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Chapter 10


"Okay, when Avery was 21 he got drunk and got a tramp stamp, he stabbed his twin with a pen, and he used to be married," Hale finishes after putting what seems like quite a bit of thought into it.

My eyes almost popped out of their sockets. "Two of those are true?"

Levi nods eagerly. "Guess, guess."

After an immensely awkward family dinner with Castien...Professor...Avery's parents, his brothers had hauled me off to 'get to know me.' I felt kind of wrong leaving him with his parents and Ian. He seemed to have a soft spot for his brothers but his parents on the other hand...

He seemed to have a big issue with his parents.

But it wasn't my place to ask, as much as I wanted to know.

"He was a twin?" I asked flatly. "He does not. The second one."

Hale grins. "Nope. Last one."

I didn't think my eyes could go wider. "He got a tramp stamp?"

Again, I was learning more and more about him and the more I did, the more I wanted to actually get to know Avery. "And he has a twin?"

"He didn't tell you?" I paused, then I froze.


"Yep," Levi replied. "We call them The Stoic Twins."

"The-" I closed my eyes, trying to think. Oh. The similarity was definitely there. "The Stoic Twins. He stabbed him?"

"Well, to be fair, I punched him first," I whirled around. Another devilishly handsome guy stood in the doorway of the living room. That had been the first thing I had noticed. All of Avery's siblings were ridiculously attractive. It was a damn impressive gene pool.

This was Nathan. He had shown up in the middle of dinner, looking very stressed. About what, I have no idea, but he looked so stressed I felt bad for him. "You did?" I asked, instantly concerned.

"Ask him to tell you about it. It's a fun story." He gave me a teasing smile, walking over and sitting down next to me. "I still can't believe you're dating him."

That was another thing. While I couldn't exactly see Professor Castien dating anyone, they all seemed shellshocked that he had a boyfriend. Well, I wasn't a real boyfriend, but still. Then, of course, today I had learned that Avery was much smarter then I had originally thought. And I had originally thought that he was pretty smart already. Their shock was understandable considering he was dating someone who was as stupid at me.

That was a depressing thought.

"Yeah," I said dumbly.

"I'm surprised he came today."

"Yeah, why do you think he did?" Levi mutters.

The three of them looked at me expectantly, but I had no idea.

Earlier tonight, although I was given no context, I had gotten the sense that this was a family reunion of sorts. And it was definitely a much bigger deal then he was letting on. "Where is he?" I heard myself ask. After getting pulled away from him, I had left the dining room, entering yet another room that was large and screamed money. And I hadn't seen him since. And I wondered, just a little bit if he had left me here.

"He's um..." Nathan seemed to be debating whether or not to tell me. "He's in the gazebo."

"I should go," I mutter, getting up. None of them stopped me. I wasn't sure if he'd even want to see me. Perhaps he was doing some thinking and I should leave him be. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to go find him right now.

I didn't know how I expected to find the gazebo in such a large house where I wasn't even sure where the exit was, but after what felt like an hour, I stepped onto the backyard. In the darkness of the night, I could just barely make out the large gazebo, that more suitable should be called a pavilion based on its sheer size. As I approached, I spotted him, sitting on a stone bench with his back facing towards me and his front towards the spewing fountain. He wasn't alone.

"I'm shocked you have the capacity to care so much," Ian said, his tone surprisingly relaxed.

Throughout dinner, Ian had taken a shit ton of cheap shots towards me. He struck me a stiff, businessman type. Annoying, arrogant, stuck up. Kinda like Avery. But it was an unattractive trait on Ian.

"I'm surprised you're so much of a pushover, you let him bully you," Avery snarked back.

Ian seemed to stiffen a bit. "It was a long time ago, Avery."

"And you still have scars to show for it." I shivered slightly in the cold. Scars? Emotional scars? Physical scars? What were they talking about?

Ian wasn't relaxed anymore. "Then I should be the one pissed. Not you," he said flatly.

"But you're not."

"Because it is over. It's called moving on."

Avery's scowl was apparent, even in the faint moonlight. "I knew. Shouldn't you be pissed at me too?" he hissed.

Carefully, I watched as Ian slowly puts an arm around Avery's shoulders. "There was nothing you could've done. So stop beating yourself up about it."

