As I load up my plate, I look over at Brance who is still wearing the same clothes as last night. Arching an eyebrow, I can’t resist. “In training for Africa?”
He stops midbite. “You’re such an entitled ass, Reed. I will have you know that I have been up all night fighting with the man I love about you two.” He pulls a shaky hand through his dark hair.
“What?” Tess runs to him, kneeling down so that she can comfort him.
“Tess!” I say. “Get up.” I glare at Brance. “What kind of crap are you spouting?” He knows Tess is fragile right now, and he’s taking advantage of it.
“Logan wasn’t raised with money and he felt intimidated. We live very modestly.” Brance looks around our lavish suite, the large glass windows giving us a panoramic view of the Hollywood Hills. His eyes land on the piano in the corner and he groans. “Last night, he saw a version of me that he didn’t like.”
I stare at him like he’s insane “What are you talking about? The version that is you,” I roar.
“Reed.” Tess places her hand on my arm. “Let him speak.”
She leaves me and walks to Brance again, sitting next to him, holding his hand.
Snorting at the absurdity, I go back to my food.
“So, he has no idea how much money you have?” she gently asks.
Brance sighs. “No, I’ve told him about my family. About my dad. But I don’t think it registered until he was around you two.”
“He didn’t like us?” Tess looks crushed. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass if he likes us. But I know Tess. She will want Logan to love us for Brance’s sake.
“Tess, we did nothing wrong.” Looking straight into Brance’s eyes I say, “I’m sorry, but you never told us we would have to pretend to be something we all three are not. And if that is what this guy wants, then you need to get out now, man. You are what you are, Brance. He can either love that part of you or he can get the fuck out.”
Brance shakes his head. “Logan is it for me. I need you both to accept him. He is the best person I know. I can only strive to be the right man for him.”
“Wow, he must give great head because I have never heard so much bullshit—even coming from you, Brance.” I stand up to make Tess a plate.
“Reed… knock it off.” Tess turns to Brance. “What do you want us to do?”
“I already put my foot down about you, Pretty Girl. I told him you always come first. I am serious about going to Africa. I need to do this for my soul. I want to give back. It’s going to be a challenge, but at the end of it, I know I will be a better person.” He leans back in the silk-backed chair.
Tess nods, taking his hand. “It’s a wonderful thing that you guys are doing. Reed is going to donate a huge amount of money. How long are you going to be gone?”
He picks up his coffee and looks out the windows. “Three months and I probably won’t be able to contact you either. They have no internet or phones.”
“What? Oh God, I forgot about that. We talk every day.” Her eyes get teary.
“I know.” He puts his forehead on Tess’s hand.
“Christ, you two. Brance, pull yourself together. If it makes it easier on you, we will pretend we are poor. We don’t have to go to expensive restaurants or shop. Tess needs to rest.”
“No, Logan works all day at the yoga studio, so we’ll shop while he is working.”
I laugh. “Perfect. Anything else we need to lie about?”
Brance glares at me zeroing in on Tess. “I think it would be nice if you guys tried one of his classes. He is an amazing teacher.”
“No,” I cut him off. “No way! If he owned a boxing gym, yes. Yoga, no.”
Tess shoots me a glare. “I would love to go.”
“Thanks, Pretty Girl. I’m tired. I need sleep and a shower. I will see you guys later.”
“One more thing.” I stop Brance at the door. “Don’t fight over Tess. She has me, and I take care of what’s mine. Concentrate on Logan. He wants to be your number one, let him.”
Brance studies my face. “Thanks, Reed, but that is the way I’m wired. I have enough love for both. Tess will always come first if she needs me.”
“I release you, man. Go be happy with Logan, helping people. Tess has me!”
“We’ll see, Reed.” His black circles make him look older.
“Brance, go get some sleep.” I smell Tess’s delicious vanilla scent behind me.
He nods. “Tess.” He leans over so they can do their usual kiss-him-on-the-mouth stupidity.
Rolling my eyes, I say, “You two might want to rethink your public displays of affection. Logan doesn’t seem to be as understanding as me.”