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    Kai Taylor
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

West - 4. Distance

Distance

Fields, trees, and grass. The same sight that greeted me out of the car window an hour earlier was the same one greeting me that instant. As if on cue, another yawn escaped my mouth, prompting me to squeeze my eyes shut and then reopen them a moment later in a futile attempt to stave away the growing sense of fatigue.

Stretching out in the back seat, I tilted my neck from side to side to help relieve the ache of my muscles. Finding little comfort, my gaze returned to the rolling countryside out of the window as my thoughts resumed inside my mind.

A week had passed since I went over to Tess’s house and my family and I were on our way to the wedding. It wasn’t the fact that my cousin was getting married that annoyed me, but rather the extra added hassle it bestowed onto everyone else. Beyond that, there was another issue why it bothered me, namely that it was on my mum's side of the family; the smaller of my two backgrounds by quite a margin. Mum only had the one sister and it was her only son who was getting married. Suffice it to say there wouldn't be a lot of people I'd know attending.

Then there was the couple in question, John and Louise. They weren't bad people but they sure were boring. On the other hand, Louise’s family had money. A lot of money. The kind of money that made Dad’s business look like my weekly allowance. I wasn’t entirely sure how they had so much, as they kept it all relatively quiet, but it supposedly revolved around owning and selling both land and property. That always seemed suspect to me, so Georgina and I often remarked that they owned some criminal enterprise. Though we had no proof of the claim, it did prove to be mildly entertaining for us to speculate on.

If there was to be one redeeming factor for the wedding then it would certainly be the venue. While the ceremony itself was taking place in a small church, the wedding reception was being held in a country house. A huge country house. Seriously, according to the house’s website, it had well over fifty rooms. Although the reception would only occupy a small fraction of them, the thought of being inside such a grand building was quite exciting.

So all in all the wedding held promise, that is, until I checked for directions and learnt that it’d take a three-hour jaunt in the car through the countryside to get there. As a one-day return trip was out of the question, we were going to stay in a nearby hotel and spread the event over three days. Dad expressed his dislike of being away from the business for so long, but understood that it wasn’t something that could be helped. As for Georgina and me, school had already finished mid-week, so we didn’t have to miss any days.

A sudden, hard jolt shook me from my thoughts as the car drove over a pothole. Dad cursed under his breath, careful not to speak too loudly to wake Mum, who’d fallen asleep about an hour earlier and miraculously remained sleeping despite the uneven road surface. Turning my head, I glanced over at Georgina. Tapping away on her phone, she’d been able to block out most of the journey. Good thing too, otherwise she would’ve been reminding us how much she hated long drives.

Seeing her on her phone instantly brought Sean to the centre of my mind. Reaching down to my lap, I briefly checked the screen of my own phone, finding it vacant of any new mails or messages. Sliding lower into my seat, I rested back against the headrest and closed my eyes.

Sean Tamlin. Every time it seemed like I was close to figuring him out he’d send me a curveball and have me back at square one again. Our day spent at Tess’s house proved to be quite educational, allowing me to interact with him on a level outside of school. Progress was being made, at least until we walked home and he asked me for my phone number. Even after thinking it over during the past week, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was a second meaning behind his words, only I wasn’t quite sure what it was.

Following the weekend, I was only able to see him once before we broke up from school; during our English lesson. We didn’t speak a great amount in class, mostly limited to greeting each other. However, as soon as the lesson finished, he came over to me and told me to, “have fun at the wedding” and warning me, “don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” I wasn’t quite sure what he was expecting to happen at the wedding, aside from me dying of boredom.

Fortunately, Ryan was able to delve a little deeper than I was into Sean’s life. Thanks in part to our switch from email to messaging, things were able to move at a much faster and more informal pace. Through Ryan I was able to learn that Sean lived with his Mum and Dad, along with his eleven-year-old twin sisters. According to him they were quite a handful, often seeking the attention of his parents. Instead of being resentful, he saw it as a good thing, granting him extra independence and allowing him to do his own thing. He also mentioned that he had a hamster, something I considered to be quite cute, only he insisted that it was his sisters’.

