I have the slight feeling that you actually have to read Final Pose and Hostage to actually enjoy this one, but it might just be able to stand alone if you have an overactive imagination. I dunno. You tell me.
I think only FP is essential.
Oh well, try out the first chapter and let me know!
“We’re certainly not in Kansas anymore,” I mumbled as I got out of the car.
The pine trees were as tall as city buildings, forming passage ways and fencing any bit of open land. The air was cool with a soft wind and we’d long since left a tarred road. The sky was blue, dotted with a few bright cumulous clouds. Or is it cumulonimbus? I don’t know, I never paid much attention in Geography class.
It was in a place like this that you’d envision running into buck and raccoons or owls at night. In fact, I was pretty sure we’d see some at any moment with the way the bushes were twitching with liveliness.
“It’s a little too quiet,” Jody spoke over the hood of the car, “don’t you think?”
I looked at the cabin that we were supposed to enter, deciding that Jody was right.
It was a log cabin, like the ones in the brochure. Except, this one wasn’t as nice.
The windows were draped shut; dew dirt had accumulated on them making it pretty clear that they were hardly ever opened. All in all, the place looked run down.
I had serious second thoughts about this whole vacation thing, but Jody didn’t seem fazed as he walked towards the front door of the cabin. I followed him quickly.
“This reminds me of something,” Jody said, taking me off guard when he entwined his fingers with mine.
“Of what?” I asked, paying minimal attention to how close we were. Because that just still made me nervous. It hadn’t been long since we started, like, hanging out. Because on most days, Jody had something to do and I pretended I did too and we just didn’t see much of each other. But the days we did spend together, it was good. Almost too good.
“Of a movie,” Jody replied, leaning further into me and whispering in my ear. “One of those thrillers where seven go in and only one comes out.”
Jody laughed when I frowned, he was doing nothing for my nerves.
“I’m kidding, Baxter,” he said as we mounted the stairs and walked over the porch.
Jody knocked on the door and then looked at me. I could see him from the corner of my eye, but I was more interested in the plaque on the dusty, faded door. The plaque simply read: Head Office, and supposedly, once upon a time, was gold. Now it was brown and tarnished and kinda tilting to the side.
There were no sounds of movement on the other side of the door and I was actually relieved. That way we could cut our losses, jump back into the car and take that long three hour drive back home to civilization.
Well, considerable civilization considering all that was waiting for me at home was Mom and Artie.
Jody raised his fist to knock again, only this time, he didn’t even touch the wood before the door was swinging open.
“Holy shit,” I heard Jody curse as we both took a few clumsy steps back. And you couldn’t really blame us because it’s not often that you’re greeted by the barrel of a shotgun when you’re expecting a friendly site manager.
Fuck the brochure.
“What do you want?” the old man behind the gun demanded, voice like gravel.
Jody and I didn’t speak. Neither of us could. Although, while I was backing up ready to make a dash for the car, he was raising his hands up in defense, taking slow, calculated steps towards the man.
“Speak, boy,” the man roared again.
I seriously just wanted to grab Jody’s arm and pull him with me.
“Hi Sir,” Jody began. I couldn’t believe it but I could actually sense a smile in his voice. “My name is Jody Mathews and this is my friend Deon Baxter. We’re here with the group that booked the lake cabins for the week. I have my ticket. I’m just gonna get it out of my pocket, okay?”
The man watched Jody’s every move carefully as he reached into his jacket pocket, retrieving the small, half crumpled piece of card.
The old man grabbed it, still holding the gun in place with one hand, barrel still pointed straight at Jody’s chest. I counted the seconds as the old guy looked from the ticket to Jody and then over Jody’s shoulder to me.
“You got some identification?” he asked.
“Yes sir,” Jody nodded politely.
“Come in,” he said, turning and walking into the cabin, leaving us to follow.
Jody looked at me over his shoulder and I wondered if he could sense my uncertainty.
Against my better judgment, I followed Jody into the cabin, and was immediately greeted by that musky smell of wet wood and pine.
“You wouldn’t believe how many people come here looking for trouble ever since it somehow became known that I keep cash on the premises.
“I can understand your precautions, sir,” Jody said as he gave the man both his and my identification.
I was still slightly shaken and didn’t bother sympathizing with the old man. Okay, maybe I could with him, but not the huge gun that was now propped up on the desk beside him. A quick glance around the cabin, and I was certain that the numerous deer heads hung up as trophies on the wall didn’t care too much for the weapon either.
