As promised for the lovely sharing to get out the news about Doors, a teaser for you all! Hope you enjoy not only a look into a defining moment of Colt’s past, but also a glance at her present. Colt and Rainer’s story comes to life this winter!! Enjoy!
I sat in my car facing the field I hadn’t been to in years. The one I used to think might save me. How stupid I had been. I looked back down at my fingers clutching my steering while even though I was parked and could see the tremors starting in them as my mind brought me back to my first night coming here.
The nights were just starting to get cold, the sun setting earlier and earlier every day so that I was walking home from the barn in almost pitch dark now. But I didn’t mind. I wasn’t afraid of the dark. There were more real things to be afraid of than simply darkness. I still had over a mile to go before I’d be home, but I was fine with taking my time. And then I heard something other than the hoots of owls and scuttling of squirrels in the trees. What sounded like voices, laughter even, came from the woods to my right. A couple steps later, I saw for the first time a dirt path that turned off from the main road. It was mostly overgrown, just another logging road I had never bothered to pay attention to until now. The laughter came from down it. I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed. What fifteen-year-old girl doesn’t spend half the time giggling? This one. I looked forward towards the dark road that I took to get home every night, then looked to my right again at this new road. It only took a second for me to decide I was going to find out where this path led. Maybe my life up until that point should have molded me into a scared child who didn’t do anything out of the norm. Instead, I seemed to think it made me more reckless.
The further my feet scuffed down the dirt, the louder the voices got. Girls squealing, a guy’s deep laughter, and a glowing light. When the woods opened up to a grassy field, I could see flames of a bonfire licking the dark sky, sparks flying up until they finally burnt out and disappeared. Cars were parked haphazardly all in front of me and feet dangled from truck tailgates and people lounged on the grass like they had no care in the world. My feet only hesitated a minute before I found myself walking straight into a group of unknown people. It didn’t take them long to realize someone else had shown up and whispers to start.
“You look a bit young to be out so late,” a deep voice broke through the whispers as I came closer to the main group by the flames. I turned to see a boy with deep olive skin looking at me with a warm smile, his head cocked to one side. He didn’t seem angry that I was there, so I took that as a good sign. He was simply curious, something I could understand.
I shrugged my shoulders and told the truth, but laced it with a laugh to make it seem like it wasn’t a concern. “Beats being stuck at home.”
A couple people in the group chuckled and one girl raised a cup. “I can drink to that,” she said before downing whatever had been in the solo cup. The boy next to her scoffed and elbowed her in the ribs.
“You can drink to anything, Nina,” he muttered.
The first boy who had spoken was still watching me with bemused eyes, trying to get a read on me. It didn’t take much to know he was the unspoken leader here. “What’s your name, kid?”
“Colt.” I shoved my fists into the pockets of my torn jeans and tried to stand up straighter, appear like I was older, that I belonged here.
“Odd name.” The boy turned to look at a guy I hadn’t noticed before to his left, giving him a questioning look. “What do you think?”
This boy wasn’t paying much attention to me, he had his hands full with the girl who was wrapped around him, but now he turned to face me and I was able to make him out in the light of the flames. He was beautiful, I could tell that even in the flickering light and he seemed to give off warmth even more so than the flames next to him. He smiled at me as I looked at him, his teeth shining in the darkness and lighting up his strong features. “You look like a wild child,” he said, then he laughed as if he had made a joke in his head. “Hey, you remember that show that was on when we were kids?” he asked the group at large, but his eyes were still fixed on me. I felt like he was talking just to me even though there were almost twenty other people in the area. “The Wild Thornberries! That’s what it was. You remember?”
A bunch of people laughed and agreed they remembered it. Some girls even screeched how much they had loved that show. I had no idea what they were talking about. I couldn’t remember a time in my life that I had ever watched TV, but I nodded at this mystery boy anyways. I didn’t want to let him down. His grin grew when I nodded. “The wild child they took in, what was his name? Manny? Danny?”
“Donny?” the leader of the group added from his right.
