“Screw this,” I muttered under my breath before jiggling the handle. To my utter shock, the door was unlocked. Hitching my duffle bag up onto my shoulder, I pushed the door open. My senses were immediately attacked by a familiar odor. I gasped at the density of the thick smoke billowing from the… shack. I could barely see three feet in front of my face so I decided to leave my bags on the doorstep and brave the house alone.
How much fucking pot can one man smoke? My lungs began to burn as I coughed, making my way through the smoke that only got progressively worse.
“Hello?” I called out into the silent house. Beneath my feet was a muffled crash and what sounded like several men laughing.
“Fuck that’s her,” One of them said. I looked around desperately searching for the men behind the voices. A door finally came into view behind me and I opened it, wrinkling my nose in disgust at the smell of marijuana. I descended the stairs slowly. Finally, when I reached the bottom, the voices rang clear and I could determine where they were coming from. Turning a corner, I came face to face with a man, probably in his early twenties, wearing baggy green sweatpants and a stained white wife beater. His dirty blonde hair was greasy and stuck up in every direction possible. He flashed me a smile, revealing crooked, discolored teeth. He wasn’t much taller than me but probably weighed twenty pounds less. His emaciated frame could barely hold the sweatpants up. How the fuck did Jay, my Jay, know this guy?
He lifted an orange bong up to my face, offering me a hit. I shook my head, reeling away from the device.
“Hey, guys, this is Jayden’s girlfriend! What’s your name sweetheart?” He offered his hand but I acted like I didn’t notice, scanning over the other five men in the room. They all closely resembled the man in front of me; all smarmy.
“Juliette, and I’m not Jayden’s girlfriend.” I replied.
“Really? You seem like his type…” He trailed off, his eyes practically molesting my body.
I laughed out loud. “Jayden is gay, I can assure you I am not his type.” He looked at me, eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
“Since when did Jayden start wanting cock?” He asked with a laugh, his peanut gallery joining in immediately.
“He’s always been gay. Am I to assume you are Sketchy?” I asked, looking at him pointedly. I didn’t want to be rude to the guy that was giving me a place to crash, but he was starting to annoy me.
“Yeah, babe, that’s me.” He attempted to put an arm around my shoulder but I moved out of the way just in time.
“Thanks for letting me stay; could you show me where I should put my bags?”
“Sure thing sweetcheeks,” He muttered before taking one final hit and passing it to a friend who winked and thrust his hips into the air. I flipped him off and followed Sketchy back up the stairs. After grabbing my bags, alone might I add, he led me down a narrow hallway on the ground level silently.
“Here, you can stay in my room for now.” My eyes widened and I stepped away from him. Did he honestly think I was going to sleep in his bed with him?
“Hell no, don’t you have a couch or something?” I didn’t want to sound rude but the moron had it coming.
His pale eyes flashed with anger, “What do you mean ‘hell no’? Am I not good enough for you?”
I rolled my eyes, “I’m not fucking you, ever. So you can just forget about it. I’ll take the couch.” He sighed in annoyance but led me back down the hall towards the front door. He paused momentarily in front of it and for a moment I thought he was going to kick me out, but he just shook his head and continued walking until we reached a cramped living area.
The walls were stained with what I assumed to be nicotine marks and the floors were nasty, covered in trash and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia.
I stepped carefully, placing my bags on the couch he pointed to. “If you need any help getting some, just holler.” He said with a wave.
“I just fucking told you I wasn’t going to sleep with you! Do you really think I want you to pimp me out?” I asked, thoroughly pissed off.
He shot me an amused look, pissing me off further. “I meant pot; if you need any help acquiring some weed, I can help you.” He said calmly.
My cheeks flushed, “Oh, right. Umm, I don’t smoke but thanks.” He nodded and lazily jogged back down the stairs.
I pulled my phone out of my pocket and first typed out a text to Jay letting him know he was currently on my shit list, then calling a cab. Why would he set me up to live with this kid?
I grabbed a pair of dark fitted jeans and a plain tee shirt before searching out a bathroom. I nearly hurled once I found it. Used condoms and trash scattered the linoleum floor. I plugged my nose and proceeded to awkwardly dress myself without taking off my Vans. It was no easy feat, but I managed.
