Separated at Ten

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Hard cold rain poured down their wet soaked bodies as Madeleine and Robert Coldwater watched as their family home was set ablaze. Those evil, wicked flames hissed as they screamed out for their father as he rushed back into their home to save their mother. Their throats raw and sore as the roar of the fire trucks arrived on scene. Holding each other’s hand hoping, just hoping that they were all right, yet that was not to be as the police whisked them away to child services. Robert had to watch as his sister was taken from him by an aunt he never knew they had while he remained in foster care. “Boys are evil, leave him Madeleine,” those words would forever haunt him as he grew throughout the years.

There were families that tried to adopt Robert but he wasn’t having any of it, nor was he going to stay with the ones that were abusive or just wanted the check that came with him. He had forgotten how many homes he had ran away from that he was placed in. Yet he would always be found back at that burnt out shell of their former home. Wondering why his sister hadn’t taken him with her. Wasn’t that what siblings did — protect one another? However, the one person that meant anything to him had abandoned him; left him to that dreary life that Robert was forced to live alone. The once happy, caring boy grew cold and distant to all those around him. He had learned as the years passed in the orphanage there was only one person you could ever count on — yourself.

Ten years later……

Robert returned home from the late shift at the chemical plant he worked at while going to school part-time. His one room apartment was small and bare of anything that could indicate that an actual person lived there. The walls were the same eggshell white paint that had adorned the walls when he moved in after the orphanage kicked him out. A secondhand tan couch sat in front of his TV, both he had picked up at goodwill. There was no gaming console he had heard about while he was growing up. Other than his uniforms Robert only had a few pairs of clothes stored in his dresser. To him everything else was just a luxury, money better kept in his bank account then spent on useless things, other than the Smartphone in his pocket that is. He knew if he had to, he could pack up what clothes he had and disappear which wasn’t hard for him to do. He had grown used to it during his childhood. That was until he heard an odd beep from his phone. If he didn’t need the thing for work Robert wouldn’t have even bothered with the device. Arching an eyebrow as the blue light flashed on his phone as he tossed away the pile of junk mail.

Robert barely knew how to operate the contraption; he had no idea what the little envelope meant that blinked on the top screen. Cocking his head to the side wondering just what he was suppose to do, wondering if he just tap it would it go away?

Frowning as it took him to where his text messages were stored which read: “Is this Robert Seymour Coldwater?”

Robert set his phone down pondering if he should answer, shaking his head at the thought, knowing it could just be some kind of telemarketer. He had overheard some of the people at his work saying they could do that now. Yawning as he opened his fridge looking for something to eat before he went to bed. While it might not be what anyone would call a fulfilling life, yet to Robert it was the only life he knew. A life he didn’t have to look over his shoulder wondering if one of the older kids would steal his food; or soil his bed in mud, jam or feces as one of the more sadistic boys had done when he was fourteen. At an early age he had learnt to fight for what was his. In the orphanage it was survival of the fittest and no one dared to appear weak, least not when the nun’s back was turned.

After a few broken noses they learned not to take what was his, those that tried learnt a hard lesson in the dead of night when they were left alone. Once he was free from the orphanage, food was the only thing Robert truly splurged on. No more of the days of plain old oatmeal, no more smelly bologna, no more of the days of going to bed hungry when they didn’t have enough to fully feed the kids in their care. Robert licked his lips as the ham, roast beef, chicken sat nestled between a leaf of lettuce and two slices of tomato on thick white bread. It wasn’t much but to him it was heaven. Huffing in annoyance when he was about to take a bite as his phone vibrated once again.

“Please, I’m looking for my brother Robert. Is this his phone number or not?” Robert scowled as he chewed on his bite savoring the freshness of the tomato and the crispness of the lettuce.

“You got the wrong number, I don’t have a sibling.” Robert typed out lying to whomever it was, yet ten years he might as well not have a sibling for all the good it had done him.

“It can’t be, this has to be his number, please let me talk to Robert!”

“I’m İstanbul Escort telling you, you have the wrong number, there is no Robert here! Now please lose this number and don’t contact me again.” Robert typed out returning to his meal sliding his phone away from him.

