Posts from the “The Brothers” Category

Chasing Truth: Chapter 47

Posted on 05/06/2020

A sandy path through the sand dunes to a beautiful beach with an ...

Reese was silent during the walk from the beach back to Mari’s place. Only once the house was in sight did he speak again.

“Pack a bag for the night when we get inside.”

She hesitated to question him, but the order made no sense. “Where are we going?”

“Raoul’s.”

He said no more as he led the way inside to complete his normal inspection of the house. Certain the house was as they left it, he gestured her toward the bedroom. She hurried inside to gather what she needed. Her mind raced the entire time. Reese was clearly angry with her. Blake was guaranteed to be as well. Raoul would be upset she hadn’t told him the truth.

The second she walked into the living room with her bag he hustled her out of the house to Raoul and Allie’s. They were in the living room watching TV when Mari and Reese let themselves inside. Raoul glanced over his shoulder, saw Reese’s face, and immediately reached for the remote to turn off the TV.

“What is it?”

Mari cupped her arms, trying to avoid Raoul’s gaze while Reese explained the truth about Tyler.

“I want to keep her here tonight while we dig into Tyler. We don’t want any surprises. I need to make another sweep of the house for bugs before I take her back too.”

“You don’t even have to ask,” Raoul said the second Reese finished.

“I appreciate that. I’ll give Blake a call now.”

He retreated into the kitchen, leaving Mari to face her surrogate parents alone.

“I told you I had a bad feeling about him,” Raoul grumbled predictably. “Why didn’t you say something?”

Mari threw up her hands. “What was I supposed to say? Hey, the guy you’ve been warning me about is actually a spy here to investigate the father everyone’s pretending they don’t know?”

“Yes!”

She rolled her eyes. “Yeah, and you would’ve had a heart attack.”

A weak laugh slipped from Allie even as tears threatened to fall. Raoul immediately wrapped his arm around his wife even as he glared at Mari.

“You both are nothing but trouble.”

The worry was plain in Raoul’s eyes despite his teasing words. He upended his entire life for her when her mother died by taking her in. She put the same look in his eyes many times in their life together, but was starker now. Fear was woven into the worry because the risks were far higher. She hated she was the cause of it and hated even more she couldn’t change it.

“Speaking of trouble,” Mari said forcing a lighter tone, “you gave Reese your steak recipe?”

“Are you serious right now?”

“Yes! He’s not even family.”

Raoul stared at her before muttering, “It’s not like you were going to do anything with it.”

“Not an excuse!”

“Mari,” Reese called.

She turned to see him in the doorway of the kitchen holding his phone up. Knowing she couldn’t delay the talk, she forced herself not to drag her feet as she crossed the room to him. She took the phone from him and walked into the kitchen. Reese wordlessly followed.

“Hi, Blake,” she answered hesitantly. She was braced for any possible reaction. Except for the one she got.

“Thank God he didn’t hurt you,” Blake breathed. “All I can think about is the things he could’ve done before I even met you. My security failed you. I’m sorry, Mari.”

She blinked, slowly letting out the breath she was holding. “It’s not your fault. He was here before I even got back from school. There was no reason to think he was here for me.”

“We should’ve looked harder when he started getting close to you.”

“He didn’t hurt me. I’m fine, and so far, it’s worked out okay.  I’m…I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner.”

“I was a stranger,” he said in quiet understanding that smoothed out her remaining tension.

“You’re taking it easy on me, but I’m glad. So…ummm…what exactly are you going to do now?”

“Figure out who Tyler is and what he wants. You’ll break up with him. I don’t care what excuse you come up with. Use whatever works best. You’ll know.”

“I can’t just randomly break up with him. He’ll know I told you.”

Reese was immediately beside her and reached for the phone. A quick press to the screen put the call on speaker.

“Blake, that’s a risky move.”

“That’s why you’re there.”

“I’d really rather not go risky,” Mari interjected before Reese could speak. “And besides, I don’t really know anything about what he’s doing. If I stay with him, I could find out more about what he’s planning so you have warning.”

