Authors: C.J. Fallowfield
“Once a week?! You big fat liar,
you were at it all the time with me. Every free moment we had, we were doing it.”
“Ermmm, I think we may be having
two completely different conversations here,” I added, sure we were no longer
talking about masturbating.
“What do you mean? We’re talking
about gaming, right?”
“No!” I giggled. “When I said
fun, I meant out on dates, relieving some of that
“Ohhhh, that’s what you meant by
single-handed fun,” he chuckled. “I was wondering why you asked that, when you
need two hands for the controller.”
“I don’t need to know how many
hands you use for your ‘controller,’ thanks, but you’re a young, good-looking
guy, who should be having hot sex with some fine young piece of ass, not
staying in your room on your Xbox.”
“Right back at you, Torres,” he
responded with a quirky raised eyebrow.
“Hello, who of the two of us has
the house, arranged platonic dates with two guys, and is
seriously flattered, and still quite stunned, at the offer from a third? What
have you done since I left? Did you sign up for that online dating site I
“No,” he mumbled, going red.
“Liam,” I scolded. “I worry about
you. I’m making an effort to change and be more social, to have a little real-life
fun, you need to as well. Don’t make me come back there and kick your ass into
“Well, that solves it then,” he
replied, brightening up at once. “I’ll stay put and play Black Ops in my room
until you do come back, then I’ll make you stay and never leave me again.”
“Don’t make me feel even more
guilty than I already do. Promise me you’ll try and get out?” I pulled my best
pleading face and he sighed, rolling his eyes with a shake of his head.
“I’ll think about it, ok?”
“You’d better, because …” I turned
my head as I heard a knock on my door.
“Sky, we’re ready to go,” came
“Ok, be right there,” I called,
before looking back at my best friend. “Sorry, got to bail, first family dinner
“Hook up for
Call of Duty
“For sure,” I confirmed. I’d made
sure my console, headset, and internet connection were in place before I’d even
unpacked my clothes. A girl-slash-tomboy had to have her priorities right.
“Say hey to the folks, have fun.”
“You too, especially the single-handed
type,” I winked, before quickly ending the call. We’d been known to talk
through the night before, and I wanted to spend some time with my parents, let
them know that it wasn’t the end of the world that we’d had to move. If I was
happy, they were happy, so I wasn’t about to make them feel even more pressure
over the move and starting their new jobs on Monday. Mom was an experienced medical
secretary and had gotten herself a job at UMC, the University Medical Center in
Las Vegas. Until she’d settled in and figured out the commute, she didn’t want
me to assume I had a lift to college each day. Thank God she’d suggested I
check out the bus routes or I’d never have met the Hudson boys earlier. I had a
feeling knowing them was going to work out well for me.
“Are you freakin’ kidding me?” I
squealed, as Pops drove toward the glittering lights of Las Vegas in the
background. He’d just told me that he’d booked us dinner at the top of The
Stratosphere Tower, in the revolving restaurant, and afterwards we were going
to go to Freemont Street, downtown Vegas.
“I freakin’ kid you not,” he
chuckled, as he caught my eye in the rearview mirror. “We’re just as excited to
see Vegas as you are. I only had a brief stay when I came for the interview, as
did your mom, and we were too busy house-hunting last time we came down.”
“You know they do sky jumps off
the side of the tower, right?”
“Over my dead body,” Mom scoffed.
“You’d have to be insane, or very drunk, to even think about doing that.”
“Mom, please!” I pleaded.
“Until you’re old enough to get
drunk and throw yourself off a building without my consent, you’re keeping both
feet firmly on the ground, young lady.”
“Can we at least drive up and down
the main Strip?” I begged.
“Sure thing, but we’ll come back
one weekend soon and stay in one of the fancy hotels, make a real trip of it,”
“I’ve always wanted to stay in
The Bellagio,” Mom sighed wistfully. “It’s so romantic, and they have some
gorgeous designer shops.”
“Hmph,” Pops grunted loudly. “And
dead body, my wallet couldn’t afford the price of the two
of you on a shopping spree there. I’d rather stay at The Domville. You know
they have a golf course, right?”
“Right, and you expect Sky and me
to be your golf caddies for the weekend?” Mom laughed. “No way, Diego Torres.
If we can’t shop, you can’t go golfing. We’ll explore the hotels and the Strip
as a family.”
“What about you, Sky, which would
be your choice?” Pops asked, as he lifted Mom’s hand off his thigh, where she
always rested it when he drove, and planted a tender kiss on it.
“Hello, I’m young and hip, unlike
you oldies. Got to be Hard Rock or The Palms for me, plus a visit to M&M
World and the New York, New York roller coaster. But I’ll be happy to go
wherever, as long as we’re together.”
“My little girl’s growing up so
fast,” Mom sighed, throwing me a smile over her shoulder. “Where’s my moody
teenager gone? Just eighteen months ago, the thought of hanging out with us
would have given you hives.”
