No Rules to Guide Me
Welcome to the Family
~~Harlow Lynn Spade~~
I was irritated. I had barely been home from my travels for a day before my mom sent me a text telling me I was needed at the house. She didn’t ask if I was available or even if I was home, she just demanded I showed up and dressed “like my age”, a request I had rolled my eyes at.
So just a few hours after coming back from the tattoo convention in New York, I was dressed in black jeans, a steampunk inspired corset, and black thigh high heeled boots. My reddish brown hair was in curls, thanks to the bun I had put it in prior to my flight.
I sighed and quickly added some deep purple lipstick to my lips and touched up my eye make up before grabbing my phone and walked out the door. I shot my sister, Acacia, a text wondering if she got the same text as I had. Turns out she did and she was already on her way to the house where we grew up.
Lucky for me…or maybe unlucky for me, I didn’t live to far from my childhood home, so the drive didn’t last too long. When I arrived at the house, I noticed Acacia’s prized Lotus Elise pulling up behind me, so I waited for her to get out before I made my way to the door.
“Any clue what is going on?” I asked my sister as we walked up the driveway to the front door, passing our mother’s boyfriend’s car, causing me to roll my eyes. Of course he was here, he always seemed to be here. Don’t get me wrong, I love that my mom was happy with someone, but I still resented her for remarrying after our dad passed away.
Acacia shook her head, her blond curls bouncing around. “Not a damn clue. I was just finishing up at work when mom called me and told me I was to come over for dinner.” She shrugged, sliding her Saint Owen Ash Gonzo aviators back into their case.
“I still haven’t unpacked from my events.” I groaned, doing the same with my Saint Owen Golddust Rockbirds “Coming over for dinner with her and Gary was the last thing I wanted to do.”
My sister rolled her eyes and opened the front door. “Just don’t start shit with Gary this time please.”
“No promises.” I whispered, walking into the foyer and calling out for our mother. Who came down the stairs in a while eyelet lace dress.
Our mother was in her early sixties and didn’t look it. She was tan from all the time out in the sun she spent at her nursery and from the time at the beach. She was fit and every bit of a hippy that you’d expect from someone who named her daughters Acacia and Harlow. She was quirky, but we loved her.
“My girls!” She exclaimed, coming into the foyer and kissing the two of us on the cheek. “Look at you, you both look exhausted.” She tsked. “I’m sorry to pull you over here unannounced, but I wanted you girls to be here for this.” She turned on her heel and walked into the kitchen and out into the backyard.
“Mom!” I yelled, chasing after her. “Mom, what the hell does that mean? What do we need to be here for?”
Mom didn’t answer me, instead she stood in the center of the deck with Gary by her side. They were both smiling and both had an arm wrapped around each other, but that’s not what caught my attention. The large crowd and tables spread out across the massive backyard were.
“Mom.” Acacia called. “What is going on?”
Before mom could answer, a group of men walked out of the house, laughing and pushing each other. All five of them were dressed pretty casually and in lots of black, which I appreciated. It seemed that the attention of the other people in the yard all turned to these guys, stopping them in their tracks. They all stood a little straighter and looked around, blushing.
“Sorry we’re late, dad, but Brian decided to fix his hair…again.” The bulkier one of the group said, tucking his sunglasses in the collar of his shirt and glared at the one with the long silky looking hair.
Gary chuckled and hugged the guy. “It’s okay, the girls just got here too so you didn’t miss anything.” Gary turned to us once more and smiled. “Acacia, Harlow, I want you two to meet my son Matt. Matt these are Evie’s daughters.”
This Matt character turned to us and grinned, causing dimples to pop out. I could’ve sworn Acacia whimpered next to me as she stepped up and opened her arms for a hug. She was a hugger. I just waved at him, not wanting to look eager like my sister.
“Gary, I didn’t know you had a son! Especially one this handsome,” She grinned, releasing Matt. She looked over his shoulder at the rest of the guys. “And you all are?”
Matt cleared his throat. “These are my band mates and best friends.” He grinned.
Did he just say band mates? Who were these people? And why was I still standing here?
I shifted in my spot and turned my gaze back to my mother who was whispering to Gary. “Mom, why are we here? I still need to unpack from the conventions and I need sleep. So could we please hurry this along?”
Acacia and our mother both sighed. “Harlow, must you be so bitchy all the time?”