“Well, we will see about that!” came a rapid reply over the crunch of his potato chip.

Robert jumped in his seat as a fist pounded on his door. Grumbling as the pounding on his door grew, putting the chain on his door he knew it wouldn’t stop anyone if they wanted into his small home. Yet it would give him time to retrieve his bat he kept close just in case.

“What is it that you want?!” Robert growled as he peered through the crack of the door. His eyes ran down the early twenty-year-old woman as she stood on the second floor walkway of his apartment complex. The yellow-white light flashed across her pearl necklace. Her navy-blue dress seemed out of place in his part of his neighborhood, it seemed more fitting in the more upscale section of his town. Then he saw the forty-year-old woman that stood behind her right shoulder. Her auburn hair seemed aflame in the artificial lighting.

“I’m looking for Robbie,” Madeleine said trying to get a view of the man through the crack of the door. Robert narrowed his eyes as he knew only one person ever called him that and got away with it. It was so preposterous that she would even think about showing up now after all this time.

“There is no one here by that name, now please leave,” Robert said as nicely as he could. If it was his sister he wanted nothing to do with her much less see her. His ebony hair brushed along his forehead as he viewed the woman that might be his sister.

“You sure, this rent application says there is,” Madeleine said holding up the form he had filled out two years ago along with the photocopy of his ID card. “So why don’t you drop the act and open the door?”

“All right so you know my name, what is it that you want?” Robert asked not giving into her demand.

“Robbie please, I just want to talk with you,” Madeleine said pleading with her younger brother.

When she and her aunt had bought out the previous owners thinking to add the apartment complex to their vast real estate holdings, among other business dealings they had their hands in, they went through the applications to see who was behind and who was up to date on their rent payments. Madeleine couldn’t believe that the brother she searched for had taken up residence in one of the upper apartments. She didn’t know if it was god, fate or just plan luck but she knew she had to see him. She had to know what happened to him, had to know what kind of life he had lived, had to know if he thought about her as she had done with him for all those years.

“I don’t know you, whatever you think we have to discuss is only in your mind,” Robert said eager to get back to his meal. “Now if you excuse me, my meal is getting cold,” he said inching his door closed.

“If you won’t talk to me then you leave me no other choice than to evict you from the premises,” Madeleine said her hand resting on the door stopping its advancement and slipping the eviction notice through the crack of the door. She had no wish to kick him out of his home, yet this seemed the only way Robert would talk to her.

“What!” Madeleine heard his yell from behind the door. “You can’t do this, my rent has been paid, what about the four months left on my lease?!” Robert shouted as he threw the door open, his finger stabbing at the flapping piece of paper.

“Well, this complex is under new management, Robert,” Caroline said stepping beside her niece. She had saved Madeleine from her mad sister a few weeks after she had heard the news of Michel’s and Paula’s death, however, by that time Robert had been lost in the influx of the system. It took months for them just to learn they had shipped him off to some out-of-state Catholic orphanage after the final time he had ran away from the home they placed him in. Then years of fighting the state to get her nephew back, however, by the time they had broke through all the red tape Robert was already eighteen and out of foster care. “So your old lease is now invalid, however, if you wish to stay here all you have to do is invite us in.”

“Screw you!” Robert said slamming the door in their faces. He knew he could fight it yet that would require money — money he knew would just be wasted. He could always find another apartment, things he wasn’t attached to he could always replace. He finished eating the last bit of his sandwich as if he was being forced out he wasn’t going on an empty stomach. It didn’t take long for him to pack his meager belongings as Robert was use to living on the move. Thrusting open his door his eyes narrowing as they still stood in front of his door. “What! Throwing me out of my home not enough for you?!” Robert sneered as his sea bag slipped from his shoulder. Taking his key ring Anadolu Yakası Escort out of his pocket, tossing the steel key at Madeleine’s chest, he pushed past them heading towards the stairs, checking his watch wondering if he could make it to the bus stop in time.

“Robbie wait! Please wait brother!” Madeleine called out as she raced after him.

