Home > Over My Brother's Dead Body, Chase Andrews

Over My Brother's Dead Body, Chase Andrews
Author: Piper Rayne

I place the final pile of clothing into my suitcase and lay my body over it so I can zip it closed, saying a silent prayer that it doesn’t come off the conveyor belt at the airport busted open with my bras and panties hanging out. That would be just my luck recently, adding misery to heartbreak since my fiancé broke off our engagement months ago because he’d fallen for someone else.
There’s a knock on my door and I turn around to see my parents standing in the doorway. No doubt they’re here for one last-ditch effort to convince me to stay. They don’t understand that everywhere I look is a memory of what I thought my life would be.
“Well, I’m all packed. My ride should be here soon,” I say, trying to convey it’s no use trying to talk me out of this, I am indeed flying across the country to live in San Francisco.
“Honey, are you sure you want to do this?” My mom steps into my room, arms outstretched, and grips me by the shoulders.
I love my mom. We have a close relationship, always doing stuff together, from tending to our vegetable garden in the summer to being members of the same book club. I’m going to miss her terribly, and I wish things were different, I really do, but ever since Mathew called off the wedding, everyone in our small town looks at me with pity. I can’t stand the whispers anymore. I’m trying my best to move forward, but this town is a constant reminder of what he did. If I stay here, I’ll forever be the girl whose fiancé ditched her for someone else.
Enter San Francisco.
My big brother, Miles, is the safety for the San Francisco Kingsmen football team, and I’ve visited him numerous times over the years. I even consider some of his teammates my friends—they’re certainly more than acquaintances.
I always enjoy my time there, and one day, I thought, what if? I searched the internet for living arrangements and stumbled upon a condo and pet-sitting job for some tech guy who will be away for months, and I applied on impulse. To my surprise, I got the job and took it as a sign that I should head west and get the hell out of my small town in Connecticut.
“I’m sure, Mom. It won’t be forever. I just need to clear my head. I’ll be back.”
She gives me a small smile as though she doesn’t believe me. I honestly don’t know if she should. I don’t plan on staying longer than my house-sitting job lasts, but the idea of returning here feels mountainous right now. Now that Mathew has broken my image of the future, I like the idea of not being anchored anywhere.
Regardless, I teach elementary school, and San Francisco is so expensive to live in I doubt I could afford to live there on a teacher’s salary even if I wanted to stay. But even a few months away from everything Mathew will do me good.
“Is Miles picking you up at the airport?” my dad asks.
I concentrate on lifting my suitcase off the bed, and my dad groans.
“You still haven’t told him?” His voice is full of disapproval.
“It’s a surprise,” I say in my bright and cheery teacher voice—the one I use when it’s raining and I tell the kids recess is inside.
The truth is, I have no idea how my brother will react to me living in the same city as him. A short visit is one thing, but will I hold him back if I’m there longer?
He’s the epitome of an overbearing, overprotective big brother, and I’m hoping he won’t play dad to me the entire time I’m there. I might still be reeling from my breakup, but I’m an adult, and I don’t need him or anyone else watching over me twenty-four seven.
“If you’re talking to him, please don’t tell him until I do…” I give them my best pleading eyes.
They glance at one another then back at me, nodding with reluctance.
“Just make sure you do it as soon as you’re settled. I don’t like the idea of you in that big city all alone.” My mom frowns.
“Mom, I’ve been there lots of times. I know my way around.”
“Sure, but I’ve always felt better knowing you were at your brother’s place and he was watching out for you.”
“I’m a grown woman. I don’t need him to be my babysitter.”
My dad rubs his hand down my upper arm. “We just worry about you, sweetie. Especially after what happened.”
I point at him. “And that is exactly why I have to leave. So I can distance myself from what happened and be around people who don’t know.”
My dad’s thin lips suggest he doesn’t agree, but he nods anyway. “Here, I’ll take your suitcase downstairs.” He steps forward and lifts it. “Jeez, do you have a dead body in here?”
I roll my eyes. “Funny, funny.”
He says the same thing every time he picks up a suitcase of mine.
Tears spring to my eyes. I’m going to miss my parents. As much as I want to flee from this town, I love my family. My friends jokingly call us the Cleavers—a nod to the perfect family from the 1950s sitcom Leave it to Beaver.
“Oh, sweetie.” My mom draws me into a hug, and I wrap my arms around her. “It’s okay to admit you made a mistake. If you need to come home, we’ll be here.”
I nod into her neck. They’d welcome me back, no questions asked, I know that. But it’s time for me to leave the nest. Not just because of my failed relationship but because I’m twenty-five and I still live in my childhood home.
I need to spread my wings and discover whether I’ll soar to new heights or fall flat on my face.
How the hell did I get roped into this bullshit?
I’m a tight end for the San Francisco Kingsmen, not fucking Martha Stewart. What do I know about hosting an engagement party?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for our wide receiver Brady and his former nanny, Violet. At least I don’t have to listen to him groan anymore about how he lost her, because they’re engaged. Great. Isn’t that between the two of them, not the rest of us?