The Lake House:Part Three.

The Lake House.

Part Three.

Parking, I turned the key off and leaving the headlights blazing I stared up at the hulking glass and wood two-storey structure spotlighted before me. The car pinged and clinked as it cooled and I froze, my city ears unaccustomed to the sounds of…nothing. There were none of the sounds of incessant traffic, horns or screeching tyres that I’d lived with for so long. No raised voices or wild drunken laughter. No wailing sirens.

Just great, big, chunks of silence.

I listened, my ears ringing with the absolute lack of sound and gradually smaller, subtle noises crept into my consciousness: high drawn-out yipping, mournful bird cries and a chorus of croaking frogs.

Grabbing my bag, I opened the door and slid out, pushing it closed behind me with a soft click. Walking around in-front of the car I fished out the house-key that Mrs Grayson had given me, unlocked the door and walked inside. Running my hand over the wall beside the door, I searched for the light switches.

“Where are they?”

My fingers brushed over them, flicking one down. I blinked, as the room flooded with light. “Hmm, okay that’s inside sorted, this one’s gotta be for the outside,” I said, flicking the other one down.

A light snapped on outside and deciding to leave the unpacking for five minutes, “It’s not going anywhere,” I reasoned, I walked into the room proper.

Turning slowly, my breath caught as I took it all in. It was stunning, the walls were painted a soft cream, hung with a selection of colourful art while the wooden floor shone with a rich red patina. I noted the scattering of Aztec-style patterned rugs and then winced as I realised I was still wearing my thongs.

“Oops,” I murmured, slipping them off and placing them outside the door before returning to study my new home.

To my left a large flat-screen T.V had been mounted to the wall, while two chocolate-coloured leather lounges and a low glass and chrome coffee table graced the area before it. Directly opposite, through a small archway I caught a glint as something reflected the light.

I walked towards it. “It’s gotta be the kitchen.”

The wall to my left was all glass, the velvety darkness pressing its nose against the windows’ panes. Peering in. Seeing me.

“What the? Where did that thought come from?” I wondered, twirling a lock of hair around my fingers, a nervous habit I’d had since childhood. The inky darkness was quite unsettling and I quickly flicked the light switch to my side, the rapid chink-chink and steady buzz as the fluorescent strip hummed into life, making me feel more secure.

I faced the windows again, seeing only myself looking back in, my face too pale, and my eyes fearful and overly large.

Turning, I swallowed and made my way over to the large dual fridge/freezer set against the far wall. It towered over me as I opened it, surprised to see it filled with essentials. I checked the freezer. It was also fully stocked.

“O-kay, that’s unexpected, but good for me.”

A swift inspection of the surrounding cupboards produced the same result and I placed my hands on my hips, my brow rising. I had enough food to last me a week, maybe more, before I needed to shop again. This would give me plenty of time to acquaint myself with every inch of this house and its grounds, and my chest tightened with excitement at that thought.

Something feather-light brushed across my cheek and thinking it was a stray cobweb my heart-rate spiked as I instinctively swept my hand across it. The atmosphere in the kitchen seemed to thicken and crackle, like the air before a storm and my scalp prickled as from all around me came the sound of musical laughter and soft whispered chatter.

My eyes widened. “Who’s there,” I squeaked, spinning in surprise, my hands clasping my chest, my heart beating frantically beneath my sweating palms. “Hello,” I whispered, already cursing myself for giving my position away to whoever was lurking in the house. My mouth flooded with the bitter taste of fear and I swallowed noisily.

Mrs Grayson had mentioned that a cleaning crew would be in today to ready the house for my arrival, but surely they still wouldn’t be here? Besides, there’d been no other vehicle here other than mine. As I worked it out in my mind, rationalising my fear, I felt my heart-beat settle back down and when I felt in control once again, I turned back to my inspection, ignoring the sensation of being watched.

Stroking the cool pale-grey marble of the island bench, I reached up, my fingers running over the bases of the hanging pots.

“Why didn’t my cousins want this house?” I questioned, my voice barely above a whisper.

I didn’t know the answer to that, but I now knew that my Aunt had loved to cook, if her kitchen was anything to go by.

A warm breeze drifted through the kitchen, lifting the strands of my hair away from my neck, while above my head, the pots swayed; their bases tinkling sweetly like a xylophone, as they gently bumped together.

Geneviève, don’t fear us, I heard as gentle fingers stroked my hair and down my face.

I screamed, temporarily freezing on the spot. For a micro-second I doubted my sanity, before the sound of my name in my ears again reassured me I wasn’t going mad and I managed to unglue my feet.

Geneviève. Beware of les esprits de l’eau Geneviève.

Backing up to the bench, my shaky fingers groped frantically behind me, pulling out drawers, searching. I heard cutlery hitting the floor as my scrambling fingers burrowed around, disrupting the drawer’s former neatness.

Searching.

The eerie whispered words were unrelenting, repetitive. My mind filled with white noise, and the rapid whoosh of my racing pulse.

