I walked up to the house and Adelina was the one to open the door. “Crow, what a lovely surprise.” She opened the door wider and let me into the house before she embraced me with a tight squeeze.
I kissed her on the cheek. “Lovely to see you. Is my brother around?”
“He’s in his study. I’m finishing up dinner. Would you like to join us?”
“No, but thanks for the offer.” I helped myself upstairs, heading to the second landing and down the hallway and that led to his office, a room with a fireplace and a large desk.
He sat with his computer open, his fingers resting against his temple as he scrolled through sheets, probably examining his failing cheese business that he insisted on opening.
I closed the door behind me—and locked it.
Cane’s eyes shifted to me, and instead of turning suspicious, he grinned. “Haven’t seen you in a while—”
I slammed his laptop shut then slapped him across the face. “You’re about to wish it was a while longer.”
“What the fuck, Crow?” He was on his feet and coming around the desk.
I slapped him again. “Snitches get stitches, but bitches get bitch slapped.”
He turned with the hit then rubbed his cheek. “Have you lost your goddamn mind?”
“Have you?” I snarled. “Talking shit behind my back like a cunt?”
“Whatever shit I have to say I’ll say it to your face. I have no idea what you’re talking about—”
“Why the fuck did you tell Pearl about the girls at the winery?”
His eyes shifted back and forth between mine as the understanding slowly sunk in. “I didn’t snitch. Nothing happened—”
“Then where was no reason to tell her anything.”
“Crow, I don’t keep shit from my wife because if she finds out and I didn’t tell her…there will be hell to pay.”
“That’s your marriage—and this is mine. Stay out of it.”
“I didn’t snitch. When we talked I said it light-heartedly, in passing. And she didn’t even seem to care about it—”
“Because she’s got balls and would never let anyone know that she’s been hurt. Have you met my wife?” I still wanted to punch all his teeth out. “Pearl doesn’t want to know this shit so don’t bring it up again.”
“I told her this months ago…in the summertime. Why is this coming up now?”
“Because some cunt made a move while Pearl was outside the restaurant and it opened up a can of fucking worms. Pearl and I are good now—but I don’t want this to come up again.” I wouldn’t tell him how the younger woman made her feel insecure because I would take her most intimate confessions to the grave. “So shut your fucking mouth. Got it?”
Cane released a heavy sigh. “You know I would never fuck with your relationship—”
“Then shut your mouth.”
“So you’re telling me she doesn’t know about all the other shit?”
“What other shit?”
“Like the bride that booked our winery as a venue and asked you to fuck her in the stock room before she was stuck with the same man for the rest of her life? Or Lacey from the distribution center that keeps sending you those emails with the pics? Or what about Vanessa’s friend Bianca—”
“For the love of god stop talking.”
“Looks like I just proved my point that I’m not a rat…”
“Mention any of that shit to Pearl and I’ll fucking kill you.”
“Wasn’t planning on it, asshole. I told you I mentioned the girls at the wine tasting as more of a joke—”
“Well, she didn’t think it was funny. How about I walk down and tell Adelina every little thing I know? Just to see if you really have told her everything.”
His face hardened, a red tint coming to his cheeks. “Calm the fuck down—”
“Pearl didn’t speak to me for a week over this. A week.”
“Because of something that happened over the summer?” he asked incredulously. “Pearl has never been dramatic—”
“Because of the cunt at the restaurant.”
“Jesus, what did she do? Grab your dick?”
“No…but she was persistent.”
He rolled his eyes. “Young women are a lot more promiscuous now than when we were at that age. Guess we were born in the wrong time…”
I gave him a cold stare.
“You know what I mean, asshole. I love my wife so shut the fuck up.”
“Don’t mention this to Pearl. I’d rather her not know how I stormed in here…”
“And you think Adelina won’t tell her? I’m sure she’s heard us screaming.”
“We always scream at each other. Make something up.”
He sighed. “Fine. I’ll lie to my wife…for you.”
I turned back to the door and walked out.
“Wanna go out tomorrow night?”
When I got to the door I turned back to him.
“Haven’t seen you much since we’ve been closed for winter break…”
With my hand on the doorknob, I stared at him for a couple seconds. We just screamed at each other and his cheek was red from when I smacked him hard as hell, but now it was like it never happened. Because that’s how brothers were. “Sure.”