“I told you before I don’t have a damn sibling!” Robert spat as he jumped the last few steps to distance himself from Madeleine. Only to be blocked by a brute of a man causing him to fall backwards onto the cold hard concrete steps.

“Thank you Anthony,” Madeleine said as her legs carried her down to Robert’s side.

“No problem boss lady,” Anthony said in a deep masculine voice.

“Now… Robert will you please cut this childish behavior out and talk to me like a normal adult?” Madeleine asked as she crouched at his side. “Please, can we just go back to your… oh right, you don’t live here anymore,” she said sticking the key into her bra so he couldn’t take it from her. “Let me show you my home, where we can talk in comfort and not on this cold hard ground,” Madeleine said placing her hand on his shoulder.

“I told you before I don’t fucking know you,” Robert said batting aside her hand. “Whatever you think we have to say to one another is only inside that delusional brain of yours,” he said lifting himself off the ground.

“Anthony, see that Robert is shown to the car, we can’t have our family business out in public for all eyes to see,” Caroline said walking down the stairs gracefully. Due to the by-laws of the family’s long standing will, only the male heir could hold any say over the way things are ran. While Caroline wanted to do away with such an old way of thinking, it made their enemies constantly underestimate her time and time again. It was Michel’s task to instill this into his son when he grew to the age of being inducted into the family’s secret business. However, that was thrown to the wind when a rival family had set their house ablaze. She wasn’t about to lose another one of their shrinking family.

“Yes, ma’am,” Anthony said taking Robert by the arm, his brown leather holster peeking out from his suit jacket.

“Robert, don’t fight Anthony, he is very good at what he does and I’d rather you not get harmed,” Caroline said seeing Robert starting to fight against Anthony as he led him to their black limousine.

“Sir, if you would… or I can toss you in if you like,” Anthony said in a cold matter-of-fact tone as he held the car door open. Robert had been around enough shady people to know the man wasn’t joking. Sighing as he slid the bag from his shoulder clutching it to his chest as the man tried to reach for it.

“Anthony, Robert may keep his bag if he so wishes,” Madeleine said walking along the side of the car. “Thank you for your assistance, Anthony.”

“Any time young Miss,” Anthony said holding the door open for her.

“Take us home Michael,” Caroline said as she slid into the seat beside her niece.

“Robert, tell me how was your life? Did you ever think about me? Were you loved? Did they take care of you?” Madeleine asked starting to rise from her seat. Only to see her brother clutching his bag even tighter thinking that she meant to take it from him. Wondering what could have happened to her brother to cause him to be so on edge with everyone.

“You think I’m just going to open up just because you miraculously show up. That I’d just bawl my little heart out to the so-called sister that abandoned me ten years ago, bah,” Robert said waving her off.

“Robert, we did everything legal to find you,” Caroline said placing her hand on her niece’s forearm.

“Uh huh, and you are?” Robert said arching an eyebrow as he looked at the woman skeptically.

“Robert, don’t you remember me? I’m your Aunt Caroline, think back to your tenth birthday, don’t you remember the action figure I got you?”

“Nope not one bit,” Robert said looking out the window as they sped down the highway.

“Robert, it’s rude not to look at the person when they’re speaking to you,” Caroline said folding her hands in her lap. Knowing it was going to be a difficult task to break him of the habits he had picked up.

“Oh, like how it wasn’t rude to toss me out of my home because I had no interest in speaking with you?” Robert retorted.

“All right, I’ll admit that was a little rash on my part,” Madeleine said leaning forward watching as those blue eyes of his followed her as if he was preparing himself for an attack. “Robert, you don’t know how long we have been looking for you. The state made it highly improbable if not impossible to get any information on you. By the time we got through the red tape you were already eighteen and the orphanage you were at told us you left no forwarding address. So we had to start all over again trying to track down your movements but after a month it seemed you just disappeared.”

“Yeah, Kartal Escort like I’d give those people anything that could lead back to me,” Robert said darkly.

“Robert, did they beat you?” Madeleine asked watching as he fidgeted with his watch.

