By: Chantal Fernando

“Night, Sabina,” I hear him say, before I fall into a deep sleep.

Chapter Five

“Sabina, how have you been?” Kate asks me at breakfast the next morning. “We haven’t really heard from you, so I guess now that Ben’s gone we’re nothing to you? After all we’ve done for you.”

I’m about to open my mouth and tell her just how fucking rude she is, when I glance around and see Ben’s younger half-brothers watching me. I exhale, calming myself.

They haven’t done anything for me, and I’d love to tell her that. Of course she had to make such a comment in front of everyone. The woman has no class. Her new husband, Daryl, who is a wealthy man, offers me a kind smile. How she got him to love her, I’ll never know, because he actually seems like a decent man. I feel sorry for him for having to put up with her on a daily basis.

“Aunt Kate,” Dean says, trying to save my ass. “Can we just have a nice breakfast together, please?”

She looks at her nephew, and it’s like I can see the dollar signs in her eyes. Kate values money more than anything, and everyone knows Dean has a lot of it.

“Of course, honey,” she says, flashing a fake smile. “We’re so glad to have you here. Although I don’t know why you can’t stay with us.” She looks at me and lifts her chin up. “Although I guess Sabina wants you to stay at her house.”

What exactly is she insinuating here?

When I first met Kate, I thought she was a little intimidating. She demanded respect from everyone around her, loved to speak about her wealth and gold, and I could tell her son really loved her. I kept my distance, as I usually do from people, but made sure I was always kind, polite, and respectful. My family didn’t really want me to marry Ben. They’d heard things about his family. Bad blood, they said.

I didn’t listen, of course, which pushed my parents even further away, if that’s possible.

I was head over heels in love, and I was going to let future me worry about any consequences. I’d never been in love before.

In other words, I was done for.

However, I think the bad blood they spoke of must have been his mother. She has a very evil, conniving, manipulative side, one I’ve experienced firsthand. There are also lots of rumours about her that go around, mainly about her being a gold digger, and not treating people very nicely. “I wanted to stay there and make sure she’s doing okay,” Dean says in a patient tone. “You all have each other, but she’s alone there. Ben would have wanted me to.”

That shuts Kate up, and I feel like giving Dean a high five.

The rest of the morning passes slowly. After breakfast we all sit outside while Ben’s half-brothers swim in their pool.

“When is it okay to bail?” Dean asks me, approaching me while I’m lying on one of their hammocks.

“About an hour ago,” I tease, blocking the sunlight with my hand. “Do you want to go now?”

He nods. “Yeah, I think we’ve done our time.”

I grin at his choice of words, then hop down from the hammock and say bye to Ben’s brothers.

“You’re leaving so soon?” Kate asks, looking between the two of us. “When will I see you again, Dean? How long are you staying for?”

“Just a couple more nights. I’ll come and see you before I head out,” Dean says, kissing her on her cheek. “Maybe I could take the boys out somewhere, spend some time with them.”

“I’m sure they’d love that.” Kate beams, her smile dropping as she turns to address me. “I’ll be over one of these days to help pack up Ben’s belongings. There are some gold chains of his that I want to give to his brothers; I’m sure you understand.”

“Kate,” Dean chides, a scowl appearing. “Now is not the time, and it’s up to Sabina what she wants to do with Ben’s belongings.”

“You can give them whatever you want, I don’t mind,” I tell her in a small voice. And I don’t. As long as I have our photo albums, that’s all I really care about. And maybe a few of his t-shirts to sleep in. I appreciate Dean trying to stick up for me though.

“When will the life insurance money come in?” she then asks, making me freeze.

I’m about to open my mouth and tell her that unlike her, money doesn’t make my world spin, and that I haven’t even rung the insurance company, when Dean wraps his arm around me and speaks for me. “Aunt Kate, now is not the appropriate time to talk about this.”

He leads me out, and I follow him blindly, speechless. I didn’t want to come here, and I wish I hadn’t. Still, I wouldn’t want Dean to be here alone, either. He opens my car door, forever the gentleman, and I hop in and put my seat belt on.