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Twin Hearts

By: Sonia Colόn

This first novel is dedicated to my mother. Miss you much, Love you even more.

Special Thanks to:

Lillian Arcand

Danielle Chladek

Nerida Crespo

Debra Swinski

Art cover by Debra Swinski


Present Day

Chaos was all around him when he regained consciousness. The burning pain intensified in his upper left side chest. He let out a yell, then opened his eyes to see himself applying pressure to his gunshot wound. With his right hand he grabbed at his twin brother and begged, “Help her, please help her! Don’t let her die!”

Joshua looks over to the woman lying near his brother with a gunshot wound to left side of her head.

At the bar, stools were knocked over; spilled drinks and broken glass were everywhere. The bartender is on the phone with 911. A thin, muscular bouncer was trying to hold down a woman down on the ground that was thrashing and kicking about, trying to release the bouncer’s hold on her. She was screaming and yelling things that made no sense. Another man much larger, taller, and muscular came around the bar with restraint ties. Both men struggling with the woman to restrain her until the police arrive.

“Tina! Please press down on his wound to stop the bleeding”, the twin ordered in a Scottish accent as Tina knelt beside him and took over the task. He got up, grabbed another towel from the bar and began to help the woman his brother loves.

Chapter 1

2 years ago

“All right people lets pack it up. Time to go home for the weekend! Let’s make sure that everything is locked down and secured.” Joe called out to his crew.

It is Friday, December 5, 2014 and the weather was mild for the date. Joe’s crew are about a month away from completing the rebuild of a 3 story medical office building that was destroyed by a tornado that hit Springfield, MA the year before.

Due to the odd phenomenon of the tornado, Joe’s construction company has been very busy for the past year. This was an opportunity to hire more people for the demand to rebuild. Joe returns to his on-site trailer office to finish up the last of his paperwork. As he was reaching his office, a 6’4’’, muscular man reaches him. He removes his hard hat to reveal his recent short haircut, his beard and mustache as always, well kept. Strong facial structure, dark brown eyes with a scar though his left eyebrow. He always looks tanned because of his Samoan background.

Joe Sinclair, is 5 foot 10, felt small standing next to his best friend. Joe removes his hard hat to reveal his messy, short, dark brown hair with slight touches of grey on the sides, high forehead, think eyebrows over his light pale blue eyes and roundish chin with a days’ worth of stubble.

“Hey Boss man, ready to go?” Davies Johnston asked in his deep voice.

“Give me 30 minutes to finish paperwork. Did you finish the inventory?”

Davies response as they are entering the trailer, “Ah, of course I did, on your desk. Hurry up, we have a bar to get to and I have a woman to get my arms around. But I would like to get cleaned up first.”

“Davies about that, um, you said that this was a birthday party for your girlfriend’s friend.”

“Joe, you’re going. Besides, Jesse is taking the birthday girl to dinner with some other friends and they are ending the evening at the bar for some serious fun of Karaoke. So you see you are not crashing anyone’s party. Besides, there will be other babes there for you to check out. I am not trying to hook you up with any of Jesse’s friends. Now let’s get a move on.”

“Ok, Ok. Let me get this done first,” Says Joe.

Coconuts Bar & Grill is a small bar located at the “X” in Forest Park area of Springfield, MA. The bar of 4 sides is off to one side of the place with the dining tables to its right. On the other side of the tables was the makeshift stage for the Karaoke set up. By this time, the lights are turned down low for the remainder of the evening. This is the same bar that Jesse Cole, Davies’s girlfriend bartends and twice a week manages the bar. However, tonight was her night off. By the time the girls arrive, Davies and Joe were already there eating burgers, buffalo wings with fries they had ordered for dinner. ‘Friends in Low Places’ by Garth Brooks was playing in the jukebox as Jesse and the girls make a bee line to Joe and Davies. Jesse straddles Davies and sits on his lap and kisses him hard just like he likes it. Jesse is a 5’ 6’’ thin and fit woman, with long brown wavy hair that framed her long face, green eyes and luscious lips. Davies picks up a fry from his basket and feeds it to Jesse.

“Well, someone is hungry. Ready for dessert, I hope.”

“Not yet, but later after some beers and Karaoke!” Jesse says with an inviting smile as she is getting up from Davies’s lap.

“Hi Joe, how you doing? Ready to have some fun? You are going to sing Frank Sentara for me tonight.” Jesse said

“Oh, Lady is a Tramp? Good song.” Joe response with a big smile that made his blue eyes shine, he then raises his beer to her and takes a long drink.

Jesse returns the smile with a dirty look trying to act insulted before having Davies help her combine another table for her and her other 3 friends to sit together.

“Joe, you need to be careful. This biker chic doesn’t need my help.” Davies tells Joe with a side smirk & a raised eyebrow.

“Joe these are some of my friends, Eileen, Kara and the birthday girl herself, Yanet. Ladies this is Joe.”

“Well hello ladies, have a seat. First rounds on me.” Joe says as he got up from his seat out of respect for the ladies. Joe pulls a chair out for the woman closest to him and offers her the seat.

“Thank you handsome, I’m Kara. I love your accent. You Irish?”

“No, Scottish.”

Kara continues with her attempts of flirtation, badly. “I’ve never meet a Scotts’ man with such beautiful light green eyes. Wait a minute, are they light blue?” Kara got right up to his face to see closer in the dim light of the bar. She gets so close that Joe leans back.

“Well, I did promise the first round on me, so I should go and get them, you look thirsty.” Joe said with a nervous smile.

“Oh, good! I’ll have a Reds, and you.”

“Cool off, Kara.” Jesse cuts in to save Joe, “He’s taken. Come on Joe, I’ll help you.”

