Chapter 7

“ are the father...”

The detective comes over and tells Rami and me the information almost immediately. I can almost see him break down into tears at that moment. I can see the sadness build up in his eyes. Detective Logan is watching this. He's watching Rami's expression. I want to be thankful that I wasn't the father. Right now though, I wonder if it makes a difference. The baby isn't alive. Ashley isn't alive either.

Rami shakes his head, “I didn't know...”

“Did you?” the detective asks him.

I can only feel bad for Rami. We are sitting there and the Detective is grilling him. The detective isn't even trying to hide the fact that he is suspicious of Rami.

“I mean I suspected...”

“Your adopted brother Yuri came to see me today,” Detective Logan starts off, “He tells me that you were willing to pay Ashley to have an abortion.”

“Is that a crime?”

“No...but murder is...”

“Wait hold on now,” I jump to Rami's defense, “Both Rami and I thought we could have fathered that kid. Just because we were scared to be fathers doesn't mean that we wanted her dead.”

Detective Logan looks over at me, “I'm just asking questions. The autopsy results in Ashley's death show signs of a struggle...”

I look over at Rami. He's scared shitless. For some reason I just don't think he is the type to do that. He was upset. Sure. He was scared. That didn't make him a killer though. I can see even now the tough guy image he portrays is drifting away. Right now he's confused and crying his eyes out.

“I didn't do anything,” Rami tells the detective.

The detective looks at Rami, “Where were you the day that James had his accident?”

The question is brazen and straight forward.

“Don't answer that,” I tell Rami.

The detective seems confused that I'm stepping in. When I look at Rami though I see nothing but confusion.

“I'm trying to do my job,” the detective says.

“Is my brother under arrest?” I ask at that moment.

The detective stares at him, “No.”

“Will my brother need a lawyer?” I ask him.

The detective hesitates for a minute, “Not yet.”

“Well then. He's not saying another word unless he has a lawyer,” I explain, “And we're leaving here right now...”

A part of me thinks I'm playing too tough. The detectives don't stop Rami though as he walks out of the room. I am following close behind him but Detective Logan grabs me on my arm and swings me around. I can see the serious nature in his look at that moment.

“Be careful son,” the Detective tells me, “Someone killed Ashley. And someone tried to kill you. You may just be defending a murderer...”

I don't respond to him. I don't want to do anything to put Rami in jeopardy again.

When we get back to the house Darryl spends some time asking us questions. He says he's going to contact a lawyer...just in case. I'm not sure what just in case means but I see the look in Darryl's eyes. He's worried. Right now the detectives think that Rami is the prime suspect in the murder of Ashley.

I am looking over at Rami in the kitchen. It's only a matter of time before Houston comes to join us. There is a heavy silence and a few moments later Yuri walks in the room.

Rami's eyes are like daggers.

“You fucking traitor...”

“Listen I just came in here to check on you. I just want to make sure you are ok,” Yuri explains.

I knew this was going to happen. Even without Rami saying how he felt I knew he was upset. He had reason to be. We were supposed to be family. Yuri had been throwing Rami under the bus this whole time. He thought that Rami did it.

“You were looking out for me when you sold me out to the cops?” Rami asked.

“I just told them the truth. I told them about the deal. They were going to find out she was pregnant through the autopsy anyway. It all would have come out anyway,” Yuri states at that moment.

Rami gets up. He runs across the room. He pushes Yuri up against the wall with this crazy strength. I think he's going to hit him. I'm so sure he's going to hit him. Houston grabs Rami and I stop Yuri from retaliating. I realize though that Yuri isn't retaliating. Yuri is just looking at the floor. I wonder if he feels guilty.

“Any trust in this family is broken. From this day forward,” Rami states at that moment, “You are not my fucking family anyway. We all just so happened to be brought into this fucking house. You aren't my fucking blood.”

Rami's shooting daggers and it's hitting. I know that Yuri and Rami are really close. I know that Yuri is hurt at this moment.

It's Houston who shakes his head, “Rami. Calm down. This is family no matter what. I'm sure Yuri has a reason for going to the cops.”

We all look at Yuri.

Yuri raises his eyes at us and admits, “I just think he did it...I'm sorry...”

Jesus Christ. At that moment I see Rami charge at Yuri again. Luckily I am in the way and am able to stop him. Rami literally swings at Yuri. He barely hits him.

“STOP! You guys stop before Darryl comes in here,” Houston warns.

Yuri looks at me, “You tell them. Tell them what the detective told you.”

Houston turns, “What is he talking about?”

Secrets. I look at the rest of them. Truth is with my memory gone I don't know who to trust. I don't know for sure if Rami is innocent even though my gut is telling me that he is. I don't know what to believe. I'm standing there looking at them. I know however that I can't keep hiding it.

