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Erin Watt
When It's Real


“Yeah. Wh—” I halt before the rest of the question slips out. She’s already pissed off at me as it is.

“Good. At dinner tonight, post a picture of you and your family. It doesn’t matter if the brothers are in it. But your sister has to be.”

“I assume you know what I’m going to ask.”

She heaves out an exasperated sigh. “It’ll be an organic way to reveal that your sister works at Diamond. Oakley will comment on the picture, and then that bit of information will come out.”

“Fine. I’ll post something tonight.”

I hang up without saying goodbye then holler at the door, “Paisley, get in here.”

She appears within seconds. “What’s up?”

“Tell the twins to put on some nice clothes,” I say as I toss her cell phone over. “We’re going out to dinner.”

“Why?”

“It’s family night.”

My sister arches a brow. “Why?”

Oh, wow. That word really is annoying. “Because that’s what wholesome people do!” I shout, and then I march to my closet to find something to wear.

10 (#u0cadb7c1-5e5e-506f-8b57-3805a66acae1)

HIM

#squadgoals #dinnertime #whyisthewaitsolong

I stare at the picture of Vaughn’s family on Instagram. They’re all squeezed together as they wait to be seated at some random restaurant I don’t think I’ve ever heard of before. I can’t remember the last time I ate with my mom and dad. Hmmm. The last time I sat down at the same table with Mom and had a fork in my hand was...the Golden Globe Awards last year?

Holy shit. I almost laugh at the sad absurdity of the situation. Dad, on the other hand, I haven’t eaten with in years. Old man can hold a grudge like nobody’s business.

I feel a strange tightness in my chest. That isn’t...nah...it isn’t envy. I flick the app closed and stare out the windows. What I need to do is get out of the damn house. I’ve been stuck inside these walls and the studio—where nothing but garbage is getting recorded—for too long.

Purposefully, I stride to the kitchen where I find Tyrese. “Let’s get some grub.”

He tucks away his phone. “What do you have in mind?”

“I don’t know. How about—” A wicked idea pops into my head.

“Uh-uh.” Ty rocks back on his heels. “I’m not liking the look of that smile on your face. It says we’re about to get into trouble.”

“How about fondue?” I reply innocently.

I need to figure out what to wear. A hat and sunglasses aren’t going to be enough.

“Sure. There’s a place over on La Cienega Boulevard,” he says.

Ty’s a foodie. Man knows all of the good places, but I don’t want to go to Restaurant Row.

“I was thinking about Fondue Heaven over on—” I open the app, and sure enough, Vaughn has her Instagram geo-location on. “El Segundo. It’s on Main Street.”

Ty looks offended and faintly disgusted as he trails after me into my room. “A chain, brother? In El Segundo? That’s an hour away.”

I ignore him as I rifle through my walk-in closet. I should wear my lowest slung pants. The ones that hover around my ass crack. I wonder if I got rid of those? I dig around in the back of the closet.

“Those folks are gonna be gone before you get there,” Ty says from behind me. He’s not slow.

“Not if we take a chopper. That’s fifteen minutes. The apps are probably being served at that time.” I find the pair of ratty jeans that I hate in a pile under an old pair of sneaks. I lift the denim to my nose. They smell clean. Musty but clean.


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