Marrying the Wrong Twin

By: Nicole Casey


“Give me fifteen minutes,” I told him.

I wasn’t dressed for a five-star dining experience but then again, neither were my parents.

My dad’s suit was looking almost rumpled, despite the wrinkle-free material of his flawless black jacket. Mom looked like she’d also been on the go all day, her perfectly coiffed chignon betraying a stray hair or two.

This dinner must have really been last minute. I wonder whom we’re meeting.

I didn’t bother to ask. It wouldn’t make a difference. For whatever reason, they wanted me there and there I was.

Dad tried to make some idle small talk about the state of the economy but I was looking out the tinted windows of the limo, my mind still on the work that needed to be done.

Budget is on par…for now. As long as they don’t go overboard with those cheesy marketing campaigns, we’ll be—


I whipped my head toward my mother and arched a well-shaped eyebrow.

“What?” I demanded indignantly. I was slightly embarrassed that I hadn’t been paying attention.

“Your father asked you a question.”

I hadn’t even noticed. Plastering a mirthless smile on my face, I looked at Dad expectantly.

“What was that, Dad?”

He cleared his throat and cast Mom a nervous look, causing my eyes to narrow. I despised their private looks now. I knew that could only mean more contriving, plotting, scheming.

“I was just asking if…” he coughed again and I waited, my back tensing. “I was wondering if you were seeing anyone.”

At first, I thought I’d misunderstood him but the almost pink hue on his face told me that I’d heard perfectly fine.

Is this a joke?

“Seeing anyone.” I said it like a statement, the words bitter on my tongue. How could he ask me something like that?

I had steered completely clear of men my entire adult life. After what had happened in my teens, I was wary of relationships and borderline terrified of having sex again, lest I find myself in the same position I had been before.

Of course, I was a woman now, not a scared teenager and I had needs just like any other healthy women in her twenties.

So when I did enjoy the company of men, it was in short bouts and almost always incognito. Never did I bring home a boyfriend or consider a future. What if my parents found out and tried to sabotage it? What if the press got involved?

I wasn’t a normal woman, not by a long shot. No other female my age had these concerns, I was sure.

But that was my life now.

The company was my future…even if I was filled with a panging sadness when I thought of all I’d lost.

Don’t even go there, I warned myself and forced my eyes back toward my parents warily.

“Yes,” Mother said. “Seeing someone. Do you have a boyfriend?”

I turned my eyes toward her, my mouth pinching at the corners.

“Wouldn’t you know something like that?” I asked tightly. “Or have you finally stopped having those PIs follow me around?”

Mom balked at the mention. She obviously didn’t realize that I’d been aware of the trail I’d had on me when I was attending Colombia.

“Honey, it’s just a question. We know you wouldn’t come running to us if you were involved with someone,” Dad interjected quickly. “And we’re not looking to cause any trouble in your personal life.”

A sting of resentment pierced through me but I checked my temper.

That would be a first, wouldn’t it? What if I told you I was pregnant?

Where was all this anger coming from suddenly? I’d dealt with all these feelings already. I’d come to terms with what had happened…hadn’t I?

“Oh this is ridiculous, James,” Mother barked. “I told you she wouldn’t tell us anything.”

“I’m not seeing anyone,” I intoned, sensing Collette’s propensity for drama arising. I didn’t want to promote that kind of behavior. I’d long ago learned that it was much easier to just concede their points and be done with it. I’d need an emotional army to deal with them otherwise.

The limo was slowing to pull into a lot off Santa Monica Boulevard. I didn’t know the place but as we established, my social calendar wasn’t exactly full. It looked expensive enough, not that I thought my parents would dine anywhere that wasn’t trendy and overpriced.

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