“Hi!” Speaking of her, Lydia bounded into the cabin, surprised by the computer. “You're…gaming? Surfing the web?”
He shut the silver laptop quietly. “Something like that.” Funny how she didn't even think to mention business.
Nothing more interesting than you. “Nope. What's going on?”
“Dad won't stop about the damn talent show.”
“Maybe you and I should try that marshmallow thing.”
“I'll be the thrower, not the catcher.”
“Hold on, now…”
“Then again,” she said in that throaty voice that gave his cock a zing, “I've put worse things in my mouth.”
“You're comparing my cock to snot?”
She shrugged. “You ever taste cum? It's pretty close.” He stayed silent as she became increasingly uncomfortable. “You've never…tasted cum…have you?”
He laughed. “No, Lydia. I've had some wild adventures, but swallowing is one thing I haven’t done. Not on a man.”
“How could you swallow on a woman?” she asked rhetorically.
He answered as if it were a real question. “When a woman ejaculates.”
“Women…isn't that a myth?”
An arched eyebrow was his reply.
“You mean…” she stumbled, clearly rattled.
“I consider this a challenge.” Pulling her into his arms, he sank into her with a long, slow kiss. They took their time, hands roaming and appreciating, tongues dancing, his mouth reveling in the warm softness of her. Those curves were abundant and strong, breasts swollen, with pert nipples at attention for his attention. Their bodies were so primed by having time together, the luxury of open-ended days an invitation to enjoy each other’s bodies as much as they explored getting to know each other.
It was divine.
She pulled away, wiping her mouth with a look of regret he wanted to take away with a few hours naked under the sheets. “Can't. Not now. Dad and Mom want to talk to us.”
Alarm spread through him. “They do?”
“Jesus, Jeremy, you look like I told you my dad found his shotgun and is hunting you down.” Her laughter stung. She wasn’t far off.
“I'm sorry. You've only been here for two days. I should be more sensitive. My family can be…overwhelming.”
“They're wonderful, actually,” he said with a deep sense of truth.
“Even Miles. And besides, so far all he really does is make snarky comments and drive around in that little red thing of his, helping people. He hasn't set a single bathroom on fire since I've been here, either.”
Ooof. She elbowed him in the gut as she marched out, laughing.
What the hell did Pete and Sandy want to talk to him about? Following that luscious ass down the stairs and on the path to the office, he caught up to Lydia and grabbed a handful. A yelp was his reward.
“You're so grabby!”
“Quit making me want to grab!”
“Do I grab your crotch in public?”
“Not nearly enough.” He halted. “Go ahead. You have my permission to touch me whenever you like. You called me the North Pole yesterday. Come sit on Santa's lap anytime, my dear.”
She rolled her eyes and resumed her walk. “Men.”
“I'll take that as a yes.” With that he goosed her again, and she took off at a sprint toward the rec hall, hair flying in the wind. Even his long legs couldn't compensate easily for her speed, and he found himself breathless when they bounded up the steps to find Pete and Sandy resting on well-worn chairs around a lovely wood stove nestled in the corner of the giant hall, the pool table empty behind them.
Breathing hard, he tried to get his bearings. Her parents seemed happy and composed, so why the summons? Curling against the edge of a loveseat, Lydia patted the seat next to her and he bent into it, knees high and hands awkward. Why did he turn into a teenager around her mom?
Because you care what she thinks.
“Don't look so glum,” Pete said to him, pointing to a small cooler next to his chair. “Want a beer?”
“Sure.” Jeremy reached in, found one, popped the top and took a swig. Sour and sweet at once, it was dark and intense, like cherries on top of coffee.
“What is this?”
“A sour ale. Like it? People either have the palate for it or they don't. It's not to everyone's liking.”
Another taste and Jeremy weighed it out. “I like it.”
Pete's smile widened. “I thought you might. Sour ales aren't an acquired taste. You know right away whether you're in the club or not.” Another smile, this one completely reaching his eyes.
“I can't stand that stuff,” Lydia said, crinkling her nose.
“Me neither,” Sandy added.
“You got the bad genes,” Pete muttered in Lydia's direction, making Jeremy choke.
