Authors: Kimberly Fox
“It’s a shit show.”
“It’s going to take decades,” I say. “We’re helping a lot of people at least. They have it pretty bad over there.”
Ethan reaches over and slaps my back. “I’m proud of you,” he says, looking me in the eye. He’s never said that to me before. He seems to be a changed man. “You’re doing more good in the world than me.”
“I don’t know,” I say. “Look at your pretty little wife. You seem to be making her happy.”
He smiles. “Yeah,” he says, peeling back the label from his beer. “She’s amazing.”
My big brother is actually in love. I never thought I’d see the day.
“So,” he says, after a bit of uncomfortable silence. “When are you going back?”
That’s the gazillion dollar question. And the one I’m afraid to know the answer to. I want to go back yesterday but I’m not sure if I’ll get the green light. I really can’t face that possibility right now.
“Next week,” I lie.
He straightens up in his seat. “Are you coming back home to Chicago?” he asks. “You’re welcome to stay with us.”
“Nah, it’s okay,” I say, taking a long sip of my beer. “We get good discounts on hotels.”
We sit there awkwardly drinking our beers. We’ve never been good at talking to each other. We’ve always been better at punching each other in the mouths rather than using them.
“I need to get laid,” I blurt out.
Ethan laughs. “Been a while?”
“Way too fucking long,” I say, shaking my head.
“No pretty boys in the military?” he asks with a grin.
“Tons,” I say with a smile. “You’d love it. But
need some pussy.”
Ethan waves his arm around. “Well, you’re in the perfect place. Vacation pussy is always the easiest. It’s like a ripe peach just waiting to be plucked off the tree.”
“What about Cynthia?” I ask, throwing it out to test the waters. It’s the first time I’ve said her name out loud. It feels nice after repeating the name in my head repeatedly for the last few minutes.
Ethan hisses a breath and shakes his head. “These are good girls.”
“Look at you all protective and womanized,” I say with a chuckle.
. He has really changed. This isn’t the same Ethan that I grew up with. “What did this wife do to you? Did she chop off your balls?”
“Just don’t be a prick with her, okay?” he says, looking annoyed. “She’s one of my fiancee’s best friends.”
“I don’t know how to be anything but a prick,” I say, rubbing my chin. “That’s what women love about me.”
“Just go easy on her,” he says softly. “These are good girls. Don’t go corrupting them.”
“I’m not going to corrupt her,” I say with a grin. “I’m going to make her toes curl. She’ll thank me in the end.”
Ethan takes a huff of breath. “Just be nice. Please. Or I’ll never hear the end of it.”
We sit in a stiff silence for a minute before we nod at each other and stand up. “Well,” I say with a shrug. “She’s waiting for me.”
“Yeah,” Ethan says, heading back.
I grit my teeth and try to ignore the fierce pain in my knee. It hurts to walk in the sand but I don’t let it show. I’m not showing any weakness in front of my big brother, no matter how much he might have changed.
Our relationship was always a struggle. Our parents leaving one at a time should have driven us together but it actually drove us apart. That’s what happens when you put two out of control alpha males in the same house with no parental supervision. You get chaos. And ten years later you get two grown emotionally challenged men with commitment issues.
We walk back into the restaurant and like a lion I go straight to my prey. But her stool is empty and the beer that I gave her is still sweating on the bar. I walk up to her seat and there’s a piece of paper where her fine ass should be parked.
There’s a drawing of a donkey sitting in a parked car giving me the finger.
Well, it’s an ass parked on her seat but not the ass that I wanted.
“I think we’re soulmates,” Julia says over the loud music in the discotheque at the resort. She’s looking at Matt with doughy eyes. He’s sitting on the couch against the wall with his flip flop in his hand, staring at it.
“Really?” I have to ask. “That guy?”
Julia nods her head and stares at him with soft eyes.
“That’s what you said about Chris and Kevin and Josh and Karl.”
“This is different,” she says, shaking her head.
“And Mike and Mark and Jason,” I continue. I can go on.
“Geez,” Julia says, scrunching up her face. “Have I had that many boyfriends?”
“You’ve had that many soulmates.”
Julia shrugs. “I guess I have a lot of souls.