“Damn, always the good looking ones are either taken or gay in this place. We need to find a new bar to hang out in.” Kara didn’t really feel hurt. She was already looking around the bar for her next target. Kara was cute but she did not have that beauty like Jesse. Nor does she have the body that Jesse has, but she truly believed she was a hottie.

At the bar Joe is ordering the drinks with Jesse’s help. “So, that one is shameless.”

“Yeah, well she’s the trouble maker of the group. She is more Yanets’ friend than mine. Although, she did promise to behave in honor of Yanet’s b-day. Anyway, I’ll switch seats with you so you don’t have to sit next to her all night.”

“What kind of trouble can she cause? Flirt a guy to death.”

“Kara has a way of pissing a guy off with her mouth and tends to hide behind Yanet to save herself.”

“Ok, so she is crazy. Good to know. The birthday girl, what’s her favorite drink? I do not have a gift for her, but I can at least give her, her favorite drink to toast.”

“In that case, Long Island Ice Tea. It will loosen her up a little. We can get her to sing more than one song. She can really sing. You’re going to enjoy that.”

“What do you mean loosen her up?”

“She is kind of shy around people she doesn’t know.”

They return to their table with a tray full of beers and one Ice Tea.

As promised, Jesse sits to the right of Davies where Joe sat when she arrived. Joe takes the seat between Davies and Yanet, the birthday girl.

“Happy Birthday, Janet!” Joe exclaims as he sets down the Long Island Ice Tea in front of Yanet.

“It’s Yanet, with a Y, not Janet with a J.” Yanet tells him almost too low for Joe to hear. Yanet would not look Joe in the eyes because she was afraid that she would lose herself in them. Yanet has a weakness for men with light eyes and good looking. His light accent was a big bonus. She thinks Joe is quite attractive. “Thank you, so far the best birthday gift I’ve gotten tonight.” She tells Joe, this time looking at his stubble chin while giving him a shy smile.

This one really is shy, quite refreshing, Joe thought. She seemed nothing like Kara and wondered how they became friends. He could not see Kara and Jesse being good friends, so he figured the friend in the middle here was most defiantly Yanet. Yanet physically was the total opposite of Jesse in body type, and about an inch or two shorter. Yanet has short dark brown curly hair, a round full face with brown eyes. Joe could see that she was Hispanic and spoke perfect English. Because of this he could not fathom to guess what her Spanish background could be.

Still standing next to a sitting Yanet, Joe picks up his bottle of beer and demands the attention of the rest of the people at the table. “Can I have everyone’s attention please,” he says loud enough that everyone at the bar can hear. “I would like to give a Scottish birthday wish for the birthday girl.” Joe now faces Yanet. This forces Yanet to look up at Joe again and again she cannot look at him straight in the eyes, so she sets her eyes at his smile, which she finds equally mesmerizing.

“A simple celebration, a gathering of friends; here is wishing you great happiness, a joy that never ends. Happy Birthday, Janet!” Everyone around the bar yelled out “Happy Birthday, Janet” The only ones that yelled out the birthday girl’s name correctly were her friends. The DJ began to sing Happy Birthday over the mike and encouraged the crowd to sing along. This embarrassed Yanet. Then karaoke began.

A couple of hours have gone by and everyone was having a good time, even Yanet was enjoying herself and sang 3 songs. The ice tea helped with that. The first song she sang was “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. All three times that Yanet sang, Joe found himself listening to her and wanting to hear more from her. Eileen had already left for the evening and Kara was somewhere in the bar with some guy. So far she kept her promise not to start trouble with anyone.

remember the songs name. At the table she sees Joe and some other woman flirting back and forth. Yanet stops and looks around. Seeing all other tables are taken she goes and sits at the bar and orders a cola. Davies and Jesse finish their number, Jesse goes to the ladies room and Davies heads to their table when he notices Yanet at the bar by herself and he goes to her.

“So birthday girl, I thought you were having a great time. What are you doing here by yourself?”

“First off, Chewy, it’s after midnight, so birthday girl no longer. Second, your friend and his new friend look like they needed some time alone. I seem to be the 5th wheel. It’s time for me to go home.”

“You can’t go home, I know for a fact you and Jesse made a packed to close the bar down tonight. And I for one, am all for that.” Davies responds in his deep voice. “And as for Joe, he is a flirt whore. He doesn’t need privacy to do that.”

Yanet looks down at her drink and lets out a short laugh. Then Jesse shows up next to Davies.

“What’s up?”

Davies snitches on Yanet and Jesse playfully grabs her arm.

“Oh, hell no. We’re closing this place down.” They go back to their table where Joe and his newly acquired female friend are.

Kara rejoins the group at the table and noticed Joe’s situation. She leans over to Yanet and ask “I thought he was taken?”

“He looks taken to me.” Yanet responds.

Chapter 2

A man, apparently drunk, comes over to their table and sit next to Kara, “Hey babe, there you are. Let’s go out to my car and get to know each other a little more.” Then he leans over to Kara in an apparent attempt to kiss her. Kara pushes him away yelling “Get the fuck away from me asshole!”

“Excuse me, I thought we were having fun together. I was hoping we will get together.”

“Oh please, you’re drunk and stupid. You really think I want to know a little stupid fuck like you? Get the hell out of my face, little man.”

“You fuck’n bitch!”

The man becomes angry and makes a threatening move towards Kara. At this Yanet’s protective instincts kick in and she is up out of her seat and stands between her friend and the drunk guy in almost an instant. The drunk guy stands up close to Yanet in a threatening stance. The guy is about 2 inches taller than Yanet, forcing her to look up into his eyes. Joe jumps up out of his seat at the other end of the combined tables, not sure what was going on, but could see that Yanet had readied herself for a fight. Kara stands up behind Yanet. Davies makes his way around the three of them standing way taller than the drunk man.

“You need to leave right now, please.” Yanet tells the man in a voice that meant serious business.

