Brax was waiting for them outside. He was already waxing up his board as Heath pulled the truck into the driveway.
“You okay?” Brax frowned, looking at Heath as he hopped out of the front.
Heath slammed the car door as Jagger dragged Nash out of the backseat.
“Didn’t do anything,” Heath said with a sigh. He leaned back against his truck. “You know I wouldn’t mess with no kid!”
Brax looked at his younger brother for a moment, the tiredness and weariness clear to him, though anyone else would think that Heath was being indifferent.
“I believe you.”
Heath’s eyebrows went up, and Brax had to wonder what the kid was thinking if he was doubting his brother’s trust in him.
“Proud of you,” he added, thinking that Heath needed to hear it. He dropped the wax and stood up beside his board. “You acted fast and saved that kid. Don’t worry, the kid will remember, and I’ve got your back.”
Heath looked like a weight had been slightly lifted off of him and he grinned before looking down at his feet.
Not many people would believe Heath Braxton was as shy and uncomfortable as he was, but Brax knew better. The kid was always just trying to get attention and approval, though he didn’t always go about it in a smart way.
“What kid?” Nash rubbed at his eyes.
“What happened?” Jagger looked up at Heath beside her.
“Nothing,” Heath rolled his eyes, defensive brat mode intake.
“Your brother,” Brax decided to tell them. “Saved a kid’s life at the Bay. Kid would’ve drowned if Heath hadn’t yanked him out. Hit his head and everything, can’t remember Heath saving him, but he will.
“Now, grab your boards! Swell’s up at Wilsons.”
The Braxtons had all learned to swim and surf at Wilson’s Beach, one of the toughest around. The waves were almost always high and most of the beach was surrounded by large rocks, making the navigating on the boards almost downright dangerous.
Jagger had grown up on those waters, had thought up until they were six that all the beaches of the world were like Wilson’s. When Brax had finally started taking them around, they realized the other beaches were downright easy in comparison.
Wilson’s Beach was River Boy territory. Mostly only kids from Mangrove River went there. There were plenty of areas on Wilsons that were family friendly and rock free, but the twins usually steered away from there. When they did get to the beach, they were surrounded by the River Boys. Anywhere that the Boys wouldn’t normally go, the twins wouldn’t go.
And if a cop entered any location at all, it was instantly noticed.
Brax and Heath were having themselves a chat as they caught waves and swam back out. Jagger and Nash mostly stayed closer to the beach, knowing when their brothers were trying to have a private conversation. (Not that they weren’t bothered, they just didn’t want any harm to their asses were they to annoy them.)
Buckton. The twins had seen the woman a few times throughout the last two years, and they knew well and truly to stay away from her like they would any copper. Cops were not Braxton or River Boy friendly.
Not that Jagger or Nash were known as either. (Though, those in the know, knew them as both.)
“What do you think they’re talking about?” Jagger sat up on her board, wading in the water as Nash laid back on his.
He had his head turned towards the beach where Brax and Heath stood.
Heath walked away from the situation and the twins sighed.
“Maybe it has nothing to do with Heath,” Jagger added.
“Probably not,” Nash turned away. “Unless they want to arrest him again.”
“For what?” Jagger frowned down at her twin. “He hasn’t done anything!”
“That we know.”
Jagger reached down into the water beside her, cupping her hand and scooping it up in a quick swipe that had the water up and at Nash’s face.
“That we will ever know, or talk about.”
The next day, everything was pretty normal. Casey was glaring at everyone and being a predictable teenager, the twins went off to school and after Brax drove Case to Summer Bay High, he and Heath went surfing.
And then he headed over to the restaurant.
As far as Brax was concerned, Angelo’s was going down. It hadn’t even been his influence. The former copper was a bad business man, or at the least a bad restaurateur. Brax had no idea how to run a restaurant, but he did know how to handle a business. The guy wasn’t giving people what they wanted. He had no particular gimmick, and while seeing the cop-killer drown on his own, Brax just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
And then, who would show up but the loveliest sergeant in Yabbie Creek.
Brax stood in front of the bar at Angelo’s and watched as the officer walked up and ordered her ‘usual’ lunch. She looked over at him and he grinned. He liked seeing how he could unnerve her, even without trying.
It was like high school and the pretentious girls all over again.
“I was looking for your brother, actually,” she said as casually as she could.
Brax wanted to grin, but he kept a straight face. It was never good when a man in blue was after any one of them. They certainly didn’t need the scrutiny.
“Yeah, VJ – the boy that was injured – he remembered what happened, and it was an accident. He got wiped out by a wave and hit his head on the sand, he thinks.”
“Okay,” he nodded, relief flooding him, though he knew Heath had done nothing wrong. Still, the uncomfortable look on the officer’s face was just too good.
She stayed quiet.
“I’m still waiting for you to say ‘I’m sorry’.”
Her widening eyes and tensing shoulders told Brax that he had struck a nerve. Still, she was able to keep her cool. He had to hand it to her.
“Yeah,” she grinned softly, though it didn’t mean to come off so pleasing. “Let’s just say you're brother’s off the hook, and don’t push your luck.”
Brax frowned, but he was still pleased. He was getting under her skin, and it was so blantantly obvious, he didn’t know what to do.
He was certainly enjoying himself.
“Apology accepted,” he nodded with a wide grin. “Anyone could make a mistake,” he decided to continue. “But, you know, being in your line of work, you don’t want to make too many.”
“Yeah,” Buckton nodded, her eyes narrowing at the River Boy before her. She was being teased and she didn’t like it. “Well, the same goes for you, I guess.”
Brax crossed his arms, but didn’t say anything. It was a weak retort and very truthful. Instead, however, he decided to shift focus off of himself. It had been much more entertaining when she had been reluctant beforehand.
So he decided to make her feel uncomfortable again.
“So hang on,” he frowned, motioning to the back of the restaurant where Angelo was doing up a quick order for her. “Are you two together?”
“That’s none of your business,” she answered after half a pause.
Brax grinned wide at her unease.
“So, is that a no?”
“Like I just said, don’t push your luck.”
There wasn’t much to be said after that. He could of course keep bothering her, Brax wasn’t exactly known for backing off or slithering away.
But she was an officer. As much as he liked seeing her bothered, he liked being out of handcuffs better.
“G’day Officer,” he grinned, just as Angelo was returning.
“It’s sergeant,” she groaned, but Brax was already walking out.
He turned and grinned at her with a slight nod at her. He had certainly left an impression on her, as she had on him.
Getting to his car, he sent Heath a text, telling him the news. His brother would be happy to hear it, having been bothered greatly for the implications that he would attack a kid.
The rest of the day went blissfully uneventful.