“Shit. Shit. Shit,” I whimpered, feeling the sting of tears in my eyes. The air gushed out of my lungs as my fingers curled around the blade. Ignoring the burn of the steel’s edge slicing my palm, I whipped it out, waving it before me, my bottom lip quivering.

“Whoever you are just come out. I’ve called the Police and they’re on their way….” I lied, my voice high and shaky. My stomach twisted into knots and the movements of my trembling hand made the knife slash erratically through the air in-front of me, the edge glinting wickedly beneath the light. I covered my hand with the other and squeezed holding the weapon steady.

I moaned and squeezed my eyes closed, the tears running down the side of my nose. Opening them I sniffled and taking a deep shuddery breath I shouted, “So if you know what’s good for you, you’d better just leave right now.”

From somewhere in the other room a sharp sizzling sound erupted and within seconds the scent of orange blossoms wafted into the kitchen. I paused, my eyes closing momentarily as I inhaled the beautiful perfume, before they snapped open again with the realisation that I was most likely about to die and I needed to fight, not sniff flowers.

“Genevieve. Stop, becalm yourself,” crooned a warm masculine voice from the other room.

I was panting and my legs threatened to give out on me as I backed up to the fridge, never taking my eyes from the light coming from beyond the archway, the paring knife wavering impotently before me.

I heard the sound of feet padding against the wooden floor and my breathing grew harsh as they drew closer. My legs wobbled, and simply unable to support me a second longer, gave out. Whimpering like a terrified kitten, I slid down the cold metal front of the fridge, the handle scraping my back through my dress.

I opened my mouth to scream, but only a low hiss escaped as a pair of bare feet and faded jean clad legs came into view and stopped directly in-front of me. I dropped my chin onto my chest and closed my eyes. This was it.

“We are here to help you, don’t be afraid my dear,” came that low, musical voice. There was a faint accent in his voice, but in my terror I couldn’t place it and knowing where my killer’s birthplace was, wasn’t really on my list of priorities at this moment.

Staying alive ranked right at the top of the list.

My time had come and bizarrely I wasn’t afraid anymore. My skin tingled with the static that zapped and pinged through the air and contrary to the situation I found myself in, I felt safe and protected.

I cried softly, dropping the knife and covering my face.

“Look at me,” the man ordered gently.

I raised my head and through my blurry vision I saw the most beautiful face I’d ever seen and then I saw the glowing golden light that pulsated around his tall figure.

And then, I felt my eyes roll back and the kitchen went black.

 

~ * O * ~

 

Large sliding glass doors took up the whole western wall.

“That view would be spectacular in the early evening, the sun sinking over the mountains and lake,” I marvelled as I imagined chilling out on the deck, soaking in the scenery.

“Thank god, that’s the last box.” Despite the chill wind blowing off the lake outside, and the fact I was only wearing a light cardigan over a summer dress, I was warm. A side-effect of emptying my car of all of my worldly goods and chattels, which I noted with a glance at my watch — and a raise of my brow— had only taken me all of….

“What the hell?” Three hours to accomplish. Where had that time gone? I remembered coming in and doing a brief inspection before going out to carry in my belongings. Surely I was mistaken? Maybe my watch was broken? After holding it to my ear and hearing the soft steady tick, I rubbed my forehead, confused and feeling a headache building.

“I’m tired and I need a cup of tea, that’s all,” I theorised, but my stomach clenched with the lie.

From outside came a long mournful call and mashing my brows together in surprise I glanced at the closed sliding doors seeing only myself and my collection of boxes placed in a neat line behind me, reflected in their darkness.

A memory flashed like quicksilver through my mind, jumbled, confusing visions of me with a strikingly handsome man, golden light and whispered shocking secrets. But no matter how hard I tried to recall it, it would slip through my fingers like water, leaving me slightly breathless and more than a little frustrated.

“You’re finally losing your marbles woman,” I said, laughing awkwardly as I shook my head free of my own vivid imaginings. “I need to get a boyfriend, stat. Can’t keep making them up like this. It’s not healthy,” I warned myself, hearing faint laughter ring in my ears.

Strangely enough, I wasn’t afraid anymore. I’d been so sure that my city-girl self would’ve been shaking in her boots at the prospect of sleeping in a strange house set in such an isolated setting. But, if the bubbles popping away in my stomach was anything to go by, she was more excited by the prospect.

Pushing the sleeves of my cardigan up over my elbows I turned away from the view, plunging my hand into the box which had Kitchen scribbled messily on the side. I released a small prayer to the gods of hot cuppas as my fingers grazed the cool metal body of my jug.

“Oh thank god, yes,” I mumbled around a yawn as I ripped it out and stood up, the cord dangling like a snake around my legs. Despite looking everywhere, I hadn’t been able to find a jug in the kitchen-which-had-everything-thing.

Everything but a kettle apparently.

No matter, I had one now and I skipped into the kitchen as if I’d just won the lottery, instead of finding a jug.

