I step into Dana’s great room, and watch Stewart pull Paul into a congratulatory hug, their faces holding matching, dimpled grins. I watch them, no sign of tension or competition in the air. It is incredible, that this train wreck ended in such a perfect fashion. My boys, the ones I fought so long to keep separate, embracing. I will get to keep them both in my life. I have emerged with my heart intact. And get to continue life with the man I love. The one who, from the beginning, has waited patiently for this chance.
I cross the room to him, his gorgeous face beaming as he collapses on the couch, pulling me to him, his arm looping around my neck. I lean back into his chest, and look into his eyes.
Their eyes. It should have been my first clue. Piercing blue, too gorgeous, too unique to be a coincidence. But this man’s eyes... they see into my soul. They know every bit of me, and accept it all. I will grow old with this man. I will have his babies, and teach them to surf. And try, through it all, to be worthy of his love.
I knew. I’d known for a long time. Since I’d opened our mailbox one day and saw Paul’s real last name. Not the one he’d used for as long as I’d known him, the one plastered over surfer magazines and endorsement deals. I’d known it was a pseudonym, one he used for press, but I had never taken the time to dig deeper. Paul Linx was how I knew him, was how he lived his everyday life. But that day, on the broken concrete that led to our garage, I flipped through envelopes and stopped at one with a different last name. Paul Brand. A unique last name. So unique it made my hand shake and the mail drop to the ground. I told myself it was probably a coincidence. A crazy, highly unlikely coincidence. As crazy and highly unlikely as dating two men who end up being related.
All of the similarities between them suddenly flooded my mind. Piercing blue eyes. A kissable curved mouth. Rugged features. Tall, athletic builds. Even the impressiveness that hung between their legs. Jesus. Both of them, estranged from their families. Both who had—at some point in time—mentioned a brother. I was stupid for not seeing the possibility sooner.
I, scooping up the mail, stumbling upstairs, had full-blown panicked. Sat on the couch, counted to ten, then, twenty, then one hundred, breathing deep, ragged gasps of air, my mind racing with the implications.
At the time, it had seemed disastrous. Insurmountable. Right then, right that moment, I would have to choose. I had to pick. There was no going around it.
But it was too late. My heart had gone too far, jumped over two cliffs and plummeted past the point of return. I could not choose. I could not willingly rip a piece of my heart off and flush it down the toilet. Break up with one of these men with no way to explain the reason. I couldn’t. I couldn’t throw a bomb into this perfect world where everything was flowing so well, smiles all around, orgasms at every turn.
So I didn’t do anything at all. I left the mail on the counter, and went about my life the same as before. But I made sure to keep my lives separate. Made sure to never mention their names, or details of our separate lives. Not that the boys cared. They were blissfully ignorant of each other and happy about it. So I lived the life, knowing the entire time that there was an expiration date. Knowing that one day the truth would come out and our perfect world would implode.
I dreaded that implosion for so long. Stressed over it, worried over what disasters it would bring. But now? I roll over in bed, burrowing against Paul, who wraps his arms around me, pulling me close, and gently presses his lips to my forehead. I think I knew all along how this would probably end.
The implosion—it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened. To me. To us. And to them.
Deepak Chopra once said, “All great changes are preceded by chaos.” Looking back, chaos was a great way to describe our lives. I saw it as perfection, only because I didn’t know what could exist, what lay on the other side of that coin. Now? Now that I know? I am grateful for the chaos. Grateful for the immense change that it brought. Grateful that now, I am in a pleasant state of calm.
I am in, finally, the right place.