Damien Commenzar was something of an asshole.
Geraldine had been aware of this fact about her brother for a long time. Being good-looking and athletic had allowed Damien to get away with a lot when they were kids, and his belief in his own infallibility grew with age. This unerring self-confidence had been Damien’s greatest asset before he’d moved away from Shepherd’s Creek, and from the way he was talking to her now, it didn’t seem that he’d changed all that much in the four years since he’d left.
It was bad enough that she’d lost her father just weeks before, bad enough that his will had revealed he was leaving Damien more than half of what Geri had made their family’s gym into, and bad enough that she had no idea how to fight that plan of inheritance.
Did he have to be an asshole too?
“I want what’s mine.” Damien’s deep voice came through the speaker on the desk phone slightly tinny.
Geri tried—and failed—not to wish he sounded like this all the time. A flaw like an annoying voice might have gone a long way toward curbing Damien’s massive ego.
“It’s not yours, Damien,” she said evenly. “The gym was Dad’s, and he would have wanted me to have it. How can you not know that?” She made sure she spoke clearly through her fury, trying not to let emotional tears spring to her eyes.
“How can you say that, when he left most of it to me?” Damien demanded.
“Because I’m the one who’s been running it!” Geri cried. “Dad’s will was years old, and you know he would have changed it after all I’ve done for Shape. You pissed off to Broderick to be a big shot, but I’ve been managing things here since before Dad even got sick!”
“Fifty-five percent, little sister,” Damien reminded her. The smugness in his voice made her want to throw a punch, preferably at his head.
“You don’t just get to demand whatever you want now he’s gone!” Her voice was growing thick as her face heated, and she hated it.
“I’m coming home,” Damien spat. His voice was full of so much venom that Geri half expected her skin to start sizzling. “Dad knew that. He wanted me to take over, and that’s why he left me fifty-five percent of the gym.”
“You don’t even know how it works anymore,” Geri protested. “You haven’t been here in years. Why would he want you to have anything to do with it?”
“Because he didn’t believe in favourites, Geri. Or have you forgotten that part about our beloved father?”
She could clearly remember their dad’s rumbling voice as he’d said those exact words every time someone asked if he was proud of Damien’s appearance on some fitness TV show or Damien’s featured active wear collection. ‘I’m equally proud of my children. I don’t believe in favourites.’ The memory made her heart hurt, especially now she knew it wasn’t true. He’d split ownership of the house the opposite way—fifty-five percent of it went to Geri, and forty-five to Damien—but surely, he would have known that she didn’t care about the value of the property now for sale. She’d lived and breathed Shape since the moment he had become unable to manage it himself, and still, he’d left the control of it in Damien’s grasping hands.
“There’s nothing for you here,” Geri heard herself say. She hated how weak her voice sounded. “Go back to your fame and leave me alone.” She instantly knew she had gone too far.
“How dare you,” Damien’s snarl came clearly through the phone. “Shepherd’s Creek is my home too, Geraldine. He was my dad too. And you don’t get to dictate what happens now he’s gone.”
“Don’t you have enough yet?” She could barely keep her tears from her voice. “Can’t you be happy with being the one with everything and just leave me this?”
The next words that came through the phone made her shake. “You’d better fucking lawyer up. I want what’s mine, and I’ll see that I get it.”
As the tone that indicated the end of the call sounded, Geri put her head down to the desk and smacked her forehead against it several times. In his whole life, she wasn’t sure Damien had ever been denied something he decided was his.
But she’d be damned if she was going to let him take what belonged to her.