Authors: K.M. Scott
Tags: #Romance, #Fiction, #erotic
He didn’t lash out at me, though. Actually, if anything, his expression and body language relaxed as he listened to me talk.
“Abbi and Shay are very different people, Stefan. Abbi relies on me to protect her. Shay doesn’t need that from you.”
Kane wasn’t wrong about Shay. She was a fighter, no doubt. I liked that about her. But Abbi wasn’t as delicate as my brother made her out to be. I’d seen her go toe-to-toe with him on more than one occasion, and she held her own, even as he towered over her glaring down at every word coming out of her mouth.
“I think you underestimate your wife, dude. She’s not some dainty flower that is going to wilt at the first sign of bad times. Hell, last Fourth of July I thought she was going to slug you after you broke Cash’s wrist arm wrestling. I think if Olivia hadn’t freaked out, she would have torn you a new one.”
Looking out the front window, he sighed. “It’s not the same thing. That’s harmless fun.” A small smile turned up the corners of his mouth. “Well, harmless unless you’re Cash.”
Since I had him talking and I’d even gotten a rare smile from him, I asked what had been on my mind since hearing that Cash had just found out about the bad feelings between Abbi and Shay. “Hey, I’m curious. Why does your wife still dislike my girlfriend? I mean, that was years ago and nothing happened.”
In a flash, everything about him iced over. “No idea.”
If I was a suspicious man, I might have wondered what this sudden change in behavior was about. I knew Kane, though. His unwillingness to speculate on why Abbi continued to irrationally dislike Shay over one night years ago that didn’t even involve them having sex was the result of some kind of guilt he still carried to that day.
Not that he shouldn’t feel shitty about how he acted way back when. He should. It just seemed that the whole jealousy thing Abbi carried around should have a statute of limitations even if his guilt didn’t.
I wanted to say that, but why bother? He’d either not respond at all or get pissed and take a swing at me. After sitting there for hours bored out of my gourd, the last thing I wanted was a slugfest with the brother I had no chance of taking. If it was Cash, I might have at least entertained the idea. On off days, beating him was a definite possibility.
Then again, Cash would have never forced me to sit in some old car listening to goddamned golden oldies for hours while he remained sullen and silent staring out the window. At least with him I would have been sitting on some luxury seat.
Just then, Kane leaned forward toward the dash and pointed at someone walking out the back door of the restaurant. “Look.”
I did as he said and saw a dark haired male leaving alone and walking toward a car on the far end of the parking lot. Well, staggering was a better description. The guy looked like his brain had forgotten how to put one foot in front of the other.
After a few seconds of watching his drunken ass stumble and seeing him nearly go head over heels over a curb, I wondered aloud, “Are we going to let this guy drive anywhere? He looks like he can barely walk, much less drive.”
Kane made some noise that sounded like he was disgusted and opened his door to get out. “Stay here if you want. I don’t think he’s going to be much to handle in his state.”
“What are you going to do with him?”
As he slammed the door, I heard him say, “I’m going to make sure he doesn’t kill himself or someone else.”
Confused as to why I just sat doing the incognito thing for hours if we were going to meet the damn guy face-to-face anyway, I jumped out of the car and jogged to catch up to Kane as he got to Sebastian, our potential new brother who currently was fall down drunk and lying on the pavement.
“Dude, he’s fucked up,” I said with a chuckle as we stood over him. “You’re going to have to take him home.”
The look on Kane’s face told me this was way more than he’d signed up for when he picked me up tonight. As distasteful as it was to me too, we couldn’t leave the guy in the shape he was in and risk him driving somewhere when he woke up. We’d have to get him home.
Hopefully, he wasn’t so fucked up that he didn’t know where he lived.
“You know, this could mean he’s not one of Dad’s. We handle our drink a little better than this.”
Kane slowly turned his head and stared at me like I’d said something nonsensical. “Do I need to remind you of all the nights Cash or I or both of us had to mop you up off the floor at Club X in the early days? Man, you were a sloppy ass drunk when you were younger.”
I wanted to disagree, but he wasn’t wrong. I was exactly how he described me. But by the time I was this guy’s age, I had learned to drink better than he had, at least.