“A lot of souls and not enough holes,” I say laughing. Julia joins in.
“Brace yourself,” I say as a sweaty out of breath Megan walks over from the dance floor.
“Tie up your shoes ladies,” Megan says, huffing. Her mascara is leaking down her face from all of the sweat. Megan really goes all out when she dances. She even brings a pair of running shoes to change into when she goes to nightclubs. “Five minutes until go time.”
“No,” I say, shaking my head.
“Again?” Julia asks, sounding frustrated.
She got her way in the restaurant with that embarrassing routine and now she wants to go again. She’s like a persistent toddler.
Megan just holds her open hand up and glares at us. “Five minutes,” she says with a serious face. She rushes over to Tanya and the two of them start going over their dance moves like they’re backstage of So You Think You Can Dance.
“We need new friends,” I say as Megan sits on the floor and stretches out her legs.
“Definitely,” Julia says watching the two dorks in horror.
I glance back at the door for the tenth time and Julia catches it. “Who are you looking for?” she asks with a smirk on her pretty face.
“Huh?” I ask, pretending to be confused. “No one.”
“Oh really?” she asks, looking at me sideways with her hand on her hip. “It wouldn’t be that sexy Navy SEAL that keeps sniffing around you would it?”
That’s what I hate about having lifelong friends. They can read you too well.
“And I know you have a thing for military guys,” Julia adds.
they have too much dirt on you.
“Whatever,” I say, rolling my eyes. “So I’m looking.”
She leans in. “Are you going to fuck him?” she asks in a whisper.
I sigh. “No, I’m not going to fuck him.” But I can’t stop thinking about him and his sexy ripped body. The image of his cock keeps thrusting itself back into my mind every few minutes.
“He is crazy hot,” she says, fanning herself with her hand.
You should see him naked
. I almost say it out loud but I bite my tongue.
“It would be fun,” I continue, “but then he’ll leave and I’ll have that same shitty feeling in my stomach for weeks like I did with that guy in Vegas. I’m just not built for one night stands. It’s just not in me.”
“I know,” Julia says, wrapping her arm around my shoulder. “You’re a good girl.” She kisses my cheek. “That’s why I love you.”
“Still,” I say, watching as Megan and Tanya jump up when the song finishes. “I hope he doesn’t come in while Megan and Tanya are embarrassing us.”
TLC comes on the speakers and Megan and Tanya storm towards us with their serious eyes brimming with intensity. They grab a hold of us and yank us towards the dance floor.
“Shoo shoo,” Megan says, pushing the other tourists off the dance floor. “Trust me. It will be worth it.”
They frown at us as they get pushed to the side.
“Sorry,” I mouth to them.
No Scrubs comes on and the four of us start another synchronized dance that we came up with in high school and only remember about half the moves.
He comes in just as we get started.
I need more alcohol for this.
Chase leans on the wall and watches us with a smile on his sexy face. He doesn’t take his eyes off me even when Julia falls onto the floor and when Megan crashes into Tanya.
It feels like an eternity for the song to finish but when it does Chase is clapping the loudest.
Tanya runs into the arms of Ethan, Megan runs into Lucas’ and Julia runs to the couch where Matt is still sitting and examining his flip flop.
I stand there awkwardly as the other tourists reclaim the dance floor around me. Chase walks over clapping slowly. “That was amazing. Let me buy you a drink.”
My friends are all preoccupied. “Alright,” I say with a shrug. “Why not?”
“Beer?” Chase asks me when he gets the bartender’s attention.
The sleeves of his tight black shirt are rolled up his thick forearm. The tip of a tattoo peeks out and I try to remember what it looked like when I saw him naked earlier. There was just so much to look at and I didn’t get a chance to take it all in. His ripped abs, his sexy smile, and his long cock took up most of my attention. Hopefully, I’ll get a second viewing of it all.
He orders two beers and turns to me as the bartender gets them. “You know I shouldn’t even be talking to you after what you did.”
“And what would that be?” I ask, intensely curious. He’s the one who flashed me his Frank and Beans and I’m the one who did something wrong?
“You stood me up,” he says, with hard eyes. “I invited you for a drink.”