From behind Yanet, Kara begins to accelerate the situation, “That’s right Jackass! Better leave or she will kick your ass, little boy!”

“Kara, shut the hell up!” Yanet turns her head slightly towards Kara. That was a mistake that Davies missed to see coming in time to stop. The drunk guy swung his right fist towards Yanet’s left side of her face, impacting her check and side of her mouth. Yanet spun half way around and she quickly grabbed at Kara, all she could do to keep her balance.

Joe made a mad dash towards Yanet to grab her before she fell and Davies grabbed the drunk into a bear hug from behind. Jesse pulled Kara away from Yanet and Joe, spun her around to face her. “What the hell did you do? Again!”

Yanet, breathing heavily with anger, slowly starts to pull away from a very concerned Joe, “Janet, are you ok, Luv?” Still holding her by her upper arm.

Yanet, not even caring that Joe mispronounced her name yet again, slowly removes her right hand away from her injury and looks down at her hand and sees her blood. Joe could see that her lower lip was split and was angered that a man would punch a woman. Yanet looked up into Joe’s eyes. She did not realize at first that he was about 4 or 5 inches taller than her. She could see very clearly his light blue eyes and thought to herself, “Oh, God, how beautiful you made his eyes.” Suddenly, Yanet sees the concern in his eyes as he speaks to her again.

“Luv, are you alright?”

Yanet blinked and shook her head. “Yeah, I’m fine”

Realizing that Joe was still holding her by her arms, she gently pulls away from him, but this time Joe reluctantly lets go of her. Then Yanet turns to face her attacker that was still being held in a bear hug by Davies. “Only a coward would strike a women.” She tells him.

“That’s right you fuck’n coward!” Kara yells at the drunk guy.

Yanet’s anger rises in her again, but this time at her friend Kara. She turns around to face her. “Shut the hell up, Kara! This is all your fault! I’m out of here. Thanks for a wonderful end to my birthday, Kara. You always make it so special.”

That shy and very nice lady Joe first met earlier that evening was missing for a short time. But Joe understood perfectly why. Jesse was wrong about that Kara, she is not a trouble maker; she’s an instigator. Yanet grabbed her purse from the table and her jacket from the chair. She turned around fast and that made her suddenly feel light headed and almost lost her balance, again. Joe grabbed her instantly to keep her from completely falling. Yanet grabbed at his upper arms. To her surprise, she felt two nicely firm biceps. Yanet lips started to sting and she realized that she cracked a smile and immediately felt embarrassed.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to walk into you. Thank you for my birthday drink. I need to go now.”

“No need to be sorry. All the ladies fall for me.” Joe jokingly says with a big smile on his face. “But before you go, we need to put some ice on that beautiful face and lips of yours’.”

“Com’on, let me go already!” The drunk man struggles against Davies’s unyielding grip.

“He will let you go when we get you outside. This place is not the O.K. Corral Saloon. You are no longer welcomed here and you will never show your face here again. If you do, I will personally call the cops to have you taken out of here. Do you understand me?” Jesse demands

“Fuck you, Bitch!”

Davies tightens his bear hug around the man’s chest. “That Bitch, as you call her is my girlfriend and what she says goes.” Davies growls into the man’s ear. Then he drags the man out the back, escorted by the bouncer, and lets him go.

“Well, good bye to bad rubbish.” Kara starts again.

This time it’s Jesse that responds, “What the hell!?! You started this and you promised you would behave. But as always, you screw up the fun.”

“Excuse me Jesse, but I need some ice for your friend here.” Joe interrupts.

“No, Joe, I’m fine, thank you. I just need to go home” Yanet says. She then quickly walks towards the back of the bar exit that leads to the parking lot. Joe goes after her.

“Wait, let me walk you to your car. Davies let the drunk out back there.”

Jesse went to the bar and quickly grabbed a plastic sandwich bag and filled it up with ice. She then runs to the parking lot to give it to Yanet before she left. By this time the DJ started up the music and the rest of the customers in the bar began drinking and having fun again.

Outside, Yanet and Joe reaches her car, a silver Malibu. Jesse calls out to them. “Hey, here, some ice. Joe is right, you need to get this on that now. You are going to have a pretty wicked bruise by morning.”

“Thanks, sorry for the mess at the end there.”

Joe was taken aback by her taking the blame for what their friend started. “Luv, you are not to blame for the mess your crazy friend started. She is the one that needs to be apologizing, not you.”

“Joe is right. We all should have been thinking about you and making sure you had fun till the very end. You did nothing wrong. So, don’t you dare blame yourself.”

Joe noticed that Yanet was looking down to the ground holding the bag of ice in her hands. He took the ice from her with his right hand and gently with his left curled finger under her chin and he carefully lifted her face up. He was doing all of this while Jesse watched with curiosity. Joe noticed that Yanet was trying not to look directly at him. “Now there is the shy girl I met earlier this evening.” he thought to himself. Joe surprised himself that he really liked the interaction with this woman. A woman that was far away from what he usually finds attractive. Although, he thought, she is kind of pretty. He could not help but smile at her sweetly. That surprised him even more.

“Let’s get this ice on that bruise before it melts all over the place.” Joe carefully places the ice on Yanet’s bruise, which caused her to wince at the sudden direct coldness on her split lip. “You know what? I should drive you home just to make sure you get there ok. I promise, as a true Scott’s man, I will be a perfect gentleman.”

“You better be,” Jesse chimes in, “Her brother is a cop, who by the way should be getting off duty soon and he is her roommate.”

“Seriously, I’m ok. I can drive myself home, I’m good. Besides I live in Agawam. I will be putting you out of your way. Thank you though.”

“Guess what sister. He lives in West Springfield, by the Big E, and you live just across the West Springfield/Agawam line up the road from the Big E.”

“See, you are not putting me out of the way. It will be my pleasure to take you home.”