Although it had been less than two weeks since I first opened a dialogue through Ryan, it was becoming quite clear that the time to move things to the next level was rapidly approaching. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to bring up the topic of sexuality with him, so I decided to start dropping some small hints. I didn’t say anything too obvious, but a few things that might lead him to question Ryan’s sexuality, encouraging him to bring up the topic first. I wasn’t entirely sure if it’d work, but I thought it was worth a try.

Turning my head to the left, I struggled to find some comfort against the leather upholstery. I could never sleep during car journeys, the constant vibration of the tyres against the road keeping me awake, yet it didn’t stop me from trying. Exhaling deeply, my mind began to drift, taking me back to Saturday morning, the morning after I’d spent the day over at Tess’s house. Harry had called me asking if I was busy for the day, but it didn’t take long for him to ask how things went with Tess.

“So, how was yesterday?”

“Fine.”

There was a brief pause on the other end, “Fine?”

“Yeah, what do you want me to say?” I grinned into the phone, knowing what he really wanted to find out.

“I dunno, just wondered.”

“It went really well,” I began, satisfying his curiosity. “Tess has a very nice house.”

“Yeah?”

“Mmhmm, they’re getting stuff done to it. Tess is getting a new bedroom.”

“Cool, I bet she’s pleased.”

“She said she was,” I replied, deciding that I should probably change the subject to something else. “So, anything new with you?”

“No, like I said, just bored as hell here. How about you?”

“Nothing really, I was just…” I trailed off, my eyes focused outside my bedroom window. “Well, this is new.”

“What’s new?”

“Zoe. She’s walking up my garden path.”

“Is that code for something?” Harry sniggered.

I grimaced, “You have a dirty mind.”

“Whatever you say,” he chuckled. “You want backup?”

I’d told Harry all about Zoe’s physical advances towards me a few weeks earlier. Rather than laugh it off, he took it seriously and tried to stop her from getting too close by simply being around. While I appreciated his help, I knew I should really just approach her on it.

“Uh, sure. Just give it ten-minutes.”

“Okay, see you in ten.”

Hanging up the phone, I quickly rearranged a few things on my desk and tidied the place up a little bit. Zoe’s arrival confused me. She hadn’t been around my house even once since we’d broken up. So while we were still friends, I wasn’t quite sure what she wanted.

“West! Zoe’s here for you!” shouted Mum from downstairs.

Walking over to my bedroom door, I exited my room and arrived at the top of the stairs, just in time to see Zoe climbing up from the bottom. “Hey West.”

“Hey, everything alright?”

Reaching the top, she quickly scanned the hall to see if anyone else was around, “Yeah.”

‘Yeah my arse.’ I recognised the look in her eyes. Something was up. I flicked my head towards the bedroom and ushered her inside. Closing the door behind us, I wandered over to my desk chair but remained standing.

Zoe stared at me from where she stood beside the bed, her eyebrows lowered in a small frown. Although she wasn’t one to be easily concerned, something was clearly bothering her.

“What is it Zoe?”

“I wanna talk about us.”

I cocked my head, “Us?”

“Well, you and me,” she clarified. “I think we should get back together.”

I held a steady gaze on her for a few seconds, “Really?”

“Yeah.” She sat down on the edge of my bed, “I know you said we’d be better as friends but I don’t think we are.”

I sat down and swivelled the chair to face her head on, “Oh?”

“Yeah. I don’t think we tried hard enough.”

“We dated for a month,” I pointed out. ‘One month too long.’

She nodded, “That’s what I mean. A month is nothing.”

Zoe was a bit of an odd element in my life. I’d always known her throughout high school but it was only during the last few months that we really became close. The thing that attracted me to her in the first place was how she showed an interest in journalism. Unlike me, she was still deciding whether to pursue it as a career but always took it seriously. Secondly, she was also a girl. Not that I had any aversions to girls or anything, but it had been a long time since I’d dated anyone, so I thought I’d try dating her. However, shortly after we started dating I realised I’d made a mistake. Luckily, I nipped it in the bud and cooled things off before it got too far, or so I thought. Evidently I hadn’t counted on her feelings running deeper than mine.

