It had been six years since she saw her own brother, so her memory was a bit blurred. He had left seven years ago to study inEngland, and then, he had simply vanished from the face of the earth. He had never once contacted them again. He was the reason her mother had started drinking so heavily—because her mother knew the reason, why he never called again. They all knew why. Her father had forced Keith to go because…well…he was not his blood relation. He was Lana’s mother’s first child, from her first marriage, and her father had never been able to forget that.
However, things were different when it came to the two sisters. To Lana, he was the best brother anyone could ask. Ever since she was young, she had noticed that her father openly discriminated against Keith, and this drew her closer to him. He hated his entire family, including every single disapproving aunt, except for his two sisters.
She remembered those nights when the three of them would sit near the window in their room, and talk about different things. He especially loved her because she was so much younger than he was. In reality, though, it was Jessie who stood up for him, being a real firebrand. She was too young to effectively oppose her father. He would tell them everything, and in return, he knew all their little secrets. He was a quiet person, and a bit of a social recluse, but she knew that this was because of the years of emotional torture. Above average in studies. Tall, about six feet and two inches, like everyone in her mother’s family. He was strong she remembered—he could fling her in air effortlessly even after she turned ten. He had a warm, easy smile and deep, deep brown eyes. He never shed tears, which was one of the main reasons why she respected him so much. Even when her father slapped him sometimes, he never cried, or even showed that he was depressed—you could never make out what was going through his mind by looking at his smiling face. Once, her father had slapped him so hard across his face that his cheek bled. She had cried that night, but he had consoled her that someday, life would be better.
Her mother had tried to stand up for him on numerous occasions, for she felt guilty, but he didn’t really like her. She was too weak, he used to say, and she never really tried with full heart. Lana didn’t realise this till he left, but in his own way, Keith had actually shielded both Jessie and her from her father’s wrath. After years of venting his frustrations on his stepson, her father now turned to the two sisters. Jessie stayed for as long as she could, and when she couldn’t take it anymore, she got married. At the age of twenty-one, she had already left forCanadawith Jason, then twenty-three. Lana had missed Keith for a long time after he left. She missed those late nights by the window. The comforting hug when she went to sleep. His sharp mind. His lame jokes. That laid—back attitude. Those strong arms that were always gentle.
She had felt like someone had sucked the joy out of her life. Hell, now that she thought of it, she didn’t even know who Keith’s actual father was, or where Keith actually went to study. Her father had said that he was a bad influence on the girls, and that was the only time Keith had revolted. He had slapped her father right across his face, saying that he did not have the right to separate him from the only people in the entire world who cared for him. Her father had literally shipped him out of U.S.within the next week.