1. Fade To Black
Caysen Reznick was the youngest of a relatively large family of five siblings. Even at 22 and as a recent grad from business school, he felt just as small and awkward as he had when he was ten and his brother, Jay, had gotten his first girlfriend. He had remembered still thinking girls were gross and their PDA had been nauseating at the time. Ironically enough, the girl his brother was seeing had the same name—though she was definitely a different person—as the one he was thinking of, and had been thinking of ever since Stefan had started dating her.
While Shelly Corcoran had been a flash in the pan for Jamison Reznick, Shelly Landry seemed to be sticking around for a while. Only problem was, she was also steadily dating his twin brother, Stefan.
How many times had he asked himself why couldn’t I have seen her first? in the last six months since Stefan had been dating Shelly? More times that he could count on all his large extended family’s fingers and toes, certainly.
Caysen—whom many in his family had shortened to “Case” in the ensuing years since childhood—had just gotten off a phone call with his older brothers in Hawaii and was now stewing in his room, listening to Shelly’s melodious giggle as she and Stefan watched some Rom Com in the living room. Even from the second floor he seemed to be attuned to her every sound, and he fucking hated that he just couldn’t leave the house and find some distraction, something—or someone, perhaps—to do.
But he found he couldn’t. He would get as far as grabbing his car keys and a jacket—the nights were still pretty cool in South Lake Tahoe, even in the summertime—but he never got any further. At least, not when Shelly was there. And it seemed like she always was lately.
Even while working at the resort, she was there. That was the problem. Whether it was at home in his parents’ house or at Every Season Resort and Spa—the name had gone through a change a few years previous—she was there. It was where they both worked, Caysen in the front office, and Shelly in the spa where she gave clients hot stone and deep tissue massages. He assumed that was why she had gone unnoticed for a bit. While he learned his father’s trade, she was slipping from room to room near the back of the building where the spa was located.
At first, she only worked part-time, but when one of the masseuses went out on maternity leave, she was given full-time status. That was when Stefan had first seen her, with Caysen not following too far behind.
Stefan and Caysen were like two peas in a pod. While his father and older brothers had distinct personalities between them as twins, Stef and Case were more similar than dissimilar. Jokesters growing up and always the first to get off a prank, they had matured a bit over the years to the gratefulness of the entire family. And if they hadn’t, they were sure their sister-in-law, Piper, would have out-pranked them every day of the week. She seemed sweet on the outside, but was a little devil in disguise.
It had almost been ten years since they first were outsmarted by their brother’s girlfriend back when they were only 13, but they never crossed her again during their many family gatherings and holidays. It wasn’t smart to rile the beast, they concluded. They stuck to more immediate family when their mischievous sides needed to come out.
Now that both Stefan and Caysen were 22 and learning to run the business from their fathers hands on, they were looking forward to one day opening up their own resort, possibly in southern California or Florida.
Stef and Case were identical twins, as were their older brothers. The lone wolf, their 25-year-old sister Emily, was the only singleton in the family. The twin gene in the Reznick family ran deep.
Both of the twins were almost exact images of their fathers, Ethan and Emmett, at their age. Dirty blond hair and light blue eyes over cut, chiseled chins. Their hair was cut short on the sides, only slightly longer on top. And since they worked at a resort with an impressive number of weights and exercise equipment, they kept in shape. It was where a lot of the time, Caysen stayed long after-hours, just so he wouldn’t have to see Shelly and Stefan cuddling up at home, watching movies or cooking together like a perfectly domestic nightmare.
Or listening to them trying to be quiet as they fucked in Stefan’s room.
Torture. Table for one?
Shelly was almost the exact polar opposite, looks-wise. With long, inky-black hair and deep hazel eyes, she was all soft curves compared to the hard lines of Caysen and Stefan, and if there wasn’t that hint of competition between the two for many years running, Case was sure Stef would be as soft around the middle as his grandfather.
Another bout of giggles and laughter floated through the thick oak door of Caysen’s room, and he let out a huff of exasperated air. He was sick to death of having a massive hard-on for his brother’s girl, and there was only one way to get over her.
Of course, it was to get under someone else.
Everyone saw Stefan as the “Ethan” of the twins. Ethan was sturdy and dependable, a born one-woman man if there ever was one. Emmett, his other father, was seen as the manwhore—or at least that was until he had met their mother, Callie, accidentally at a club in downtown South Lake Tahoe. Both Ethan and Emmett had ended up falling in love with the same woman. Then, coincidentally, so had his older brothers with their wife, Piper. Stefan and Caysen were determined to break the cycle of sharing a girl. Shelly—though she didn’t know it—was not helping.
And he couldn’t find it in him to admit to his brother that he had the hots for his girl. The competition between them ran deep, even after all these years.
The city of South Lake Tahoe was by now used to the odd triads that the Reznick family took part in. It had become almost run of the mill that when you thought of the Reznicks, you thought of polyamory. Both the youngest of the brood were resolved on not becoming like their parents and older brothers.
While Stefan was seen as more dependable and strait-laced, Caysen had developed a bit of a reputation around town. Unlike Ethan and his brother Alex, Case was seen as an Emmett Junior—part player, a definite flirt, and was said to have seen more pussy in his life than the local animal clinic.
