Ryan is going with Salvation on their first gig since he joined them. That must be exciting, right? See what's going on 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 #29 (8.2)
The reason for Ben’s words became apparent as they approached the overly large bridge that bisected Lake Pontchartrain. Ryan groaned. Oh no, not again. Why hadn’t he bothered to find out where Thibodaux was? At least he would have been better prepared for this.
He swallowed hard, determined not to be the baby he’d been the last time. Bad enough Ben had witnessed his panic. He didn’t want to add insult to injury by embarrassing Ben in front of Aiden and Abby, although he wasn’t sure he could pull that off since he felt close to freaking out again at the sight of the bridge.
But his worries turned out to be groundless. Ben was amazing. He forestalled any attack of nerves on Ryan’s part by distracting Ryan with gentle kisses and soft words. Ben kept Ryan’s attention so focused on him that he had no time to worry about the bridge or the lake or anything but the man who touched him so tenderly. Before he knew it, they were on the other side of the lake, crisis averted, and hopefully Aiden and Abby none the wiser.
If either Abby or Aiden had noticed anything of what was going on in the back seat, they kept it to themselves. One of them had turned up the radio—a soft jazz station—in lieu of conversation, for which Ryan was grateful.
Ryan laid his head against Ben’s chest, inhaling his scent and his warmth, burrowing into him. Ben’s arm encompassed him, comfortable and familiar, and oh so good. It wasn’t until they’d passed through Metairie, and were driving out into more rural areas that Ryan realized, with a guilty start, what he was doing to Ben’s costume.
He attempted to sit up, but Ben held him firmly. “What’s the matter?” Ben asked.
“Your clothes. I’m messing them all up, and you need to perform tonight,” Ryan said softly. How could he be so selfish? Ben was going to work, and for that matter, so was he. They weren’t teenagers anymore, and they weren’t on a date. He needed to learn better self-control where Ben was concerned.
“So I’m a little rumpled.” Ben laughed. “It’s going to be fine. These kids won’t even notice. Trust me. C’mon, baby, just relax.” Ben coaxed Ryan into his former comfortable position. He could feel Ben’s heartbeat, strong beneath him. He closed his eyes and let himself accept the security Ben’s embrace afforded. How times had changed. Once he’d been the one who offered Ben his strength and held him in the darkness of the night. Now Ben was his haven. His home. His heart.
If only he could stay there forever, safe with Ben, and forget about the rest of the world. How amazing would that be?
All too soon it seemed they arrived at their destination. From what Ryan could see of it in the fading light, the house where the party was to be held was a stereotypical Southern mansion-style, with large columns in the front and a wide veranda. The kind where genteelly dressed ladies and gentlemen sipped at mint juleps and fanned themselves in the moist Southern heat. The drive wound around the house, toward the back, probably used as an entrance for trades people and other non-guests. Sure enough, the equipment van was already there, the back doors open, but no sign of Deacon or Keanu. Aiden parked Cameron’s car behind the van, and they all got out.
“I bet this place has a ballroom and everything,” Ryan speculated. Hell, even the back of the house looked elegant. He thought Cameron’s house was nice, but it was nothing like this. Then again, didn’t Ben say it was his second home, not first?
“They do, but we won’t be going inside,” Aiden said.
Ryan must have looked startled at that. “It’s an outdoor concert,” Ben explained.
“Friends and relatives of the birthday boy?” Ryan asked.
“About fifty kids his age, I think,” Ben said. “I’m not sure. Marge handles the details, then she tells us where to go. Ours not to reason why.” He winked at Ryan.
to be continued
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