I don't own the Teen Titans.
"Why exactly are we doing this? How the heck is a summer alone with you in a tiny cottage going to solve our issues?"
My brother, Jason, turned around from packing his suitcase to face me. "You know that this is mother's way of letting us have a last hurrah before we enter the 'family business'."
He puts air quotes around the words 'family business' to make sure that I got it. I got it all right I wasn't an idiot. "You know just because you're 5 minutes older than me Jason, doesn't mean that you have to sugar coat things around me. Besides, you know perfectly well that they were rhetorical questions and that I was just venting. So don't act all smart on me."
"Okay first off I wasn't acting smart, second off how the heck am I supposed to read your mind, and third off your just cranky cause you won't get to spend your entire summer locked up in your room."
"You got me, Jason; you really and truly got me. That is exactly why I don't want to spend 3 months with you in a small cottage on the beach. It has nothing to do with the fact that after we get back we will be sucked in to our father's business. It has nothing to do with the fact that our mother booked this at the last possible moment when I have to work on my paper. Do you know how hard it is to do research with no internet access and no decent library?"
"Just stop complaining and go get in the car. We are going to have fun and solve issues if it kills us! Think about mother!"
As much as I didn't want to go and instead keep complaining he did have a point. Mother needed us to get along and stick together as a family. This was important to her and here I was acting like a spoiled brat.
What has gotten in to me lately? Usually I was obedient, silent, and emotionless. Maybe I was just sick of my stupid life; whatever the heck it was I needed to suck it up. This is the worst possible time for me to have an emotional breakdown.
"You're right I am sorry I have been acting like a brat. I guess that I am just stressed."
"It's okay everyone needs to vent once in a while and the last time you vented you were six, so I guess that you were due for a tantrum. Just don't show mother that you were upset. You're forgiven, so just wait in the car and I will be there in a couple minutes."
"Thanks Jason, I owe you one. I'll just wait for you here; my stuff is already in the trunk. I don't want to run into father and he never comes to your room. If I am with you, he won't bother me."
Ever since Jason and I were five it had been pretty clear that I was dad's favorite. He was hoping that his only firstborn son would be the one to take over his job when he retired. But it was pretty clear that Jason wasn't cut out for my father's job. My dad needed a son that was heartless, cold, methodical, and brilliant. Unfortunately Jason's smarts were mostly in the history and music department.
Dad was hoping for another son, but he never got one. Instead, he had no one else's to turn to expect for me. I had all the traits that his job needed, except for one thing. I was a female. So he hated me because I wasn't the gender that was needed and he was relived because I was his female doppelganger.
When parents pick a favorite child the other child usually feels neglected and unwanted, but in this case being the unwanted child had its major perks. While I had to spend my entire life going to advance classes, learning martial arts and how to use various weapons with precise accuracy. Jason was pretty much ignored and left to live his own life. Which, in our house is a huge blessing.
"Excellent point and the student becomes the master in the fine art of avoiding our paternal parent. Have you finally gotten sick of learning to become fluent in Latin and Romanian?"
I rolled my eyes at him and he went back to packing the last few items for his suitcase. Despite our constant jabs at each other, we got along remarkably well for opposite gender twins. I guess we had to have each other's backs. What with him being left to his own undeveloped brain's devices from being completely ignored and I having our father constantly on my back to become him. Even though our father was the last person on Earth that I ever would want to become.
But even though we were close there was some things that I would never, ever share with him. Like what exactly our father did for a living, or how exactly he got me to stay motivated in what he called my 'highest potential' studies. He doesn't even know how far our father will go to get what he wants.
All he knows is that at the end of this summer, I will finally join my father in the family business. It was supposed to be at the end of the last term, but mother wanted me to have a last couple of months to be free and childlike. Like I could ever be childlike. I appreciated the gesture, I did. But I needed to use these months to figure out a way to get my family away from my father. Or at least figure out a way to get me out of joining his business.
Jason zipped up the designer suitcase and heaved it off his king sized bed with a heave. As I went to go open the door I heard shouting that came from under us.
"You know, Jason? I will go down and see what is going on. I can come back upstairs to get you."
"Rachel! I know that I haven't had it as rough as you have and I know that you feel responsible for protecting us. But I am a grown man and your older brother. Stop trying to deal with things on your own!"
He was so innocent and naïve, I couldn't ruin that just yet, but the way that he was looking at me stopped those words from escaping my lips. So I went with a different approach, "You know what? Fine, we can deal with this together. But you can't call yourself my older brother, you're only five minutes older than I am. Do you understand me?"
He gave off that little boy crocked grin that he only used with me. "You got it, sis."
I rolled my eyes at him again and opened the door, all the while praying that our father wasn't in one of his violent moods. No matter how much he argued Jason wasn't ready to experience that. And hopefully he never would have to.
The shouting increased in volume as we climbed down the marble west entry staircase. In front of the front door I could see my parents arguing, my father looming over my petit mother. But she wasn't cowering yet, not this time.
"You know that she has to go into the family business, Arella! She is a trained professional she doesn't need to have fun. I need her with me at the office, what I don't need is her gallivanting around some beach! She has to study and train and…."
"AND WHAT? She is young and no matter what you say she is going to have fun before she puts her life in danger for money! And we both no darn well that it isn't 'the office' in which you work! She is my daughter to, and I agreed to let her work with you but if she is going to risk her life at such a young age then she needs to be herself and have fun before she does that. You have been designing her personality for too long Trigon!"
"You know what, FINE! She can have her stupid time of! She gets a month! One month and then she is mine!" He stormed out of the room and looked back only once to say, "And you have to pay for it yourself to!"
We finished climbing the rest of the stairs and I faced my mother. She had tears streaming down her almost purple eyes and her dark hair was a tangled mess. Jason gave her a hug while I watched in the background. When she had calmed down enough to talk I finally stepped forward.
"Mom? You know you don't have to do this right? I can go into the family business and get my paper done. I am okay with that."
No, I am not! But I need to stay where the library and internet access are if I am going to figure out a way to let us escape.
"No! You are going and that is it young lady! I have arranged for you to stay in a reclusive, small cottage at the end of the beach. The only people around is the next door neighbor and he is too old to go there anymore. It will be fun! It's where I used to go to when I was a little girl!"
I knew that she was being cheerful for our sakes and she knew that we knew that she was faking it. But I nodded and gave her a quick awkward hug and told her goodbye. When my brother hugged her she whispered in his ear thinking that I probably wouldn't be able to hear it. "Make sure that your sister has a good time and shows some darn emotion. I'm counting on you, son."
He gave her a quick nod while I picked up his suitcase and opened the door. "You ready, Jason?" He gave me yet another nod and followed me out the door. Without speaking he headed towards his black convertible BMW and I headed for my Porsche.
"Seriously Rachel? We are going to take two separate cars?"
"Hey I got a lot of stuff I need to bring for my paper and you'll want to use your car to go to clubs and I will want to use mine to find a library in that god forsaken town. I'm just preventing a fight in the future."
"Okay fine we'll take separate cars." He grabbed his suitcase from me and shoved it in his trunk before heading to the driver's side door. I knew that he wasn't mad at me, he was mad at our father and the lives that we lived and I respected that. I knew he needed his space and the long drive would give him time to think.
I took one last look at the mansion that I grew up in and took a deep breath. I was never the type of person to head away from my problems, I always wanted to face and solve them but now I wouldn't get the chance. For the first time in my life, I left the source of my problems and instead headed to the openness of the open road.