Free Spirit

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Chapter 6

Paddy

I stepped onto the tarmac, smiling as I inhaled the crisp clean air. The frosty mountains rose above the towering trees, a stark contrast to the warm summer day. Alaska was absolutely breathtaking.

I wasn’t expecting to see another city. Apparently, Fairbanks had a population of thirty thousand. I could totally see myself living there in the summer. But not in the winter. They only had four hours of daylight!

A security guy ushered us into the black bus waiting nearby. I couldn’t imagine living like that all the time. Miles retired the year before, but the craziness hadn’t died down one bit. If anything, it was worse. The tabloids were always making up stories about him and Hannah, and snapping pictures whenever they went anywhere.

I worried about Alexis living alone above the bakery that Miles bought for Hannah. Everyone knew where it was after Hanna was kidnapped at gunpoint from there. Miles had a state of the art security system installed, and there was always a bodyguard present when Hannah and the girls were working, but he wasn’t there when the bakery was closed. And Alexis worked evenings. I didn’t like her going into that place alone at night.

“Wow,” Alexis gushed when we stepped inside the bus. “We’re riding in style.”

Black leather couches lined both sides of the bus, the tinted windows covered with maroon curtains. A small bar was set up at the back, complete with a bartender waiting to take our drink orders.

It wasn’t even noon yet!

Rock music pumped from the speakers overhead. I was surprised to hear Aerosmith playing, and not Reefer. I guess he didn’t necessarily want to listen to himself all the time.

“It’s party time!” Osk declared, heading to the bar.

“Better hurry up,” Miles chuckled, slapping his drummer on the back. “It’s only a twenty-five minute drive to the North Pole.”

“What?” Osk laughed. “We aren’t going to the North Pole.”

“Yes, we are.”

“Yer yankin me, Reef.”

“Where are we going?” Alexis inquired.

“We’re catching our next flight in North Pole,” Hannah revealed.

“We have another flight?”

“No!” Cleo yelled. “No more planes!”

“It’s okay,” Lucy whispered. “We’re going on a float plane. It’s gonna be really cool.”

“Did you say float plane?” Alexis asked.

Lucy nodded her head vigorously, her eyes dancing with excitement.

“What the hell is a float plane?”

“A plane that can land on water,” I explained.

“And how big is this plane?”

“Each one holds ten passengers,” Miles replied. “We have five booked and waiting to take us to the resort.”

“Why can’t we take the bus there?”

“The resort isn’t accessible by road.”

Holy crap. Where the hell were they taking us?

“I think I need a drink,” Alexis muttered.

“We totally gotta come back here and check this out,” Osk chuckled, peeking out the curtain. “I just saw Santa’s house!”

“I told you so,” Miles laughed.

“They have a fucking McDonald’s at The North Pole!”

I closed my eyes, pinching the bridge of my nose while the moron rambled on. He actually believed we were at the North Pole.

Alexis downed her second beer, slamming her glass on the table. “I’m ready. Let’s get this show on the road.”

“Alexis drinks too much,” Cleo announced, her loud voice carrying through the bus. “Mrs. Patterson says she’s a sinner.”

“When was the last time you talked to Mrs. Patterson?” I asked.

Mrs. Patterson was their old neighbour when they lived in Gastown. Cleo used to spend a lot of time at her apartment. The old bat always made rude comments about Hannah and Alexis.

“Last week. She’s on Snapchat.

“Since when do you use social media?”

“I help her,” Lucy explained.

“Oh.”

I used to spend a lot of time with Cleo when the girls lived in the city. But that changed when they moved in with Miles in his fancy mansion in Horseshoe Bay. I missed her. I’d have to make an effort to go and visit more often.

The bus dropped us off in a gravel lot next to the water. Five float planes were lined up along the dock. A small log cabin sported a red flashing sign welcoming visitors to Reindeer Flights. The light was coming from Rudolph’s nose.

“I don’t know about this,” Alexis said, eyeing the small plane waiting at the end of the dock.

“It’ll be fine,” I assured her. “I’ll hold your hand the entire time we’re in the air.”

“Have you always been this sweet, Paddy?”

“Yep.”

“No!” Cleo declared defiantly. “No, no, no!”

“What’s wrong?” Miles asked.

“Planes don’t go in the water.”