The massive glass door slid back silently on its track and barefoot I stepped out onto the deck. The evening had cooled off a few more degrees and I shivered in the face of a stiff breeze. It whipped my hair around my face as I stood cradling my steaming mug of tea, gazing out over the lake, hypnotised by its sheer rugged beauty. The waxing moon cast long slashes of white across the water, its reflections rippling and becoming jagged — as what I assumed were fish broke the surface. Their jumping bodies inadvertently disturbing the perfect streaks of shimmering white fingers.

I took a sip and swallowed, feeling the warmth of my drink seep into my bones. Just as I turned to head back inside a brilliant flash of white caught my eye. Frozen I stared out over the lake, hoping to see a repeat. After a few minutes of shivering I made to leave and then out of the corner of my eye I spotted it again. Spinning, I stared at the spot I’d seen the light, but this time it was more than a flash. It was something else altogether, something impossible.

I gasped as a tall figure composed entirely of dazzling white light rose from beneath the moonlit lake. I blinked, unwilling to believe what my eyes were telling my brain that I was seeing.

“Bullshit. That’s bull. Shit,” I croaked, feeling the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention. Unable to tear my eyes away, I stepped backwards until I felt the warmth of inside reach out to me, but just before I stepped over the threshold, the figure raised an arm and from its hand a fiery iridescent ball about the size of a basketball shot up.

The blinding orb rose fifty feet into the air before exploding in a spectacular shower of blues, reds, greens, yellows and brilliant white, the colourful feathery sparks raining down to land on the water with sizzling hisses which echoed up to where I stood speechless and mesmerised in the doorway.

Geneviève, come away. Pay it no heed, whispered a sensual voice in my head and with one last look at the luminous figure I closed the door and turned away.

 

~ * O * ~

 

Special bonus Content from Pleasure and Pain: Brandon and Christina-Rose’s first Christmas Eve.

~ Brandon and Christina-Rose’s First Christmas Eve ~

The breeze whipped up off the ocean is moist, pregnant with the promise of rain. Inhaling deeply, I lick my lips, tasting the crisp, salty tang of the sea on my tongue. The sounds of harsh cawing overhead catch my attention and I raise my eyes, watching the antics of a few straggling seabirds as they fly out over the darkening water. Swooping in low they plunge into the channel of deep water separating the white-crested breaker from the incoming swell. I see their sleek bullet-shaped bodies vanish beneath the surface before shooting back out, tiny fish flapping between their beaks.

I drop my eyes, birds forgotten as every cell in my body jumps to high alert and I shiver as the fine hairs on my nape and arms rise as my skin erupts in a rash of goose-flesh. My mouth dries up and I swallow in an attempt to provide some moisture.

Holy mother.

I’m hyper-aware of the weight of Brandon’s heavy arm draped possessively around the back of my neck, his hand casually falling over my shoulder the strong, well-defined muscles of his biceps and forearms flexing and softening as his fingers languidly stroke the skin over my collarbone. In my ears, the rapid whoosh-whoosh as my heated blood races like liquid-fire through my veins deafens me to my own escalating breaths.

And it’s all because of Brandon’s gorgeous hard, warm body wrapped around me.

I drag back a long lazy breath through my nostrils and release it as a low moan as I smell the delicious male scent drifting off him. It’s a heady, intoxicating combination of sea, body-wash, his earthy-woodsy cologne, sex and Brandon-smell.

As if sensing the intensity of my gaze, he leans back and tilts his head, his lips quirking up at the corner as his eyes roam over my face. I lick my lips and squirm on the towel as his green eyes darken, and instinctively my trembling hand rises to stroke the base of my throat as undisguised desire flashes across their onyx depths.

At his look of raw hunger, I inhale sharply the resulting sound lost beneath the ocean’s roar. I feel slightly lightheaded as his eyes drop to my mouth, and without pause or shame, greedily skim down my throat to my aching breasts which are only barely contained in the tiny triangles of my new pale lime bikini.

With his free hand he pats his lap, and growls, “Come here darlin’.”

My heart ratchets up another notch at the raging need I hear in his three simple words. Panting and without waiting for him to repeat the request, I kneel and placing my hands on his broad shoulders to steady myself I swing a leg over his lap. Straddling his outstretched legs I lower myself down.

He moans, his eyes closing momentarily as I brace myself on his thighs and grind against the hardness of his erection that I feel just below my own heated aroused flesh.

“I love you Brandon,” I croon, my head tipping back, my curls brushing against my shoulder blades as I shamelessly rock backwards and forwards over him.

His hands rise, and cupping my breasts he very slowly and with feather-like touches traces the inner rim of my bikini cups with his thumbs.

Oh god please touch me more, I beg silently, wildly grinding my pelvis against his as I push my breasts forward into the sanctuary of his large palms.

“Fuck me Rosebud,” he hums as he slams his mouth against mine, his tongue stroking across the seam of my lips, begging entry while his thumbs continue their sensual torture.