I admit everything to them, “After the accident, Detective Logan met with me. He said someone sabotaged my car and tried to kill me.”

Rami gasps a little bit, “What. Who?”

“That's the thing. I don't know.”

Houston just shakes his head. I can see the judgment in his eyes building up. It never takes him too long to start judging.

“Did you plan on telling us this?” Houston asks, “I feel like that's something you would want to share with your family.”

Yuri interrupts, “Not if he thinks one of us did it.”

There is silence again.

Rami shakes his head, “That's ridiculous. Ashley is one thing. None of us would ever hurt each other.”

Just a few minutes ago he was saying how we weren't blood. It was clear that he was just speaking out of anger because now he was definitely making it seem like we are the closest thing to blood. I just listen to him talk though.

Yuri is watching Rami. I can see the suspicion in his eyes. He's scared of Rami.

“So you admit it. Are you admitting that you killed Ashley?” Yuri asks him, “We can't help you unless you admit to it Rami.”

Rami laughs, “You really think I'm a killer. This is hilarious. NO. No I did not kill her. What the fuck? I saw her out there just like everyone else. And I would NEVER try to hurt James. Never...”

“I believe him,” I say.

All three boys turn to me at that moment. They are all watching what I'm saying. I had a lot of time to think about it while I waited with Rami to get our DNA tests done. I thought about him. I thought about the good, the bad and the ugly.

“There is motive...” Yuri argues.

“No there isn't,” I respond, “I'm tired of the secrets. Rami wasn't even that into Ashley in the first place. If he knew I was sleeping with Ashley at some point he didn't care. Because...well...Rami and I have been sleeping with one another...”



The voice doesn't come from Houston. It doesn't come from Yuri. All of a sudden I realize that their eyes are looking behind me. The person standing behind me is father's wife. She's staring at us with eyes open at my confession.

“ weren't supposed to hear that,” I said.

Her eyes get wide.

“You two are...”

“Please don't tell my father,” I respond.

Houston gets up at that moment. I can tell he's annoyed, “You just have a way of fucking up this family...don't you?”

He immediately walks out of the room leaving the rest of sitting there. Yuri follows behind him, clearly uncomfortable in the situation. That leaves Rami and I. Sydney is just staring at us. She's crossing her arms. I have no idea what type of person she is. I don't know if she shares everything with my father or not.

“ long have you two been intimate?” Sydney asks.


This has to be the most embarrassing conversation that I've ever had. Here was this woman who was supposed to be some sort of mother figure but really wasn't because she wasn't old enough.

Even though Sydney is asking me I'm hesitant to tell her. I don't know much about this girl. I just know that she is a young girl that my father is married to. She doesn't work as far as I'm concerned. She's a housewife. Why the hell was this any of her business anyway?

“Since after the accident...” Rami tells her.

Rami is expressing himself out of fear. I can see it in his eyes.

Rami looks away. This has to be the most awkward conversation that we heard of.

Sydney crosses her arms, “Your father would...go crazy if he knew about this...”

It's Rami who looks up at her, “Are you going to tell him?”

“Relax,” Sydney replies, “I won't tell him. You have enough stuff on your hands. Your father is thinknig about hiring a lawyer. The detective is interviewing kids at the school to find out how much they know about what happened that night. If he gets enough could be going to jail...”

I feel like shit.

“Man Rami didn't kill that girl,” I defend him.

Sydney shrugs, “Then who did?”

There is silence at that moment. I don't know the answer to that. Who would want her dead? We look over at Sydney not sure how much to tell her.


“Listen be open with me. If you guys want to trust me not to tell your father about your relationship then you should be able to trust me with the all the truth,” Sydney says.

Rami shakes his head, “Listen. I don't know. I just got April's check from James. I offered it to Ashley. She didn't want it. I came out she was dead. So I went ahead and took it back to April. That's all.”

I'm confused.

“Wait. You didn't spend that check?”

Rami shakes his head, “No. I mean April was happy that I brought the check back to her the next day. She gave me some extra money...but hell no I didn't cash that check.”

I shake my head. Yuri told on Rami because he felt like Rami cashed the check. He felt like Rami was using Ashley's death to come up. That wasn't what happened at all. I have to take a seat at this moment. The more I think about it the worst things get.

It's Sydney who stands up at that moment.

“So why did April cut the check?” Sydney asks.

The question comes out of no where. Sydney is looking directly at me as she asks the question. Does she know. Does she have any idea? The look in her eyes tells me that she at leasts suspects something must have happened with April and I in the past.

“I don't know...” I shrug.

The pause gets longer.

It's so fucking awkward in the room.

