Bossed by the Billionaire: Part 5 – Chapter 6

Julian

Chapter 6 – Julian

It’s the day of my brother’s wedding, and I’m the mopiest mother fucker to ever hit a vineyard and not get drunk.

As the best man, it’s my duty to make sure my brother is well taken care of and gets to the damn altar on time. Last time a Marcus got married, he stumbled to the altar half-drunk thirty minutes late. His poor bride then realized that she had set herself up for a life of disappointment. That’s how you get Serena Marcus to be my mother.

Our mother.

My father’s been in and out (half-drunk, of course) and a few of Ted’s other friends have made sure to come in and shake his hand, but I’m the only one who hasn’t left the chambers. Ted is all smiles as he claps guys on the back and steals a kiss from some housekeeper who swears she’s never seen a happier gay couple get married at that vineyard. Really. How many have been done since it became legal in Oregon? I honestly want to know.

“Chin up, Jules!” Ted approaches me, grin so wide that I can count every one of his pearly white teeth. “It’s my wedding day. The least you could do is pretend to not be a heartbroken sack of shit.”

“It must be that graceful tongue that made Jordan fall in love with you.” Mr. I-Have-A-Bachelors-Degree-In-American-Poetry that my brother is marrying…

“Oh, it was the tongue, all right.” Ted leans against the windowsill I have yet to detach myself from. His cologne is heavier than mine. This is why I change up my scent every few months. I know about olfactory fatigue, and how it leads to fine men such as myself to bathe in fragrance so he can smell it again. “Also the same tongue that made that housekeeper cry before Jordan and I got back together.” He winks at me. Subtle.

“You don’t even remember her name.”

“Does it matter? Do you ever remember their names?”

You know whose name I remember really well right now? Alyssa’s.

“Come on, Jules. I know you’re legitimately heartbroken for once, but it’s supposed to be a happy day. My only wish is that you could have brought a new date with you. One to scare Mother with, of course.”

I had lots of lovely ladies offer to come with me to my brother’s wedding. But unless Alyssa changed her mind, I wasn’t bringing anyone.

Besides, I have… Preston. Who is here with his new date, since apparently he wasn’t as fallen for Cher as I was for Alyssa. Whatever.

“Damnit.” My big brother ignores his buzzing phone and sits down next to me. “We’re gonna have to talk about this, huh?”

“About what? I don’t recall asking for your opinion about Alyssa.” In fact, I haven’t told him a damn thing.

“Jordan told me the details.”

Of course he did. I had drunkenly said a few things at the bachelor party, hadn’t I?

“It’s none of your business,” I hastily say.

“Maybe so, but I don’t like seeing my little brother so torn up over a woman.”

He said that in all seriousness, didn’t he? This lying asshole actually had the audacity to say that to my face. I don’t think I could possibly broadcast how pissed that makes me to him any more than I have.

“The hell is that face for?”

“Seriously?” I push away from the window, the fresh flower clipped to my front pocket losing a petal from my irrational movements. “Seriously, Ted?”

“What?”

I lock the door to our chambers before anyone has the bright idea to interrupt us. My brother and I have needed to have this little chat for years now. Perhaps it’s not the best idea to have it on his wedding day, but fuck it. I somehow doubt I am ruining this day for him.

“Savannah.”

My voice reverberates against the thin windowpanes. Ted frowns, chiseled chin propped up on his hand. “What about Georgia?”

“No, Ted. Savannah. My girlfriend you stole.”

He doesn’t answer.

“Why, Ted? Why the fuck did you go out of your way to steal one of my girlfriends?” I leave out the part where Savannah was the last woman I had a somewhat serious relationship with. Before Alyssa, anyway. “You never had enough of your own? For fuck’s sake, your dating pool is even bigger than mine. You get any woman or man you want.”

“Like you don’t get any woman you want…” He snorts. “I promise you, Jules, if you ever have a bisexual awakening, I’ve already paved the way for Marcus men around the world.”

