“What the hell did you do?”
Hearing his sister’s strident voice, Vincent wished that he’d gone back upstairs. It wouldn’t have mattered. Kaitlyn didn’t respect anyone’s boundaries. “You’re home early,” he intoned sarcastically. “Get thrown out of the clubs again?”
“No. I was tired. But apparently, Miss Goody Two Shoes knows how to party. Did you not listen to a word I said last week, Vincent? Really!”
“Don’t.” The single word was infused with a wealth of meaning and warning.
“Don’t butt into your business? Don’t take you to task for being a selfish asshole and thinking with your dick?”
“Whatever happened between Ophelia and myself is none of your damned business.”
Kaitlyn crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him. “Look, I know you’re crazy about her, and anyone with eyes knows she’s crazy about you. The only two people in this house who never seemed to figure that out was the two of you!”
“Leave it alone!”
“No. I won’t leave it alone. She goes tearing out of here at three o’clock in the morning, crying and you’re sitting in the dark looking at a glass of bourbon like it holds the secrets of the universe! Leaving it to the two of you is obviously not a reasonable option! Just admit it, already!”
“Admit that you’re in love with her!”
He rose quickly and with one swipe of his hand sent the items on the desk crashing to the floor. “Love doesn’t exist. It’s a fairy tale that people use to pretty up jealousy and obsession. If anyone should know that, it ought to be you!”
Kaitlyn jumped, but didn’t back down. She’d never seen her brother lose his temper. Not once in their life, not since they’d come to Thomas’ home, had he ever truly let go. “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. You love me, and god knows I’m a pain in the ass. You loved Thomas and he was incorrigible. You love Justin and he moves through our lives like a shadow...A week ago you said Ophelia was a part of this family too.”
“It’s not the same.”
“You’re not like him, you know? You’re nothing like our father.”
It was as if she knew what was going on inside his mind, poking around in his head the same way that damned fortune teller had.
At his sharp look, she sighed. “Isn’t that what this is really all about?”
Vincent didn’t respond for the longest time. When he did speak, his voice was pitched low. “I’m just like him. That’s what everyone says. All of his old friends, the people who worked for him. Claude even said it last week, just as I had my fist drawn back to hit him.”
“Everyone wants to hit Claude! He’s an asshole! Thomas never said you were like him—and he never believed it. Neither do I. You may look like him, Vincent, but that’s where the similarity ends.”
He shook his head and continued to stare out the window into the darkness. “Go to bed, Kaitlyn. It doesn’t matter now, anyway.”
Kaitlyn looked like she wanted to shake him, to make him see things her way. But he’d always been able to out stubborn her. Some things weren’t worth the risk and, to his mind, hurting Ophelia any more than he already had definitely fell into that category.
“Fine. Promise me you won’t sit here and drink yourself sick. We’ve still got to get through the reading of the will tomorrow and from what I hear, it’s going to be a doozy.” With that final parting shot she flounced off, leaving him alone in the dark again.