Here’s chapter 14 of the new book, “Dangerous Roommate.” Enjoy reading. Let me know your thoughts about this chapter in the comment section below.
When Frank marched inside his tiny home, carrying with him some treats, Gun thought his brother gave off an air of being in charge, though he wasn’t pushy. Despite being the eldest among the siblings, he was kind of embarrassed to say he became dependent on him.
Since he joined the police force, he could barely earn enough for the family. It sucked a lot, he thought. But what else could he do? Besides, Frank was just being nice. It would be rude to tell him to stop his charity. He didn’t want to add another burden for him, knowing the situation he was in.
“Have you found a place?” he asked with concern.
Frank nodded in answer.
For Gunther, he didn’t need to hear a word. Watching his brother in such a mess was enough to feel terrible. As a brother, he couldn’t do anything. Like him, his plate was already full—chasing that bastard and his family of thieves while neglecting the time he wanted to spare for his own. If only he could figure out where that rat was hiding; if only he could figure out their next move.
Sucks. That was all he could do. Wishing, asking himself “what ifs.”
Since Stefan’s arrest, these thoughts had taunted him. While watching his brother’s back, he couldn’t stop his eyes from turning bloodshot. As soon as he realized what he was doing, he sighed, expelling dissatisfaction from his chest. Then, he rubbed his face with his hand to wipe the tears welling around his lids and clear his eyes.
“Where?” he asked as calmly and casually as he could, though he felt the other way around. He swallowed when Frank turned his head and looked him in the eye.
“At a friend’s house.”
“Ah, the one you stayed before when I called.” He paused, looking more hesitant as though he wanted to ask further out of curiosity. After all, it was right for him to feel that way, knowing his brother had nowhere to go. And after what he had heard from his wife, his situation was worse than his.
Though he and his wife made an income, though it wasn’t enough to feed a family of six, at least they had a home to fulfill that false sense of security. Frank, a man who had succeeded in many aspects of his life—had a perfect job, perfect wife, perfect marriage, perfect family, and perfect home. His life was once a great source of envy for him. But then, he ended up having nothing.
No wife. No family. No home. No life.
Goddammit. He couldn’t imagine how it was for Frank nor force him to want to speak about it. A police officer that he was, he didn’t want to put his brother into a sudden interrogation. Well, he tried. But somehow, he struggled to contain his urge to continue the conversation, hoping Frank would talk more. He would love to hear him speak about his life more than he usually did.
“You’ve got plenty of stuff at home. And they’re heavy. I don’t think you could lift them alone.”
“No, I didn’t have to,” Frank replied, eyeing him while he scrambled through his tiny kitchen, placing the stuff he had inside the plastic bag into the cupboard and some edibles inside the fridge.
That caught him by surprise. “So, your friend helped you?”
“Yes, he did. Actually, we’re still working on it. Don’t worry.”
“Don’t you think it was too much of a hassle?”
After bending down, Frank straightened himself with an empty plastic bag. While folding it and placing it in the trash bag, he looked at him and shook his head, flashing a deep smile. “No. He even helped me move them, so I don’t need to lift a lot.”
“Well, that’s kind of him,” Gun commented, feeling relieved. However, that relief faded when he saw his smile make a lightning strike to grin. Because he hadn’t seen them in a while.
“Yes, he is,” Frank said.
That had left Gun even more curious, wondering, who on earth would do that much for a friend these days? Most likely, the ones you called friends would not be there when you needed them. They wouldn’t even remember your birthday, let alone offer you a comfortable home to live in. Suppose it was sponsored business thing. Still, he was kind of suspicious because it sounded too good to be true.
His eyebrows drew, thinking while keeping his senses up in case Frank would say an interesting detail. “Wait. Do you have to pay for the space? Do you have enough money to buy everything you need?”
Frank couldn’t help but let out a giggle as though he found his concern cute.
But that didn’t make him stop, though he knew that reaction from him so well. And he hated it. He knew he would even smile, even if he was starving or, like this one, becoming homeless. Even when he knew he struggled, he hated him for being tight-lipped with almost everything. Even when he badly needed help, he would still hesitate to ask for it.
Of course, Gun wanted to help as much as he could despite the hectic schedule. He would be more willing to help him than help his comrades chase those bastards. Knowing his brother as a low-key, soft introvert, he couldn’t help but feel protective of him.
