This short story features characters from the Salvation Kings MC series and may contain spoilers. This story is set during Bandit.
He was staring out the window, waiting for his brother to arrive. Tommy was gonna be in town for a few days and they were going out for lunch. Tommy had called and said there was something he wanted to tell him. Of course, he’d been stressing over what it might be since he’d gotten that call. He’d talked to Hawk about it and the man had managed to get him to calm down enough for Elijah to joke about Tommy coming to confess his undying love for Hawk. Hawk had gagged at that and then proceeded to flip him off. Laughing had helped him calm down even further.
Movement in the parking lot had him shaking himself out of his thoughts and he caught sight of Tommy just before he disappeared into the building. Elijah walked into the hallway and put on his shoes. The doorbell flashed just as he was grabbing his jacket. He looked through the peephole to make sure it was Tommy on the other side before he turned off the alarm and opened the door.
The smile on Tommy’s face was wide which made Elijah relax. It couldn’t be bad news, then, because even though Tommy was good at keeping his emotions shielded, Elijah would’ve seen right through him if something had been wrong.
“Hi,” Tommy signed.
He pulled Tommy in for a hug and sighed as he leaned against his brother. Tommy patted him on the back. They shared a smile for a moment and then Elijah locked up so they could get going.
They were heading to their favorite diner which was just a five minutes’ drive from Elijah’s place. They walked in to find all the booths occupied so they sat down at a table in the middle of the restaurant. Elijah took the seat with the back to the door because he knew Tommy preferred to be able to see who came and left. It was the same with Hawk and with their professions—or, he should say, with Hawk’s former profession—it was understandable.
A waitress came to pour them some coffee and take their orders. When she left, Elijah turned his attention on Tommy and narrowed his eyes.
“So? I think you’ve kept me waiting long enough,” Elijah said, a teasing smile on his lips.
Tommy’s lips quirked and he nodded.
“I’m retiring,” Tommy said while signing.
Elijah stared at his brother as if he’d never seen him before.
“Don’t look at me like that. It’s time. Hell, it’s been time for a while now,” Tommy said.
Elijah shook his head and leaned back in his seat, a smile spreading on his lips.
“You’re gonna be home permanently?”
Tommy’s lips quirked at the corners. “Yes.”
“Oh my god,” Elijah burst out and jumped out of his chair to wrap his arms around Tommy.
He could feel Tommy laugh as they hugged and despite the happiness, he had to hold back tears. They were more from fear than happiness. Fear that he was getting his hopes up for nothing. Fear that Tommy wouldn’t survive that dreaded last mission. He sucked in a deep breath and forced the anxiety down as much as he could. When he pulled back, the grin on Tommy’s face made all the fear dissipate, replaced with joy and a wide smile.
“I’m thinking about moving here,” Tommy said, making the smile on Elijah’s lips wider.
Tommy nodded while they both sat back down.
“The only thing that has kept me in Washington since you moved here is the free rent. Hell, I would’ve moved when you did if it wasn’t for the house. Ellicott is much closer to Fort Meade than DC is. I just… I can’t sell the house because, technically, Mom and Dad own it, so I’ve been saving up.”
The house Tommy lived in was one their parents had bought for him when he’d become the favorite child. Elijah wasn’t jealous. Their parents didn’t give anything for free. They’d been keeping Tommy from Elijah with that house. He knew that was why they’d bought a house there for Tommy instead of one closer to the base.
“We’ll figure something out. You’ll always have a place with us,” Elijah said.
Tommy’s lips quirked at the corners. “I’m sure I can figure something out before the summer.”
Elijah arched a brow at him and asked, “You’re going back?”
“In two weeks,” Tommy said with a nod. “I’ll be back in June and… That’s it. My last tour.”
Elijah didn’t know if he should be happy or if he should start to cry. Knowing that Tommy was retiring was pretty much amazing. He, honestly, hadn’t thought he’d ever see the day. Tommy was a workaholic. He didn’t know what the hell Tommy was gonna do once he was retired but he did know that the man wouldn’t be able to do nothing. He’d go crazy. On the other hand, he was always terrified when Tommy went overseas. He never knew if it’d be the last time he ever saw him.
Before he could say anything, the waitress returned with their food and Elijah decided to just enjoy the time with his brother.
“You’re coming to see the house with us today, right?”
Tommy nodded. “Yes.”
