Miss Perfect and Her Brothers (Part I&II)

Part II: Chapter 5

I talked to my father a few more times.

Sometimes he tried to speak to me about some silly things, which I didn't really want to react to. I couldn't help it - I felt a strange blockade around him. 

One weekend my brothers went to the city. They planned to party there. I had to admit that Dylan and Shane made sure several times that I didn't mind staying alone with my father on the island. At first, I did not like this idea, but then, after reflection, I assured them that I had no problem with it. A weekend in paradise, without my annoying brothers and with the person who was ready to bend over backward just for me to be as comfortable as possible. Yes, my father didn't force me to any conversations again and I was eternally grateful for it.

However, it changed on Saturday, because when I was sitting on my balcony and watched the boys leaving our island on a motorboat, excited by the prospect of having fun, I regretted not stopping them. Sometime later, someone knocked on my door. I was hoping it wasn't a maid. I met the one I had caught with Dylan a few times already and, to put it mildly, it was quite awkward. Fortunately, she seemed to avoid me.

Of course, it was my father who decided to visit me in my bedroom. With my permission, he opened the door and stood at the threshold of the room, licking his lips.

"Hey. I wanted to invite you to dinner with me. I asked the cook to prepare something special tonight. What do you think?" he asked gently, but apparently tense.

I didn't feel like having dinner. Not with him. 

"Uhm, okay ..." I answered, taken. by surprise. To be honest, I was planning to skip this last meal today.

"Great. Please be downstairs at eight o'clock," he finished and, when I nodded, left my bedroom, closing the door behind him.

I sighed. It was six o'clock now.

Well, two hours later I indeed entered the terrace. Without any specific reason, I decided to dress nicely. Not very festive, but in a short, white and flimsy dress with loose sleeves reaching to the elbow and lace top, I presented, say, better than on a daily basis. Especially since I braided two small braids on the sides, which I tied at the back of my head so that now they were laid on the rest of the hair. And that was unusual because normally I didn't do anything special with it.

Also, since I learned that the earrings I had recently started to wear so often were a gift from my father, I struggled with myself every day to throw them back into the box and forget them. I didn't do it because I was too damn kind and I knew that the man would notice their disappearance immediately, and I didn't want to ... I don't know. Make him feel bad? I am stupid.

It was getting dark, but the terrace was lit not only by lamps but also by small lanterns arranged here and there. Also, there were round, colorful bulbs entwining the plants around us like chains hanging on the Christmas tree, creating an extremely cozy atmosphere. The table was neatly set, much more dignified than usual. It was covered with a white tablecloth, and apart from plates and cutlery, there were glass vases in which small, flat candles were burning. I was sure they were responsible for that delicate, sweet smell that was noticeably aromatizing the air.

My father was sitting on one side of the table doing something on his phone, but when he heard my footsteps he immediately put it down and looked up at me. I hesitated before I came closer. First of all, I was surprised that it is so beautiful here, and secondly, I still didn't feel comfortable alone with this man.

In a dark shirt, he reminded me of Vincent like never before, but when he got up to the standing position, it turned out that he was also wearing white pants with a dark brown belt that effectively brightened his outfit. He left the first few buttons on his shirt open. As usual, he did not give up jewelry such as bracelets, a silver chain, and a wristwatch. His hair was neat and tied at the back, and his beard, which, by the way, had grown quite a lot from the first day I saw him, was well-groomed and neatly trimmed. He looked like the quintessence of class and style. I was glad that I hadn't come here wearing the stained shirt I was having on before, as I originally planned.

I watched him dumbfounded and slowly, probably not to frighten me, he reached out his hand and brushed my wrist with it. I shuddered at that gentle touch, but I didn't back down and let him raise my hand. Like if I was charmed, I stared into his dark eyes, which he didn't move away from me, even as he laid an elegant kiss on it.
"You look lovely," he complimented me, to which I mumbled a miserable thank you.

Then he put my hand where it was before, i.e. hanging loosely along my torso. His movements were as subtle as if I were a petal of a flower that he didn't want to damage by any chance.

He took a step back and pulled the chair away for me, gesturing me to take it. Finally, I moved and sat down, praying that I wouldn't embarrass myself with my inborn clumsiness.

The man grabbed a jug of water with fruit and mint leaves stuffed on a skewer inside and poured it into my empty glass with a carved stem. Again, I thanked quietly, somewhat overwhelmed by this royal treatment.

