So he didn’t go to another strip club and he didn’t audition for another job. Instead, he pulled his cell phone out of his back pack and dialed his twin brother’s phone number. He had a basic plan, but he wasn’t sure what he was going to say. All he knew was that son-of-a-bitch Luis was rolling around in billions of dollars and Gage was scraping his pockets for dimes. Gage had been the one to care for their parents in the end, not Luis. Gage had been the one who’d given up the best years of his life, not Luis. And it just wasn’t fair.

Chapter Five

When the phone rang, Luis thought it was Jase calling from Alaska. He was just getting out of the bathtub and there were still suds on his body from the bubble bath he’d used. He rarely took bubble baths because he never had enough time to indulge himself. But with Jase and Hunter in Alaska visiting Jase’s family, Luis had decided to pamper himself a little that night. He’d been hoping a nice hot bath would calm his nerves a little, too. His stomach had been turning since his twin brother, Eddie, who now referred to himself as Gage Weston, stormed out of the house earlier that afternoon, leaving them with unfinished business once again.

Luis reached for the phone he’d placed on the marble vanity in the bathroom in case Jase called and said hello. He grabbed a thick white towel with his other hand and started patting a mound of bubbles between his smooth, wet legs. He was hoping it would be Jase and they could have phone sex. He felt sexy standing there naked with bubbles dripping down his ass.

But it was a bad connection and Luis had to ask twice, “Who is this?”

“I said, it’s your brother, asshole.”

“Eddie,” Luis said. “Is that you? Where are you? We have a bad connection and I can hardly hear you.” He wiped a few bubbles on his ass and set the towel on the marble vanity. The minute he knew it was his twin brother, he’d stopped feeling sexy.

“I need to see you tonight,” Gage said. Though the connection was terrible, Luis picked up a hint of panic in his brother’s voice.

“I just stepped out of the bath tub,” Luis said. “I’m dripping in bubbles and I was just going to go to bed. Can’t this wait until tomorrow?” The last thing Luis wanted that night was another bad scene with his brother.

“It can’t wait,” Gage said. “I need you to come to my apartment. Be there by midnight.”

“Are you in some kind of trouble?” Luis asked.

“I don’t want to get into it on the phone,” Gage said. “Just be at my door by midnight.” Then Gage rattled off his Brooklyn address and said he’d be waiting for him inside the grocery store.

“I can’t come to Brooklyn at this hour,” Luis said. “I never go to neighborhoods like that at this hour.” He knew he was being vicious with that comment. If it had been anyone else calling, Luis wouldn’t have thought twice about going to Brooklyn. He had good friends in Brooklyn; he loved Brooklyn. But he wanted to hurt Gage’s feelings and he wasn’t even sure why. They’d been this way with each other all their lives, constantly competing, always trying to hurt each other. Now that Luis knew his twin brother couldn’t even begin to compete with him financially, Luis took advantage of the opportunity to make him feel like a failure.

“What’s the matter, Mrs. Virgin Billionaire?” Gage asked. “Are you too good to come to Brooklyn? Are you too important to socialize with peasants like me?”

Luis sighed. He decided to take a different approach. “Don’t be an idiot. I don’t know my way around down there,” he said. “I’ll get lost.”

“Take a taxi,” Gage said. “Don’t give me that bullshit innocent act you use with everyone else. I don’t buy it. If you can figure out a way to leave home at seventeen years old and survive by moving in with a man twice your age, then figure out how to leave him and move to New York and survive on your own, you can certainly find your way to Brooklyn tonight.”

Luis thought for a moment. Maybe his brother was in trouble and was too proud to admit it over the telephone. Maybe he needed money. So Luis exhaled and said, “I’ll be there at midnight.”

When Luis agreed to come to Brooklyn, Gage didn’t even reply. He just hung up and left Luis dangling on the other end of the phone. Luis stood there gazing into the mirror for a moment, watching a small mound of disintegrating bubbles slide down his flat stomach. Then he picked up the towel again and finished drying his wet body.

He dressed quickly that night, but made sure he looked as good as he could. Even now, after not seeing his brother for so many years, he felt the need to compete by looking better than his brother and wearing one of his most expensive designer shirts. This shirt was black with thin gray pinstripes. Luis knew it wouldn’t take much to look better than his brother since his brother had bleached his hair that brassy shade of blond. Normally, for a trip like this, Luis would have worn sweatpants and sneakers. He wouldn’t have spent twenty minutes in front of the bathroom mirror making sure the little turned-up wave above his forehead stood at a perfect angle. He wouldn’t have tried on four different pairs of jeans to find the one perfect pair that made his ass look the best. And he wouldn’t have worn his brand-new Prada shoes to meet someone at a small grocery store in Brooklyn in the middle of the night.

As he put on his shoes, he wished Jase was home. Though Jase wouldn’t have gone with him to Brooklyn because someone would have had to remain at home with Hunter, Jase would have offered him advice and calmed his nerves. Luis would have been able to explain all about his family and how it had been growing up in Tennessee to Jase. Luis had never done this with Jase, not in detail anyway. He’d told Jase all about his past with regard to Dr. Barton and the time he’d spent working as a high-priced escort when he’d first come to New York. But he’d never mentioned anything in detail about his family or growing up in Tennessee. He’d told Jase his mother and father kicked him out after they caught him with a man in the barn. He’d told Jase his parents were religious Bible fanatics and they wanted nothing to do with a gay son. But he’d never gone into any details about what had happened back then, or that the man he’d been caught sleeping with was his identical twin brother’s lover. Jase knew nothing about Gage’s ongoing, consensual affair with a smooth-talking, slim-hipped farmhand named Snake. But more than that, Jase had no idea Luis even had an identical twin brother who now went by the name of Gage Weston. Copyright 2016 - 2023