Badd Motherf*cker:Badd Brothers(6)By: Jasinda Wilder
He chuckled. “Nope, we’re going to Alaska. Well, you are. When we land, I’m dropping off this load and picking up a load of fish and taking it inland. Won’t be going back to Seattle.”
Dizziness hit me again, and I bent over to put my head between my knees. “Alaska? Jesus.”
He eyed me warily. “You gonna puke? Because there’re sick bags under your seat if you are.”
I grabbed a sick bag, but instead of puking into it I used it to help me breathe.
“Alaska.” I said it again, as if saying it again would make it more real.
“Ketchikan, to be exact. Nice place, lots of cruise ships go through there. Beautiful. A bit chilly, sometimes, but beautiful.”
Another wave of nausea tossed through me. “Would it be horribly rude if I asked you to shut up?”
He just chuckled. “Fine by me.”
And he did just that, shut up, fiddling with knobs and switches and tapping gauges, adjusting the controls.
What the hell had I gotten myself into?
Where are the fuckin’ cruise ships when you need ’em?
I wiped down the bar for the forty-seventh time in the last hour, staring out at my bar, which was dead as a doornail, deader than a graveyard and a ghost town put together. Not a damn soul in the bar and it was seven in the evening on a Saturday. There should be fuckin’ somebody wanting a goddamn drink. But no, hadn’t been one stinkin’ customer since we’d opened at four. Usually the bar was hopping, or at least had a decent crowd, even on week nights or stormy days. I’d blame it on the rain, but that didn’t usually stop people from needing a drink or six. Shit, most of the time it made it busier, not deader.
I should just close. What was the harm? Wouldn’t be anybody in anyway.
But I couldn’t do that. Badd’s Bar and Grill was struggling enough as it was, so if I had any hope of keeping Dad’s bar alive, I couldn’t afford to close early. Dad may be gone—three months in his grave—but no way I was going to let his bar go under, too. I’d been doing my damndest, but one guy to run a whole bar wasn’t ideal, and meant I’d seen a decrease in business, simply because I couldn’t keep up with the demand, so people went elsewhere.
I’d been raised in this damn bar. I learned to walk going from table three to four. Kissed my first girl in the alley behind the place, bedded the same girl in the storeroom in the attic, got in my first fistfight right out in that parking lot.
I wasn’t going to let the place close. I’d struggle along somehow. Keep it afloat, even if it wasn’t the hot spot it had once been. Maybe I just had to bite the bullet and hire somebody to help out. Hated the idea, since in all the years I’d been alive, we’d never hired a soul outside the family, and I hated the idea of breaking that tradition.
I’d been hoping there’d be some kind of windfall after Dad died, you know? Like, an inheritance or something. I figured Dad had been doing okay all those years, figured he’d have money saved. Guess not. Don’t know how he managed not to save anything, since he lived in the bar and rarely ever left it, and when my brothers and I were younger we all lived above it. Mom cooked the food, Dad served the drinks.
Then, when I was seventeen, Mom passed and I took over the food prep. I’d get home from school, tie on an apron and start slinging burgers and fries and chicken wings. It was my first job and now, ten years later, this bar was the only job I’d ever had. Dad let me help with the books when I was twenty, let me split the shifts with him—three days a week for him and four for me.
I knew the business had been struggling for a while, but in the last few months since Dad died things had really taken a nosedive.
I did my best to keep things afloat but it didn’t help that I was the single employee. I cooked, bartended, bussed, mopped, swept, and worked open to close, four p.m. to two a.m. seven days a week.
The frustrating thing was that even though I had seven brothers to my name, not one was around to help.
That’s right, there were eight of us. Mom and Dad had raised eight boys in the three-bedroom apartment above this bar—four of us to a room in double bunk bed sets. When Mom died Zane had been fifteen, Brock thirteen, Baxter twelve, Caanan and Corin the identical twins ten, Lucian nine, and Xavier, the baby of the tribe, had been seven.
Ten years later, Zane was off being a Navy SEAL somewhere, Brock was playing football in the CFL and was being scouted for the NFL, or so he claimed, Baxter was a stunt pilot traveling the country doing airshows, Canaan and Corin were touring the world with their hard rock band, Bishop’s Pawn, and Lucian was…well, I wasn’t entirely sure. He’d left the day he turned eighteen and hadn’t come back, hadn’t so much as sent a damn postcard. I figured he’d taken the money he’d made working on fishing boats from the time he was fifteen and was just sort of bumming around the world like a damned vagabond. That was like him, brooding, lazy, and just inherently cool. Xavier had gotten a full ride to Stanford from soccer and academics, and there was talk of FIFA scouts watching him…on top of think tanks or some shit like that. Then there was me, Sebastian Badd, the eldest, stuck in goddamned Ketchikan tending a dead-ass bar, same as I’d been doing since I was seventeen.