Yanet continues to protest. “And how will my car get home, it doesn’t drive itself you know.”

This time it’s Davies that replies when he reached them, “Jesse and I will bring your car to you in the morning. Hand over the car keys.”

“Luv, please put the ice back on that bruise and give Davies your car keys.”

Feeling tired and defeated, Yanet reluctantly gives Davies her car keys. Joe walks Yanet to his red Ford 4X4 truck and helps her in. True to his word, he was a perfect gentleman. Yanet thought, ‘Enjoy this while it last, because you know full well you are not his type. He is just being nice because of Davies and Jesse. I will never be that lucky.’ This thought made Yanet so sad that she had to fight back the tears that started to well up in her eyes. Joe noticed her sadness and was upset that she had to have a wonderful evening be trashed by a supposed friend’s selfishness. He really did not like Kara at all, and prayed that he never sees her again.

Yanet wakes up feeling an awful throbbing on her left check and jaw, and her lip was stinging. The digital radio clock at her bedside table showed that it was well after 10am. She goes to the bathroom and looks at herself in the mirror. She sees the swelling and the large bruise. “Crap. Next time, Kara, I’m just going to walk away and let you take the punch.” She tells herself in the mirror then sighs.

Yanet washes up, gets dressed in a v neck long sleeve shirt and black jeans, then goes to the kitchen. Entering the kitchen she sees her brother preparing the morning coffee. Thomas, whom Yanet calls him by the Spanish pronunciation, Tomas, is 10 years younger than her. He was taller than Yanet, thin and fit. Unlike Yanet’s hair, his was straight, close cut and black. Tomas’s skin was lighter than his sisters’; he did not look Spanish at all to most people.

He hits the start button on the coffee maker and turns around. “Morning sis, how was…. what the hell!” He sees the split lip and bruise on his sister’s face.

“I’m fine, promise. You should see the other guy.”

“What the hell happened? Is the son-of-bitch locked up? Kara is responsible, isn’t she?”

“Which question do you want answered first?”

“Sis, who hit you and why? Please tell me.” Her brother said calmly.

“It was some drunk that couldn’t handle his booze. That’s all, Tomas.”

“Kara pissed him off and used you as her human shield, didn’t she?”

At that moment Jesse walks into the kitchen with Davies following. Before Jesse and Davies met, Jesse lived at the house with Yanet and Tomas. When Jesse moved in with Davies, Yanet told her to keep the key and that this would always be her home.

“Bull’s eye!” Jesse said

“Ok, let’s drop it right now. It is done and over with. I need to get the ice pack.” Yanet headed for the refrigerator and removes the ready ice pack from the freezer. Tomas hands her a clean kitchen towel which she wraps around the ice pack, then holds it against her bruise.

This time Davies speaks, changing the subject, “Coffee almost ready? We got muffins from D & D.” Both he and Yanet sit at the small breakfast table in the kitchen. “Oh, here are your car keys.” Davies hands Yanet her keys.

“I’ll get the coffee mugs.” Jesse, knowing the complete layout of the kitchen, retrieves the mugs from the cabinet and sets them down on the counter next to the coffee maker.

“Ok, Sis, I will drop it after I say this. You need to stop being Kara’s momma bear, alright. Let her deal with her drama without your help. Promise me.” Jesse said to Yanet.

“Fine, I promise”

“One last thing, how did you get home last night?” Tomas asked.

At that Davies gives Yanet a big smile and answers the question, “A handsome Scotland man brought her home.”

Yanet just stares at him. This wipes the smile off Davies’s face and he quickly gets up from the table saying, “I should help with the coffee.”

Chapter 3

New York City, December 6, 2014, Dr. Joshua Sinclair is walking out of an operating room. He was very pleased with himself for another successful brain surgery. “I can do this with my eyes closed,” he thought to himself. He goes to his office, which has a private bathroom and he locks the door. Joshua sees his tuxedo that his assistant picked up for him from the cleaners hanging perfectly pressed on his coat rack. He goes to the bathroom, shaves and showers. In his office he puts on his tuxedo.

Joshua arrives at the exclusive black tie dinner party for one of the most powerful politician in New York. A servant approaches him and asks to take his coat. A server comes by and offers a glass of Champagne which he accepts. He enters the main ball room and looks around for his wife. Chamber music is playing, gold and crystal chandeliers hanging from the high ceiling. Several painted portraits hanging thoughout the large room, women in evening gowns and dresses and all the men in black tuxedos. He finally hears a familiar voice to his right and he moves towards it. He sees his wife talking to a few people. He recognizes the older distinguish gentleman as one of his father-in-law’s golf buddies. He was happy to see that his wife decided to wear the black sexy evening dress that he got her for her birthday. The lace sleeves came off the shoulder with a “V” neck line and a slit that went up just above her left knee. She put her long brown hair up in a French twist with a thick lose curl coming down the front right side of her face, framing it perfectly. She faces him with her piercing dark eyes.

“I was getting worried that your surgery went long and you were not going to make it.”

“Tina, my love, miss being seen with the most beautiful woman in this entire place?” He brings the back of her hand up to his lips and gently kisses it while looking lovingly into her eyes.

“So that’s how you get out of the dog house for being late, yes?” the older man said with a smile.

“Senator Moore, my wife tossed out that dog house a long time ago.”

“Not really my love. I just packed it away in the attic, in case you need it later.” Tina informs him with a smile.

The Senator let out a hearty laugh and says, “Ah, doctor, this one most definitely has her mother’s wits.”

The dinner announcement is made and everyone in the room makes their way to the dining hall. The Senator and his wife sit at the same table with Dr. Joshua Sinclair and his wife, Tina. The remainder of the evening is pleasant and reserved. Just like all the other high society dinner parties they go to.

