The Stepbrother Ch. 01

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The waves of the ocean broke on the rocks under a beachfront cliff that hugged the Pacific Coast Highway. A black Lexus sedan flowed across the highway, and slowed as it approached one of several small two story houses built on the cliff over the ocean. The car parked perpendicular to the entrance of one of the garages and a man with an olive complexion came out of the driver seat, and went to the trunk. From the passengers side came out a thin young man in short blond hair, stylish denim pants and shirt, and a handsome face. He went to the trunk with the driver. Then from the other side a tall young blond woman opened the door and walked back to where the driver was pulling out luggage. The woman wore a white blouse with a knee length black skirt and black heels which were open-toed, showing her french tipped pedicure. Her clothing was elegant, and did not overemphasize the natural hourglass shape of her figure. Her face was very beautiful.

“I’ll give you a good review,” the blonde man said, pressing his phone.

“Thanks,” said the driver as he handed him two large rolling bags of luggage.

“Sorry I brought extra clothes in case it rains,” the young woman said.

“I was expecting more Courtney,” the young man said with a large smile.

“Very funny Aiden,” she replied.

The driver got back into the car and pulled back into traffic.

“I’ll get the door,” Courtney said.

She tried the handle, but it was locked and when she knocked there was no answer. “Let me just call,” she said, grabbing her cell phone from her purse, and choosing a contact from a list in her phone.

“Hi mom? I’m outside with Aiden. Sure. Yeah there was a lot of traffic. At the airport and then getting onto PCH. Ok.” She put her phone into her purse as the door unlocked with a click and swung open.

“Hi Mom,” Courtney said, as she hugged an older woman with blond hair. The women shared her daughter’s similar hourglass figure, but a bit more pear shaped. Courtney moved past her mother into the entryway.

“I’ve missed you both,” her mother said. “Come here son.” After hugging, they moved inside. They passed a bathroom, a set of ascending stairs and a small kitchen as they reached a combined living and dining room (also called a great room). The kitchen was open with a counter that had bar-style seating on the inside, facing the living room, which opened up to a balcony with glass windows the length of the wall. On one side of the great room was a small dining table with chairs and the other side was a sitting area with a large sofa, recliner and wall mounted television.

“It’s pretty cosy,” her mother said. “The pictures on the website we’re spot on. What do you think?”

“It’s nice,” Aiden said.

Courtney looked through the large windows of the great room. Outside on the balcony sat an older man with a dark brown complexion. The wind went through his hair as he looked at the beach below and sipped on a glass of wine.

“Wait here, I’ll get Mateus,” their mother said. She went to the sliding glass door and returned with the man who looked in his late 40s. He was a bit overweight and wore a red polo and slacks.

“Thank you Cara,” Mateus said as he handed his drink to the blonde woman. “Courtney and Aiden, so good to see you,” he said in a Brazilian accent. He gave Courtney a kiss on both of her cheeks. “Courtney, you look as beautiful as ever.”

“Thank you.”

Then he kissed Aiden on both of his cheeks.

“You look great Aiden, how have you been?”

“Good, and you… tudo bem?” Aiden asked.

“Ah, good,” he laughed. “Have you been practicing Portuguese?” he asked.

“Not really.”

“You should. You speak it well.”

Just then there was a knock at the door.

“That’s probably my son,” Mateus said with a smile.

“I’ll get it,” Cara said, handing Mateus’s drink back to him.

The rest of them were quiet as Cara went to the door. They could hear voices clearly after the door opened.

“Hey Cara,” said a deep voice.

“Marlon,” she said.

“I parked in front of the garage that’s ok right?”

“Sure no problem.”

“Courtney and Aiden just got here as well, come to the living room.”

The young man who approached behind Cara wore a loose V-neck shirt and some baggy jeans over his muscular frame. His skin was a bit lighter than his father’s.

“This is my son Marlon,” Mateus said.

“Hello everyone,” he said.

“Marlon, this is my daughter Courtney,” Mateus said with a grin.

“Step-daughter,” she corrected.

“Pleased to meet you,” Marlon said, holding out his hand. Despite how big his hand enveloped hers, he shook it gently. Her eyes quickly scanned over his large biceps and wide chest.

“Hello,” Courtney said.

“Marlon goes to UCU just South of here,” Cara said.

“And this is Aiden, her brother,” Mateus said, indicating the young man with platinum blonde hair.

“Hey,” Marlon said briefly. They both shook hands after Aiden set one of the pieces of luggage down.

