beautiful here; the simple beach house, golden beach
stretching for miles, framed by palm trees, lonely road
that leads here. It’s
all Mia. The
silver Nissan I’m parked next to, that’s Brian.
was an accident, Mia told me in Rio, that the last thing
she wanted was to get pregnant while on the run from every
law enforcement agency in America. But she’s a
Toretto, Torettos protect family and the kid was family
from the moment she conceived. She told me she
didn’t know if Brian would stay with her, said something
strange about duty not being enough, but I knew he would,
I knew he’d look after her.
never seen my sister so happy,” I tell him. I haven’t, but I
can’t say the same for him.
He looked happier walking into the dragon’s den in
L.A., looked happier racing through the desert on my tail
in Mexico, looked happier after throwing away his life for
me the second time around, busting me off the Lompoc
prison bus, breaking more laws than I’d ever done. He looks
relieved but not content, not settled. I know that
in his voice, in his eyes, in his whole body. Freedom has made
Mia happy, not Brian.
I can tell by the expression on his face - it’s the
same expression I had on mine two nights ago, the one
Elena called me on. It’s
why we’re here. She
sees more than most people and I should be able to love
her for that but I don’t.
We’re free. And
it’s not what we hoped it would be, because we’re also
apart, scattered all over the world.
across at our cars, my slate Dodge Charger parked next to
his shining silver Nissan GT-R, American muscle next to
Japanese import, and smiles.
Speed vs. power.
“I want another shot.”
about telling him to let it go, like I always do, but I
love the sight of him behind a wheel and I haven’t raced
since we left Rio. It’s
just one of the things I’ve been missing. “Yeah?”
“Yeah.” God. I make sure my
smile stays easy, friendly, even though my heart’s started
thumping against my ribcage.
Brian’s always had this effect. I’ve tried
keeping him at arm’s length because he’s like some kind of
illegal high. I’ve
kept the physical stuff to a minimum because I’m not sure
what will happen if I start getting all hands-on like I am
– was - with the rest of the team. He’s Mia’s, not
mine. Maybe I
missed a chance I didn’t even know I wanted to take or
maybe I didn’t. I’ve
never really understood Brian, his motives, what was on
wagers,” he says, “Nobody else. You and me, once
and for all.”
much else he’s said in the sparse time we’ve spent
together over the years I’ve known him, I’m not sure there
isn’t a double meaning, something else to be taken if I
was so inclined. “Sure
you can handle the disappointment?”
The way he
looks at me is the same way he’s always looked at me, with
given up everything for my family - his career, his life -
I owe him my freedom.
Still can’t believe he looks at me like that. “Are you?” He’s teasing,
and there’s a smile playing around the corners of his
mouth, same smile that was on his face when he saw me this
right, O’Connor. Let’s
see what you’ve got.”
L.A., the first time, when he got under my skin, into my
life, into my family, I didn’t know what hit me. He was nothing
like the rest of them and maybe that’s why I got taken in
by the act. Only
I’m not sure how much was an act, not sure when his
loyalties changed, when he pledged to himself that he’d
protect me from everything, no matter what; guilty or
told me Brian let me go that day because he respected me
more than he respected himself. Bullshit. That’s what he
told her. What
else is he going to say?
Definitely not the truth, if my suspicions are
maybe they’re not suspicions, maybe it’s just wishful
thinking, some weird, skewed fantasy on my part.
not the first guy I’ve been more than a little interested
in. Han and I
danced around one another for years, split up then came
back together in the Dominican Republic and finally did
something about it. But
it was never serious, and in Rio when I saw him look at
Giselle I knew we were done, at least for now. Not that it
mattered, because I wouldn’t have done anything with Han
knowing Brian was nearby.
again in Parkes’ apartment was like a hammer blow to the
looked different, sounded different, ‘course he was
wasn’t looking at Brian Spilner, I was looking at Officer
Brian O’Connor – a total stranger. I thought I
didn’t know him at all and that made me feel sick. But I did know
him. And he
let me walk out of there, again, like he has some
aversion, an inability to arrest me. Made me wonder
what I could do to get him to act like a cop around me. In Rio he
pointed out that life would have been easier for everyone
if I’d left him at the Mexican border like he’d told me
was I supposed to know he’d be breaking me out of a prison
transport a couple of months later? Maybe he knew
already, sitting there in the desert in agony, telling me
to get out of there because he’d already worked out what
he’d have to do if I didn’t.