They return to their luxury Manhattan penthouse apartment, that oversees Central Park. Joshua removes his bow tie and tuxedo jacket and throws them on the white chair in their bedroom. He walks up behind his wife and unzips her dress. He begins to gently kiss the side of her neck while he slowly pulls down her dress. Tina pulls away from him. “Not tonight darling, I have headache.”

“Is that the same headache you’ve had for the last few weeks?” A frustrated Joshua responds.

“Josh, I do not want to get into this with you tonight, ok. We can talk in the morning, if you want.” Tina goes into their on-suite and shuts the door. Josh, left standing alone in the middle of their bedroom runs both his hands though his black hair in frustration. He leaves his bedroom slamming the door shut behind him. He goes to the guest room at the end of the hall and shuts the door. He stands in front of the dresser and begins to remove his watch and cufflinks and puts them on the dresser. He looks at himself in the mirror and looking back at him was his identical twin brother. “Brother, you are the smart one for not getting married.” He removes the remainder of his clothes down to his under pants and goes to bed angry and frustrated.

10 am, Tina in her blue silk bathrobe enters the kitchen just to be surprised to see Josh standing at the center island drinking coffee, dressed in one of his custom suits. She thought he had left for the hospital already.

“Feeling better this fine morning?” Josh speaks first.

“Yes, all I needed was a good nights’ sleep.”

“Tina, I need you to be honest with me…” but before he could ask his question, his cell rings. They both just stood there for a few seconds staring at each other.

“You better answer your phone. Most likely it’s the hospital with another emergency.” Tina says as she walks around the center island to the coffee maker and pours herself a cup of coffee.

Josh answers the phone, grabs his briefcase from the island stool and storms out of the apartment.

It’s early afternoon when Dr. Sinclair looked up from a patient record he was reviewing and looked out the window. Light snow had begun to fall. His cell phone began to ring, the caller ID said Joseph and he answered it, welcoming the distraction.

“Good afternoon brother. How are you today?” Joshua greeted when he answered the phone.

“I’m fine, haven’t heard from you in a while. So I thought I’d give you a ring. How are things with you?” Joe responded.

They talked for about 5 minutes on small stuff. “Listen Joe, Tina and I are spending the week of Christmas at her family’s home on Martha’s Vineyard. I wanted to drive to Springfield to spend a day or two. Are you up to seeing your brother for Christmas?”

“I see you every day I look into a mirror.” Joe said jokingly. “Of course, it’s not the Ritz but I have plenty of room in my home. You and Tina are more than welcomed.”

“It will only be me. It has been a very long time since I spent quality time with my brother.”

Chapter 4

Christmas Eve

The home smelled of good food and pine tree. The decorations were up and beautifully arranged. The Christmas tree perfectly decorated in blue and silver. A huge mistletoe hung freely off a dark wood ceiling beam that divided the kitchen from the dining room. Christmas music playing from the CD player attached to surround sound speakers. The small group of people were laughing, drinking eggnog or beer and just having a great old time.

The doorbell rings and Davies goes to the door. He is wearing a black form fitting sweater, which framed his muscular arms and abs, black jeans and a Santa Claus hat. At the other side of the door were Joe and his date. “Hey, brother from another mother, you made it. Dinner is almost ready.” Davies greeted.

Joe and his date enter the home and greet his best friend with a man’s hug.

“Davies, this is Sandra, Sandra this is my best friend Davies.”

Sandra was a bottle blond thin young woman, who did not look a day over 25. Fair white skin, with hazel eyes and thick bright red lips. Davies looks down at the girl with raised eyebrows and a smile, “Nice to meet you.”

In a sexy voice, she responds, “Nice to meet you too. Where can I put my coat?”

“I can take that to the closet for you.” Davies responds.

Sandra takes off her coat and reveals her tight, short, spaghetti string, red sequent dress. She was definitely overdressed, while everyone else at the party was wearing jeans, sweaters and/t-shirts. She hands her coat over to Davies. “Is there an open bar?” Sandra ask Davies

“There is a serve yourself table with homemade eggnog, wine and beer across the room over there.” Davies points to the direction of the table.

“Do you want a drink sweetie?” She turns to Joe asking.

“I’ll have a beer, thank you.”

“I’ll be right back.” Sandra gave Joe a kiss on his cheek leaving a big red lipstick imprint. She walks away to the beverage table. Davies and Joe watch her walk away.

Davies turns to look at his buddy and said “So, rocking the cradle now?”

“She’s 29 and she’s a pharmacy tech. So there.”

“You really need to let me know where she works, so that I don’t accidently get my meds there.” Davies said as serious as he could.

Joe gives him a dirty look, but before he responds the doorbell rings. Davies quickly opens it. It was Tomas Lugo, Yanet’s brother. Davies invites him in and takes his coat.

“Tomas, how you doing? This is Joe.”

Joe and Tomas shake hands and greet each other. Tomas asks Davies if his sister was around. Davies tells him that she was in the kitchen with Jesse getting ready to serve dinner. Tomas excuses himself and goes to the kitchen where the two ladies were.

“Merry Christmas, Ladies, can I lend a hand?”

“Felizidades hermanito.” Yanet greets her little brother, she goes over to him and they give each other a kiss on the cheeks and a hug.

“Merry Christmas, little brother!” Jesse tells Tomas and he gives her a big smile showing his dimples. “Thanks for the offer; you can help us put the food on the dining room table. Buffet style Christmas dinner.” Jesse and Yanet cooked a feast; well Yanet did most of the cooking & baking. They made a mix of American and Puerto Rican food, salads and desserts.

They proceeded to take bowls and platters to the dining room and arrange them on the table. Jesse goes to the living room to announce that dinner was served. As everyone lines up in the dining room ready to devour the great smelling food, Davies go over to the CD player to lower the music. In the meantime, Joe picks up 2 plates and hands one to Sandra. Sandra looks around the table at all the food.