From the ground, Sebastian Thorne opened his eyes and looked up at us. “I don’t have drink more money tonight so fuck off.”
Staring down at him like he was some burden he hated, Kane said, “Help me get him up.”
I reached for Sebastian’s arm as Kane lifted his other side, but the guy seemed practically boneless and slid out of our holds, laughing as he hit the ground with all his weight. Looking down at his stupid ass lying there, all I knew was I definitely hadn’t signed on to be some drunk’s babysitter tonight.
Undaunted, Kane waved me on to grab his arm again. “Hold on to him this time, for fuck’s sake. He’s like dead weight.”
I lifted Sebastian’s right side, snapping back, “Which means you could do this all on your own.”
Finally, we got him onto his feet and stable. Turning to look at me first and then Kane, Sebastian said, “Are you my…my uh…guardian angels?”
Kane simply glared at him, but since I was feeling particularly smart assed at that moment, I answered, “Yeah, that’s it. We’re angels. Now behave or I’m going to smack the fuck out of you with my wings.”
ebastian sat in the backseat
of the Mustang, complaining the entire time as I drove toward his apartment about a dozen blocks from where he worked. Worried he’d throw up all over my car, I kept one eye on him and one eye on the road, regretting my choice to get a look at him tonight.
“So now we’re some kind of drunk car service?” Stefan grumbled.
I didn’t want to discuss this new turn of events with him, especially since he’d seen this night unraveling hours ago. Even he hadn’t predicted this end, though.
“Uh, who are you guys?”
Telling Sebastian we may or may not have been his brothers didn’t seem like the right thing to say, but other than that explanation, I had nothing but anger. I figured I’d let Stefan handle the guy since he seemed like he wanted to talk.
He turned to look into the backseat and said, “What’s your fucking problem? Do you have short-term memory loss or something? I just told you five minutes ago who we are. Angels, remember?”
I watched in the rearview mirror as Sebastian grew even more confused. Finally, after he appeared to think through what he’d heard, he said, “Really? Like real angels?”
Stefan laughed like any of this was funny. “The stupid is strong with this one. I’m severely doubting he could be one of us.”
“One of you? What are you guys, like some secret society? Are you taking me to your hideout?”
It was like babysitting a teenage boy with delusions of grandeur. Looking back at him, I asked, “Did you give me the right directions to your house back there?”
Slapping me in the shoulder, Stefan laughed. “I like this guy. He’s dumb as a post, but he’s funny as all hell.”
“I have been told that I’m funny,” Sebastian slurred.
“What’s your fucking address?” I barked, startling him.
“My address? 745 Chest…Chestnuts. I mean, Chestnut. Yeah, that’s it. My favorite nut. Chestnuts.”
“I swear if that’s not right, I’m going to pound the fuck out of him just on principle,” I said to no one in particular, just needing to let off some steam before I reached back and slapped this guy silly.
“So how’s that new brother thing working for you now, Kane? Still pumped about the idea?” Stefan teased as I made a left turn onto Chestnut Street.
I looked at the numbers on each house hoping we were close. 700 block. Now I just had to find 745, unload him into his apartment, and go home to Abbi and the kids.
“Right now, I’m thinking being an only child might be a really great thing.”
With a glance into the backseat, I saw Sebastian had fallen asleep. I elbowed Stefan and said, “Wake him up. We’re almost there.”
By the time I parked the car in front of the house, he was awake again and completely confused. While Stefan tried to explain what had happened, I turned the car off and announced to both of them it was time to get out, praying to God he’d given me the right address because if he hadn’t, it was going to take every ounce of will power I possessed not to just leave him right there on Chestnut Street.
Sebastian stumbled out of the car and onto the sidewalk in typical drunk fashion, nearly landing on his face after less than three steps. It had been a long time since I had to babysit a drunk like this, and I didn’t miss it. To be honest, Stefan had been a better time when he was hammered. This one was just sloppy.
We held him up for a few feet until we got to a set of steps leading to a narrow white house. Holding his arms out, Sebastian slurred, “I got this. I’m cool. I got it.”
He put one foot on the first step and feel face forward, landing flat on the stairs to the porch. Jesus Christ, I was beginning to hate this guy. Brother or not, he was a pain in the ass. Stefan stood doubled over with laughter as Sebastian groaned in pain.