Hawk and he had been looking at houses. They were going to rent a place together. It may be a bit fast, but he knew it was right for them. The house they were going to see that afternoon was a cute red brick, one-story house with an attached garage and a big backyard. When he’d seen it online, he’d completely fallen in love with it. That was until he saw how much the rent was. It was higher than the budget they’d agreed on allowed, but Hawk had taken one look at it and said that if the house was perfect then the price didn’t matter.
He was sitting on his bike and relaxing when Elijah’s car pulled up next to him. He found himself grinning like an idiot when he saw Elijah step out of the car and immediately walk toward Hawk. He met Elijah halfway there and took his mouth in a searing kiss.
Elijah pulled back an inch, his breath fanning over Hawk’s lips as he said, “I missed you.”
“I missed you,” Hawk signed as he stepped back.
He’d never get enough of the way Elijah looked at him.
“We should go inside. The realtor is already here,” Hawk signed.
Elijah nodded and took Hawk’s hand, turning to head toward the house he hadn’t been able to shut up about. Not that Hawk ever wanted him to shut up. As they passed Bishop, the man grunted a, “Hello,” to Hawk who only offered him a quick wave.
Bishop was with them to translate anything the realtor said to Elijah. Hawk wasn’t nearly fast enough with his signing, and he certainly wasn’t any good at both listening to someone speak while signing at the same time. The first time they’d gone out to look at houses had been a downright disaster. Hawk had told the realtor to not turn his back on them when he talked but the guy kept doing it almost as if Hawk had challenged him to do it. In the end, Elijah had to stop Hawk from smashing the guy’s face in. After that, they’d made sure to bring either Andrea or Bishop with them when they went to look at places.
Hawk knocked on the front door and it was only a few seconds later when it was opened by a short, blonde-haired woman who smiled widely up at them.
“Hi. I’m Tonya. Please come in,” she said and stepped aside to let them through.
Hawk put a hand on the small of Elijah’s back and followed him inside. The entrance was wide with a built-in closet to their right.
“It’s a three-bed, three-bath, one thousand six hundred and twenty square foot house,” Tonya said. “Let me show you the kitchen. I think you’ll like it.”
They followed her through the house to the kitchen. Hawk looked around. The kitchen was big and open. The cabinets were a caramel-ish brown. Not too dark and not too light. The tiled floor was simple, and it’d be easy to clean. So far, he was liking it.
“There’s hardwood floor throughout the house. Oh, and there’s a wood-burning fireplace in the living room,” Tonya said with a smile.
Hawk glanced at Elijah. Bishop was still signing but Hawk knew the second Bishop mentioned the fireplace because Elijah lit up.
“Can we see the fireplace?” Elijah asked the realtor.
She smiled at him and nodded, motioning for them to follow as she led the way. The fireplace was a painted-over brick with a huge mantelpiece and built-in shelves to both sides. There were big windows out into the backyard. The curtains looked like something out of a horror movie but he was sure if they changed them, the room would look much bigger.
Elijah was nearly bouncing with excitement as he turned to Hawk. “It has built-ins.”
Hawk shook his head at him with a smile on his lips. If Elijah hadn’t loved the place before they’d stepped foot in it, this room would’ve probably done it for him.
Tonya showed them the master bedroom while she told them about the neighborhood. Hawk wasn’t really listening. He was glancing around the room which was bigger than he’d thought it’d be. They could easily fit a king bed in there.
There was a room Elijah could turn into a home office and another they could use as a guest bedroom. The bathrooms were all nice and functional and the attached garage was a big plus in his eyes. They could easily fit both his motorcycle and Elijah’s car in there.
“All right. Let’s go see the backyard,” Tonya said, enthusiasm in her voice.
She led the way to the patio door which she opened and motioned for them to go ahead of her. They walked out onto a beautiful stone patio. Huge trees shielded them from neighbors and the fence looked newer and was large enough to hold in a dog. All in all, the backyard was to die for. It was huge and mostly flat.
“It’s completely fenced in,” Tonya said.
“There’s only one thing missing in this backyard,” Hawk said, mostly just to himself. He’d been thinking about it for quite a while and he knew now was the time.
He turned to Bishop and Elijah. He saw the excitement written all over Elijah’s face. Yeah. His man was in love with the place. He’d probably have to give up his apartment in Baltimore, but he didn’t care. He’d sleep at the clubhouse or with one of his brothers when he was there. Hell, he could stay at Auggie’s apartment. It was mostly empty anyway.