“Are you sure you don't know?” Sydney asks, “I'm trying to help understand what's going on here...are you sure you don't know why April would have wrote the check?”

Does it matter why April wrote the check? I don't get where she's coming from. I don't get what any of this has to do with anything. I just look up at Sydney. She's clearly trying to connect the dots. But what dots?

“Just tell her James...” Rami states.

I sigh. I take a deep breath.

“Before I lost my memory...I supposedly was...sleeping with April. Supposedly it was bad on her end as far as her emotions went. Like obsession...”

To my surprise Sydney doesn't seem disgusted by it like Houston was. She doesn't seem shocked even. She just patiently nods. She crosses her arms at that moment. She's thinking. I don't expect her to react in such an understanding way. I expect her to talk down to me. I expect her to decide to run and tell my father that I was sleeping with his ex wife at some point.

Then Sydney does something strange. She smiles.

“I knew she had something to do with this...” Sydney smiles.

“What?” I ask confused.

I am interested in what Sydney has to say.

“Think about this scenario,” Sydney says, “April is obsessed with you James. She is so upset that another girl is having your baby she's willing to front some money to prove her loyalty to you. But why risk the fact that the girl has a baby? Why actually spend the money? Why not just kill the girl? She knows if Ashley is out of the picture she gets the money back and she may just get you back too...”

I've been underestimating Sydney. For a housewife she actually seems to know what she's talking about.

“Holy shit,” Rami says looking at me.

The scenario makes more than sense. It's actually logical. April knew about Ashley. She knew about the plan to offer Ashley money. She may have just put it together when we were going to offer Ashley the money. Whose to say April didn't show up at that party and kill her?

“I watch a lot of soap operas,” Sydney explains, “I know a crazy bitch when I see one. And April...she is a crazy bitch...”

“So what do we do?” Rami asks.

Sydney shrugs, “They can't place her at the party. Unfortunately for you were there. For now we just have to pray none of those kids at your school gives the cops any reason to believe you actually did something...”

Sydney leaves at that moment. She has nothing left to offer Rami and we all know it. I can feel how frightened he is about this. I can feel the doubt in Rami's eyes.

Rami is crying at that moment and I feel like I'm the only one there to comfort him. I don't know if it's a romantic thing. I don't know what it is. I just feel that urge to protect Rami. The same way that I felt when Zion went after him in class. I just feel like I have to be there for Rami.

I walk over to him. I put my arms around him.

“I didn't do it James...I swear to God...” he tells me.

I look at and nod.

“I believe you.”

“You're the only one who does,” he tells me, “Why?”

I sit there and think about it.

“I don't know you,” I explain to him, “Not as well as I should know you. I don't remember our history together. From what I've seen everything tells me that you are a bad person, but there is a part of me that must remember something. There is a part of me that knows that you are a good person and you would never do it. Even if I can't remember the events that lead to that decision. Even if I don't remember why I think you're a good person. I just think it.”

I look over at Rami. He's handsome in his own way. For that moment he isn't just pretty Rami anymore. He isn't super confident and trying to portray this manly exterior. He isn't a bully anymore. Right now at this moment Rami is at his most vulnerable.

He leans over and he grabs my hand. He holds it there and we sit in silence. I'm just there for him at this moment. I'm just someone who he can depend on.

We have a basketball game soon. It's at a neighboring school and the team boards the bus to get there. I look at the back of the bus and see Rami. He hasn't been himself recently. I know that him being excited when Ashley died now was just immaturity. He didn't know how to react at that moment. It all seems to be hitting him now. It all seems to be real to him. I feel bad for him. He hasn't talked to us at all. He hasn't responded to us.

Yuri looks over at me, “You can't blame yourself.”

I know what he's talking about. I feel responsible for all of this. Even though I wasn't around when Ashley was killed I was the one who got the check from April. What if April really was the one who killed Ashley?

“The cops have been snooping around Yuri...”

“Maybe they should be,” Yuri tells me, “What if he did it?”

“He's our brother,” a voice says.

I turn to see Houston. I'm surprised to see Houston standing there. I'm surprised at the fact that he's sticking up for Rami. Truthfully Houston and I haven't been getting along this whole time.

“That doesn't mean he's not a murderer,” Yuri states.

“He didn't do it,” I say, “End of story and Yuri, I love you man but if you go around snitching to the cops telling them shit that you aren't sure of. I'll beat your ass myself.”

I'm threatening Yuri. I'm well aware I'm threatening him but it's because of him that Rami is in the situation that he is in now. He showed no loyalty. It was his idea to fucking try and pay off Ashley in the first place.

Houston nods, “I don't agree with James on everything but I do on this. We'll be jumping you Yuri...”

Yuri shrugs at that moment.

“I'm not gonna say shit else to the cops,” Yuri agrees, “I promise...”