Keys were dropped into Jody’s hand seconds later. We were given firm rules and instructions that weren’t hard to follow, and wouldn’t dare be breached either way.
Pretty obvious stuff.
If you break it, you pay for it. If you mess it, you clean it. All appliances in the kitchen were at our disposal, self-catering was expected. Hot water went off from 9am until 6am, so waking up early would be essential. And of course if you get injured or die, Sun Lake Valley will not in any way be held liable for it.
Whenever companies mention that, it always just makes me feel so comforted.
I was grateful when Jody and I were heading back to the car.
Apparently, it was like, a ten minute drive down to the lake. So as Jody took the drive easy and I starred out the open window and viewed the scenery, I thought, maybe this won’t be so bad after all.
So the brochure hadn’t completely fibbed. The place was beautiful.
The wooden cabins were lined evenly. There was canopied parking and everything else was ridiculously green. I mean, you didn’t get that shade of green in the city. Where plants and grass are stained from near-death due to smoke and waste pollution.
Although it was far off, the view allowed us to see the lake. The water was still and dark. Almost dangerous.
Jody introduced me to everyone. He was in turn introduced to the few that he didn’t know. I noticed there was a lot of disappointed talk about one guy who would be arriving late, but I didn’t pay too much attention to that. I was too busy constantly taking in my surroundings, subconsciously itching for my camera.
It took some persuasion, but my mom finally got over her phobia of keeping up with technology and went ahead and bought me a digital camera. It was my first digital, and really awesome too. Olympus Tough serious. Water-proof and all.
Anyway, she chose to constantly remind me that the only reason she forked out the bucks was because my report card was rather impressive and she felt I deserved better equipment.
I knew better than that.
Ever since Principal Jenkins started becoming a regular at our dinner table, mom started this whole, ‘guilt-purchasing’ thing.
I subtly kept trying to convince her it wasn’t necessary, but she was obviously confused since Artie was tolerating Jenkins and milking mom all he could.
When Jody tugged at my sleeve and pointed towards the cabin that we would be sharing, I grinned. And yeah, I admit, these ones were pretty cool. Varnished hardwood and all.
“Let’s unpack real quick,” Jody said as we climbed the five wooden steps to the small porch, “Everyone’s going down to the lake.”
The lake sounded good and all, but I would have been cool just staying in the cabin for a bit longer. Because with the door closed and Jody’s lips over mine, all else just seemed so pointless. But when he did break the kiss, I didn’t feel too bad about it.
We did have the rest of the week together after all.
Definitely not my scene
Drunk teens listening to loud music dancing around a huge man made fire next to a river. Not exactly what I would call a mini-vacation.
I do admit, I was enjoying the music, and the setting was actually really cool. Like, the way the light of the fire hit the dangerously still water and the dancing figures cast shadows on the ground and trees. But apart from that, I was feeling a little awkward being there. Still holding my first Styrofoam cup of something rank mixed with cola, I resolved to fade into the background.
I decided to entertain myself by watching Jody Mathews.
He wasn’t wearing his shirt, much like the rest of the guys. But his body was decidedly the best. And I’m not just saying that because he’s my... well, I can’t say boyfriend really. I’m not sure what to say. But, yeah, Jody was by far the hottest thing there.
I sat back on a rock. It was high enough to give me a full view of the lake. The time alone was giving me time to reflect on what Jody and I were doing together.
I thought back to the first night. The night we watched Titanic together. Really crap movie by the way, but I’ll give them credit for the effort. Anyway, we didn’t speak throughout the movie, like, the entire time. We just sort of sat there, awkwardly.
I hadn’t been able to control anything that night. Not my breathing, not my heartbeat. Not the anger that still manifested inside of me. I mean, Jody had really hurt me. I probably should have been over it by then, but the fact that I wasn’t obviously meant something.
Anyway, half way through the movie, you know the part where they’re at that pretentious dinner party with Jack as a guest. Yeah, it was right about there when Jody took my hand.
Major breath caught in throat moment.
He took my shaky, sweaty hand in his perfectly perfect one, and I was totally amazed at how all my anger just instantly melted away. It was incredible.
I can’t begin to describe how corny I feel that such a small gesture made me feel the strangest things. When he started running his thumb over my knuckles, the feeling simply escalated.
It made me wonder if someone can actually be a little too obsessed with another person. I mean, it was just our hands, you know?
So anyway, the movie ended with our hands still joined, resting on his thigh. The thigh that was leaning against mine now since somewhere during the ship sinking, the distance between us had disappeared. Then I hadn’t really been able to concentrate on much else from then because my head was sort of resting on his shoulder, and god did that boy smell good
As. Fucking. Usual.
