“I smile because you’re my brother.Unknown
I laugh because there’s nothing you can do about it!”
Windenburg Cameron Beach House Declan (35), Everett (33)
Everett sighed, rubbing his forehead, when his brother joined him at the table, handing him a beer.
“Enabling the former addict, huh?” Rett smirked as he pulled the tab open and placed the beverage in front of him.
“Oh shit! Sorry Rett, I forgot. Here, I’ll get ya a soda.” Declan tried to grab back the beer but Everett held on to it.
“No no no no no, stay here with that beer. I need it. And don’t worry. The drinking wasn’t my addiction. Drugs were. So unless you got your pockets full of weed, coke and pills, we’re good here.” Rett reassured his older brother.
“You sure though? About the booze?” Declan looked and sounded concerned.
“Yes, Dec-Man, I am sure. It’s fine, I swear, and thank you.”
Hesitantly Declan relaxed, while Rett gulped down.
“Ah, I needed that.” he groaned.
“I guess I don’t even have to ask how your dinner with the in-laws went, huh? Your face reads that it must have been about as pleasant as explosive diarrhea during a prostate exam.” Declan annotated.
“That would be putty it mildly. First of all, please don’t call those Reeds and DiLaurentis my ‘family’. Terrible bunch of human cockroaches is what they are. They did nothing but make me feel like human scum all night long, at some point I quit chewing my food, just swallowed it whole to chew it later like a cow, just to get out of there quicker. They made it sound like I used to be the beast to the beauty Cordelia, then abducted her sister and made off with her to Del Sol Valley against her will, totally brainwashed her. Once that swing was planted, they all moved on to collectively shit all over my career choice, pissed on my achievements, acted like I mentally struggle to count past three, even though I graduated college with a much higher GPA than Julian or Cordelia, but since my degree is – and I quote – “only in music” it apparently doesn’t count. They made it sound like I took four years to graduate in banging wooden spoons on pots and pans. Unbelievable, that accumulation of arrogance.”
“Man, sounds like the pits. Makes me feel lucky for Rory’s parents. The Flynns are pretty awesome. And it’s just them, Rory has no siblings or other relatives, but even if, pretty sure they would be just as chill.” Declan mumbled.
“Well, isn’t that just a field full of happy fucking fluffy bunnies for you, brother. Just don’t see how that helps me any.” Everett grimaced.
“Hey, what did you expect from her family when you run off and marry the younger sister of the girl you used to date all through high school? You two didn’t exactly go step by step with your relationship. Everything was always so sudden. That was bound to end in awkward moments galore.”
“You forgot to add the girl I used to date and cheat on a lot, which I was reminded of plenty, but what oddly didn’t come up was that after I changed and was faithful, she then screwed around on me with none other than one of my best friends – or better put: idiot me thought back then I had friends – only for me to walk in on them in the act. And then SHE went off and married HIM. Julian STILL cannot look me in the eye, after all these years. Say awkward again, but louder for those in the back.”
“Well, it’s over, all three of you did your duty, Maeve is probably cured from ever wanting to do that again, let’s just hope Blaine is fine after that. Sounds like it was rough for the three of you.”
“Don’t get me started about that big mouthed son of mine.”
“Uh oh. Dare I ask? This sounds too good to pass up. Let’s hear it.”
“Well, in the midst of my lovely father-in-law taking turns with my dragon-in-law, my ex-girlfriend-turned-sister-in-law and my ex-friend-turned-brother-in-law Julian on riding my ass, muffling every attempt by Maeve to help me out, once it came to music, little Blaine pipes up and seriously out of the blue goes ‘You’re just a special kind of frothy and squeaky stupid, aren’t you guys?!’. Maeve and I were like ‘gulp’ and then it really unleashed on us, ending with us getting kicked out. Of course once we got to mom and dad’s house they both couldn’t help but laying their ‘I told you so, reign little Blaine in, blah blah blah’ on us, so I just had to get out for a bit. Came straight to your house for you to take your turn on pissing on my leg now.” Everett frowned.
“No worries, I won’t. Personally, I think it’s hilarious. And he wasn’t wrong. I mean, look at how far you have come. You and Maeve both are world renowned superstars, everyone knows your music, everyone knows who you are now and you two don’t even know what to do with all the money you are raking in all the time. Questioning your degree or achievements is seriously a real frothy kind of stupid, I fully agree with your son.” Declan told Everett with sincerity and a smile.
Everett couldn’t help but laugh, shaking his head at his brother in appreciation.
“You never seize to amaze me, Dec-Man. And thanks. I really needed some up after all the down.”