“So, what would you like to start with?” Joe asked Sandra.

Sandra wrinkles up her nose and sighs. “Well, there is nothing here I can eat except salad. Need to watch what I eat or look like….” Sandra pauses long enough to see that Yanet was facing away from her and Joe, talking to another guest at the dinner party, “her.”

Joe looks towards the direction that Sandra was looking to see who she was referring to. He recognized the shy birthday girl he meet a few weeks earlier. He saw that she was slowly turning her head to look towards his date. Joe noticed that the injury to the left side of her face had healed. He also noticed, to his embarrassment, that she had heard Sandra’s comment.

Yanet recognized the man standing next to the girl in red. It was Davies best friend. She looked away and went to the kitchen. Joe looked towards Jesse and she gives Joe a disproving look. She too heard the comment.

In the kitchen, Yanet is standing in front of the sink looking out the window into the dark yard. Joe enters the kitchen and sees Yanet staring out the window.

“Janet, right?

“No, E-ann-it. It’s a Y not a J. Joe, right?” Yanet continues to look out the window.

“Yes, Joe. I want to apologize for my dates rude and uncalled for comment. The food looks quite lovely. I can’t wait to start eating.”

At that moment Sandra walks in carrying a plate of green salad. She goes right to Yanet. “Can you speak-a-English?” She speaks slowly and what she believed to be in Spanish, “Do you-o have-o…., damn, how do you say salad dressing in Mexican?”

“Oh, dear Lord.” Joe exclaims as he looks up to the ceiling.

Yanet breaths in deep through her nose and exhales through her mouth before she faces the ignorant, red dressed, girl standing in front of her. Yanet was just about to strongly speak her mind when she looks past Sandra, sees an embarrassed Joe. Yanet closes her eyes for a moment. She opens her eyes and looks straight at Sandra.

“First, I speak perfect English. Two, not everyone that looks Latina is Mexican.” Then Yanet goes to the fridge and pulls out a couple of bottles of salad dressings.

“And three, no low cal dressing. All fat, enjoy.” Yanet sets the bottles down on the counter next to Sandra, and then walks past Joe and out of the kitchen.

“That maid is so rude; your friend needs to fire her!”

Joe’s jaw drops and he is speechless. He thinks to himself, ‘What the hell did I see in that.’

The remainder of the evening, Yanet made sure to stay clear away from Joe and his date. She still managed to have a nice time and forget the insensitive comment, she was not meant to hear. Yanet has become accustomed to people making rude comments about her weight. She has been a victim of such comments and bullied because of her weight since she was a kid. But that did not make it hurt any less. Society had their views about all fat people. They are fat because they eat too much and all they eat is junk food. They are too lazy and will not exercise. Yanet knows full well that there are some large people that are that way. But there are also those that are born with conditions and diseases that cause obesity, among other things. Yanet falls in the latter category; she has inherited the disease, Hyperandrogenic Chronic Anovulation, which was the underlining cause of her mother’s death when Yanet was 15.

After a while, Yanet was feeling a little too warm, so she went to the back covered porch to cool off in the winter’s night. The light from the kitchen beamed out the window unto the porch, so Yanet decided not to turn on the porch light. She sat down on the cold patio love seat. The night was cold, but the sky was clear. She closed her eyes and took in a deep cold air though her nose and let it out slowly though her lips. At that moment a low voice broke into the air that startled her, “Can I join in or is it a private meditation?”

Yanet looked towards the door and noticed it was Joe. He closes the door behind him and walks towards Yanet and when he reached the kitchen window, the light from within shown on his face. Yanet saw he was smiling sweetly at her and his light blue eyes sparkled.

“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to startle you. Can I sit down?”

“It’s a free country and it’s a cold seat, so go ahead.” Yanet looks out into the darkness as Joe sits next to her.

“The food was absolutely delicious. No offence to Jesse, but I’m guessing you cooked?”

“Guilty. The Spanish food gave me away?”

“Well, it wasn’t all Spanish. What gave it away was that it was a joy to eat it. Really, Jesse is not really a good cook. What kind of Spanish food was that?”

Yanet is trying to hold back a laugh. What he is saying is true; Jesse’s cooking is not all that good. That is why she always recruits her best friend Yanet to cater her dinner parties.

“Puerto Rican.”

“Ah, so you’re Puerto Rican then. Were you born there?”

“No, my parents were.” Yanet said and was not offering any more information on the subject.

“I need to apologize for Sandra. I did not realize she was, um…” Joe could not think of what to say, so Yanet finished his sentence.


It was Joe’s turn to look down to the ground. “Yeah, I’m sorry. Can you forgive me?”

“There is nothing to forgive. You didn’t make the comment or assume I was the Mexican maid that spoke no English.” Yanet said as she turned her head to look at him. Since they were sitting just under the kitchen window, the light from the kitchen was not shinning on them, but Yanet could still see his face clearly and his beautiful light eyes. Her heart jump suddenly taking her off guard. She breathed in and out in a quick burst and a chill ran up and down her back. Yanet quickly looked down to the ground right between her and Joe.

Joe lowered his head to try to look at Yanet’s face as he asked, “Are you ok, Luv?”

“Yes I’m fine, just a chill that’s all.” Yanet said.

“Well, it is cold out here. By the way…” Joe just noticed that Yanet was not wearing a coat; she was wearing a thick black sweater with the image of Santa Clause on the front, blue jeans and sneakers. “Why are you out here without a coat? You could catch a cold.”

Yanet smiled, raised her head slightly, but still refused to look at him directly. “It got a bit too hot for me in there, so I came out here to cool off a little bit. I’m cold now, so, we should get inside, you don’t have a coat on either.” Yanet said as she got up.

“Well, you still look hot to me and that’s keeping me warm.” Joe said with a big smile on his face. The kitchen light through the window lit up on Yanet’s face and Joe could see her cheeks turn hot red. This amused Joe very much.