“I’m sorry mom, I’m just exhausted and wasn’t really planning on socializing today. I just flew in from New York, you knew this.”
Matt and his friend’s scoffed. “New York? That’s nothing, we just got back from a European tour not too long ago.” One of his friends pointed out.
“Congratulations.” I deadpanned and looked at my mom and Gary expectantly.
It was Gary’s turn to roll his eyes. “We got you all here today because we are getting married tomorrow.”
“What?!” Matt, Acacia, and I all yelled at the same time.
“You heard us. We wanted you all to be here for this, so we waited until we knew you’d all be in town. Things changed and our date got moved to tomorrow so this is a very quickly thrown together rehearsal dinner.” My mother glared. “Harlow…you have some summer dresses upstairs. Can you please change into one? I did ask you to dress your age.”
“I am dressed my age. I am not wearing a dress right now.” I crossed my arms with a huff. “I’m comfortable.”
“I think she looks great.” Matt’s friend from earlier said, shooting me a pouty smirk.
“Thanks…uh, what’s your name?”
His smirk turned into a grin. “I’m Zacky. Zacky Vengeance.”
I raised an eyebrow. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Later.” Gary barked. “Matt, take the guys to the yard with the rest of the guests. I want you up there with me. Girls, you’re going to stay up here with your mother until you’re called.” With a final kiss to mom’s cheek, he was walking down the steps and joining his son.
I looked over at my sister who was watching Gary and Matt with a small smile on her lips. I did not like the look in her eyes, but that was a problem for another day. My eyes snapped over to my mom who was glaring at me, most likely trying not to strangle me. I knew I was being a brat and bordering on bitchy and I knew I was pissing off both my mom and Gary, but I hated having things sprung on me and she knew this. Clearly she didn’t care, which I guess made sense because it is her day.
With a deep breath I silently vowed that I would behave and watch my mouth. I knew that meant I was going to have to get over my animosity towards my mother’s soon to be husband, at least for the next few days.
“Stop glaring at me mom. I’ll behave, okay? Just please don’t make me stay here forever, I am tired.”
My mom sighed and I watched her shoulders fall. “I guess that’s all I can ask for at this time. We aren’t planning on having this go too late, so you should be able to get plenty of rest for tomorrow.” She beamed. “Now, let’s go over some things before the three of us are needed down there.”
For the next several hours, I stood by my mother and sister as the priest and my aunt went over everything that was going to happen tomorrow. Mom had asked both us girls to give a speech since she picked both of us to be her maid of honor. We happily agreed, but I was already stressing out about it. On top of that, throughout the rehearsal I felt eyes on me and it was starting to weird me out. Every time I glanced around the yard to see whose gaze was causing this reaction, I noticed a pair of green eyes looking away. It was Matt’s friend Zacky. I rolled my eyes and turned back to the couple going over their vows in front of me.
Acacia shifted next to me and leaned down to whisper in my ear. “Matt is so attractive. You know who they are, don’t you?”
I nodded. “It’s hard not too, especially in my profession. Do you know how many logos I’ve tattooed?” I glanced at her. “You are sporting my work.” I chuckled.
“How did we not know?”
I shrugged. “I never cared to really get to know Gary because I didn’t think we’d ever be here. Plus I’m not home very much, so I’m surprised you didn’t know.”
Acacia went to speak, but stopped when a shadow fell over us. “Ladies, we are all going to get drinks after this. Would you care to join us? That way we can get to know each other before tomorrow. We are going to be a family after all.” Matt chuckled.
“I’d love to.” My sister agreed a bit too quickly. “Har? You’re going to come right?”
I groaned and looked at my soon to be step-brother, who was grinning down at me with a raised eyebrow. “I will only go for a little bit. I’m fucking exhausted.”
“Great! Let’s meet at my place around nine?”
I tuned out the rest of the conversation figuring Acacia would fill me in. I was trying to remember what clothing I needed to wash and if I was going to be able to get it done before going to bed. I was also wondering what it was going to be like to be related to the infamous Matt Sanders aka M.Shadows.
I already disliked him for reasons I couldn’t explain and his friends weren’t much better, but I didn’t have to pretend to like them in this setting and I wasn’t planning on it.
Hey guys! Welcome to my co-write with Emma! We are both excited for this story, it’s a little different for both of us.
We hope you enjoy this ride with us!