I prayed no one would rifle through my bags as I wrote out a not and stuck it on top of a suitcase letting Sketchy know I had left. I was just that gracious.
I took a deep breath as soon as I stepped outside of the house, thankful for the fresh air. I sat down on the curb to wait for the cab. I wondered for a moment what my brother would be like. Would he be like Sketchy or would he have his life in order? I was slightly worried that I’d have to explain to him who I was, who my father was. I hoped his mother had clued him in a little so I wouldn’t have to do all the work.
My head snapped up when a sharp honk pulled me from my thoughts. I leapt up and brushed myself off before jumping into the car. I smiled at the driver, handing him the address my father had given me and sitting back in the seat.
I ran my hand over my face and took several deep breaths. What was I expecting? Well, to be honest, I was expecting a guy with ‘daddy issues’ to tell me to fuck off. So why did I decide to move here? No idea.
What would I even say? ‘Oh hey, I’m your long lost sister that you probably didn’t even know about. Yeah, funny story, your mom screwed my dad.’ Probably not a great plan but it was all I had.
“Miss? This is the address you gave me.” I looked up to see the cab driver offer me a friendly smile and point out the window.
I glanced over to see a massive three story modern house that looked to be made entirely of stone. The stone was grey and roughly textured. Windows were set in the stone and lacked shutters. Two stone pillars guarded the front door which was clear glass covered in intricate iron work.
“Oh my God,” I gasped. The driver chuckled, nodding.
“Quite a looker that house is,” I handed him a wad of cash and stepped out of the cab. Maybe I had been wrong; maybe Andrew did in fact have his shit together. Or, he lived with his mom. Fuck, I really didn’t want to meet her today.
I smoothed my hair out and straightened my tee shirt as I walked up the steps that led to the gorgeous pillars. Taking a deep breath, I rang the doorbell and took a small step back.
My heart began to thump erratically as I waited patiently. I focused on trying to breathe normally so I didn’t look like a total retard but my efforts were unsuccessful.
“Hey, did you want something?” My head snapped up at the sound of a deep, throaty voice. I hadn’t even realized someone had opened the door. My eyes widened at the man standing in front of me. He towered over me, easily over six feet tall. His soft looking dark, nearly jet black hair was spread messily over his head. His stark blue eyes looked tired but still shone brightly. Tempting stubble ran across a defined jaw bone.
My eyes trailed down his slightly muscled neck to his chest and arms which were mostly covered in tattoos. The intricate artwork, all black and grey, caressed his chest and chiseled midsection, leading down under his low slung jeans. In one word, he was stunning.
I looked back up at his face to see frustration clouding his magnificent features. His eyes flickered across my body before snapping back up to look into mine.
“See something you like?” He smirked, leaning lazily against the door frame.
“Not yet but I’ll let you know if I do.” I snapped back. I was in deep, deep shit if this was my brother. He looked nothing like me but I wasn’t sure what his mother looked like so it was very possible.
His eyes narrowed, “Watch your mouth or fucking leave.”
I smirked confidently, “Make me,” I usually wasn’t one to challenged men that were so much bigger than me but something about him irked me. Maybe it was the cocky attitude.
His eyes widened in shock and he straightened his body. “Who the fuck-“
“No! No, Aidan leave her alone!” I glanced over the man’s shoulder to see another guy sprinting through the house. The man in front of me, who I assumed to be Aidan, looked at the other man curiously but kept one eye on me.
The man running towards us was wearing tight black jeans and a leather jacket which covered a white tee shirt. Aidan stepped back just in time to let the strange man through… to me. My entire body stiffened and my hands balled into fists instinctively as he lunged at me, hugging me tightly.
“You must be Juliette!” He exclaimed happily, hold my shoulders out and examining me. My eyes bugged out at his behavior.
“You’re freaking the bitch out, Drew.” Aidan said from the doorway, sounding bored. My eye twitched at the ‘bitch’ comment but I had bigger fish to fry.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” He smiled “I’m Drew, your brother.”
I smiled, not at his friendly attitude, but because Aidan wasn’t my brother.