“Holy fuck, this guy is hysterical! Now I’m hoping he’s our brother just for the laughs.”
I’d had enough of this shit. Scooping the now bloody-faced Sebastian up, I threw him over my right shoulder and marched up to the door next to the number 745 on the house. With Stefan behind me, I knocked on the door but got no answer.
Nudging Sebastian, I asked, “Is the person you live with at home?”
He opened his blue eyes and nodded. “I don’t know. Dani might not be here now. Get my key out of my pocket.”
I looked over at Stefan. “You heard him. Time to go fish.”
His expression twisted into a grimace. “I’m not sticking my hand in some guy’s pants, Kane.”
“I swear to God, Stefan, if you don’t get those fucking keys, I’m going to use you and him as battering rams and bust this goddamned door down. Now get the keys.”
In a flash, he changed his tune. Reaching into Sebastian’s pocket, he mumbled, “Okay, okay. Man, you’re so testy.”
I regretted ever even thinking I should try to find out any more about this possible brother of ours at the moment, and testy wasn’t even close to what I was really feeling. Enraged was more like it.
Stefan jingled a set of keys in front of him and smiled as he opened the front door to the house. “Open sesame. Easy peasy. No need to threaten anyone.”
Before he could take the keys out of the doorknob, I pushed past him into a living room that looked like something out of a frat house. Beer bottles lay strewn around the room, with a few empty liquor bottles still standing on the coffee table in front of the couch. Fast food bags lay on the floor and on the chair in the corner. If any female lived there, I didn’t want to meet her.
“Fuck, he’s a pig,” Stefan said as I dumped Sebastian onto the couch. “Dude, is this how you live?”
Sebastian opened his eyes and looked around like he didn’t know where he was. “Dani must not have cleaned up before she and her friends left. That’s what I get for letting her hang out here. Damn.”
He made a move to grab one of the empty vodka bottles on the table but gave up or changed his mind and just sat back against the couch. Sure he was safe and not going to be driving anytime soon since his car was still back at the CocoNut parking lot, I motioned with my head to Stefan it was time to leave.
“But you wanted to get a look at the guy, so why don’t we take the time to at least talk to him? He might be, you know, our brother.”
“I already know too much about him,” I said as I took a step toward the door.
Stefan grabbed my arm to stop me before I made it very far. “Come on. Just a couple minutes. We waited all those hours. What’s a few minutes more?”
“If you’re so eager to talk to him, go ahead. I’ll just stay here next to the door. You have five minutes.”
Undaunted by my lack of interest, Stefan jumped at the chance to find out more about the drunken mess of a person with a bloody nose who was barely keeping his eyes open. Positioning himself next to him on the couch, he said, “Hey, dude, wake up. Let’s talk.”
Sebastian’s eyes opened wide and fixed on him. “I didn’t realize you were still here. What do you want from me?”
“What’s your deal? Do you always get stone drunk on a Monday night?”
I couldn’t help but smile at the judgmental tone in Stefan’s voice. It wasn’t that many years ago that he got drunk every night of the week and Cash and I had to deal with him.
Scrubbing his face, Sebastian seemed to think about the questions for a minute. His voice a little less slurred, he said, “Well, not that it’s any of your business, but I decided to have a few after work tonight with one of the girls who works at CocoNut’s. So after Tawny got off, we got to drinking.”
“I thought you said your girlfriend’s name was Dani.”
More judgment from someone who used to go through women like they were water.
Sebastian grinned and with a shrug said, “I didn’t say she was my wife or anything. We hang out. Why do you fucking care? Who are you again?”
Before I could stop him, Stefan outed the both of us. “I’m Stefan and this is Kane.”
Looking at each of us, he said, “I know those names. Did you tell me in the car?”
Hoping to lie well enough to confuse him, I spoke up. “Yeah, we did, but we have to go. Stef, let’s go. Now.”
He held his hand up to stop me. “Wait a minute. I want to talk more to Sebastian here. So did you get anywhere with that Tawny girl?”
I rolled my eyes. Of all the questions he could ask the guy, that was the one that came to his mind first? Maybe old Stefan wasn’t entirely gone after all.