Chapter 2

1159 Words
Chapter Two Nine Weeks Earlier “Stop drinking beer for f**k’s sake. Do you want dad to have a stroke?” Nico tosses a set of keys my direction. Without glancing up from my favorite movie, I grab the keys out of the air like a ninja. I can tell by the feel of the fob he’s hunted down the keys to my Pagani. “Shh. It’s the best part.” Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Nico tense, folding his arms across his chest with the scowl I know only too well. But I don’t stop Reservoir Dogs for just anyone - especially Nico. What’s special, take you in the back and suck your d**k? I stifle a laugh. That line gets me every time. The scene ends and I pause the movie. “Where you going all dressed up?” “Same place as you.” Nico scowls like Keanu Reeves. “f**k that. I’m finishing my movie, then heading down to the club for a round of racquetball. Then maybe a drive along the 101.” Code for picking up a deb at the country club and finding a secluded spot for some early spring f*****g al fresco. Nico stalks across the rec room and snatches the remote. “Hey.” I glare. “What crawled up your a*s and died?” “Did you read Wine Country Weekly?” I snort. “Since when did you start taking an interest in the family business?” “Since dad’s been riding my a*s about his legacy.” Nico looks like he’s about to chuck the remote across the room. “Do you pay attention to anything?” You bet. t**s, a*s. The next p***y I’m going to conquer. “My next lay,” I say fighting to keep a smirk from my mouth. It’s so much funnier when I deadpan. “Get your mind out of the gutter for five seconds and listen up.” Nico was a lot more fun when we were teenagers. Before he married Ronnie and shackled himself to a social climbing honey badger dressed in Versace. But I can see he’s not going to let this go, so in the name of brotherly love, I sit back, prepared to listen. “Talk to me.” Nico clears his throat, looking the tiniest bit uncomfortable. Interesting. He might only be thirteen minutes older than me, but he wears his firstborn title like a badge, which means he hates asking for s**t. And thanks to that little tell, I’m ready to pounce the second I see my opening. “Ronnie’s been on this kick about boutique wineries lately.” I swallow back the acid that rises. “I thought this was about Dad.” “It is.” I open my hands. “Then why are you talking about Ronnie?” “Because Dad’s pissed as hell that she’s the only one taking an active interest in the business. He thinks she wants to take over.” “So?” Who cares if she does? She and Nico are bound to produce progeny one of these days and their son, because they will have a son - with triplet boys in the genes, how could he not- will inherit a billion dollar wine conglomerate. I suppose it ought to piss me off, but to be honest. I give no shits. My trust fund is secure. I’ll be fully vested in two more years, and then I can retire from a life of leisure to dabble in whatever the f**k I feel like. Bikini inspection, maybe. Nico shakes his head with a look of disappointment, as if he can see my thought process playing out on my face. “Dad doesn’t want Ronnie running things, he wants us.” I shrug. “I’m a beer drinker, dude. And whiskey on Saturdays.” “Keep saying s**t like that around here and he’s gonna cut you off,” Nico snaps. “Mom wouldn’t let him.” Nico raises a brow. Now he has my attention. What does he know that I don’t? “I wouldn’t be so sure of that.” I stand. “What’s going on? What aren’t you telling me?” Nico looks triumphant, and he should, because somehow, he’s gained the upper hand. Again. And now he knows I’ll do whatever the f**k he asks because I crave information. “There’s a blind tasting happening downtown tonight for small, up-and-coming wineries. Ronnie’s been researching the trends and thinks we should be stepping up our game. She wants to taste the competition.” “We have no competition,” I snort. “We own more than a million acres of vines. A twenty-acre mom and pop winery is no threat to us. And hell, if for some reason they are, we can Duvel them.” Nico shoots me a questioning look. “Duvel?” I stare back like he’s a third grader asking how to spell mommy. “Only the biggest beer conglomerate in the world? They’re gobbling up microbreweries like they’re starving.” “Point is, Mom has decided Ronnie’s got a point and has started pestering Dad.” Subtext: Ronnie doesn’t like me, and now Mom’s on the warpath and my trust fund may be on wobbly ground. f**k that. f**k them. My mind immediately starts spinning. I’ve made some decent investments over the years - not quite enough to keep me in the manner I’ve become accustomed, but bring it. Let them try and bring me down. I’ll Tarantino their asses and beat them at their own game. “So what you’re saying is I need to put on a f*****g monkey suit and go pretend like I give a s**t about a bunch of baby vineyards we could crush like that?” I snap my fingers. Nico flashes me a grin. “Something like that.” “I’ll think about it.” I sit back down and turn Reservoir Dogs back on. “You’re a f*****g piece of work, Austin,” he grits. I wave a hand. “Shh. I said I’d think about it.” “Don’t be a douchebag. Dec’s already on board. Tasting starts at seven at the Four Seasons.” He spins and leaves without giving me a chance to get in the last word. Asshole. And I do think about it, only paying half-attention to the screen. Option one: Blow them off. It would be easy, and I know how to avoid Mom’s wrath. At least for a few weeks. But I like my life, and the basic lack of conflict that comes with it. And I won’t lie. I f*****g love my trust fund, even though I chafe at the strings attached. Which leads me to Option two: Putting on a monkey suit and pretending like I give a s**t about wine. As much as I hate the idea of changing my plans, Option two will keep my life relatively headache-free, which is a plus. And the bar in the Four Seasons is as good a place as any to find a sexy piece of tail to enjoy tonight. I drain the last of my beer and shut off the movie, reaching for my phone as I stand. If I hoof it, I can be on the road in forty-five and beat Nico and Declan to the hotel. They’ll stop for cocktails on the veranda with Mom and Dad before taking the limo in, which means if I play my cards right, I can have my evening plans set before they make it to the lobby.
Free reading for new users
Scan code to download app
  • author-avatar
  • chap_listContents
  • likeADD