The McAllister Surf Shop sat a few doors up from Té y Café. As such that meant the surfer brothers and their little gang of misfits often were found taking up shop at one of the outdoor tables. The sun was kept at bay by a giant umbrella, breezes coming in from the oceanfront, as the mix of locals and tourists wandered the beaches of Mancora, Peru.
That particular day, Jack was sitting there with Charlie, the rest of the gang not back from surfing. It had been their turn to close the shop, something Jack had been doing regularly as he was nursing his injuries. Going down on a reef was never pleasant and in his case it had landed him some gashes, a concussion, and some cracked ribs.
As they waited, Michael came out with two ice-cold teas. The man was another American transplant, though they had no idea what his story was. He and his boyfriend Santiago were the owners of the cafe. “Where’re the rest of the terrors?” Michael inquired.
“Have you seen that surf?” Charlie retorted cheekily. “We’ll be lucky to see them for hours yet.”
“I could only be so lucky,” he teased right back. Michael played up the gruffness and his supposed dislike for the surfers but in reality he enjoyed their company. Regulars like them helped to pay the bills and they often sent fresh customers their way in the form of tourists that visited the surf shop.
“Miguel,” Santiago called from the cafe’s entrance. “Did you start a fresh pot of that Nicaraguan Blend?”
When Michael went to go past him however, Santiago snagged his arm and offered him a smile. “Relax Miguelito,” he purred. “I’ll take care of it.”
Michael visibly relaxed, returning the smile. “Thanks San,” he murmured, pressing a kiss to his boyfriend’s lips.
Jack couldn’t help but smile. The two were very loving and open about their relationship. After watching them over the past summer, Jack saw they were a strangely perfect match for each other.
“Why aren’t you and Briggs that disgustingly sweet?” Charlie voiced. “You two are more like a porno.” Jack raised a brow at her. “Y’know, just disgusting.”
Jack barked out a laugh, knowing full well his friend was only joking. Although he admitted he and Briggs tended to be much less tame than Santiago and Michael were- at least in public. “Don’t be jealous.”
“Totally not jealous.”
“Mmm, I think you are.”
“Oh bite me.” Charlie laughed behind her glass as Jack stuck his tongue out at her. They were just like siblings. Well, they all were in fact, but Charlie moreso. Jack had taken her under his wing, he and Tyler both treating her as their baby sister.
Not a minute later they heard the laughter of the rest of their family. Turning they found them still in wetsuits, carrying their boards which they stuck into the sand before crossing the boardwalk over to the cafe. “Hey babe,” Briggs greeted, bending down to give Jack a filthy kiss- only proving Charlie’s earlier statement.
He flopped into the chair next to Jack while said man licked away the salt water on his lips. Tyler took a seat next to Charlie, Top and Strode filling in the final two seats. As though on cue, Michael showed up with a mock scowl and a complaint about getting the chairs wet.
“You love us,” Tyler threw back at him.
“Most days I wonder,” Michael grumbled, rolling his eyes as he went off for their drink order.
“The surf was wicked today,” Briggs chirped, everyone else agreeing readily. His face fell as he saw the frown on Jack’s face, apologizing softly. He knew his boyfriend was sad he couldn’t join them. “Not much longer, right?”
“Yeah,” Jack answered quietly.
The melancholy mood was broken as Michael returned with drinks, tailed by Santiago with a couple plates- one with sandwiches, the other with fresh baked cookies. Strode chuckled and commented, “I think you know us too well there San.”
“You come here enough,” he replied with a smirk, “I should.”
Briggs snagged one of the chocolate and peanut butter cookies, holding it to Jack’s lips. He grinned when it pulled a little smile from Jack who took a bite and moaned in approval. Briggs took a bite himself, mimicking Jack’s noises.
Top mock complained, “You two assholes keep it up and I’m gonna get hard.” Jack grinned around his next bite of cookie, holding up a middle finger to his best friend. Briggs was busy making a jacking-off motion, all of them bursting with laughter.
This was what family was all about.
* * *
Later that evening, with the moon shining down on relatively calm waters, Jack sat astride his surfboard. He took a deep breath into his lungs, enjoying the scent of the ocean. Behind him, Briggs curled around him protectively, chin hooking over Jack’s shoulder.
“Thanks for this,” Jack told him, threading their fingers together as their hands rested on his thigh.
Briggs had surprised him, having their boards loaded in the truck and bringing him down to the secluded cove they liked to surf. The waves were low and Briggs encouraged his partner to get back up on his board. Jack had road a few waves- nothing to write home about but amazing after being beached for awhile.
Not wanting to push his luck, Jack settled to just sitting on his board, enjoying the night. Briggs had paddled out to him before switching boards to join him.
Together they bobbed in the ocean like a little bath toy, holding onto each other and drinking in the beautiful world around them.