When we got off the phone, I got dressed in a pair of jeans, a sweater and added just a touch more makeup. I stood in front of the mirror, groaning as I put my hands on my stomach. I still looked pregnant. I know he was only four and a half months old and the body takes some getting back into shape, but I wanted quick results without all the exercising. As it was, I put him in his stroller every day and we’d go out and walk the neighborhood.
Mike came around the corner with Logan. “What do you think, mama?”
I looked in the mirror, pushing the sweater up against my stomach, shaking my head. “I think I’m never gonna get my shape back.”
“Oh please, you’re the most gorgeous thing that walked the face of the Earth. Remember, when I first met you there wasn’t a shape and I still fell in love with you.”
“Yeah, it was my charm that sucked you in.” Turning, I winked at him. That was when I caught sight of my little man. He looked so handsome dressed in one snazzy little suit and tie. He looked like a businessman on his way to work. I made a wide-eyed, open mouth face of joy as he reached for me. I took him back and pulled him into my arms. “Aw, don’t ya look like the most handsome man in the world!” I fixed his suit, pulling his jacket down over his pants, glaring at Mike.
He blinked. “What? What did I do? I swear I didn’t do anything.”
“I thought ya said it wasn’t gonna be a formal thin’?”
“It’s not. I just thought it would be cute if he was dressed in a suit. Mom’s going to be so tickled when she sees him. She always thinks that little men should be dressed for style and business. Besides, Mom invited my brother up to meet Logan. I can’t stand him and I want Logan to look good for the disaster.” He disappeared into our closet to find something to wear.
In ten years, he never mentioned one thing about anything close to having a brother. He turned his back to me, slipping further into the walk-in closet. It was a good thing he wasn’t looking right at me because I think the blood drained from my face at this point.
“You… have a brother? Why is it that after ten years of marriage ya never told me about this brother? Talk about keepin’ a long time secret! I thought ya were supposed to divulge all this to me before we got married! How come I haven’t met this mystery man before?”
I started getting worried and no longer wanted to go to this dinner to meet some man that I never knew existed. Part of me worried that it might be Cory.
Mike peeked his head around the corner, arching a brow at me curiously. “Honey, it’s not that big of a deal. I never thought I would have to see him again, so I didn’t mention him.”
“Not that big of a deal? I divulged all my secrets an’ past dates an’ ya met all my family an’ ya kept this from me for ten damn years? Hell, yeah it’s a big deal!” I was overreacting, I think.
“Why the hell are you getting so upset over one man? Geez, it’s not like he’s ever going to be around us again. It’s a one-time dinner to meet him and then we will never see him again.”
I tried toning it down. “Well, I’m just a little upset not knowin’ that I had a brother-in-law out there all this time.”
He went back to picking out clothes. “Yeah, well, he’s one I haven’t spoken to in over twelve years, at least. He has a place in California, running the other business that dad left us. He left me one and him the other one when he died. He knew we were at each other’s throats and it seemed like the best solution. It was. I stayed here and he moved to California.”
“Still! I would’ve preferred knowin’ every member of your family! He could be an ax murderer for all I know! I could’ve sent him Christmas cards, an’ holiday greetings. I feel like the worst sister-in-law in the world. I could’ve probably help bridge that gap between the two of you as well.”
“You would’ve sent a Christmas card to an ax murderer, huh?” He shrugged, exiting the closet with his clothes in hand. “Bridging the gap? Highly unlikely. I have no use for him, so why mention him or introduce you to him or ever talk to him again?”
Twelve years… mother and brother… dad had two businesses…
I almost slapped myself as I recalled Corey telling me a little bit about his family, which made me think impossible thoughts. It had to be just coincidental. Surely, this family wasn’t the only one with a mother and brother, dad with two businesses, and not speaking for twelve years-ish.
“I dunno… it would’ve been nice to know Logan has an uncle, or I have a brother-in-law. I just thought it would be somethin’ ya might’ve mentioned in ten years of marriage, that’s all. I wasn’t aware we were keepin’ secrets.”
Though, Lord, don’t let mine come out into the open.
He shook his head. “He just slipped my mind. I really doubt he shows up tonight. Hell, he hates me as much as I hate him.”
I was angry and it showed. I hoped the anger replaced the shock, bewildered, worried, guilty look on my face. “Still, how would ya feel if I had kept Tania a secret from you?”
“I would’ve loved it, but it’s not the same thing. You and Tania are best friends. She is bound to come around and fuck up my night and it’s just something I deal with. Whereas my brother and I can’t stand each other and would be at each other’s throats all night long about something that happened in the past, not worth bringing up.” He threw out that last part as I opened my mouth. I was going to inquire about what was so horrific that you stop talking to family. He shrugged. “That’s why I don’t think he will even show up tonight and you’ll still never meet him. Stop worrying so much about things that won’t happen. I’m ready as soon as I get my clothes on.”
“Since ya never wanted me to meet him, maybe I’ll just stay home. I’m not feelin’ so good right now. I might be comin’ down with somethin’ an’ I would hate to get everyone else sick. You go without me.”
He glared at me. “Excuse me? I just told you that he probably won’t even be there. Stop being ridiculous. How am I going to explain to mom that you just decided not to attend your son’s first official dinner? You don’t want to disappoint your son either, do you?” He held Logan up, hiding behind his body, imitating a baby talking. “Mommy, you haz to come. I will be so upset if you don’t. Pwease, mommy. Come with us.”
How could anyone refuse that. I nodded, unable to hide the smile on my face. “Okay, I’ll go, but if everyone gets sick, I don’t wanna hear it.” I wanted to ask his brother’s name. I fought that urge because we had already dropped the subject. If I continued to bring it up, he would definitely get suspicious. “Okay, but no more secrets, mister. If ya have a long-lost sister out there, or an ax murdering uncle, tell me now.”
He chuckled. “Nope. No other family members that I need to bore you with.”