the new bandage. Though his hand remained cupped around my leg.


“You’re breathing a little heavy, while looking at my leg, don’t you think? One might call you a dog, Finn.” I dropped the edge of my dress like a curtain and stepped out of his reach.


His hand fell from my leg, but his smile grew into something boyish and irresistible.


“Woof.”

 


 

#


 




The room was too quiet, plagued by a thick air that was so stale it hit you in the face the moment you walked in. A nearby vent blew the stench of what I could only imagine as an old cubicle filled to the brim with manilla envelopes, and huge stacks of paper stamped with things like (DELINQUENT) or (DIVORCE). The fluorescents above buzzed obnoxiously in a ceiling made of tiny 12x12in squares that looked like someone had stabbed them with a thousand pencils. Sitting here, across from a lawyer whose combover couldn’t have been more than five hairs, I started to wish that someone would stab a thousand tiny pencils into my eyeballs instead.


Glancing down at my watch I cleared my throat. “Excuse me, Mr…. Welch..in..son..kin.” I hoped that was how his name was pronounced, but honestly couldn’t care less if it wasn’t.


He dropped the paper that he’d been scribbling on for the past ten minutes to look up at me with eyes that only reflected my own disappointment. Either this man hated his job or lost his soul to it long ago. I did my best to fake a smile.


“Ms. Bartolini, it is important to wait for my clients, Mr. Paul and Mallory Rockwell, before we discuss the matter at hand. And it’s Wilkinson.”


  The itch to roll my eyes was nearly unbearable, “Yes, Mr. Wilsonkin… I just wondered when my mother and uncle were planning on making their big arrival. It’s fifteen minutes past our scheduled appointment and I have a prior—


Thwack. The door swung open with about as much grace as a fat kid doing a belly flop.


“Lennon….” The happiness in mother’s voice was about as real as her copy and paste boobs. “Well, at least you showed up.”  She sighed, juggling her designer purse, dangly key chain, and a large leatherbound folder.


Laughing at the hypocrisy, I looked around the room before pointing toward myself, "Me, show up? Dear God, mother— you truly must be delusional.”


“Darling, if only you had picked up the phone, we wouldn’t be meeting like this.” My mother shuffled in with my uncle Paul following close behind her. His too thin, yet shadowy presence darkened as he spotted me across the room. I could almost taste his disdain as he got closer. Paul didn’t even bother to greet me. Ever since our initial meeting with Grandpa’s lawyers, I’ve basically been considered an evil “selfish bitch” who doesn’t deserve what was gifted to me. My mother, who decided to sit more than three chairs away, refused to look me in the eyes.


Oh, real cute.


Her slick black hair fit tightly into a uniform bun, was a contrast to her pale skin, no doubt an attribute to the loads of Korean sunscreen and God only knows what kind of baby animal placenta that she’s rubbed on her face.


“Sweetie, we can avoid this whole suit if you just sign over the property deed. It doesn’t belong to you; my father would never do that to his children. He wasn’t in his right mind in the end, Lennon… You know that, and yet you sit here and selfishly hold onto what should belong to my brother and I.”


“Is that what you’re trying to sue me over? The house? All you care about is the money you’d get from it once it’s long gone.” I scoffed in disgust, looking out the murky colored window. “Did you even care about him all these years? All those memories he made in that house, the memories we made there?”


She smacked the table with her ridiculously well-manicured hand. Her red fingernails clacking loudly against its plastic. I swear her eyes bulged as they finally met mine through her thick cakey looking eyelashes. “How dare you argue with me, you selfish little brat!”


My cheeks were flushed with anger as I spoke.


“And where were you, by the way— when he got sick and spent weeks stuck in that awful hospital bed? I flew across the ocean, dropped everything to be by his side… But you? You were with some mystery man fucking your way into his penthouse. And you, Paul? Couldn’t take some PTO, huh? Not even to say goodbye?” I wanted to scream.


My uncle finally found the nerve to speak to me, his voice low and raspy, like he’s smoked cigarettes his whole life, “We knew you’d do this. You’ve never respected your elders. That’s why we’ve brought in Mr. Warshtonkin to settle this once and for all.”


“Wilkinson—” the lawyer started.


I stood then.


“Respected my elders!? You mean you, right? I never respected you. And you know why? Money, money, money— all you guys’ care about is money. He knew that. But he loved you, so he gave it all to you anyways and somehow it still is not enough.”


The lawyer cleared his throat, “Ms. Bartolini, I invite you to remain seated.” He gestured toward my chair. “And yes. I believe we do have a case, as the deceased may not have been fully in sound mind and body at the time of writing the updates on his will.”


Mr. Wilkinson officially had my attention. “Are you saying that he may not have meant to give me his house?”


“I’m saying that we are going to open an investigation regarding the matter of the deceased, Henry Rockwell’s last living will and testament update before his passing. And Ms. Bartolini, when the investigation is finished, the result may in fact be unfavorable for you.”


“Unfavorable for me?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was my turn to slam the table. I looked my mother dead in the eyes. “Fuck you. Fuck all of you.” I spit as I rose from my chair and headed out the door. “I’ll see you motherfuckers in court.”

 

 

**TUNE IN NEXT SUNDAY TO READ WHAT HAPPENS IN CHAPTER 4! (; **

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