“Declan’s your brother?” I stared in amazement at Derek as my eyes continued to grow wide. “You guys look so similar. You have to be- “
“Twins, Identical twins to be more exact. I’m five minutes older but he’ll never tell you that.” When my anxiety and panic levels continued to rise, Derek raised his hands in surrender. “Margaret, I know this is a lot to take in. I’m sorry for not telling you but please, just sit down. Let me explain everything. I’ll tell you everything you want to know.” There was something about the sincerity in his eyes that made me want to trust him, despite the fact that my stomach was doing somersaults.
So, against my better judgment, I cautiously made my way back to where I was sitting before. Once I was seated, Derek walked around to the other side of the bar.
“You and Declan are twins. He never mentioned he had one. He just said that he had four brothers.”
“In case you haven’t noticed, Declan likes to leave out little details that he finds insignificant.” In the midst of talking, Derek had grabbed a rag and began wiping down the bar counter. “Declan and I are the oldest, then there’s Eric, Patrick, and Isaiah.”
“And you guys are all originally from Nashville?”
“Yes, I moved up here a few years ago to open my own bar. Space was a foreclosure, so I got a good deal.” In one gulp, I downed the rest of my drink and motioned for Derek to make me another one.
“Did he orchestrate all of this? I’ve been back for like two days. How the hell did he put together all of this?” I gestured wildly to the space around me.
“I’ve been planning this reopening for a few months now. It just happened to coincide with Declan’s plan. All I know is I got a call last night from Declan, telling me he needed a favor. In typical Declan fashion, when I asked him what it was for, he just dodged the question.”
“Yeah, I’ve been on the end of that too many fucking times to count.” When the new drink was put in front of me, I grasped the mug tightly between my fingers. I needed something to bring me back to reality because this was too much. I’m also a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, so I know I’m going to regret this decision tomorrow.
“All he told me was to call your bakeshop, order cupcakes, and make sure you’d be here tonight to listen to the three songs you heard. When I asked him again what it was for, he said you’d know.” Derek stared at me for a few minutes before sighing. “I know it’s none of my business what happened between you and my brother. Frankly, knowing him he was probably an asshole and deserves it, but I know he’s not taking this well. In the entire 32 years Declan’s been my brother, I’ve never seen this man so much as think about shedding a tear and here he was, nearly crying his eyes out to me over the phone.”
The last part of what Derek said struck a chord with me. In the two weeks I’ve known Declan, he was the rock. He never let any sign of weakness show and when he did, it was because of what happened between us. Don’t fall for it Margaret! Don’t forgive him just because he’s shown emotion towards you. It’s going to take a hell of a lot more than that for you to forgive him.
“There’s uh- “I cleared my throat as I stood up from the barstool once more. “There’s one more question that’s nagging at me right now that I want to ask, then I’ll leave. I’ve had enough eventful shit happen to me these past two weeks to fill a lifetime.”
Derek chuckled before meeting my eyes. “That’s fair. What’s the question?”
"Is Declan on his way over here?"
“He told me last night that there was an opening for a job here, something about being lent to an FBI Office out here for a few weeks. He said he’d put in for the job but wasn’t sure he’d get it.”
“But if he gets it, he’ll show up here and most likely look for me. Just fucking great.” I muttered under my breath before heading towards the door. “Thanks Derek, I appreciate you telling me this. Unlike your brother, you must have gotten the honest genes.”
Derek shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly before offering me a smile. “Our mother always said I was the better twin.”
The next morning, I was startled awake by someone knocking on the door. Glancing over at the bedside clock, I saw that it read 7:00 am. Fucking hell, this is too early for hangover me to be out of bed.
The knocking persisted as I threw my legs over the side of the bed and shoved my feet into my slippers. “Hold your horses, would you?” I called out to the door, not caring if they heard the irritation in my voice.
When I reached the door, I threw it open, immediately regretting the decision as the bright light blinded my eyes.
Once my eyes adjusted, I saw Declan standing on the other side, clad in a pair of worn blue jeans and an old Foreigner T-Shirt. His hands were stuffed into his pockets as an almost bashful expression filled his face. Finally meeting his eyes, I saw that his jaw was now coated in a dark scruff, telling me he probably hasn’t shaved since I left. I also couldn’t mistake the dark circles that had already started to form underneath his eyes as well. The corner of Declan's lips turned upwards as he smiled at me