Scott rhythmically pumped his hips, pushing himself further inside the girl beneath him, making her scream out in ecstasy with every thrust.
“Oh God.” She screamed, close to climaxing. “Oh God. Ohhhhhhhhh. Ahhhhhh.” Her body convulsed as the orgasm hit and she threw her head back, letting the sensations take over. It was enough to push him over the edge, and with one last thrust he followed her into euphoria. Both their bodies went limp, and for a while they just lay there, panting from the exertion.
“Oh my god.” She said, still breathless.
“I hope that’s a good oh my god.” He replied, pulling out of her and zipping up his pants.
“You know perfectly well it was the good kind.” She said, reaching for her jeans and doing them up too. “I can’t believe I did this. I never do this.”
“I’m glad you did.”
He laughed at her joke, stepping out of the car while she popped the boot for him. His large black duffle greeted him, and he swung it over his broad shoulders effortlessly.
“What is this place?” She asked, staring at the illustrious mansion he’d directed her to. The Garrison Manor, a huge estate in the middle of an orchard, where rows and rows of various fruit trees surrounded the house like a frame surrounds a painting, making the already picturesque land stand out as if flaunting its beauty to the world.
“That’s the childhood home.” Scott explained.
“You grew up here?” She asked. “That place is huge. What were you? The butler or the master?”
“The master’s son.”
“I cannot believe houses like this exist.” She said, staring up at the manor in awe. “And here I thought small towns were all about horses and ranches.”
She continued to stare, her eyes determined to commit the beauty to memory. Then she shook her head, as if shaking herself out of a dream, accepting that she could look but she’d never know this reality.
“Thanks for the ride.” He said to her. “Both of them.”
She chuckled as he shut the door, honking before she drove back up the long driveway, her car flanked by several more rows of trees.
Scott took a deep breath, preparing himself for the cold welcome he knew he was about to face. It had been eight years since he’d been back here. He’d left at 18 and hadn’t looked back, at first happy to get away from the mediocrity of small town living, eventually broken by the glamour of the city, never strong enough to return home and face all the people he’d hurt.
He reached for the large brass knocker, pulling it back and slamming it three times against the oversized door, shuddering as the sound rung through his ears. The door swung open, and a woman he didn’t recognise stood before him wearing the trademark maid’s uniform, her lips drawn into a tired line. He didn’t recognise this one, and he wondered what had happened to Emilia, the no-nonsense housekeeper who’d rewarded him with caramel filled cookies whenever he’d been a good boy.
“Can I help you?” The maid asked. “Mr. and Mrs Garrison weren’t expecting anyone.”
It was weird hearing Pete and Eliza referred to as Mr. and Mrs Garrison. Mr. and Mrs Garrison were his parents, good ol’ Mom and Dad, but Dad had died a year ago and Mom now lived in a retirement facility on the border of the town. Eliza and Pete were now the Mr. and Mrs Garrison of the Manor, Eliza his childhood friend and Pete the older brother who’s star had shined so bright Scott had always been covered in his shadow.
“I’m Scott.” He said, stepping into the house. “Pete home?”
She tried to block his path, not sure who he was but knowing he wasn’t allowed inside without some sort of authorisation. She was so small though, and Scott easily pushed his way in, using his size to intimidate her.
“Excuse me Sir, you can’t…”
“Scott?” Scott instantly recognised his brother’s voice and he turned to the sound, just in time to see Pete descending from the stairs.
“It’s been too long.” Scott replied, extending his arms for a hug.
“Mr. Garrison, he just walked inside.” The maid stammered, desperate to protect her job.
“Yeah. He would.” Pete replied, ignoring Scott’s outstretched arms as he levelled him with a suspicious glare instead. “What do you want? Money?”
“Maybe I just missed my big brother.”
“You’re gonna have to do better than that.” Pete said.
“You were always a cynic.” Scott replied. “Only ever saw the worst in me.”
“You never proved me wrong.”
“And here I thought I’d be welcomed with open arms.”
“What do you want Scott?”
“I need a place to stay for the summer.” He admitted. “Figure out my next step, get back on my feet, all that crap. You gonna let me stay?”
“It’s not up to me.” Pete replied. “You’ll have to convince Eliza.”
“For a Good Time Call Eliza?” Scott asked, using the nickname she’d been given after providing Michael, the football captain, with the best blowjob of his life. “Yeah I think I’ll be fine.”
“That’s the problem.” Pete said shaking his head just the way Scott remembered him doing. He waited for his brother to elaborate, but Pete just continued to shake his head. Scott was clearly missing something, what, well he’d probably find out sooner or later.
“Can I stay or what?”
“It’s fine with me.” Pete said. “But like I said, you’ll have to convince Eliza.”
