“Okay...but listen...I swear there are four hunky dudes up there.” She was squinting while straddling her board.
All I could do was laugh. “Kodes...you think every guy around here is hunky. You know how far out here we are? How can you even tell?”
“Three years with me and you still haven’t learned shit. I’m disappointed Carls.” She kicked me with her foot ‘accidentally’ splashing water into my eyes. “You do you, but you know...I’m all about going in and seeing just how right I am.” She grinned something wicked and off she went.
“I’ll be right behind you. I gotta catch one more.” She did well enough. She was a year and a half older than me, but Kodie knew that December 20th was never a day. So, she showed up at the house all too willing to surf. Or the Kodie way of surfing. Hit one or two waves and ‘hunk’ watch from there.
I rode the wave in...one of the best of today. Shook out my hair and then jogged up the beach to where Kodie had her board stuck up in the sand. She hadn’t made it very far. The ‘hunky’ guys she was referring to were still up around the back end of my house. Nowhere close to where I thought she’d have them by the time I rode in. Blue should have been going crazy. “Chicken out, did ya?” I kicked her in the knee cap.
She looked down at her phone a minute and then squinted back up to where the guys were. “Carls...it’s been a minute in person but...they look...” She never got to finish.
As soon as I laid eyes on the fourth ‘hunk’ I knew who it was. It was my hunk. Or who I considered mine regardless that he left. Which my brain then vaguely registered the other three were brothers. But there...in all his uniformed glory was my guy. Beau Brighton.
I took off sprinting. And I mean sprinting.
I squealed. I couldn’t help it. I was like a three year old on Christmas who’d just got a puppy. I jumped and attacked him like a spider monkey. Neither one of us caring that I was in a wetsuit and he was in his Navy camo. It didn’t even affect him. He caught me, muscled arms...strong never failing hands grabbing my thighs right under my ass.
My hair fell down around our heads like our own private curtain. I figured I was smothering him with my wet boobs, but I didn’t care. And him being a guy, I knew he didn’t care either. I felt him plant a kiss on the inside of my neck. “Hello gorgeous.” Another kiss. Well, this is new.
“Am I right or am I right?” I heard Jason laughing and then it fully registered that my brothers were actually in attendance on the beach too. I slid down off Beau’s hips and kissed his nose really quick before my feet hit the sand. He turned me around so his rock hard body was molded to my back. Jase was grinning from ear to ear with his hands outstretched to the other two brothers. “God it would hurt if I didn’t like taking my brothers’ money and...I wasn’t so so right.” He winked at me.
I could feel Beau trying to hold in a laugh. Trenton had his wallet out and was handing our youngest brother a 50, nostrils somewhat flaring. “You couldn’t even acknowledge we were here Little Elll?”
“And...Dane? You shook too!!” Jason still had his hand outstretched demanding the oldest of us Ellington’s to pay up.
“You’ll get it you annoying ass. You know you’ll drive me insane until you do.” Hunter just reached across our little circle and tugged me away from Beau into a smothering big brother hug. “Oh Little Ell. You wound me.”
“Man. I was NOT wrong on the hunk factor.” Kodie had finally decided to join the family reunion. She jumped in to hug whichever brother I was not hugging.
“Kodie Anasta...” The look she shot Trenton was icy enough to shut down an entire base. Kodie didn’t like her middle name. It was something that if you valued being on her good side that you never spoke. Trenton...suddenly remembering that revenge was a dish he didn’t want to be served, stopped his mouth from saying it. “I meant...you’re a goddess and I haven’t seen a single woman in all the deployments that even come an inch in comparison.” He rubbed the back of his neck trying to recover. Trent was actually head over ass for my best friend.
“And you never will Trenton Maddox. You never will.” She patted his chest and walked past him toward my house. The rest of us laughing at Trent in her wake.
I looked back at Beau smiling like an idiot only to be greeted with his idiot grin right back. “Come on.”
We took one step inside the backdoor and was greeted with screaming from the front door. “I DIDN’T BELIEVE HER WHEN SHE TEXT ME!! I DIDN’T BELIEVE IT!! I’M NOT SURE IF I BELIEVE IT NOW!” Of course that’s what Kodie was doing before she came to join the group on the beach...texting Bristol.
She jumped right into Hunter’s arm, much like me, and 100% kissed him on the lips.
Well. That’s a totally new development. Beau and I had the same thought when I caught his eye.
Bristol hopped off Hunter like nothing happened then went around to hug everyone else. Blue was trying his damnest to get even just a head pat. “I mean I know I asked Santa and all to bring ONE of you home if he could but...all four of you? What’s up?”
