Ace (Band of Brothers #1)

By: Lyra Parish

"I'm serious, three on the dot!" She gave us the look that would make anyone else tremble.

We nodded again and the van door slid open and we all climbed inside.

"The venue is sold out; nineteen thousand people. Doesn't even seem like a real number," Rex said.

"None of this seems real," I replied.

"You got that right, little bro. It's a constant state of dreaming but you better wake the fuck up because this tour begins," Jex said with a laugh.

"Did you decide to play up the whole identical twin thing again today?" I asked, nudging Nik with my elbow. Jex and Rex looked over each other who were wearing the same clothes.

Jex instantly became pissed and Rex laughed.

"We aren't five anymore," Jex said. "Stop doing that. It's not cute."

"I think it's adorable," Nik said with a huge grin on his face.

"I thought it would be fun to be you today when I meet people," Rex chimed in.

"You better fucking not. I don't think that's funny. At all." Jex was not kidding. But if people didn't know them, it was hard to tell them apart. Jex started cutting his hair differently and Rex would get the same cut to drive him nuts. It was an ongoing joke that Jex did not like.

"Sometimes I hate being your twin. I have to look at your ugly face every morning when I look in the mirror." Rex couldn't even finish without busting up laughing in the middle.

Twin jokes, sometimes I didn't get them.

The van rolled up to one of the oldest burger joints in Atlanta. They had 1950’s-styled malts and checkered table clothes and even before we walked into the building it smelled like greasy French fries. A bell dinged as we walked in, and a waitress that looked like she came straight from the era sat us in a booth in the corner and smiled the whole time.

"Are y'all brothers?" she asked. Obviously she had no clue who we were. Sometimes I loved that. It gave me the opportunity to be myself and not be in the limelight, until the fans interrupted whatever we were doing.

"Brothers?" Nik asked. "Do we look alike?" He glanced over at the twins. It took everything I had not to laugh.

The waitress gave him a funny look as if he had asked the stupidest question in the world. "Look at these two wearing the same clothes," she said holding her thumb out at Jex and Rex. Jex was steaming mad.

"Yeah, I'd say you all look the same. No doubts about it. So what can I get ya to drink?"

We ordered our drinks and food. When the burgers came out, Rex took Jex's sandwich and told the waitress they switched places. Jex was ready to blow a gasket by the end of the lunch.

"If you keep this shit up, I'm going to be you for a day Rex." Jex's nostrils were flaring.

"Pfftt. You can't pull off sexy the way I do," Rex said puckering his lips and moving his shoulders in seductive circles.

Jex shook his head while Rex continued to agitate him.

"You two are annoying. This is why we can't go anywhere, because of you kids." Nik tried to pull off the best impression of Dad, and the whole table burst into laughter. Other guests inside of the room turned and looked at us, a bunch of rowdy guys, talking and eating with our mouths open, being loud like we didn't give a fuck. Because honestly, we had no fucks to give.

The waitress moved our empty plates from in front of us and held out the check. I snatched it out of her hand and stood and pulled a few hundreds out of my wallet then handed them to her.

She tried to hand half of it back. "You gave me too much."

"No, I didn't. That's for you. Thanks for treating us like humans. Not many people do that," I said.

She tucked her lips inside of her mouth and that's when the tears started to fall. "I can pay my electric bill with this. Thank you so much." She wrapped her arms around my waist and hugged me. I patted her on the shoulder and gave her a small smile. My brothers stood, looking like towering gods, and we walked out of the place like we owned it. Maybe I'd buy it. The thought made me laugh because I probably could if I wanted to.

I placed my aviators over my eyes and looked up at the blue sky and the wisps of clouds. That color reminded me of summer and being a kid. A smile touched my lips. Summer was always my favorite time of year. Sleeping late and swimming and riding my bike around the neighborhood like a little terror during the day and piano and vocal lessons in the afternoon. I knew when I was eight years old that I wanted to be a professional musician. I'm proof that dreams do come true if you work hard and never give up.

When we got into the van, Nik spoke. "That was nice of you, Ace. I always knew you had a soft side behind that hard shell."

"Fuck you," I said and stared out the window.

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