My mother died when I was 15.
I was practically raised by helpers and maids after that.
My dad is never around, he’s always busy with his business.
He flies around so often, that sometimes he would be gone for months at a stretch.
I’m fortunate enough to be able to stay in a large property surrounded with helpers, pool and the whole shebang of being the son of a rich businessman but all the material wealth never made up for the lack of company.
Even when my father is around, we don’t really talk.
There isn’t any common topic at all.
He’s on his phone most of the time and when he’s not, he’s surrounded by 3 laptops.
The helpers come and go, I was never really close with any of them.
I did my own stuff, and they made sure my needs were attended to.
Even when I went to the army, I just packed a bag on my own and left.
My dad had to call me several times, even to the extend of making a police report to say I’m missing only to be told I enlisted.
I got into trouble for that of course but I don’t care.
I’m just contended to lead my own life and do my own thing.
After the army, I went to university. I like my school days.
Dated a few sweet looking girls, had plenty of sex, did some wild stuff. Everything was going ok for me until half a year before I graduate.
My dad told me that since I’m graduating, it’s time he cut me off.
It’s time for me to grow up, get a job and move out.
Dad : learn to be responsible…. Go and understand how hard it is to make money…. … if not… I don’t know how to hand the company over to you in the future….
James : whatever….. I can’t wait to move out…
The die was then cast and the date is set.
The moment I get a job, I would be moving out. I can choose to stay but if I did, there would be no money for me.
Food would be whatever is in the fridge, nothing more.
Just a fallback in case I ever needed but I doubt it.
I already have companies making offers to me. I’m not stupid. A simple check with the business registry showed that they companies all belonged to a larger holding company.
The one owned by my dad.
Smaller and more low profile, the companies that made the offer made sure that if I do something embarrassing, it’s easy to cut off that infected limb.
I started packing on and off, choosing stuff to bring with me when I go and which ones to keep in my room.
1 month before my graduation, I already accepted a part time position at one of the companies. I’m sure my dad is aware but he pretended not to, asking me about my job search over dinner.
Dinner around the large table never felt more empty after my mother’s passing.
The both of us usually eat silently.
Dad : all ok with your job search… ?
James : yeah… I got one already…..
Dad : ok… good…
While waiting for the helpers to bring our dessert, my dad said he has something he want to tell me.
Dad : I need to talk to you about something…..
James : what is it… ?
Dad : There’s a girl….i’ve been seeing….
My heart rate started beating faster.
I knew it. He has a woman outside. He must have. All successful businessmen are the same.
Dad : She’s a nice girl…..not local….but she has been here for many years…..
My dad paused and waited for me reply.
James : do you love her….
My dad nodded.
James : you’re a adult….. you can do what you want….
Dad : I just think you should know about it first….before she arrives…
James : arrives… ?
Dad : yes…. I invited her tonight… to join us… for a drink….
James : ok….
I ate my dessert quietly before asking.
James : what is she like….
I needed to know. This stranger is going to be my stepmother. If course I needed to know her character, her background, what she does and all.
Dad : she’s from Malaysia…studied here her whole life…. and she’s a very sweet and homely girl….
James : I see…. She working… ?
Dad : no….i don’t plan for her to….she can take care of the house….
James : I see…..
We finished up the desserts and while my dad went to the cellar to bring up a bottle of wine, I remained at the dining area.
My dad came back shortly after and opened up the bottle of wine to let it breathe. I heard the doorbell rang and a helper went to get it.
My eyes darted towards the main door.
When it opened and my would be step mother entered, my heart stopped beating for a brief moment.
I almost fell out of my chair.
The woman smiled politely at the servant and I could see my dad standing up to welcome her.
As the women walked closer , our eyes met.
She is beautiful, but her radiant smile disappeared from the face when she saw me.
Her shapely figure, tone legs and full breasts all account for nothing as our meeting jolted memories from a distant past.
I know her and she knows me.
Dad : James…. Let me introduce you guys…. This is Alicia…. … Alicia…. My son… James…
We shook hands and I could see the discomfort Alicia is feeling right away.
Dad : come… sit…. Let’s have a drink together….
My dad poured us each a drink before adding that he had expected a bigger reaction.
Dad : I mean…. Given the age difference between us…. I was expecting a violent objection from you James…. But I’m glad you handled it well….. you’ve grown up….
Alicia just smiled awkwardly.
