Home > The Way of Us

The Way of Us
Author: Claudia Y. Burgoa


Chapter One




Lies always find a way to expose themselves.


At least, that’s what my father used to say when one of my siblings got in trouble, and I wholeheartedly believed it. Believe me when I say, you can only hide the truth for so long.

Don’t believe me? Dad always caught my oldest brothers when they were skipping curfew. There wasn’t a weekend when Dad wouldn’t say, “The triplets are going to be grounded for the rest of their lives.”

Aslan, Gatsby, and Lysander tried to get away with murder. One of them always did or said something stupid that would give them away—it was usually Gatsby. Dad didn’t punish them as much as he should’ve, but I’m sure karma will bite them in the ass. It’ll happen when they have children just like them.

I don’t judge them for trying to do whatever the fuck they wanted when they were young. I just think they could’ve done a better job at hiding it. I believe if you’re going to do something, do it right or don’t bother.

Was I a troublemaker?

My father died when I was thirteen. Just a year shy of high school. The period when we all begin to make stupid decisions, push boundaries, and break all the rules. After the loss of Dad, I didn’t have time to be like my brothers, but I tried my best to become like my old man.

According to my family, I’m the introvert. Sometimes they call me the grouchy doc. My best friend, Atzi, calls me grumpy sometimes. They’re wrong.

I’m observant and quiet. It’s because of that I learned to read people at a very young age. Almost nothing gets past me. I’m usually the one saying, “I told you so.” If only they listened to me before things got out of hand.

Which is why I’m not surprised when I read Atzi’s text, telling me about her latest dating disaster. If I were a lesser man, I would screenshot the message, frame it, and hang it somewhere in my penthouse. Maybe make a copy for her house too.

Atzi: You were right.



Atzi: Drew was a liar.



Atzi: The asshole was married.



Heath: Are you okay?



I didn’t tell her he was married, but that he was hiding something. He had all the red flags of an asshole who just wanted to use her.

And sadly, she had to find out the hard way.

But does she listen when I warn her about the idiots she dates? No. She ignores me. I could gloat, but instead, I head to the nurses’ station to let them know I’m leaving early.

Billie, the head nurse, laughs and then glares at me. “You should’ve gone home hours ago. Those fourteen-hour shifts have to stop. Open your practice and start doing some good with your degree.”

I try so hard not to roll my eyes. “And would you like me to hire you so you can continue bossing me around?”

Her nostrils flare. “Keep giving me that attitude, and I won’t schedule any good nurses during your shifts.”

I raise my hands as if giving up, but then add, “When I start my fellowship, I will return to graveyard shifts and long hours. Why try to live a normal nine-to-five life?”

She shakes her head. “If you end up back here, I’ll make sure it happens.”

I don’t argue with her. She assumes the role of mother for all the residents and even doctors. And if there’s something I’ve learned, it’s that you never disagree with your mother. Never. They might not always be right, but all we should do is smile and nod along in agreement.

Before I arrive at my car, I pull out my phone to check if there’s an update from Atzi. She hasn’t responded yet, so I fire off a text to her.

Heath: Where are you?



Atzi: At the shop, about to eat my weight in chocolate. I’ll probably fall into a sugar coma soon. Please don’t revive me.



I roll my eyes. I adore my best friend, but she can be too dramatic at times.

Heath: I’ll be there in twenty. Bring some ice cream with you, there’s only vanilla in my freezer.



Atzi: I thought you were working late—like you always do.



Heath: I can’t, in good conscience, leave you in a chocolate factory after you caught your boyfriend… how did you find out he’s married?



Atzi: I’m at the shop, not the factory. He wasn’t exactly my boyfriend.



Heath: That doesn’t answer my question. :raised-eyebrow emoji:



I watch the dots dance on the screen, but she doesn’t respond. She’s either writing the next great American novel or trying to come up with a joke. If there’s someone who can laugh at her misery, that’ll be Atzi. I turn on the engine, check the phone again, and send another text.

Heath: Have you had dinner yet?



Atzi: No. As I mentioned, my date didn’t go as I expected.



Heath: I’ll be there soon.



Atzi: Thank you. I might even let you eat some of my ice cream.



I snort. I might have to hide all the sweets I have in my penthouse, but I also need to get ready to bring her home. Since I don’t have that much time, I send a message to my brother, Lysander, asking for help. He lives in the same apartment building as I do. Unfortunately, he’s still in Paradise Bay, so I try my brother, Caspian, and his wife, Rys, instead. They happen to occupy the apartment across from Lysander during the hockey off-season.

Cas: I’m at the winery too—Lysander thinks I’m his bitch. Ask my beautiful wife for help.



Heath: Rys, are you at the apartment? You’re my only hope.



Rys: Yes, I’m at the apartment. Did you forget your lunch box and your lab coat, or is this something more interesting?



Heath: Ha, you’re not funny.



Rys: I want to think that I am. You’re just grumpy. How can I help you?



Heath: Do you have any wine you can share? Atzi would appreciate it.



Rys: Sure, I can drop off the bottles we have. It’s not like I can drink any of it. I blame your brother for this. I should’ve remembered I couldn’t drink any wine while pregnant. He should enjoy this baby since it’ll be the only one we’re having.



Heath: You complain now, but in a couple of years, you’ll be expecting baby number two.



Rys: I don’t think so.



Heath: Maia said something similar when Soleil was born, and from what I heard, Gatz and her are trying for baby number 2.



Rys: You Spearmans are too fertile and gossipy. If I didn’t love Cas’s manhood, I would ask you to cut it off.



Heath: And with that, I’m gone. There’s going to be some food delivered to your apartment. Can you also take it to the penthouse? I’ll owe you.

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