A series of unfortunate events
She wrapped her small hand around his thick girth and squeezed. “I can make you happy. Just give me a chance, baby.”
“Don’t do it, Brock. Don’t fall for it,” I mutter to myself. Tapping the screen on my eReader to turn the page, I cringe and whine, “Oh, you stupid son of a bitch! She’s sleeping with your brother!” Shaking my head, I sigh, “Serves you right for falling in love with a ho.”
My bedroom door opens and my sister, Terah, creeps in and shuts the door behind her, careful not to make a sound. I look at her ensemble and already shake my head vigorously. Her face pleads. She says nothing just smiles huge and nods excitedly. I sigh, “No, Terah. I almost got busted last time.”
“Lily, you’re gonna dry up like an old prune. You’re only twenty-two, sweetie. Live a little!” She sounds exasperated.
Suddenly feeling defensive , I scowl at her. “I live just fine, thank you very much.”
Terah’s face softens, and she sits on the edge of my bed. “He can’t hold onto us forever, you know? We gotta grow up sometime.”
I know she’s right.
I hate when she’s right.
My name is Delilah Flynn. Everyone, except my dad, calls me Lily. I spend most of my days right here, in my bedroom. This has not always been my choice, but over the years, I’ve grown to love my room. It’s become a sort of sanctuary to me.
In this room, I can be who I want to be. No pressure. No expectations. I can do as I please. And I like it like that.
Our family owns a transport company called Flynn Logistics. My father came over to America from Ireland when he was thirteen. His family had nothing. When I say nothing, I mean nothing. He tells me stories about how my grandfather would come home from work and remove his coat only to hand it to my father so he wouldn’t be cold when he walked to his job as a grocery store shelf stocker.
They had to share a coat. It was a communal coat! That’s how poor they were.
Mom met Dad when she was in high school. High school wasn’t really an option for my dad. His family couldn’t afford it, and back then, there was no shame in that. Mom and Dad happened to live on the same block and soon became friends. A year passed and Mom fell hopelessly in love with Dad; she never cared about the fact that he was poor. Her family wasn’t much better off. But she figured if she could only have him as a friend, she’d somehow deal with that. What she didn’t know was that dad loved her just as much, maybe more, but he wouldn’t ask her out until he was sure he could provide for her properly. Dad says he loved her before he even knew her name.
Talk about being brought up with an unrealistic view on love, right? Like that would ever happen to me. The probability of that happening to anyone is maybe one in a billion.
I admire my dad so much. What he’s accomplished in his life is short of miraculous. He started working in a transport sorting center when he was sixteen for a major logistics company. He spent the first year working his ass off and showing his superiors he was reliable and enthusiastic. Eventually, he was moved up from the sorting center to manager of transport. He spent five years with them and learned all he could. From packing and shipping items, to understanding how sorting machine do what they do then working up to managing a ground crew. He saved every spare penny and resigned when he was twenty-one. That’s when he started Flynn Logistics. It was a huge risk. Luckily, it was a risk that paid off. As my dad always says in his thick Irish brogue, “Can’t lose a thing if ye’ve got nothing to lose.”
Flynn Logistics now goes head-to-head with the major transport companies. We’re competition, a huge threat to them, and I see the pride light my father’s face whenever this fact is brought up.
My father is somewhat overprotective. When I say he’s somewhat overprotective, it’s kinda like Channing Tatum being somewhat good looking…as in tremendously. So, here I am, a grown woman with my sister as my only friend. If I want to leave the house for anything, anything at all, I need an escort. The same goes for my sister, but she’s sneaky and finds ways around the rules. I never really understood why this was, but my father is not a person you argue with. Don’t get me wrong, my dad is a loving, caring man. He rarely raises his voice to anyone and it takes a lot to get him angry. He’s a good dad, just a little over the top and extremely paranoid. But in our household, my father holds a lot of respect, respect he’s earned. So, rule number one, you don’t ever question my father.
Our family isn’t big. It’s just me, my older sister, Terah, my mom, and my dad. We live in a mansion in an exclusive suburb in Atherton, California. I thought this house was a little over the top when we moved in. I mean, I know we have money, but dad insisted we move from our old home, a sweet four-bedroom house, into this monstrosity four years ago. Our newest house includes ten bedrooms, six bathrooms, a library, three offices, a sun room, a huge pool with matching pool house the size of our old place, a tennis court, and, of course, a state of the art monitored alarm system.