“Stop it.” I’m starting to regret not having anything to drink yet. I had been saving it for the open bar at the reception. Join my parents in the alcoholic festivities while my father parties and my mother washes away her shame for having a queer son. “Good God, Jules, you look like you want to rip my throat out. Did that girl really mean that much to you? Are you still harboring that much resentment in your fickle heart?”

“Shut the fuck up. I saw the way you were acting around Alyssa, too.” They hadn’t only met the one time. They’ve met since then, whenever we all happened to be in town at the same time. Every meeting was Ted flirting with my girlfriend like he had every right to, and Alyssa eating it up… either because she didn’t realize it, or she wasn’t threatened by my brother. As for Jordan? I’ll never know what he sees in my playboy brother. Maybe they have an open relationship. I. Don’t. Care.

Ted drops his carefree façade. It’s not often I see the serious side of my brother. Outside of a boardroom, anyway. Ted is the type to go hard or go home at work, but outside of it, he wants to be everyone’s best friend… even if he doesn’t remember their names. As for me? For a guy who never paid any attention to me until we were both adults, I don’t know why he thinks we can be best buds. It’s not in my personality to have that kind of relationship with anyone in my family.

“It was never my intention to make you angry, Jules. I acted that way around Alyssa because I genuinely liked her. As a partner for you, my stupid baby brother who wouldn’t know love if it crapped on his filet mignon. I hate to think I was the one who got the last of Mom’s ability to love in her womb, but seeing how you and her both turned out…”

I know he’s not comparing me to our mother. He is not.

“Hey, come on. You’re a closed off guy, Jules. That’s why I was excited for you meeting someone like Alyssa. Both Jordan and I thought you might have found someone who actually made you happy.”

“And Savannah? Did you seduce her away from me because she wasn’t making me happy enough?”

“Low blow, man. I never stole that woman from you. A man can’t steal anyone from someone else. Doesn’t work that way, you idiot. Takes two…” He catches the look of disdain on my face. “All right. It was wrong of me to pursue something with her when she was obviously with you. But I want to clear the air and say that it was a mutual feeling between her and me. I think. I honestly don’t remember her well.”

Oh my God, I’m going to clock him on his wedding day.

“Fuck you,” I finally say. “Just… fuck you, Ted.”

“I’ve heard that a lot in my life. Trust me. I know what a shithead I can be. Great in the office, not so great in the home. I took on the brunt of our parents’ shitty parenting by emulating them instead of figuring shit out on my own. I never even considered marrying someone until Jordan. And I still fucked it up and drove him away for a while. When we got back together, I spent a million years apologizing and making it up to him. I fucked up bad.”

My head is pounding. As much as I want to lash out at my brother some more, I know it won’t do any good. Not for him, not for me, and it sure as hell won’t get me Alyssa back… or Savannah, for that matter. After Ted was quickly done with her, I never heard back from her again. “What happened, anyway? He told me that the pressure of dating someone like us got to him.”

“Two things happened.” Ted turns off his phone, which continues to blow up with messages from the wedding party and the planner. “One was my fuck up, and the other was Mother.”

“Oh, God.” I can only imagine.

“Yup. Mother Dearest tried to rip me a new asshole for flaunting my homosexual tendencies. When it had no effect on me, she went after Jordan. Scared him really good.”

“Of course she did.”

“He wanted me to do something about it. But what the hell could I do? She’s my mother. I can’t get rid of her. I either put up with or ignore her bigotry. Besides, Father’s the one who pulls the legal end of the inheritance, so as long as he doesn’t care, I don’t care. Jordan, though… he couldn’t understand that. He was convinced Mother would make our lives hell. Jordan left that kind of environment when he was a teenager, you know.”

“I didn’t, no.”

