Everywhere and Every Way

By: Jennifer Probst



His mother’s presence still beat strong in the bright yellow walls, eclectic collection of dish towels, and cheery splashes of color that livened up the cold steel and elegant marble. Their house was always a showcase for new buyers, and Christian held it to the highest standard of materials and elegance. The floor-to-ceiling bay windows with their silver velvet drapes; the vaulted ceiling, which gave the rooms amazing space; and such expensive materials as pine, mahogany, marble, and Italian tile all brought the place a greatness and quality his father proudly boasted of.

But Diane Pierce had made it a true home.

Now the house was quiet except for the chomping of the dogs. Cal held back a weary sigh as he made his way toward the porch. His brothers had avoided him since the reading of the will, but he needed an answer soon. It was time they had a real talk and figured out if they could forgive enough to work together.

He opened the door to the porch and strode to his favorite drinking chair. The wicker rocker was old and worn, and the seat molded to his ass with perfect precision. He propped up his booted feet on the matching wicker table, faded now to a dirty white, smirking a bit when he remembered how Christian had hated having any wicker in his house. It was a material he frowned upon, and it looked out of place with the custom wood rockers and cedar porch. Maybe that was why Cal loved this set so much.

He sipped his whiskey and tried to relax. Darkness closed around him, the thick woods that surrounded the twenty-acre estate full of lively night action from the crickets and frogs, each trying to outsing the others. The intricately structured gazebo of latticed painted wood and peaked roof opened onto the infinity pool. A faint greenish glow and trickle of steam rose from the right, connecting to the main house via a bluestone pathway lined with natural rock formations. The lush manicured lawn tumbled into towering oaks and pines, snugly wrapping the house around them. It was a sight that always startled him with its beauty. How many times had he and his brothers played in those woods, pretending they were Hansel and Gretel and that a witch with a candy house would eventually snag them? Cal swore he heard raucous laughter drifting to his ears. Ghosts from the past swirled and caught him in its net.

Three young boys who ran together, climbed trees, and shared secrets in an old tree house. Three boys who believed in magic and a future so bright, no reality could ever dim it. Three young boys who had no idea one day it would be torn apart and they’d never find themselves going back to one another.

A swarm of gnats hovered around his head, and he batted them away, reminding himself to get a few more citronella candles out. Summer was upon them, and the bugs were a bitch. He used to wonder why his parents never built near the harbor, closer to the bustling town. It was a location most people sought out in Harrington. Then he realized that land was key. Owning numerous acres gave power, the more the better. Cal wondered if his parents had been happy for a brief time, when endless possibilities stretched before them. It was as if the bigger the business got, the more their family began to break at the foundation.

Cal knew from experience that the foundation everything was built on was key. It could rot like termites eating through bad wood and never truly recover.

Now, wasn’t he thinking like a damn poet? But he was no Dylan Thomas. Better to shut off his thoughts and just drink.

“Still drinking that bourbon shit, brother?”

He jerked his head around. Dalton smirked and dropped into the rocker to the right. His fingers clasped loosely around the neck of an IPA. Cal took in his tired face, ripped tank, and denim shorts with the ragged hem. Dalton propped his feet up on the railing, which were now clad in frayed flip-flops.

Cal tipped his head in greeting. “Still drinking the drink of the commoner, Dalton? Or is that all you can afford lately?” That comment got him a snarl, but Cal gave a laugh. “Sorry, I’m only screwing with you. Been a long time since I got to needle you.”

Dalton let out a disgusted breath. “Dude, at least I’m not the one still living with my parents. A thirty-two-year-old single man shacked up with his dad? Cree-eepy.”

“He’s got you there.”

Another voice joined them, and Tristan stepped onto the porch, leaning one hip against the pillar. His drink of choice was a dark ruby-red wine that probably cost way too much to actually drink. His reddish-brown hair was perfectly tousled in that way females loved. He was dressed in khaki shorts, a clean white T-shirt, and some designer-type sneakers. Tristan had always had a thing for expensive food, wine, and women. Except when he dated Sydney, of course.

Cal rubbed his forehead and groaned. “Fuck, you’re right. I lived with Dad. That’s kind of embarrassing.”

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