“West?”

“Hmm?”

“What do you think?”

I slowly shook my head, “I dunno Zoe. I kinda prefer the way things are now.”

Her expression fell as her eyes avoided mine. I didn’t know what else to say. She’d obviously thought I’d be receptive to her suggestion, only I went and confirmed the opposite.

“I just thought that maybe you were…” she shrugged her shoulders. “I dunno.”

‘Maybe I were what?’ I quickly pondered on her last sentence when something occurred to me. Maybe she thought I was giving her mixed signals. Perhaps the reason why she’d been acting so odd around me was because of something she’s misinterpreted. It was just a guess, but it felt like a good one. Either way, it was something that needed to be mentioned.

“Hey, Zoe, I know you’ve been acting differently around me when it’s just us.” She opened her mouth to speak but I continued, “But I’m not looking for anything from you. I mean it. I just want to be your friend.”

She sat still for a moment, digesting what I’d said before nodding her head, “You’re right. We’re probably better this way.”

*

“He’s asleep.”

Opening my eyes, I blinked several times to refocus my vision, finding myself staring at the car doorframe. Tilting my head to face forwards in my seat, a sharp stabbing pain from my left ear had me reaching up to try and soothe the dull ache. It felt like someone had kicked the side of my head. In reality, it must’ve become twisted under the awkward position of my head as I dozed off.

Straightening up in the seat, I faced Georgina, catching her giving me a sideways glance before she dropped her eyes back to her phone.

“Did you say something?” I asked, alarmed at the sound of my flat and groggy voice.

“Dad did. I told him you’re asleep.”

Clearing my throat, I looked over towards the driver’s seat. “Did you say something Dad?”

“Yeah, we're almost there.”

I stared up into the rear-view mirror, seeing a tired pair of grey eyes looking back at me, the same ones I’d inherited. Nodding my head, I looked out of the car window as we passed by another hedgerow, immediately questioning the certainty of Dad’s claim.

“Almost there,” Georgina mocked in a lower voice. “I can't wait.”

I gave a grunt of a response, my body subdued by an overpowering sense of tiredness. I had no idea of how long I’d dozed, it seemed like only a couple of minutes, but it’d left me feeling even more fatigued.

Bunching up my jumper that lay across my lap, I wedged it in the gap between the door and my seat, forming a pillow to rest my head on. Laying on my side, I closed my eyes once again, not to fall asleep, but to simply escape the dull surroundings.

*

The frown grew on Harry’s forehead as I finished telling him what happened, “So Zoe just left?”

“Yeah,” I shifted on the bed. “I don’t think she wanted to hang around.”

His eyes rested on mine, “Makes sense.”

Although he’d never confronted me outright, Harry had always been confused over why I’d chosen to date Zoe in the first place. He’d hinted at it a few times, but I’d never explained anything to him, mostly because I didn’t know how to. In some ways, it was a question I didn’t have an answer to, at least one he’d understand.

“How do you feel about it?”

“Fine,” I shrugged. “We just didn’t work well when dating. Things are better now we’re friends.”

He nodded his head in agreement, pushing his glasses further up his nose.

As I’d known Harry long before he’d ever worn glasses, he still looked a little odd to me whenever he wore them. Well, I’m sure he wouldn’t look odd to the average person as he always wore fashionable ones that complimented his appearance, but as I knew what he looked like without them, it didn’t seem normal to me.

Harry shared my dislike and often wore contact lenses, especially at school, so few people knew he even wore glasses. I’d experimented with contacts a few times using some coloured ones he’d bought, but I couldn’t quite get over the sensation of having a foreign object rubbing up against my eye. How he could live with it every day was beyond me.

Reaching across my bed, I grabbed a pillow and stuffed it behind my back, allowing me to sit up against the headboard as I stared at him. “Anyway, let’s talk about you.”

