Jump to content
  • Join For Free and Get Notified of New Chapters!

    Are you enjoying a great story and want to get an alert or email when a new chapter is posted? Join now for free and follow your favorite stories and authors!  You can even choose to get daily or weekly digest emails instead of getting flooded with an email for each story you follow. 


  • Author
  • 2,513 Words

Best Men - 7. Chapter Seven

Despite the lack of air conditioning, I still got another restful night of sleep which was proceeded by a morning jog in the neighborhood. I decided to jog for an extra fifteen minutes which totaled to forty-five minutes since I needed to compensate for the food I ate yesterday and would be eating today.

After my jog, I drank a full glass of water before returning to the bedroom. Since I woke up earlier, everyone in the house was still asleep. This gave me a sense of peace as I brought the few supplies I used for my marionettes to the desk and began refining Snaggletooth’s design.

Thirty minutes passed, and I tested Snaggletooth’s tail to make sure that all the joints were moving fluidly. After checking the other joints with tugs of the strings, my little, purple dragon started dancing. It took years of experimenting and perfecting, but I managed to make Snaggletooth and my other marionettes move so realistically, to the point that I sometimes thought that they had a mind of their own and were moving independently from the strings.

I played a song from my phone, and my dragon marionette continued to dance, its legs and wings moving to the beat of the pop song, while its mouth moved to the lyrics. I was so captured by my own performance that I didn’t recognized a person was watching until the song ended and that person clapped in response.

Jumping from my seat, I looked up and saw Freddy leaning his body against the doorway of the bedroom, and I nearly lost my breath upon seeing his exposed torso that was ripe with muscle. Barefoot and only wearing a pair of jogging pants that hung low on his waist, I looked back down and tried to ignore the sultry thoughts that were steaming in my head.

“Great performance,” Freddy complimented.

I felt my face heat up, and I simply said, “Thank you… You’re already awake?”

“Yeah, I usually wake up very early in the morning, giving me enough time to exercise and drink my coffee. I’m already brewing some coffee in the kitchen if you want some… I also have my guitar if you want me to play a song for you right now.”

“Oh, yeah. That’ll be great,” I said, trying to hide too much enthusiasm.

Freddy grabbed his acoustic guitar from behind the wall and approached the side of the unmade bed where he sat. “Sorry if my skills are a bit rusty. The last time I played was over two weeks ago.” Adjusting the turning peg, he plucked the strings to test the sound. “All right. I’m ready. Hopefully you like it.”

Taking a deep breath, Freddy began strumming his fingers on the guitar strings and played a song that I wasn’t familiar with. As his foot tapped lightly to the song, I caught myself leaning forward and listening more closely. Despite a couple of hiccups from the guitar’s tune, I was truly entranced by Freddy’s guitar skills that gave a soul to the song that he was playing. The calmness of his face as he played his guitar was something I hadn’t witnessed before, and when he began humming lightly, I felt like he was exuding a completely different aura that differed greatly than the one he displayed two days ago. It was beautiful.

The last note was played, and Freddy looked at me. “Well…that’s it.”

I rose from my seat and started clapping. “That was amazing.”

Raising an eyebrow, Freddy said, “You don’t have to oversell it, Rick.”

“I’m not. Yeah, some of the notes were out of tune, but other than that it was played very well. What song was that?”

Freddy sighed. “Just something a friend of mine composed for me.”

Clapping was heard again, but the source wasn’t from me. Turning to the doorway, I saw Beth clapping and smiling.

“Liza. What the hell are you doing here?” Freddy asked as he stood up from the bed.

“Hey, I lived here too, you know.” Beth looked at me and waved her hand. “I just came by to pick up my scrapbook that the wedding planner will use. I didn’t expect to walk in on a live performance though. That was wonderful.”

Freddy just grunted. “Can both of you stop acting like I’m the next Beethoven?” Turning to me, he then said, “If you want real talent, look at Rick’s marionette there?”

