He Made Me Do It – Zee Shine Storm

The day Asher Hannes set foot inside my house, I had a feeling he was going to be trouble. I remember the exact moment I met him for the first time. It was seven months ago; four o’ clock on a rainy, Sunday afternoon in my living room where my father was busy talking on the phone and his new wife, my stepmom, was in the kitchen making dumplings for dinner. Asher strolled in like he owned the place, casually chewing gum, dressed in jeans and a soccer jersey paired with sneakers which had tracked in mud. My father was not going to like that. We weren’t allowed to wear shoes inside the house. He nodded at me slightly as we looked at each other and a faint smirk hovered over his mouth which I tried not to stare at for too long. His mother, Sienna, had married my father a couple of months ago and since her ex-husband shared custody of their son with her, Asher spent summer holidays with his father in Paris and the rest of the school year with Sienna, minus some of the vacations. Now that senior year of high school was about to start, he had come to live with us. This guy who was now my stepbrother. “Ash, honey.” Sienna’s joyful tone dissipated the awkwardness somewhat as she came out of the kitchen to envelope her son into a hug. “How was the flight?” Asher hugged his mother back, but his blue eyes were on me, studying me. “It was cool. We almost crashed somewhere above Connecticut, but the pilot got it under control.

” Sienna gasped and held him back by the shoulders. “Oh my god, are you okay?” He started to laugh and brushed her off. “Mom. I’m kidding. Flight was fine. Almost wish something had happened because I was bored out of my mind.” A heavy silence greeted his statement. He frowned slightly when he realized that no one found his words funny. Plane crashes were not something to be joked about and especially not in my family. That was how I’d lost my mother three years ago. Clearing her throat slightly, Sienna rubbed his shoulder and looked towards my father before smiling sweetly. “Asher, I’d like you to officially meet Faiz,” she said without a hint of nervousness even though these meetings hardly ever went well. Her only son meeting his new stepdad. Who followed a religion that never caught a break from the scrutiny and criticism of the rest of the world. It wasn’t an exaggeration.

I’d been on the receiving end of that scrutiny one too many times at school. “Hi, Asher,” my father greeted in a cool voice and stepped forward with an outstretched hand. “It’s good to finally meet you.” I held my breath as they looked at each other. Asher hadn’t attended the wedding due to not being able to travel at short notice and my father hadn’t wanted to wait to marry Sienna after dating her for a couple of months even though they’d been working together for years. Not a good way to start things off with your stepson. “Good to meet you too, Faiz,” came the equally cool reply and to my surprise, he shook my father’s hand and offered a slight smile. I noticed both my dad and Sienna visibly relax before she turned to me. “Zayn, this is my other son,” she told me in an affectionate tone. Her words caused me to smile. I liked Sienna a lot. She reminded me a lot of my own mother and took care of me the same way, always kind and cheerful. She really liked me too which had made our transition from acquaintances to family members pretty smooth. I glanced back at Asher and gave him a nod. “Hey.

” There was another pause and an awkward moment where I felt like he might say something inappropriate, and this would not go so well after all. But Asher just nodded back at me before turning to his mom. “Where am I bunking?” he asked her. She hesitated for a few seconds, looked down at his boots pointedly and glanced at my father. “Umm…we prepared the guest room for you, hun but…can you please put your shoes outside? We can’t wear them indoors.” Commence awkward silence number three. I waited for him to ask her why or argue with her, maybe mock our house rules, sneer at me, slight my dad, do the same thing that so many of my peers sometimes did upon learning about our cultural beliefs but he simply turned and walked back out to do as his mother had asked. I watched the two adults in front of me exchange another warm, relieved look. Okay, so maybe this wouldn’t turn out to be a complete disaster after all. Despite all the differences between us, maybe we would actually be able to make this blended family thing work. *** Chapter 1 Zayn “Zayn!” My father’s strong voice carried up the stairs one morning while I was doing some workouts and I paused, wondering why he sounded so angry with me. “Yes, Abbu?” I poked my head out the door and found him glaring at me from the living room below. “I thought we agreed that you’re not going to drive my car,” he said to me sternly and waved his car keys at me. “When were you going to tell me about the scratch?” I think my heart stopped beating for a second. Scratch? On his car? Shit.

That car had cost him everything to purchase after he had earned enough from his clerk job at the metal factory he worked in. I had my license, but I wasn’t very experienced, and we agreed that I wouldn’t use his brand new car. We were going to save up for a used one for me before I went off to college. “I didn’t-” “Don’t lie to me,” he cut me off firmly. “It’s clearly been driven and nobody else was awake this early in the morning.” I swallowed at the accusation, not wanting to set him off by maintaining my denial. I hated disappointing him. “You could have asked me instead of going behind my back,” he added in a worried voice. I hated seeing that look on his face as well. It wasn’t like we were poor, but we weren’t exactly rich either. Just another middle-class family in Atlanta. He worked so hard for us so the last thing I wanted was to make things harder. “I’m sorry,” I said, not because I was guilty but because he was upset. “We can use some of my savings to-” He shot me a dark look at that suggestion, and I stopped talking immediately. “I’m not at that place yet where I’m going to need my kid’s money to get things done,” he stated sharply.

“Just make sure this doesn’t happen again.” I nodded slowly and he disappeared in the kitchen, the subject closed and forgotten. A week later, he came upstairs to scold me for messing around with his office computer where he kept all the company records. Told me a few files were moved from the folders and some internet history deleted. It was frustrating because I never touched his laptop. I had my own. And even though I began to suspect who was responsible, I chose not to say anything. When things around the house didn’t add up every now and then, I was the one getting blamed for it but what finally made me lose my patience was when Dad asked me if I had left the front door unlocked at night one weekend and sneaked out.


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Updated: 18 October 2021 — 05:57

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