There’d been a time when she’d loved to go four-wheeling up to Mt. Hennessy with him. The faster they’d gone, the louder she’d laughed in sheer delight. At the top, they’d sit on the edge, their feet hanging over the crevice a thousand feet below and they’d just … be. In a rare moment of openness, she’d once told him that had been her favorite thing to do next to strapping on her board and taking any double X diamond run on Cedar Ridge.
But now she just shrugged her indifference.
“Come on,” he coaxed. “I’ll even yell into the crevice and maybe nearly get arrested by Hud again. Just for you.”
Kenna smiled a little at the memory of Aidan taking her up there last year. They’d taken turns yelling themselves hoarse into the canyons, laughing at the echoes. They’d been so loud that someone had called the cops on them, saying someone was screaming bloody murder. Hudson had responded to the call and been pissed to find two of his siblings screwing around.
“Good times,” he said, nudging her shoulder with his.
Her smile vanished, and she sighed. “Maybe another time.” She met his gaze. “You look pretty done in, A.”
Aidan felt Gray take a second, longer look at him as well. “I’m fine,” he said.
“You’re not,” Kenna said, laughing a little. “You’re as screwed up as I am and we all know it.” She patted his cheek like he was the baby sister. “You do know you don’t always have to take care of me, right? You can work on taking care of yourself.”
With Gray still looking at him like a bug on a slide, Aidan tugged lightly on Kenna’s ponytail and bent a little to look right into her eyes so that she really heard him. “I know I don’t have to take care of you. I want to.”
She sighed again, and he prepared for her to roll her eyes, but then she surprised him and walked into his arms. She even let him hold her tight for a beat before pulling free.
She wasn’t back on the touch train yet either.
And then she was gone.
“Shit,” Gray said, staring at the door. “She’s not getting any better.”
“Yeah, but she’s not getting worse,” Aidan said. He took heart in that.
The front door opened again, but it wasn’t Kenna coming back. It was Hudson. He was in uniform, holding half a bagel and a to-go cup of coffee.
Gray gave him a brows-up glance.
Hudson ground his teeth.
“Yes or no?” Gray demanded. “You play, you pay.”
“Shit,” Hudson said, and looking pained, he kicked off his shoes, shoved the bagel into his mouth, and still holding his coffee, he untucked his shirt. He was leanly muscled, emphasis on the lean. Without the shirt tucked in, his pants sagged down on his hips, revealing a strip of pink satin beneath.
Hudson shook his head. He’d had to wear the women’s panties or lose a bet. The Kincaid brothers had a long-running joke that had started out with a tie Gray had gotten as a gag gift. It’d had penises on it. Gray loved to have it delivered to either Hud or Aidan, and the rule was that the recipient had to be seen wearing it before he could deliver it to one of the others.
Penny—not a supporter of the penis tie—had nipped that shit in the bud when she’d shoved the thing into the office paper shredder.
After that they’d switched to underwear. Aidan couldn’t remember why, exactly, other than that it was funny. Now, once a month or so, whoever had last been punk’d would purchase and have delivered a particularly embarrassing pair of undies, and they had to have proof that they were worn the day post delivery no matter what.
Gray, who’d sent this particular pair, shook his head. “Dude, pull your pants back up, what if Penny walks in?” So far they’d managed to keep her out of the loop on the undies thing. No sense in bothering her …
At Gray’s question, Hudson just shrugged—which loosely translated meant, Penny isn’t here, so why should I worry? At the movement, his pants sagged beneath his ass. Completely unself-conscious, Hudson frog-marched through the place with his pants still at his ankles, vanishing into his room.
Aidan’s stomach rumbled loudly, and Gray tossed Aidan the package of salami. “Feed that beast. And how did that last call turn out? The kid?”
Aidan shoved some of the meat into his mouth. “Got him home to his hysterical mom in one piece. Can’t say the same for the husband, though. He was supposed to be watching their son while Mom was out shopping. He’d gotten into the game, and the kid walked out the door right beneath his nose.”
Gray winced. “That’s going to hurt.” He took the salami back from Aidan and grabbed some bread and a knife. He added mustard, mayo, cheese, lettuce, and some tomato, then handed the sandwich to Aidan.
Aidan wasn’t the only caretaker in the family. He looked down at the sandwich. “Aren’t you going to cut off the crusts for me, Mom?”
“Bite me, bitch.”
“I should,” Aidan said. “Explain the Lily thing.”
“How about in a way that actually makes sense,” Aidan said.
“The salon needed an experienced stylist and cosmetologist,” Gray told him. “I told you Jonathan was looking for someone.”
“Yeah, but you didn’t tell me he was going to hire Lily.”
“Because you didn’t call me back.”
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