Brother's Keeper

Ever since he was a child, René had always looked up to his brother Zayn. The two had always remained close despite being half brothers and growing up in different families, living in different continents.

Realizing how his fame and time away from his brother has had a negative effect on him, Zayn decides to leave One Direction in order to correct René's steps, and to be the brother he once looked up to.

But Zayn will soon realize that his younger brother is no longer the boy he once was, and will learn that being the brother of a sixteen year old boy often times comes with a lot of baggage, and frustration.


1. Zayn


            Ok, leaving the band came at a shock not just to the lads, but also to my dear fans. I guess in a way I did feel like I had let them both down. A lot of my fans looked up to me, and I did feel bad for stepping down. Still, I had more important responsibilities, like my family and of course my little brother René.

            In the media and gossip celebrity sites, you will find that I too left because of the stress that celebrity life gave me. That was half true. Yes, I did experience anxiety to the point where I would have panic attacks. I started getting them a year ago, and suddenly I knew what it was like for René, who also suffered from a bad case of anxiety that ultimately turned into panic disorder just before he turned fourteen. He’d closed himself to the idea of talking about it for a while, assuming that I would not understand how he really felt. In truth, I could not comprehend the feeling of anxiety very well at the time, as it had not been something I was being plagued with then. It wasn’t until a year ago, when I ended up in the hospital, thinking that my health was suddenly falling, that the doctor told me that it had all been anxiety, and that what had happened was nothing more than a panic attack.

            It was at that very moment, that I finally understood René. I realized that what he went through was not as miniscule as some thought.

            Right now I was preparing to get to the airport, and catch my flight to L.A. I was going to go live with René and see if for once I could be the older brother he always looked up to. Being his age, sixteen, wasn’t very easy. I could relate because I was once his age not that long ago really. I was heading into a different path in my life. I decided I wanted to go to college and take some classes to see what other options life could offer me. Still, I was going to have a hard time having that normal college experience, being a big time celebrity and all.

            “Knock, knock” said Doniya. “Can I come in?”

            “Come in” I said.

            “So have you spoken to René?”

            “I spoke to his mum, but he wasn’t around. Said he was riding his skateboard at some skate park with some of his friends, and that he was supposed to be home two hours earlier.”

            “So he’s being a bad boy?”

            “No, he’s just probably in need of guidance. I’m just hoping me moving over there can be of some help. He’s been suffering since his cousin died a year ago – a week before I left that one time and he begged me to stay, because I had been AWOL in his life.”

            “Well he does look up to you. You’ve just been super busy with the boys, and being a big time celebrity.”

            “Yeah, but he’s always looked up to me, ever since we were kids. Now, I feel like I’ve neglected him and still remember him begging me to the point of tears, to not leave him, again.”

            “So you think he’s mad?”

            I pulled out my iPad and opened up my E-mail. It was an email from René, where he boldly stated that he no longer felt like I was his brother, and that he no longer wanted to have anything more to do with me since he felt that I was there for everyone else, except for him. I couldn’t completely blame him for feeling this way, given that he has written to me several times, but never had the chance to write back to him. He had pointed this out a year ago, when he begged me not to leave him again. And before that time, it had been six months since I had last seen him.

            “Wow, angry words that can only come from a teenager” she laughed. “But don’t take too personally. He’s growing up, and experiencing changes both mentally and physically. And physical and bodily changes for sure drive teenagers crazy. All those hormones.”

            “I know. I just need to focus on him now. I’ve always been there for you, Waliyha, and Safaa. But I’ve neglected him a lot in the last maybe three years and would only see him a couple times annually really” I pulled out a photo of me and René, both of us at the beach from three years ago. I missed that smile. I wanted to see it again. “It’s why I left the band. I need to focus and spend time with him the way a big brother does.”

            “Well tell him I miss him too.”

            “I will…I just hope that he lets me talk to him. He’s been angry at me for not responding to any of his emails or messages on Kik and Snapchat.”

            “Make it up to him.”

            “Make what up to who?” Waliyha walked in.

            Doniya and I both didn’t say anything. She wasn’t very fond of René because he was a half-brother. She had once boldly said that he was an intruder in our family, and didn’t belong.

            “I’m going to make up for lost time…with René” I said boldly.

            “The bastard child?” she said sarcastically.

            “Don’t call him that!” Doniya scolded. “He’s as much our brother as Zayn is your brother, and me your sister!”

            “He doesn’t belong with us or this family! I can’t believe that dad…”

            “Enough!” I shouted. “Don’t you ever refer to René as a bastard child! You hear me?!”

            Waliyha didn’t look happy that I had just defended René from her bashing. She grew up resenting him because she felt that our dad had cheated on mum. Only that had never been the case because he never actually cheated on our mum, given that at the time they had split up and were not even married. However, she saw things differently, and even my mom tried to reason with her that René was not the cause for anything bad that might have happened between our parents. My mom and Elena – René’s mum – were in fact really good friends, and were both able to be so despite my mum and dad being married and with three other daughters.

            She walked out angrily, and both Doniya and I looked at her as she slammed the door. I took in a breath. “She’s certainly got a temper, doesn’t she?”

            “She sure does. Actually if I’m not mistaken here, René himself does have a bit of a temper too.”

            “Ironic” I realized all of a sudden.

            “Both of them being the same way, and yet neither is able to stand the other?” she grinned.

            “Sibling rivalry.”

            “You sure have that correct there” she laughed.

            “Well I better continue packing so that we can make it to the airport on time. I just hope that I can get the boy something at the duty free zone.”

            “Get moving because you will be late.”

            “I sure will” I said, and got back to packing.

            I had a feeling René was not going to be all that happy to see me, but at the same time I was going to have to learn to accept that this was also partly my fault; for not having paid attention to him, or protected him the way I should have to begin with. I just hoped that we could somehow both pick up where we left off. That is, if he didn’t push me down a cliff, figuratively speaking.

            I wasn’t going to carry a whole lot with me. Just my clothes, a few pairs of shoes, and of course my laptop, iPad, and my phone. The rest, I was going to have to get in Los Angeles.

I was excited at the thought of going back after a long time. The city was the one thing that I knew for sure would look exactly the same. The only thing that I knew for certain that would not be the same, was René. For sure he was probably a little taller than he was a year ago when I last saw him. Then there was the attitude and personality, that I was certain was for sure going to be different, maybe he was going to be a little rougher. Actually, not a little, but a lot more rough for sure. His last email to me proved that.

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