Wednesday, August 24, 2011

CHAPTER TWENTY

I know Bekah's been weird lately, but that's transition for ya. ;)

The beginning of this chap looks like the same thing I posted before and removed, but it's not the same at all. :)



CHAPTER TWENTY

A couple of years ago, she’d have enjoyed prancing around in a short blue skirt and bright red boots, grinning inwardly at the dropped jaws as her male peers admired her legs.  It wasn’t so bad now, except that she’d developed more of a conscience, thanks to Shields and all his insight. Despite what she’d learned, she felt like swaggering by him to the tune of Thriller Night, just to see if he’d stagger or drool. 

Daddy would totally disapprove of her behavior, but Daddy had left and it was high time she stopped pouting about it.  If he didn’t want her flirting with teachers, then he needed to get his butt together and come stop her.

She pressed through the throng of vampires, witches and super-heroes who were dancing and twirling and goofing off like a bunch of first graders and made her way to the punch bowl.  Stopping, she tugged upward on her cleavage-baring Wonder Woman top and rolled her eyes at the idiot to her left who whistled as he passed.

Guys could be such jerks and not too long ago, she’d been chanting about their lack of trustworthiness.   Most of them only wanted one thing, anyway, and even the two who’d managed to catch her interest needed to prove themselves.

One of them popped into focus as she strained through the flashing lights: the tall Spider-Man, his hands folded behind his back in a very teacherly fashion.  Standing in front of the aluminum d├ęcor that hung from the ceiling like oodles of long noodles, he appeared to be watching her.

Though she’d never pictured him dressed as Spidey, she’d forgive the cheesy tights if he’d show his attraction again.  Ever since she’d opened her big mouth and accused him of jealousy, he’d hardly held her gaze for even a few seconds, dang him.  But she knew he wanted to.  He couldn’t have written off his attraction as easily as he wanted her to believe.

Sometime she’d strike his weak point and she couldn’t wait to see his reaction.

Ugh, maybe she just needed a good slap.  She could just picture Daddy wagging his finger while lecturing her for her flirtiness and temptation to test poor guys in awkward positions.  She could hear Shields reminding her that all have sinned and she was no different…so what right did she have to put anyone to the test?

Still, it seemed these guys’ trustworthiness could only be proven through lots of pressure.

Why test someone you can’t be with, anyway?  You may not be his student for long, but I don’t think Dan’s going to run off into the sunset the day after graduation.

Yeah, not too likely.  But to heck with crying about it.  She’d been moping long enough and she’d rather jump off a cliff than throw away the rest of her school year pining over a teacher.  Who needed him?

Dracula emerged from the crowd with his cape flapping behind him and stopped on the opposite side of the table with his plastic choppers in hand.  “Hey, are you OK?” he asked as he bent toward her.  “You took off on me.”

She cleared her throat.  She’d done so well for the first hour, pretending to be happy and clear-headed.  But her old self had been slowly rising to the surface, tempered with words of wisdom that continued to sway her from going out on a limb.  How much longer could she hold back old desires? 

Maybe she needed counseling more than she’d thought.

Especially since she found Ryan hot with that pale make-up smeared over his face, his dark waves slicked back in a very Kevin Murphy-like fashion. 

“Just need a drink,” she finally called over the music.

As he nodded, Spidey seemed to be playing peek-a-boo over Ryan’s wavering shoulder.

Spider-Man and Dracula.  Now if that didn’t clash. 

“I’m going to the restroom,” said Ryan.  “You be OK a few minutes?”

Peachy Keen, sweet chops. But maybe better if I can grab you by the collar and kiss you here and now.

He seemed to read her mind and slowly grinned as he peeked down at her outfit- the stupid clearance rack special her mother had picked out.  “I’ll be back as soon as I can.  I’d like to get out of here for a while.”

“Me too.” She guessed.  The flash of red and blue in the distance must have meant Teacher was on the move.

“Don’t know why I let you talk me into this nerdfest,” she added.

“Because you like Halloween and you need to lighten up and have some fun.”  He stuck his teeth back in his mouth and blew her a kiss before turning to inflict fear on the hearts of other party-goers. OK, most likely draw stares from other girls.  She hoped Kelly McBride would eat her heart out.

Bats fluttered in her stomach as she imagined “getting out of here” with Ryan. No doubt he’d something special on his mind, but he’d proven to be much more of a gentleman than she’d expected.  Three times she’d been to the attic observatory, fully expecting him to kiss her, but he’d only held her hand or played with her hair while they sat together on the couch.  Either he was a bigger boy scout than his brother or he feared invoking her rage by smooching her too soon after the drunken kiss they’d shared.