He turned to the realtor and said, “We’ll take it.”
He was close to bursting with excitement. They’d said yes to the house. They’d be moving in at the end of the next month. Unfortunately, his lease had been up before they’d found the house, and they’d agreed for him not to extend it, seeing as they’d been looking at places for a while then. He’d been busy packing for the past two days—when Hawk hadn’t distracted him with other things—because he had to be out of the apartment before the end of the week. The last of his things were going into storage until they could move them into the new house, and he was going to be staying the weekends with Hawk in Baltimore and the weekdays with either Edan or Andrea.
Hawk had insisted on getting someone to do the heavy lifting for them, so Elijah was just watching as three huge guys were carrying his stuff down the stairs and into a moving van. When all he had left was the three bags already in his car, he locked up his apartment. He took a deep breath before walking down the stairs for the last time. He couldn’t exactly say he was sorry to leave. He had shot and killed a guy in that apartment. He’d been eager to get out of it ever since. But that wasn’t why he was moving in with Hawk. He’d missed him too much in his everyday life. He’d wanted Hawk to come home to a place that was theirs. A place where he didn’t have to bring an overnight bag.
He followed the van to the storage facility and waited for them to move his furniture into the room before locking it up and thanking the movers. He got back in his car and with a smile on his face, he took off toward Baltimore and Hawk.
The drive to Baltimore from his apartment wasn’t too bad but Hawk would be cutting off at least a good bit of time from the new house. It was placed perfectly. Close to the highway for Hawk and only fifteen to twenty minutes from the school.
He turned into the parking lot at Hawk’s apartment building and found a parking space. He grabbed the two bags he’d need, then made his way up to Hawk’s apartment and let himself in.
He toed off his shoes and put the bags on the ground to get his jacket off. He frowned when Hawk didn’t show. He walked into the living room and glanced around, not seeing Hawk anywhere. That was just weird. His bike had been out front. For a dreaded second, he thought something might’ve happened to Hawk, but then he noticed the light was on in their bedroom. His lips quirked as he headed that way.
“Hawk? You in here?”
He stopped in the doorway and his frown only deepened when Hawk popped his head up from behind the bed, his hair tousled and his cheeks flushed.
“You’re not supposed to be here yet,” Hawk said.
Elijah arched a brow at him. “What the hell are you doing on the floor?”
Hawk glanced down, looking like he was mumbling something, but Elijah couldn’t see his mouth clearly enough to be sure. Elijah took a step into the room. Hawk’s head jerked up and this time, Elijah caught the, “No. Nonono,” clearly.
Movement caught his eye and he glanced down to see a puppy running toward him. His heart skipped a beat as tears filled his eyes. The puppy was the cutest damned thing he’d ever seen. It had a red ribbon trailing after it, half wrapped around its neck and one hindleg.
“Oh my god,” Elijah breathed and dropped to his knees.
The puppy jumped into his lap and licked his face. He was laughing and hugging the puppy to his chest. He scratched the puppy behind the ears before putting him on the floor and getting up. The little thing could barely stay on his feet because his tail was wagging so violently.
“I take it you like him,” Hawk said, a smug look on his face.
“I can’t believe you got a puppy.”
Hawk shrugged. “With as big of a backyard as we’re gonna get, it’s only rational to get a dog.”
Hawk wrapped his arms around him, a smile on his face.
“He just needs a name,” Hawk said.
Elijah grinned and looked down at the puppy who was busy chewing on the ribbon.
“What about Blue?”
Hawk cringed and said, “We’re not naming him after his color. No way.”
Elijah sighed. “Then what do you suggest?”
“Something like Brutus or Cerberus. A name that says guard dog,” Hawk said.
“You can’t be serious.”
“Oh, I’m serious.”
Elijah opened his mouth to argue but instead just shook his head, a smile covering his face.
“Let’s… just forget about the name for a bit, okay?”
Hawk nodded and lowered his head to brush a kiss to Elijah’s lips.
“I’d totally sex you up right now, but you just got me a puppy,” Elijah gushed, knowing he probably sounded too excited to be understood. “We just got a house and a puppy.”
“What’s next? A mortgage?” Hawk joked.
Elijah threw his head back with laughter. He was still chuckling when he met Hawk’s warm gaze.
“I love you,” Elijah said.
A smile spread on Hawk’s lips. “I love you, too.”