Home > Indulge with Me (With Me in Seattle #10)(6)

Indulge with Me (With Me in Seattle #10)(6)
Author: Kristen Proby

The ball is snapped, and we all start running around in a flurry. I’m holding back Matt, who just smirks, pushes back on my chest, and easily runs past me.

All of my brothers should have been professional athletes.

Caleb throws the ball, and Matt catches it, running it in for a touchdown. “Yes!” Jules yells, high-fiving Matt.

And so it goes for the next thirty minutes, most of the siblings, including their spouses, playing football in the warm Seattle sunshine.

“That’s enough,” Brynna says at last, breathing hard. “I need food, something to drink, and a swim. Not in that order.”

“Half time,” I announce and jog over to the full spread of food that Meg had catered this morning. I grab a plate, and heap it high with chicken teriyaki pop things, buffalo chicken sliders, chips with a corn dip, and po’ boys, too. I carry my bounty to a lounge chair and sit happily, watching my gorgeous girl floating in the water as I set out to fill my belly. “You should join us for the second half,” I suggest to Meg.

She smiles and shakes her head. “I’m happy here in the pool. It’s too hot to sweat like that.”

“You can always get back in the pool.”

But I can see by the look on her face that she’s not interested in playing.

“That’s fine, be a lazy bones over there.”

“I intend to,” she says with a wink and then turns her attention back to Natalie and Sam. Luke wades out with them, and kisses his wife as if they’re still dating and all by themselves, per usual for them. Jules wrinkles her nose.

“Seriously? Ew. Get a fucking room.”

“No,” Luke replies with a smug smile. “Go kiss on your husband if you’re jealous.”

“I’m not jealous,” she replies with a sigh. “It’s just…ew.”

We laugh, and I survey the pool area, soaking it all in. Once football season starts for me next week, I’ll be gone more than I’m home, and I’ll miss a lot of family gatherings. If our parents instilled anything in us, it was that family is the most important thing. No matter who you are, or what you do, it isn’t worth anything if you don’t have your family by your side.

And something we’ve learned as the years have progressed is that family comes in several forms. It’s not always blood. It’s who you trust, who you love, and who you can’t imagine not being part of your life.

“Hey everyone,” Dominic says as he and his wife, Alecia, walk into the back yard. “Sorry we’re late. We got hung up in Saturday Seattle traffic.”

“We’re just glad you made it,” Isaac says as he gives them both a hug.

Speaking of crazy family ties. None of us even knew that our brother, Dominic, existed until about five years ago. We weren’t sure about him at first, but now I can’t imagine not having him in my life. He’s as much my brother as Caleb, Isaac or Matt.

“Come get some food! Good God, these antipasto cups are amazing,” Jules says, happily munching next to me.

“Are Wyatt and Lia coming today?” Nic asks as she nibbles on the corn dip and chips. Man, I need to get me some more of that.

“I don’t think so,” Meg replies. “I think they’re all at a birthday party today. And speaking of missing in action, where are Mark and Mer?”

“Lucy wasn’t feeling well,” Stacy says. Lucy is Mark and Meredith’s two- year-old daughter. “I think she has a horrible summer cold.”

“Poor little baby,” Meg says, sticking her lower lip out.

I want to bite that lip. Jesus, she’s fucking beautiful.

“Did you see that these strawberries have been soaked in champagne?” Stacy asks as she joins us, Isaac not far behind her. “They’re heaven on a plate. It’s such a good idea.”

“Seriously?” Jules leans over to take a bite of one of Stacy’s berries. “Oh my God, so good. I’m going to go get some.” She jumps up and jogs over to the table, loading up on more food.

“Don’t get drunk on those berries! I still have to beat your ass in the second half,” I call out. She just flips me the bird.

Yeah, family days are the fucking best.

“Good God, look at this spread,” Alecia says. “I’m starving. And it looks like I’d better get this caterer’s name from you as well, just in case. Between the engagement party last week and this one, I need an extra three hours at the gym every day.”

“No, you don’t,” Dom says, kissing her temple. “Eat whatever you want.”

Alecia blushes as she reaches for the delicious bacon cheeseburger thingies. Yeah, I need to get me some more of those.

“We always eat well,” Sam says as she climbs out of the pool, wraps a towel around her waist, and walks over to the buffet. “Leo, do you want some food?”

The rock star is lounging in a chair, his sunglasses on, a beer in his hand, watching his wife from across the pool.

“I’ll eat off of your plate,” he says, making Sam roll her eyes.

“I’m getting two of everything then, because I’m hungry and this spread is something to write home about. Oh, God, there’s margarita cheesecake bites for dessert.”

“I gave Nic the weekend off from baking,” Meg says, sending a wink to Nic, who just shrugs.

“I would have brought some cupcakes. It’s not a big deal.”

“You deserve a day off, too,” I reply.

We’re always hungry. Okay, so I’m always hungry. I could eat everything on that table by myself.

I have a crazy fast metabolism, and I work my ass off pretty much every day, so I need more calories.

And my family never fails to give me shit about it, which is fine. As long as they keep feeding me.

Meg also climbs out of the pool and sits on the edge of my chair, dripping water on me. I don’t care in the least.

“If you eat all of these chicken teriyaki things, there won’t be enough for everyone else.”

I narrow my eyes on her, then set my plate aside, pick her up, and unceremoniously throw her in the pool.

“Hey!”

“You clearly needed to cool off. You’re getting a little salty.”

She sputters, pushing her red hair out of her face, and then she just starts to laugh, that full-on belly laugh that never fails to make me weak in the knees.

I have it bad for this woman. Thank God she agreed to marry me.

I return to my food, and slip into an easy conversation with Matt and Caleb about sports.

“Speaking of touchdowns, let’s do this,” I say and lead everyone back out to the lawn. It’s getting hotter now that the sun is high above us, but we have a cool breeze coming off the Sound.

“What’s the score?” Isaac asks.

“Fourteen to six, we’re winning,” Jules announces with a triumphant smile. “I know, you’re not used to losing, but you’re going to be okay.”

“I’m going to drop kick you into next week.” I glare at her, but it has no effect on her whatsoever. She knows I’m a pushover.

“Right.” She smirks, then leans in to kiss Nate on the shoulder. “I like it when you wear a tank top.”

“Do you?” he asks, securing his hair at the back of his neck.

“Yeah. You don’t often. You’re usually all suited up. I like seeing your tattoos.”

“If you’re done flirting with your husband, we can get this game going.”

She just smiles happily and walks to her place in the line. One thing’s for sure, my baby sister is a pain in my ass.

And probably my best friend in the world, outside of Meg.

We play for the next ten minutes without either team scoring. There are some choice words between Nate and Matt, but then they start to laugh and all is well again.

But on the next play, Luke throws the ball to me, and I catch it, but when I turn to run with it, I twist the fuck out of my knee and fall.

Hard.

Shit.

“Time’s up,” Jules announces with a happy little dance. “We won!”

“Yeah, yeah,” I mutter and cringe when I straighten my knee. Damn it. Not that I’ll let anyone else see that it’s killing me, but it hurts. Our first game is next week. I can’t have an injury.

   
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