In a moment, the cook came together with her helper, and in front of our noses, one of my favorite mango salads appeared, which I was chowing down on here to excess. Seriously, it was delicious and my father probably knew I liked it. At that time, I didn't know it was just an appetizer. Then we were served a dish with rice and a very spicy sauce, then something with sweet chicken, as well as seafood. I was not able to eat everything, but I certainly appreciated every single dish. They were amazing. I had no place for dessert anymore, but I didn't have the heart to refuse a cup of ice cream.
We didn't talk much. I only answered his food questions briefly. If I liked it, and so on. Finally, when all the dishes had been cleaned and I thought that our dinner was coming to an end and I would be able to escape upstairs, a classic wine glass was placed in front of me filled with a light drink to its widest part.

I gave my father a questioning look and he just smiled slightly.

"After such a big dinner we need something for good digestion," he explained and raised his glass, holding it elegantly by its stem.

"I am not allowed to drink alcohol," I said doubtfully. He and my brothers had some booze almost every day here but they never offered me any. So why today?

"Of course not. Unless I'm the person who offers you a glass of white dessert wine at the end of our dinner."

I bit my lip, unconvinced.

"Vince said I mustn't..."

Father laughed with amusement.

"In that case, Vincent doesn't need to know," he said, winking at me.

I couldn't resist and gently returned his smile.
"He knows everything," I whispered.

The corners of his lips went even higher.

"I assure you that he won't know about this one little thing."

With a little hesitation, I reached for a glass, encouraged by the prospect of finally having at least one stupid secret from Vince. Well, I must admit that I was curious about the taste of wine as well. Trying alcohol at my age was exciting. It made me feel like an adult woman, like all the beautiful ladies from the movies, those who wore chic dresses and painted their lips red.

Following my father, I raised my glass, grabbing its stem. He waited patiently for me, then clinked his glass to mine.

"For you, my dear daughter," he said, and shivers went through my body at the sound of this extraordinary word, which I heard for the second time from his lips. The hand that I was holding the glass with, shook and I drew it back quickly. The liquid swayed inside, but there was not much of it, so, fortunately, it did not spill.

He just winked again and took a sip.
I tilted the glass and tasted the drink. Ah, how much it acquired my taste! It was sweet but also saved from exaggeration by the warning taste of alcohol, which allowed for nothing but slow tasting. I set down my glass, licking my lips eagerly.

"Does it taste good?" father asked, grinning happily at me.

I nodded shyly.

"Just don't say anything to the guys. They'd be jealous because I never allowed them a glass of wine for dinner."

I giggled at the image of Dylan angered because of such a silly thing. I knew very well that he was totally capable of it.

"Then why are you allowing me?" I asked, curious.

He tilted his head slightly.

"Because you are a good, polite child, and they were disobedient, spoiled brats who had to be kept on a short leash."

I couldn't help but giggle again. Well, what he was saying was the truth and only the truth that no one else had the courage to speak out loud.

I took another small sip.

"How do you know I'm good and polite?" I couldn't help but ask it.
"My dear, I am in constant contact with Vincent. He tells me a lot about you, although certainly not everything. And now that I met you, I can see it myself. You are perfect..." he almost whispered the last words, shaking his head in disbelief.

I don't think my eldest brother told him about some of my stunts but I wasn't going to discuss it.

I don't know if I blushed, but I definitely needed to look down at my hands that were now laying stiffly on my lap.

"Hailie, if you have any questions you want to ask me, I am here to answer them, if possible," he said seriously after a moment of silence.

I looked at him again, thoughtfully.

"What's your name?"

He seemed shocked at the simplicity of my question.

"Cam. Cam Monet," he replied immediately, clearing his throat.

I nodded my head. It even suited him.

"Why do I have your last name if my mother didn't want me to be associated with you?"

He raised his head, his face slightly taut.

"I let Gabriela run away and hide you but I have never disowned you. My children bear my name and there is no discussion on it. It was one of my conditions that your mother reluctantly but agreed to."
He surprised me with that sudden seriousness and a dominant tone. Is that his true face? I didn't know that, but his features softened again so I decided to ignore this momentary change and continue my interview.

"Why did you first tell only Vince and Will about me?"

I had ready-made questions that were only supposed to fill in the missing gaps in the history I already managed to put together.

"Who told you that part?" father asked, raising an eyebrow.