I hate this house. There is nothing homely about it. It’s sterile. It feels like a prison decorated to look like a palace. But I know better; I see it for what it is .
My dad was so excited to show me my new room that first day here. When the door swung open and he shouted, “Ta da!” I almost fainted.
My bedroom is freaking huge. It’s five hundred and thirty square feet, which is half the size of our old home. If I stand at the door and look into my room, this is what I’d see: On the left-hand side is a mahogany, four-poster, king-sized bed with a floral-print bedspread. Next to it is a matching mahogany dresser that is just for looks because I don’t have a lot of clothes (I’m not a girly girl who likes to shop), a desk which I never use because I prefer to do any school work on my bed. There’s a door leading to my built-in closet, and a second door leading to my private en-suite bathroom. On the right-hand side, is a complete entertainment system with a big screen LCD TV, DVD player, a PlayStation 3, a brand new stereo, which also acts as surround sound when I watch movies, two comfortable sofas, and my favorite feature is my library lining the entire back wall.
Reading is my escape. It makes my brain work, which gives me a short reprieve from my isolated life.
My room has been painted a pale-peach color, which I love. I have several paintings lining the walls, and a huge bay window leading to the small patio outside.
Terah, who is twenty-four, has a room that looks identical to mine, just on the opposite side of the hall. Our bedrooms are the only two that are permanently occupied on the second floor; the rest are guest bedrooms. Mom and Dad occupy the only bedroom on the first floor. Dad said it’s safer for Terah and me in case any intruders come thieving in the night, that way, theirs would be the first bedroom approached. Can you believe that? I’d rolled my eyes and told him he’d been watching too many ‘CSI’ shows.
Looking up from my eReader, I sneak a peek at my sister. Her puppy-dog eyes are wide in pleading and she bats her lashes at me. She looks like a constipated shih-tzu . I laugh, “Don’t even try it. I’m not going. You wanna party? Party, Terah. I’m staying right here.”
She throws her hands down on the comforter and growls at me. “Fine! Become a crazy cat lady. See if I care. Don’t say I didn’t try to help when you’re stroking your pussies all night long wishing someone was stroking yours.”
I burst into laughter as she slides off my bed and makes her way to the wall to wall mirror in my walk-in closet. Stepping out of the closet, she asks, “How do I look?”
Looking up, I silently take her in.
She’s beautiful. As always. Wearing a pair of black short shorts that make her already long legs look impossibly longer. The deep-green sequined halter she has on makes her emerald-green eyes pop, her deep burgundy hair cascades down her back in soft waves, and the small-heeled sandals make the whole look deceptively innocent. She takes a pair of my gold dangly earrings and puts them on.
Truth be told, I look a lot like my sister. When people see us together, they ask if we’re twins. We look almost identical to the way our mom looked when she was younger: deep red hair, green eyes, tall and slim. My dad always said he hoped we’d be ugly like him. That never fails to make me laugh because my dad is really quite handsome. He’s tall with a solid frame, dark brown hair, and light-green eyes.
“You look beautiful, Rahrah.” I say wistfully.
She smiles at my use of her childhood nickname. Her soft eyes peer into mine. She whispers, “Please come with me. Just one more time.”
Dipping my chin, I shake my head slowly. “Naw, I’d just become the life of the party.” I shoot her a wicked grin. “I know how much you like being the center of attention. Wouldn’t wanna take that away from you. You go. I’ll cover.”
Stomping over to me, she sits back on the bed and wraps her arms around me. I hug her back as hard as I can without choking her. She snickers, “Ha ha, bitch.” She holds me a long time before she mutters, “Not always gonna be like this. You’ll see.” And it makes me want to cry.
My eyes blur and the bridge of my nose tingles.
“I know,” I mumble into her shoulder.
Squeezing her once more, I release her and put on a huge fake smile. “Go. Quickly.”
Terah runs over to the windows that lead to my patio and blows me a kiss. She opens the door and steps out when we both hear the intercom in my room hiss before dad’s voice clearly sounds. “Terah. Delilah. Downstairs. Now.”