“Well, he did. Made quite a name of his own after college, but he got there by the skin of his teeth. Was homeless for a while as a teenager. Only reason he didn’t end up on the absolute bottom rung of society was because he found a spot in a shelter for homeless LGBT youth. Helped him graduate high school and go off to live in a dorm at college. Rest is history, I guess.”

“I had no idea.”

“So when Mother started behaving that way toward us, Jordan panicked. I didn’t take his concerns seriously enough. He was overwhelmed and broke up with me. Blah blah blah, your big heartbroken brother self-medicated with sex and other unhealthy addictions, got cleaned up and determined to turn his life around, and here came Jordan at a conference we happened to attend.”

“I remember that part.”

“Yup. We were back in bed together that night.” Ted clears his throat. I don’t even flinch. “Been together since. If that’s not a sign that we’re meant to be together, then I don’t know what is. Decided to make an honest man out of him and show Mother that I was serious.”

“And now she self-medicates.”

“She’s always done that.” He sighs, body sagging in his tailored tux. “The point is that I didn’t give him the reassurance that he needed to know that a relationship between us could work. No amount of love or sexual attraction was enough in the end. People who have known that level of desperation and poverty will never relate to us on that level. Guess that’s okay, but we have to make it up to them in other ways if they’re really the ones we want.”

Has this whole conversation been a set up to giving me advice? “Guess that’s where I failed, then. Lyssa freaked out and ran out on me. I can’t convince her to take me back. She says I get one more chance before I’m expected to leave her alone for the rest of her life.”

Ted kicks himself away from the windowsill. “Hope it works out for you, Jules. I like to think that you and I can break that vicious cycle our parents have been in since before we were born. Do you wanna be like Dad when we’re his age?”

“God, no. I’d like to think I have more self-control than that.”

“Ha!” Ted swings his arms toward the door with a grin the size of Texas on his face. “Yeah, I got that bug from him. And you’ve got Mom’s frigid face. But that doesn’t mean we have to become them, you know?”

“Is this supposed to make me feel better about my breakup?”

“No, but it’s supposed to make you a bit nicer for my damned wedding, brother. Come on. I’m supposed to be getting married.”

We open the door to find a team of stylists and wedding party members on the verge of dialing 911 because my big brother locked them out. When they see us, they beg Ted and me to get our asses out to the altar. The wedding is supposed to start in twenty minutes.

Believe it or not, I’ve been to a gay wedding before, although this is my first time being in the wedding party. Every couple does things differently. Some shirk traditional methods altogether because it’s rather awkward having one man come down the aisle while the other waits for him. This is especially true for my brother and his groom. People make jokes that Jordan’s “the woman” (whatever that means,) and my brother wasn’t about to let him be a spectacle like that at his wedding. So, last night at the rehearsal, we ran through Ted coming down the aisle first. Jordan was to follow until they were both at the altar.

Jordan’s parents aren’t here. My parents? My mother sits in the front row looking like she’d rather be drinking. My father is drinking and raising a ruckus with some of his buddies in the second row. There’s no way in hell my mother would walk with her oldest son down the aisle at his big gay wedding. Jordan and Ted compromised by walking down with their best men.

That means me.

Flashes go off as cameramen get their shots and retreat back into the rows. Classical music plays in the background. Fresh cut flowers smell like candy to me – and there are plenty of them at the end of every aisle. An adorable flower girl, the daughter of Jordan’s best man, throws down orchid petals like she’s scored a touchdown. This would be romantic if I wasn’t thinking of…

Thinking of…

Someone must be smoking some Mary-Jane and giving me a contact high, because I swear to God I see Alyssa sitting at the end of one of the rows, dressed in the lilac-colored tulle dress I had made for her one week before we broke up.

“Try to keep it together, Jules,” Ted says to me halfway down the aisle. I’m too gobsmacked to look away from Alyssa’s averting gaze. “You can slobber over her after the ceremony.”

He smacks my leg when I refuse to pay attention to him.

“You’re welcome, by the way.”


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