A Little Weird: author extra
A Little Weird author extra! It was supposed to take place about 2/3 of the way through the book, but it didn't quite fit in. Still, it's spoiler-free (or rather, it only spoils the first few paragraphs!), and I thought it made a nice little vignette!
Here are you, worksafe unless your work is really uptight. (There's some kissing.)
Something stroked up the inside of Kel's leg, making him jump as he swung. His ball careened sideways, skipping over a mount and going wide of the hole by a foot. London muffled a laugh. Kel turned to glare at Ty who was sitting on the bench behind him, looking innocent.
"That was just mean," Kel growled, eyes narrowing."I'm already losing."
Ty's grin stretched across his dark face, lighting oak-colored eyes. "But your reaction is so fun."
Kel shot him a dirty look and stalked to the other bench, sitting heavily while London took his place. Winter sun shone down on them, leaving him chilled despite the hoodie he wore under a leather jacket. London didn't look cold as she set her golf ball down on the mat, and she was only wearing a thermal with a T-shirt over it.
So maybe it wasn't the weather. Maybe it was a lack of sleep. Kel rubbed his eyes and tried to ignore knotted muscles and the sick feeling in his gut. "If we had to play a stick-and-ball game," he muttered, "why couldn't it have been pool? At least that's indoors and I don't lose so readily."
"London likes mini-golf." Ty lazed on his bench, a scarf of muted blues and grays wrapped around his neck.
London swung and hit, her ball dropping into the highest possible opening and coming out the other end of the tube, right into the hole-in-one. She twisted long, red hair back before she danced over the faux-rock to watch her ball vanish as it was collected after the final hole. She stood on the irregular cement with ease, lithe and graceful while the wind gusted. "Besides, if we're going to play a game with balls and sticks that doesn't involve mini-golf, I can think of better ones than pool." Her eyes glittered as she grinned. The innuendo was impossible to miss when she said it in that tone of voice.
"Jesus, London," Kel muttered, glancing around. "There are kids here."
She shrugged. "None nearby." A graceful, absent-minded gesture took in the nearest group, waiting for their turn at a hole some fifteen feet away. "They can't hear me."
"You still shouldn't--" It was like arguing with a stream. Kel gave up.
London sat next to him. He could feel her gaze, as if she could bore right down into his soul. It was acutely uncomfortable. No one needed to see that part of him.
"Rough night?" she asked.
Ty's eyes were on him now, too, and Ty always saw too much. Kel didn't look at either of them. "It's fine." The skin between his shoulder blades itched as if waiting for a bullet. A group of kids broke into shrill laughter, and all he could hear was a scream. He couldn't breathe out here. "You know what?" He stood, handing his club to London. "Finish the course for me. I need to use the bathroom."
"Kel--" Ty began, but stopped when Kel gave one sharp shake of his head and started resolutely for the building.
He did have to use the bathroom. That wasn't a lie. They could return the clubs without him. When he was done he leaned on the sink, staring back at his own reflection in smokey colored glass. His pupils were too big, and his blue irises seemed to mirror the winter sky. Bleak. Ty and London had invited him over tonight for just the sort of ball-and-stick games London implied, and he wasn't sure he could do it. He closed his eyes and splashed water on his face, running wet hands through his shaggy, brown hair.
The smell of gunpowder and burned skin filled his nostrils. Explosions burst behind his eyes. The memories that had forced their way into his dreams were right there, at the surface, and he couldn't seem to shake them.
"Kel?" A woman's voice. He looked up quickly, meeting London's bourbon gaze in the mirror.
"This is the men's room, London." And he didn't like that she might have seen him like this. There was Ty behind her, pushing her farther into the room and closing the door quietly.
London tipped her head toward the handicapped stall and headed that way with determination.
"No," Kel said, but she didn't seem to hear him. More likely she was just ignoring him, because she never seemed to particularly care about the rules even when there were kids running around.
Ty stepped up behind him, a smile playing gently. "Relax. Come on." Ty draped an arm across Kel's shoulders, easy and resolute all at once. "We'll give you something better to think about."
Making out in the bathroom was one of those stupid things that teenagers did, that people were supposed to outgrow once they hit their mid-twenties. Like mini-golf. Somehow, Kel found himself in the handicapped stall anyway, while Ty locked the door and London wrapped her arms around him and kissed him thoroughly.
