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Chapter 2

When he first came to our house the atmosphere was so tense that I even could not breathe, trying to push myself to take the every next breathe. Thank goodness he didn come for me and I was happy. At that moment so far.

I remember the day, when I first met Ranold Albert Hamilton at my house, at my home — the safest place on the whole Earth. And I remember how I, Olivier Michel Garcin, was trembling clutching the railings of the stairs watching that man passing by through the old poor hall decorated with only one very ancient colorless picture, shabby creaking table and faded long orange carpet that was lying on the floor to cover the moldy woods.

It was the day when my life changed completely, leaving me no choice but to accept the reality in which we were living.

But, lets start from the very beginning. The first thing I want to mention here, that my family was poor and we all lived together in a very old house in Gentilly district in New Orlean. We rented two rooms from one big Nanny. I don know her real name, but she was black and plump. And her hair was a real mess. In fact, I even can say how many children she got, because it seems that her cousin lived with us at the same house and he was playing the piano and saxophone during evenings. I remember my mom quite often was arguing with him about this, but he only answered something like Im an artist. And there were some other houses on our street somehow realively connected to Nanny.

But it was half of the problem. Nannys cousin had four children. They were so loud and fast that even we couldn catch them. They all were totally black as the blackest dark-skinned people I ever seen in my life. There were three boys and one girl. The girl always had her hair done in braids so for me its still a mystery and sometimes I ask myself, Did she do that alone or someone helped her? But those questions remain unanswered in my head so Id better get rid of them.

And, of course, the house itself. It was very old, very creaking and very moldy. But it was also cheap, so we at least had a place to sleep and eat. Our parents lived in bedroom at the end of the corridor on the second floor and we lived in the other bedroom that was near the toilet. So we always heard when someone went to the bathroom. And there were only two beds in our room. One big bed, where the four cousins children were sleeping, and the couch, where three of us were sleeping. Three of us, because I had two sisters and I myself was the middle son. And according to the laws of the genre I was deserved to be born as an omega. All my life I thought it was an unfortunate coincidence and the heavens just messed up giving me a penis instead of the vagina.

Being an omega in suburbs was quite dangerous. Thank goodness that the school where I studied had enough supplies for people like me and I had suppressants from the very beginning. Of course, I also was told about some other aspects of omegas life because the teacher of sexual education was an omega too. So he helped us a lot. There were not so many omegas and alphas, but more than enough for living and being visible. For example, in our class there were eleven from thirty-five who had the derivative sex. And five from eleven were omegas. So omegas were not an exceptions or something outside the rules. It was the life we adjusted to.

And How you met Ranold, you may ask. Well, thats kinda long story. I was a young guy those days and I was at the threshold of adolescence graduating from the high school ready to apply for an open world in front of me. But, actually, I didn have so much choice, because studying at university was very expensive, and the only choice I had was applying for a college and then finding a job somewhere in a cafe nearby or restaurant to make ends meet and trying not to die after overworking. As you can see I had a lot of perspectives.

The prom was coming up and I was preparing for my exams living the last days of my carefree life, when the sudden problem came to our house. A few years before that our father began to gamble. At first it was not a big problem and he began to bring home some more money than usual. It was okay as there were fortunate and unfortunate days, so on fortunate days mom and dad were happy and on unfortunate days they were arguing a lot. That lasted for three or four years, I don remember exactly, but I was pretty sure that by the end of my school education my dad was deep into gambling. I had no idea of what was going on in my family. Only my elder sister seemed to know a lot because I noticed that she was quite often with my father and they usually discussed something extra mysterious on the back yard, sometimes even whispering as if they were ready to be caught at any time.

Not so much time passed since I noticed that, when one day the doors of our house opened unexpectedly without any knocking and three men went in. I was a bit interested because of the Nannys cousin yelling in the corridor about who those people were and what were they doing in his house, but then his voice became silent and no more sound was heard.

”Theres someone on the stairs, ” said my little sister and I turned my head to the door.

She was watching the scene carefully as if there was something she had never seen before. I got interested and walked to the door opening it and froze in surprise. There was a man with a gun in his hand. He seemed scary, but he only was shushing at the cousins children sitting near the upper railings of the stairs, watching with the big interest what was going on down.

