“Maybe we can go bug my big brother now. He’s always good for a laugh.”
I gave his shoulder a little shove. “You’re downright awful.”
“I’m the younger sibling. It’s my job to instigate, no matter how old I get.”
We walked farther down the hall and stopped at the door at the end. Marc knocked.
“Mom, I told you I’m not comin’ down,” came an irritated reply.
“It’s not Mom,” Marc said. He flashed me a grin and then looked back at the door, his smile widening.
“Marc?” A few seconds later, the door opened. A man a head taller than Marc stood there, his dark blonde hair unruly. A light brown, trim beard covered his jawline. “Well, look what the cat dragged in.” He smelled of beer and cigarettes. His eyes landed on me. “Who’s the pretty lady, little bro?”
“Her name’s Arianna.” Marc wrapped his arm around me, almost possessively.
Justin chuckled. “Don’t worry, Marky-Marc. I’m not gettin’ any ideas. All I can say is, about time.”
“You sound like Dad.” Marc frowned. “Speaking of stuff being ‘about time,’ what’s up with you, loser? Got a job yet?”
“You’re hilarious,” Justin said, shoving Marc in the chest a little too hard for it to be only in jest. “What about you? Make it big in Hollywood yet, you pathetic dreamer?”
“I’m a stage actor, dipshit. And hey, at least I’ve got ambitions. More than anyone can say about you. Who’s your latest hooker?”
Justin’s eyes darkened. “You don’t know shit, Marc. Donna’s the real deal.” Then he seemed to remember I was there and frowned. “Uh, sorry. Hope this little douche isn’t too whiney for you.”
I glared. “Marc’s the first good guy I’ve really been with. I’ve been around the block enough to know about guys like you, Justin, and yeah, maybe that makes me just as dirty as you, but at least Marc had the balls to see something good in me.” I gasped as the last of the words left my mouth and covered it with my hands.
Marc smirked. “We’ll be seeing you, Justin. Glad to know you’re as charming as always.” He took my arm, and we walked down the hall to the stairs.
The slam of Justin’s door echoed down the hallway, but with the noise downstairs, it was unlikely anyone else heard it.
I leaned against the wall as we stood next to the steps. “I can’t believe I said that. D’you think I pissed him off?”
Marc waved me off. “Who cares? Maybe he needed to hear it from someone outside of the family.” He took my hand and squeezed it. “That was… What you said about me…”
I met his gaze and found him blushing. “It’s true. Your brother seems to rub you the wrong way. I’ve never seen you so…”
“Rude?” Marc chuckled softly.