A/N:  This story line and these characters belong to me.

She’s my anchor…my rock.  Many’s the time she’s saved me from ill-fated decisions and reckless actions.  I didn’t like it, or her, at the time, but when it all came down, she was right.  I could walk away scot-free and all I had to do was thank her.  It astounded me how she was still there to give me advice, listen to me bitch and encourage me even when there were other girls in my life.

Don’t get me wrong.  Ellie always gave me her appraisal of my current “flavor” and would go so far as to bet her brothers on the odds of a lasting “venture.”  I thought for sure she would lose it when Sophia came into my life.  We lasted a solid year until…I guess I gave her the benefit of the doubt too soon.  You would think 365 days was long enough to lower your guard.

Having completed my studies at Yale, I did some traveling and met Sophia, on the Island of Crete.  I brought her home to meet my family and ran into Everett.  He invited us to the Family Home so my other family could meet her as well.

“Don’t worry Beckett, Sting Ray is taking extra classes this term.  She won’t be there.”  He raised an eyebrow at me when I let out the breath I was holding.  “Afraid of a little girl are you?”

“If you’re referring to Ella, you and I both know she may be little, but she packs a big opinion.”  And hers always meant the most to me.

“Well, no worries there boy, even the Bookends won’t be around so you won’t have any competition…in your age range.  He winks at me and I know he’s referring to Emmett and Edward.  Those two. Each one alone can wreak havoc on one’s psyche, but the two of them together can be an emasculating experience.

“Sure thing Brown, we’ll see you and the ole men around 7 or 8 PM on our way to the cinema.”

Everett claps me on my shoulder, hard, “good boy.  See you this evening.”

What the fuck have I gotten myself into?

We arrived a little after 7 PM and I knew this would be bad, but I had no idea how much of an understatement bad was.  There was no need to go to a movie as I was about to live through my own melodramatic, chick-flick, horror story this evening.

It started when Edward opened the door, “Well hello Liam, how wonderful to see you.”  I ignored two giveaways:  he called me Liam, not Beckett, and he smiled, always a sign of trouble.

“Hello Mr. Brown, it is good to see you as well.  Everett suggested we stop in for a visit this evening.  I trust it is alright with you.”

“Certainly young man. Who do you have with you?  Hello Miss…”  He reaches out to grasp her hand and again, he’s smiling.  There’s a definite twinkle in his eyes and at this moment, he reminds me of the Big Bad Wolf.

“I apologize.  This is Sophia Alanis.  Sophia, this is Edward Brown.”  She drops her head slightly and looks up at him through her eyelashes, which she has the nerve to bat at the old man. Right. Fucking. In front of me.

Um. Hello! You fucking arrived here with me. What the fuck are you doing?

Edward gently kisses her hand and makes a big fucking production of the gesture.  I half expect him to lick his way up her arm.  “Miss Alanis, it is a pleasure to meet you” he purrs. Have you ever heard a man purr? Its fucking sickening. Which is followed by the almighty wink, I knew that was coming.  Fuck, I’d rather Sting Ray was here and get my ass-whipping over and done.  This bastard is gonna drag this shit out forever.  All I can pray for is that I only have to withstand his bullshit.  If Emmett and/or Everett join in the festivities, I’m done. This bitch can find her own way home.

The click of his shoes sound on the marble floor. “I thought I heard voices out here.  How are you Liam, it has been a long time since we have enjoyed your company.” He too falls into a Paramount Pictures, Emmy Award winning routine, complete with double-take. “Who, pray tell, is this lovely creature?”  His voice smooth and mellow, burning my ears like a blowtorch.

I make the introductions while Sophie fucking giggles and Emmett proceeds to kiss her hand and her cheek.  The fucker even whispered something in her fucking ear.  I feel like my head is gonna explode.

Each of those bastards tucks one of her arms in his and saunters away, leading her past the grand staircase, into the Great Room. Suddenly, an amused Everett stands beside me, in my line of sight, and pats me hard on the shoulder, immediately taking my attention. He leans in to quietly tell me, “You won’t last long you know that don’t you? I have it on good authority there’s more to come and this little thing of yours,” he clandestinely gestures to Sophie, “will be over and done with soon.” He, too, has a shit-eating grin on his face.

I’m speechless, I mean gaped-mouth, stock still, astounded. “You fucking pricks are doing this shit to me on purpose?!” I whisper yell. Not that it would make a fucking bit of fucking difference because Sophia is way too fucking preoccupied with the overtures from the Big Bad Wolf and Don Juan. “What the fuck…”

Everett turns me to face him, looks me square in the eyes. We are exactly the same height, build and have the same demeanor. There’s no throwing either of us aside and no getting around us, alone or together.  “Are you ready to lose your Sting Ray Beckett?”

Ellie?  What’s he going on about?  Ellie may not like Sophie. They’re nothing alike.  Sophie’s the epitome of a girl, pink everything, frills and ruffles everywhere.  She changes clothes a dozen or more times before settling on the first outfit.  I have to wait for her finger and toenails to dry before getting an air-kiss to keep from smudging anything and let’s not think about the cramps and mood swings for seven days out of each month. What does any of that have to do with Ellie?

Ellie is grounded, thoughtful, conscientious and brilliant. She has a particular analytical mind and isn’t afraid to verbalize her conclusions. Ellie can and will fight her own battles then never let you forget she beat your ass. She takes down to no one, not even the men in her family. This is why her opinion is vital in my life. This is why she is vital in my life.

“What are you talking about Brown?” I growl. I’m tired of his, his father and his grandfather’s bullshitting around.

“I’m talking about Ellie finding out you’ve spent the last year with that slutty gold-digger.”  He jerks his head back, toward Sophie, who’s still eating up the flattery she’s getting from Edward and Emmett, without even a side thought about me it seems.

“I blame this on your psychopathic, suavey-bono relatives.  What it is, a fucking full moon?  Since when do they lay it on this thick?”  I look over Everett’s shoulder and see Edward holding Sophie’s hand as she daintily sits on the loveseat, Emmett by her side.

Moving his head so he’s, once again, looking me directly in the eyes he says, “They want you to see what they’ve read about.”  His brows raised. His eyes piercing into mine.

Read about? Read about? Realization slaps the shit out of me.  “They did a background check on her?”  I whisper, softly this time.  Everett nods once then looks back over his shoulder at the trio.

“If they’re wrong, they’ll apologize, you know that, but…judging from the looks of things”, he turns back to face me, “I wouldn’t wait around for one.”  Everett shakes his head, squeezes my shoulder and asks, “Wanna a drink?”

After one last glance at the melodramatic, chick-flick, horror story playing before my eyes I look at Everett, “YESSS…” I hiss.

Big Bad Wolf
A fictional wolf appearing in several cautionary tales that includes some of Aesop’s Fables and Grimms’ Fairy Tales

Don Juan
Also Don Giovanni (Italian), is a legendary, fictional libertine. The name “Don Juan” is a common metaphor for a womanizer.