Beau had his hand on my neck drawing circles and setting my insides on fire. Jason winked at me, ever the playful brother. “We also asked Santa. He delivered early.” He handed me the 50 that Trent had gave him minutes before. “That’s your cut for proving me right.” Whenever I was in a bet with these guys, especially Jason, I always got half...even if I didn’t know there was a bet. Ellington sibling rule. “I told them you would go straight to your guy.”
I didn’t care. I handed Trent back his money and plowed on with the questions that were streaming thru my head. “Blue.” I let out a command whistle telling him he needed to knock it down a notch or two. It didn’t work. Hunter sat down in the living room and before Bristol could even move, up the 115lb Rottweiler went. “So all of you are here? How long?? Shouldn’t ask, I know. You couldn’t let me know?” I glared. Jason and I just facetimed yesterday.
Hunter took the lead. Always in charge as the oldest. “Us three are in for two weeks. Gotta head back a little after the new year.” He was referring to the three that shared my blood. That left Beau. I turned around to get my answer and was met with his swoon worthy face. I had forgot just how high his ‘hunk’ factor was. Blue eyes that shimmered every time he smiled, brown hair that he’d let go longer on top. I dreamed one day I would run my fingers thru it again. Dimples. The start of his stubble. I knew his arms and upper body were heavily tatted under his uniform. Just like I knew he was seriously ripped under there too. He’d sat down on one of the island stools, leaving me between his legs, and very level to his mouth. “And you Brighton? Tell her your time frame.”
I snapped out of my trance of derailing thoughts of Beau’s mouth. It was so easy to forget everyone beside him and me. Get your shit together Aspen. He walked away from you.
Another full face idiot grin. It’d been so long since I’d seen it that I didn’t care he had left. I didn’t care that he had stayed away. “Oh ya know. Managed three-ish weeks or so.” Beau was being nonchalant until Hunter cleared his throat. “Gotta head back February 1.” He clarified.
I heard Jason grumbling from the floor where he was the new ‘stool’ for Blue. “He was the last to even request leave.” Beau let a snicker escape and bit the inside of his bottom lip to hide the rest. Holy smokes sexy. I raised my eyebrow at him, and he winked back, fully knowing I could do math. Three-ish weeks my ass.
Beau and Jason were on the same team. Last I knew it was Bravo. Trenton was on his own--Charlie and Hunter was on Alpha. Jase was mad that even though he was blood, and apparently put his leave request in first, Beau got extended leave for some reason and Jason didn’t pull enough weight.
It registered, way later than it should have, in my head that instant. “All four of you are home at the same time and for Christmas!! Oh, this is beautiful.” I caught Kodie setting on Trenton’s lap snapping a selfie, most likely to send to the other girls. “Do Mom and Dad know?”
All three grinned at me with the same trademark Ellington brother grin. A grin that made all the girls putty in their hands, no matter how long they’d been around. It wasn’t something you grew immune to. “That’s a negative ghost rider.” Oh how I’d missed my brothers. “The mission was to surprise you...which we failed because we didn’t leave Brighton at a different location.” Hunter rolled his eyes at us again. Even though Beau’s back was toward them, he winked at me knowing that he made my brothers jealous without ever having to try. “Then we were going to surprise Mom and Dad.”
“Which means there’s going to be a party tonight. Ellington’s. The Jump after? I’ll go round up the rest the trash and bring them in.” And out the door Kodie went in the whirlwind that only Kodie could bring with her anywhere. Trenton’s eyes glued to her the whole way.
Bristol eased off Hunter’s lap and kissed Trent’s head before she ruffled Jason’s hair since he was still stuck on the floor under my dog. “Okay. I’m going to drop off the last cupcake order, then shower and hopefully manage to not look like Kode’s trash...then be at the parents’ in an hour.” She hugged Beau’s neck from behind and slipped out the screen door.
“Okay then. You guys do whatever it is that you guys do and imma go shower too. I’ll be down in five.” I turned to head toward the direction of the stairs leading to my room and my shower.
“LITTLE ELL!!!! Remember we don’t have five hours to surprise Mom and Dad!! The Unblood will know within minutes and we all know how well you girls are with secrets!” Hunter hollered at my back.
I flipped him off, because not all girls take 5 hours to shower, and grabbed my phone. I hit send the same instant Bristol did.
cookiemonster (Aspen): lets talk about my brother?
cupcaker (Bristol): your guy was awfuuullll handsy
I just rolled my eyes knowing neither of us were going to talk first.