Most likely, he planned on laying another lip-locker on her tonight, and she needed that like she needed the gummy worms floating in the punch and draped over the bowl.  Tasty as a kiss might have been, her teetering trust lessened the appeal.

Ryan and Dan- awesome and questionable at the same time.

Masked men meant mayhem.

“Hey there, Cheap Rose.”

Scrunching her shoulders, she clenched her jaws as the ladle lowered back into the punch.  Her paper cup crumpled in her left hand and she considered lifting the entire bowl and dumping the red liquid on the offender- a zombie quarterback- approaching from the group of goons to her right.  Dingbats just didn’t know when to shut up and mind their own business, did they?

“You look downright…hot tonight,” said the familiar voice that pierced the thundering music. 

Turning to scowl into Brian Cruise’s glazed-over eyes, she gripped the plastic handle that she hadn’t fully released into the sugary blood.  He’d suspiciously kept his distance since returning to school a few weeks ago and she could only guess what he might have up his sleeve tonight.

“Get lost, Brian.”

“Why? I’m being nice…and I really like how you look.” His gaze dipped down much like Ryan’s had only a couple of minutes ago.  “I mean…wow, you could be a model, you know?”

“You think I buy this not-so-nice act?”

He planted his hand on the table and bent just enough to penetrate her with his glare, but after breaking her knuckle belting him, the intimidation level seemed barely minute.  As a matter of fact, she couldn’t normally deny his attractiveness, either. 

Funny, though, the fake blood he’d smeared all over his cheeks and around his mouth made him look like she’d already assaulted him a second time.

“Why don’t we try to get along?” Brian nodded at the dance floor. “Want to dance?”

“You’ve got to flippin’ be kidding me.” 

“Not at all.” He directed his grin down her shirt.

It might have been fun to mess with him a little.  Get him heated up and then kick him to the curb like he deserved, but she doubted he’d respond to her antics like she thought he would. 

“Is something wrong here?”

Bekah trembled from the sound of his voice, nearly splashing punch onto the table, while Brian’s eyes widened like a wimp’s.  His broad shoulders shook- actually shook.  The big oaf seemed scared out of his wits.

“No…no, Mr. Shields.  Everything’s fine.”

Bekah released the ladle while Brian backed away as though Shields had been threatening him with Freddy Kruger claws. 

Looking to Shields, who’d unveiled his identity for the purpose of teacherly intimidation, she asked, “How the heck do you do that?”

His chocolate stare wandered from Brian’s cozy corner, dipped down to her figure and then locked on her face. He scowled at her.  “How do you manage to get into so much trouble?”

“Excuse me?  I didn’t do anything, he just came up to me!”

“No?” He pointed at her outfit. “That’s bound to attract the creeps, Woman, are you crazy?”

Heat engulfed her.  “No crazier than you are for wearing those stupid tights!”

While glowering at her, he shook his mask as though trying to dislodge something.  “Stick with Ryan, will you?”

“Believe me, I have every intention of doing that.”  She swallowed the lump rising in her throat.  “As a matter of fact, we’re getting out of here in just a few minutes.  How’s that for sticking together?”

Dan narrowed his eyes, the tight costume emphasizing his bulging muscles as he folded his arms. “Nice.  Just where do you plan on going?”

“I don’t think that’s Teacher’s business. Especially when it comes to an eighteen-year-old student.”

“I don’t suppose it is, but I’d still like to know…out of concern.”

“Oh yeah- total concern.  Right.”  That’s it, keep pushing it.

“Yes, that’s right. I said concern.  You and Ryan both worry me, as I’ve said before.”

“And I still don’t totally buy that explanation.  If you were that concerned, you wouldn’t run away every time I show up at your house with Ryan.”

He shook his head slowly from side to side.  “Maybe I’m trying to keep our relationship professional.”

With a layer of cold sweat covering her body, she opened her mouth to laugh but only a tiny sound escaped her as Ryan marched through the gym entrance.  He hesitated when she saw Dan but then continued forward with Darth Vader-ish determination, enhanced by the long black cape.

“Look, Rose,” said Shields, “why don’t you just tell me what Brian had to say?”

She closed her mouth.  She’d reached her threshold for brattiness already but couldn’t deny the high it gave her to watch him squirm.  “I’d tell you if I thought I really needed to.”