Then when the credits rolled and Celine Dion started singing one of my mom’s favorite songs, Jody had shifted a little, to better see my face.
When I looked up at him, television light flickering on his face, I could tell he was waiting for my verdict. On the movie that is.
But whether he was going to ask me, or I was just simply supposed to tell him, neither happened. He just, leaned in and kissed me.
It was nothing at all like our first kiss. The one when he was naked and I was confused. This kiss was different.
It was calculated and soft and gentle and damn near perfect. His tongue and his lips and his breathe hitting my cheek. The tiny bristles on his jaw when I ran my hand over his face. The way his thumb was tracing weird designs on my neck and his other hand was massaging my thigh. Quite timidly too, I admit.
It was all heavenly. And, no kid brothers interrupting the moment made the moment even better.
When finally we did part, Jody looked down and chuckled.
“I hope I don’t have to see your mom on the way out,” Jody had whispered, openly adjusting himself in a way that made me want to push pause and drool.
“We can leave quietly,” I whispered back. Then I totally realized I had to rephrase that, even though I didn’t want to speak anymore because for some reason my voice was oddly husky. So I cleared my throat. “I meant, I’ll lead you out quietly.”
Jody had chuckled and I had kept my promise. And on the front porch, under the light, he’d kissed me again. But for a lot shorter this time and I wasn’t too disappointed about that because I did have neighbors and all.
That was kind of the defining night. You know, most questions answered. The obvious questions like did I forgive him, was he finally over that ‘this never happened’ stage. ‘Was I ever going to get to kiss him again?’ It answered all that.
That was all just two weeks ago. A little less actually. And since then we’d seen each other a couple more times. Just last Wednesday I actually ended up shirtless on my back with Jody on top of me. And it had seemed he had had a clear mission on his mind from the moment we entered his room. And his hand was doing wonders to bring me to my climax but then his phone rang. Some, Phantom of the Opera ring tone which made him instantly know it was his father. And then he’d growled how he had to answer it, and after the loud, angry phone call in his bathroom which I could almost, clearly hear, when he got back, he wasn’t keen at all to put his hand down my pants anymore.
As a horny teenage boy, I was seriously pissed off with his dad. But as Deon Baxter, the boy who was raised to be a somewhat decent human being, I was right there to comfort Jody.
It may sound really sadistic, but it was really cool having him vent on me, complain about his dad and then just lay in my arms for a bit. That part of him that seemed to regularly break down, that was the part that made me know he needed me. And that he wanted me there with him. I liked feeling needed by him.
One of the girls started hanging onto Jody; this snapped me from my thoughts. She was a blonde girl, really pretty and wearing a bikini top and a pair of boys shorts.
It was weird how Jody’s eyes immediately locked with mine from the distance. The fire was swaying between us, heat rising suggestively.
I wasn’t angry, or jealous. Not really. I was more curious than anything.
It made me think again, question Jody’s sexuality. I mean, obviously he was into... well, getting into the whole, being with a guy thing. But, he’d also had quite a few girlfriends in high school. And then there was that, PG poster on his bedroom wall of some red-haired woman in policeman uniform. I would like to think it was a front, but I couldn’t quite tell. Asking him was out of the question, so I just sort of, remained confused. Pretended not to notice it.
Jody whispered something into the girl’s ear before making his way over to me.
“Hey, sexy,” Jody said none too quietly and leaning in for a kiss.
To say I was shocked would be the understatement of the century. I mean, I knew the guy was drunk, but was it that bad that he would actually kiss a boy in everyone’s presence. Kiss me?
I pushed him away and was relieved when nobody was paying the least bit of attention to us.
“Not having fun?” Jody raised a brow, evidently sloshed.
“Jody,” I warned, “You can’t seriously be-”
Jody rested his hands on my thighs. And that, ladies and gentlemen is when I jumped off the rock.
“I’m pretty tired,” I lied, feigning a suggestive smile, “I wanna go to bed. You coming?”
Jody grinned widely, and if he wasn’t so damn cute I would’ve been angry.
“Depends,” was all he said, leaning into me again. I cocked a brow, pushing him away a little. “Am I getting lucky?”
Yeah, I laughed. Only because the boyish smile on his face was hilarious. And if we were alone, I would have totally loved the affection he was offering. But we weren’t. God knows I can’t flirt to save my life, but he was buying it. And though I had just been ‘flirtatious’ to get him to go to bed and sleep off the alcohol, now I was thinking, maybe a little fooling around wouldn’t be too bad.