Terah’s stunned facial expression is priceless. I burst into laughter and say in a sing-song voice, “Someone’s busted.”
Eyes wide with shock, she whisper hisses, “No way! There’s no way he knows. This has gotta be something else.”
I shrug. “Lucky you didn’t go. We both would’ve been in lockdown for a month.”
Terah looks down at herself. She looks like she’s going clubbing and we need to cover her up quickly before my dad sees. “Take off your shoes and put on my robe. Wrap it up tight.”
She slips into my red Japanese silk robe and ties it so tight she’s probably cutting off the circulation from her waist down. We make our way downstairs and into the dining room. As soon as I see my dad, I know two things: he’s tired, and worried.
Shit. Not good.
Mom sits next to him, holding his hand, looking equally as tired and twice as worried.
Double shit. Something’s wrong.
Terah and I stand just inside the dining room door. We look at each other with obvious concern and she takes my hand in hers and squeezes. I clear my throat and my dad looks up. He puts on a fake smile. “Ah, there ye are. Come in, my girls. Take a seat.” I love my dad’s accent.
Terah and I sit close to each other. I look from mom to dad and ask, “What’s wrong? And you can’t lie for shit so don’t say ‘nothing’.”
Dad glares at me. “Language, Delilah.” I hate being called Delilah.
Mom pats his hand. She looks to me and my sister and explains, “There have been some problems at Flynn Logistics.”
Terah and I look at each other in shock before my sister whispers, “Are we losing the house?”
Dad’s brow furrows. “No. This isn’t about money,” he sighs and runs his hands down his face. Whatever this is, it’s affecting him…a lot.
My heart squeezes.
Sick of the run around, I look right at my dad. “What kind of problems?”
Dad inhales deeply and leans back in his chair. “Well, there have been some accusations thrown around. These accusations are the kind a person can go to jail for…for a very long time.”
My sister and I both squawk in disbelief, “What?”
Mom cuts in. “Calm down, girls. Your father hasn’t done anything wrong, so there’s little they can do. We’ve allowed the police full access to computers and documents at the warehouse and to whatever else they need.” She smiles, but it doesn’t reach her eyes. “Everything’s going to be fine.”
Dad nods. “Jett and Jamie are helping as much as they can. We’ve shown the police we’re being cooperative. I’ve left them to it. The police don’t want me back there till this has been sorted.”
Silence covers us like a thick fog. I shrink into myself. “Well, this certainly sucks balls.”
Dad’s lip twitches. “Yes, darling. It does suck balls. But like ye ma said, everything will be okay. I’m sure of it.”
Terah asks the question I’ve been dying to. “What exactly are the accusations?”
Dad looks between us a long moment before he answers, “Well, it’s complicated. All ye need to know is that we’re upping security here and at the warehouse. College is out of the question until this enquiry is complete.” Looking toward my sister, Dad’s face softens in apology. “Sorry, Terah.”
Terah looks as if she’s about to burst into tears. This is her second year of college. I’ve been working with dad at Flynn Logistics the past two years. He calls it an internship; I call it a sly way for him to keep an eye on me. The only two people I really see there are Jett and Jamie. I rarely leave the office.
Jett and Jamie Harrison are my dad’s right-hand men. They moved here from Ireland about three years ago. Well, actually, Dad brought them over from Ireland to come live with us and to work at the warehouse. Dad’s best friend growing up was a man named Kian Harrison. Although I never met him, I heard about him a lot and spoke to him on the phone some. He was a happy man, always laughing and making jokes. It never seemed to faze him that dad had become a big-shot businessman. To Kian, he’d always be Ciaran Flynn with the muddy face that played soccer with him whenever he could. They remained true friends until one night three years ago when Kian’s wife, Aileen, called to tell us that Kian had died from a heart attack. Dad spoke with Aileen a lot to check on her welfare. He sent money which she declined. Dad was devastated. No amount of money could fix this. Aileen called one night, and after a short conversation, Dad asked what he could do to help. He told her he’d do anything that was in his power. She timidly asked whether he’d give her twin sons jobs at Flynn Logistics. Dad was more than happy to do that. If Kian’s sons were anything like their father, they’d be a great addition to the business.