Cale Henituse. The first-born son of a wealthy marble-making company was deemed to be the heir of his father's billion-dollar business. Not until he claimed that he shall step down his right as the heir and pushed it to his younger step-brother, Basen Henituse, who was 3 years younger than him, saying that he was fit for the job. A lot of commotion and gossip happened and the news was already spreading because of the sudden proclamation of the withdrawal to his rights. Nobody knew what the real reason was for such an impulsive declaration to happen, nobody except for Deruth Henituse, his father and the CEO of Henituse Corp.
"Cale. Are you sure about your decision?"
"Why don't you think about this more thoroughly. I can just pay the press to keep their mouths shut and order someone to take down those blasted articles." Deruth pleaded and paused for a moment before looking at his son.
Deruth had always pitied the 18-year-old teen, who was going to turn one year older in a couple of months, ever since his first wife died from a car accident when Cale was just 5 years old. He still sees his late wife every time he looks at the same red strands of hair from his son. He can't forget that dreadful day he went back home a little bit earlier than usual from work only to find out that Jour was already dead as a speeding truck crashed on the vehicle she was riding on. The drunkard driver was caught and was placed behind bars. But that never satisfied him, for the love of his life and the mother of his only son left the world before Cale even got to go to high school, be in college, getting married, having kids.
On the day of the funeral, he wondered what he was going to do now, feeling the hopelessness come seething deep within his heart, for the loss was quite heavier than he imagined. He stared at the coffin where his wife was laying down on a bed of red roses, still so beautiful even as death welcomed her with open arms.
He loved red because it was her. But he also hated red, because it took her away from him. If he could, he would erase that bloody color from the face of the earth. But he couldn't, for there was still that one little red that she left behind for him. Their red.
He then felt a warm touch on his back, which immediately snapped him back from his deep thoughts of agony. He turned back and saw his Cale, clutching to the black suit he wore as they were still at the funeral. Eyes were locked towards the two of them, Deruth had to get his act together. He was worried that Cale wouldn't be able to understand what was happening. He was only a young child, who no longer had someone who he could call 'mom'.
He focused on his son's eyes to see if there were any signs of tears, but unexpectedly he only saw clear brown eyes and his reflection. He was calm but that calmness made his heart hurt so badly. He crouched down and opened his arms hinting for permission to hug his feeble-looking son. Cale stepped closer and squeezed his father and caressed his back carefully as if to console him and not himself.
"It's going to be okay."
Deruth's eyes clouded, and returned with a tight grip, ignoring the whispers and sheer judgment of his relatives surrounding the both of them. Tears fell towards Cale's left shoulder but he didn't squirm away from discomfort. He stood still as he comforted him despite being only five years of age.
"—Father. There is no need for that."
Deruth came back to his senses. He glanced towards the family portrait hanging on the wall. There were now a total of 5 people in the family.
The door creaked from behind seeing a teen with brown hair peeking out.
"Father may I come in?" even without waiting for a response the 15-year-old Basen hurriedly went inside the room.
"Basen, I told you to wait after I'm done talking with Cale."
"Hyung-nim." Basen paid no attention to his father who was speaking to him. He looked at the red-haired man and told him his thoughts. But before he could do that, his brother was much faster.
"Basen, I leave the company at your hands. I know you'll do well, me and father knows you can make this business prosper."
Basen clenched his hand before letting it loose as if being defeated.
"Hyung-nim I- I don't deserve taking what's meant to be yours! I respect you Hyung-nim. Why must it be me who doesn't even have the same blood as father's."
"Basen Henituse. That is your name, is it not?" Cale asked in a serious manner. He could not believe what his brother was saying about himself.
"Yes, it is but—"
"If it's you, you can do it. You're a Henituse after all." Cale smiled as he looked towards the boy who gave a complicated expression then to his father with the same facial expression as well. "Father I wish to make Basen the heir. I am also planning on moving out—"
"Hyung-nim you can't leave us!"
'Cale, do you hate living with us that much?' Deruth could not bring forth the words that were lumped in his throat. He felt guilty to his firstborn, who was only 8 years old when he introduced Violan and Basen as his new mother and younger brother at such a young age. He expected Cale to throw a tantrum or maybe even shout in disapproval for thinking that he was trying to replace his mother but he didn't. And that made him feel ashamed for being the weak father that he is.
"I only want to be closer to the university, and I had been interested in living alone independently for quite some time now. I hope you will approve of this Father. This is the only thing I will be asking." Cale gave a serious look showing no hesitation.
"But you have to at least visit us during holidays and special occasions. Furthermore, we will help you with moving out and looking for an apartment to stay in. Don't worry about the necessities, I got it covered so you don't have to do a thing."
"Yes, thank you, Father." Cale bowed and looked at Basen. "Basen I will come and visit the mansion soon, so don't worry. Take care of your sister and mother for me."
They both watched him leave the room with complicated eyes.
Cale let out a happy hum as he arrived back at his room. 'It's great that I don't need to do anything anymore. At least I can settle down in peace.' There was a knock on the door and an old man's voice was heard from the opposite side. "Young master-nim may I come in?"
"Okay, you can come inside." A tray with the scent of cookies and lemon tea can be seen. "Young master-nim this old man has brought you my son's cookies and your favorite lemon tea.' the butler said with a benign smile. It sent shivers down Cale's spine as he looked towards this seemingly harmless yet vicious old man. 'favorite lemon tea my ass'
Cale clicked his tongue before gulping down the wretched lemon tea his butler gave him every morning. 'At least when I'm gone I won't get to drink this anymore. I guess I'd still miss it, and Beacrox's cookies.'