While he rolled his eyes, she imagined shoving the punch bowl to the side and flinging herself at him.  Too many different flipping emotions to deal with.  When it came to him.  Slap him, ignore him, or kiss him, despite his protests?  That was the question.

Ryan swirled around the table and draped his cape over her shoulders.  “Let’s go, Baby.  I want to suck your blood.”

Between the warmth of his breath and the closeness of his body, it was super-tempting to smooch him hard and smooch him long. Not only would Ryan get a buzz but Dan wouldn’t know what the flip to do with himself. She could imagine him stammering for a few minutes and then barking at them to straighten up.  The redness of his face would make her night. At least for a while.

Ryan had just planted a kiss against Bekah’s cheek when Dan blurted, “Where the hell do you think you’re going?”   

Bekah raised her brow at his growing edginess, while Ryan countered, “Why the hell do you think it’s your business?”

“Look, Ry, I don’t want you two going back to the house tonight.”

“Who said that’s where we’re going?”

Amidst their stare-down, Thriller Night cut out simultaneously with the flashing lights and Taylor Swift’s sappy, rocky, gag-inducing song, “You Belong with Me,” began blaring.

Bekah fully expected to hear boo’s, but the other kids didn’t seem to mind the intrusion on their spook fest. 

Dan’s jaws began working and the veins popping out on his forehead suggested something had triggered the bad boy side. 

“I can’t stop you from leaving,” Dan growled, “but stay out of trouble, will you?  And I mean totally out of trouble.”

Ryan cursed. “You’re nosy, man. It’s none of your business what we do.”

Bekah cringed and pulled on Ryan’s hands until she’d unbelted herself from him.  When she spun, she wasn’t surprised by the shocked expression on his face, nor was she surprised to find Dan smirking, but man…why was he losing his cool so easily tonight?  Normally he played the good boy well enough to drive her nuts.

“Look, guys, don’t get into it, OK?” She looked at Dan. “I don’t plan on losing my virginity anytime soon, so relax.”
Ryan coughed into his fist and Dan shot her a double-take.

“Sorry for being blunt, but…sort of felt like I needed to.”

To her surprise, dimples appeared in Dan’s cheeks just before he covered his mouth.

OOOO

“Man, Dan can be such a pain in the rear,” Ryan complained on their way up the attic stairs. 

From around a couple of corners and down the hall, she could still hear Allie plucking away on her guitar and singing, “Thunder only happens when it’s raining…” Perfectly on cue with her brothers’ moods. 

Bekah paused halfway up the staircase.

Players only love you when they’re playing.”

Wasn’t that the truth?

Ryan stopped at the top of the steps and turned as he removed his cape. “Something wrong?”

“Does she do that often?” She gestured toward Dan’s semi-messy room- he’d left a basketball in the middle of the floor and his bed unmade, not to mention some socks in one of the corners.

A wide smile chased Ryan’s grouchiness away. “For a while she wasn’t strong enough, but lately…yeah.  Doesn’t she sound great?”

“Totally.  I wish I had talent like that.”  Although Allie’s smooth voice wasn’t quite fitted to the Stevie Nicks tune.

“According to Dan, you’re an awesome writer.”

Bekah hoped her blush wasn’t too obvious…but it must have been, because his smile disappeared and he waved for her to follow. “Come on, Bekah, we need to talk.”

Great, not what she needed right now.  Couldn’t she be granted a little more time and space to figure out what she wanted?

She trudged upwards, removing the long, curly wig that hid her recent haircut, and static sent her fresh layers puffing out around her face.  As she straightened them, she rounded the railing and met Ryan in the middle of the small room.  He tossed his cape onto the couch and placed his hands on his hips while he studied her.

“What?” she asked. “Ryan-“

“Don’t.” He tapped his finger to her mouth. “I understand, Bekah.”

“You understand what?” Her reply sounded slightly muffled.  He smoothed her hair away from her face and smiled softly.

“You still have the hots for Dan, I get it…but I think you’ve also got them for me…at least a little, am I right?”

She returned his smile and liked the way the moon reflected through the skylight against his dark eyes.  He’d washed off the make-up and removed his vampire teeth, but his slicked-back hair still lent him a Dracula-like appearance.

“I think it’s safe to say that I like you…a lot.”  She wrapped her hand around his long finger, pressing it down to his side as he stepped closer. 

“And you’re smart enough, aren’t you?” he began.  “To know that it wouldn’t work with Dan.  He’s one of the most straight-laced guys I know and he’d never go after a student.”

“What do you mean?” She wished away the beads of sweat on her forehead.

