I smile at the thought of him, and sometimes I sit at my desk and just think about him. It’s come so easy, and naturally, it feels like it was always like this. That the pain we’ve both felt was in another lifetime.
“The sun is coming up,” I tell him as I kiss him one last time and walk out the back door. He stands in his jogging pants and t-shirt watching me leave. I’m familiar with his whole body. We haven’t been under the clothes yet, but I know his ridges, and I know his firmness—I actually know his firmness really well since he’s constantly firm around me. I breathe in the warm air; it’s getting warmer now. I walk down the wet sand as I make my way around the bend, the seagulls out in full force today. The wind blows my hair in all sorts of directions. I look at the mist of the water as it splashes on my face. Walking up to my back door, I push it open and head inside, taking off my Uggs before stepping into my bedroom.
I look at the clock and see it’s almost seven, then hear some noise coming from the kitchen. Cupboards being banged. I walk into the kitchen and gasp when I see Gabe in the kitchen, obviously searching for a coffee cup.
“What are you doing here?” I walk to the side where we keep the coffee mugs.
“Your cousin wasn’t answering her phone last night, so …” He starts talking when Crystal comes in.
“So he decided coming here at one a.m. and throwing rocks at my window was a good idea.” She opens the fridge, getting out the milk and her lunch bag.
“I wouldn’t have to do that if you had just answered your phone.” He pours himself coffee, and as I take in his jeans and t-shirt, the tattoos on his arm seem bigger.
“There was no need to answer my phone.” She shrugs, taking out some cereal and pouring it into a bowl.
“Because you hate being wrong.” He points at her, and her eyes narrow. The box of cereal smashes on the counter.
“I’m leaving,” she says, grabbing her purse, keys, and lunchbox. Turning to me, she says, “Blake should be here late today. He called last night.”
I nod at her as happiness fills me. I haven’t seen my brother in over two months and so much has changed. “Oh, you answered his phone call!” Gabe says when he grabs his jacket and heads to the front door where Crystal stands.
“Well, he isn’t an asshole,” she counters when she opens the front door. “How are you getting to work?” she asks him when he laughs.
“You are going to drive me. I took a cab last night.”
“I’m not showing up with you in my car.” She turns on him. “People will see.”
“And that’s a problem because?” He puts his hands on his hips. “What’s the matter, babe? Scared they might think you have a thing for me?”
She shakes her head, laughing. “Trust me, the last thing I have is a thing for you.”
“I’ll remember that the next time you are beg—” She runs to him, covering his mouth with her hand.
“Get in, I’m dropping you off at the corner. I’ll slow down so you can tuck and roll.” He smacks her ass as she turns, earning a glare from her. “I won’t even slow down now.”
Gabe throws his head back laughing as he gets in the car and leans over to kiss her. What has me raising my eyebrows is that she lets him. Crystal has always said she is never getting married, never settling down. She adamantly insists she is happy being alone. She crossed kids off her list when she turned nineteen, vowing to be the best aunt she could possibly be. I watch her drive off as Gabe picks up her hand and kisses it, smiling at her.
“That poor, poor man. He has a better chance landing on the moon than changing her mind.” Shaking my head, I walk back inside, putting the cups in the sink and the cereal box away. I grab my laptop and head upstairs to my office to answer emails when I hear a knock on the front door. Walking to it, I open it and see my brother’s smiling face.
I leap into his arms, and he catches me in his big strong arms. I bury my face in his neck as tears come to my lids. Not sad tears, just happy, happy that he’s here. “You’re here,” I say when he lets me go. I step back, giving him room to come in, carrying his bag in with him.
“Look at you.” He points at me. “You look amazing. The fresh beach air suits you.”
“I think so.” I smile when he comes in and looks around. “This is my home.” Looking around, I see that it really is mine.