“No.” Blake’s rejection was sharp and immediate. “I want you safe and out of his reach.”

“He’s going to be suspicious if I break up with him and that might make him do something stupid. That’s not me being safe. And there’s really no way to be out of his reach on the island.”

“Reese will keep you safe until we have Tyler under control.”

“So I was trying not to point this out, but it’s not your decision to make,” Mari finally said bluntly. “You can’t make me break up with him.”

“He’s using you.”

“And now I get to use him back.”

“Petty revenge is not worth risking your life,” he ground out. “What happens when he turns on you? Because eventually he will. You’re a means to an end.”

She shot Reese a quick look from the corner of her eye. “Like you said, that’s what Reese is here for. You don’t even know who he is yet and I’m assuming you guys looked into him already. You need as much information as you can get and you know it.”

“I don’t like it.”

“Noted.” She hesitated before she made herself push forward. “I think we need to talk about your life and what exactly it is that you do. The time to protect me with ignorance is over. Knowledge is protection now.”

Reese stiffened.

“No, it’s even more important now Tyler believes you don’t know anything,” Blake said.

“Obviously, I’m not planning on telling him or I wouldn’t have warned you. I need to know what I’m dealing with.”

There was a long silence. It was so long she thought he would deny her. Then she heard him sigh.

“You may be right, but that is not a conversation for the phone.”

“I don’t think you should come to Sakina right now,” she blurted out in protest.

Tyler was gone, but she had no clue what he was doing or planning.

“We’re in agreement there. I don’t want any other eyes drawn to the island. Reese will bring you to me.”

Mari’s brow jumped. “I’ll be coming to where you live?”

“We’ll work out the details. You’ll just need to pack and be ready when Reese says it’s time to go.”

“I can manage that.”

“Then I’ll be seeing you soon. In the meantime, stick close to Reese and listen. Don’t make me regret doing this your way.”

“For someone who just started doing this father thing, you got that part down pretty fast,” she complained.

“How,” Blake started on a soft chuckle, “in the middle of all of this mess can you still manage to make me laugh?”

“It’s a talent,” Mari said with a shrug, but her eyes were on Reese. His lips twitched and a seed of hope took root he wouldn’t hold this against her forever.

<< Chapter 46                              Chapter 48 >>

The Brothers: Part 3

Posted on 15/06/2012

Many years later and Jacob was well advanced in years. God blessed him abundantly, with two wives and several children. Even though he often had to deal with his swindling father-in-law, Jacob had many reasons to be grateful in the land of Paddan Aram.

On another hot afternoon, as he stood on top a mole hill, Jacob watched with contentment at his growing herd of sheep and his sons lounging in the grass. His two wives, Leah and Rachel, sat by the tents giggling among themselves.

Peace, he cherished it. With all he had around him and Laban finally clearing his conflict before returning home, there was nothing else that could go wrong right now. “Thank you God Almighty, for your great blessings!” Jacob said aloud.

“Master Jacob!” a servant gasped for air, racing up the hill to meet Jacob. “We have trouble!”
Jacob’s heart suddenly fell. So much for peace and quiet. “What is it?” he called back to the servant, now walking down to meet him halfway.

“Y-y-y-your, y-your…” the servant stuttered painfully.

Jacob frowned. “Take a breath and spit it out, man.” He held his breath, waiting.

“M-m-m-master Jacob, it’s E-E-esau!“

Jacob’s face grew white. “What did you say? Who?”

The servant sighed heavily, finally catching his breath. “Master Jacob, it’s Esau, he’s coming. One of the shepherd men saw him up ahead. He’s coming this way.” The man placed a hand on his head, frantic with fright. “What should we do, Master?” Although he only joined Jacob’s tribe in Paddan Aram, he among others had heard stories of the two estranged brothers, especially the infamous Esau who could snap Master Jacob in two. “What should we do?”