Yanet quickly went inside the house and went straight to the guest bathroom and locked herself in. Joe strode back into the house and went to the living room where the party guests and hostess were playing naughty picture art.

‘What the hell is Davies trying to draw?’ Joe thought to himself.

“There you are!” Sandra appeared next to Joe, it seemed like out of nowhere. “I want to leave. I’m bored. Come on, take me home so we can have our own fun.” She said seductively.

“Oh, really. Let’s get our coats then and go.” Joe said smiling devilishly at Sandra. But that was an act for her benefit. To his surprise, he wanted nothing to do with her anymore. Joe dropped her off at her place. Sandra insisted that he come in for a night cap. Joe refused without hesitation, which surprised even him. He went straight home and straight to bed. That night Joe was dreaming about her, Yanet.

Chapter 5

A few days later, Joe and his brother Joshua are eating at a local diner called Partner’s Restaurant, not too far from Joe’s home. The restaurant was Joe’s favorite place for breakfast or lunch. Joe especially loved the sweet potatoes pancakes. The section of the restaurant that Joe and Joshua were sitting at, the wall was covered with an atlas maps showing different areas around the world. Joe thought that was cool. The brothers have not visited with each other in almost a year. They do keep in touch, on monthly bases, by phone.

“So, brother, when are you going to make me an uncle? You and Tina have been married, for what, 5 years now.”

Joshua picks up his glass of beer, takes a drink, and puts the glass back down. He then stairs at his wedding band on is left ring finger.

“What’s the matter, brother? What’s happened?” Joe asked his brother.

“I don’t know, maybe nothing.”

“It doesn’t seem like nothing to me. Talk to me.”

“I think Tina is having an affair.” Joshua said, still staring at his ring.

Joe sits back; those feeling of anger, betrayal and heart break, came back. The ones he had when he found out his fiancé cheated on him for 3 months before their wedding. It took him a long time to push those feelings down and out of him. But he was feeling them coming up from the pit of his stomach. Joe understood perfectly the agony his twin brother was feeling at that moment.

Joe finally spoke. “Are you sure? Did you ask her about it, yet?”

“No, I’ve tried a few times. But of course, something gets in the way. For the last month, she has been, distant. She pulls away every time I try to get intimate with her. ‘Not now Joshua, I have a headache.’ I’m about ready to take her in for an MRI.” Joshua said giving his brother a weak smile.

“Before you jump that bridge, you need to talk to her. When you both get back to your home, you need to turn off all phones and ignore all distraction and get everything out in the open. Then together decide what is going happen next.” Joe advises his brother

“Is that what you did?”

“The difference between you and me is that I found out the night before I got married. I had no married time invested with the tart. You have 5 years. If I’m not mistaken, this situation has not happened on either side until now. But just know brother, that whatever happens, I am here for you, just like you were there for me.”

“You still can’t say her name, can you?” Josh observed.

Joe looked down at his beer and shook his head. “I still get angry when I think about it. I really thought she was my kindred spirit. I don’t think I’m ever going to find that.”

“I don’t know how they did it, Mom and Dad. They made it look so easy. They both worked hard and they always had each other’s back. Especially when you and I tried their patients.” Both brothers started laughing at the memory of when they were young and tried to get out of one parent what the other parent had said ‘No’ to.

“You know, Josh, father always used to say that a strong woman is behind a strong man. That is why they are the Queens of a man’s castle.”

Josh responded, “He also use to say that the true beauty of a woman is inside, their hearts. Mother was a rare gem, she was beautiful inside and out. Father really loved her. And she him. I thought Tina was the same.”

“Those two were defiantly kindred spirits.” Joe said fondly. Then looked at his brother. “You really need to talk to Tina. There might be another reason for her behavior.” Joe said, giving Tina the benefit of a doubt.

“Then why doesn’t she talk to me? Why make me think the worst?”

Joe shrugged, “Something she’s afraid of, maybe? The thing is you will not know until you talk to her.”

“You might be right.” Josh looked at his brother for a moment. “How about your latest interest?” He asked changing the subject from himself.

Joe laughed, “At the moment, no one. Last one only lasted a couple of days, I took her to a Christmas party at my friends Davies’s house and she took it upon herself to insult his girlfriend’s best friend at the party. I’m thinking of staying single for a little while.”

“Really, you without a girl for Christmas and, most importantly, New Year’s?” Josh leans forward over the table, “Brother, are you finally growing up?”

“Don’t worry, I will not be sophisticated like you. I just think I need to sit back and relax for the moment. It’s time for me to start looking for my true love, my soulmate, if she’s out there. I’m actually tired of meaningless relationships.” Joe made a confused face and looked at his brother, “Oh, bloody hell, I am growing up. Father must be laughing at me right now, from beyond.”

“Come on brother, you know he never laughs. He is grunting happily to see you finally growing up and act your age.” Josh smiles and then takes another drink of his beer.

Joe raises his bottle of beer, “To father” then takes a drink. “By the way, you’re my age too, you know.”

“But I am already a grown-up.”

“That’s why you were father’s favorite. I was the screw up.”

“Joe, you know father was proud of you. You became your own man with your own life. Father was proud to see that you actually became a good, hardworking, honest man. Granted, you did not become the doctor or the lawyer he wanted you to be, but you came into your own and he was proud of that.” Josh told his brother.

Joe looked down at his beer. “You remember that big mistake I made, how could father be proud of that?”

“He knew that in the end you tried to do the right thing as a man. He respected that. You learned your lesson after that, didn’t you?” Josh responded.

“Yes, I learned to use condoms.” Joe said with a big smile.

Josh just looked at his brother, but could not help but smile and shake his head. “You are crazy. I know you will find your true love, but you better hurry up and find her soon. You’re not getting any younger.”