“I mean, he might be attracted to you and I seriously suspect he is.  But no matter how much he’s tempted, he’s not going to give. Not now, not later.  If it were me, I don’t think I’d last, but he’s driven by morals I don’t even understand.”

Weird, she thought.  How could he not understand a teacher’s moral code?  Even she, as bratty as she could be, thoroughly understood that.


He seemed to read her mind, because he tacked on, “What I mean is…if you came to my house, no way I’d stay away.  I probably wouldn’t put the moves on you while you’re my student, but I’d be waiting- impatiently, I might add- for graduation day.  I’m kind of a thug, I guess.”

Bekah’s lips quivered as she attempted to smirk but she managed to keep her voice even. “You don’t really know how you’d act until you’re in someone’s shoes.”

He shrugged. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” His arms slid around her waist and she began fiddling with his top shirt button.  Feeling him stiffen from her touch, she braced herself for what she knew was coming, if they could get past this conversation.

Talking about Dan with Ryan just didn’t cut it for her, but he definitely earned points for approaching the topic in an understanding, non-judgmental way.

Huskily, he continued while running his hands up and down her back, “Dan won’t be charging you on graduation day, Bekah.  I hate to sound like a jerk but I hope you haven’t got your hopes up.”

Geez, would he just knock it off?  This wasn’t something she’d planned on thinking about right now, because it felt freaking good not to have Dan smeared right in front of her face for a while.  The times she’d spent with Ryan had been nice- he didn’t usually talk too much and he enjoyed showing her things- like how to use the telescope and his collection of sporting goods.  He’d taken her to see the latest zombie flicks and even paid for her haircut when she’d mentioned being sick of her long hair. 

He was a nice guy and she felt like a louse.  She couldn’t even attend the dance without gazing at his brother over his shoulder. 

“Bekah?” He tapped her under the chin and she slowly raised her head.  His knit brows reminded her of Dan, unfortunately and she averted her gaze.

“Ryan, I don’t want to talk about Dan, OK?  I know nothing’s going to happen and I really like you.”

His fingers laced into her shoulder-length hair again and she closed her eyes as she leaned her head into his hand.  Maybe he wasn’t as strong as Dan but he was strong enough.  Any other guy would have ditched her by now. 

“Don’t really know why you like me,” she whispered as Allie’s guitar music suddenly cut off.

Ryan chuckled. “I like you because you’re opposite what I’m used to…and you’re cute as hell and you can kick butt.”

“Is that all?” She opened her eyes and frowned at his confused expression.

“No, that’s not all.”  He blinked.  “I like spending time with you. You’re honest and you’re fun, what can I say?”

“Fun? Me?” She laughed. The only time she’d considered herself “fun” was when she was drunk. But lately she’d avoided the drink, mainly for Alice’s sake. Though preaching at her hadn’t been at the top of her priority list, she’d guessed that setting the example would eventually speak volumes to her alcoholic friend.

Still, something more needed to be done.  Alice had been spending a lot of time with some dudes from a different school, and with all the wild parties she’d been attending, Bekah seemed to have dropped to the bottom of her friend list.  They’d barely spent two whole days together during the past month.

“Yes, you’re fun.” Ryan grinned.  “And can I get back to cute?”

“I won’t argue with that.” She traced the line of shirt buttons, stopping just above his belly button.

Once she’d looked up, Ryan was already bending toward her.  However, he killed the moment by whispering against her mouth, “Promise you’re not holding out for Dan?”

Her stomach turned, but she nodded.

“Seriously, Bekah.  No matter how rich we are or how much we thought we could get away with stuff in the past, we can’t.”

Now there was a nice, juicy hint as to what had made Dan “conniving” in the past.  Was Ryan exactly the same way?  Why couldn’t she just like this guy without wondering what lie beneath the surface? 

“And Dan,” Ryan continued, “…well, you know about his thing with God.  That makes him twice as determined to behave himself as some other guys, you get what I’m saying?”

“I hear you, Ryan, but I told you, I don’t want to-“

“I know you don’t want to talk about it and normally I don’t push like Dan does, but this time I think I have to.” He pressed his forehead against hers and his punch-tinged breath rained down on her.  “You’re smart, you’re a great writer…you could do all sorts of things with your life, so don’t spend it longing for a teacher who isn’t going to bend the rules to be with you.  I’m not just saying this because I’m selfish, OK?”

 Maybe, maybe not.  But if he didn’t stop pushing this subject, she wasn’t sure the tears in the backs of her eyes would stay out of the way.

“Ryan?” Her whisper probably tickled his collar bone.