“How long is this going to take? I need to sleep, I have to work tonight,” Robert said ignoring his sister’s question. He wasn’t about to divulge anything to people he didn’t know and didn’t trust.

“You won’t be going back there any longer Robert. You don’t have a need to work unless you want to that is, if you want to work I could always find something for you to do,” Caroline said studying her nephew she knew that demeanor all too well. Her late husband carried himself in the same manor years after he had been released from prison. Yet she knew he had never been in trouble with the law once he had turned eighteen, however, his juvenile record would have been expunged when he became an adult.

“Hmpf! No thanks I think I’d rather go to work,” Robert said wondering when their little impromptu get together would be over. “Now are we done or what I got to find a new place to live thanks to you.”

“Robert….brother don’t you understand we’re taking you home!” Madeleine said sliding into the bench seat that set across from the built-in bar. Only to watch as her brother distanced himself from her, her lip trembled wondering what had caused him to be so distrustful even to her.

“Tell me Robert how much time did you spend in juvie?” Caroline asked noticing the slight smirk in the corner of his mouth.

“A year and a half,” Robert said with a little pride.

“Oh, and just what were you in for that required so much time?”

“Shoplifting, pick pocketing, gta, reckless endangerment, oh and my favorite, assaulting an officer. Ah, that was a good day,” Robert said sighing looking out the window once again. Caroline’s mind raced thinking it wouldn’t take much to bring Robert into the family business since he has already demonstrated a knack for criminal behavior.

“Michael, pull over,” Caroline ordered. Waiting for the car to slow to a crawl along the curb before opening the door. “Robert, if you want to leave you can and we won’t bother you again. You can even return to that small apartment and go back to that mundane life you have led, or you can stay and I’ll show you things that mischievous child could never dream of,” Caroline said waving to the open door.

“Key,” Robert said holding out his hand to his sister.

“No! I won’t!” Madeleine said shaking her head in refusal.

“Well, it seems Robert you have been out voted,” Caroline said smiling evilly shutting the door she was never going to let him exit the vehicle, she just needed to make him think he ever had a choice. “Continue Michael,” Caroline said as she crossed her legs her black panties flashed her nephew.

“Robert, please can we just be brother and sister, like we were those many years ago?” Madeleine asked inching closer to him. She wanted to wrap him in her arms, to feel some connection they both had to their deceased parents.

“Oh, now you want to be my sister, where were you when I was ten?” Robert asked rhetorically.

“Madeleine, give him time,” Caroline said as she watched as the gates of their family estate swung open. Instantly, Robert noticed the numerous muscle bound guards that walked the grounds, the numerous cameras as they swung in overlapping fields of vision. Two houses sat across from one another as they drove up the quarter mile long paved driveway. Trepidation filled his body as the car rolled to a stop before the grand entrance of their family manor. “Welcome home Robert, I do apologize it took so long to bring you home,” Caroline said as Anthony opened the car door for her.

“Anthony, see that nasty business is taken care of before lunch,” Caroline said straightening the shawl that rested on her shoulders.

“I’ll see to it immediately, boss,” Anthony said his eyes darting over to Robert who exited the car on the other side. He knew the young man might be a threat to his employer, while he didn’t like bringing him in, Anthony knew when to keep his mouth shut.

“Robert, let me show you to your room,” Madeleine said looking over the roof of the limousine as Robert looked around the grounds.

“Can’t I just stay there,” Robert said pointing to the houses behind him.

“No, Robert those are for our men’s quarters and not for you to be getting under foot. Now stop this nonsense and come along,” Caroline said narrowing her eyes wondering if he would ever grow any form of attachment to them.

“The upper left wing is the living quarters, where I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of one another,” Madeleine said her ass swaying as she led the way up the grand staircase.

“There’s a media room across the hall if you want to partake of it,” Caroline said pointing to the other side of the staircase. “If you’re hungry, there is a phone by your bed, a chef is always on call at all hours should there be a need for a snack or meal,” she said looping her arm around his. “I think given time Robert, that you’ll enjoy your life here with us,” Caroline said trying to be as charming as she could to lower his defenses.

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