“Donny! Yeah! I’m gonna call you Donny. That sound good, wild child?”
This time there was no doubt his question was directed at me and me alone. I found myself smiling for the first time in weeks then. “Yeah. Yeah, sounds good to me,” I grinned.
“Colt Jefferson, I’ll be damned.” I shook myself out of my memories and turned to see Marcus Turner leaning into my open window. He must have come over to see what odd person pulled up to the bonfire and then never got out of the car. I took a deep breath, reminding myself this was a different time. That had been the past. Marcus didn’t know that me from before, just knew the façade I was now.
I had been in Marcus’s English class every single year in high school and I guess if I had to choose someone, he would have been the closest thing I had to a friend in school. Not that it meant much, friends weren’t really a thing in my world. Not when you could never invite them to your house or ever have them around your family. Not when the one person who I truly thought was a friend I had found in this very field. But he had abandoned me. I shook myself again and focused on Marcus and the person he knew me to be. Cool and indifferent. It was a mask I wore well.
“Hey, Marcus. You going to get me a cup of that, or are you just going to stand there looking pretty?” I nodded toward the cup in his hand as I stood from my car and starting to walk towards the keg. He laughed loudly and stretched his legs to keep pace with me.
“So the truth comes out after all these years. You did have a crush on me.” He ambled towards the keg and grabbed a cup to fill it, flashing me a smirk over his shoulder while he did.
I smirked up at him. “You wish, Golden Boy.” I had started calling him that our sophomore year, because he really was a golden boy. Between his blonde hair, blue eyes, and perpetually tanned skin he looked like he belonged in southern California, definitely not New England. Pair all that with the fact that he was one of the biggest class clowns and star athlete of the school, the title fit him perfectly. It also reiterated just how different we were.
He chuckled and passed me the almost overflowing solo cup. When I clutched it, I noticed my fingers still shook from my memories and I forced a big gulp down to calm myself. Marcus walked next to me as we made our way towards the blaze and I scanned the people spread out on the logs and overturned buckets. Funny how things could change. I hadn’t been back here in over a year, closer to two, and the faces around me now were very different from then. “Haven’t seen you around in a while, Jefferson. You should come by more often.”
I rolled my eyes at him and stood off to the edge of the fire, happy to watch all the conversations instead of joining in on any. “School’s over. Why would you see me?”
“We do these pretty often. Figured you knew about them.” He turned to see me studying the crowd and then surveyed it himself. It was clear some people had started the party early by how they were stumbling around or the raucous laughter that would erupt from a group. “Nate’s oldest brother Brent is home this summer for the first time in a while so I think a few of his friends are around here, but other than that it’s the normal crowd.”
I nodded, not really caring but trying to appear normal. I had no idea what that even meant. Had no clue what the normal crowd was. I hadn’t realized how quickly I was drinking until I went to take another sip, but there was nothing in my cup to drink. Marcus chuckled at me. “Looks like someone needed a drink, bad. I’ll go fill you up.” He took my cup from my hand when I gave him a sheepish grin and disappeared back into the gloom in the direction of the keg.
I forgot how much enjoyment I got out of people watching at these parties. Seeing the different girls in their skimpy outfits, growing continually more sloppy as the night went on. The guys reveling in the attention said girls paid them. It never failed to make me chuckle. I couldn’t imagine being one of those girls; the ones who threw themselves at guys. What did they get out of that? A night of sloppy sex and then awkward interactions for the rest of the year at school? Didn’t seem like much fun to me. Then again, there had only ever been one person to catch my attention at one of these parties and still I never threw myself at him. I had no desire to throw myself at any guy. I would much rather stay far, far away from men. Especially when they had been drinking.
“I heard you needed a refill.” The voice that spoke directly into my ear caused goosebumps to erupt on my neck. When I turned to face him, I’m sure my wide eyes did nothing to hide my shock at seeing him. He took a step back from being so close to me and extended a red solo cup to me with his trademark smirk. I hesitated to take it. “I didn’t lace it, if that’s what you’re thinking. But I know, I know. Your dad probably taught you to never take drinks from a man unless you watched him pour it. Don’t you trust me, though?”