My sister walked out of the room stopping not far from the stairs, when a man suddenly glanced at her saying nothing. She then carefully walked to the railings and whispered to other children what was going on. I was a bit confused, but at the same time pretty sure he wouldn do anything bad to us, so I joined the children in observing the view from the top.

Below there were another two men with the guns, hanging on their belts. I was a bit shocked thinking it was police or something, but there were neither uniforms nor police badges. I heard the sound of tires on the street, when one of cousins children whispered, ”Hes coming, hes coming ”. The man near us glanced at us once again and then he stepped on the threshold of our old creaking house. He was wearing the white shirt, black trousers, patent leather shoes and a grey coat with cutouts for hands instead of sleeves.

”Where are they? ” He asked calmly and I felt the goosebumps on my back crouching on my knees behind the children.

The other man nodded to the kitchen and he went on stepping deeper inside the house.

”Whos that? ” I asked barely audible, when one of the cousins children answered in the same tone, ”Hamilton ”.

Hamilton. I didn know the man with the surname Hamilton, but I knew the very rich clothes brand with that label on it. And I saw a lot of ads on TV and on the internet about the hotel and the very very expensive shops.

”Hes said to be the richest man in all New Orlean, ” whispered the other cousins child.

”And the most dangerous, ” added the other.

I stared at the faded orange carpet below in the hall and there was a thought in my head I couldn answer at that moment, Why was he here? In my house? In my home? In my safest place on Earth? What is he doing here?

I heeded the voices below. I heard my fathers voice, my elder sisters voice and his voice. He didn talk much, but every time he spoke I knew exactly that my heart stopped for a bit and began to beat after a few seconds delay.

When they finished he left our house the same way he went in, with no extra word, with no extra glance, without any extra move. And then the three men went out too leaving the only memory of uncertainty and understatement. That night my sister and dad stayed in the kitchen up to the sunrise. I felt the slight mattress pressure at around seven oclock right before my alarm was going to go off.

After a few days, or more precisely, at the end of the next week our parents reported to me and my younger sister that Juliette, the elder sister, was going to marry Ranold Hamilton in two weeks.

***

”Wow, its so beautiful! ” Said my younger sister with amazement, taking the white dress out of the big white box and staring at the sparkling jewelry it was covered in.

”Its really beautiful, but… ” I looked at my younger sister, fully considered herself on the dress, and then turned to Juliette. ”Why? ”

”Oh, Olly, you can even imagine, how stupid is our life, ” answered Juliette. ”Sometimes you have to choose between two evils and theres no one who can tell you what is better. ”

”But he is rich, ” said I suddenly, staring at the white dress in my younger sisters hands. ”At least you won need anything. ”

”If everythings okay, maybe the same will be for you too, ” Juliette smiled to me and continued packing her things into a big suitcase, which also was provided by Hamilton.

I knew that I don have a big chance of having a good life in the future. At school I had some friends, but they were the same omegas as I, so we rarely spoke about our future plans. It was obvious that one day we met an alpha that just would take us as its own thing and we would live under him to give birth to other humans. Omegas rarely became something bigger than househusbands. The most visible advantage was to open the small cafe or restaurant or maybe a floral shop. But it depended on how rich the husband was. Most employers even refused to give omegas work because of the heat and other biological aspects. They made excuses saying that omegas need an extra care so they could not provide it unless its the only omegas concern. Of course, there were a lot of omegas, who worked in such conditions, because of the good salary or lack of money, but that meant you would always face the harassment. This world was not ready for omegas.

And I knew that one day, it was clear, that I could become the victim of it or at the very happy ending became the another househusband giving birth to a child in one of the government clinics in the suburbs. I didn expect much of my future life, but my sister, Juliette, she could have all. Everything. Just at once. Just by saying a word. I realized it, when I saw the white dress in a luxurious white box.

***

The wedding took place in a small church near the park. The day before each member of our family got an invitation and a special wedding costume exactly in size. I was wearing a white shirt with ruffles and a vest, grey trousers and black shoes. They even put socks and handkerchiefs with our costumes to show us that they took care of everything.

A black jeep came at noon. We all sat inside, I, my younger sister, my mom and my dad. Juliette sat in the other car behind us. I looked at the rearview mirror and saw her, beautiful, in white dress and with expensive jewelry, makeup and hairstyle. Although our costumes were rich, we all were still poor and if anyone saw us on the street they could even laugh at us wearing expensive clothes like freaks who got money and spent them on the first unnecessary thing.