I know Alicia.
She was my classmate in Junior college, we even went to the same university.
She is quite a sweet girl, a little shy but very obedient.
There are rumours though, that she has some money trouble and that during university, she was moonlighting as a social escort.
I wonder if that was the reason why she met my dad.
I’m 25, Alicia is the same age as me.
What could make a 25 year old want to marry a 55 year old man ?
Your guess is as good as mine and don’t tell me it’s love. It’s money.
My mind went into overdrive and within seconds, I knew exactly what I want to do.
James : Is she the reason you are making me move out…. ?
Dad : WHAT ! ??
I could see my comment has riled up my dad.
Dad : what did you just say ?? !
James : I want to know if you are asking me to move because she is moving in…. is this the reason you are cutting me off ??!!!
Dad : how could you say that !!!!
Alicia : guys… please….
I did it on purpose. I wanted Alicia to hear that my dad is cutting me off.
Dad : I’m not talking to you when you are reacting in that manner…. I take back my words that you’ve grown up…. You’re still a god damm child !!
I stood up and walked away from the table.
Now I have Alicia’s phone number. We’re schoolmates after all.
I text her and told her we need to talk in private.
She replied ok.
When I met her at 11.45pm that night at a coffee shop near her place in Ang Mo Kio, she was no longer wearing the glittering dress she came my place in.
Just a normal cotton short and a tight-fitting t-shirt.
The moment she saw me, she has that apologetic look on her face, as if she wanted to tell me she did not intend for this to happen in the first place.
Alicia : James… I’m sorry…. I …. I didn’t know…..Pat never mentioned you…. i….i’m sorry….
James : What were you thinking… ?? !!!
Alicia looked away, too embarrassed to look at me.
James : He is 30 years older than you for god sake…. No…. no way…. I will never agree to this….
Alicia looked like she wanted to say something but she stopped herself.
Alicia : I…. I’m sorry James… I have to….i have to….
James : Are you blinded by greed !!!… are you marrying for money !!?
Alicia : Why do you care !!!…? it’s my life….
Alicia was on the verge of tears.
James : you’re going to be my stepmother !!!…. do you know what that means…. ? my dad says he want to marry you….. !!
Alicia sniffed and I could see tears rolling down the side of her cheeks. Sucking in a deep breath of air, I could see her mustering up enough courage to reply me.
Alicia : You’ve won’t understand James….you live a sheltered life…. away from worries…. No money trouble…. You won’t understand !!
James : Yes I do understand…. I understand you are marrying my father for money….
Alicia : So what if I am !!
James : you should be ashamed of yourself….
That was the last straw and Alicia turned and walked away, storming back to her place without another word.
Well, this is not over just because she walk away.
I started scrolling though my contact list, looking up long lost names from school. Contacts that I’ve never called even though I have their number.
I dialled the number and waited for it to ring.
A sleepy voice answered the phone.
James : Matt…. It’s James….you remember me… ?
Matt : James ? … James… oh James…. Hey hi…. What the hell man… calling at this time….
James: Sorry Matt… it’s a bit urgent…. Remember you use to date this girl….Alicia…
Matt : Alicia … yeah…. We were together for a short while….why…
James : I heard you broke up…. Because…. Because she was moonlighting on the side…… as a social escort….
Matt : Jesus…. You called to ask this….
James : I’m sorry… it’s long story… but it’s urgent… I needed to know…
Matt : Yeah… we broke up because of that….she needed money….
James : I see…. Do you happen to know the contact of the agency she is working with…. ?
Matt : I don’t …… Kane does…
James : What !! ? Kane… that specky nerd… ?
Matt : Yeah… he was the one who engaged the escort… and Alicia turned up…
James : What a fucker… hahaha… I never knew…
Matt : yeah… sucks me… I was cuck by my girlfriend ….. what’s going on anyway.. why are you asking this…
James : I’ll explain when we catch up…. I’ll buy you a drink next week…sorry for disturbing your rest…
Matt : Yeah… ok… cheers…
I hung up and I found Kane’s number.
He did not answer my call, probably fast asleep.
I never expected the class nerd to engage a social escort.
Opening my social media account, I started to search for Alicia though common friends and it was not hard to find her.
I’ve never really done anything for my father.
If there is one thing I’m going to do for my father as a son, it’s to make sure he don’t marry a stepmother the same age as me…….. no matter how sweet looking she may be….