“Don't make me waste the good stuff,” he hacked, coughing through laughter. Sandy reached over to pound him on the back as Lydia shot her dad an eye roll identical to the one she'd given Jeremy on the way there.
“We just wanted to take a few minutes before the craziness of the talent show kicks in—”“Two days!” Sandy interjected, interrupting Pete. “In two days!”
Pete rested a calm hand on her knee. “—to ask how you're doing and to enjoy a drink with you two.” Pete reached into the cooler and pulled out a lemon-flavored wine cooler, which Lydia grabbed with glee.
Sandy reached for a cup of tea on the end table next to her as Pete held the neck of his beer forward, initiating a toast. The rest joined in.
“To the talent show, and old traditions. And to new friends,” he added, looking pointedly and Jeremy, then Lydia
“To no flaming cats!” Sandy added.
Clink. They toasted, and as Jeremy drank deeply, gulping down half the ale in one fell swoop, he felt a warmth no alcohol or wood stove could generate.
“We have a new entrant in the talent show. Mike Davis wants to play guitar,” Pete said.
“Mike Davis?” Lydia asked. “Who's that?”
“A guest. Been here for nearly a month. Nice guy. Sticks to himself, mostly, though he was more interactive when he first came.”
“Paid for his cabin in cash,” Sandy said, as if this were remarkable. “The entire month.”
Lydia let out a low whistle, drinking more of her wine cooler. “You sure he's not running from something?”
“If he were, why would he perform?” said a voice from behind them. Miles walked in, grabbed a blueberry beer from the cooler and folded his legs under him, sitting on the floor by Pete.
“Good point,” she conceded.
“Speaking of the talent show, one of the guests sent me a link to this YouTube video,” Pete said.
Miles and Lydia froze. Jeremy felt a creeping dread fill him. Pete pointedly did not look at Lydia.
“YouTube?” Lydia squeaked. Jeremy squeezed her hand, a silent show of support.
“It was…interesting,” Sandy said, eyebrows high. “I've never seen anything quite so explicit.”
Jeremy could feel Lydia's breathing stop.
“Explicit?” he said calmly as Miles shot him an unreadable look.
“Have you ever seen a woman do certain…things..with her…” Pete tried to explain, looking to Sandy for help.
Oh, holy hell. What was this about?
* * *
Lydia could feel her heart exploding and imploding all at once. Mom and Dad had seen the video.
Mom and Dad had seen the video.
This was why she'd been asked to come here. And with Jeremy. Why with Jeremy?
Wouldn't they want to leave him out of it? There was no reason to think he was the guy in it—the news covered the fact that it was Michael Bournham all too well.
And why now? It had been a month. More than a month. Maybe it took that long to get on their radar screens, because Mom and Dad weren't exactly hip to social media. She gave Miles a searching look, and he mouthed, “Not me.”
She believed him.
Sandy pulled out her smart phone and handed it to Lydia. “You have to see for yourself.”
No. God, no. Of all the scenarios she'd imagined in which her parents learned about the video, sitting together and watching it at the same time had never played into her nightmares.
This was just too much.
A few taps and Sandy hit play.
On a video that was, blessedly, not her and Mike.
It was a video of a woman playing “God Bless America” on a kazoo.
Except she didn't use her mouth to play it.
Jeremy and Miles watched the video with her, faces impassive, then shocked, then intrigued, and—finally—the whole group rolled with laughter, tears streaming down faces, Lydia's belly shaking with joy a little too hard, her chest swelling with giggles that poured out for a tiny bit longer than they should have, sheer relief driving her.
Oh, thank you, universe.
“Dad, are you asking me to—um, to do—”
Jeremy's voice rose above the titters. “Can you do that? If so, please marry me.”
Another round of laughter.
“Can you believe a someone sent that to me and asked if she could perform that skit in the show?” Pete said. “Your mother just about did.”
“Let me guess. Was it Grandma? Because I could totally see grandma wanting to perform that.”
Pete's turn to roll his eyes. He drained his beer and said, “No, thank God. If I had to watch Madge do that it would be an early grave for me.”
Watch for the book on January 8! ;)