The sad part, it wasn’t altogether untrue. He loved his women—many of them—and flirted like it was his oxygen in life. He didn’t play games though. He let every girl he was with know just what their hook-up—just that. A hook-up. One and done, and he was onto the next.
It wasn’t that Caysen was anti-relationship, he just hadn’t found a girl he wanted to settle down with. With the exception of a girl he dated for six months in college, he was unimpressed with the selection of females that came across his path.
Shelly, however, was a different matter. She was everything he thought he could see himself settling down for. She was witty and always pleasant, never had a bad word to say about others, laidback, and beautiful. She wasn’t high-maintenance like a lot of the women he “dated”, and didn’t seem to be out to impress anyone. It was refreshing to see that little guise in someone that gorgeous. She left the “catty” to the bitches that were clambering over each other to sit on one of the twins’ dicks for a night.
And because of the Reznick family reputation, there were quite a few women that had tried to entice Stefan and Caysen into a threesome. As both men weren’t all that into it, they always gave it a hard pass. Even Case, whose morals were a bit more lax, said no without hesitating every time.
Shelly…well, Shelly just might be the only exception he would have made in his “no threesomes with his twin” rule.
Desperate times called for desperate measures, and Caysen played with the keys to his Honda before deciding to make a quick call to his fuckbuddy, Laura. She always told him she was unavailable to date, but was always good for a quick lay. There were never any feelings between the two, just a booty-call when things ran dry.
Caysen knew why Laura never wanted anything more with a man, and…he couldn’t say he blamed her. When your own fucking mother actually stole your boyfriend, and your long-time boyfriend went willingly to the MILF, it was enough to make anyone go off relationships altogether.
As broken-hearted fuckbuddy, it was almost apropos that she went from a life of stable, monogamous relationships to having a friend with benefits that was just as unable to commit long-term. It was almost inevitable. Cliché might’ve been the word to describe the two of them, but neither of them cared what others thought. That was one good thing about living with his parents for his 22 years. There was nothing he hadn’t experienced or witnessed being around a mother with two husbands, and older brothers that were in love with and married to the same woman.
Both Caysen and Stefan didn’t see it going down for them that way. They had always been interested in different types of women, Caysen usually going for the petite, dark-haired variety, and Stefan leaning toward the curvier, light-haired contingent. That was until Shelly.
Shelly was lithe and dark-haired, with hazel eyes and an innocent pout to her lush lips. She was as far from Stefan’s usual fare as could be.
She’s more my style, Case though bitterly as he picked up his cell phone and opened up a text thread from Laura, his fuckbuddy.
Caysen: I’m fucking thirsty and Stef’s with his girl. You in?
He waited for a few minutes, each second passing longer than the last. Laura was the only person besides himself that knew he was utterly under Shelly Landry’s spell. Though his friend sympathized with his plight, she was always the first to tell him to get over her by getting under someone else. Or on top of. And it was usually Laura, in any event. A bird in the hand was worth two in the bush.
Bubbles signifying her reply popped up after thirty seconds.
Laura: Sure. My place?
Since Laura lived alone, that was ideal, so Caysen quickly typed out a message in response.
Caysen: Thirty minutes?
Laura: Sure. That’ll give me enough time to get ready. Shave and shit like that.
Caysen: Okay, babe. See you then.
He locked the phone’s screen and looked at his watch. Since Laura lived on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, it would take him only about ten minutes to get there. He decided he’d had enough laying about in his room while feeling sorry for himself, so he grabbed a light jacket before opening his bedroom door. It was difficult to sneak out of the house, and Stef was always bothering him about getting a steady girlfriend instead of living his hoe life by fucking anonymous randoms he met in bars downtown. With the number of tourists coming to the area year-round, there was no lack of new faces he could get his dick wet in. It was one of the upsides of living in a town where tourism kept it afloat.
Upon entering the living room, he saw Stefan and Shelly on the couch, cuddling up while watching 50 First Dates and laughing.
Hiding a scowl, he schooled his features before checking his pants for his wallet and keys, just as Stefan and Shelly turned their heads to look at him.
“Going out?” Stefan asked, nodding to Case’s jacket that was slung over his forearm.
“Something like that,” Case grumbled back.
“Fuckbuddy time, eh?”
Shelly frowned at Stefan but said nothing.
He was unashamed of his ongoing friends with benefits status.
“You should try dating instead of just fucking. There’s that new girl at the resort. Sheila, I think her name is. She’s—”
“Not my type,” Case interjected gruffly. “Get off my back about making me some one-woman man all the time. I don’t bother the fuck out of you to have more fun and get out of the house every once in a while. Don’t try to force your views on me to settle down.”
Because if you only knew who I’d want that with, you’d beat me black and blue.
Stefan sighed in resignation. Case knew he reprieve would only last a little while, so he moved quickly to the front door before opening it.
Shelly’s voice stopped him. There was no judgment in it, and it took everything in Caysen not to turn around and say something—anything—back to her.
Before the wrong words could fall from his lips, he simply looked askance over his shoulder at her and nodded his head before walking out the door and shutting it behind him.
A/N: This book has already been started on my Patreon account which can be found on my wall under the SUPPORT ME button. Please keep in mind that subscriptions are always taken out at the beginning of the month even if you just paid a few days prior. It's how Patreon works and there is nothing I can do to stop it as they charge you as soon as you pledge. Also, please read all the tiers and what they offer before pledging. Much thanks!