Still, he didn’t push it, let me make the choice
and again threw his life away to save my ass from jail.
to be blind and dumb not to realise that Brian something
special in my life, my guardian angel sent to save me from
the stupid ass choices I keep making. What I don’t
know is where I fit into his world. He’s not a
heavenly creature doing God’s work; he’s just a guy who
apparently thinks he owes me every sacrifice there is to
make. I don’t
understand why but I want to know. Now, I need to
know because I can’t work out what to do with the rest of
We race to
a look-out point a few miles along the coast from the
house, setting the finish line by this weird telepathy
that develops between us when we’re driving like this. I beat him –
naturally – I have to beat him because it’s what keeps him
coming back. If
he ever wins fair and square, I have this notion that I’d
never see him again.
It’s probably bullshit.
I get out,
car door clicking shut just moments before Brian’s. I watch him
walking round his car, joining me where I’m standing in
front of the Charger.
He looks nervous suddenly, and that makes me
nervous because when Brian loses that innate confidence of
his, bad things tend to happen. He walks up to
me until his toes are touching mine, and without warning
he wraps his arms around my neck. I’m surprised
but I get over it quickly and catch him, one arm around
his waist, the other across his back, holding him
bruisingly tight as he turns his face into the crease of
my shoulder and I can feel his breath on my skin, sending
goose bumps across my shoulders, a spark down my spine.
eyes I just relish having him close against me, feeling
him breathing, smelling of salt and soap, the ghost aroma
of engine oil. I
have no idea what he’s thinking but right then I don’t
care. I hate
that everything I want is a betrayal of my sister. I hate that no
matter how hard I try to pretend, I want him with a need
that gets stronger with every passing day. But if he turns
this into something else, something more, Ill do with it
in a heartbeat.
feels like forever but it’s too damn short, he lifts his
head but doesn’t step away, rests his forehead against my
shoulder and starts to speak.
what I want.” He
says it softly, so softly I almost miss it. “Nobody else. You and me, once
and for all.”
Christ. This is what
I’ve been waiting for, this is what I’ve been wanting to
know, what I wasn’t sure I’d ever find out. Suddenly he’s
telling me and I know it’s not an offer, not yet, but all
I have to do is take and he’ll go with it like he’s gone
with every other damn thing I’ve ever thrown his way. I know it’ll
change everything. But
it’s exactly what I want and I’ve always been a selfish,
“You got it, Brian.”
I hate myself but I can hear the promise in my own
voice and I know I mean it.
It’s too late to deny it, it’s been too long.
back suddenly but I’m not letting him go, not now. “Dom....” I’m shaking my
head, getting the hand that was on his back curled around
the nape of his neck.
what you want....”
and selfish but I pull his face to mine and stick my
tongue in his mouth and just like that he’s right there
with me like I knew he would be, tongue sliding over mine,
fingers already scrabbling to get up under my T-shirt,
hand a brand on the small of my back, short nails scraping
over my scalp. The
world tilts on its axis and I know I’m destroying so much
that’s old and sacred to build something new, something so
exciting it makes my heart race and my blood pump harder
just thinking about it.
Charger’s right there and we hit the hood hard, Brian
trying his damndest to climb me, hand reaching between us,
ripping, unzipping and pushing denim out of the way. The first touch
of skin against skin is like a lightning strike and I
don’t know how long I can hold out for him. This is at least
five of my fantasies playing out right here. It’s raw and
rough, Brian’s teeth biting into my neck muscle, nails
biting into my bicep, long fingers mashing us together,
hips snapping forward, bucking him against me, sliding me
through his hand.
I pull his
mouth back to mine, not so much a kiss more like an act of
he sucks on my tongue and I feel the vibration of a hum in
his lips, I come so hard I see stars.
“Shit....” He pulls back
almost immediately, need sated, real life spilling back
looking down at the mess we made, shaking his head. “Dom, I’m... I’m
“Brian.” I zip up and
make a grab for him, get my arms around him, pinning his
arms to his side and pulling him back until his legs hit
the fender again and he drops next to me. He’s trying to
pull away but doesn’t put that much into the struggle. He’s given up
already because he’s right where he wants to be, even if
the truth of that stings.
Resting my chin on his shoulder I close my eyes and
breathe in that heady scent of salt and sex. “Don’t.”
do this. Mia,
Dom, she’s your sister.
You’d never forgive me.”
Right. That’s the way
it should go but I’ve denied this, denied us, for too
forgive myself. But
it’s right, Bri, we’re right. You belong to
me.” It’s not
supposed to be what it sounds like and I know Brian gets
it. I feel
the fight go out of him, the moment he accepts what I’m
doesn’t like it, neither of us do, because we’re betraying
the one person I’m supposed to protect in this life. But that thing
we just did – I want to do it again with less clothing,
less guilt and a lot more time. I let my tone
always been me.”