I shrugged. It's not his turn to ask questions.

He sighed.

"I guess it was Shane, huh?" I did not confirm it, but my surprised expression definitely did. Father, however, dismissively waved his hand, "Anyway, it does not matter. When I was leaving, and you probably know more or less why I did it, otherwise you would first ask this..." he stopped and raised his brow at me again but I was quiet, so he continued, "I passed the whole business into Vincent's hands. To take at least a minimal burden from his shoulders, I also revealed some secrets to William. But the rest of the boys were too young. They found out about you only when it became clear that you would live with them."
In my heart, I was happy that important secrets were kept secret in the past also from Dylan and the twins, not only me. Maybe it's really about age, and that's why so many things are being hidden from me.

Before I asked another question, I took a sip of wine.

"When did you leave the boys?"

"Exactly two years ago."

"The twins were not of legal age then?" I calculated.

"No, they were in the custody of my brother. Unofficially, mainly Vince and Will kept an eye on them."

For some reason, I felt respect for Vince. In an instant, he had to step into his father's place. He was responsible for their company and became the head of the family. And recently, he had to add me to the long list of his obligations...

"What are you thinking about?" my father asked, seeing that I was silent. When I looked up at him, I saw that he lit a cigar and examined me with his eyes.

"Vincent," I said honestly.

My father let the smoke out of his mouth, nodding.

"The kid is better even than me at this game," he admitted.
"At this game?"

"At running a business, that is."

I narrowed my eyes.

"What business is this? What is your company about?"

Could this wine make me braver?

This time the man closed his eyelids and shook his head.

"For this question, you won't get an answer, my sweet Hailie."

I snorted softly and looked away. The same old story.

"I've seen so much, and still nobody wants to tell me what exactly is going on. I have my theories, all I need is confirmation... How should I feel like part of this family, since nobody trusts me here..." I complained, looking back at my companion. Has less than a glass of wine seriously managed to pull out the emotions hidden at the bottom of my heart?

The man stood up. I got scared for a moment that I upset him or something. He walked around the table and stood to my left. I looked up, staring at his big figure with a smoking cigar. He was looking at me and it was hard to read anything from his face. I regretted starting this topic. I went a step too far. I could...
He crouched. Right next to me. He extinguished the cigar in my glass of water and immediately afterward he grabbed my hands that were resting on my lap. I shuddered at his touch again. He obviously had a strong grip, although he was still gentle with me. I stared into his serious, dark eyes, smelling tobacco mixed with some expensive, masculine perfume.

"My beloved child... Secrets in this family are great and dangerous. The best way to protect you from them is to hide them from you. Believe me, this has nothing to do with trust," he whispered to me, his eyes attracting me like a magnet.

"You don't know what happened to me? How I was attacked with Tony? How my friend's brother almost helped to abduct me? Is this the protection you are talking about?" I laughed bitterly in his face and looked away again, only for him to raise his hand, put it on my cheek and force our eyes back into intense contact.

"Yes, that's the protection I am talking about. If you were deprived of it, it would be much worse."
"I do not understand," I hissed rebelliously at his face, frowning.

He took his hand from my cheek and put it on mines again.

"I'll explain it to you using the simplest example, Hailie. If something really bad happens suddenly and, say, the police start asking you hundreds of questions, you won't know the answers. With a lack of your knowledge, you'll be completely useless to them. Not only will you not help them in anything, but they also will not have the right to accuse you of cooperation or other bullshit. You have a clean account, my love, and both me and Vincent, we want it to stay that way."

I was silent, processing his words.

His hands tightened around my thin wrists.

"I want you to know that everything we do, every decision about you, is well-thought-out and has absolutely nothing to do with trying to separate you from our family. You are my daughter and a sister of your brothers. We all love you and we want the best for you. You are to be treated like a princess, understand?"
Unwanted tears appeared in my eyes and I barely managed to swallow. I wasn't going to cry in front of him, so I tried to joke miserably.

"Can you tell the last part to Vince?" I stammered, smiling weakly.

"I did already, didn't he follow my instructions?" he asked, mocking surprise.

I giggled. Sometimes he was funny.

He also smiled, but after a moment he became serious again.

"You must know that Vince is the way he is, but he would go through fire and water for you. The same applies to those noodles with which you came here. I know they test you, but you can handle them. Your innocence is your greatest weapon, my child," he said. In the end he stood up, being taller than me again. My head followed him upwards and he patted me on it.

