They walked toward the door of the nightclub.
“Well, if it isn’t Jerusalem’s royal family,” a booming voice slurred from the shadows near where they parked the SUV. No one was around to hear their arch nemesis hurl the mocking salutation. “What’chu doin’ slummin’ it with us common folk?”
“Greetings to you as well, Landon,” Liam said, sauntering toward him. “How’s the upgrade to your resort?”
“You mean yer daddy’s resort?” Landon stepped right up to Liam, toe to toe.
“He bought you out fair and square,” Liam said, not flinching.
“For pennies.” Landon spit the words at Liam, who finally flinched and wiped his face with his sleeve.
“He saved you from financial ruin, and you know it,” Liam said. “How about if I buy you a conciliatory drink?” Liam reached out to drape his arm around Landon’s shoulder, but Landon sucker punched Liam in the ribs.
While he doubled over in pain, Lyle caught Landon’s jaw with a right hook.
Nick watched from a distance as Landon returned Lyle’s punch before shoving Sam out of the way. Nick was determined not to get involved.
“I’m tired of you spoiled kids getting whatever you want,” Landon growled.
“We’re hardly kids,” Sam said.
“Dude, what’s going on?” Zach, Landon’s friend and business partner stepped over to the group, with two beers in his hands. “Well… if it isn’t the golden boys.”
“We are not boys,” Sam insisted again. “We’re grown men.”
“Shut up, kid,” Landon said. “You don’t know nothin’ about bein’ a grown man. Grown men don’t let their daddy take care of them.”
“He took care of you,” Liam said, still holding his side.
“I’ll show you who takes care of me,” Landon grabbed Liam from behind and wrapped his arm around their older brother’s neck. Suddenly everyone was involved. Zach tried to reason with Landon. Sam clawed at Landon’s arms, trying to free Liam. Lyle punched Landon, to get him to let go, and Liam gagged and choked as he worked at freeing himself.
Nick didn’t think. He grabbed one of the beer bottles from Zach’s hand and broke the bottle over Landon’s head. He dropped to the pavement, releasing Liam, who gasped for air and stepped away. Everyone gathered around Landon, who wasn’t moving.
“Nick, what did you do?” Zach asked.
“I had to do something.” Nick took a step back and laced his hands into his thick hair, pulling in frustration. “He was trying to kill my brother!”
“Well, I think you killed him.”
“I doubt it,” Sam said, poking Landon with the toe of his loafer. “He’s probably just knocked out.”
Zach crouched beside his business partner, held up his wrist, and then shook his head. “He’s got no pulse.”
“Are you sure you’re doin’ it right?” Sam said, pushing Zach out of the way. Sam poked around at the large man. “He’s not breathin’.”
“We’ve got to get out of here.” Lyle looked around frantically, his inebriated state exasperating his panic.
“No one saw what happened,” Liam said, still breathing heavy. “There’s no way anyone could pin this on one of us.”
“All anyone else knows is that there’s a man on the ground and five of his friends are standing over him,” Sam said.
“None of us are his friends,” Nick said, shuddering at the thought. Then he looked up at Zach. “Except you.”
“I’d hardly call him my friend.” Zach snorted. “More like partners in crime, I mean, business.”
“You have to come with us,” Liam insisted. “At least until we learn whether or not anyone saw what happened.”
“Shouldn’t we be calling an ambulance?” Zach asked, his words slurring almost as much as Nick’s brothers’.
“Someone else can call an ambulance,” Lyle said. “We gotta get out of here.”
“I feel bad just leaving him here,” Sam said. “Does he have any family?”
“Nope,” Zach said. “As his business partner, I’m pretty much all he’s got.”
All four brothers stared at Zach, and Nick gulped.
“That’s motive…” Liam let his statement hang in the air.
“I didn’t kill him!” Zach cried and then pointed. “Nick did!”
“I didn’t kill him. It was an accident.” Nick was shaking.
“It’s your word against ours,” Liam said.
“And there are four of us.” Lyle raised his eyebrows.
Liam repeated his earlier statement. “You have to come with us.”
“Maybe Father can give us some advice on what to do,” Nick said. He held up the keys to Liam’s Mercedes. “Let’s go.”
“You just gonna let daddy take care of everything?” Zach asked.
“You got a better idea?” Nick asked.
“Fine, I’ll come with you.” Zach started to set his unopened beer bottle on the ground next to Landon’s body.
“Dude, that’s got your fingerprints all over it,” Sam said. “Don’t leave it here.”
“Here, I’ll take care of that for you,” Liam said, reaching for the bottle and twisting off the cap.
“You’re such a class act, Liam.” Lyle teased. “Takin’ beer from a dead guy.”
“You know, this could have all been avoided if we’d have just stayed home and hung out at the pool.”
“Shut up, Nick,” all three or his brothers said at once. It was a somber drive back to the estate.