Authors: Lisa L Wiedmeier
Tags: #Fiction, #Action & Adventure
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or used factiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, my not be reproduced in any form without permission from the author. The scanning uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the author is illegal and punishable by law.
Copyright © 2011 by Lisa L. Wiedmeier
Editor: Sam Dogra
Copy Editor: A-1 Editing Services, Jodi Tahsler
Front cover design by Phatpuppy Art
Back cover design by Timeless Productions
For Glenn, Coley and Cody. The other loves in my life.
Mom, Dad, Laura, Lane, Kelli, Meagan, and extended family for
loving and supporting me through this journey.
Kayla, Amanda—My first readers who pushed me on.
Sam—RRPS Master and diamond carver who helped me
fashion Cheyenne into a true gem.
Andre, Kim, Connie, and Judy—Whose kinds words and support
encouraged me to reach new heights.
Sandra, Julia, Anita and Kelli—My first book addicts.
Courtney—My first Team Callon member.
If I could have looked into the future to see what I would become,
I wouldn’t have become the person I was always meant to be. ~lw
The warm breeze caressed my cheeks, and I sighed. The sun was filtering through the forty-foot pines that surrounded our home, casting sunshine smiles. At least, that’s what mom called them when I was young. She said the sun did this to spread its happiness throughout the forest. I smiled; she had a unique way of painting the world to a four year old.
A large glop of soap dropped on my head followed by a sprinkling of water. I fell back on my hands, and the car mitt I was using to wash the wheels of my Jeep became encrusted with gravel from my driveway. I knew who the culprit was.
Colt, behave yourself!” I shook my head as I rose to my feet. He was being especially devious today for some reason. Our eyes locked, blue on blue. His bulky fingers were wrapped around the hose sprayer as if it were the trigger of a gun.
Don’t even think about it,” I said firmly as a glint formed in his eyes. He wanted to see how far he could push my patience.
And what if it just accidently happens, Cheyenne?” A sly grin formed on his lips.
Then you will find out what payback means.” I fought to provide a firm tone of reprimand. He knew as well as I did that I could probably never pay him back. But it was worth a shot. He stood and stared me down for a few long moments. He pressed the trigger on the hose and proceeded to rinse the remaining soap off the roof of my Jeep.
Looking at the mitt in my hand, I began to pluck off the gravel. Moments later, I gave up and walked alongside him, raising my mitt and watched him grin.
You just can’t keep anything clean, can you?” he asked. I rolled my eyes. He knew he was the one who caused the problem, yet felt the need to tease me—just as he teased me about everything.
Just rinse it off for me, please. I can’t wash my car with gravel.” I extended my arm, and he turned the sprayer on full blast. I cringed as the rock fragments flew off, and the water coated the front of my shirt as well as my jeans.
Oops.” A hearty chuckle followed.
Calculatingly, I gradually raised my eyes to his and narrowed them. “Oops?” I questioned.
Oops,” he replied as he raised his brows, trying hard not to laugh.
I lunged for the hose. We were both laughing and wrestling for control of the trigger. I knew I was no match for him. He was enormous in comparison to my frame of five foot five. He was around six four, stocky, and should have been a football player. He should have been a lot of other things, the last of which was my best friend.
Running around the side of the Jeep, I grabbed the bucket of soapy water. He was right behind me. I managed to swing it in his direction, and the water lurched out, hitting him square in the chest. I burst into loud laughter. Colt didn’t slow as he lifted me from the ground and carried me to the grass in my front yard.
Oh, you will pay for that one!” he said as he tickled me.
Stop! You’ll make me pee my pants!” I screeched.
He continued with his tickling. “I’d like to see that!”
Colt!” I pleaded. Eventually he stopped and sat next to me, both of us catching our breaths. “I’m soaked you know,” I said through my smile. He looked down and grinned.
Yes, you are.” He sighed and lowered himself to his back, and we both lay and looked up through the trees. We were lying in a patch of sunshine, and the sun heated us nicely. It had been an unusually warm spring so far. Today was the start of spring break for us. Colt had come over to help me wash my car before I left for a week-long camping trip with my parents.
Are you sure you can’t come with us?” I rolled to my side to get a better look at him. This was one of the few times we could see eye to eye. He had come on quite a few camping trips with us over the last year and a half. My adoptive parents, Gene and Alexis, loved him. Often they would invite him without even telling me.
I would if I could, but I already told you that I’m going away for the week.”
You’ve said you were going away, but you haven’t told me where.” I began to fiddle with a blade of grass between my fingers, somewhat annoyed that he wouldn’t tell me his vacation plans. What was the big deal?
It’s not important. I’ll be back Sunday. You should be home by then. I’ll come over as soon as I can.” He picked up a small twig and tapped my blade of grass with it. “You can call or text if you have service.” He was trying to ease my irritation.
So, why is it that you’re my friend again? You should be playing football and dating the head cheerleader or something, but instead you’re here, tormenting me and supposedly helping wash my car.” Sarcasm riddled my words. If he could be troublesome in one way, then I could be troublesome in another.