Jacob could not speak. He stared over the servant’s head at the fields ahead, already picturing Esau and his mighty men of war marching to meet him and his family. He closed his eyes to say a quiet prayer before opening them to meet the servant’s expectant gaze. “Call for the others. We must have a meeting now.” He walked around him and headed down the hill, the servant calling out the orders to the flock.

Maybe he was a coward, he knew some of his tribe thought so even as they walked in front, watching him hold back with his children and wives. But Jacob could not risk having his children meet Esau first. What if he took his revenge on them? It would be his fault, not theirs.

Turning to his first wife, he managed a smile. “You and the children follow after me.” He glanced over at the other, Rachel, and smiled warmly, hoping to calm her fears. “Follow right after Leah and the children. Keep Joseph safe with you.” Then with a sigh, he straightened his shoulders and walked down the hill, a few meters behind his men.

Even with this dislocated hip of his, he reminded himself that having wrestled with God could be a good sign. Even with his brother coming to battle with him, he was a blessed man. Rolling his neck, he took a deep breath, remembering the last expression on his older brother’s face right before he escaped to Paddan Aram.

“We meet again, Esau… I’m sorry for hurting you. Please find it in your heart to forgive me,” he recited his words aloud, hoping his brother would be in a good mood after receiving the gifts he’d sent ahead. He prayed and hoped to himself that Esau would indeed meet him with smiles instead of a pointed spear.

Esau waited patiently, something he wasn’t born to do but found himself doing more often. He’d waited for all these years to meet Jacob. A few more hours wouldn’t hurt. He stared over the crowd of people and bleating sheep and goats in front of him, but still no sign of his younger brother.
Eying one of the servants standing with his head bowed before him, Esau cleared his throat. “Where’s Jacob? Isn’t he coming after you?”

The servant laughed nervously. “Oh, he’s coming. He has a bit of a limp, so he’s slow.”

“Limp?” Esau frowned and glanced again down the hill. His eyes then lit up, noticing another crowd of people walking slowly up the hill. Jacob was coming.

Pushing away from his tribe, Esau walked past the sheep and servants to meet with Jacob.

Soon enough, the two brothers stood with an invisible thick line between them, staring at each other with no expression on each other’s faces. Jacob fell to his knees and bowed right in front of his brother and the people, his servants openly surprised at their master’s submission.

Esau then smiled at Jacob’s bent head and stepped over the line, gathering his brother in an embrace. “You’re still as scrawny as I remember, even after all these years!” Esau roared.

Jacob gaped at his servants and sheep who remained untouched, unharmed. His brother’s arms pressed tightly around him brought him back to his senses, or rather the feeling of air leaving his body did. He choked a cough but dared not complaining, aware of Esau’s quick temper.

Esau slapped Jacob on the back before lowering him to his feet. He grabbed his shoulders. “Let me look at you, my brother.”

Jacob swallowed hard, still confused by Esau’s unexpected welcome. What if it was a trick to catch him off-guard and then finish him off at night? “Brother… I’m sorry.”

“Hmm, I see you’ve been busy,” Esau ignored his brother’s request, noticing the women and children trailing behind. He patted Jacob’s shoulder and grinned down at him, poor Jacob still standing stiffly beside him. “Now, tell me you send your servants and sheep ahead of you. That was foolish. What if I’d slaughtered them in my furious anger?”

Jacob’s wives gasped loudly, shifting back toward the hill. Jacob faced his brother; feeling embarrassed by Esau’s blatant mocking. “I was sending a peace offering ahead of me.”

“Sure you were,” Esau gave him a side glance before laughing aloud at the women’s terrified expressions. “Calm down, dear sisters-in-law. I mean no harm. I’m glad to see you all.” He ruffled Jacob’s graying hair. “We’ve got some catching up to do, don’t we, dear Brother?”

With a weak smile that still showed he was terrified, Jacob let Esau pull him away from the clan. Even though Esau’s face looked softer, despite the wrinkles and white hair that was once red… he wasn’t ready to forget that Esau had every right to be angry with him and take revenge. Still, Jacob hoped God would protect him from Esau’s wrath.

<<Part 2 || Cover>>

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