The Infatuation (Josh and Kat #1 , The Club #5)(8)

By: Lauren Rowe

I stop talking midsentence, thanks to the look on Kat’s face: the girl’s sitting on the edge of her seat, looking like she’s literally holding her breath at whatever I’m about to say. Ha! What the fuck does Kat think I’m about to say?

That’s funny. The truth is I was about to say something pretty innocuous—but obviously, the girl’s imagining something pretty fucking titillating, or maybe even really fucked up. Well, far be it for me to disappoint her depraved imagination. In fact, I can plainly see by the revved-up expression on Kat’s face, it’s in my extreme interest to let this girl’s imagination run wild.

“Thank God, bro,” I say, making a big show of my relief. “That would have been just like having sex with you.” I mock-shudder at the thought.

Jonas flashes me his usual look of annoyance. “We’re totally off track here,” he barks out. “The only thing that matters is that these bastards have fucked with Sarah and Kat, and we have no way of knowing whether they’re done fucking with them or if they’re just getting started.”

I lean back on the couch and sigh. Yep. My gut tells me Jonas is overreacting to this situation, probably spurred on by somehow trying to impress Sarah. “Oh, I don’t know,” I say, putting my hands behind my head.

Oh shit. Oops. I just unleashed Jonas’ crazy as surely as if I’d opened the door to a rabid dog’s cage.

“Sit down, Jonas,” I say emphatically, over and over, in response to Jonas’ tirade, but he won’t listen to me. “Let’s just talk about this for a minute, rationally.”

“Oh, you’re gonna tell me how to be rational?” Jonas seethes. “Mr. Buys-a-Lamborghini-on-a-Fucking-Whim-When-His-Girlfriend-Breaks-Up-With-Him is gonna tell me to be rational?”

I roll my eyes.

Nice, Jonas. First my stupid-ass brother outs me for joining a sex club and now he’s gonna give me shit for what a pussy I was after Emma drop-kicked me and cheated on me with that Ascot-wearing prick? Talk about a cheap shot.

Up ’til now I was feeling pretty entertained by my asshole-brother, maybe even sympathetic, but now I feel like throttling him. But because I’m the sane and rational twin in this fucked-up duo, I somehow manage to keep my shit together, like I always do. “I’m just saying I don’t know; that’s all,” I say, gritting my teeth. “I’m not saying I disagree. Big difference. Just sit the fuck down for a minute. Jesus, Jonas.”

But, of course, Jonas doesn’t immediately shut the fuck up or calm the fuck down or do anything even remotely resembling sane rationality. Why? Because he’s Jonas, which, I guess, gives him a lifelong pass to act like a fucking lunatic while I sit here holding his shit together for him, even though on any given day it takes almost all my strength to hold my own shit together, thank you very much.

It takes ten minutes of talking to Jonas like the man-child he is, but I finally get him to sit down and breathe deeply.

“Okay,” I say, taking a deep breath. Jesus God, give me strength. “Let’s think. What’s the point in taking down the entire organization? I mean, really? Just think about it, logically. That sounds like an awfully big job—and maybe overkill. Think about it, Jonas. Yes, we’ve got to protect Sarah and Kat, of course . . .” I smile at Sarah and then at Kat. “Of course. And we will. I promise. But beyond that, why do we care what The Club does?”

Jonas shifts in his seat. He’s considering.

That’s good. I’m clearly making headway. I take another deep breath.

“Why kill a fly with a sledgehammer when a flyswatter will do?” I continue. “The Club provides a service—and very well, I might add, speaking from experience. So, yeah, maybe things aren’t exactly as they appear, maybe they oversell the fantasy a bit—but so does Disneyland. I mean, you can go ride a rollercoaster anywhere, right?—but you pay ten times more to ride that same roller coaster at Disneyland. Why? Because it’s got Mickey Mouse’s face on it.”

Jonas’ eyes could cut diamonds right now.

“Maybe all these guys who join The Club want to ride a roller coaster with Mickey Mouse’s face on it—and they’re happy as clams to pay a shitload to do it. They don’t even want to know they could ride the same roller coaster without Mickey’s face on it for two bucks down the street.”