“Yeah?”

“Just kiss me.”

“Only if you promise me first.  You’re not holding out for Dan.”

She pursed her lips.  All along, she’d known how stupid it would be to hold out for Teacher and she doubted it would work with him, anyway. Maybe his less ‘straight-laced’ side tempted him from time to time, but Ryan was most likely right.  So far, he’d controlled himself pretty well while in Bekah’s presence and especially by staying away when she came to visit; so she doubted he’d be bending the rules any time soon.  He may have cared for her, found her attractive and all that goody-goody stuff but that was as far as it went. 

Swallowing, she sensed the night sky reaching down through the window to gobble her up. “I’m not holding out.  I’d be an idiot to do that.”

“Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re not an idiot but you’d be deceiving yourself if you thought my brother would break any major rules.” 

“I never thought that, exactly.  I just found myself sort of attracted to him and thinking all sorts of screwy things.”  Discussing this craziness with Ryan felt a heck of a lot better than bearing her soul to anyone else…mainly because he wasn’t being paid to listen, he wasn’t demanding too much explanation like Dan or her mother would, and he wasn’t teasing her.  Alice would lace all of her advice with plenty of pain-in-the-butt teasing.

“I knew better,” she confessed, “and I still do.”

“Good.” Ryan pulled her closer, as though she needed the support.  “I don’t want to see you hurt and I don’t want to lose my chance with you, either.”

For a little while, she rested her head against his chest, eyes closed and his heart pumping in her ear while he stroked her back.  Tears wouldn’t ruin this moment, she decided and clenched her teeth in an effort to fight them off. 

What had she been thinking lately?  True, she’d been going back and forth between reason and romance but her main drive had been to attract Dan.

Apparently she was just as easily lead into la-la land as any other school girl, daydreaming about how to entice the hot teacher into her life.  Apparently she was far from the strong police woman type that she’d always strived to be. 

Might as well kick down that cardboard cut-out of herself.  What exactly was she made of?

Ryan’s lips pressed into the top of her head.  Slipping his fingertips under her chin, he seemed to be nudging her to look up so that he could finally do what they’d both been longing for.  But just as she raised her head, the bright overhead light flipped on.

Ryan recoiled, covering his eyes and cursing.  Without his arms around her, Bekah trembled and hugged herself, her head throbbing from the sudden assault on her vision.

Someone coughed obnoxiously behind them.

Chapter Twenty-One:  http://bloodyroseandthorn.blogspot.com/2011/08/chapter-twenty-one.html

3 comments:

  1. Oooo... nice chapter! Lovely!

    I should have given Ryan a bit more credit, I realize now... as harsh his words seem to be, I find them sincere and logical. Now, that's something that you never expected me to say, I know, considering the fact that I want Dan and Bekah together like a crazy woman! Hahahaha

    Somehow, though, I think Ryan made a lot of sence and dare I say he put things into a whole new perspective for Bekah? Maybe yes, maybe no. Perhaps, he just screwed up the whole situation.

    Things are so unstable right now, it seems to me... I don't know how Bekah will react if she gets into a relationship with Ryan. I have a pretty good idea how Dan will react though! Hahahaha

    Was Allie th eone that interrupted them? Is she keeping an eye ont hem for Dan's sake?

    By the way, what ever happened to Dan's appointment with Grace? Is he considering dating her? THAT would put things into a new perspective for all of them!

    Gee! It's so angsty! I love it! :)

    Suzie

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  2. How's the pregnancy going?
    The big day is close! September 1st, is my name day in my country! :)))

    I'll keep you and your family and of course the baby in my thoughts and prayers for good health and happiness!

    Best of luck! :))))

    Suzie

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey, thanks for all of your awesome comments. :) It's encouraging when someone really seems into the story like that.

    The pregnancy is going well- I have a c-section scheduled for August 30, actually, so I probably won't be posting any updates for a little while. LOL I'm gonna try to get 1 or 2 more chapters up before I go.

    Thank you for your prayers. :)

    Now, as for Dan- yeah he's dating Grace. As you'll see in the next chapter. LOL And yeah it adds a twist and much more tension, I'm happy to say.

    Glad you appreciated Ryan here. I was re-reading and thinking Bekah's thought process went a bit fast, but actually- Ryan didn't tell her anything she didn't already know. Just having someone else say what she knew kind of made her face herself. But nobody switches gears that easily, so obviously she'll still struggle.

    Thanks again! I'm glad to see you back and hope everything is OK with your family.

    ReplyDelete