Running my hands down his arms, I curl my fingers into his forearms feeling the pull and release of the muscles as they ripple beneath the skin with his hands’ movements. He groans into my mouth as our kiss deepens, our tongues tangling and dancing as our passion sparks and bursts into flames which threaten to incinerate everything around us.

Brandon is relentless as he explores every inch of my mouth, and I dig my nails deeper into his skin as his expert tongue strokes my teeth, my palate, and my tongue. Drawing my bottom lip into his mouth he sucks and nibbles at it with an intensity that borders on painful before breaking the kiss with one last sweeping lick of my bottom lip and pulling back, his eyes never leaving my face.

In the dying light I see his eyes widen, the green of his irises a slender ring of colour surrounding the glittering black of his pupils. Lowering my eyes I watch his Adam’s apple bob as he swallows hard.

“What you fuckin’ do to me woman. I’ve never felt this way ‘bout a chick before.” He takes in a deep noisy breath, his chest expanding and then releases it in a nervous shudder which I feel right through to my bones, “I love you my beautiful Rosebud,” he confesses quietly and my heart stutters as I hear the wonder and awe in his voice.

My vision blurs and I blink in quick succession as my eyes prickle. “Oh Brandon,” I stammer, my voice catching with emotion as my throat thickens with the tears I refuse to shed.

Leaning down I capture his face in-between my palms, the short bristles of his shadowy beard tickling my skin as I kiss him. It’s just a short sweet kiss, but I attempt to put all of my passion and unspoken feelings into it and hope that he understands. My heart swells with the intensity of my love for this man. I never knew you could feel so strongly for someone that it was almost as if you became one soul, one body that shared every inhalation and exhalation, every steady beat of the heart, every desire of the heart.

The strength of the feelings Brandon wrings from body with his caresses make my belly clench and my toes curl up, and from a place outside of myself I feel the sand beneath the towel form trenches as I wriggle my toes backwards and forwards.

I’m freaking itching to touch him.

I want to unwrap him out of these boardie shorts that he wears so damn fine and work him with my hands and mouth until he’s begging me to stop in one breath and growling at me to never fucking stop in the next. I want to trace the inky outlines of his hip to hip tattoo, the secret one that only I ever get to see.

At this thought I moan as hot molten desire floods my belly while deep inside, my muscles clench with a sweet sharp pain.

I’m panting and as the rising sea breeze blows my curls forward I release his arms and drag my hands across to his chest, tracing the dips and valleys of his sculpted torso with fingertips that tingle as I commit each muscle that makes up his spectacular six-pack to my memory. Beneath my touch his abdomen ripples and then tenses as he sucks back a hissing breath through his clenched jaw.

I smile at the sound of his rising excitement and feeling all powerful and like the queen of seductresses, I run my finger beneath the waistband of his shorts and slowly slide it from hip to hip, the coarse pubic hair beneath tickling the pad of my index finger.

“Jesus Rosebud, I’m gonna fuckin’ blow in my shorts if you keep that up,” he groans, sounding as if he’s in pain.

I splay my other hand above his breastbone, and watch as it rises and falls sharply with his shallow quick breaths. Slowly trailing my fingers down, I stroke the pathway of downy hair which leads me straight to his wondrous erection. I lick my lips as I remember how it is to take him in my mouth, watching awestruck as my darling rough man unravels before my eyes.

He growls low in the back of his throat, a primal guttural sound, tearing me from my erotic daydreams and I glance away from his belly to his face. His hooded eyes are watching the movements of his hands and fingers as they skate across the swell of my breasts like a hawk on a mouse.

Helpless in the face of his lust, I lean my head back and thrust my chest up, my crotch slamming against his, as he tilts his hips towards me. I bite back my cry as the sweet agony of his hardness against my softness makes my mind buzz and my body dissolve into a quivering puddle of need.

I’m drowning, lost in the sensations that he’s drawing so expertly from my body. Brandon’s touch is directly wired to the swollen bundle of nerves smack bang in the apex of my thighs and my mouth waters up. I’m aching with my need for him, for his touch.

He spares a quick glance to either side of us and I feel the tension leave him as he sees how alone we are. “You’re sexy as fuck sitting up there. Shall I take you now, hard and quick or shall I wait until we get home?” He mouths the question at me and I see his eyes glittering with wicked, hot lust.

I groan as my arousal floods my swimmer bottoms, beneath my thighs I can feel the front of his swimmers dampen. Without breaking eye contact, and not caring about the puddle I’m leaving in his lap, he slides his fingers beneath the material covering my breasts and pushes it to the side, freeing my breasts to the evening air.

My mouth drops open and I gasp. “Shit this feels so naughty, what if someone sees us?”

He pauses at my words.

“There’s no fucker here darlin’. We’ve got the entire friggin’ beach to ourselves. They’ve all fucked off back home.” He leans forward and feathers kisses over the swell of my breasts, his next words muffled against my hot skin, “D’ya want me to stop? I don’t really wanna, but I will. For you,” he says with a low wicked chuckle as his palms graze my breasts.

