The Connection(8)

By: Adriana Locke

“Don’t. Don’t even start your shit with me, Cane Alexander,” Kari laughs.

He laughs and sits up. “What do you wanna do today, Max?”

They exchange a look that I can’t quite read, but I feel like I’m missing something. When Kari starts grinning, I’m sure of it.

“I’m about ready to head inside and grab a sandwich. Y’all hungry?” Max asks.

“We just ate,” I say, thinking back to the huge buffet Cane and I had for breakfast. “Or it feels that way, anyway.”

“I could eat again,” Cane says.

Kari looks at me, her eyes shining, and I know I’m in trouble. “I’m not hungry either, so let’s go shopping!”

“Yeah! Let’s do my least favorite thing ever on vacation!” The annoyance is apparent in my tone and I flop back in my chair.

“Well, it’s my vacation, too, and I wanna go shopping. Just come with me. Please. Otherwise, I’ll have to make Max go and he’s less fun than you, if you can believe that.”

“It’s the only thing you don’t enjoy with me,” he winks.

“True,” Kari sighs dreamily. “I’d love to partake in the more fun things with you . . . After shopping.”

Kari looks at me intently. I roll my eyes. I don’t want to go with her now or later.

“Jada,” Max begs, “do me a favor and go with her. I love her, but shopping with her makes me want to kill her.”

“See? It’ll make everyone happy!”

“Everyone but me!”

“It won’t kill you,” Kari says, crossing her arms over her chest. “It’s sister bonding. Just go. Please.”

“All right. But not all day, Kari. Just for a little while.”

Cane leans across the space dividing us and kisses me. “Buy yourself something, okay?”

I groan.

“I mean it. Make sure she buys herself some stuff, Kari.”

“You mean, make sure she spends your money? Got it.”

“I knew you were good for something,” Cane grins.

Max pulls Kari into his side and kisses her forehead. “She’s good for a lot of things.”

“Keep it up, Quinn,” Kari purrs. She runs her hands over the tattoos dotting Max’s body. “Or you’ll not be having a sandwich for lunch.”

“Sandwiches taste better after sex anyway.”

“Let’s go on up to the room,” Kari croons. “I’ll make sure that sandwich tastes fantastic . . . a couple of hours from now.”

“No,” Cane says, standing. “You two can fuck like rabbits later. We’re going to lunch.”

“I’ve lost my appetite,” Max says, nipping at Kari’s bottom lip.

“Too bad. I’m starving.”

“I’m sure you fuckin’ are,” Max groans.

“I am,” Cane says, glaring at him. “And you’re fuckin’ hungry too. Remember, asshole?”

Max shakes his head and pulls his black Saints cap over his head. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s go eat.”

“That’s what I thought,” Cane says.

“This is gonna be the longest damn weekend of my life,” Max mutters.

I stand and put on my cover-up. I’m not looking forward to shopping, but I can tell Cane and Max have plans and I don’t want to get in the way. “Let’s get this over with,” I say to my sister.

Kari kisses Max before grabbing my bag off the ground. “Way to start this with enthusiasm, Jada. Love it.”

“I try.”

“Have fun,” Cane calls as I follow Kari out of the pool area.

“See you soon.”


“I don’t need more swimsuits!” I exclaim as Kari thrusts an orange bikini and a yellow one-piece with the sides cut out into my arms. I try to balance them on top of the sundresses she’s burdened me with. “Seriously, Kari. I’m not buying these.”

“Oh, you are. Try them on first, though.”

“Why? I don’t need any of this!”

“Because,” she says, adding a white sundress to the stack. “Cane instructed me to make sure you spent his money. He knows how I like to shop, so I’m taking it as he wants you to make a dent in his credit card. And I,” she says, tossing on a dark purple tank top, “am not one to disappoint.”

“Since when?”

“Since now!” She shoves me into the dressing room. “Pick a door. Any door!” She stretches her hands out to the side and I do as instructed.

I try on everything. Kari, of course, loves it all. Before I know what’s happening, I’m watching her deposit the entire load onto the counter beside the cash register.