I drew my inspiration this week from one of our picture prompts:
Last week, as you'll recall, I started a new tale - No Way Out. And we met Shylor and Randy. Today we meet someone else. Who? Gotta read it to find out! Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow my tale. Enjoy!
No Way Out #2
A guy could sure get used to living in a place like this. These weren’t just houses, they were more like mansions to Wyatt Findley. Raised in a cluster of tightly packed brick homes in south St. Louis, he’d had little exposure to the sort of life that people enjoyed in more well-to-do sections of the city. But all of that was changing, and Wyatt was meeting people now he’d only dreamed of getting to know before.
Still, he had a long way to go before he became one of them.
In the meantime, he’d jumped at the chance to housesit for a friend of his mentor, Lukas Callahan. He didn’t even need Lukas’ reminder that a patron of the arts was a grand thing to have. Wyatt knew that, as did every other student at the art institute he attended. He would have leapt at the opportunity, anyway, just to have a place to himself. One where he wasn’t crowded in with a gaggle of other up-and-coming artists, all vying for space in which to paint. He would have done it for that alone, but the homeowner had thrown in food, the use of one of his cars, and a generous stipend to boot.
Heaven, Wyatt decided, this was heaven.
The houses on this private cul-de-sac were widely spaced and few. He was surprised the street wasn’t gated, but then it didn’t lead anywhere and he’d come to realize that traffic was generally limited to the inhabitants. There were only five houses, two on either side and one at the end. The one he lived in was the last house on the left as you came down the street from the main thoroughfare.
He’d caught glimpses of the couple next door. They were older, probably retired. She liked to garden and spent a lot of time tending to her flowers and shrubbery. Wyatt had no idea what he did. So far the only visitors he’d seen were of the delivery variety.
The house at the end of the street was for sale, a magnificent Tudor, which probably had a magnificent price tag. In this economy, it might be a difficult sell unless they brought down the asking price. But then, it was way out of Wyatt’s league for quite some time to come.
The first house on the right was also empty, but not for sale. Wyatt suspected the homeowner was away, perhaps on business. A pricey landscape company arrived on a regular basis, and what appeared to be either a caretaker or housekeeper or something.
That left the house directly across the street, the one with the two men. Two very different men.
Granted, Wyatt had only been in the neighborhood for a couple of weeks, so he wasn’t exactly what you’d call an expert on them or anything. But he was confused about their dynamics. At first he’d assumed they were employer and employee. The younger man did all the work while the older one supervised. And then he’d decided they were father and son, considering the apparent disparity in their ages. But that illusion had been dispelled when he caught sight of the kiss. Not a fatherly kiss, by any means. Although it didn’t exactly look romantic either. Why he thought that, Wyatt couldn’t say.
Perhaps it was a certain stiffness in the older one’s demeanor. Something almost cold and forbidding.
Wyatt thought the older man was handsome, in a slick sort of Cary Grant way, minus the warmth. But the younger one... he was very cute. He had long blond hair that he sometimes wore in a tail at the nape of his neck. He couldn’t tell eye color from a distance, but in his imagination, they were blue as a summer sky in St. Louis, and very expressive. He longed to see him closer up, to affirm his first impression. Maybe get to know him better. It didn’t seem like he went anywhere, at least Wyatt never saw him leave the house, except in the company of the older man, whom Wyatt dubbed The Keeper.
Even if he was taken romantically, who couldn’t use a friend?
Wyatt peeked through the living room window. There he was now. Correction, there they were. The blond was on his knees, scrubbing at the expensive sedan the Keeper drove. Come to think of it, hadn’t he been doing that same thing a few hours ago? How long did it take to wash a car? And come to think of it, couldn’t Mr. Fancy Pants afford to take it to the sort of car wash where they not only washed it inside and out, they detailed it to smell brand new? Hell, they’d probably pick it up and deliver it for him if he asked.
So why was he making this guy do it?
In his mind’s eye, Wyatt saw the blond in a slightly different scenario—on his knees, hands bound behind his back, head bowed in silent submission. What had brought that on?
Suddenly, Wyatt had the irrational desire to free the blond from his imaginary bonds, to set him free. It was time he discovered the true state of affairs, for his own peace of mind. Afterward, he’d laugh about it, and tell himself how foolish he was. And maybe work it into a sketch or painting.
He took a quick glance in the mirror. His brown curls were unruly—what else was new?—and perhaps he had a few smudges under his dark blue eyes. He had a bad habit of rubbing at them when he was drawing, and he wasn’t very good at cleaning up after himself.
He quickly crossed the street, approaching the pair, frozen in their curious tableau.
He meant to say hello and introduce himself. Explain that he was staying across the street. But something went haywire in his brain as he gazed in utter fascination at the handsome man.
“Is something wrong?” he blurted out instead.
to be continued
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Until next time, take care!