Last week, as you'll recall in No Way Out, Wyatt and Randy didn't exactly hit it off. And Shy paid a price... can that poor guy ever get a break? See what happens in this week's installment. And don't forget to check out the other Briefers, whose links follow my tale. Enjoy!
No Way Out #5
More than a week went by before Wyatt was able to turn his attention to the strange case of Shylor and Randy across the street. Not that he’d forgotten about Shylor. Far from it. The blond occupied a large percentage of his waking thoughts, but real life had a cruel way of intruding itself and it had kept Wyatt fully occupied, what with final exams, preparing his portfolio in hopes of receiving a showing, and dealing with a broken pipe in the kitchen which had burst in the middle of one night and made quite the mess. Tests and painting and plumbers, oh my!
The same night on which he’d met the strange couple, Wyatt had noticed the car that Shylor had labored over for so long was missing from the driveway. Randy must have taken Shy out. That was something, he supposed. A reward for all his hard work. Even if the poor guy had to spend it in the company of the unpleasant older man. Randy had certainly not made a favorable impression on Wyatt... but Shy had.
He’d noticed, when they first met, Shy’s eyes were just as blue as he’d imagined they were. He’d held the color in his mind’s eye, painstakingly mixing the paints on his palette until he recreated the exact shade.
Wyatt wanted to know more about Shy, learn what made him tick. He needed to know what the relationship was between those two. They had to be lovers, sure, that was more than obvious, but still... Why were they even together? There must be a story there. Wyatt didn’t feel any love vibrations between them and that concerned him. Granted, he’d not spent all that much time as an observer of their situation. Perhaps he was jumping to conclusions.
His gut instinct told him he wasn’t.
He wanted to bring a smile to Shy’s face, ease the strain he saw there, bring him a bit of genuine joy. Or even a whole lot. But how could he with the Keeper maintaining such a tight rein on him? Was that a public face he wore, and perhaps in private he relaxed, and things were more agreeable, less tense?
Wyatt wanted to believe that was true, but his head screamed at him that something just wasn’t right there. Call it his artist’s instinct. That thing that helped him see what others didn’t. He’d been a student of human nature, attempting to bring it to life on his canvas, too long not to have gained some insight. And all his senses told him that Randy wasn’t what he seemed to be, and that life in the house across the street was skewed in some way.
Well, common sense told him the man had to work some time, didn’t he? Of course he did. Wyatt would bide his time, and strike when the moment was right.
The following Wednesday, Wyatt rose and made himself a pot of coffee. Not having any more classes until the summer session began was a welcome break. He sat in the kitchen, sipping at the liquid heat, listening to an early morning talk show on the radio. Normally, he enjoyed the scathing humor of the two hosts, who often played against one another, and spun tunes in between witty repartee. But when one of them joked about there being rain in the forecast, Wyatt decided maybe he’d cut the grass before he couldn’t. Good old St. Louis weather. Turn your back on it, and it changed. Not always for the better.
The homeowner, Mr. Masterson, had a zero-turn lawn mower in the detached garage at the back of the house that was almost brand new. It was a sweet ride. Wyatt enjoyed the orderly progression of its finely honed blades as he cut the lush zoysia into aesthetically pleasing rows, following the contour of the yard. It gave Wyatt a chance to exert himself physically, while a myriad of pictures turned over in his mind.
Every single one of the images had bright blue eyes, and a heart-stopping smile. He just knew if he could coax Shy into smiling for him, the result would be spectacular. Worthy of a painting.
What he wouldn’t give to be able to put such a vision on canvas.
He finished cutting the grass before any sign of precipitation raised its ugly head. Wyatt brushed his arm across his forehead, wiping at the sweat he’d worked up. Glancing across the street, he realized the sedan was missing.
His chance was now. Would he take it?
Hell yeah. But first, he needed to rid himself of the stank of perspiration. He literally jumped into the shower and quickly scrubbed away the offending grime, then toweled off. Trying not to overthink things, he settled for a pair of camel shorts that he knew were flattering to him and showed off his slender legs, and a favorite T-shirt emblazoned with the image of Leonardo da Vinci.
He ran a quick brush through his curly mop, figuring it would dry well enough on its own, shoved the house key into one pocket, his wallet in the other, and locked the door behind him. Just as he started down the front walk, a familiar melody wafted toward him. Wyatt had to smile. He’d know that music anywhere. The ice cream man was coming.
That was it! He snapped his fingers at the scathingly brilliant idea he’d just had. It seemed forever until the large colorful truck turned down his street. Probably got held up by the children on the next block, wanting their own creamy treats. But it approached at last. Wyatt was the only person waiting for it.
“What’ll you have?” the driver asked.
Wyatt bought two cones—one chocolate, one vanilla, just in case. He had just enough change to cover his purchase, thanked the vendor, and crossed the street with confidence.
An artist bearing gifts.
He approached the door, juggled the cones and rang the bell, then waited.
to be continued
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