Ryan can't seem to catch a break. Every time he thinks he's getting some alone time with Ben, up pops someone else. Especially Cameron! What's going on? Find out more 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 #25 (7.5)
Cameron was the epitome of casual in his rainbow-hued tie-dyed T-shirt and a pair of stone-washed jeans. A bright yellow scarf stamped with assorted fleur de lis hung about his neck; the yellow highlighted the gold flecks in his hazel eyes. He glanced with amusement at the fruit that lay on the table. “Having a snack before breakfast?”
“This is breakfast,” Ben replied.
“To each his own,” Cameron said cheerfully. “I was going to make an omelet. Care to join me in the kitchen, Ryan?”
Ryan wondered why the invitation was for him alone, obviously excluding Ben. He was thoroughly confused about what sort of relationship they had. Sometimes he thought Ben disliked Cameron in some way. Maybe he was jealous of him? And yet at other times, they seemed thick as thieves. And he’d certainly come running when Cameron had beckoned in the middle of the night. Surely Cameron wasn’t hitting on him?
“Um, no thanks. We’re good here,” Ryan answered for both of them. When Ben squeezed his hand, Ryan knew he’d given the right response.
“Maybe tomorrow,” Cameron said. “Say, I just had an idea. While you guys are busy rehearsing for tomorrow night, why don’t I take Ryan with me and get him something to wear for the party?”
“That’s a generous offer, but we won’t be rehearsing until later. I thought I’d take Ryan on a little scenic tour, since we’ll have the time. Show him a little of New Orleans, since this is his first time here.”
“Well dang, how am I supposed to make time with this handsome guy if you insist on taking him away?” Cameron laughed.
Ben rose from the table, and Ryan quickly followed suit, since they were still holding hands.
“Actually I think we’ll get something out. I’ve lost my appetite for fruit right now.”
He pushed past Cameron, Ryan in tow, but when they’d reached the doorway, Ben turned, sliding one arm about Ryan’s waist. “It’s hard to take you seriously, Cam, when I know your taste runs to women. But even if it didn’t, he’s mine. C’mon, Ryan, let’s go.” Turning, they headed toward the front of the house. Ryan thought he heard Cameron chuckle behind them, but he couldn’t be sure. On a table near the front door, Ben scooped up a set of car keys that lay there. “Thanks for letting me use the car,” he called over his shoulder.
“I think he was just joking, Ben,” Ryan said once they’d settled into the luxury sedan. He’d half expected Cameron to follow them out, maybe take back the keys to his car, but there was no sign of him. “He’s not interested in me.”
“I’m not taking any chances.” Ben pressed his lips together firmly as he rounded the curved driveway and pulled out onto the road. “I don’t like the way he acts around Abby, and I won’t let him harass you too.”
“Abby?” Ryan was confused. “What do you mean harass? Did he make a pass at her? Abby seems more than able to stand up for herself. Plus she’s got Aiden to protect her.”
“And you’ve got me.” Ben relaxed a little behind the wheel, his breathing a little more even. “But sometimes when Cam has too much to drink, he can be a handful. And he forgets his manners. That’s one reason why Abby’s sharing a room with Aiden. So he can keep an eye on her and keep Cameron away.”
“Have you talked to him about it? Has Aiden?”
Ben offered Ryan a wry smile. “It’s kind of hard to ask your biggest backer if he has unsavory intentions toward your drummer, you know? Takes a little tact, which isn’t necessarily something I possess. And Aiden’s as likely to kick his ass as talk to him if he thinks for one moment he’ll touch Abby. Someday we’ll be rich and famous, and we’ll pay Cameron back his investment. And when that day arrives, we’ll wash our hands of him.”
“I believe in you, Ben,” Ryan said sincerely. “I’ve always believed in you. I think Salvation is great, and I think you have an amazing voice.”
Ben blushed at Ryan’s words. He rewarded Ryan with a warm smile, just before he turned off the main road, stopping at the first light, which was red. He leaned over and kissed Ryan. “Thank you,” he said softly. “That means everything to me.”
The light changed and he had to draw back, but Ryan felt that the atmosphere in the car had lightened considerably.
“Where are we going?” Ryan asked.
“Breakfast. I know a little place not too far from here. They have a great breakfast menu.” He reached for Ryan’s hand and placed it on top of his thigh. Ryan found himself very pleased at the intimate gesture, scooting as close as he could to Ben.
A few minutes later, he pulled into a parking lot and turned off the engine. “We’re here,” he announced, waving toward the building in front of them.
The name was painted on the wall in day glo blue: Liz’s Where Y’at Diner.
“C’mon, let’s eat,” Ben said.
to be continued'
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