“I know I will, I just need to re-evaluate the type of woman I meet. Debutants and anyone under 30, are definitely off my list.”

The waitress came by their table. “Is there anything else I can get you handsome fellas? You know you boys made this old woman’s day, at first I thought these old eyes were seeing double.” The waitress looked like she was in her 70’s but still going strong.

The brothers both looked at her smiling and showing their dimples. “I’m married, but my twin here is single and looking for his true love.” Josh said.

The waitress looked over at Joe, “You know I can still make your toes curl.”

“I’m sure you can. But I think your current husband may have a problem with that.” Joe said.

“Joe, how many times have I told you that Walter is senile? Well, you’re loose. Would you boys like another beer?”

“I’m good, Josh?”

“No, I’m good. I just need the check.” Josh responded.

“Well, Joe, you can’t say I didn’t offer. Let me take these dishes out of your way.” The waitress took the dishes away.

“So, brother, when were you going to tell me you had your eye on such a fine woman?” Josh teased Joe.

“She’s married.”

“But he is senile.” Josh said smiling. Joe could not help but smile back.

Chapter 6

New Year’s Eve, 2014

It was 9 pm when Yanet arrived at Coconuts for the New Year’s Eve party. Like last year, her brother, Tomas had to work. He was in downtown Springfield patrolling the clubs having their New Year’s Eve parties. Jesse also had to work managing the bar that night, so she convinced Yanet to come out to the bar for the party. She did not want Yanet to ring in the New Year at home alone.

Davies saw her first and went right to her, very happy to see her. He also did not want her to be alone that night. He gave her one of his big bear hugs and almost lifted her up off her feet. He then gave her a big closed mouth kiss on the lips, transferring some of her dark red lipstick onto his lips. From behind the bar Jesse playfully protested the kiss, “Hey, hey, now, I thought I was the fiancé?”

“That big rock I gave you for Christmas definitely indicates that you are the woman I wish to marry.” Davies, with his big smile, leans over the bar to kiss his fiancé, but instead of Jesse leaning towards him for the kiss, she leans back. She picks up a napkin and hands it to Davies, “Not until you wipe her lipstick off you.” He gave her a sad puppy dog face and wiped the lipstick off. Then Jesse leaned in to give him a kiss.

“Well, hello Luv. You look quite sexy tonight.”

Yanet was wearing all black, a black long sleeve, “V” neck cut blouse that showed some cleavage. A black skirt that came down below the knees, with layered “V” cut ends and black leather, knee high boots. Yanet had straighten her hair and it came down to her shoulder and parted to the side. Joe could not stop looking at her. Yanet started to feel uncomfortable as Joe continued to stare at her. “What is he staring at?” She thought, “Got to be my boobs, it’s the only big thing on me that he would like to be all over on.” She looked down at her own boobs as she had the thought. She looks back up and notices Jesse and Davies staring at Joe’s reaction to her. Davies goes up to Joe and starts to wave his big right hand across Joe’s face.

“Hey, wake up!” Davies said in his deep voice.

Joe was startled and he quickly tried to play it off. “Ah, sorry. Just remembered something about work. Anyway, I’m a bit hungry. Jesse, the grill is still open right?”

“Yeah, till 10.”

“Lovely…” Joe turns to face Yanet, “Would you do me the honor and join me in a bite to eat before Karaoke starts?”

Yanet shrugs her shoulders, “I guess that could be ok.” She looks towards Jesse, “I haven’t had Coconut’s buffalo wings in a long time.”

“All right then, one order on wings, how about you Joe?” Jesse asks.

“The usual, thank you.”

“I’ll put the order in, Baby, the usual for you too?”

“Absolutely. Hey, Yanet, we have a reserved table for us over there in front of the stage. Let’s go claim it.” Davies said.

Yanet and Joe follow Davies to their reserved table. The table was decorated with New Year’s plastic top hats and tiaras. The DJ comes up to Yanet and gives her a big hug. “Beautiful, I’m so glad to see you here today. We must open the show with a duet, you and me, ok?”

“Hi Mike, I guess that would be fine. What do you want to sing?”

“Let’s sing ‘Dancing in the Streets’ that’s perfect to kick start the party. Yes?”

“Sounds good to me.”

A couple of hours later, the New Year’s Eve celebration is in full swing, the bar is full and everyone is having a good time. Joe and Davies are now, very badly, singing ‘Friends in Low Places’. Joe looks out towards Yanet and is happy to see that she was having a good time.

Out of nowhere, a tall blond young woman comes up to Joe as he is singing and begins to dance next to him. She goes behind him and stands back to back with him and starts moving her body up against his. She then turns around puts an arm around his neck and sensually walks in front of Joe. Joe starts to feel uncomfortable which surprised him. He usually would not mind this type of attention from a bombshell like her. Davies is trying not to bust out laughing, and then the song was over. “Not a moment too soon” Joe thought. Joe hands his microphone to Mike, the DJ and turns to walk from the stage when the dancer grabbed his hand and came up close to him.

“I’m Gina buy me a drink and I can be your New Year’s kiss and then some.” She seductively tells Joe.

Joe looks over to Yanet and sees that she was no longer laughing. She was looking down at her drink. Davies reaches the table and takes a swig of his beer. Joe looks back at Gina.

He smiles then tells her, “That sounds wonderful, but I’m here with someone.”

“I’ve been eyeing you all night and I haven’t seen you with anyone special.”

“I’m sorry?” Joe lets go of his smile and shows his disappointment in this woman, “I’m happy to say that I am here with the most special woman in the world. A woman that doesn’t look down on others. Excuse me.” Joe pulls away. He notices that Yanet was no longer sitting at the table.

“Oh, I see now” she smiles knowingly as she speaks, “being nice to an unfortunate friend. The night is still young.” Then she walked away.

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