Tanner said to him all those years back, standing in the
front yard of some Hollywood house with a Hollywood
told me about it one night back in L.A., one of those
nights where beer and tequila turns any bar into a
looks at me and I can see it clear in his eyes now, the
reason for everything he’s done. Not an angel but
a demon, beautiful, intoxicating and deadly. I’d been
thinking I was his obsession but in reality he’s mine. That’s how he
got to play me in L.A., because I fell for it; for the
easy smile and the laid-back attitude, the warmth in blue
eyes that should have been ice cold but weren’t, not when
he looked at me. I
fell for him years ago, and all this time he’s felt the
same way about me. I
could have had him anytime, and the thought makes me a
little bit mad at Mia for taking what should have been
mine, for getting pregnant with his child, for trapping
Part of me
wants to take off with him from here, leave everything
behind and never look back.
But I won’t. I
can’t do that to Mia even if she’s never going to speak to
me again because I know things will never go back to the
way they were and Brian knows it too. He looks
terrified, but behind that there’s a relief; the stress
has gone from his shoulders now that the tension’s finally
been broken between us.
He leans forward, tilts his head and kisses me,
tongue tracing the shape of my mouth before pushing,
demanding, between my lips.
My dick’s filling again like I’m still nineteen and
feeling bold I press an open palm to his crotch, rubbing
his re-awakening erection.
it’s slower, although his hand on me is no less arousing
and the feel of him is no less perfect. We stay where we
are, me on the hood of the Charger, legs spread, him
standing with his knee against mine, jerking each other
off like we have all the time and privacy in the world. He comes first,
and this time I feel it, the tremors in his body, the
muffled sounds in his throat, the warmth of come on my
hand and wrist. I’m
a couple of seconds behind, feeling that hum again against
my mouth, thinking what that’s gonna feel like on my dick
and hoping to hell he’s up for as much as I am once we get
somewhere near a bed.
I get my
answer as I watch him bring his hand to his mouth and
swipe his tongue up along his index finger. “Wanna taste
you,” is what he says and I can see the promises and
challenges in his eyes.
gonna kill me,” I bitch, but there’s no heat or truth in
be a bad way to go, I can’t think of anything better. But sometime
soon we’re going to have to face the music; the reality of
this situation is not good.
“Actually, Mia’s going to kill us both.”
I think she’s half-expecting something like this.” I have to let my
eyebrows do the questioning.
“She’s not stupid, Dom. She knows I did
what I did for you, not for her. These last
couple of months... this isn’t me, sitting around on a
beach watching the sun rise and set. She knows I’ve
been distracted, knows I’m... bored, that I need more than
and freedom... it’s good, you know, but it’s not how I
ever planned to be living.”
know how he feels, what he’s talking about. It’s the biggest
disappointment of all; that being comfortable doesn’t
necessarily equate to being happy.
“I know I
need to wait it out, and I’m not saying I can’t be happy
unless I’m chasing criminals or being hunted by cops. I won’t abandon
Mia now, but if I have to resign myself to this I think I
might go crazy.” Suddenly
all that stuff back in Rio makes sense, asking me about my
Dad, telling me about his.
He never thought of having kids, maybe he never
wanted them. I
know I’m too selfish to father children. “I know I should
stay, be a father, be responsible. But the idea
makes me want to walk into the ocean and keep walking.”
hook an arm around his waist and pull him forward, between
my legs, rest my forehead against his ribcage. His arms wrap
around my shoulders, one hand on my head. I can feel his
heart beating, his lungs filling and emptying. “We’ll talk to
Mia,” I tell him, “but I’m not going anywhere. I won’t leave
you here.” It’s
a promise, a vow, for my sake as much as for his.
about Elena?” he asks, one cheek coming to rest on my
head, fingers stroking the back of my neck.
why I came here. I
think she’s known all along.
I’ve been a distraction, an escape, but nothing
night out of Rio she asked me about you and I told her
everything I knew, everything I wanted to know.” I hesitate. “Told her I
thought you could be the one, but I didn’t know if I had
it in me to steal my sister’s boyfriend, let alone the
father of her child.”
is the woman we left alone with Mia while we drove out
here?” I can
hear the amusement in his voice, but there’s relief there
too and something else.
He pauses before he asks, “You think I could be
‘the one’?” There’s
hope behind the slight tease and I’m not sure which to
else like you in my life, Bri.” It isn’t
reassurance or confirmation, but he lifts his head and so
I do and he grins anyway like it’s enough, like any small
thing I’m willing to give is enough. But it just
isn’t, not after everything he’s given up for me, plus all
the things he’s about to give up. I love him. I just can’t say
it and maybe I don’t have to, because he knows hurting Mia
isn’t something I would do if he wasn’t important to me,
if this wasn’t something vital, something I didn’t need
like oxygen and sunlight and fast cars.
no such reservations.
how much damage those three little words have done over
going to tear my life apart just to hear them again. But it’s nothing
he hasn’t already done twice for me.