I almost scream aloud with frustration, because I know that like me, he really doesn’t want to stop. Breathing shallowly I force myself to beg quietly instead, “Please don’t stop Brandon. I want you.”

I chew on my bottom lip, my body out of my control as I squirm and groan with need. As he cups my heavy, swollen breasts in the cradles of his large hands, he runs the pads of his thumbs backwards and forwards over my sensitive hard nipples, teasing them and I cry out as my sex pulses with my savage need for him.

The contact makes me shiver uncontrollably as it sends jolts of electricity racing out across the surface of my skin.

Dropping his hands he undoes the bows at the sides of my bikini bottoms and with a deft flick of his wrist he whips them off, dropping them by our side, leaving me tits out and bare-arsed naked.

I blush and swallow, but any embarrassment I’m feeling is quickly pushed to the back of my mind as he shifts beneath me, followed by a quick scritch. I squirm with excitement as I recognise the sound of his shorts undoing.

He hisses back a sharp breath. “Fuck! Jesus Rosebud, wait up a second. Ya gonna squash me,” he says, his voice rough with desire and with another short wriggle he releases his erection and I look down, my lips parting as I watch it spring up hard and thick.

“Just lift up a bit darlin’,” he orders. As I comply, he takes himself in hand and I eagerly lower myself down onto him. We both sigh noisily with pleasure as he slowly sinks into me, my aroused state easily accommodating his swollen girth.

“Fuck me, you feel so goddamned perfect,” he pants and with one slick move he shifts and suddenly I find myself beneath him. Bracing his weight on his elbows by the side of my head he cradles the sides of my face tightly between his palms and lowers his mouth to mine, kissing me with a passion which makes colours blaze and shift behind my closed eyelids. Breaking the kiss, he drops his head, his lips brushing against my ear, his breaths harsh and ragged as he rocks into me.

💑     💑     💑

As we lay curled and lost in each other, the last of the light fades and like magic the sky turns dark purple. Brandon shifts beside me on the towel, the sand squeaking with the weight of his movements. I feel his arm flex tightly around my shoulders, and he sighs, long and deep as he pulls me in closer.

Gently cradling the side of my face, he tucks me into the crook of his neck. Holding me tightly, it feels as if he never wants to release me and my heart speeds up as he presses sweet kisses to my head.

“Our first Christmas together darlin’,” he whispers into my curls, his fingers stroking the sun-touched skin on my bicep, the answering sting of my sunburn barely registering on my ‘care-meter’.

Closing my eyes I melt as his calloused fingertips continue to trace lazy patterns.

He clears his throat and my head moves up and down with his breathing. “Are you happy Rosebud? D’ya regret coming here?” he asks haltingly, his low, wickedly sensual voice rumbling through my body and breaking the spell his clever fingers were weaving.

My brows crease and then quickly smooth over at the hidden question that I hear in his voice — Do you regret coming here with me? Brandon hides his Achilles heel well.

His fear of me leaving him.

It’s buried deep within him, and very rarely peeks out. But every now and then, his steel-mask will slip, giving me a swift glimpse of the vulnerable, unsure man lurking beneath the hardened, tough-as-nails exterior.

I blink back my urge to cry as I hear the pain in his unspoken question. For a man who’d screwed nearly every woman back home, this version of Brandon is almost unnerving. Gone was my cocky, arrogant and dangerous man, replaced with an unsure, almost shy boy.

Pressing my lips together to control the trembling of my bottom lip, I place my hand on his bare chest, below the lines of his dragon’s fierce fire-breathing mouth. Splaying my fingers over his warm soft skin, I hold my breath as I feel the rapid tattoo of his heart beating like a frightened bird beneath my palm.

Exhaling slowly I kiss the bristly scruff on his cheek, which is a contradiction in texture, bristly but soft.

“God yes, I’m deliriously happy. Crazy, mad, squirly happy.” My heart beats harder and my love for this man floods my body, making every cell and pore tingle. “As long as I’m with you Brandon, I would go anywhere, live anywhere. I’d grip your hand and follow you to the ends of the earth and never want to let go,” I murmur into his neck, tasting the salt of the ocean air on my lips as I press kisses to his skin. “I love you. All of you. Your good, your bad, your crazy. Your everything.”

He squeezes me tighter and moans low in his throat and my toes curl with the fierce desire I hear in just that one sound.

His head bobs subtly and seemingly satisfied with my answer, we lapse back into a comfortable silence. Brandon shifts and places an arm beneath his head and I lay my head on the warm skin of his chest, my fingers idly playing with the hair on his chest as we both watch the approaching storm. Vivid white streaks brutally slash through the canvas of the black horizon while the sound of the waves crashing against the shore blends with the rumble of thunder.

The air fills with the expectant crackle of static as the storm draws closer and in the darkness I hear the howl of the wind through the sand-dunes behind us and I shiver as the hairs on my nape and arms to rise.

“Time to go darlin’, don’t wanna get caught out in this bastard,” Brandon tells me and clasping my hand he rises to his feet and tugs me into his arms. Bending, he hands me my beach tote and quickly scoops the towel up, shakes it and then gathers the remains of our Christmas Eve feast back into the carry bag.