"If you're going to make this emotional," Avery grumbled, "I don't want to talk to you."

Ian laughed. "Okay, fine. Just...they've changed. You might not believe it, but they have."

Avery looked wary. It was a rare sight. I had never seen him so unguarded. "You shouldn't be nice. It's not a good look on you."

Ian scoffs, shoving him lightly to the side. "You know what's not a good look? The one on your face when you look at that twink of yours."

My breath hitched. What look?

"I don't have a look," he muttered defensively.

"Yeah, you do," he insisted. "It's so gross seeing you so lovey-dovey."

My mouth popped open. What was their definition of lovey-dovey? A scowl? But my insides felt warm and fuzzy at that remark. I really shouldn't be getting my hopes up with him, but he was just making it so fucking hard not to fall for him. Hard.

"I'm not lovey-dovey."

Ian looked skeptical. "You better actually ask him out before Hale does."

I flinched. So...he knew? I wasn't exactly the most convincing actor, but hey.

"Tell him to fuck off," Avery growled.

What was that reaction? My mind flashed to when I had called Hale pretty and he looked like he wanted to rip someone's head off.

Ian rose from the seat, patting him on the back. "Tell him yourself."

I froze as Ian walked away. Thankfully, he went in the other direction back towards the house, instead of where I was. Ian was like Avery, but I was actually a little scared of him. I wasn't quite sure what would happen if he caught me eavesdropping.

I walk lightly and sit down on the bench next to him. Avery's entire body goes rigid. "How long have you been there?" he asked, his shields instantly going up again.

I winced. "A while. You okay?"

He glared at me, the true venom on his face almost making me flinch again. "I don't want your fucking pity."

I frowned. "I'm not pitting you."

"Yes," he seethed. "You are."

"I didn't hear enough to understand," I promised. "But you seem sad. So I want to know if you're okay."

"Why do you care?" he snapped.

"Because I care about you," I said quietly. Now was not the time for my grand love confession. He doesn't relax, but he doesn't reply. "So, are you okay?"

"No," he said through gritted teeth.

"I...Do you want a hug?" He scowled at me, looking at me like I had three heads and I smirked. "A blowjob, then?"

For a second his face doesn't change, but his scowl rested. "Or a quickie right here in your parent's backyard," I winked.

He rolled his eyes, but at least he wasn't glowering at me anymore. It was nice to cheer him up. "Oh, and I googled it," I said, feigning accusation. "Salmon is grey."

Avery's hands were suddenly was on my face. Then, he was kissing me.

It was nothing like any kiss we had before. It was soft. And tender. All the heat, all the passion, all they want was still there. But his lips weren't attacking mine like usual. His fingers were gentle too, his thumb brushing over my cheek, grazing my skin. I almost didn't want to move, in fear that he would stop. When he pulled away, my lips were tingling and so were my limbs. It was like a drug. A single kiss from him had the power to make me high.

"Hmm," he hums softly. "You're prettier when you're not talking."

I laughed. "I'll take it."

He stared down at me, his eyes staring into mine. "You did a terrible job pretending to be boyfriend," he said dryly, his hands pulling away.

"I did my job, didn't I?" I remind him. I still couldn't really concentrate, the kiss completely catching me in a dramatically melodramatic daze. "I caught their attention so you didn't have to talk." He pressed his lips together. "That is why I'm here, right?"

He didn't bother answering me. Instead, he grabs my wrists, pushing me onto my back on the bench. It happened so fast I barely saw it coming. Gone was him being gentle and soft, but I didn't mind. He pinned me down, crashing his mouth on mine. I whimpered at his force, feeling my lips practically bruise up.

My hands slid up his shirt, running along the ridges of his muscles and caressing his skin. "You're so fucking hot," I said absentmindedly.

"Shut up," he mutters.

I smiled softly. "Why don't you believe me?"

"Shut up," he said again, more forcefully.

"Oh, but you're so sexy," I whispered.

He shoved his lips on mine again, presumably to shut me up. I whined, feeling his cock through his pants pressing against my stomach. "Fuck," I mumbled. "Hey, I know I was kidding about the quickie, but-"

"Get on your knees," he rasped.

I grinned, sliding off of the bench, and onto the floor, kneeling obediently in front of him. "Yes, sir."

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