“Well, I am going to say though that you do know you have to make sure Blaine knows how to channel his bluntness, right? As refreshing as his candor is, depending on the circumstances, it can really backfire. Even worse than tonight.”
“Yeah, I know. Since Maeve and I apparently already have nothing but serious marital issues and sleep around with god knows who weekly, at least if you believe the tabloids, we don’t need real drama in our lives now.”
“Why do you read that shit? Don’t do that to yourself. Nobody here bothers with tabloids, keyboard warrior BS or celebrity news flashes. We know you two better than that. When you first started getting recognition, mom used to frequently blow a gasket every time some lies about you and Maeve came out, but even she just ignores it now. Unless someone at the grocery store or who knows where asks her about it. Oh, mom isn’t as sweet as we know her then. Oh no. I’d like to see her go up against your in-laws if she ever hears them say bad stuff about you. Mercy on their souls.” Declan told Everett.
“We don’t, but some just gets to us anyway, and we need to have a bit of an idea about what’s being said, as they will ask about it when we go to talk shows to promote a new single or album and I can’t constantly sit there like a drooling plush toy a la ‘I know nothing’. All that came up at the Reed’s home too. Nothing like having your father-in-law asking you point blank why you screw around on his little girl so much, while his wife is breathing fire next to him and your own wife chokes on her food about that question.”
“Are the Reeds really that awful? I only went with you a couple times when we were like 15 or 16, but I never thought they were that bad.”
“That’s most likely because her father never chased you out the window of his daughter’s room in your boxers after busting in like the Kool-Aid man, to catch us in the middle of smut.” Everett laughed about that memory.
“Oh my god, Rett.”
“Well, you asked. Why do you think my lazy ass is so athletic. I got that way dating Cordelia. I climbed in and out of her fucking window more than I ever used their damn front door. Most of the time when I went over to pick her up I got that door shut in my face anyway. Yeah, I was always a real hit with them. Good to know some things never change.”
“Well, I guess the worst I ever did to Rory’s dad was ask him to marry my daughter or something nonsensical like that when I went there to ask for her hand before proposing to her. My anxiety just flared up so badly and I stuttered and made zero sense. Well, he deciphered it anyway and said yes. But whenever I went there always through the front door. On that note, we’re going out with the Flynns tomorrow for dinner. Wanna tag along? I mean, you know each other well since they hung out at grandma and grandpas so much back when … you know.”
“Nah. Thanks, nice offer, but I’ll pass. If I see what I could have for in-laws I’ll probably ask them to adopt Maeve so I don’t have to deal with the Reed bullshit again. I didn’t even tell you yet what happened even before the big showdown at dinner. We had been there for like an hour or so at that point, and had to ‘enjoy‘ all of Cordelia and Julian’s life in images, you know, in true Reed and DiLaurentis fashion the typical cheesy, stiff and staged pictures of their engagement, wedding, birth of their triplets, first day of school, yada yada, when I had to get out for a minute and fled to the patio just so I could breathe for a moment. Imma just gonna say, Cordelia followed me.”
“Oh crap, don’t say she came onto you.” Declan’s eyes grew wide.
“Didn’t get that far, but I am sure that was coming. All coo-ey and overly sweet she stood next to me and started reminiscing about all the great times she and I had together, then finished off the hopping down memory lane with the whammy when she basically told me I am the one who got away, which she regrets daily. Man, I was THIS close to setting over the fence and just running, probably would have, had it not been for Blaine. Couldn’t leave my poor son behind. Maeve wanted this, so I didn’t even care at that point, her family, her problem.”
“Hate to say it, but no real surprise there. You know, Rory, mom, dad and I run into Cordelia and her kids quite a bit, her three go to the same school as my twins and Windenburg isn’t that huge, plus, the DiLaurentis estate is here on the island, practically neighbors, so we meet. And we all already figured out she has her regrets about you. Julian is polite but dull as wet concrete, I don’t know him that well, but I think my left sock is probably more passionate than him, between that and your immense success she probably can’t help wondering how it would feel to be in her sister’s shoes. Just be careful with her. And don’t fall for her.”
“Ha, as if. I love Maeve, I need no other chick, least of all Cordelia! She can take a long walk off the short pier for all I care. I could never be drunk, horny or desperate enough to wanna roll in the hay with that bitch again.”
“Speaking of the olden days, Chris asks about you often. Ever thought about hanging with him again? He still lives next door to us with his parents.”
“Chris? As in my former best friend, operative term being ‘former’? Nope, no interest whatsoever. I cannot forgive or forget that he turned out to be a lying, betraying backstabber. Especially once you are famous like Maeve and I are, last thing you need in your life is fake friends. Nah, I’d rather give some chicks some tit tats and deal with Maeve’s revenge before I open myself to his lies again. Also, he is Maeve’s ex. So double no thanks!”
