Trouble Rising(5)

By: Emme Rollins



“To face it.” He made a face, slightly pained. “To decide. It’s time, Katie. I just… I can’t do it anymore.”



“Trouble?”



He nodded.



“So it’s over.”



We both heard the front door slam.



“Tyler!” Rob. His voice shook the whole house. There weren’t many people who had the security code to the gate at the front of the property.



“You forgot to set the alarm again when you came in last night, didn’t you?” I rolled my eyes as Tyler slid off the bench seat, but he didn’t get far, because Rob was already stomping down the hallway toward the kitchen.



“Goddamnit, Tyler, where are you?”



“Right here, bruh.” Tyler leaned opened the fridge, reaching in as Rob burst into the kitchen, his face a storm cloud.



“What the fuck?” Rob frowned at his brother as Tyler took an organic yogurt out of the fridge, closing the door. “You guys don’t answer your phones anymore?”



“I was out for a swim.” Tyler shrugged as he pulled the lid off his yogurt, finding a spoon in the dishwasher. His nonchalance in the face of his brother’s anger only served to make Rob even madder. I knew that look.



“Did you see the article?” Rob’s gaze dropped from me to the kitchen table, where the paper was still open, screaming the headline. “Did you talk to her? Is it true?”



“Yeah.” Tyler nodded, spooning yogurt into his mouth as he leaned back against the kitchen counter. I looked between the two of them, holding my breath. I had a feeling this wasn’t going to end well.



“Yeah?” Rob repeated, looking stunned. “Yeah to which part?”



“All of it,” Tyler replied calmly, licking the back of his spoon.



I waited for Rob’s explosion. He didn’t get mad often, but when he did, it was usually spectacular—and often involved breaking things. Fortunately, there wasn’t much out in the kitchen for him to break, unless he grabbed one of the cast iron pans off the stove and started beating on the marble floor.



It probably would have happened, if Sabrina hadn’t appeared, breathless, in the doorway, with a baby on her hip and a barely-walking toddler holding her hand.



“Rob,” she said, a warning in her voice. She glanced over at me, giving me an apologetic smile. “Hey guys, sorry to bust in like this. We couldn’t get you on the phone, and we were a little worried…”



I raised my eyebrows at that—we all knew it was a lie. They were worried, all right, but not about our personal well-being. They were worried that what they’d read in Variety was the truth. Tyler was leaving Trouble.



The truth hadn’t fully sunk in yet, even for me.



Trouble without Tyler was like peanut butter without jelly. Impossible.



“It’s true.” Rob turned to his wife as Sabrina came fully into the kitchen. “It’s all fucking true.”



“Rob,” Sabrina spoke in that warning tone again, glancing at the kids. Their littlest one wasn’t old enough to repeat it, but the toddler was.



Lucy saw me and brightened, letting go of her mother’s hand and running toward the kitchen table, squealing, “Aunt Katie!” I caught her before she could run into it, tickling her and making her giggle. Tyler smiled, finishing the last of his yogurt and tossing the spoon in the sink.



“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.” Rob looked at his brother, not angry anymore, and I could sympathize with the hurt, betrayed look in his eyes. Then he asked the million-dollar question, the one I knew Tyler wouldn’t answer. “Why?”



“It’s really true?” Sabrina carried the baby over—Henry was a big-eyed, dark-haired butterball—sliding onto the bench seat across from me at the kitchen table, and she asked her question in my direction. “Did you know?”



“I… no.” I shook my head, meeting Tyler’s eyes. “Not really. Not… officially.”



Sabrina gave me a look, like she wasn’t sure she quite believed me.



“Why?” Rob asked again, watching Tyler throw his yogurt container away and join me at the kitchen table. Little Lucy was happy to see him and put her chubby arms around his neck, giving him one of those sloppy, open-mouthed kisses toddlers give.

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