Holy Frigging Matrimony - A Tangled Series Short Story (The Tangled Series)
Author:Chase, Emma

Instantly, Warren and I forget about knocking each other’s teeth out. We’re too busy trying to get away from the sizzling liquid that’s being poured on us.

 

I look up into the diabolical eyes of Amelia Warren, who’s proudly holding two stainless steel carafes that used to be filled with coffee. And now aren’t.

 

She reaches down and grabs my ear with one hand and Warren’s with the other. And we’re immobilized. Immediately. Amelia Warren—pain in the ass by day, ninja warrior by night.

 

She drags us out of the room by our respective ears, not unlike Sister Beatrice would have in the good old days. But we don’t go quietly.

 

“Ow…fuck…oooowwww!”

 

“Aunt Amelia, let go! I’m a musician, I need my ear!”

 

“Stop your whining! Beethoven was deaf and he did just fine.”

 

 

 

 

 

We’re dragged towards an adjoining room. Out of the corner of my eye I see Kate tagging along. Arms folded, back stiff—not a good sign for me. She opens the door and the four of us walk in.

 

And we all stop dead in our tracks.

 

Because there, on an empty table, is none other than Kate’s mother, Carol, and Steven’s father—good old quiet, number-crunching George Reinhart—going at it hot and heavy like two teenagers in the backseat at a drive-in movie theater.

 

I shit you not.

 

Kate’s mouth opens wide, disbelief clear in her exclamation. “Mom?”

 

I raise my brows. “Wow. Go, George.”

 

Have I mentioned that Kate’s mom is smokin’ hot? She is. Very.

 

She’s in her fifties, with wavy russet hair, familiar dark eyes with the barest of wrinkles, and a warm smile. Her body’s softly rounded with age, but still petite. The best way to tell how a woman’s going to look in her later years is to look at her mother. If I didn’t know I was a lucky son of a bitch before? The moment I laid eyes on Carol Brooks, I was sure of it.

 

Carol and George bust apart like they’re on fire, sputtering embarrassed apologies as they readjust their clothing. Carol’s face reminds me of that pink dog on Blues Clues. Guess that’s where Kate gets the blushing thing from. George straightens his tie, trying his best to look dignified—like he wasn’t just caught with his hands on Carol’s fun bags.

 

He nods in our direction. “Boys. Kate.”

 

I wave.

 

Then Kate sputters, “Mom, the photographer needs you.” Carol seems relieved to have an exit strategy and they scurry out the door. Amelia-san releases her kung fu grip on my lobe and turns on her heels like a drill sergeant.

 

I try to lighten the mood. “Boy…didn’t see that one coming, huh?”

 

Kate frowns. And Amelia pokes me in the chest. “Even though you are not my responsibility, if I ever hear such profane filth out of your mouth again, I will hog tie you, hold your nose, and pour dish detergent down your throat like your mother should have a long time ago! Am I clear, mister?”

 

Her wrath turns to Warren. “And you—for God’s sakes, act like you have some sense! If you think you’re too old for me to take the belt to, you are sorely mistaken, young man. I raised you better than this.”

 

He looks down. “Yes, ma’am.”

 

“I expect you boys to stay on opposite sides of the room the rest of the evening. Any more trouble from either of you and I’ll have you thrown out on your asses.” In a huff she walks out of the room, with Warren trailing behind her like a stray puppy.

 

Leaving Kate and me alone.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3

 

 

THE SILENCE IS HEAVY. Awkward. Kate paces angrily, her movements sharp. She finally comes to a stop in front of me. “I don’t even know what to say to you.”

 

I squirm—just a little. “He started it.”

 

Her eyes narrow. “Are you serious?”

 

I think about it for a minute. “Kind of.”

 

Kate shakes her head. And her chocolate eyes turn wounded. “Do my feelings mean so little to you, Drew?”

 

I groan. “Come on, Kate. Don’t do that.”

 

“Do what?”

 

“Make this into some big thing about me not respecting you, or caring about you enough. It’s really not that complicated. I hate him. I hate that he’s here. I hate that you fucking talk to him.”

 

She folds her arms over her chest, “We’ve been over this—Billy was my friend long before you and I got involved. We grew up together. Like you and Matthew and Steven. You know what that’s like.”

 

I do. There’s nothing on earth more valuable than an old friend. Someone who understands you, knows why you are who you are, why you do what you do. No explanations needed.

 

“Matthew and Steven haven’t seen me naked.” And if they have, they certainly haven’t enjoyed it.

 

“Half the city has seen you naked, Drew.”

 

“Nameless women who mean--”

 

“Women who we run into every time we step outside the door!”

 

My voice rises. “I can’t help that!”

 

Hers rises more. “I never asked you to!”

 

“Then why the fuck are you bringing it up?”

 

I can feel the discussion spiraling, gaining momentum like a tornado about to touch down. I push a hand through my hair and force my voice to level out. Not exactly calm, but reasonable.

 

“What if I told you it was him or me—that you couldn’t have us both in your life? What would you say?”