“Her ex? I guess that part I missed. Small town living for you. But he has changed I’d say. He never even acknowledged me when we were younger, now we do small talk while waiting for the ferry. He’s still not married. We all have matured … and what the hell are tit tats?”
“Yeah, matured my ass. Mature Chris can go and find immature Chris and fuck himself. Just like Cordelia, who matured straight into trying to sabotage my marriage to her sister. And what do you think a tit tat is, genius? It’s when you sign chicks’ boobies. Duh. How can a grown man not know that? You are so adorably innocent. Mom would be so proud.”
“Oh jeeze! You don’t really do that, do you? The tit-tatting?” Declan looked disgusted by the idea.
“Did it once, immediately faced Maeve’s wrath, and retired that service from my repertoire after she unleashed her opinion about that on me. Not only were my ears ringing for days after she shared her views on that with me, I was in the doghouse for a week and on top of all she told me if I ever tried that again, she’d start signing random dudes’ ding-dongs and I know she isn’t one for empty threats. I would kill every single one of them using their own ding dongs, signed or otherwise, and we don’t need that kinda criminal record.”
“Wow. I am glad Rory and I are living the quiet life. Maybe redundant at times, but I don’t think I could deal with all those paparazzi trying to stalk my family all the time, let alone with signing … that stuff. Eeew.”
“When are you guys coming back to the Valley to see us? Aunt Ana and Uncle Ri ask about you guys a lot.”
“Not now. We just spent Spring Break in Mt. Komorebi. Next school holidays aren’t until summer. So … then?”
“That’s months away. Can’t you take off a week and tell the school the boys are sick? They are A-students anyway, with dorky dad and nerdy mom they cannot help but excel academically. They’ll be fine. Speaking of, do you ever hang out with your old nerd crew? Chip ‘n Dale or whatever their names were again.”
“First of all Rett, my kids have to go to school. I miss you guys too, but education is important. And yes, I still hang out with Dale and Chad. I haven’t seen Ashleigh in a long time. She, Dale and Chad still are a bit at odds with each other and I think she has two kids now. Dale and Chad both married sisters. Remember dad’s best friend Donovan? His daughters actually. Chad’s got a little girl now.”
“Is that so? Ha, whaddaya know, I always thought he was in the closet. Guess not.”
“You know he was a single dad to another daughter long before he got married and had his little girl, right?”
“Yeah, I know, he knocked up some older woman who seduced him when he was a teen and then she stuck him with the kid. That doesn’t prove whether or not he’s gay, Decs.”
“I don’t care if my friends are gay, straight or bi, Rett. As long as they are solid and happy. And they both are. Really good guys. Then and now.”
“Yeah, good point. Unlike my so-called friends. Friends, ha. I had a bunch of fake, no-good lying users whom I only thought were my friends. I should have broken their noses and kicked them to the curb after they did what they did to you. Instead I brushed it off. So sorry about that, bro. I was a blind and deaf dumbass then too.”
“Don’t worry about it. It was rough, not gonna lie, but you were there for me, you did help. And if I hadn’t been such a moron with my social awkwardness and all, I probably would have never met Rory. I stood out to her with all that, like a walking, talking – well, stuttering – project. And I would never want to think about my life without her or our boys. Although, I gotta say, I have no idea why my kids are the way they are. I definitely do not have to worry about them being shy. They are total gamers, I mean, really good at it, I have to work hard to beat them, even at their young age now, but they are totally popular in school. Constantly invited over somewhere, new friends all the time, I actually made a spreadsheet to keep up, and they both are at the top of their class. I feel like I hit the jackpot.”
“Spreadsheet for friends. You are such a dork. Blaine has new friends all the time too, because we travel so much, but Maeve has this mom instinct thing, where it all gets memorized, so I just ask her. No spreadsheets needed.”
“You don’t have twins, who share some friends, but not all, and you never end up with a house full of little boys and girls, trying feverishly to sort who is who. Not as easy as it sounds.”
“Nah, I’d just make them wear nametags, ‘Hi, I am little Billy and I am Jamie’s friend’.” Everett chuckled.
“Yeah, or give tit tats to kids, huh?” Declan grinned.
“On the forehead maybe, with permanent marker – or better yet: a tattoo gun. Here is an autograph from uncle Rett. Enjoy!”
“Ha ha ha, their mothers would probably like that a lot, but their dads would be knocking at your door in no time!”
The brothers lifted their beers and cheered to each other, laughing cleansing laughs. Suddenly the rough dinner with his in-laws was almost forgotten.