Hiking the bag over his shoulder, I squeal as he sweeps me off my feet and up into his arms. Planting a kiss to the end of my nose he laughs and cradles me to his broad chest as he turns and heads for the trail over the sand-dunes which leads home.

“Fuck,” he spits and I feel us lurch forward. “Can ya get ya phone out and shine it down so I can see what I just trod on?” he asks. As I grope awkwardly in my bag a flash of lightning lights up the sky. His body bends to the side and I sway in his arms, hearing a tinny thud as something lands heavily in the scrubby brush growing wild on either side of the sandy path.

“Motherfucker,” he growls and I feel the vibration of his voice rumble up into me through his chest. “Some bastard left a buried can in the sand,” he explains.

💑     💑     💑

Holding the screen door ajar with his bare foot Brandon opened the side door which led into the kitchen, and stepped through, letting the door swing shut with a bang behind us. Without pausing, he followed the wash of blue, green and red which danced over the walls and ceiling —  courtesy of our Christmas tree’s tracer lights — down the hallway and into our modestly furnished lounge-room.

Cradling me to his chest with one arm, he roughly shakes the bag off his other shoulder, letting it drop down his arm and onto the floor with a noisy clatter of plastic plates, empty beer bottles and half-eaten tubs of food.

I smile at this typical Brandon-quirk and then whisper a quick prayer in hope that none of the lids have popped off, spewing the remains of our feast all through the inside of the bag. That’ll be a total bitch to clean, I think absentmindedly.

Placing me on the lounge he gathers the bag up and takes it into the kitchen, returning with a beer and an icy soft-drink. Handing me the cola he flops onto the lounge beside me, leans his head against the head-rest and spreading his legs he grasps the top of the bottle with his thumb and index finger deftly twisting. With a rapid jerk of his thick wrist the bottle releases a loud phssht and after taking a long pull he flicks the redundant jagged circle of metal across the room. It lands with a guilty tinkle amongst the nest of prettily wrapped parcels squatting beneath our twinkling Christmas tree like eggs beneath a broody hen.

I swivel my head and stare at him, a giggle bubbling up in my throat. I swallow it back down as I pretend to be put out by his yobbo behaviour.

Tensing he turns to me and I can’t help but giggle at the naughty look which flashes across his beautiful features.

“The fuckin’ bastard just flew out of my fingers, I swear.” He holds his beer hand up against the wrong side of his chest in a weird cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die-type-vow as he says it and then his face creases and his eyes light up with mirth as he laughs, a deep happy laugh as he watches my brow rise. “Shit, okay darlin’, I get it. The floor is not a fuckin’ tip. Jesus Rosebud ya bustin’ my balls here.”

Leaning over me he plants a kiss on my lips, and with an exaggerated sigh, rises and rummages around in amongst the presents. “I can’t find the fucker, but…” he moves the mysterious boxes aside and stands cradling an exquisitely wrapped present in his arms. “I found this. I know it’s not Christmas, yet, but I can’t fuckin’ wait to give you this,” he says as he struts back to the lounge.

For a moment my world fades to just long swaying dark hair, intense glowing green eyes, heaving rippling torso and low, hip skimming shorts.

Who needs Christmas presents when the most perfect one is right in-front of me all year round? I muse silently. And I can unwrap it whenever I want.

I swallow and then cough as the chill drink slides down the wrong way.

He parks himself beside me again and tucking his leg beneath him he swivels, kisses me and after taking my drink and placing it down on the floor at our feet he hands me the present.

I melt at the love shining in his eyes.

“Open it,” he demands, his voice raspy.

“But…I have to get yours as….” I protest, my throat closing with the rush of emotions that swamp me as I finger the delicate tulle ribbons in festive red and green entwined so elegantly around a wrapping of tiny white snowflakes against a black backdrop.

I raise my eyes to his and my breath catches as I see him chewing his lip. Raising my hand I pull it free and moving so swiftly I don’t even see it he grabs my fingers in his free hand bringing them back to his mouth, lovingly touching hot kisses to each tip.

“No you fuckin’ don’t. I can wait for mine but I can’t wait to give you one of yours.”

I gaze at him, my mouth dropping open. “There are more than one?” I stammer.

He drops his brows, and a look of confusion sweeps across his features.

“Yeah. Whacha think? I’d only get ya the one fuckin’ pissy little gift? No way José, it’s fuckin’ balls to the wall where you’re concerned darlin’. Now c’mon and rip that fucker open, I’m dying here.” He tips his beer back and his throat works as he swallows the remains of the bottle before holding his hand over the floor and opening his fingers, the bottle landing with a hollow clunk before rolling away to rest half-way across the room. I glance at it, following its progress, but this time I just shake my head and say nothing. I know Brandon will pick it up later.

From the darkened rooms behind us I hear a faint tinkle as Missy wakes and runs past, her little claws click-clacking across the tiled floor as she heads into the kitchen to have a feed.

