Home > Flow (Grip 0.5)

Flow (Grip 0.5)
Author: Kennedy Ryan

IT’S JUST ONE of those days.

Monica’s singing in my head. I’m relying on nineties R&B to articulate myself. I’m that hungry. My mouth waters when I think of the huge burrito I was this close to shoveling down my throat before I got the call. My stomach adds a rumble sound effect to the hunger.

I visually pick through the dense LAX crowd, carefully checking each baggage claim carrousel. No sign of her. Or at least what I think she might look like.

Rhyson still hasn’t texted me his sister’s picture. If I know my best friend—and I do—he probably doesn’t have a picture of her on his phone. He wouldn’t want to admit that, knowing how important family is to me, so I bet he’s scrambling to find one. They are the weirdest family I’ve ever met, which is saying something since mine is no Norman Rockwell painting. I’ve never actually met any of the Gray family except Rhys and his Uncle Grady. Rhyson’s parents and sister still live in New York, and he hasn’t seen them in years. Not since he emancipated. We don’t “emancipate” where I come from. Nah. We keep shit simple and just never come home. Worked for my dad. He didn’t even wait ’til I was born to leave. Less messy and fewer legal fees. But we didn’t have a fortune to fight over like the Grays did.

My phone rings, and I answer, still scanning the crowd for a girl fitting Rhyson’s vague description.

“Whassup, Rhys.” I clutch the phone and crane my neck to see over what must be a college basketball team. Not one of them is under six five. Even at six two, I can’t see the forest for the trees with trees this tall.

“Trying to finish this track. Bristol there yet?” That note in Rhyson’s voice tells me this conversation only holds half his attention. He’s in the studio, and when he’s there, good luck getting him to think about anything other than music. I get it. I’m the same way.

“I don’t know if she’s here or not. Did you forget to send the picture?”

“Oh, yeah. The picture.” He clears his throat to make way for whatever excuse he’s about to give me. “I thought I had it on my phone. Maybe I accidentally deleted it or something.”

Or something. I let him get away with that. Rhyson’s excuse for sending me to pick his sister up from the airport is legit. There’s this pop star diva who needs a shit ton of tracks remastered at the last minute before her album drops, but I suspect he’s also nervous about his sister’s visit. Maybe this emergency is a convenient way to avoid dealing with her for a little bit. Or inconvenient, if you were me and missed lunch rushing to get to the airport as stand-in chauffeur.

“Well, I don’t know what she looks like.” I push my sunglasses onto the top of my head.

“She looks like me,” he says. “I told you we’re twins. Lemme check the Cloud for a picture.”

Did dude just seriously say ‘check the Cloud’?

“Yeah, Rhys, you check the Cloud. Lemme know what you find.”

“Okay,” he says from the other end, and I can tell he’s back into that track. “I called to tell her you were coming, but I keep getting voice mail. I’ll try again and send a pic.”

Once he hangs up, I concentrate on searching methodically through the crowd. She’d be coming from New York, so I’ve narrowed it down to one carrousel. “She looks like me” isn’t much to go on, but I stop at every tall, dark-haired girl, and check for signs of Rhyson’s DNA. Hell, she could be right in front of—

That thought fizzles out when my eyes land on the girl standing right in front of me.

Shit.

Black skinny jeans cling to long, lean legs that start at Monday and stretch all the way through next week. A white T-shirt peeps through the small opening left by the black leather jacket molding her arms and chest.

And the rack.

The leather lovingly cups the just-right handful of her breasts. Narrow waist and nice ass. She’s not as thick as the chicks I usually pull, but my eyes involuntarily scroll back up her slim curves, seeking the face that goes with this body.

Fuck. This woman is profanely gorgeous.

I never understood the big deal with high cheekbones. I mean, they’re cheekbones, not tits. You can’t motorboat cheekbones, but now I get it. Her face makes me get it. The bones are molded into a slanting curve that saves her face from angularity and elevates it to arresting. Her mouth, a wide, full line, twists to one side as she scans the crowd around her with eyes so light a shade of gray they’re almost silver. Dark, copper-streaked hair frames her face and slips past her shoulders.

The alert from my phone interrupts my ogling. It’s a text from Rhyson.

Rhyson: Here ya go. This pic’s old as hell, but she can’t look much different.

When the photo comes over, it confirms in my nearly agnostic mind what my mother has been trying to tell me for years. There must indeed be a God. How did I ever doubt Him? He has sent me, little old me, a tiny miracle to confirm His existence. It isn’t water into wine, but I’ll take it. I toss my eyes up to the sky and whisper a quick thanks to the Big Guy. Because the girl in the family picture, though almost a decade younger and with braces and frizzier hair, is the gorgeous, willowy woman standing in front of me in baggage claims. One hand on her hip and a frown between her dark eyebrows, she leans to peer down the conveyor that now holds only a few bags.

“Dammit,” she mutters, pulling her hair off her neck and twisting it into a knot on her head. “I don’t need this today.”

“We were on the same flight,” a guy offers from beside her, his eyes crawling up and down her body in a way that even makes me feel violated. “My luggage still hasn’t come either. Maybe we could—”

“Don’t.” The look she gives him should wither his hard-on. “It’s so not happening.”

“I was just thinking if you—”

“I know what you were just thinking.” She turns away from him to search the conveyor belt again. “You’ve been just thinking it since we left New York, and not hiding it. So again, I’ll say . . .”

She turns back to him with a look that would singe the fuzz off your balls.

“Don’t.”

I like her already. The guy is sputtering and still trying, but he has no game. It’s sad really. Guys who have no game.

“Bristol.” I say her name with confidence because I can already tell that’s the only thing she’ll respond to.

Her head jerks around, and those silvery eyes give me a thorough up and down sliding glance. After she’s made it all the way down to my classic Jordans and back to my face, she looks just behind and beyond me, as if she isn’t sure she actually heard her name or that I’m the one who said it.

“Bristol,” I say again, stepping a little closer. “I’m Grip, a friend of your brother’s. Rhyson sent me.”

Her eyes widen then narrow, the frown deepening.

“Is he okay?” she demands. “Did something happen?”

“No, he’s just tied up.” I smile to reassure her, hoping she’ll smile in return. I want to see her smile. To see how those braces worked out for her.

“Tied up?” Those full lips tighten, still showing me no teeth. She shakes her head a little, huffing a quick breath and stepping closer to the conveyor. “Figures. So you’re stuck with me, huh? Sorry.”

“I’m not.” At least not now that I’ve seen her. I wouldn’t have missed this for my burrito.

She gives me the same knowing look she leveled on No-Game guy. Like guys have been looking at her like that for a long time. Like she can smell lust from fifty paces. Like she’s telling me it isn’t happening.

Oh, it’s happening, baby girl.

I’m plotting all the ways I’ll convince her to go out with me and then who knows where that’ll lead when I remember. This is Rhyson’s sister. Shit. The hottest girl I’ve met in ages, and I should probably try not to sleep with her.

Okay. I’m agnostic again. Sorry, Ma.

“I’m waiting for my luggage.” She runs a hand over the back of her neck the way I’ve seen Rhyson do a million times when he’s agitated. I note all the other things about her that remind me of my best friend. Let’s just say Rhyson’s DNA looks a helluva lot better on her. I mean, he’s a good-looking guy, but he’s, well, a guy. If I rolled that way, maybe. But I roll her way, and dayyyyyum.

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