How To Fake an Engagement with the Best Man by London Casey

A WHILE AGO





(Lincoln)





My cigarette disappeared from between my lips.

I had been enjoying a quiet smoke. My eyes shut, head back. Taking in some midday sun. Ignoring the large house behind me that was so carelessly considered to be a beach house when in reality it was a borderline mansion.

When I opened my eyes, I exhaled a smokeless breath and looked up at my brother standing over me.

He was in a fancy suit, his lips puckered with anger. I wondered if that’s how he kissed Karen. If so, I felt bad for her. Never knowing if she was getting a kiss or a scolding. Hell, maybe it was both. Maybe Karen was into that crazy shit.

Yell at me, Levi. Tell me I’m such a bad girl. Tell me I need to wait two seconds at a stop sign. Yeah, that’s right, I drove fast through a yellow light. Oh, and I didn’t pay my credit card on time and lied to the company when they charged me a late fee… that’s right, what are you going to do about it?

I cringed at the thought of my brother’s sex life.

Levi dropped the cigarette onto one of the steps and stepped on it.

He then took out a tissue from his pocket, picked up the cigarette and walked it to one of the flower planters then hid it.

“We’re not kids, brother,” I called out.

“We’ll always be kids to them,” Levi said. “You know Grandma Babs died of lung cancer.”

“But she didn’t even smoke,” I said.

“Exactly. It’s in our genes.”

“What the hell do you know about genes?”

“I know enough to get you to stop smoking,” Levi said. “You’re not some rebel teenager anymore, Lincoln.”

“I’m a rebel adult now,” I said.

“Bullshit,” Levi said. “You know, Mom is in there in tears right now.”

“All the merlot gone?” I asked.

“Lincoln, come on,” Levi said. “She’s worried about you.”

“What’s there to be worried about?” I asked. “I’m doing just fine. I’ve got a great gig, a big-ass paycheck, and a nice place. Money means nothing to me. I get to live as free as I want. As long as I avoid the prison behind me.”

“Prison… real nice thing to say.”

“Look at you, brother,” I said. “You look like you’re heading into a board meeting knowing your ass is about to get canned. The pressure they toss at us… fuck that.”

“Those are our parents,” Levi said.

“I know. And Dad will forever hate me for not becoming a lawyer. He wanted his two boys to become lawyers and then use us to build some massive law firm. So he could parade around on TV commercials. You know that, right?”

“He wanted what was best for us,” Levi said.

“And Mom just wants us to find some woman to marry,” I said with a laugh. “She wants grandkids to take pictures of and never actually take care of them.”

“When the hell did you get so cynical?”

“I think about ten years ago,” I said. “Give or take.”

“You’re an asshole, Lincoln.”

I stood up. “There’s something we all agree on.” I tugged at my suit jacket. I was bold enough to wear a suit jacket with a t-shirt under it. “Did you come out here to break my balls?”

“A little,” Levi said. “You can’t go in there smelling like smoke. Just don’t do it. I don’t need Mom going off the deep end.”

“Ah, I get it,” I said with a grin. “You have plans. You’re finally going out to experience life, huh? Tell me you’re heading to the city. I’ll go with you. I know some places you’ll really have some fun.”

“No, Lincoln,” Levi said.

“Your version of fun and mine are very different. I bet you’re going to some fancy place where they bring out a board that has cheese on it. And some waiter has to tell you all the different kinds of cheese. But it’s just cheese, Levi. It either tastes good or like someone’s ass. And you’ll choose the one that tastes like shit because that’s what Mom and Dad taught us. My advice, brother, hit a dive bar, eat some gooey, decent cheese, and then eat some gooey, decent pussy.”

Levi scoffed. “I don’t know where you came from, Lincoln. Those two people in there set us up to have good lives. And you just want to resist.”

“Look, you came out here to break up my smoke break.” I clapped my hands. “You did good. Now let’s go back in there and finish suffering.”