It`s time for Tuesday Tales.
Today we have an excerpt from A Star-Crossed Christmas, which is a Cayuga Cougars short story being written for a hockey holidays anthology coming out later this year!
Our word prompt today is “Cabinet”. In today’s scene, we see the heat between these childhood friends starting to increase.
This story may have gay erotic scenes, strong social issues addressed and mature language. If those things offend now is the time to move onto another Tuesday Tales blog. Thanks for stopping by!
There were rails and jumps built into the yard. The rails set in concrete, the jumps made from old picnic tables and then manicured after the snows fell and buried the tables. Exiting the Subaru, I smiled at the sight. Kirk and Adam were ripping around the yard on four-wheelers, Kirk, a senior at Liberty High – Go Liberty Lions! – was pulling Adam, a freshman, back up to the driveway on a snowboard. A long length of rope was the towline. It was crazy dangerous, and it was exactly what Shaun and I had done for years.
I looked at Shaun as his brothers raced past, shouting obscenities.
“How soon can we hit those pipes?” I asked.
He opened the hatch on the car and handed me his famed yellow board. “Soon as you get a board under you.”
“Dude, no. That’s your baby.”
“I insist. She’ll do you good.” He shoved the safflower board into my chest and we went inside to find some boots that fit me. Mrs. Sandbeck met us at the door with a hug for me and a warning for her two youngest boys to be delivered by Shaun.
“Tell them that I do not want to see them towing without helmets,” she said to Shaun, while patting my cold cheeks. She was so pretty and smart. She was also the first black woman to hold the title of Mayor of Liberty.
“He can tell them, but they won’t listen,” Mr. Sandbeck tossed out as he passed by with a cup of coffee and a newspaper. “Good to see you, Mitch.”
“You too, Mr. S.” I slid into the massive closet just inside the front door. It was packed with coats, boots, boxes of bindings, skates hanging off hooks, skis, a sled, several hockey sticks, and a baseball bat and several wet softballs making a puddle on the stone floor. There were cabinets packed with gloves, hats, and scarves.
“Well, at least I’ll have done my motherly duty by warning them. This way when they end up concussed I can say, ‘I told you so’. Seems all I do is tell these boys the same things over and over. ‘Please use Febreze in your room’ or ‘I dislike crusty socks in my hamper’ or ‘If you’re in the same room that I am there will be no hands down the front of your pants’. Take the blue ones, Mitch, they’re Shaun’s old ones and should fit you.”
“Right, I’ll tell them.” Shaun said to his mother while I toed off my snow boots and wiggled my feet into Shaun’s old board boots. I was having major fuzzy feelings. The memories of doing this very thing for years ran over me like a warm summer rain.
“You are coming over tomorrow afternoon, right?”
I glanced up at Mrs. S while trying to get the liner in place so I could lace. “Oh, uh, sure, yeah. I’d love to.”
“Good.” She smiled warmly at me, gave Shaun a look that I did not grasp, and then went off to do mayorly things, I guess.
“She’s the best,” I told Shaun and bent over to lace up the heavy boots.
“Yeah, she’s great. I’m glad you’re coming over. I have something for you.”
“I have something for you too,” I whispered, feeling awkward and fat-fingered.
“Cool but not necessary. Now hurry up and lace. I’m anxious to see if you remember how to spin a one eighty.”
“Please. I knew how to spin a one-eighty when we were in third grade.”
An hour later I was back in snowboarding 101. It was embarrassing how much I’d forgotten. I’d kind of bitched about Shaun lecturing me, but after I wiped out after a simple Ollie, he’d put his boot down. We’d manage to work up through five or so simple tricks that I now had good control of. Muscle memory or something, maybe? Or maybe it was my awesome teacher.
“Okay, so, now that you’re back to where you were when we were like four,” Shaun teased, giving me a hard shoulder bump, “I want you to try something easy but will grab you some short air.”
Snow was falling at a steady but slow rate. Kirk and Adam had gone inside to eat lunch, leaving the yard for us to enjoy.
“Your body awareness is good, so let me see you try an indy grab,” Shaun said.
“Okay, yeah, I remember doing those.” I pulled my knit hat down over my ears. It kept moving up my head. Maybe my big, dumb ears were pushing it up
“Good. Come into the jump with some speed, but not too much. They’re super straight forward, so when you get some air, bend your knees and reach your backhand down to grab the board.”
“Right. Got it.” Shaun grinned and pounded on my back. Then he stood back and motioned me to head down the yard and hit that first jump. “If I nail this, and I will because I’m the boss of backyard boarding, you’ll owe me at least an hour on the ice before I go home.”
“Mitch, if you hit this trick, I’ll give you two hours on the ice and I won’t even wear skates.”
I nodded and placed the board in my hand on the snow and fastened my boots to it. The blue boots kind of clashed and were a bit tight, but who cared?
“Now remember about pressing and ollies, and keep your weight distributed on the board,” Shaun reminded me.
I rolled my eyes and edged to the slope. Down I went, the wind bitter cold in my face, my eyes watering, and my heart thumping fast as I picked up speed. I hit the jump way too fast, I knew it as soon as I cleared the snow-covered picnic table, and when I bent my knees to reach for the board, I threw myself off balance. When I hit the ground, the edge of the board dug into the snow instead of the flat bottom, and I went face first into the snow. My chin caught the brunt of the crash, and I bit down on my lower lip. Blood filled my mouth. I started to snicker.
Shaun was bellowing my name, the shouts getting closer. I rolled to my back, nose and eyes packed with snow, lip bleeding, laughing softly.
“Mitch, man, are you okay? Shit, you’re bleeding.” He dropped down beside me, kneeling on my arm then quickly apologizing and sliding his knee off my bicep. “Dude, are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I brushed at the powder on my lashes and sneezed a time or two as I sat up and freed my boots from the board. “Just busted my lip, it’s good,” I snorted in amusement.
“Shit, you look rough,” he said, his voice losing the panic it had held a minute ago. “Here.” He pulled off a glove, dug around inside his thick coveralls, and pulled out a hankie. Resting on his calves, he pressed the red square of soft cotton to my lip. I winced but continued sniggering at myself. The humor of talking shit and then wiping out so royally amusing me to no end. He pulled the hankie away, leaning in to study my lip at close range. His sleek eyebrows knotting then smoothing out. “Okay, it’s just a small gash. Don’t think it needs stitches. The moms will be upset.”
He placed the hankie tenderly to my lip again. I blinked some wet from my lashes, and met his look, intending to say something about moms and worrying. Instead, I found myself fixated on a perfect little flake of snow landing on a cheek the same color as sunbaked driftwood. The flake rested on his warm flesh for a second and then turned into a small droplet of water. I watched, spellbound, as it ran down over his stubbled jaw.
My gaze moved up to meet his. His touch was still gentle on my lip, the cotton held in place with two fingers. I reached up to pull the square aside. All I wanted now was…something. Maybe to have him press his mouth to mine again. There was a smoldering fire igniting in his brown eyes.
Copyright 2018 ©by V.L. Locey
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