Why did he keep saying it like that? Like Eliza wouldn’t him stay? Scott and Eliza had been friends back in the day, they’d had an understanding she and Pete would never have, two black sheep constantly being incorrectly typecast, Eliza the slut and Scott the burnout.
He’d always thought he’d prove everyone wrong when he graduated from the small school in the small town. Instead he’d proved them right. Pete was the good Garrison boy, always doing the right thing. He’d taken over the orchard, married the untameable, wild girl, and had two perfect kids. He had it all.
Then there was Scott. The one tainting the Garrison name. The former football prodigy who’d blown out his knee and turned to steroids and a whole host of other drugs to fix it. Anything to get back into the game, make something of himself, and be worthy of the girl who’d given up everything so he could follow his dream.
The powers that be weren’t too impressed by the drug use, and he’d been blackballed from the game, too lazy, stubborn and proud to work for a comeback. He ran out of money, drove the girl away and drunk until he no longer felt the pain, leaving crappy job after crappy job in his wake as he lived paycheque to paycheque.
He hadn’t been home once in eight years. Not for Christmas, not for birthdays, not even for his father’s funeral. He wasn’t a good person. He was a terrible brother, and an even worse son. Then last week he’d finally received the letter his dad had written before he’d died. It was short, but not sweet, telling him he was a waste of space who’d hurt, disappointed and screwed over anyone who’d ever cared for him. Yet after that horrible sentiment it had asked him to come home, make amends, stop hurting his brother and mother because he was scared to face reality. Attached to the letter had been his Will, his father’s last dying will and testament, saying that if Scott would only come for the spring he’d inherit his third of the family estate.
So he was back. Not for his family, not to get to know his niece and nephew, not to make amends with the friends he’d left behind. No, he was back for the money. The huge amount of money that would buy him that cabin in the mountains, far away from people who were always trying to fix him. He’d never have to work another day in his life, prove anything to anyone or try to better himself. He could just exist, skiing down the frosted slopes in winter and exploring the woods in summer, drinking himself silly without judgement, and sleeping with whoever he wanted without being asked when he was finally going to settle down. He’d just exist. Making it through each miserable day until he died.
He just needed to get through the spring first.
He spent the afternoon unpacking and rearranging his room back to the way he liked it. He knew Pete must have moved everything to spite him, thinking that somehow Scott would know his bed was backwards and randomly become irritated.
He reached for the final item in his duffel, a small leather bag filled with a certain substance that he knew no one would approve of. He needed it though, especially if he was going to make it through to summer. In fact, he needed some right now.
Stepping onto his balcony he made quick work rolling the joint before he lit up and inhaled. He held the smoke in his throat, savouring the taste, letting it soak in, a wave of serenity washing over him as he exhaled.
“No.” Said a strong female voice. It was weird, it sounded familiar, but different. A second later the owner of the voice stormed into his room, onto the balcony and snatched the joint from his hand. She dropped it onto the wooden deck and snuffed it out with her pointed stiletto. Scott stared at the girl in front of him, recognising her, Eliza. But it wasn’t Eliza, not the Eliza he remembered.
‘For a Good Time Call Eliza’ was gone. Her short skirts replaced with pressed trousers, her sexy black curls chopped off and dyed an ugly brown, her huge fun-bags now hidden beneath an oversized blazer rather than popping out of a tight singlet. Now, she was uptight Liz. Slutty Lize-ey, nowhere to be seen.
“Pack your things and get out.” She said, her voice cold.
“What happened to you?”
“You have 10 minutes.” She replied.
“Liz, he has nowhere else to go.” Pete said, stepping into Scott’s room behind his wife.
“I just caught him smoking a joint.” Eliza replied. “I don’t care if he has nowhere else to go. He’s not staying here. I’m not having that around Jenny and Bryce.”
“Bryce?” Scott asked. “You seriously named your kid Bryce? Were you asking for him to be picked on?”
“Pete, he cannot stay here.” She insisted, growing more furious at Scott’s snub.
“He has nowhere else to go.” Pete repeated, silently pleading with his wife to let his dear ol’ hapless brother stay.
“How about a compromise?” Scott suggested. “You give me a week. I’ll either be a model houseguest, or a nightmare of one. When the week is up you can decide which category I fall into and either let me stay for the summer, or give me the boot.”
Pete gave Eliza that pleading look again, he was like a puppy who’d just peed on the rug, pleading with his master not to be kicked outside. Scott fought the urge to roll his eyes, that expression instantly putting him in a bad mood. Every time Pete did something wrong, every time he wanted something, he just gave that look. Yet another thing that made them different. Pete never really had to try, things were always just handed to him. Scott had to fight for everything, and most times he lost.
“One week.” Eliza agreed, her eyes narrowing as she looked down her nose at Scott. She’d come a long way. First his partner in crime, now the woman who’d decide his fate.