“It’s good to meet you,” Aiden ataşehir escort bayan said.

“You ain’t got the game on yet?” Marlon said, looking to the television. “You mind if I turn it on?”

“Go ahead,” Mateus said.

Marlon sat on the couch and turned on the television.

“Where can I put these?” Aiden asked as he pointed to the luggage.

“The bedrooms are upstairs, I believe you and your sister will have to share the room with two beds. Turn left at the top of the stairs, and it’s the first room.”

“I’ll just put our stuff in the bedroom,” her brother said as he walked back to the stairs.

“Thanks Aiden,” Courtney replied.

“I was just getting the turkey ready in the kitchen if you would help Courtney?”

“Sure,” she said.

“It smells great,” Mateus said with smile.

“The table will be ready soon,” Cara replied as she walked into the kitchen with her daughter. She opened up a foil sealed turkey and then got out a large serving platter from the cupboard. “You look great dear,” her mother said.

“Thank you,” Courtney said quietly.

From the kitchen, Courtney saw Mateus sit on the couch next to his son, who was watching the football game. Although the couch wasn’t too far from where Cara and Courtney were in the kitchen, the sound of the loud television was enough that they had to speak very loudly if they wanted to be heard by men watching the game.

“I was worried that you would try and lose too much weight when you started acting and modeling full-time,” Cara said.

“I do yoga once week, but I’m pretty much the same weight since when I graduated high school,” she said. “Have you lost weight though?” Courtney asked.

“About 5 pounds. My dietitian says I’m really starting to make progress.”

“Good,” Courtney smiled. Her mother was a bit shorter than her, and not as curvy, although was still very attractive. Cara looked as if she exercised and took care of her body.

“I’m on the Paleo diet. My dietitian swears by it.” She smiled. “Courtney, I know you are really busy in Los Angeles, but it means a lot to Mateus and I that you could come home for Thanksgiving this year. I have really missed you.”


“I won’t get all mushy on you,” she said.

“I’ve missed you too. Jim was all set to meet you, but his movie shoot got extended. You heard about how Frank Alton died? He had a pretty big part, so to meet the release date they are working through the holiday and weekend to reshoot all his scenes.”

“Well, maybe Christmas?”

“We’re pretty busy then. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it yet. There’s may be another shoot with G Jeans.”

“Alright. Ashley’s with your father you know, and Caitlyn is volunteering in Mexico with her youth group. It would have been nice to have you all here. Still, I enjoy spending time with my two oldest.”

Courtney looked away for a second through the opening from the kitchen into the dining room. “I… I missed you, but to be honest it feels strange. I thought all of Mateus’s kids lived in Brazil,” she whispered.

“Marlon isn’t from Mateus’s first marriage,” her mother said quietly. “I didn’t even know about him, until earlier this year, but Marlon lost his mother and grandmother a few months ago, so he needs all the support we can afford him. Marlon mother met Mateus when they were both-” Courtney held up a hand. “Sorry too much at once?” Cara asked.

“I don’t need his whole history,” Courtney replied.

“I just wanted you to understand the situation.”

“And I just want to have a Thanksgiving dinner with my mom like old times.”

“Come here,” Cara said, opening her arms and Courtney hugged her mother tight. Courtney smiled and for a moment she had forgotten the uneasiness she had felt.

“Courtney, come upstairs?” Aiden said from the kitchen door.

“I’m gonna go see the rooms,” Courtney said, looking to brother and walking towards the stairs.

“You’ll have to share a room, hope that’s alright.”

“Sure,” she replied.

Courtney walked up the steep stairs with Aiden, holding the railing tightly as she ascended.

“Hey, we get this room,” Aiden said stepping into an open door a few feet down a small hallway.

Courtney followed behind him, into the room. She looked over the small, sparsely decorated bedroom. There was some beach theme knick-knacks, mostly shells, and a few paintings of marine animals. There was a wood framed twin bed on either side of the room with a small window that gave a view of the next house above one of the beds.

“Cosy,” Aiden said, laying himself flat on the bed below the window. “Hey you want to hit the beach?” Aiden started messing with his phone. “You brought a swimsuit in one of those bags? He asked indicating the two full-size luggage cases sitting at the end of the other bed.”

“Yes I did. You really want to go out there? It’s a bit chilly for sunbathing.”

“Yeah, it’s probably too cold.”

“Ok,” Courtney said, looking down. She was quiet, just staring at the floor.

“Is escort kadıöy everything alright?”

