He still couldn’t wrap his mind around the fact that his uncle had a kid. Other than the woman he remembered seeing Uncle Thad with at the warehouse that summer, no other one came to mind. Did they have a child together? He and his brothers had spent many nights at their uncle’s house and not once had he mentioned having children. There had been no weekend or holiday visits. And Brandon would know because Uncle Thad had spent most of those times with Brandon’s family.
Brandon had tried to ask his father again for more details, but got the same answer he’d given at the meeting: “Thad will share when he’s ready.” In the meantime, his father expected Brandon to waste time he didn’t have. He already had to interview and train his replacement, as well as make his own preparations in taking over for his father. The anger and resentment that had been hovering below the surface rose again and he drew in several deep breaths to gain control of his emotions.
Brandon lifted his head. “Hey, Vonnie. Come on in.”
“Don’t start.” Siobhan took her role as the oldest seriously and would stage an intervention if she felt one of her siblings needed it, whether they wanted one or not. The look on her face told him it was coming.
She sat across from him and smiled. “Okay. You get a reprieve for the moment, but only because I have something more urgent. We’re planning Dad and Uncle Thad’s retirement party and since they’ve given us such a short window to work with, I want to get the invitations out by Monday afternoon. It’s going to be the last Friday of July, which gives us a good three weeks for folks to get their invites. I talked to Malcolm and they don’t have to report to camp until that Sunday, so he and Omar are free. I was also thinking—”
Brandon felt a headache coming on. His sister was in full PR and planning mode. “Vonnie, I’m not in the mood to be talking about a party right now.”
Siobhan skewered him with a look. “You don’t have to be. All you need to do is show up and handle your part, which includes giving the toast. Now, as I was saying…”
He half listened to all the details and wondered how she had found time to do all of this when their father had only announced it yesterday.
“You should bring Faith.”
He promptly tuned back in. “What?”
“I said you should bring Faith. That is her name right…the woman from the accident?”
Brandon didn’t recall telling his sister Faith’s name.
“Justin mentioned her name once.”
“As I said before, we’re not in that kind of relationship. Besides, she’ll probably be gone back home by then.” Something else he didn’t want to think about. But he’d just said they weren’t in a relationship, so it shouldn’t bother him if she left. Yet, it did.
“Oh? Hmm… Did you decide to take her to the pier like Justin and I suggested?”
Images of that evening surfaced and Brandon couldn’t stop his body’s response. Thankfully he was seated behind his desk. “Yes, since I couldn’t come up with anything else,” he said casually.
Siobhan observed him for a moment, and then smiled. “Well now.”
His brow lifted. “Well now, what?”
She stood. “I’ll send you everything once I’m done.” She walked to the door and turned back. “And, I’ll put you down for one plus a guest. I have no doubts about your power of persuasion.” She tossed him a bold wink and exited.
Brandon groaned. He didn’t know who was worse, Siobhan or Khalil. He did know that he needed that persuasive power for tomorrow.
Saturday morning, Faith paced back and forth while waiting for Brandon to arrive, far too excited about spending the day with him. Ever since he’d mentioned not wanting to mess up whatever was happening between them, she had wondered what he meant. Did he want them to explore something other than their agreed-upon casual affair? She thought it best to keep her emotions out of it, especially with what she knew. She still hadn’t figured out how to broach the subject. Faith checked her watch. He’d said he would arrive at quarter to nine, so she still had a few minutes to come up with something.