A laugh bursts out of my throat. “Oh what an invitation. ‘Keep that hot ass parked on the stool,’” I say using air quotes. “If that’s what you call romance then you’ll really have to step up your game if you think you have a shot with me.”
“So I have a shot?” he asks, flashing me a sexy smirk.
“I didn’t say that,” I say. But I thought it. “I’m telling you if you want to be with me, which you can’t, you’ll have to seriously step up your game. You’ll have to pull out the big guns.”
He pulls up the sleeve of his shirt and flexes. His biceps are enormous. “You like big guns?”
“Oh my God,” I say, laughing. “That’s the cheesiest line I’ve ever heard. Where do you even learn a line like that? An elementary school?”
He lowers his arm and frowns. “Easy on me,” he says. “I’ve been out of practice. There’s not a lot of pickup joints in Iraq.”
“Well,” I say, taking a sip of the cold beer. “If you go back you should practice on a camel or something because that was just pathetic.”
“Alright,” he says, pulling out a stool and sitting down. “You try it if it’s so easy. Let’s role play.”
“Huh?” I say with a snicker.
Is he serious?
“You be the guy and I’ll be the girl. Try to pick me up if you think it’s so easy.”
“Okay,” I say, rolling my shoulders. I walk to the bathroom, turn and strut back. Chase is sitting at the bar with his chin in the air.
“Hi,” I say cheerfully.
He looks over at me in disgust and rolls his eyes. I’ve given more than a few guys that exact same look over the years. “No thanks!” he says rudely and looks away.
“Can I buy you a drink?” I ask.
He holds up his beer bottle and wiggles it, still not looking at me. “I already have a drink.”
I huff out a breath. “You’re making this hard on purpose.”
“I know,” he says with a grin. “That’s the point.”
“Okay,” I say, loosening up again. “Let’s try again. This time, pretend you’re not some stuck up bitch.”
“Okay,” he says turning to me. “I’ll go easy on you only because you’re a beginner.”
I walk back to the bathroom, psych myself up and then walk back. “Hi,” I say cheerfully. “You look nice tonight. Can I buy you a drink?”
Chase looks me up and down. “Sure,” he says. “A piña colada please.”
“I’d like to stick my piña in your colada,” I say in a macho voice.
He spits his beer out laughing. “That could work,” he says, wiping the beer off his chin with the back of his hand. “I’ll have to use that one.”
“It’s all yours,” I say, grabbing my beer off the bar. “Good luck with it.”
I smile but I get a flash of anger picturing him picking up another girl.
“See,” he says with a grin on his handsome face. “It’s not that easy.”
“Well,” I answer, “you should try being a hundred and thirty-pound girl and have an unwanted, muscular, two hundred pound man slobbering all over you. See how easy that is.”
Chase takes a sip of his beer and frowns. “I’m two ten.”
“Yeah, and I’m one fifty.”
He laughs. “And I didn’t slobber all over you. Not yet anyway.”
Megan’s husband Lucas comes over and wraps his drunken arm around Chase’s round shoulders. “Hey, cuz! We never got to catch up!”
“I’ll give you guys some privacy,” I say, grabbing my beer off the bar.
Chase’s face drops. “You don’t have to go.”
I give him a wink. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I say goodnight to Julia, Megan, and Tanya and head outside into the fresh air. I’m getting tired after the flight and I really want to get up early to get started on my tan for the wedding.
I get about four steps outside before Chase catches up with me. I hide my smile.
“You know I’m going to leave the resort with a picture of your ass but it’s not going to be the one in my pocket,” he says, tapping the side of his shorts.
I cross my arms and give him a serious look. “Too bad I can’t leave the resort without the picture of your little friend seared into my mind. I wish there was an eraser that can make me forget anything.”
“Come with me and I’ll make you forget everything.”
The sexy timbre of his voice mixed with the thought of giving myself over to him makes me shiver. I’m playing with fire with this guy. My body wants him but I know it’s not a good idea. It’s time to tell him flat out.
“I’m not a hump and dump kind of girl, Chase,” I say, cutting the bullshit. “That’s not what I’m about.”
“I know,” he says, his eyes locked on mine. “You like to play hard to get.”
I shake my head. “No. I
hard to get. And you’re the only one playing. I don’t play with players.”