“Nothing I… I. Well mom mentioned Ashley and Caitlyn earlier when I was downstairs, and… I guess I miss when all the family was together with Dad and stuff.”

“Yeah,” Aiden agreed. “You talk to Dad lately?”

“No,” she replied. “We should call him,” she said.

“It’s like 3AM over there,” Aiden replied.

“Right. I guess tomorrow then.”

“So how’s it going with work and stuff?”

“Ok I guess. Really busy. I’ll admit I’m not great at memorizing my lines, and a few of the actors can be a bit… bitchy if the scene doesn’t go quickly. But overall… it’s good. Do you watch?”

“I’ve seen a few episodes, you you did great on the ones I saw. I didn’t think it was going so bad. You can always call me if you need to talk.”

“No, it’s not like that. It’s just a couple weeks ago I was having trouble but, it’s much better now. How are your shoots going?”

“Never better. I finished a shoot for Rene’, that French clothing line, just a few weeks ago. It was really fun.”

“That in LA?”

“Yeah, it’s the first time they’ve done a shoot in the U.S.,” he said.

“There adverts look really good.”

“Yeah. Hey how are you and Jim doing?” he asked.

“We rarely see each other,” she said sadly. “We’re both crazy busy.”

“That’s too bad,” he said sympathetically.

“It’s ok I guess. How is… Sarah doing?”

“It’s Savannah. She’s good,” he replied. “She’s thinking about quitting college to do modeling full time. She’s trying to convince me too.”

“Are you?” Courtney asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe, I mean you did it right?”

“Yeah. I think it was the right choice for me,” she said. “I’ve missed you, you know?”

“Me too, but we don’t live that far away you know. We could see each other more often.”

“The show schedule is pretty tight though. To tell you the truth, I thought about not even coming.”

“Really? I’m glad you did,” he said.


When they heard footsteps down the hall, they instantly stopped talking. Cara appeared at the door with a wan smile.

“Hello,” she said. “I know the room is a bit small, but it’s only for a few days. How about you come downstairs for dinner? Aiden maybe you could watch the game with the boys? I’m going to set the table and we’ll eat in about 15?”

“Sure,” Aiden said. “Are we eating Johnson and Bailey?” he asked.

“Yes, they delivered it just before you arrived. It tasted so good last year, I figured I’d order it again.” Johnson and Bailey was a high end restaurant that catered full Thanksgiving meals. “It’s good having my older ones back in the house,” she said with a large smile. Then she she left and walked back down the stairs.

“Mom knows you don’t watch sports right?” Courtney asked.

“Well… I do go to USC, and we’re in Los Angeles and stuff, so sometimes I watch the LA Rams,” he said, standing up and shrugging his shoulders. “So are you coming down with me or am I going alone?” he said as he got up from the bed.

“I’ll go help Mom, you get stuck with M&M.”


“Mateus and Marlon,” she said with a smirk.

“Good one,” Aiden said with a chuckle.

They walked down the stairs together, giving each other a knowing nod as they parted ways. Courtney walked back into the kitchen and her brother went to the couch to watch football with their stepfather and stepbrother.

“Hey dear, can you help me?” Cara said grabbing a tablecloth.

“Sure,” Courtney replied.

They set the dinner table with silverware and plates, then they started placing all the food in the center. It didn’t take long before they were finished with the simple, but somewhat relaxing activity. The round table was large enough to fit the small feast of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, cranberry sauce, and dinner rolls.

“Dinner’s ready,” her mother said loudly, as they carried out the last of the dishes. Aiden was sitting on the end of the couch, typing into his phone and ignoring the game.

“Smells great,” Mateus said standing.

“Just a second till the commercial,” Marlon said.

“Alright,” she replied, walking back. Aiden got up and walked to the table and sat next to his sister. Mateus and Cara also sat down, and he immediately took her hand and kissed it. She smiled broadly, and Courtney looked away.

“It looks wonderful my love,” Mateus said.

“Johnson and Bailey did a great job,” she said. They waited about five minutes for Marlon to turn off the television and sit.

“Oh I almost forgot!” Cara said, pushing her chair back and standing, when Marlon finally sat down.

“What is it?” Mateus asked. Cara didn’t respond, she just disappeared into the kitchen. When she returned she was wearing a smile with a bottle of wine and several glasses in her hands.

“Could you dear?” she asked, handing the bottle to Mateus. He opened it with the corkscrew and filled his glass and proceeded to fill maltepe escort the others. The table was then quiet for several minutes, with only the sound of people eating or an occasional comment on how the food was good until Mateus spoke up.