I eyed him warily, taking in his mussed-up hair and white t-shirt paired with faded jeans. It was unfair he could look so good with such little effort. It frustrated me that I was even thinking of how good he looked. I huffed and snatched the cup out of his hand, downing half of it before choosing to respond to him. When I did, I turned back to face the fire so I didn’t get lost in those stupid, amazing eyes of his. “No, my father didn’t teach me much of anything except how to take a hit. And no, I don’t trust you.” I tossed him a glare out of the corner of my eye. “I just really needed a drink tonight.”
If my comment about my father fazed him at all, he didn’t show it. I was thankful for that, because I was shocked I even said it. I hadn’t drank much in the past year or so and it was clear drinking that last beer so fast was already getting in the way of my normally guarded demeanor. I saw him clutch at his heart as if he was in pain. “Ouch, harsh words, Colt. I trust you.”
I snorted and turned my head to look at him for a second. “Well, you shouldn’t.”
Rainer eyed me for a second, trying to read into my words, but he didn’t get a chance to question them. “Sorry, he said he knew you. I hope you don’t mind I let him take it, I had to catch up with someone.”
I grinned at Marcus as he came back to stand beside me. “It’s okay. I forgive you.”
“I didn’t know you guys knew each other,” Marcus mused.
“We don’t,” I deadpanned. For some reason it caused Rainer’s grin to grow.
“We met a couple weeks ago at the vineyard. Then she came back again last weekend, stalking me. She just couldn’t stay away.”
“God, what is it with you? I was not stalking you. Someone needs to knock down your huge ego a few pegs.” I swallowed down some more beer as Rainer burst out in laughter and I swear it was the best sound I had ever heard. Even Marcus chuckled at my hostility.
“Nice to know she tolerates you even less than she tolerates me.”
Well, it was good to hear I kept my inner feelings about Rainer a secret, at least from what Marcus said. I thought it had been written all over my face just how affected I was by this guy. “Eh, it’s okay. She’ll love me one day.”
I almost choked on the beer I had just swallowed and Marcus barked a laugh. “Good luck with that, Rain.” I didn’t even respond, just shook my head and made to walk away.
“Woah, wait up.” Footsteps quickly followed me and a hand wrapped around my elbow. I jerked out of his grip. It was easy to play it off as simply annoyance from his last comment and not from the crushing weight of fear that came over me as soon as any hand touched me. “I’m sorry.” His smile seemed to say otherwise though and I scowled in return. “I would say I didn’t mean that, but I did.”
My mouth opened, but then closed again. I had nothing to say to that. I wasn’t going to fall in love with this guy, so I didn’t know what he was playing at. Sure, I found him insanely attractive, more so than any other person I’d ever met. And sure, when he touched me the fear I always had was somewhat less than normal, as if my desire to be touched by him combatted the general anxiety connected with touch. And maybe I had thought about what his lips would feel like against mine, but maybe that had more to do with the two cups of beer I had downed than any rational thought. But he didn’t know any of that, and he never would. Love? Love was out of the question. I had already learned what getting close to someone could do to you.
When it was clear he wasn’t going to just leave me alone, I sighed and crossed my arms over my chest. “What do you want?”
“To know you.”
“You do know me. Colt Jefferson, remember? Pretty sure you made fun of my name nine days ago.”
“So you’ve been counting the days since we first met.” I didn’t think it was possible, but his grin grew even larger. I brought a hand up to cover my eyes and groaned. I tossed my empty solo cup in the fire and watched it melt before I turned and headed back towards the keg. I didn’t even need to turn my head to know he was following. “No response to that?”
“I’ve found it best to just ignore your ignorant comments. I was hoping it would prompt you to leave me alone.”
“Mmm, not a chance.” The little mumbling sound he had made as if he was thinking about it made my knees weak. I didn’t even know that was a real thing until this moment. Damn this guy.