Chapter 31

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Brooke snuggles up to Gary as they rest on the couch. Karl sends Gary a glare which is returned with a crisp grin. Karl and Andrew arrived just a couple hours ago with all the decorations the siblings have planned to put up for their parents enjoyment.

"Gary, you could get up and help us, you know?" Karl growls while hanging up a sign reading 'Love grows best in little houses.'

A low chuckle comes from the eldest brother while he shakes his head. "I quite enjoy watching y'all expand your creative pallet while my woman snuggles close to me." He looks down at Brooke and is slightly surprised to find her sleeping peacefully. With all the boyish nonsense going on he didn't figure anyone could sleep.

Karl wrinkles up his nose and turns back to the wall he is supposed to be decorating.

"That's crocked."

The smirk on Gary's face makes Karl want to show his big brother that just because he has a house and girlfriend doesn't mean he can't still whoop him. "You better be glad I'm a gentleman."

From smirk to full on grin Gary doesn't back off the teasing one bit. He's missed his brothers if for no other reason than to mess with them like he did growing up. While ninety percent of the time he strives to be a man every once in a while the little boy inside of him has to have some fun too. "I haven't a clue what you mean."

There is no reply of any sort to that. In a moment there is a knock at the back door before it is opened and heavy footsteps can be heard on the floor. Gary mentally cringes as he thinks of all the dirt potentially coming off with each clump. Not that he would usually think of it, but when he's seen Brooke and Mrs. Carol work so hard on the house he wants to keep it clean for a bit anyway. He surprises himself that he would even think of that. What am I becoming an old man?

"Cane! It's about time you showed up," Andrew says. from where he stands. Just around the corner from where Gary and Brooke sit and Karl works.

Gary hears Cane sputter something good naturally before he sees his brother with his own eyes. Split secondly he debates getting up and waking Brooke or just shaking his hand from his spot.

Cane stops in his tracks. He raises his eyebrows and shakes his finger as if he were coloring something in. "Man, Gary, I knew y'all were pretty serious, but did I miss something?"

Not missing a beat Gary chuckles and extends his right hand for a hand shake. "Good to see you too, Cane."

Firmly gripping his older brother's hand Cane smiles. "You have to admit y'all are a little comfy there."

"And who said comfortable was bad?"

Cane shakes his head and plops down on Gary's right side. "What's been going on around here?" He cuts his gaze to give Gary a sideways look. "Spare me the womanly details if you don't mind."

"I'm hurt!" Gary dramatically lays his hand on his chest. He chuckles at Cane's roll of the eyes. "Well, things around here are still new and on edge for me. I never knew everything that went into running a ranch even if it is small. Mrs. Carol's been great though. She's always cooking for me, so I don't have to put up with my own very often."

Cane playfully slugs his brother's shoulder. "Lucky! Jaelyn kicked me out, so now my own cooking is about all I get." He is quick to add. "No, she didn't really kick me out. I'm working at the tire shop some now, so I figured it was about time I get out of their hair."

A slight pang hits Gary. How long has it been since that change? There was once a time when he kept up with Cane and Little Lynn both very well and now he hardly knows if they are still in the area. "How long have you been at the tire shop?"

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