“Aye-aye, cap’in. Do I get the rule book now or later?” He taunted.
“Don’t be a dick.” She replied. “That’s rule one.”
The response only confused him more. Eliza never snapped at people, at least she never used to. She was always too scared to say what she really thought. Everyone already didn’t like her, she didn’t want to give them any more reason not to. She never snapped, she certainly never called anyone a dick.
He wondered how much everyone else had changed, and had they changed in a good way, or like Eliza, suppressing themselves because it was no longer socially acceptable to be promiscuous, or a burnout, or a jock. He was curious about one girl in particular, but he quickly forced her out of his head. He’d go mad thinking about her.
“I’ll go tell Lucy to set a place for you at the table.” Eliza said, straightening her blazer and ambling toward the kitchen.
“What happened to ‘For a Good Time Call Eliza.’” Scott asked, scoffing under his breath.
“She grew up.” Pete said. “We all did.”
Without another word he turned and followed after his wife, leaving the room in an icy chill. So Pete did hate him. He hated him yet he was still helping him. That’s what good brothers did. That’s what Pete did. Pete always did the right thing.
Natalie stared wide-eyed as Ryan lowered himself onto his knee, nervously eyeing the ring she held in her hands. This morning she’d gotten a splinter from the wood on the porch outside and had gone looking for some tweezers to remove it. She’d gone straight for Ryan’s bedside table, knowing that’s where he kept his swiss army knife, and had discovered it locked. That’s when her curiosity had taken over. He never locked anything, not even his car when he parked it on the street. She knew he was hiding something, and she had to know what, so she’d forgotten all about the splinter and instead spent her day trying to open the drawer.
She’d tried picking the lock with a bobby pin, tried prying it open with a screwdriver, tried using numerous other keys hoping one would fit. Nothing had worked, and all her dreams of becoming a sexy cat burglar who Batman eventually fell in love with were dashed. In the end she’d taken a hammer to the wood and simply smashed it open. She wasn’t proud of herself, but she just had to know what was inside.
Turns out it was an engagement ring. A simple, elegant silver band that led up to a three stone centre. She must have stood there staring at it for hours, because before she even had time to hide it again and try fix Ryan’s side-table, he was behind her, chuckling at the destruction she’d caused and lowering himself onto one knee.
“Natalie.” He began. “From the moment you walked into my…”
“No.” She said, interrupting him.
“No?” He asked.
“I mean, I don’t mean no, no. I just mean… Don’t ask.”
“What?” He rose to his feet, hurt visible in his eyes. “You don’t want to marry me?”
“It’s not that. Its…well this is really out of the blue.”
“We’ve been together for three years. We live together. Marriage is the next step after that.”
“We’ve never spoken about marriage.” She pointed out.
“Do we need to?” He wanted to know. “You either want to spend the rest of your life with someone or not. Why do we need to discuss it?”
“Ryan I just…I wasn’t expecting this. I need some time to think.”
“About what? Whether you want to spend the rest of your life with me? That’s not something you need to think about, it’s something you just know. I knew from the moment I saw you that you were the one.”
“I’m not saying you’re not the one.”
“Then what are you saying.”
“I just need to think for a while. This…This just caught me off guard. I need some time to get used to the idea.”
“I can’t believe this.” He said, backing up toward the door.
“Ryan.” She reached for him, wanting to try and explain her trepidation, but it would only make things worse.
The truth was, well, she had this idea of what love was supposed to feel like. It was supposed to be this all consuming love that changes you, the kind that movies, and books and songs are written about, this huge, epic love. For so long that’s the kind of thing she wanted.
She didn’t have that with Ryan. What she and Ryan had was comfortable. With him she felt happy, and content, and safe. She knew that he’d never hurt her, or leave her, or run away scared when things got a little tough. She’d had that epic love, once, and she’d been burned by it. Now she wanted the comfortable one.
She loved Ryan, she loved her life with Ryan, but there was still this tiny, traitorous part of her that wanted that epic love, that hadn’t let go of that fantasy just yet. There had only ever been one time, one time when she’d thought maybe she could completely lose herself in someone else, only that one time she’d come close to anything epic.
That relationship had ended years ago, eight years ago, and she hadn’t heard a single word from the guy since, not even a card to say he was still alive. She’d always thought she’d want that epic love again, but then she’d met Ryan. He’d shown her what a healthy relationship was, what it was like to be with someone who didn’t put his needs first all the time. She didn’t want to chase after some allusive epic, co-dependent love anymore. She wanted Ryan. She wanted her life with Ryan. She just didn’t think she could completely let go yet. If she married Ryan she would have to, and even though it had been eight years she still didn’t want to completely let go of Scott.