I’ve been wondering about that myself.” He began tapping his finger to his temple, pretending to be deep in thought. “However, that answer is probably lost in the mists of time.” I wrinkled my nose at him. A lock of his blonde hair tumbled forward, and I giggled. “Let’s see, I’m your friend because we get along so well, for starters. You’re not like any typical girl I’ve been around…hmm, as for football, I already told you I’ve had too many concussions, so I can’t play anymore. And as for the head cheerleader,” he snorted. “Who needs that headache?” He tilted his chin down. “Does that work for you?”
I suppose that will have to do,” I rolled my eyes.
He soared over me, as he began his tickling assault again. “Stop!” I bellowed with little success. He eventually relented and helped me to my feet. The afternoon had waned, and we began cleaning up the mess. I took the bucket and the cleaning mitt to the front porch while Colt wound up the hose.
You have to get going, don’t you?” I frowned slightly as my long blonde hair drifted in the breeze, disrupting my sight of Colt. I tucked it behind my ears.
Yeah, I have a flight to catch.” He sounded disappointed. “Your parents are due home about six, right?”
Yeah. My dad’s plane came in about an hour ago. They were supposed to stop and get my mom a new cell phone and talk to them about the service up here. It’s been hit or miss lately. The error code comes up as network problems.” I paused as I looked out into the forest surrounding our home. My eyes caught sight of a dark shadow. It moved so quickly that, had I blinked, I would have missed it. I stared, trying to determine if it was real. I was getting a small headache, so maybe it was just a dark blotch in my vision.
Cheyenne?” Colt said quietly, bringing my attention back to our conversation as his fingers touched my arm.
I looked up. “After that they’ll be home. Thanks to your help, I already have the camping gear lined up in the hallway. They wanted to leave tonight.”
Colt glanced at his watch, his gaze reflecting his reluctance to depart. For being just my friend, he was a little on the protective side. I guessed it’s a guy thing.
I wasn’t quite sure how I had gotten so lucky to have Colt as a friend. He had begun hanging out with me at the start of my junior year. Looking a little bewildered, he said he was lost when he came into the first class. He asked for my help, and though I was surprised he asked me, I complied. We found out that we had all the same classes together. At the time I thought it was strange, but I figured there are only so many combinations. He was easy to get along with, and I found myself hoping we’d become friends. Pretty soon, we were always together, and after he met my parents, they started inviting him to join us all the time.
Come on,” I took hold of his arm. “You need to go. I’ll be fine.” I walked with him to his motorcycle. He had been excited to have it out recently with the nicer weather. The balmy afternoon was unusual for us, living in a mountainous region of northern Idaho. The spring temperatures were warmer than expected, but I wasn’t complaining. Colt mounted his bike, and I stood a few feet away as he started it.
You know, for someone who’s had too many concussions, you really should be wearing a helmet.”
He didn’t reply, but just grinned, and I shook my head. I stepped closer to remove the few leaves I saw stuck in his tousled hair. He very slowly and intentionally gave me a hug. I inhaled slightly, his musky scent filling my head as his arms tightened. It’s not that it was unlike him to hug me good-bye; however, the way he did it set my senses on high alert. He drew back and placed a warm kiss on my cheek, near my ear, lingering as his breath caused my pulse to beat faster.
Miss you already, Cheyenne.”
I swallowed and stepped back. “Same here,” I replied in a choked voice, and I swore that I heard him chuckle under his breath.
I’ll see you next Sunday.” He smiled as he revved the engine.
I watched as he rode down our long gravel driveway and disappeared into the surrounding pine trees lining the highway. I wasn’t sure what to make of it all—his hug and lingering touch.
The breeze touched my skin again and caused the hair on the back of my neck to stand on end, but it wasn’t from being cold. I turned and looked into the forest surrounding my home, trying to shake off the feeling that someone was watching me, a shadow constantly looming—like the shadow I thought I saw earlier. I always felt safe when Colt or my parents were around, but when they were gone, it was a different story. I didn’t dare tell them. I didn’t need them to think I was paranoid.
I quickly entered the house.
Colt was not only my best friend; he was pretty much my only friend. We had moved a lot over the years, and this was the longest we had stayed in any one location—Sagle, Idaho. It was going on three years. Relocating so much made it difficult to get close enough to anyone. I always had it in the back of my mind that I shouldn’t invest too much energy, as we wouldn’t be around. Colt and I were due to graduate in May, but my parents had been acting weird again. This was usually the sign of an impending move.
Plopping down on the couch in the living room, I stared at the sleeping bags, camp stove and miscellaneous equipment. Even though it was my spring break, my parents had outvoted me, and we were going camping again. It’s not that I really minded going camping, but I would rather have spent spring break in a tropical location for a change. I wanted a great tan. I wanted the sun to give my hair more blonde streaks. I wanted to brag to Colt about my skin being darker than his when I came back. Torture and tease him, just a little, as he always did to me. I smiled. We always had fun together. He always knew how to brighten my day.