“Me? What about me?”

“You and Tess.”

“Oh, that.” He averted his eyes, trying to hide the growing smile on his lips.

“Yes, that. Come on, tell me, what’s going on?”

The smile vanished from his face, replaced by a deep frown, “Nothing’s going on.”

“But you want there to be?”

“I dunno, maybe.”

I continued to stare at him, knowing it was better to just get to the point without antagonising him further. “You’re worried she’ll say no, aren’t you?”

He gave a dejected sigh, “Well, she could.”

‘And she’d be totally mad.’ I shook my head, “You’d never know unless you try.”

He remained silent.

Harry had to be mad to think someone wouldn’t be interested in him. He was the ultimate package. If Tess got to know him on a closer level, I had no doubt she’d snap him up in an instant.

After thinking about his situation a little more, a glimmer of an idea began to form in my mind. “I think I can help.”

He gave me a sideways glance, “What do you mean?”

“Do you trust me?”

“Yeah, but what-“

“Leave it to me,” I grinned, the scheme in my head coming to life.

Harry shot me a skeptical look, expecting me to elaborate, but I remained quiet. He’d just have to wait and see.

*

The wail of a ringtone jolted me from sleep, forcing my body to recoil from the unexpected sound. I glanced about the car, trying to figure out whose phone was ringing until Mum answered the call.

Now fully awake, I listened in for a moment, long enough to learn that we were less than five minutes away from the hotel. Sitting up in the seat, I shook my head to clear the cobwebs from my mind. I wasn’t going to be dozing off again, at least not during the remainder of the journey.

Several minutes later, we pulled into the grounds of the hotel and parked. Stepping out of the car, I could feel the blood rush to my feet, accompanied by a slight sensation of pins and needles. Walking around the car, I flexed my arms above my head and gave a yawn, glad to have finally arrived.

Once we’d emptied the car of our three suitcases, we began to head toward the reception. The hotel itself appeared to be quite nice from the outside, with an older facade that blended in with the trees and greenery that surrounded the building. After making our way to the front, our suitcases trailing along the floor behind us, we stepped through the main doors and were greeted by quite a modern interior.

Mum and Dad went straight for the reception desk to check in, giving me the chance to check out the foyer. It was a bit larger than I expected, mostly attributed to the lounge area and bar, which were next to the main desk.

Through some doors to my left was a large dining hall, part of the complimentary morning breakfast buffet. Over towards the right was a sign to the indoor pool and spa. If the photos online were anything to go by, I was glad I’d opted to bring my swim shorts.

We were going to have three separate rooms. One for Mum and Dad, and then one each for Georgina and me. It did seem a little overkill, then again, I wasn’t exactly championing to room with my sister.

Once Mum and Dad finished up at the main desk, we all squeezed into a small lift and we rode it up to the fourth floor. Emerging into a long corridor, Dad handed us our keycards, “You guys can head off to your rooms and rest. We’ll call you both in a couple of hours.”

Georgina, who looked as lively as ever while still focused solely on her phone, took her keycard and nodded.

I glanced down at my keycard, which was slotted into a small piece of card that displayed the room number, 416. Trailing down the corridor with my suitcase, I passed several rooms before I finally arrived at mine.

Entering into the room, I set the suitcase to the side and closed the door behind me. Slipping out of my trainers, I stared longingly at the large double bed in the centre of the room before I climbed onto the mattress and laid down head first.

Taking a few steady breaths, my body started to relax against the soft bed, but the moment was short-lived when my eyes grazed my suitcase, reminding me of why we were there.

The wedding.

‘I can’t wait.’

 

Special thanks to TalonRider, JFK, and Craig.
Want more West?  Visit my site (www.wordsbykai.com) to read the next chapter early!
And please don't forget to like this chapter over on the right! smile.png >>>

Copyright © 2013 Kai Taylor; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Apparently I missed a few chapters. lol

 

I love the way West just thinks up schemes to help others, (and himself). I'm looking to finding out how he's gonna help Harry win Tess over. ;)

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