Brandt finally arrived at the bar. He knew he was late, and judging by the shake of Derek’s head and Kody’s eye roll, he also knew they had been talking about it. Though it wasn’t his fault.
“Sorry. I know. I know.” He said and sat across his friend and next to his brother.
“Dude, we said seven,” Derek reminded him.
Brandt nodded at Derek. “Yup, and if it wasn’t for Mom again, I’d have gotten here faster.” He glowered at his brother. “She’s getting to be annoying again.”
“And this is why I live at the school,” Kody remarked.
“Smart ass. Wish I could afford to move out.” Brandt did too. If he could afford a place in San Myshuno that was also in a good area, and not in the slums, he would move out in a heart beat. Kody’s and Brandt’s mother had always been a helicopter mother, and it only got worse when she found Brandt’s stash of drugs when he was a stupid teenager.
Kody patted his back. “Dude, won’t matter. I mean, living away from home is nice and all, but she’s still going to be Mom.”
Derek smirked. “I know I have said it before, but thank fuck my parents aren’t Mrs. Lamb.”
Brandt rolled his eyes. Derek did have some awesome parents, even if they were a tad strict growing up. However, after being on the force for over a year and finding kids in worst situations, Brandt was a little grateful he, Derek, and Kody all had their parents. If only Mom would stop acting like he was ten but an adult, things would be so much better.
Derek finished taking a long pull of his beer. “What’s the going rate on apartments?”
Brandt shrugged. “Too much for my paycheck.”
“And if I added mine? We make, what, roughly the same, yeah?” Derek tapped his fingers. “If we pooled our resources, you think we could do it?”
“You’d seriously want to move in with me?” Brandt grinned. Now, that would be awesome. Derek was like a brother, and it would be fucking perfect. Actually, it would be perfect if all three of them shared a place. “What about you, Kody?”
Kody shrugged. “Depends on this draft. If I get picked, I might need a place to crash during the off-season or when I’m in town.”
“Dude, you know you’re getting drafted. Stop selling yourself short. We all have been watching ESPN and your games.” Derek shook his head.
Brandt laughed. Hard. “He said you’re short.”
Kody smacked him. Brandt couldn’t help it; saying short and Kody in the same sentence was a total oxymoron. “Thanks for the confidence, Derek, but there’s plenty of other guys—”
“Stop. Dude, just stop. You’re Kody freaking Lamb, the best Center in the NCAA, and you’ve only played for two seasons. The SBA have been frothing at the mouth for you since high school. You made it this far and have a fucking agent getting you a spot in the draft. You’re going to go far man, farther than Brandt and I will. You just have to remember who matters when your name is all over the Wheaties boxes.”
Kody laughed, then the three couldn’t contain their own laughter picturing Kody on a box of cereal.
“Dude, Wheaties?” Kody chuckled.
Brandt grinned and totally concurred. “Seriously bro, if you ever get on a Wheaties box, I am never going to eat cereal again.”
Derek held up his beer. “To Kody and his Wheaties.”
Kody smiled and shook his head. “Fuck you both, but okay.”
“I call it! I get his room!” Dakota announced. Derek had just told his parents and sisters he and Brandt were getting a place. For the last two weeks the two of them had gone out on their breaks and days off apartment hunting, and had finally found a nice two-bedroom affordable place.
“No way! I’m older, I get the room!” Bailee shouted.
“No way. That room is dope. You’ll just girly it up, and that ain’t cool.”
“Girls,” Dad exasperated. “He hasn’t even moved out.”
“So?” they both said.
Derek shook his head and smirked at his two sisters. He loved them. They weren’t close, never had been really. Derek and Bailee had butted heads their entire lives, and Dakota and him had seven years age difference, and so they just never were close.
“What if neither of you get the room, and Mom and I decide to make it into a gym?”
Even Derek laughed along with his sisters. They had a boxing bag in the house for years that Dad never touched, and only removed it when Derek was in high school and Mom had begged him to death for them to get a washer and dryer, rather than wasting quarters every week downstairs.
“Dad, you haven’t been to a gym, in what…ten years?” Derek asked.
“Not since before his second arrest,” Mom teased.
“Hey now, I have been known to work out.”
Derek snorted. “Yeah, maybe in prison.”
Dad rolled his eyes. “Besides that. Jerk. I do work out…just not often.”
Mom laughed and kissed his cheek. “Tell that to your belly, sweetie.”
“If you say so,” Dakota snorted.
Dad sighed. “Whatever. When are you moving, son?”
“A week from tomorrow.”
And he did. With his parents help, and Mrs. Lamb’s overbearing need to help Brandt, the two finally had a place to call their own. Brandt and Kody had been given some money from both their parents to buy some used furniture. Uncle Marv even offered some of his old furniture he had in storage. The place was totally mismatched, and screamed bachelorhood. Derek freaking loved it.
Brandt and him sat on the sofa with beer in hand that first night, and after unpacking all day, and clinked their bottles together. “We did it, man,” Brandt said.
“Just listen…no sisters…no parents…just us.” Derek could get use to the quiet.
“And Pepper.” Brandt pointed to Derek’s K-9 Unit and grinned. “I’m so using her again to hunt down some babes.”
“No, you’re not. Didn’t you learn anything from dating Sarah?”
Brandt snorted. “Yeah, don’t date a bible thumper who is saving herself for marriage. Six weeks of that and I was done.”
Derek rolled his eyes. “Dude, that wasn’t the only issue. She was nuts. Pepper may be good at finding people in distress, but I doubt she can sniff out the good from the crazy.”
“I’ll still take my chances.”
Derek shook his head. Rather than getting into the whole Sara-thing (again), he grabbed the remote and turned on the television. Nothing but white noise popped up. Shit. “I thought you said you called the cable company.”
“Dude, that was your job. I called the utilities.”
Fuck. He turned off the TV and the two laughed. Yeah, he and Brandt totally needed to get some of their shit together, but hey, at least they were out of their parents hairs and living their own lives.
“To us being adults,” Derek said. “And making shit decisions.”
“Amen to that.”