"Don't worry Young master-nim I will pack you the ingredients to make the lemon tea you love so much including Beacrox's chocolate chips. Hohoho"
'Dammit, this old man.'
"What." Cale tries to hide the annoyance as he responded with an expressionless face.
"Would you like me to find you an apartment to your liking?"
Cale smiled and said, "There's no need for that Ron. I can manage. Besides, I think I already found one that I like. I already sent an email to the landlord and will probably get a reply in a few days."
"As you wish Young Master-nim, then I shall be on my way." Ron bows then left the room. Finally, Cale can breathe. He got up and went to check his emails to see if there were any responses.
"A lot of people have filled out this year's online rental application again. Feeling smug at how popular you are now?" A woman, almost in her 30's was looking at the blonde man across the office room.
"Aunt Tasha, it's still early in the morning and you're already nagging about how good-looking your nephew is. It can't be helped that I'm so handsome." the young man shrugged his shoulders.
Tasha scoffed after hearing his only nephew's narcissistic response.
"Besides, weren't I always popular- Ow!" Alberu felt big stacks of documents hit the back of his head.
"Now now, dear nephew, you still have too much to do, so instead of using your mouth why not move your hands." Tasha gave a piercing gaze back to the handsome lad who was surrounded with mountains of stacked paper that she wished he'd throw away. "I get it Aunt Tasha don't worry, I'll get this done soon."
"You better, you should eat dinner once you're finished. I need to head over to Shawn's place again."
"You visit his place a lot these days." Alberu grins. "Is there something you're not telling me, Aunt Tasha? Hmm?"
"Before you ask questions about someone else's love life, you should think about yours, Alberu." Tasha ignores the annoying grin radiating at her nephew's face. "Anyways, there were some interesting applicants this year. You can choose who'll get in based on their profiles from the list I sent you via email."
"Alright, I got it. You can leave now. Be careful on your way out. Say hi to your beloved Shawn for me~" Alberu chuckled as he saw Tasha looking at him with a disgruntled stare.
"Ungrateful punk, just wait till the day you'll get yourself a partner of your own, hmp." Tasha closed the door, and it didn't take much time for the room to go back into silence again.
Alberu scoffs internally at the thought of him getting a partner. He was already busy as is. He has no time for that when his position as the heir of the Crossman Household has been shaky ever since he lost favor from his father. Now he's competing against his step-family, who would do anything to get him out of the picture.
The sounds of typing echoed in the four closed rooms. It's almost past 10 pm, and he forgot to eat dinner again.
'Well, Tasha wouldn't be able to know about it anyways.' Alberu sighs while thinking that he would need to stay up late again. 'Ah, I still need to check the list of applicants.'
"Haaaaaah.." Alberu scrunched his nose and touched his temples as he needs to do additional work tonight. 'Tasha said there were interesting applicants, but they don't seem much—'
Alberu mumbles the name that had been the hot topic of every article on the web these past few days. Alberu would know about this famous young master from a wealthy company. He used his network to know about all the children of high-ranking politicians to grandchildren from powerful tycoons to sons and daughters of prominent clans all over Korea with sturdy backings. He had to know the power players to use them later on. '
Cale Henituse, 18 yrs old, hmmm okay... his application form was well written. No pets, birthday...November 8..'
"Looks pretty normal."
Alberu shakes his head, 'No.'
"This bastard's not normal."
Alberu Crossman, being the meticulous guy that he is, had read through the articles in his spare time. He was surprised at what this crazy bastard announced. He found it amusing that he stepped down his rights as the heir and gave it away to his step-brother, Basen. They were both oddly similar yet different at the same time, he thought about it once more.
'We're both the eldest from distinguished households who held titles as the heirs...and we both have step families'
"But the only difference is that this guy declined a better future that was already set in front of him only to give that opportunity to his step-brother. He found it funny because it was something he would never do.
Alberu has always been a careful person. Ever since he lost the favor from his father— ever since he lost his mother, he did everything he could to make no mistakes so that he can survive the dirty and brutal fight for power. With nobody supporting him from behind, he had to work extra hard to not be trampled on and looked down upon by his step-mother and half-brothers.
Alberu mumbles, "I guess we both lost our moms at a young age huh.." before typing away and closing his laptop with no movement wasted. He felt the need to rest while thinking about all the important errands that he needs to do when he heads over to the campus in a few days.
'Cale Henituse, what an interesting bastard.'
Without realizing this, Alberu was smiling as he chuckled that he was thinking that it could've been more than just a coincidence. But he paid no attention to it any longer. He needs to sleep. Maybe grab some light snacks before heading to bed
Cale jolted at the sight of the old butler's benign smile whose presence he didn't notice, was in front of his bed bringing over the laptop that he left on the desk last night.
"Young master-nim, I heard a notification ping so I brought it over to you as quickly as I can, but you were still sleeping so I just waited until you woke up." Ron's sly smile made Cale's stomach churn,
"Mm, give it here Ron. And bring breakfast in my room." 'Yes leave quickly, you scary old man.'
Ron politely bowed after handing him his laptop that was already open.
Cale smiles and spoke just before Ron headed outside, "I passed the application process."
"I'll be heading there to sign the lease in 2 days. Ron, make sure to pack everything."
"This old Ron will do as you command, young master-nim."