Ben is showing Ryan around the vacation home which will be the base for Salvation's tour, and shows Ryan some of Cameron's naughty knickknacks.Ryan feels that something is wrong with Ben but when he tries to find out, they are interrupted. See what's happening in this week's chapter of In Pieces. And don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they've been up to!
In Pieces #11 (4.3)
A slender young man burst through the doorway with all the force of a tornado. He made a beeline toward Ben, never stopping to draw a breath.
“We’ve been waiting for you, Ben. We need to quit screwing around, we need to practice, dude.”
Despite his words, Ryan had the impression that he wasn’t upset, just impatient. He gave off definite energy vibes, as if he was overly caffeinated or something. Before Ben had a chance to make any sort of reply, the newcomer had diverted his attention to Ryan. Changing course, he circled him, eyeing him curiously.
“Well, well, what do we have here? Or should I say who? Don’t tell me. You must be that fabulous writer Ben’s been raving about so much. I was beginning to wonder if such a perfect creature even existed.”
Ryan felt his cheeks warm. He couldn’t help but wonder what Ben had been saying about him, but it must be good, right?
“Guilty as charged,” he confessed. “Writer. Not sure about fabulous, and definitely not perfect.”
“Keanu, don’t harass Ryan before you even get to know him,” Ben said. “Give him a chance to get used to everyone without scaring him off, if you don’t mind.” He rose from the couch, all signs of his previous despair having disappeared, and put a protective arm about Ryan. “We just got in from the airport. I was giving him the tour of the house. So cool your jets, please, if you don’t mind.”
Never missing a beat, Keanu turned gracefully toward Ryan and held out his hand. “Then I’ll just introduce myself and play nice. Keanu Nakamura. Aka Bishop. I play bass.”
Ryan took the hand that was being offered and gave it a shake. Keanu’s hand was warm and firm. His dark eyes were slightly uptilted at the edges, giving him an exotic look which matched his golden skin fairly glowed. Was this band filled with nothing but beauties?
“Ryan Fremont,” he said in return. “Writer. Oh wait, you just said that. Sorry.”
“No worries, it’s all good.” Keanu dropped Ryan’s hand and turned back to Ben. “I can see why you took your time getting back,” he said with a wink. “I would too, if it meant getting to spend time with such a cutie.”
“I wouldn’t let Deacon hear you say that,” Ben retorted, a slight edge to his voice. “He might not understand.”
Keanu laughed. “Deacon is the least jealous person I know. He knows he’s the only one for me. But he also knows I’m not blind. And neither is he. I think we’ll both enjoy spending time with you, Mr. Writer.”
Ryan felt Ben’s arm tighten just a fraction. Surely that wasn’t in response to anything Keanu said? Than again, Ben had always been somewhat possessive when it came to Ryan. Once they overcame their initial antipathy, that is. Ryan found himself leaning in to Ben just a little bit, even if by doing so, he was reinforcing his behavior. He found Keanu to be just a little… overwhelming.
“Where’s Deacon now?” Ben asked.
“Out back, with Aiden and Abby. Rehearsing. We’d sound better if you joined us. Naturally.”
Ben’s grip tightened a little more. Tension seemed to flow through him, sending an unexpected shock through Ryan, which left him speechless. What was really going on here? Other than some strange kind of pissing contest?
Without warning, Ben removed his arm and stepped away from Ryan, toward the bass player. He drew himself up to his full height, standing toe to toe with Keanu. The other man was slightly taller, but something about Ben seemed to create the illusion of height, as if they were actually eye to eye.
A long moment passed as they stared one another down. Then Keanu shifted his gaze to the floor, as if something very interesting there had just caught his attention.
“I’m going to finish giving Ryan the tour of the house and help him get situated. Then we’ll both be out. Tell the others. Are we clear?”
Keanu nodded. “Perfectly,” he said in a quiet voice, a far cry from his earlier cheeky tone. Ryan glanced between the two men in confusion. What had just happened?
Keanu spun on his heel and exited the room as quickly as he had entered, but without any of the bluster. Ryan glanced at Ben. He was all smiles and sunshine. Probably because he’d just gotten his own way.
“Let’s continue with the tour,” he said, taking Ryan’s hand in his.
to be continued
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