“I don’t think you ever need to worry about Kit at all,” Leti answers.
He’s lying. He might not know it, and my brothers might not know it, but I know it, and I love him for doing it.
We sit at the dinner table long past dark, until I convince my brothers to let us go and I convince Leti that we really need to hit the road. Kale walks us out to my Jeep and gives me a long hug good-bye.
“Don’t miss any more Sunday dinners. They aren’t the same without you.”
I smile into his shoulder. “What about when I go on tour?”
There are only six weeks left until we leave, in mid-July. Shawn has been busy making arrangements and working on publicity for the album we’re recording next week and releasing two weeks before our first tour date. And I’ve still been busy wondering where I’ll sleep. Before, I wondered if he’d bring girls on the bus after shows. Now, I wonder how I’ll react when he does.
Will I cry? For four straight weeks?
“Take me with you,” Kale answers before letting me go, and I wish I could. Mike, Adam, and Joel are great, but it’d be nice to have my twin with me. I miss him more than I’d ever let his punk ass know, and I know he can see it by the way he pulls me in to give me a kiss on the cheek before moving on to Leti.
My favorite brother stands across from our dinner guest, with his hands tucked in his back pockets and sincerity in his dark eyes. The boys are eye to eye under the glow of the security lamp hanging beside the basketball hoop in our driveway, Kale in a fitted checkered button-down and Leti in hot pink hoodie the same bright shade as his hot pink Chucks. “Thanks.”
“For what?” Leti asks.
Kale gives him a smile that means everything. “For being yourself tonight.”
If I didn’t know Leti better, I’d swear his cheeks turn almost as pink as his outfit. A smile touches his lips and he never takes his eyes off my brother. “Before we came here tonight, I told your sister her brothers were hot and asked if any of them swung my way. Do you know what she said?”
Kale just waits, and I swallow hard.
“She said she had no idea what I was talking about. Do you know what I was talking about?”
Again, Kale says nothing. But because I’m his twin, I can tell the words are right on the tip of his tongue. I can see it in the way his fingers fidget in his pockets.
Leti waits a moment longer, and then he smiles again. “Well, if you do ever figure out what I’m talking about, give me a call.” He pulls my brother in for a hug, unlike the one he gave him when he got here. This one isn’t for show. And it isn’t romantic either. He’s giving my brother his support, and when Kale frees his hands from his pockets and hugs Leti back, hope blooms in my chest and I walk around the hood of my Jeep to crawl into the driver’s seat.
“Love you, Kale,” I call after Leti slides in next to me.
“Love you back,” Kale says. His eyes flit to Leti before I put the Jeep in reverse, and then they drop to the driveway just before he turns to walk away.
“How’d you know?” I ask as soon as Leti and I are on the road. We’re both wrapped in our hoodies, drenched in the chilled night air that blows past us faster than the light of fireflies dancing by the side of the road.
“Maybe I was just hoping,” he says, and when he turns to me, his right hand soaring in the wind, he looks the most boyish I’ve ever seen him look.
“Are you crushing on my brother?” I ask, and he laughs and looks back out of the side of the Jeep.
“Have you seen your brothers? I’m crushing on all of them. Even your dad is hot.”
My nose scrunches at the thought of Leti and my . . . no, not even going to go there. “I don’t think you’re my dad’s type.”
“I’m everyone’s type,” he counters, and I can’t help smiling.
“Why’d you lie to your brothers about the band you’re in?”
And just like that, my smile vanishes. The road gets my undivided attention as we break through the suburbs and head toward the highway to Leti’s parents’ house.
“Because they wouldn’t like it.”
“That’s a shitty excuse for Kale and an even shittier one for you. What’s the real reason?”
I think about it for a long time—for so long that my answer cuts across a silence that’s become as impenetrable as the dark.
“Because Shawn was a secret . . . ” I admit, my voice quieting with the second half of my confession. “One I wanted to keep.”
“What about now?” Leti replies, and a million images flash into my head—the sunset, the stars in Shawn’s eyes, how his voice sounded when it carried on the breeze. Every single one of them ends with the way he won’t look at me now—not even to chastise me for being late or sucking at my job.
“Now?” I ask. “Now I know better.”
NONE OF US—none of us—could have predicted the way our album would blow up the first week of its release. Big bands like Cutting the Line and The Lost Keys are extremely vocal about loving our work, and all it takes is a few shares from a few big names. Social media explodes, shows sell out, and we add even more dates to our already booked tour.
Which means more time on the road. More time with Shawn.
“What’s with the purple?” he asks as I lug my guitar case and overstuffed backpack toward the bus, one slung over my left shoulder and the other slung over my right. My shades are down, my hair is a freshly dyed mix of midnight purple and black, and my asskickers are laced tight.