This is more or less how my second serious conversation with my father ended. Although I had already a great mixture of feelings after the first one, now it has doubled. I found myself dumbfounded at the fact that I really did enjoy this dinner. Well, I ate good food, even tasted wine in a nice atmosphere, and it turned out that even the company was not as bad as I expected.
I haven't even thought about forgiving this man yet, but I appreciated every kind word he said to me. After all, I have dreamed of having a father who would talk to me so prettily.

I finished my wine, thanked him for the invitation, wished him a good night and went to sleep. My head was a little buzzed and I couldn't stop giggling as I climbed the stairs to my room, and when I passed Dylan's favorite maid along the way, I even laughed out loud. Then I felt super ashamed.

My brothers didn't return until the next evening and were totally destroyed after the party that only God knows how long lasted. It wasn't until two days later that they recovered enough so the idea of ​​going to the city could appear. I was happy because, although I liked this island more and more, I wanted to see more of Thailand.

Dylan was annoying me early in the morning, and when Shane also got under my skin, I decided that today is the day and when I went to my bedroom to get ready, I decided to jump in a yellow checked dress.
Oops, I think it was even shorter than I remembered.

I tied my hair in a tight braid, put a straw hat with a white ribbon gathered in a bow at the back of my head, and put white, very light espadrilles on my feet.

Wow, with my tan I looked really nice.

Happy, I went downstairs where my father was sitting on the couch, drinking coffee and reading a book. He was supposed to stay at home, as he apparently shouldn't show up in public places, especially with us. Nobody wanted to explain it further to me, but I guessed myself what was going on.

At the sight of me, his eyes visibly widened, but he said nothing, and I just told him that I would wait for my brothers on the terrace. I did, and when they finally appeared, Shane gaped at me as the first one. He narrowed his eyes, then, when he realized why my dress was so familiar to him, he clenched his jaw. Dylan and Tony didn't like it right away either (that's what I deduced from their raised at me eyebrows), but when Shane whispered the story of my outfit to their ears, they became even angrier.
All three of them looked really good and I was glad that I wouldn't be standing alone next to them. At least not so much. My dress may not be labeled, but it was impressive anyway. 

"What the hell are you wearing?" Dylan growled in disbelief.

I shrugged, pretending to be greatly surprised.


"Go and change, right now."

Now I raised my eyebrows.

"You gotta be kidding me."

"You gotta be kidding me, little girl. Up, now," Dylan hissed approaching me.

"We're on vacation and I will wear what I like," I said back, folding my arms.

"Stop it, Hailie, you know that this dress was supposed to disappear from your wardrobe," Shane interjected irritably.

"But I like it and want to wear it."

Dylan came closer.

"You are going to change right fucking now, or..." 

"Or what? Or you will help me? I am your sister, not a maid. Back off," I growled at him and felt the pride of myself, especially when I saw how furious he was getting.

I started backing away and he was going my way. Did I push him too far? I turned on my heel and ran quickly into the house through the kitchen, and he grabbed my hand, as usual, catching me far too quickly. I cried loudly, out of emotion and a bit out of fear.
Dylan let me go immediately, surprised by my scream, but he was still boring into me.

And that's when father appeared.

"What is going on?" he asked, leaning against the door frame and looking from me to my brother. The others also joined us.

"Look what she is wearing," Dylan spat, pointing at me with his head.

I immediately moved my big, begging eyes to my father.

"This is my favorite dress, I got it from my mom..."

"Oh come on, you know you mustn't wear it," Shane hissed somewhere behind my back.

I kept staring at the man and he, after a moment, finally sighed heavily.

"It's summer, let her wear what she wants," he murmured, although for some reason it seemed to be reluctant.

It didn't matter. I got it my way. I pulled away from Dylan with a triumphant expression and headed out onto the terrace, past the twins, muttering if we could finally go.

"What the hell, she can't even bend without showing her pants!" I heard Dylan's mad voice.

"So make sure she won't bend," equally mad father snapped back.
Something was telling me that although he backed me up, he didn't quite agree with me.

I was standing on the terrace, waiting for my brothers to accept their defeat so finally, we could go on our trip. By the way, I couldn't stop grinning at the fact that I finally started catching the rules of this stupid game my brothers played with me. And I even had my small victory. 

That is before I was pushed into the pool a few seconds later.