“You’ll just have to roll the dice and see,” I said.
Don’t worry, even I laughed at myself. I swear, some people are just not meant to say stuff like that. Jody was really finding me amusing and so I just went with it. I grabbed his wrist and tugged him towards the cabins. It was quite a walk, but it was necessary to get him away from people. And not just because I was horny as fuck.
Jody wrapped his arms around my waist, nibbling my ear and kissing my neck. I didn’t mind anymore, since we were on our cabin porch with absolutely no life form around us.
“I want you so bad,” I heard him whisper. I strongly doubted that he wanted me to hear that, but his verbal abandon was making me smile nonetheless.
I managed to unlock the door, even though his hands were in places that were making me twitch. He didn’t seem to care that we were right at our cabin. He turned me around, roughly placing his lips over mine. My smile vanished; groan escaping as he pressed me against the door.
And the sudden interruption was deeply unappreciated by me.
I tugged Jody into our room as someone exited the cabin beside ours. I didn’t know who it was. I couldn’t tell who it was since it was near pitch dark with only a few soft overhead bulbs around. I noticed him glance at us, from the corner of my eye. But I didn’t care. Not at that moment. Jody was way too busy making a mess of me and after the door was closed behind us, I was more than willing to let him.
Bacon. Bacon was good.
It was pretty early the next morning and I was alone in the kitchen. I supposed everyone else was still hungover and sleeping. My over indulgence, I decided, was going to be the bacon that Jody had tossed into the trolley when we’d done our shopping for this week.
As the strips of pork sizzled in the pan, I could almost feel my mother’s presence in the kitchen. I could see the look of disappointment on her face. And then another whiff of the bacon hit my nose and I totally forgot I had a mom.
The door swung open and a girl walked in.
And yeah I was disappointed. Mr. antisocial, remember?
“You’re up early,” Mika said with a cheerful smile.
I didn’t really remember everyone’s name, but hers was easy. The Grace Kelly song that always played on my mother’s favorite radio station in the car was to blame for this.
Mika was wearing a guy’s shirt, about five sizes too large for her. No doubt belonging to whomever she slept with the previous night. The baseball cap on her blonde sleep-damaged hair was making it obvious that she was making a show of it. If I wasn’t completely uninterested I might have been annoyed.
“I didn’t see you at the lake last night,” she raised a tweezed brow. I watched her dig into the over-grown freezer and yank out a carton of milk.
“I don’t blame you.” I shrugged, not bothering to inform her about my usual case of not being noticed.
“Oh well,” she smiled after exiting the pantry a moment later with a box of muesli, “there’s always tonight.”
“Lucky me,” I smiled. Completely fake by the way.
She continued to elaborate all that I missed last night but I wasn’t really paying much attention to that. I was looking at the two bowls of cereal she was serving. I had to hold myself from laughing.
The poor dude who was expecting breakfast in bed after a good night’s shag was going to get a mouth full of wheat.
Jody Mathews was in for Bacon and eggs.
“You owe me a dance tonight, okay?” her words snapped me from my thoughts and I looked up at her. She was smiling sweetly. A little suggestively too. What the hell?
“I’ve got two left feet,” I mumbled as she made her way to the door, cargo in hand.
Mika was about to answer me over her shoulder when she walked right into the dude coming in through the door. The milk from the bowls only spilt slightly but she frowned nonetheless.
“You totally did that on purpose,” she accused him. I actually sided with her when the guy couldn’t stop grinning.
And my god, what a smile.
“Is that for me,” he chuckled, reaching for one of the bowls. Mika snatched it away just in time. “You shouldn’t have.”
“I didn’t,” she retorted bitterly. There was still fondness in her voice even though she was putting on an angry front. Then she knocked him with her hip before heading out.
It only made him laugh more.
I smiled a little.
Just a little.
Okay, so, this stupid vacation was swarming with jocks who knew each other one way or another through sports camps or team building exercises. I could picture them playing Pin the Glasses on the Geek at Hate-Nerd conventions. I could picture them shoving me into lockers and strangling me with my own scarf. And though nobody had given me an even slightly hard time about anything, I was pretty sure it’s because I came with Jody Mathews.
Still, being alone in the kitchen with one of them still made me slightly self-conscious. I wasn’t afraid of being pushed around, but I was totally expecting at least one crack about something I was doing or wearing.
I tend to be an insult magnet to guys like that.