“How do you know who I am?” I asked as he led me by the shoulders into his house. Aidan glared at me as we passed so I stuck my tongue out. Why I was deciding to push his buttons I honestly don’t know.
“Your, well our, dad sent me a photo of you and said you’d come looking for me at one point.” He told me as we entered the kitchen. The walls were painted a dark maroon and all the appliances were stainless steel.
“So you knew him?” I asked, sitting at a bar stool while he grabbed three water bottles out of the fridge, tossing one to Aidan who remained leaning against a wall, arms crossed over his tantalizing chest.
“No, not really. I only ever met him twice but we exchanged letters off and on the past few years.” I nodded, taking a swig of water.
“Do you know? About… recent events, I mean.” He gave me a small smile. He was attractive, I’d give him that. We shared my father’s rich chocolate brown hair. His eyes were a pale green while I had inherited my mother’s brown eyes. He had a muscular physique but wasn’t nearly as intimidating as Aidan.
“Yes, my mom told me about the accident. I’m really sorry.” I waved it off and smiled.
“Did you know about us at all? Did he tell you he had a family?” I was honestly curious. I wasn’t sure whether to hate him for this or not. I wanted to, because I know what he did was wrong, but for some reason I just didn’t.
“I didn’t know about him at all growing up. I met him when I was fifteen for the first time. He never told me about you but he said there were reasons he couldn’t stay here with us. I had my suspicions but I guess the ‘he just broke out of prison and is on the run’ theory sort of fell through.”
I laughed out loud at this, making a huge grin break out across his face. I suddenly felt a presence behind me, making the hairs on my neck stand up. His hot breath hit my cheek, making me shudder.
“I have some things to take care of. Drew, keep her out of trouble.” Aidan gave Drew a pointed look. I didn’t understand but he seemed to as he nodded. Aidan didn’t spare me a glance as he made his way out of the kitchen. Several seconds later I heard a door slam.
I looked at Drew, “What was that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing, it meant nothing. Come on, let’s go to the couches. I want to know more about you and your family.” He got up from his chair and started walking out of the room. I followed quickly and sat down on a plush black leather couch, dropping the subject of Aidan.
Drew immediately delved into my life, asking questions about my childhood, school, friends, and even my mother. I told him everything save for my years fighting illegally, he didn’t need to know about that. He was hesitant to tell me too much about himself but I did manage to learn quite a bit about his mother. Apparently, she was an exceptional woman. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he adored her. She never got married so he remained fatherless his entire childhood. He begged me to go with him to see her sometime and after several attempts at lame excuses, I finally gave in.
“I wish everything would have been more out in the open.” He suddenly said. “Maybe everyone could have worked through the mess and we could’ve grown up together.”
I smiled at the thought but knew it would never have ended well. My mother would’ve been heartbroken and probably gone for Drew’s mother’s jugular. Knowing her though, she would have welcomed Drew into our family with open arms.
“Where are you staying? Do you have a place yet?” He inquired. I had told him that my trip out here was permanent but didn’t mention Sketchy.
“I’m staying with a friend of Jayden’s for a while until I find a place. I may just get a hotel though.” I mused. I really didn’t want to have to pay for a hotel room for who knows how long but staying with Sketchy seemed just as painful.
“Why don’t you just stay with us? Aidan and I are the only ones that live here but there are a few people that come and go. We have an extra room, no one would bother you.” He looked hopeful and I wanted so badly to accept the offer but I barely knew him and living with Aidan would be difficult.
He must have sensed my hesitation because he continued the sales pitch. “I’d have to ask Aidan but I don’t think he’d care one bit. Rent is low and you’d barely have to pitch in. Please? I saw the look on your face when you mentioned that guy you’re staying with… you can’t tell me you like him. This will be a way for me to get to know you better anyways.”
“Alright, if it’s okay with Aidan, I’d love to stay. It won’t be for too long, I just need some time to find a job and an apartment.” He waved his hand dismissively.
“Stay as long as you want. It will be fun having a girl in the house, should shake things up a bit!” He said with a wink before pulling his phone out of his pocket.
“I’m going to go call Aidan, hang tight.”
Please, Aidan, please let me stay. I really don’t want to crash with a bunch of pot smoking hippies that leave used condoms everywhere.