In Pieces continues as Ben takes Ryan on a tour of the elegant home where the band will be staying when they're not on the road. It seems as though their host has unusual tastes. See what's up in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
In Pieces #10 (4.2)
Swallowing a sigh, Ryan followed Ben up the wide front steps and into the house. Questions would obviously have to wait for now.
“Starting the tour of Le Grand Mansion, here we have the foyer,” Ben said in a faux tour guide voice as he gestured widely. “What you and I might call the hallway.” He winked at Ryan, drawing him in as if they shared a private joke. Ryan understood what he was saying—neither one of them came from money, this was how the upper class lived. He couldn’t help but think Ben intended to change that with Salvation.
A circular wrought iron staircase wound its way to the second floor. That was something you didn’t see a lot of in St. Louis, more of a New Orleans thing. French architecture and all. He couldn’t help thinking this place looked far too elegant to be someone’s vacation home. He’d pictured something more along the lines of a cozy cabin, all knotty-pine and chinking. This was a far cry from being that.
“And there’s the dining room.” Ben waved toward a room to their left. “It comes complete with its own fireplace. As does the living room, which is right over there. Want to see?” Not waiting for an answer, he gripped Ryan’s hand and tugged him along behind him. Ryan didn’t even think of resisting, but in the back of his mind he couldn’t help but wonder when had Ben developed this dominant streak? Once upon a time, their positions had been reversed. Ryan had led the way and Ben had followed. He’d certainly changed in the ten years since Ryan had last seen him. Had this newfound confidence come with age? Or something else?
The living room proved to be warm and inviting, a warmth that had nothing to do with temperature but with the way it was furnished. A thick russet carpet spread wall-to-wall, just right for bare toes and bare feet… as well as other bare things. Such as stretching out across the floor, naked and cat-like. Ryan felt his cheeks warm at his unexpected thought—what the hell had brought that one?— but luckily Ben seemed oblivious to his musings so he forced himself to focus on other, safer things.
The stone fireplace sat against the wall to their left as they walked in, flanked on one side by a built-in book case, on the other by a luxurious pecan wood cabinet. The cabinet was crowded with an assortment of figurines and knickknacks. Ryan wondered what they were. Something pricey and pretentious, no doubt. Maybe Hummel, or even something more expensive. He wouldn’t have been surprised to find a Faberge egg or two.
“We call this the naughty room. Cam refers to it as his play room.” Ben laughed at Ryan’s confused expression. “Come take a look at this. It’s part of Cam’s private collection. He has more upstairs.” They drew closer to the cabinet and Ryan realized he’d been entirely off about these decorations. These pieces had certainly not been made by Hummel or Precious Moments, or even Faberge. No cute kittens or wide-eyed children here. No, these colorful porcelain figures were pornographic in nature—naked men and women, lithe limbs twisted about one another as they enjoyed themselves with explicit abandon. Nestled among these, Ryan noticed a variety of phallic objects. To his surprise, these turned out to be dildos, in assorted sizes and colors, as well as a number of butt plugs. He suspected that far from being decorative, these items served a more useful purpose, hence the name of the room.
Ryan had no doubt this room had actually seen a great deal of naked romping and rolling on the carpet in its time. And more…
“You’re not shocked, are you?”
Ben’s voice drew him back into the moment, away from the precipice he’d been about to fall over. He shook his head in an attempt to clear it. “Shocked?” he repeated, his voice breaking on the word. He cleared his throat of its momentary frog and continued. “Why would I be shocked?”
“I dunno. Maybe I was thinking you were still kind of innocent or something. My bad.”
Ryan gave Ben a sharp look, holding him in his gaze. For just a second, he thought he caught a glimpse of something in Ben’s eyes, something he couldn’t put his finger on. Something wistful, maybe? Hopeful, even? The next moment, Ben’s expression had changed, as if he’d drawn the shades on some inner emotion he didn’t want Ryan to witness.
That was the writer in him, of course. Real people didn’t think in those terms. Leave it to the mind of an author to conjure up something fanciful at every turn.
“I’m hardly innocent, not at my age,” Ryan protested, even as a small voice argued that he didn’t exactly have a lot of experience either. He told that voice to shut up in no uncertain terms. Okay, he’d been something of a late bloomer as far as sex was concerned, but he was no virgin. He turned his attention to the rest of the room, pushing thoughts of the obscene little figures out of his mind. For now.
“Innocence… experience. Nothing really matters in the end, does it?”
Ben flopped dramatically onto a butterscotch couch with thick cushions which sat in the center of the room. Closing his eyes, he pressed one hand dramatically to his forehead as if striking a pose. Ryan stared at him in confusion. What the hell?
And then he remembered he’d seen this act before. This was Ben’s avoidance technique, his way of deflecting things he didn’t want to deal with. Play the diva and change the subject. It had been a while, but he’d know this performance anywhere. Well, it wasn’t going to work, not this time.
“Ben, what’s wro—”
Before he could finish the thought, another voice intruded.
“For Chrissake’s, Ben, when do you plan to rehearse?”
to be continued
Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!