“I see the rat’s awake,” Brandon chuckles, pointing at my unopened present he barks, “Present Rosebud. Open. Now.”

“Jeesh Brandon hold your horses, I’m doing it,” I reply, and laugh as I see the nervous pop and tick of the muscles in his jaw as he grinds his teeth, a trait I’ve come to recognise as typical worry-wart-Brandon. Whenever he feels stressed, he grinds his teeth, or works his jaw like he’s chewing gum.

He’ll have no teeth left soon if he doesn’t chill, I ponder silently.

Carefully undoing the bow I unravel the length of tulle from around the paper, and after painstakingly sliding my fingernail beneath the tape — eliciting a fresh round of curses from Brandon with regards to me dragging my arse — I finally peel the paper back.

Nestled inside is a cloud of white tissue paper.

Pushing the crinkly layer of paper open I hold my breath as a shining antique-style silver frame is slowly revealed. Placing the paper on my lap I reverently clasp the frame between my hands and raise it, the picture it so beautifully frames swimming in and out of focus as my eyes well.

“Don’t cry darlin’.” I feel a rough finger gently sweep below each of my eyes, wiping away my falling tears as I gaze at the photo of Brandon and I cuddling up to each other in bed, our eyes glowing with love and silly smiles tilting our lips up. He’d even had something engraved in curling script along the bottom of the frame and blinking, I clear my vision enough to make out the words.

Sunlight pales beside the dazzling beauty of your smile. Moonlight can’t compete with the glow of love in your eyes. My world spins because of my love for you and every day I rise with your name on my lips and your face in my heart.

“D’ya like it? It’s my favourite,” he whispers as he inches closer and wraps me up in his arms, his mouth slamming down on mine, his kiss full of heat and passion. “It’s not much of a present I know but….” His voice trails off as I crawl onto his lap and curl my arms around his neck drawing him to me as if he is the very air that I need to breathe.

And the more I think on that thought, the more I realise that he is. I would be rudderless, lost at sea and floundering without him. He is my anchor, my love, my other-half.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love it,” I cry against his mouth and my heart flutters like a wild bird as he locks his arms around my back and pulls me in tighter to his heaving chest. Dropping his head he nuzzles his nose against the soft skin of my throat and I mewl softly in the back of my throat.

“C’mon,” he says tugging my hand and pulling me up off the lounge and into his arms. “Bed time. It’ll be fuckin’ Christmas in…” he looks at the clock on the wall, “…two hours and I intend to use those one hundred and twenty minutes very dirtily,” he croons into my ear.

My knees tremble and I clutch him and my picture frame with whitening fingers as he leads me to our room, the twinkling festive lights illuminating our path.

 

tired

 

The Lake House: Part Two.

The Lake House.

Part two.

The day had taken a chilly turn by the time that I’d walked out of the lawyers’ offices, and wrapping my arms about myself, I shivered in spite of my lightweight cardigan and jeans. Walking back to the hotel room I’d booked for one night, I went through the half-hour meeting and frowned, still none the wiser. Not one of my cousins had been present, not that I’d really expected to see them.  Instead they’d entrusted the law firm with the handling of all of the details of the house and my new ownership of it.

Dropping my head down against the breeze, I stepped in and out of shadows cast by the other buildings located along this section of the main street, my heels on the cement echoing hollowly back to me. Clayton Tops was one of those picturesque little towns that swelled during peak holiday seasons — mainly in winter — but found itself deserted at all other times of the year.

People came to this mountainous playground for the thick fluffy snow and trout fishing. I only knew this last little fact, because the spaceship-sized billboard placed on the outskirts of the town had told me as I’d driven in: Clayton Tops, the home of the rainbow trout, and who was I to doubt the word of a gigantic talking trout?

Ringed by saw-toothed mountains which still bore a light dusting of white, I imagined that it got quite busy here when winter was in full swing. In my mind’s eye I saw the footpaths and shops brimming over with hot-chocolate-toting, red-cheeked tourists, all cashed up and ready to play and party.

But now in early spring, it was quiet and peaceful. The main street was all but devoid of traffic. Only a few cars — probably locals, I assumed — scooted by me as I closed the distance between myself and the quaint Mountain Stream Hotel.

I walked up to Number 3, and inserting my key I thought how the lawyer, Mrs Grayson, hadn’t been very specific at all with anything pertaining to my late Aunt and Uncle’s wishes. “Why had they bequeathed me their long-lost niece, their house? In preference to their own flesh and blood?” I puzzled, my lips pursing as I closed the door behind me, switching on the jug on my way to the bathroom. “It’s very strange.”

As I set about making a cuppa I fetched the paperwork from my purse. Seating myself at the table I took a sip of tea and opened the fat document up, my eyes wriggling rapidly as I went back over it. My brows creased and folding it I returned it back to my bag, none the wiser.

