Back in my room, I get dressed and carefully blow-dry my hair, wondering what Mum would make of my new, bold style. It seems appropriate that I no longer look the same, because, on the inside, I can scarcely remember who I am anymore.
Two of the triplets are already sitting at the table eating breakfast when I arrive in the kitchen. “Morning.”
“Yo,” Keaton—I think—says, giving me a thumbs-up. The other one, whose name I can’t remember, mumbles a measly hello under his breath.
The island unit is full to the brim with a variety of different foods. Taking a plate, I load up with scrambled eggs and bacon and pour myself a glass of cranberry juice.
I slide onto the bench beside Keaton and tuck in. In between mouthfuls, I try to draw the boys into conversation. “So, is there some trick for telling you guys apart?”
“He’s the one with the poisoned dick and the affliction for taking things that don’t belong to him,” Keaton supplies, jabbing his spoon pointedly in his brother’s direction.
I almost choke on my eggs.
“And he’s the one with his V-card still intact,” his brother retorts. His smirk is nasty as he points his finger at a rapidly reddening Keaton.
I feel instantly defensive of him. “Wow, thanks for clarifying that. Super helpful. Maybe I’ll just buy name badges.” A tinge of sarcasm laces my tone.
Keaton recovers, nudging me gently. “That’s Kent. He’s the shortest of the three of us.”
“Dude!” Kent protests. “By one-freaking-half inch.”
“It still counts. She’s looking for some way to tell us apart, and I’m explaining the most obvious way.”
Kent pushes his empty plate away, leaning his elbows on the table. “Keaton is the joker around here, and Keanu is the tallest and the vainest. Exactly the way Mom likes it.”
Both boys scowl.
“What?” I glance from one to the other.
“Keanu models for Mom.” Now I know which triplet was in the framed shots back in the games room. “That’s where he is now. At work.” Kent spits the word out like venom. “He thinks he’s this major celebrity ‘cause his face has hit the billboard in Times Square.”
“She didn’t want you guys?” I’m incredulous, because all three of them are totally gorgeous and definitely model-worthy. Hell, the whole family is. Alex could probably save a fortune by lining her family up for photo shoots instead of hiring the latest supermodels.
Kent drums his fingers off the table. “Oh, she did. But there’s no way I’m doing that pompous shit. Modeling’s for pussies.”
“And there you have it.” Keaton drains his juice and slams the glass down on the table.
“Keanu does what Keanu wants. Always has.” Kent shrugs indifferently. “We’re too far beneath him now.” He stands up. “I hate thinking of this shit. Puts me in a bad mood. Later, bitches.” He strides out of the room, leaving a sour note in his wake.
“Don’t pay any attention to him. Kent’s angry at the entire universe.”
I twist to face him, swinging one leg over the other side of the bench. “I thought triplets would have this amazing bond. You guys aren’t close?”
“Nah, we are.” He looks reflective as he stares blankly out the window. “Not as much as we used to be.” He shrugs. “Guess we can’t stay joined at the hip forever.”
He grins. “I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland, and Dad has promised us so many times, but for one reason or another, it’s never happened. What’s it like?”
“It’s great.” I pull my knees up to my chest, resting my feet on the bench. “It’s so beautiful and the people are so friendly and”—a raw lump sticks in my throat—“actually, could we talk about something else? Anything else?”
His look softens. “You miss home.” I bob my head. “You don’t want to be here, do you?”
“I …” I sigh. “It’s not that. It all happened so fast, and I’m still trying to get used to the idea. Plus, your brothers don’t seem overly enamored at my presence.”
He leans in. “Try not to take it to heart. We don’t have an issue with you here per se; it’s just that Mom and Dad have been fussing over your arrival, and Mom even took a day off work. They don’t tend to do stuff like that.” A dark cloud passes over his face.
“I’m sure that’s not true.” I remember how James’ face lit up when he was talking about his sons.
Keaton shakes his head and a teasing smirk surfaces. “Look at me, hitting you with the heavy stuff already. We should go out and have some fun. There’s only two weeks left until school starts back so we should make the most of it. If you like?”
Considering Keaton seems like the only one who actually wants to spend time with me, I’d be a fool to turn him down. “’Kay. What did you have in mind?”
He opens his mouth to answer when we’re distracted by a new arrival. Kyler strolls into the room, wearing black jeans, heavy-style boots, a plain black T-shirt, and an open black leather jacket. Add his attire to his unshaven face, and the dangerous glint in his eyes, and he looks like a total badass. Aaaannnddd … it’s like a shot of pure adrenaline straight to my hormones. An unfamiliar coil twists low as fire explodes in my lower belly.
I was wrong last night. Kyler isn’t just trouble. He’s an apocalypse-level disaster waiting to happen. I need to find some fallout shelter to hide in. And quick.
Kyler plonks a heavy-looking helmet on the island, and it lands with a loud thud. “Joker.” He nods his head at Keaton as he grabs a covered bowl of pasta from the fridge.