“So Marlon, which team do you think will win the game?

“Giants,” Marlon replied.

“Are they favored to win?” his father asked.

“Green Bay is, but I’m hoping the Giants can pull an upset.”

Courtney took a few bites of white meat turkey with gravy. It tasted as good as last time.

“Courtney dear, I meant to ask you, where did you get that blouse? It looks so good on you,” her mother said.

“Thanks, it’s from L.L. Market. Jim helped me pick it out,” she said. The peplum white blouse hugged her torso, but de-emphasized her large breasts by drawing attention to her slim arms and waist with frilled fabric. “A lot of my recent clothing buys have been L.L. This is one of my favorites.”

“Mom is right, it looks good,” Aiden said, after sipping a bit of wine.

“Courtney, I was speaking to Gillian Young a few days ago and she said you were having a little trouble on the show?” Mateus said. Courtney’s expression became angry, but then faded as she looked Mateus.

“Everythings fine,” she replied, quickly composing herself.

“Are you sure?” Mateus asked. “I know it’s a tough schedule. I was on the show for ten years, but I was a very accomplished actor before that, so I had the practice. I could talk to her, see if they could give you a break for a week or two?

“No thank you. I’m alright.”

“It’s no problem, we talk every week,” Mateus said.

“No, I don’t need any help. It’s just that I was a bit busy shooting a few commercials and ads for G Jeans. That’s over now, so it’s not an issue.”

“Ok. Just let me know if you need anything.”

“Sure,” she said with a nod.

There was an awkward silence. Courtney looked at her brother for sympathy, but he was smirking. She took a sip of her wine.

“Where were you going to school before you got on that Soap?” Marlon asked Courtney.

“I was going to UCLA” she replied.

“Cool. I wanted to play football there for a while.”

She nodded silently and put a spoonful of tart cranberry sauce into her mouth. Courtney was about half finished with her meal, but stood up.

“It was very good mother thank you,” she said.

Cara didn’t reply, she only nodded with a sad smile. Courtney took her glass of wine and plate to the kitchen. After placing her plate in the sink with a sigh, she turned to go up the stairs. Her mother was there at the entrance to the kitchen and Courtney took a quick breath in surprise.

“Is everything ok?” her mother asked.

“Yeah, I was just going outside to get a little air, it’s a bit warm in here.”

“It’s so cold outside. Do you want to borrow a coat? I have one u-“

“I ok, I have one in my luggage,” Courtney said, as she grabbed her wine glass, brushed gently past her mother, and walked up the stairs.

Courtney entered the room she shared with her brother and set down the wine glass on the bedside table that separated the two beds. She opened her purse, pulled out a pack of cigarettes and tapped them against her hand. Then she took the last two from the pack and her lighter and slipped them in the bra beneath her blouse. She put the empty pack back in her purse and then put on a knee-length white wool coat from her luggage.

Her mother had never approved of her smoking as a freshman in High School, and she hadn’t told her that she had started up again. It was just recently, within the last week because of the stress from the soap opera.

With her glass in hand she turned around as her brother walked in. She was startled again, almost spilling her wine.

“What’s up?” Aiden asked with concern. “You left pretty quick.”

“I’m just irritated at Mateus. He acts like he started my whole career, because he introduced me to a few people. Hey, could you entertain Mom for a while?”

“Sure, why?”

“I’m going outside to smoke and I don’t want her to know.”

“Ok sure.”

“Thanks, I owe you.”

“Yes you do,” he called after her as she quickly descended the stairs.

As she left the house, she past what must have been Marlon’s cheap compact car parked in front of the garage. She walked by a few of the other two-story houses on her way to the beach cliff, with her black heels clicking across the pavement.

The sky was dark and the stars shone brightly overhead. There was a metal railing and a set of concrete stairs that looked like they went all the way down to the beach while hugging the cliff. Courtney stood at the top of the stairs on a small concrete platform. She set the glass of wine down on the platform while she lit a cigarette that she pulled from beneath her bra.

After placing the cigarette between her lips and inhaling deeply, she picked up the glass. She exhaled white smoke and took a sip of her white wine. She watched the thin lines of translucent liquid run down the sides of the glass, back to the bottom, and then she took another drag from the cigarette.

She pushed the thoughts of her stepbrother, stepfather, and her role on the soap opera out of her mind and tried to focus on the cold clear night and the warm smoke in her hand.

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