Unlike him, Frank was more of a loner, though he tried to be extroverted at times if needed. In most cases, he barely spoke his mind, and even if he would, it would still leave the audience guessing. Be it friends or family.
In contrast to his preference for a fast, hectic lifestyle, Frank wanted it slow. If he were a hare, Frank was definitely a snail. And because he barely opened his mouth and talked about things, not even when he had a girlfriend and decided to marry Eunice later in his life, Gun was left without other options.
Well, except for one. Moral support.
That sucked a lot. He wanted to do more, so he could feel better about himself as a provider—as a man. He was the eldest among three brothers, and Frank was the youngest. With these considered, he should be the one doing the exact thing Frank had been doing for ages. He should be the first one to offer help.
Be it time or money. After all, Frank had helped him so much back then. Without him, he wouldn’t be able to send his children to good schools, to better universities to achieve their dreams. Without his brother’s help, he wouldn’t be able to save enough money to pay for a house and lot.
Then now, he found it utterly disturbing when he couldn’t do the same thing for him. He simply can’t. He can’t just call his chief and postpone anything, delaying plans. He can’t just rob a bank just to give him the financial support he needs.
He could, but he didn’t want to. He didn’t need to be a criminal to prove his worth. He didn’t need to do stupid things for the sake of a comfortable life. He’d rather live in poverty as long he could sleep well at night. At least he stayed true to his virtue, and his conscience remained clear. That’s why he became a police officer, right?
“So, where are you living?” he asked, but before Frank could answer, the conversation was interrupted by his two grown-up kids marching into the house.
“Hi, guys.” Frank swiveled his head, facing them. He gave them a casual how-ya-doing smile curved on a nicely defined mouth.
“Hi, Tito Frank,” both teenagers said, almost in chorus, and gave him a fistbump. Their smiles were wide and bright as the day, and their laughter danced through the air.
While Frank continued his conversations with them, Gun looked at him, still wondering about that friend. Whoever he was, he mused. Reeling what he had told him earlier, he stood in the open doorway, with the sunlight haloing his silvered hair. His smile deepened the creases on his face, still looking youthful despite his age.
Though his quiet hazel eyes warmed, he couldn’t stop his heart from taking a bound from surprise to embarrassment. And from embarrassment to concern as guilt pricked his conscience.
Much later, with his backpack on, Frank interrupted the family conversation. “Anyway, I’ve got to go now. I still have to—”
Gun rose from his seat and approached him. While guiding his brother to the entry door, he draped his arm around his shoulder. “Sure, sure. Thank you for the groceries you brought here, though you don’t have to do that all the time. You’ve got to save some for yourself.”
“Still, you need it. Besides, we have a lot in the cabin. So…”
He paused in his tracks and looked at him with narrowed eyes. “Ah, you live in a cabin?”
Frank nodded and smiled. “Cool, right?”
Convinced, Gun did the same in answer and gestured his hand. “Don’t worry. I’ll come to pay you a visit.” He paused and took his phone from the back pocket, scrolling for messages and notifications. “Maybe next week.” He shrugged in defeat. “I don’t know. Let’s see. Send me the address, and I’ll just call you when I’m coming.”
“That would be great! I’ll see you then,” Frank said with his arm raised, flicking his hand to say goodbye.
Gun did the same with a faint smile. Then, he hooked his thumbs in his front pockets, watching the man slowly turning his back to him. “Sure. Next time.”
Thank you so much for spending time reading this chapter. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did when I wrote this part months ago. This chapter, in particular, reminded me of those times when I sat before my desk, seemingly prepared to type in words, but I struggled to keep it up.
It took an external motivation to get it through, and, at that time, the NaNoWriMo event was upcoming. At that time, I thought, “This could be a great opportunity to try and give this a shot one more time. You’d done an excellent job with ‘The Rival,’ so you could do it, Mecyll.”
You know, it’s easier said than done because writing a chapter with a clear intent to finish it requires more than just a skill. Since I started writing fiction, I realized how much this work demands my ability to be naked and the guarantees to answer whether I was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared to face my fears, conscious or unconscious.
So, being able to write this down meant I managed despite the countless times dancing around with depression and enjoying the roller coaster rides my anxiety provided me.
This is why I don’t know how to thank you for your support, regardless of the scale or contribution size, from sharing my work with others or buying my books. It doesn’t matter because, for me, every small act you show is appreciated.
Again, thank you, and have a great day!
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