“Oh. You mean like a puppet?” Beth asked.

“Yeah, but it’s nothing,” I responded.

“Like hell it is. Show Beth what your dragon puppet can do. I’ll even play another song for it to dance to,” Freddy offered and sat down on the bed again.

I was about to protest, but when Beth clasped her hands together and smiled with anticipation, I relented and lifted Snaggletooth by the strings again.

Seconds later, Freddy started playing an entirely different song, one with a more upbeat tone, music that my marionette could dance to. It took me a moment to figure out the beat, but with the assistance of Freddy’s tapping foot, my dragon started dancing on its feet with its heads, wings, and even its tail moving to the unison of the song. Beth giggled as she witnessed the makeshift performance between her former boyfriend and brother, and after it ended, she clapped maniacally to the show she had just seen.

“That was so cool!” Beth said.

“See. I told you Rick had talent,” Freddy complimented.

“Yeah, but you too, Freddy! The both of you were so awesome together. And to think you two wouldn’t even look at each other in the eyes two days ago.” Beth cocked her head to the side and smiled brightly.

“Yeah, well, I’m glad you enjoyed it since this is the last time I’ll be playing anything.”

“Don’t say that. Seeing you play, I could tell you enjoyed it as well. And with Rick making his puppet dance as you played, I think that’s worthy of showing to the town.”

“Not going to happen,” Freddy announced, standing up again.

“Oh, come on. I’m not asking you to perform for the entire town, just for a seven-year-old girl who’s a former student of mine.” Turning to me, Beth continued, “Her birthday is in a couple of days, and I’m helping her mother plan a surprise party for her. We’re in a tight budget, so finding someone to entertain the party guests for free is impossible.”


“And I thought that you two can entertain the guests.”

“Seriously, Liza?”

“I’m dead serious, Freddy. I just want this birthday party for Gabby to be memorable for her, especially after all the hardship she and her mother had to go through for the past year.”

“What happened if you don’t mind me asking?” I said.

Sighing, Beth said, “Gabby’s father is a very abusive man. That is why she and her mother decided to move to Beckett, so they can escape from him, while he was in jail. Things for them had been changing for the better, until last year when he was released from jail early and began stalking them. They filed a restraining order on him and everything, but you know how stalkers are able to elude the law. The town’s police aren’t being very helpful either.

“And just a couple of days ago, Gabby’s father recently broke into their house. That’s what my mother told me after she heard it from Barbara from her book club. Thankfully, they weren’t there, and the man is currently being held in the town’s jail. This was very traumatizing for Gabby. She’s such a sweet girl, and I really believe that this birthday party will help her. So, what better than to have a puppet dance to music. So, please, can you two come to her birthday party and be the live entertainment?”

“How do you know she’ll even like the performance?” Freddy asked.

“Trust me. She will.”

Scratching my head, I said, “Sure, I’m willing to offer my services for free. Anything to help a little girl. What about you, Freddy?”

Looking down, Freddy then huffed and said, “Fine. I’ll do it. But you said the birthday party will happen in a couple of days. We need time to plan on what we’re going to do.”

“I know it’s a big favor to ask, but—”

“No buts. We’re doing it,” I asserted.

“Thank you, guys! She’ll love it, I guarantee,” Beth assured.

“So, does she like dragons?” I asked, lifting Snaggletooth by his strings. “I have other marionettes, but I left them back in my apartment in the city.”

“Actually, believe it or not, she likes spiders.”

“Seriously?” Freddy said.

“I know that’s sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.”

“I don’t mind making one for the birthday party, but like my marionettes, my supplies are all back at my place,” I said. “Even then, it takes weeks for me to sculpt the puppet.”

Beth tapped her chin, and then she smiled. “I don’t think that’ll be a problem. Aaron owns a 3D printer, which he bought to create his board-game miniatures.”

“How fancy,” Freddy commented.