The smell of her shampoo was like a balm, the feel of lean curves under his hands far better than the memory of hard steel. He kissed back, pushing her against the wall, suddenly desperate. She sucked on his lower lip, hands grasping the waistband of his jeans to pull him closer. At five foot nine she was only an inch shorter than Kel, and it was easy to lick her ear, then thread his fingers through her hair and tug her head to expose her neck. Easier when she murmured encouragement and arched into him.
He was shaking. He realized it as Ty's arm came around him, between him and London, pulling him back against Ty's chest. He argued wordlessly, resisting Ty's tug, holding tighter to London. This, he could control. He could drown himself in something other than what lurked in his mind, replace one set of memories with another temporarily.
Tyrone's voice rumbled next to his ear, quiet and deep and insistent. "Let go, Kel."
He couldn't. He leaned his forehead against London's, caught between the couple, and closed his eyes. "I can't do what you want me to do."
"Sure you can." Tyrone was implacable. "Just let go."
It was too hard. If he lost control now, if he gave it up, there was nothing to keep the memories back. "You don't understand--"
Tyrone interrupted. "We got you here. It's safe. Let go."
The knots in his stomach, the sickness in his gut, were all still there. With difficulty he let go of London. When Tyrone tugged, he fell back. A step, and another. London's hands slid up under his jacket, pushing it off when Tyrone moved far enough to let her. London hung it on the bathroom hook. Tyrone looped one arm over Kel's chest, the other hand at Kel's waist, drawing him back until they were pressed together. London pushed up against Kel, smiling, hands edging toward the hem of his shirt. He fought the impulse to catch her up. Tyrone's hands slid down his arms, linking his fingers and drawing them over his head.
Kel hesitated. It was too vulnerable, too--
"Let go," Tyrone murmured into his ear.
He cursed under his breath, closing his eyes for a minute. He could let go. He could. He trusted them, and it would be fine. Tyrone brought Kel's arms up, linked them behind Tyrone's neck so Kel could feel smooth skin and the stubble of a shorn head under his pinkies, so he was stretched up along Tyrone's body. Kel's arms shook with the effort of leaving them there.
"Good." Tyrone's single word made something release in his chest. His stomach unclenched, more so when Tyrone stroked down his sides, strong hands firm against Kel's obliques.
London made an approving noise. Her fingers found the edge of Kel's hoodie and went under, hot against his chilled skin. "We're going to take you home and do the most wonderful things," she purred, nuzzling under his jaw. He tipped his head back so she could, and curled his fingers at the back of Tyrone's skull.
"I want--" he started, then ducked his head enough to kiss her, to sweep his tongue over the seam of her lips until she parted and lapped back with teasing brushes of her tongue.
Tyrone picked up where London had left off petting, pulling Kel's hips back until Kel could feel his erection. When Tyrone spoke, it was in a deep murmur like being rubbed with velvet-sheathed stone. "We're just going to work you through until you are way too tired for dreaming, and trust me, it'll be a good night. You just have to listen."
The knots in his muscles gave way, unraveling as he groaned against London.
"Good," Tyrone said warmly, as if he could feel it when Kel let go. Hell, maybe he could. Kel wouldn't put it past him.
London pulled away. Kel yearned toward her for a moment, but stopped when he couldn't move farther without taking his hands off Tyrone's neck. Tyrone chuckled against Kel's nape.
London had that look about her, the look that said she was going to torture her bedpartners in the best way possible, and she was already excited about it. She picked up Kel's jacket and pushed it at him, and he brought his hands down to catch it. Tyrone's palms were still warm and firm at his hips, steadying him as he straightened.
"Better?" she asked, reaching out to hook her fingertips in his pockets.
He paused, realizing that for the first time all day his tension was gone. "Yeah," he said, a little dazed, a little uncomfortable with that knowledge. Normal people didn't relax at giving up control.
Tyrone chuckled against him, running big hands up and down Kel's sides as if rewarding him. "Good subs," he murmured warmly against Kel's ear, "get good rewards."
"Fuck," Kel breathed, swallowing against arousal as it spilled through his blood.
London laughed. "Maybe. We'll see." She winked once and headed out of the stall.