“This is a special type of plane,” he explained. “It can float and fly. That’s why it’s called a float plane.”

“I don’t wanna get in that thing,” she said.

“It’s the only way to get to the wedding,” he reminded her. “You wouldn’t wanna miss it, would you?”

“No.”

“And you don’t wanna miss out on the fishing trip you’re going on with Lucy.”

“I like fishing.”

“Since when?” I laughed.

“Miles took Cleo and Lucy on a deep sea fishing trip a few weeks ago,” Hannah explained.

“I didn’t know that.”

“I caught fish,” Cleo said.

“Cool. What did you catch?”

“I dunno,” she said with a shrug. “Planes don’t float.”

I watched Miles help Cleo climb up the ladder to the floatplane with a twinge of jealousy. I’d been replaced. I used to be Cleo’s hero before she met her idol. She was obsessed with Reefer long before Hannah got together with the famous rock star. And now he was the big brother/father figure in her life.

“She still loves you, Paddy,” Alexis whispered, squeezing my hand.

I glanced down at my best friend while we waited to board the plane. We were always in sync and able to read each other’s thoughts. Except when it came to my true feelings for her. She had no idea I was in love with her. If she did, she would’ve called me out on it long ago.

The plane had three rows of seats, two on one side of the aisle, one on the other. The tenth seat was at the back by the emergency door. We ended up sitting across from Silicone Princess.

“You can have the window,” I offered.

“You take it,” Alexis said. “I’m not feeling so great. I think it’s better if I don’t look.”

“You’re going to miss out on all the gorgeous scenery,” Madeline said.

“I’m not really into that.”

“Me either,” Silicone Princess agreed with a stiff laugh. “I’d take a fashion show over trees and mountains any day.”

“Right?!” Alexis exclaimed, smiling at her new buddy. “Or Beautycon.”

“Oh my God! I’d love to go to Sexycon.”

“That’s at the top of my bucket list,” Alexis said with a wistful sigh.

“Where is it being held this year?” I asked.

“Las Vegas.”

“When?”

“November.”

“I’ll take you.”

“Paddington Wallingford-Yargey, don’t tease me like that,” she warned.

“I’m not.”

“You’d really take me,” she whispered. “And pay for it?”

“Yes,” I said, capturing her hand and bringing it up to my mouth. I pressed a soft kiss to her knuckles while Silicone Princess eyed us with envy. “You’re my girlfriend now. That title comes with more perks than best friend.”

“You do know what Sexycon is, right?” Silicone Princess chuckled.

“Isn’t it a fashion and makeup convention?”

“Well, yes,” she confirmed, glancing at Alexis with a sly grin. “And sex toys and lingerie.”

“Sounds interesting,” I said, caressing Alexis’s bare leg. Her eyes widened when my fingers slipped under the hem of her skirt, stroking the smooth flesh of her inner thigh while I gauged her reaction. I would never touch her without her consent. Fake boyfriend or not. I was a gentleman. But the fact that she was doing nothing to stop me was causing a problem in my pants.

I could see Osk out of the corner of my eye. He was sitting in the seat in front of his date, his eyes trained on my hand. And he looked pissed. What was the deal with this idiot? He brought another woman on the trip, but he was acting like he still wanted Alexis.

Well, he wasn’t having her.

I pressed my mouth to her lips, my fingers coming dangerously close to her panties while I kissed her. She responded with a low whimper from the back of her throat, her tongue engaging with mine in an erotic dance. Her thighs parted, her shifting hips sending a clear invitation. I rubbed her gently through her panties, my index finger tracing the seam of her lips.

She’s wet!

Alexis is turned on!

From me touching her!

She pulled back when the engine roared to life. “I guess we’re doing this,” she said, laughing nervously.

Was she referring to the flight, or sex with yours truly?

We put on our headphones. The pilot explained that we would be in the air for approximately forty minutes as the plane slid over the water like glass before lifting into the sky.

I gazed out the window at the breathtaking vista below, mesmerized by the snow-covered mountaintops, cascading waterfalls, and the bluest lakes I’d ever seen.

Alexis held tightly to my hand as we soared over the mountains. I caressed her thumb, willing my cock to settle down before she noticed my erection.

What was I thinking? She was my best friend. And I just touched her pussy. Our friendship would never be the same again. I never should’ve agreed to be her fake boyfriend.

And her panties were wet.

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