The basketball game is about to start. I look up at the audience. Detective Logan is in the crowd. I can see his eyes stare down across the court. He is checking out the scene. He's looking right at Rami. It's almost like he's trying to intimidate Rami. I feel bad for the kid.

I look on the sidelines to see Rami sitting there. He has on this face that lets me know that he's out of it right now. The game is about to start. I find myself walking over to Rami at that moment. I need to talk to him. I need to let him know everything is going to be ok.

As I get halfway across the gym...I'm stopped.

It's Tanya.

“Can I talk to you?”

She is in her cheerleader uniform. Any other man would think she was sexy as fuck right now but I have no interest in females at all. I barely notice her as she walks up to me until she literally stands right in front of my face.

“Now's not the time,” I tell her, “I was going to talk to Rami.”

“You putting Rami over me?” she asks.

She asks me this question as though it's so crazy.

“Uh...yeah. I'm putting Rami over you.”

“I just want to work this out,” Tanya is saying to me at that moment, “I really just want to see where we went wrong and try to fix this.”

She sounds desperate as fuck. I wonder what the hell I used to do to get these girls so crazy over me. Hell maybe that's why I only get into guys now. Maybe the girls subconsciously scared me off from them for good.

“There's nothing to fix. Not with you at least.'

“Man fuck you!”

I look at Tanya. She's really trying to get me worked up. She's trying to cause a scene. The problem with her trying to get me worked up though is that I don't care enough about her to get worked up about this situation.

“That's the problem right there,” I tell Tanya, “You can never fuck me. Again.”

I can hear her screaming in the background as I walk away telling me how, “I'll pay for that,” or what not. I could care less.

I keep walking towards Rami.

I'm stopped again though. This time I'm stopped by Zion.

“ I was building up the courage to ask you something...” Zion states.

Zion smiles at me. He's sexy as fuck. His dimple is in his cheek. He's giving me the sexiest look I've ever seen. It's hard not to smile back almost immediately as he stares at me. So I find myself smiling ear to ear. I'm just looking at him and feeling completely smitten.

“What was that?”

“I wanted to know if you and I can go out or something. You know...after the game.”

I sigh for a minute.

“Zion. I'd like to. But I'm thinking about maybe taking my bro Rami out after. He's been down on his luck lately...”

“You...seem to care about him a lot,” Zion states.

Is he jealous? I can see his eyes get a little sad looking. It's kind of cute to tell you the truth.

“It's nothing like that.”

“Is it?” Zion asks, “One time I could have sworn I saw you in the broom closet by the cafeteria with him. Or were you guys just looking for brooms...”

Shit. I feel caught up in a lie at that moment.

“Zion...ok. Me and Rami did mess around a few times...”

Zion laughs. He's laughing down at me almost like he's been completely turned off from me. I can tell that I've struck a chord.

“Same ol' James,” he tells me at that moment, “You're sleeping with two of your brothers. You slept with every girl in the school. There is no one that you wouldn't sleep with. Is there?

I'm try to reach out for Zion but I can tell he's upset.

Fuck. I realize that I'm pissing everyone off today. Zion is the last person I want to make upset and it's clear that I have to set some boundaries in my life. Maybe he has a point. Maybe my slutty ways from before the accident just never went away. Maybe they just transitioned into my new memories. Maybe

Maybe I'm still that slut.

I turn at that moment and look at Rami. Rami is sitting there with his eyes up.

“You ok bro?” he asks.

“You don't want to know,” I reply.

Rami laughs, “So everyone pretty much turns their back on me except you. You hold me down. You believe me. The least I can do is be there to confide in you as well.”

Before I get the chance to answer I notice Detective Logan.

“Rami Payne...” Detective Logan says.

“Is there something you want Detective?” I ask.

The detective looks past me. He looks at Rami Logan.

“Rami Payne,” the detective repeats, “You have the right to remain silent...”

“What's going on here?” Rami says.

“Yo get the fuck off him!” I'm screaming at the top of my lungs.

It's too late. Rami is in handcuffs. I find myself screaming at the top of my lungs for my dad. My father runs over at that moment. He's arguing with the Detective but something is wrong. Something is definitely wrong.

“They don't have proof!” I hear Houston screaming, “You don't have enough to hold him!”

“We'll let the courts decide that,” Detective Logan says.

What changed? Why did they arrest Rami?

I see Rami look back at me. His eyes are broken. He's not the same person that he was before. He's crushed.

That is when I see her at my side.

“I told them I saw Rami and Ashley fighting at the pool,” Tanya states.

“Oh my god...”

This crazy bitch was lying! She was lying on Rami just to get back at me!

She smiles, “I told you that you'd pay.”

To read the next chapter go to