Ryan tries to stay awake until Ben's return, but that doesn't happen. When he wakes, he's afraid to discover that Ben is gone. But that didn't happen. Of course, neither did anything else. See what's happening in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
In Pieces #22 (7.2)
The temptation to join Ben in the shower was strong, but Ryan managed to resist the impulse. The sooner he dressed and headed downstairs, though, the better. The longer he lingered here, thinking about a naked Ben, the stronger the urge would become to throw open the door and let nature take its course and he might not be able to fight it. To distract himself, he set his suitcase on the bed and opened it. Get dressed and get out.
Casual would be the order of the day, he decided. At least until the band went on tour. He wasn’t sure how he was expected to dress for performances. He could ask Ben about that later. He selected a pair of comfortable gray slacks and a short-sleeved white shirt, unpacked the rest of his clothes into the dresser Ben had indicated for his use. The toiletries could wait until later. He tied his sneakers, picked up his laptop, and quickly exited the bedroom.
He was beginning to get used to the layout of the house already and managed to find the kitchen without any problems. The only person in sight was Aiden, who stood by the counter, pouring himself a cup of coffee. Glancing up as Ryan entered the room, he flashed him a friendly smile.
“Want a cup?” Aiden offered.
“I’d love one.” Ryan returned the smile. “No one else up yet?”
Aiden took another mug from a tree next to the coffeepot and poured. “Not that I’ve seen. Cameron went out early. I heard him leave a while ago. Abby’s sleeping in a little. She had a bad night. Oh, you already know that, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I remember. How’s she doing?” Ryan asked. “Whatever she saw last night really spooked her, didn’t it?”
“Yeah, it did.”
Ryan noticed that Aiden didn’t meet his eyes when he said that, but what was there to lie about? Unless, of course, he knew more about what had happened than he was letting on. Abby hadn’t struck him as the nervous type, not someone who would get easily frightened by ghost stories, but you never knew. Now her brother’s behavior spoke volumes, like maybe Ryan was on to something. But what?
Ryan decided not to pursue the subject. He wanted to make friends, not enemies. Aiden had no reason to trust him yet, or even like him. Besides, whatever the real reason it wasn’t likely to be something either twin would want to see in print, so not food for Ryan’s fodder. A change of subject was definitely in order, but Aiden beat him to the punch.
“Do you take cream or sugar?”
“Black’s just fine with me.”
“Black it is, then. Want to go out on the veranda? It’s a beautiful day.” Aiden swept his hand in a wide gesture. The outdoors did indeed beckon.
“I like that idea,” Ryan said. “Mind if we talk while we drink? I thought I’d gather some background material for the book, talk to the members of the band individually.”
“Sure,” Aiden replied. “That sounds like a plan. Let’s get to it.” He opened the door for Ryan, who was fumbling both his coffee and the laptop.
“Thanks, man,” he said as he walked past Aiden, onto the veranda.
They took a seat at one of the tables. The wooden deck chairs were comfortably cushioned in shades of blue and green. Not a cloud married the beauty of the cerulean sky, and the matching umbrella in the middle of the table provided more than adequate shade from the direct rays of the sun.
Ryan opened his laptop, then brought up Word. He’d already made folders for each member of the band, to keep things organized. He was just getting background material for now. He still needed to discuss more about the book with Ben, in terms of what he really wanted out of this book, so he could get a better handle on what he was doing. Information gathering was good for now, but that only went so far.
He’d put Aiden and Abby into the same folder. He would make separate files, of course.
“Before we start, there’s something I’d like to get out of the way,” Aiden said. He held his cup of coffee in mid-air, his eyes locked on Ryan. The ready smile had disappeared, and Ryan knew something serious was coming his way. He braced himself for whatever Aiden had to say.
“You can ask Abby all the questions you like about being in the band, her music. Any of that stuff. But don’t question her about California, or becoming transgender, or anything about our family. All of that is off the table. Capisce?”
Ryan glanced up from his laptop in surprise. The normally amiable Aiden had just become a fierce defender of his sister. What was in their past that needed protecting, he wondered.
to be continued
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