“No, seriously. You should see them. They’re so detailed, and all he has to do is create a 3D model of the miniature in his computer and the printer does the work of printing it out. He learned to do that from the few game-design classes he took back at his university.”

“But can he make a marionette?” I asked, still skeptical.

“Of course! I know it’ll be different since the marionette will be larger than the miniatures, and he’ll have to print each part separately. But just give him some concept art of what the marionette will look like, and he can easily create a 3D model out of it,” Beth explained.

“And how much will it cost?”

“It won’t cost anything. He’ll be glad to do it.”

“Okay, but I also need paint,” I added.

“I’m sure I can borrow some that Aaron uses on his miniature. Just ask, and it will be granted.”

“You’re really determined to make this happen, huh?” Freddy said.

“Of course! Gabby deserves to have this birthday party, and that includes having you two there to make it the best party she has ever had.”

“No pressure. Got it.”

“Hey, whatever makes the kid happy, I’ll do it. I’ll start working on the design today which will probably only take me an hour or so,” I said.

“Great! I’ll stick around for breakfast. When you’re done, I can take you’re design and give it to Aaron who will print the marionette.”

“All right! Sounds good. What about you, Freddy? Still in?”

Grumbling, Freddy then nodded and said, “Sure. I’m going to have to refresh my guitar skills, but I’ll have the songs ready before the party.”

Beth jumped with excitement. “Thank you so much, you guys! And in return, you two don’t have to buy anything else for the other pre-wedding events.”

“Great. Wasn’t planning to.”

Beth just rolled her eyes. “Anyways, I’ll leave you two to plan out your performance. I’ll be in the kitchen if either of you need me.”

Beth left the bedroom, leaving Freddy and I alone again. I was fairly confident that I would be able to draw the concept art of the spider marionette even with the time limit.

Facing Freddy, I said, “Well, I guess I should start drawing that concept art.”

“You’re really on board with this favor, aren’t you?” Freddy said.

“Of course I am. I’m also looking forward to performing in front of an audience again… Are you on board?”

“Of course. It’s just…other than Beth and a few friends from my past, I haven’t played my guitar in front of anyone else, let alone a party of kids.”

“I’m sure they’ll love it,” I assured.

Freddy picked up his guitar. “I guess whatever makes this Gabby girl happy. Back in the city, I dealt with plenty of domestic abuse cases, too many if you ask me.”

“That must’ve been hard,” I said.

“You can say that. Entering the homes of abused women, children, and even men never gets easy... As a police officer, you just learn to adapt. People are so unpredictable, and police officers have to make split-second decisions that always have consequences in the end.”

“What kind?”

“Eh. I don’t want to talk about it.” Looking at his guitar, Freddy then said, “I’m going to the kitchen and pour myself a mug of coffee. Do you want one?”

“Nah, I’m fine. Thanks though.”

Freddy nodded and began walking out of the bedroom. I was able to get a good view of his muscular back that was just as impressive as his front. However, I noticed some discoloration around his left shoulder that was too big to be a blemish. A scar maybe?

Still holding Snaggletooth, I decided to rest him on the desk before opening my sketchbook and began drawing what the spider marionette would look like. I mostly focused on just the spider’s head and legs since those would be the parts that were going to be 3D printed. I drew them in a variety of different angles, taking inspiration from the other marionettes I’ve designed in the past.

After an hour, I was able to complete the drawings, which I took from the sketchbook. I then walked down to the first floor and to the kitchen where Beth and Freddy were at, both drinking a mug of coffee as they sat at the table. I showed Beth the drawings, which she placed into her purse, but only after she complimented my drawing skills for almost five minutes straight.

A few minutes later, Beth’s mother entered the kitchen and after expressing her elation from seeing me and her two kids, she proceeded to cook enough French toast to satisfy a dozen people. The food was delicious, and I felt bad for Beth’s father who decided to only have a bran muffin as his breakfast, despite his wife’s insistence that he should eat some of what she cooked.

