“Can you manage to keep your dick in your pants for one night?”
Hudson’s question is meant to grab my attention, and it does. To be fair, I heard most of what he’d said up to this point. The parts that were of interest, anyway.
Okay, maybe that wasn’t much.
“Probably not. I don’t sleep in my pants, for one, and I do plan on sleeping.” I pull next to the valet podium at the Whitney Museum of Art, and add, “eventually,” because I know it will rile my brother up.
His sigh is heavy with exasperation. “Can you keep your dick in your pants at the gala?”
I grab my phone from its dock, automatically switching it out of Bluetooth mode, and bring it up to my ear. I pretend to consider as I step out of the car and button my tux jacket. “Hmm.”
“Nice wheels,” the valet says, unconcerned that I’m on the phone.
I pull out my wallet and flash a fifty-dollar bill. “Take care of her and this is yours.”
“Yes sir, Mr. Pierce.”
If Hudson were here, he’d wince at the recognition. It’s possible the valet knows me from the latest list of “Richest Men Under Thirty”—it’s the first year I’ve hit since I only got my trust fund when I turned twenty-four a few months back. But one look at the tattooed, pony-tailed Italian says he isn’t the type to read Forbes, which means he recognizes me from the gossip sites instead. Honestly, I don’t mind that I have a rep. It’s the elder Pierce who seems to care.
Speaking of the elder Pierce…
“Can I keep it in my pants until after the gala?” I repeat his earlier question as I stride toward the entrance of the museum. “I don’t know. How long is this thing supposed to last?” I’m messing with Hudson. It’s too easy not to. And really, what does he expect me to say? It’s not like I’m planning to try to get a girl to blow me on the event premises.
Though, if one were to offer…
“And don’t hit on anyone while you’re there, either.”
Now he’s going too far. “Is that a baby crying?” I don’t really hear a baby crying, but the likelihood that there is one somewhere near him isn’t too slim. The recent birth of his twins is the whole reason I’m stuck going to this stupid shindig in the first place.
“I mean it, Chandler.”
As if on cue, a baby actually does start crying in the background. “Shouldn’t you go put a pacifier in it or something?”
Hudson ignores me. “This is an important event,” he chides. “Accelecom is looking to strike a deal with Werner Media, and it’s crucial we make a good impression.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” It’s not like I don’t know this. He’s told me seventeen times just today, plus several hundred times earlier this week. In fact, every conversation we’ve had in the past few days has been about Accelecom’s charity gala tonight, which is more than a little strange, even for my work-obsessed older brother. Mainly because Werner Media isn’t a company we own. Sure, it belongs to family friends, but the Pierces haven’t been that close to the Werners since, well, around the time I graduated from high school. So why the fuck does he care so much about the impression I leave?
It suddenly occurs to me to ask. “What exactly is it you hope to gain from my presence here tonight? The Werner-Accelecom merger has nothing to do with Pierce Industries, does it?”
A beat goes by. “It’s a good opportunity for you,” he says finally. “There will be a lot of press there this evening, and if you play nice, you could get a good write-up, one that doesn’t involve the mayor’s daughter.”
His answer is irritating. Though he’s easing me into the family business, I’m technically an owner of Pierce Industries, just like he is, and I hate it when he treats me like an average employee. We’re completely different people, from our attitudes about our careers to our physical looks—my eyes blue where his are grey, my hair blond where his is dark. But, despite our differences, I want our company to succeed as much as he does. I want our efforts to bear fruit, just like he does. He slaves away at the job, but I work hard, too.
Well, hard enough.
But I’m not in the mood to argue.
I’m in the mood to deflect. “Man, that kid of yours is really howling. I didn’t know you subscribed to the cry-it-out method. I knew you were old, but 1990’s parenting? Come on.”
“Chandler.” Hudson’s tone is clipped and stern. He means it to be intimidating.
Spoiler: Hudson doesn’t scare me.
“I’m hanging up now,” I say, pushing through the doors of the museum.
“Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“Yes. I understand. Dad.”
I expect him to growl about my latest poke, but he’s distracted. “I’ll take him,” I hear him say, his words muffled as though he has his hand over the mouthpiece. Then, more clearly, “Chandler, I have to help Alayna with the babies.”
“Finally. Wouldn’t want to have to accuse you of child neglect.” Without saying goodbye, I click END and, after putting it on silent, slip my phone into my inside jacket pocket. Hudson’s children can only preoccupy him for so long. Sooner or later, he’ll be back to riding my ass, and even though I’m here at this event in his place, as far as I’m concerned, I’m off the clock.
The thing is, Hudson’s concerns are somewhat legit. Not because I can’t keep my cock in my pants, but because most of the time I don’t want to.