“It’s all legal gibberish, and didn’t tell me anything,” I grumped, still just as much in the dark as I’d been an hour earlier. “Oh well, it really doesn’t matter now, the house is mine. The contract is ironclad. So yay and thank you Uncle and Aunty Randolph. I guess.” I raised my now tepid tea in a salute to my generous benefactors before adding, a smile tipping my lips up, “I’m now the proud owner of a house with a water view.”

I made a fresh cup and sat back down. Leaning back in the chair I crossed my legs, sipping my hot brew as I recalled this afternoon’s mystifying meeting. No matter how I’d worded my queries, Mrs Grayson had cleverly and blatantly glossed over the details, seeming edgy and nervous when I’d asked about the house I hadn’t visited since childhood.

Hell, it had all come of a shock to me to learn that my Aunt and Uncle had left me anything in their will. I’d assumed right from the start that my cousins would’ve fought me tooth and nail, in the courts if need be, for their family home. But the grey-haired, brisk lawyer had said without further elaboration, that they’d been more than happy for me to take ownership of L’esprit de l’eau.

I shrugged. Apparently the house at Crystal Waves Lake had been named, something about a water-spirit. It was just another detail which was news to me.

Shifting in my chair, I took a sip of tea.

I was drowning in details lately. Pausing with my cup held level at chin-height, I gave a short, sharp laugh.

“Poor word choice Geneviève, considering you’re going to live near a lake,” I declared to the empty room.

When I’d asked Mrs Grayson if she could be any more specific with relation to my aunt and uncle’s untimely deaths, she’d gone a pasty white and her mouth had dropped open like a landed fish. Unnecessarily shuffling the pile of papers placed in a neat pile before her into a tidier pile, and unable to meet my eyes straight on, she’d repeated the same spiel the police had already told me; my aunt had gone out in their small boat, fallen overboard and my uncle had drowned in his effort to save her…blah, blah, blah. Neither of their bodies had been recovered as yet, despite the concerted efforts of the SES and specialised Police divers.

After a few awkward moments of contemplative silence, Mrs Grayson coughed and sliding a thin sheaf of papers and a gold-tipped pen my way, she’d seemed way too eager to have me sign the papers which would give me sole possession of their house and evidently take the whole distasteful business from her office and mind.

Odd. Very odd, I mused as I drained my tea, and then headed to the shower. I had a big day tomorrow and I needed to try and get a good night’s sleep because tomorrow would bring me my first glimpse of, The water spirit, my brand-spanking-new home.

~ * O * ~

Slowing my car to a halt on the shoulder I shifted it into neutral, engaged the handbrake and stepped out. Closing the door I leant back against the warm metal and shading my eyes I glanced down at what was going to be my new home.

The last rays of the setting sun winked off giant glass windows which looked silently out over the darkening waters of the lake and I blinked as glints of dazzling light reflected off them and into my watering eyes.

~ * O * ~

From the inside of the house watchful eyes scanned the road and in particular the car which perched on the crest looking down onto the lake and house. Excited whispers filled the empty rooms.

“She’s here,” a masculine voice said, his voice no louder than that of a falling autumnal leaf. He spoke to the others without taking his eyes from the new arrival, “We must do all within our power this time to protect her. They must not have this one.”

~ * O * ~

mountain lake

Release Day! Pleasure and Pain.

I’m very pleased and honoured to present to you all my latest work, Pleasure and Pain now available for free download at my author’s page at Smashwords. I was beginning to think that this day would never come, it seemed to be such an involved story that just didn’t want to finish. I truly hope you enjoy the read as much as I did writing it.

Happy reading ;-)

Please follow the link to the book’s page at Smashwords.

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/406083

Pleasure and Pain

Complete chapter 12 of Pleasure and Pain. Brandon’s POV.

Muscular man

Chapter Twelve. Brandon

 

By the time that Mychael staggered in the door around 1:00 am that night, I’d had a chance to cool down, thanks to my time with Rosebud. Although, I did  kick his arse as I’d promised, I didn’t give him the black eyes.

By Wednesday, my bike was repaired. I’d threatened him that morning before I’d left for work that ‘if he didn’t pick it up and return it back home in his lunchtime I’d fuckin’ knock his lights out.’ Over a couple of icy beers after work, I’d laughed, as he’d slouched forward on his chair whining that he’d had to fork out $500 for repairs, after he’d already splashed out $100 in Halycon the day before for a carton of smokes — to replace the ones he’d bludged off of me.

As it’d turned out, the damage to my bike wasn’t too bad, mostly superficial. He’d snapped the brake lever off, fucked up most of the bike’s plastics on the right-hand side, scratched the stickers off the front forks and simply flooded the bitch when he’d come a gutser.

No wonder the moll hadn’t wanted to fire-up, she’d had a gutful of fuel and he’d been too off his face to work it out.

Mychael, the whiney little bitch hadn’t stopped friggin’ squealing about his dearly departed $600 ever since. All fuckin’ week, he’d been on my case and I was just about ready to dish out another memorable arse-kicking, with added jaw-ache, when Friday morning rolled around.

Fuckin’ date day.

And I was nervous as all fuckin’ hell.