“What the heck was that all about?” I smacked Kade on the arm. We’d barely stepped off the porch at Gracie’s and I was ready to have a throw-down fight with my twin. “You promised you weren’t going to flirt with Gracie.”
“I said I would try not to flirt with her.” Kade smacked me back. “There’s a difference.”
“Whatever. I knew it was a bad idea having you come live here.” We’d crossed the yards between Gracie’s house and ours, and I opened the screen door letting it fall closed behind me.
“Where would you want me to live?” Kade asked, not calling me out for the door hitting his shoulder.
“I don’t know,” I said. “With dad, maybe?”
“That’s where I got in trouble in the first place. Do you want me around my old friends?”
“You choose who to hang out with.” I bypassed the kitchen, knowing mom was bringing home food in an hour. I didn’t want to disturb her spotless masterpiece she paid a cleaning lady to maintain as if she weren’t raising five children.
“Well, I choose to hang out with you. My brother.” Kade followed me, relentless to worm his way back into my otherwise perfect new life.
“Don’t call me that.” I turned on him. “You’re my cousin, remember?”
“Right, because I’m just supposed to forget about the first fifteen years of my life when I was your twin brother, and the past two years while I was in juvie and you barely came to visit me.”
“I’ve moved on with my life.” I made my point by continuing down the hall to the staircase.
“Yeah, well, you’re going to have to fit me back in to your new life.” He continued following me.
“You can start by wearing nicer clothes and cutting your hair,” I suggested.
“Then people really will think we’re twins.” He had a point.
“Fine, keep your ripped jeans and leave your hair long like a rock star.” I took the stairs two at a time, but he was relentless in his pursuit.
“I love rock stars. Speaking of which, can I play your PRS? I miss that little baby.” Kade bypassed his own bedroom, which already had his personal items organized exactly how mom thought he would want them.
“Do you even remember how to play?” I entered my own bedroom resigned that I would get zero privacy for the next two years of my life as my twin attempted to make up for lost time together.
“Just like riding a bike.” Kade strode over to the guitar stand in the corner of my room and picked up the top shelf Paul Reed Smith electric guitar signed by Ian Taylor, himself, the guy I was named after.
My mom always said my dad loved Ian and his rock band more than he loved her. Guess that’s why they lived in separate homes now. Mom got tired of always being second choice. They could use Grandma Kendrick, and her heart attack as the excuse. But none of the kids believed that. At least our mom and dad were still married, and still crazy about each other even if they no longer lived together.
I laid down on my bed and grabbed a tennis ball, throwing it toward the ceiling and watching it fall neatly back into my hand, over and over.
Kade plugged in the amp and let the reverb fill my spacious bedroom. My eyes closed involuntarily. I may not have my brother’s talent, but I could appreciate listening to him play. Took me back to a simpler time in my life.
Within a few minutes, our older brother, Sean, entered my room and sat on the floor, leaning his back against my bed. Next came sixteen-year-old Clay, who sat at Kade’s feet gazing up at him with hero worship in his eyes. Lastly, little Reina skipped into the room, climbed onto my bed and snuggled into my arms. Her hand reached close to her face, the thumb twitching to her mouth.
I grunted at her, reminding her subtly to remember her age. “Kindergarteners don’t suck their thumbs.”
“I know that.” Reina pulled her hand away from her face and tucked it behind her back.
For a few moments we all just sort of listened while our brother played guitar.
Until suddenly another face appeared in the doorway to my bedroom. I sat up in surprise. “Gracie, what are you doing here?”
Book Club Discussion Question: Who else here is a Buxton Peak fan?? Why do you think these guys love Buxton Peak so much??