Paige Turner has a problem. Deciding she needs a private investigator, she walks into the office of the Bates Brothers, Norman and Master—kidding—Chay and Trey, who happen to be identical twins. They have an easy, fun dynamic, which immediately puts her at ease. But I bet you can’t guess which one she falls for.
She opened the stained glass door to the office with trepidation. Never having done this before, her hands shook. Identical platinum haired men greeted her with dazzling smiles. Paige halted as the effect of their stunning good looks left her breathless. One stepped forward, hand extended.
“Good morning and welcome to Bates Brothers Investigations. I’m Norman and he’s Master.”
“Dude, be serious,” the second twin said, hanging back a little.
“Seriously, he’s Norman and I’m Master. Our folks run a creepy hotel. Middle of nowhere, house on a cliff? No?”
“I’m Chay and he’s Trey,” the second one said, shaking her hand.
“But Dad totally wanted to name one of us Norman,” Trey contributed.
“It was all our mother could do to stop him,” Chay added with a smile.
“Did she stab him with a big, scary knife while he was in the shower?” their visitor asked.
“No, but she does love her rocking chair,” Trey replied with a grin.
“We named the dog Norman,” Chay said.
“So, neither of you is Master?” she asked slyly.
“Well….” Trey began.
Chay punched his brother. “No.”
“Don’t need to explain that one,” she interrupted.
“How can we help you?” Chay, the calmer of the two, asked.
“I need you to find someone for me.” She held out a photograph in shaking hands. “I think I’m being stalked. I got this picture on my phone.” She handed it to Trey, who was closest.
He examined it carefully before handing it to his twin.
“Has he spoken to you? Approached you in any way?” Chay asked.
“Not exactly. But I get these creepy calls sometimes. The number’s blocked, but there’s someone there, breathing….
“Then they hang up?” Trey concluded.
“Sometimes they whisper something. It sounds like a name. But it’s not something I ever heard before.”
“Not Rosebud?” Trey supplied.
The young woman cut her eyes at him. “Yeah, could be,” she replied sarcastically. “The closest I can make out, they say Katrinka. But I can’t be sure.”
“Why don’t we have a seat in my office,” Chay said. “And you can tell us all about it, Miss…?”
“Turner. Paige Turner. Yes, that’s my real name,” she directed at Trey before he could comment. “My father’s sense of the absurd. Mom couldn’t curtail him.”
“Do you have a sister named Leaf and a brother named Pancake?” Trey winked one brilliant blue eye.
“Funny, but no. I’m an only child. We named the dog Pancake.”
The men laughed in perfect unison, their booming voices filled the confined space. For the first time in weeks, Paige laughed too. Humor had been hard to find lately.
Chay ushered her into his office. Some would call it shabby chic, some less kind, just shabby. It was obvious they needed her case. Everything spoke to her of lack—from the battered wooden desk to the dented metal folding chairs. Despite the absence of glamour, it was neat and tidy. There were no files stacked on the desk, no half empty coffee cups. There were McDonald’s wrappers in the trash, but they were folded neatly and at the bottom of an otherwise empty basket.
“Sorry we aren’t fancier,” he said with a blush. “Please have a seat.” He indicated the one folding chair with a cushion.
Chay sat in a rickety wooden chair behind this desk. Trey perched on the corner.
“Tell Uncle Chay all about it,” Trey said with a frown of concern.
Paige grimaced at him. “And what does that make you?”
“I’ll be your daddy,” he replied with a nod and sly raise of an eyebrow.
Paige burst out laughing. “I hope that’s an act and you aren’t seriously using that to hit on me.”
Trey smirked. “Planting the seeds of discord. If you think of my bro as an uncle, then it’s sick if you hook up with him.”
“And if I were hitting on you,” he replied quietly. “You’d know it.”
Now that, Paige decided, was a come on. She smiled.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes