Lungs burning, ears ringing and exhaustion settling into my bones. His large sweaty hand gripping my smaller one tightly as we maneuver our way through a sea of bodies, piercing screams making my eardrums protest as we rush forward. Head pounding like a jackhammer on concrete I tried to focus my blurry vision, a difficult task with the tears welling in my eyes from the consistent pain that radiates throughout my entire skull.
“We’re almost there baby, just a little farther!”
“I can’t Mason! Just leave me” I wheeze, my energy drained from trying to keep up with his long legs. Our height difference was as clear as day and any hope of actually keeping up with Mason dwindled away with every step. The flying elbows and general pawing from the people around us wasn’t helping, simply adding more weight onto my tired body.
My legs shake, strained from my futile efforts, as my knees giving way as I trip over my own sneakered feet. Before I can fall face first into the gravel a muscular arm wraps around my waist before I am hoisted into the air, landing sharply on a wide shoulder. The wind was knocked out of me from the sharp downfall, his shoulder feeling more like a sharp rock digging into my torso than actually skin and bone. I hack and wheeze as I try to regain my breath.
“Mason put me down! I’ll only slow you down!” my wheezy whining falls on deaf ears as he starts to pick up speed, nothing deters Mason as he treks onward with one goal in mind fueling his adrenaline.
“Like hell I will!” he growls, grip tightening around my thighs as his fast walk turns into a slow run. The bouncing motion causes his shoulder to dig in even harder, making me yelp at the sudden increase of pain yet I don’t complain. The facts are that I would rather have his shoulder causing me discomfort over actually having to walk on my own again.
I was far too exhausted to put up a good fight when I was up against a tall, ‘I’m addicted to exercising’ marathon runner.
We bulldoze down the gravel road and finally reached a paved pathway, anything in our way being pushed aside by the hulking man carrying me like a caveman. Wanting to peel my eyes off my current view, which was difficult since said view consisted of muscular legs and a tight ass, I put my hands flat on his back and lifted my torso up to glance around the area and ease my discomfort.
We were getting close.
Along the paved path we now traversed, just past a wide expanse of grass was Elbow River. Sunlight glistens over the dark rippling waters, the current strong and levels high from the constant rainfall we have been experiencing all across Alberta. Bodies litter the grassy expanse, the lush emerald green blades drowned by the hordes of bodies laying strewn about.
A sudden veer to the left was followed by an abrupt halt, making me lose my balance as his back muscles shifted. My chin swings violently into the middle of his back, making Mason hiss in pain before lifting me off and swiftly placing me down on the grass beside the path. My throbbing head protests, dizziness overcoming me as my equilibrium shifts resulting in my ass kissing the ground harshly and my flip flop flying off my foot the moment my feet hit the ground.
“What the hell was that for?” Mason snaps, his hand reaching under his T-shirt to rub at the now sore spot.
“Why are you complaining! My poor chin is gonna have a big ugly bruise now” I grunted in reply, a moan of pain slipping out as I rub at my chin. He grunts back before reaching a hand out to help me up. Hand in hand Mason easily tugs me off the ground, grabs my shoulder to steady me than grabs my shoe and helps me get it on. He keeps a hold of me the entire time so I don’t fall again. He then proceeds to brush off my clothes, making sure to take extra time when brushing off my butt.
“You about done?” I playfully snapped as I slap his hand away, making him grin back mischievously before giving my ass a hard slap. I don’t give him the satisfaction of voicing the cry that bubbles in my throat, instead shooting him a scathing glare.
Walking off the path and away from me Mason starts heading towards the fairgrounds, where my family’s food truck was parked. The short rest I got made my legs and feet hurt less but my head still hurts and my stomach is a tad queasy.
Hangovers freaking suck.
Here I thought the worst was over this morning, having thrown my guts up into the toilet bowl along with every ounce of food and liquor I had last night. Sure last night was amazing between the booze, dancing and sex but I don’t think I’ll be doing it again any time soon. Well I won’t be doing the booze part of that equation any time soon, since my friends would protest the no dancing and Mason...well lets just say the no sex part would not go well with him. Or me if I’m being perfectly honest.
Following after him towards the sea of colorful stalls and food trucks I saw my family’s white truck with neon green and yellow stripes, the words ‘Taylor Made’ big and bold on the side in black curvy print. A couple picnic tables with green and yellow plaid tablecloths were placed near our food truck, my parents sitting at one.
“What took you so long? Momma’s furious cause dad had to do all the heavy lifting, now his back is killing him” the sudden voice of my younger sister had me whipping my head in her direction, neck cracking from a stiffness I hadn’t noticed until now. She had come out of the food truck with a scowl on her pretty face.
“Shit Sy is he okay?”
“He’ll live but he isn’t gonna be much help today cause of you” Sylvan snootily points out, expressing her opinion more than necessary as she points an accusing finger at dad than at me. Quickly grabbing her finger I twist it away, making her cry out as she swiftly pulls it out of my grasp.
“Screw you Jasper!”
“No thanks that’s gross” I quip as I move past her towards the table dad and mom are sitting at. The sound of a stomping foot follows an aggressive shout from behind me, my sister most likely fuming from me getting the last word in.
“Jasper Leanne Taylor where have you been! You and your man are 2 hours late and if I don’t get a decent explanation there will be no deep fried poutine pickle grilled cheese sandwiches for you two!” the curvy 5’2 raging woman before me was none other than my momma. Tan freckled skin, light blonde hair and dark green eyes make up the beautiful woman I take after from, myself basically being a taller carbon copy of the one and only Mrs.Harley Taylor.
My moms side of the family has a bad habit with names. That habit being they usually name their kids after the places they were conceived. With me it was Jasper, Sy was Sylvan Lake and according to my grandparents, mom was conceived on the seat of my grandpa’s custom Harley bike.
I didn’t ask how.
“Ah come on mom you know those sandwiches are God’s cure for the common hangover” I plea, my headache putting in its two cents as the constant dull thud flares to life. Groaning in agony I wrap my arms around mom before resting my forehead on her shoulder, my bottom lip out in the best pout I can muster right now.
“We are late cause the people traffic is crazy, I literally had to knock people out of the way to make a path for this slowpoke who decided she wanted to give up just 10 minutes ago” Mason’s answer has me whipping my head up and shooting him a glare his way, sticking out my tongue for added measures. My headache once again protested so I buried my face in moms white blouse.
“Hey it’s like 40 degrees out, the crowd was never ending and I’m sore and dying from a hangover you helped cause! So excuse me for being a bit dramatic” I huffed, my voice slightly muffled by moms shirt.
I couldn’t even count how many people we saw on our way here, thousands of people from all across Alberta gathering in one area. Fair rides, food trucks, farm animals and a hell of a lot of shit.
“And besides Mason I wasn’t the one who slept in until almost noon” I jab back, because there was no way in hell he was putting all the blame on me.
“You could have woke me up!”
“I tried! 10 freaking times! You sleep like the dead, there is no waking you!”
The hulking man that is my boyfriend huffs in annoyance knowing what I say is true. He’s like a hibernating bear when he sleeps. The closest I have ever come to waking him up is when I shoved a plate of maple bacon under his nose once. That had him springing up so fast I had spilt the plate, not that it mattered to him much, he just ate it off the cotton bed sheets.
If there is one thing my man loves more than sex or sleep its food.
“Alright that’s enough yapping, sandwiches and coffee are over there, tylenol is in my purse so go get over this hangover and get to work cause you guys have the afternoon shift” my mom orders while shooting us both a scathing glare. To say she wasn’t happy with us was an understatement, especially since she had warned us not to drink too much last night.
Clearly we didn’t listen.
“Thank you momma” after kissing her on the cheek I basically skipped over to the picnic table. I greeted dad before grabbing a paper plate and snatching two sandwich halves and a cup of coffee, making sure to add some french vanilla coffee creamer before chugging down the steaming liquid. The pleasant caffeine buzz made me overlook the burn as I finished off my cup and wolfed down my sandwiches. The tartness of the pickle mixed heavenly with the savory gravy and gooey cheese, the deep fried crust and french fries added a crunch that had my toes curling.
All together it made for the best hangover cure ever.
“Oh sweet mother mary thats so good” I moan happily, my lingering hangover seemingly vanishing the moment I took a bite. Reaching over I grab two more halves from the pile before Mason plops down, dragging the rest of the sandwiches away from me as he starts to gorge.
“Come on hurry up, your brother can’t man the truck by himself for much longer and your sister and I gotta go grab some groceries” loosely grabbing onto my arm Mom dragged me over to the food truck and shoved me inside. Almost tripping over myself again I silently curse my heritage for having passed on the family clumsy trait to me. Out of all three of us Taylor kids, Sylvan was the only one not cursed with clumsiness while my older brother Edson and I weren’t so lucky.
Since she’s the youngest Edson and I once told her we saved her from having to endure our pain, that we absorbed the curse before she was born so that she wouldn’t be clumsy too. Of course we told her this when she was 5 so she believed us and because of that Sylvan would call us her hero’s.
Nowadays though the pampered princess barely even talks to her siblings, calling us embarrassments and kinda just being a big old meanie puss in general.
“Well howdy there Miss.TardyPants, best be washing your hands and putting on an apron cause I’m done in 5” Ed’s fake southern accent has me groaning in pain.
“How are you so terrible at accents? like I know you were going for southern there but dude you sounded french”
“I’m not that bad” sticking out his tongue Edson grabs a bright yellow apron with the family logo on it and chucks it at me. Quickly pulling the apron on over my white t-shirt and ripped jean shorts I start washing my hands just as Mason steps into the truck.
“Yes you are Ed, you can’t do a proper accent to save your life” Mason chuckles as he walks over to me, giving me a quick kiss before grabbing his own apron. A silly smile lit up my face as I watch his huge frame move around the small stainless steel kitchen. Short dark brown hair, warm chocolate brown eyes and tan skin covered in tattoos, Mason is a hulking man standing at 6’4” and muscles to rival Thor’s.
“Whatever man, when’s your time to ride?” Ed asks trying to switch the subject.
“I’m on at 5:30 but I should be there around 4:30 to make sure everything’s ready” Mason answers while throwing on his apron, tying it tightly around his waist before washing his hands. Mason is one of the barrel racers for the Stampede along with his dad. He also signed up for bull riding while his sister is in the team roping.
“Alright I’ll let Sy know, we will cover the truck so Jasper can come watch you”
“Heck yeah I’m watching my baby beat every other cowboy at this stampede” I exclaimed proudly, resulting in a kiss on the cheek, another slap on the ass and a chuckle from Edson.
“Yeah yeah, do you know how many people show up for the Calgary Stampede? Cause I sure as hell don’t but I know there’s a lot” Edson smirks like the giant know it all he is, green eyes bright against his tan skin as he shakes a hand through his blonde curls. Removing his own apron he hangs it on the hook before wishing us good luck and leaves.
People are starting to gather in front of the truck, the line already stretching back a ways. Going to our stations, myself doing the cooking while Mason whoo’s customers, the first order comes in and my hands start working. A smile wide on my face from doing what I love but also because my hangover has completely left me and I was in a tight space with the man I’ve promised myself too.
Hopefully the rest of today will be just as great.
Hello and welcome to Jasper :)
This is a zombie book if the introduction didn't already make that clear. So I hope whoever stumbles upon this enjoys it and don't mind any mistakes (cause I know there is alot). You can kindly point them out if you want, it would be helpful and I can't wait to see what people think. This is already on Wattpad but I will be uploading all the chapters here as well.
Hope everyone has an awesome day.