Beth’s mother then joined us at the table and as we ate, I felt a mixture of both happiness and peace that rose inside me. I was eating with people who I knew and cared about that differed from most days when I lived in the city and ate mostly by myself. Sure, I had friends but, they were often too busy with their careers or their own families. The last time I had this feeling was before I moved to the city, and I ate my meals with my parents. They weren’t the greatest cooks but spending time with them at the table or the living-room couch was always worth the occasional burnt toast or eggs that had a piece of eggshell in it.

I was going to miss moments like this when I head back to the city, so I needed to relish them as much as possible before they become only memories.

Copyright © 2019 Superpride; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 40
  • Love 13
  • Sad 1

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

Amazing chapter, they are definitely getting along better than the start f the wedding festivities, let's hope that things improve along the way

  • Like 3
  • Love 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
2 hours ago, Tonyr said:

Good. Anything that kicks Freddy's confidence a notch is quite welcome. Can't wait for the next one.Gratz.

Thank you! This collaboration might be the motivation that Freddy needs to continue his art.

  • Like 3
  • Love 2
Link to comment
37 minutes ago, mikedup said:

Amazing chapter, they are definitely getting along better than the start f the wedding festivities, let's hope that things improve along the way

Thank you! Before Rick was just Beth's ex-boyfriend to Freddy and Freddy was just Beth's older brother to Rick; however, since they discovered they have certain talents that they can use together to entertain people, they're starting to bond despite their awkward connect with Beth. The birthday party might be the catalyst for something even greater between the two men, but we'll see.

  • Like 3
  • Love 2
Link to comment
16 minutes ago, mfa607 said:

Great chapter!  I'm glad Freddy is warming up!  Thanks!

Thanks! Freddy's ice-cold exterior is finally melting as he warms up to Rick who's more than just his sister's ex-boyfriend.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2
Link to comment

Does Freddie identify with domestic abuse victims because he is one? Scars are always concerning. Obviously, they can be caused by accidents, but those kinds of scars are rarely pointed out by authors.

Maybe Beth can have Aaron make two sets of the marionette parts and Rick can build a second, simplified version to give to Gabby as a birthday gift. Freddie can record his music and give Gabby a CD to accompany it. Along with the inevitable video, they will make the memorable birthday party something that will last.

Link to comment
11 hours ago, droughtquake said:

Does Freddie identify with domestic abuse victims because he is one? Scars are always concerning. Obviously, they can be caused by accidents, but those kinds of scars are rarely pointed out by authors.

Maybe Beth can have Aaron make two sets of the marionette parts and Rick can build a second, simplified version to give to Gabby as a birthday gift. Freddie can record his music and give Gabby a CD to accompany it. Along with the inevitable video, they will make the memorable birthday party something that will last.

The scar on Freddy's scar and his career as a police officer could be related. We'll see as the story continues. Gifting Gabby the marionette would make an awesome gift along with a CD of Freddy's songs. Hopefully, they look into that before the birthday party happens. 🙂

  • Like 3
  • Love 1
Link to comment
On 4/9/2020 at 3:05 PM, droughtquake said:

Has life gotten in the way?

It definitely has. You can go to my profile and read more about it in the latest status update. Right now this story and others will be on-hold, while I write a new story with the first part being posted within this month hopefully.

  • Haha 1
Link to comment

lol how convenient to have a rich fiancé who has every thing ready for making the puppet. Beth may have other plan(s) beside making a little kid happy 🤔 😂

excellent chapter 👍

Edited by Danilo Syrtis
  • Like 1
Link to comment
On 7/24/2020 at 7:15 PM, Danilo Syrtis said:

lol how convenient to have a rich fiancé who has every thing ready for making the puppet. Beth may have other plan(s) beside making a little kid happy 🤔 😂

excellent chapter 👍

Beth does seem to be plotting something other than a kid's birthday that's for sure.

Link to comment
View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Newsletter

    You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on.  We get it, because we feel it too.  Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.

    Sign Up
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..