As he moved towards me, he was looking up thoughtfully. Then he grinned and pointed at me.
“Deon Baxter, right?” He said, offering me a hand.
I stared at it for all of two seconds before looking him in the eyes.
“Okay, now guess my shoe size.”
His laugh. Damn. It was really, nice.
I can admire another guys laugh even though Jody is probably still in the room with his pants off, right?
“Jody was wrong about you,” he smiled, bearing perfect white teeth, “you’re a hoot.”
Okay, now that certainly made me paranoid. Jody was wrong about me? What the hell had Jody said about me? To someone I don’t know. Which was obviously negative?
I knew I was going to be wracking my brain endlessly for an answer and so instead of bottling it up, I raised a brow.
“What did he say about me?” I mumbled.
The guys smile dropped almost instantly as if he realized he’d probably said something wrong.
“I didn’t mean –” he stopped mid sentence, choosing his words wisely. “He just said you were really reserved, that’s all. Shy, ya know?”
Okay, not as bad as I had concluded in my head.
“I’m Bradley Everett, by the way,” he smiled again, holding his hand up for the second time that morning. I took it this time, shaking it firmly as I wracked my brain for where I had heard the name before. He answered me unknowingly. “I invited Jody up here. He said he was bringing a friend. You’re the only person I don’t know here and so I figured you had to be him.”
“It was real nice of you to let me come as well.”
“The more the merrier,” he shrugged. “It’s not like I own the place or anything. I used to work for Mr. McGregor so he always gives me discounts when I bring groups.”
He had startling blue eyes.
“Jody also mentioned you were a vegetarian,” Bradley raised a brow as I took my heated pan off of the stove.
I actually blushed, eyeing the strips of simmering pork.
“You’re not going to turn me in to Meat-Eaters’ Anonymous, are you?” I feigned concern.
“That depends,” Bradley looked over my shoulder at the pan. Are you sharing?”
I have no idea where the hell the goofy grin on my face came from. I was glad when he turned to the freezer just in time not to see it. He retrieved a box of frozen chicken stick and placed a pan over the plate I had been occupying. It was still hot. I could have mentioned to him that I was just about to fry eggs there and so he could get lost, but then he looked at me with a wide grin.
“What?” I looked down at myself self-consciously.
“I got Jody those boxers for Christmas.”
Yeah. There you go. Now is your chance. Please make sure when you shoot it hits me right between the eyes.
My face totally heated up and there is no way someone couldn’t notice the blush. I’m pretty fair so blushes have always been the enemy. Unfortunately, embarrassment seemed to think it was my best friend.
“Uh- I’m sorry,” I was babbling and he was still eyeing me with a raised brow and an unwavering smile. “I forgot to pack mine. He offered me a pair, I just grabbed any.”
“Hmm,” was all Bradley said, finally turning to the pan.
I was just about to plate my bacon, and toast and forget the eggs and make a dash for the door.
“I knew he never liked them,” Bradley shrugged, “It’s just so hard shopping for that guy. I mean, he has everything he wants as it is, you know?”
“How long have you two been friends?” I asked. Right then, I rocked at changing the subject.
“God, it’s been years,” Bradley grinned in reminiscence. “We sort of lost touch after I changed schools. But we kept our promise of doing this. This whole Lake break thing. It was a promise between all of us.”
I buttered the toast as I listen to him speak. Not having much to add myself as he spoke of how they met and what they’d gotten up to. I’d heard it all from Jody so it wasn’t all new to me.
I did, however, take the time to steal continuous glances at him. At Bradley Everett.
He was wearing a pair of military boxers which did little to leave anything to the imagination. I mean, his legs were really toned. And pretty tanned. And dusted with dark hair. His butt looked solid beneath the thin fabric. The white vest he was wearing fit him perfectly, fully revealing the dip of his lover back and the rise of his shoulder.
And Jesus, his arms. I wondered how long he actually spent working out. I wondered why I didn’t take the time to. Okay, I did work out. But Taebo and Yoga are a lot different from weights and bench-presses.
His hair was almost cut like mine, except, it flicked out at the tips. It was also reasonably darker. It was nice the way his fringe did nothing to cover his eyes. Not like my hair. A cut was definitely in need.
“I got no doubt you’re gonna love this place,” he grinned at me. And I realized that I hadn’t really been listening to him.
“Never doubted I would,” I replied, only half over-analyzing Bradley Everett's smile.
Threads are fun. lol. I think I'll start one for the three stories combined. Hope you enjoyed.