When we came to the church, there were already two men at the entrance. They looked like civilians, but we knew they had something forbidden beneath their clothes. Inside it was quiet and empty. We sat on the second bench from the beginning. The decorations were rich but not pompous. It felt like the owner of the wedding was a very restrained but knowing his worth man. The quiet music began to play somewhere making the place a bit comfortable.

”I gonna bring some water, ” whispered my dad and came to one of the men standing near the altar. The priest was preparing for ceremony. He put the rings and the sacred ribbon on the table with white tablecloth. I was watching carefully even didn notice at first the arrival of Ranold Hamilton. He was wearing a black wedding suit that perfectly embraced his figure. I realized I was starring at him when my sister suddenly shook my hand.

”Wheres dad? ” She whispered.

”I don know, ” I answered, turning to her and hugging her by the shoulders softly patting on her head.

The men around began to walk back and forth and I didn understand what was going on, but one thing was obviously clear — something went wrong. Ranold Hamilton was talking to someone on the phone, while we were sitting on the bench, hugging and clutching each others hands, I, my sister and my mother. I don remember how much time passed, but neither my dad nor my sister ever came through that churchs door. One of the men called my mom and asked her something, but she only shook her head and whispered something very quiet. It was around six in the evening when we finally got home. Neither dad nor sister were there. Only the cousins children and we three. The evening was very quiet. No one said a word. Everyone took its place and stayed there up to very late. My dad and my sister just disappeared as if they never were here on this world. Their phones were silent and we even couldn say why. As I thought, my mom knew nothing too, so these two did their dirty deeds without her being involved.

The night was restless. My younger sister was silent too. My mom said nothing. Everyone was thinking about what happened. And then the new day came. And then another one. And another one. There wasn a word about Ranold Hamilton, about our dad or Juliette. Everyone tried to keep doing their own business pretending nothing happened.

I had a week before the last exam. Almost a month passed since the canceled wedding. And almost a month without any signal from dad or Juliette. Everyone was still silent until that fatal evening.

I washed the dishes in the kitchen when suddenly the door opened. The same way, with no knocking. ”Mom, who is there? Mister Jerish came back? Or has it Susanna returned from her extra classes? ” And there was no answer. A strange feeling began to grow deep inside me. I turned off the tap and stepped back from the sink turning my head to the door, when suddenly he came into the kitchen. I tried to step back but he was faster and caught me before I could do something to prevent it. He pushed me in front of him to the stairs holding me by my arm and then up, going right into my room closing the door behind us.

”Sit. We need to talk, ” said he as if I meant something to him.

I sat on the bed and he sat on the chair in front of me crossing his legs. I didn understand what was going on, but it seemed to me he was that kind of man who preferred solving problems face to face without any witnesses. I glanced at him only once, or rather, at his back while he was taking the chair to sit down. All the other time I stared at old wooden floor below my feet in scuffed socks.

He began in a soft, mild voice. ”My name is Ranold Hamilton. We had some deal with your sister and your dad. Still can tell you all the details, my apologies, but they broke the agreement. I waited for a month trying to find them, as it was agreed, but the period came to an end. The second part of the contract is now in force and you are the trustee that it will be done properly. ”

”What… contract? ” I asked, barely understanding what he was trying to tell me.

”Lets say, a business one. As it was certified, you are now the trustee of that contract. ”

”And… what does that mean? ” To be honest, I actually do not know where I had so much courage to even ask him a thing, but maybe a month without any word about all the situation itself made me like this. Maybe, Ranold Hamilton was the only clue where could my dad and sister be, so I tried my best to make everything clear for myself.

Ranold Hamilton did not answer for a long time. He observed me, watched my reaction, tried to understand if I had known something or not. But my mind was completely blank. I was thinking about my dad and sister, who sank in debts and now I was the only one who could bring the peace to our family. I was thinking about my future, about my past. I was thinking about the place my dad and sister could be. I was thinking about how stupid they should be to agree on deal with Ranold Hamilton. I was thinking about everything except the real thing.

”You will become my husband. The wedding is in a week. Prepare yourself, ” that was all he said. And then he stood up and left the room as if he was never here, but his words were echoed in my mind as if he was still here. Near. All the time.

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