TWTOO Bittersweet

10 Abnormal is the New Normal


10: Abnormal is the New Normal

For two days, Bailey stayed home trying not to feel the odd assortment of emotions that kept plaguing him — loss, pain, longing, hopelessness… Foolishly, somewhere deep, he hoped his father would come around like their mother had. A long shot, but he dared to keep that hope close. The wondering if the man ever really loved him would most likely haunt him the rest of his life. But he knew, knew, his father cared despite what Tyler and Matt believed. Because the man allowed him to keep his brothers. Their father had the power and resources to destroy them before they even knew what was coming, yet he gave them a fighting chance. He had warned them and allowed them to walk away. Though it wasn’t much, Tyler and Matt was everything to Bailey.

Finally, tired of feeling anything, he went back to practice. Their game was coming up soon and he needed to be ready.

Drills done for the day and Bailey was packing up when he felt someone behind him. He turned to look up at the big hulking Jerry hovering over him.

“What’s up?” Bailey asked not feeling comfortable with the big guy standing over him, even if Jerry appeared none threatening.

“Tyler… Okay?” he asked scratching his beard.

Bailey nodded. “Yeah, why?” And why was this guy who rarely talked to anyone suddenly interested in knowing about Tyler?

“Haven’t seen him.”

Bailey lifted an eyebrow. “He doesn’t come around all the time.”

Jerry laughed. “Yes, he does. You just don’t see him.”

Tyler had probably been spying on him then. And Jerry noticed? Bailey wasn’t sure he like that. What else had Jerry seen?

The linebacker looked around as if making sure no one else was around, then leaned in. “So you have an open relationship?”

“What?” Bailey frowned at the question. Open? As in multiple partners?

Jerry dropped his bag on the bench making Bailey stand just in case the guy tried something. But what he wasn’t expecting was the guy’s hands to start moving — sign language. He spoke while he signed. “I read lips very well. I’m partially deaf.” He turned his head and angled it down to show Bailey his ear. Inside was a tiny device, a hearing aid that Bailey never noticed. But the guy was so tall and wide, Bailey had to look down into his ear to see it. “I know about you, Tyler, and Cody’s relationship. Not sure the whole dynamics, but I… sometimes see what he says to you when no one is in earshot. How Cody helps protect you all.”

Bailey’s heart dropped and his breath quickened.

“No, I won’t tell. I mean… who would believe me.” He shrugged. “No one to tell anyway. Just… I’m glad you have people who support you.” His hands stopped and he nodded before picking up his bag. “I just wanted to make sure Tyler was okay.”

The big scruffy guy walked toward the door.

“Jerry!” Bailey yelled.

The guy turned back slightly, slowing.

“Is there someone you…that you can’t…?”

He looked down at his feet and didn’t say anything for a long time. The he spoke slowly. “That’s why you were disowned, I bet. You’re lucky. My family… let’s just say, I wasn’t always…” He pointed to his ear. Then the guy disappeared.

Bailey didn’t know how to feel about that. He knew how bad it could get if anyone found out, but to see it… Fear traveled up his spine. He could lose Tyler. He could lose more than just his name…

His mind swam with renewed terror. He always had those worries, but if Jerry could find out, who else might know?

That night, as Bailey sat in his empty room, he called his mother.

“Hey, sweetie, how are you?” She asked knowing he was taking his father’s death pretty hard.

“One day at a time.”

“I know. If you need me-“

“No. You’re a busy woman. I just want to talk.”

“Okay.” He heard the smile in her voice. “Talk.”

“I know someone…who wasn’t… Someone who was like me and Tyler, and yet… I don’t think it went well for him at all.”


“Even though dad was pretty harsh, he could have been worse. It makes me wonder how long before… If we get found out… And yet, I don’t want to be without Tyler.”

“I know. Even though it still bothers me, I get it. It’s like my love for surgery. Like my thirst for the best way to mend bones.” She chuckled then sighed. “I am the best at what I do, because I broke through the norms. I refused to sit back and let men, your father included, dictate where my life would go. Don’t get me wrong, I tried to be normal. I had you guys thinking that’s what I’m supposed to do as a woman. And while you boys are not a mistake, I should have never chosen to have children if I didn’t want to make the sacrifice to be a mother. Life is not kind or fair to anyone who does not embrace what is considered normal. Remember that. Also remember, you cannot have safety all the time. If you want to make that winning play, you have to throw harder, further, be bold. And if you and Tyler want to survive together, you’ll have to find a way. But it all requires-“

“A sacrifice. I know.”

“Of course you do. You’ve already sacrificed so much. And I love you. Don’t forget that.”

He smiled. “Thanks, mom.”

“And another thing, you and I both know it’s too late to second guess your relationship with Tyler. You back out now, you’ll probably have to kill him.”

Wasn’t that the truth.


Tyler’s name had been cleared once Gabe reviewed the surveillance video and was convinced his brother didn’t do it. Hell, anyone who saw that tape would know Tyler was innocent.

After viewing the video on Cody’s phone, Matt laughed when Tyler came in his pants from learning the truth. “He’s such a slut,” Matt said wiping his eyes.

Cody groaned. “A depraved slut.”

It had been two weeks and Tyler was scheduled to come home soon.

Walthour kept their father’s body and ran several tests to make sure that it was him and not a body double. DNA and many other tests proved it was him — their father. He was dead.

His father’s people, according to Walthour, were fighting among themselves. Some were fighting to take over Radford’s position. Some fought to find the killer believing someone in their ranks did it. That started after what Tyler said about the killer being one of Radford’s closest members was leaked. Matt’s theory was that Gabe leaked the info to see what they would do.

“The company won’t survive if order isn’t restored.” Cody sighed then sipped her milkshake at the counter of the diner they were eating at. “Mick said that everything is chaotic. This is what Gabe feared. The only reason so many of your father’s people were loyal was because your father had blackmail material on most of them.”

Why wasn’t Bailey surprised?

“A good portion of the company has joined Mick just so they have steady income. But the ones who Gabe will have to put down are the ones that worshiped the ground your father walked on. They want blood. Lots of it. Some of them have already been dealt with when they accused Gabe of ordering Radford’s death… It’s a mess.” She flopped on the counter.

“Sounds like it,” Bailey said, licking ketchup off his thumb.

“At least Tyler didn’t do it,” Matt said with a mouth full of mashed fries. Bailey agreed that if felt good knowing Tyler hadn’t been the one to do it. And relief that his father’s dark shadow no longer loomed despite the loss.

“I’m told Tyler was there when they ran the tests on your father. He wanted to make sure it was really his body.” Cody informed him.

“Seriously?” Bailey asked.

“Yep. Are you going to the memorial service?”

Bailey thought for a moment and then shook his head no. His father’s body was already dissected beyond recognition. And he saw the moment his father’s head was gone — not something he wanted to visit. They would cremate him tomorrow. Either way it didn’t matter, Bailey said goodbye a long time ago.

They walked back to the condo and found a limo out front waiting. The chauffeur got out and opened the door. “Ms. Delarosa, you’ve been called,” the man said with a serious face even as Bailey and Matt began grinning cheesy expressions, eyebrows wiggling. Matt began giggling a sinister sound.

“You two.” Cody groaned as she walked with light happy steps to the limo. She turned to wave. “Later.” She winked and ducked inside.

Bailey watched the car drive off wondering when the next time she’d be back. Probably not for a couple of weeks.

“I’m glad she’s happy,” Matt said going into the building.

“Me, too,” he said following.


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