“Boom. How do you like that, huh?” Brooklyn said as she threw her controller down on the pillow in front of her and looked around at the three guys she’d just beaten.
“Gabriel, why are girls playing with us? I don’t like this at all,” Braeden whined.
“You better suck it up cupcake. I think you’re going to be stuck with these girls for a very, very long time,” Declan murmured before getting up and heading toward the kitchen.
Gabriel laughed as his girlfriend’s sister continued to taunt Braeden and Oliver. After the near-disaster of an evening at Finley’s night club, Gabriel had been all for a quieter evening for their friends to hang out and get to know each other. It was important to him and Savannah that they all got along since they planned on spending a lot of time together. Having their friends hate each other wouldn’t stop them from being together, but it would definitely put a damper on things.
“You ready to go again, cry baby?” Brooklyn asked Braeden as she picked her control back up.
Braeden scowled at her, “Only if you let me be Yoshi. He’s my favorite, and you knew that when you picked him. Stop trying to sabotage my game.”
“If you were any good, you’d be able to win with anyone, but if it stops your whining, you can have Yoshi.”
“Hell yeah. You’re going down, girly.”
Brooklyn rolled her eyes, then looked around the room. “Who else wants to get in on this? Oliver, Gabriel?”
“I’ll let someone else have a chance,” Gabriel said as he set his controller on the table before leaning back into the couch next to Savannah.
He slid his arm over her shoulder and pulled her into his side. She snuggled into him and sighed in contentment. A rush of heat flooded his chest as he tightened his hold on her. This was what happiness was made of. The woman he loved, although he hadn’t told her yet, in his arms, his friends laughing and enjoying themselves with hers. Two worlds were colliding into one effortlessly. It was all happening so quickly, yet almost not quick enough.
Gabriel couldn’t remember a time he was happier, not even when his brother had been alive, which he sometimes felt guilty about. Deep down, he knew Jonathan would be happy that he was happy, so the guilt always disappeared just as quickly as it came on.
“Hey Declan, get your ass back in here and play with us. I might need you to play some defense against Brooklyn so that I can get around her,” Braeden called out to their broody friend who was taking his sweet time in the kitchen. “While you’re in there, can you also grab me a beer, please? I think I need some extra fortification.”
A grumble came from the kitchen, followed by the opening and closing of the refrigerator door. Everyone in the living room laughed at Braeden’s antics. The guy was one of the funniest people Gabriel had ever met and had been since they met in elementary school. Braeden’s relationship with Declan was a bit of love/hate these days, but it was a hell of a lot of entertainment for the rest of them.
As soon as Declan was back in the room, with Gabriel’s discarded controller in his hand, the competition was back on. Braeden let out a little cheer as soon as he locked down Yoshi as his character. Brooklyn picked Princess Peach, while new player Meghan picked Daisy. Declan took far longer than necessary to choose his character, which caused both Brooklyn and Braeden to grumble. Gabriel figured that was all part of Declan’s plan and by the look on his friend’s face, he was right.
With his character finally selected, Brooklyn was free to pick the first of their four tracks. Even though Meghan had never played Mario Kart before, Gabriel could tell that Brooklyn wasn’t going to take it easy on any of them. The woman was far too competitive for her own good. As she gleefully picked Rainbow Road for their first track, Gabriel was thankful he’d bowed out when he did.
“Son of a bitch,” Braeden yelled as he plummeted to earth before they’d even gotten to the first turn.
“Oh, this is gonna be fun,” Savannah whispered next to him before she took a sip of her wine.
Looking around the room, listening to the whining and grumbling around the room, Gabriel couldn’t help but agree. And he had a feeling this was just the beginning of some enjoyable and amazing moments that he would spend with the people in the room and he couldn’t wait even if those moments involved a lot of swearing and pillows being thrown at people’s heads.