“Was I really that bad?” I
grimaced. I worked hard in school, didn’t party, never drank or did drugs, let
alone got pregnant, like some girls in my senior year. I didn’t think I was
that difficult a daughter.
“Don’t tease her, Yvette,” Pops
warned, shooting me a smile in the rearview mirror. “You’ve been perfect, Sky.
A little less social than we’d have liked, spending all your time in your room
on those damn games or over at Liam’s doing the same, but we could have had it
a lot worse.”
“You’ve been exemplary, Sky, the
kind of daughter most mothers can only dream of having, but that doesn’t mean I
can’t be happy that you want to spend a bit of time with your dad and me, does
The hopeful smiles on both of
their faces made me want to make them even more proud of me. And as parents
went, I’d pretty much hit the jackpot with them. They adored me, though they
were strict when they needed to be as they worried about me, and they worked
really hard to make sure we were financially secure and I hadn’t gone without.
Not that I was demanding, I’d never asked for money or things, and I did chores
around the house to earn my pocket money. As families went, we were pretty
perfect. Even with this unwanted move, I had a good life. Something just told
me that the Hudson boys had the potential to make it even better.
I felt my stomach warm at the
memory of my morning.
Saturday – A Week Later
I found some bike racks just up from
Joelle’s and locked mine up before quickly checking my reflection in the window
of the storefront overlooking the street. I’d deliberately piled my hair up into
a messy bun. Leaving it down would have been a disaster in this heat, especially
with the breeze as well. I’d also dressed a bit more conservatively, not
wanting to give the wrong impression. I was in my skinny jeans, a white
t-shirt, and my favorite red sneakers. As I headed to the diner, I couldn’t
help but look over at JT’s, even though I knew Nate wasn’t there. He had practice
today, which was probably a good thing, because I had no idea what to say to
him about his suggestion that we go out on a date. Hot as he was, I still
wasn’t convinced that he wouldn’t tear my heart to shreds when he got bored of
me. I grinned as I saw Josh and Billy sitting in the front window seat this
time, Nate’s four groupies nowhere in sight. They were probably out at the
university field, watching him. I closed my eyes for a moment and shook my head
to rid myself of indecent thoughts at the image of him in his baseball uniform,
then stepped into the diner.
“Hey, Sky,” came the chorus from
Josh and Billy, in perfect unison.
“Hey, how are you both doing?”
“Be even better if this ugly dude
hadn’t tagged along on our first official date,” Billy grinned, tipping his
head Josh’s way.
“Platonic date,” I reminded him,
needing them both to be perfectly clear on that point. I wasn’t here for boys,
I had a serious amount of studying to do over the next four years if I wanted
to ace my courses and get my dream job. “Besides, I don’t think Josh is ugly,
he’s kind of cute.” I flashed him a smile as I slipped into the booth on his
side of the table.
“I can live with cute,” he
replied, his cheeks coloring up a little as we caught each other’s eye.
“Hey, doll, back again?” came
Rosie’s voice, interrupting us. “What can I get ya’?”
“Peach shake again please, Rosie,”
I replied, turning to give her a big smile. “You guys want anything?”
“I’m good,” Josh replied, sipping
on his soda.
“Me too,” confirmed Billy, doing
“Coming right up,” Rosie answered,
as she hustled her way back to her station behind the counter.
“So, what do you have planned for
me?” I asked.
“You’ll be getting the Hudson
special tour,” Billy smiled. “All the key points of Boulder City that are
essential to your life. Movie theatre, mall, best pizza or donuts, you know,
important life stuff.”
“Great,” I nodded. “How about
games? Is there a good shop around here? Or an arcade?”
“You play?” Josh asked, looking
“I don’t just play, I kick
“I bet you’re into
or girly stuff like that,” Josh scoffed.
Call of Duty
Grand Theft Auto
. You know, the
usual action, shoot ’em up kind,” I shrugged.
“I think I’m in love,” Billy
“I’m surprised, I wouldn’t have
put you down for that,” Josh replied.
“You have much to learn about me,”
I grinned. “We need to swap handles, set up a gaming night, and I’ll show you
how much of a ‘girl’ I am. I whoop my best friend Liam’s ass on a regular basis.”
“A male best friend too? Are you
sure you’re a girl?” Josh laughed.
“Looks like it from where I’m
sitting,” Billy confirmed, hastily removing his eyes from my breasts as I gave
him a withering look. He reached up to pinch the top of his nose and grimaced,
then shot up out of his seat. “I’ll be right back.”
“You ok?” Josh asked, a look of
concern on his face.
“Yeah, just one of my headaches
coming on. I’ll go knock back some pills and hit the head while I’m at it.”
I looked over my shoulder and
watched him saunter down to the back of the diner, with a frown on my face.
“He gets them a lot.” Josh’s
voice startled me and I sat back in my seat to focus my attention on him. “Used
to take regular prescriptions for them, but since his dad … died, his ma’s not
much use at keeping on top of things. He gets pills off the internet now, but
I’m not sure they’re always the real deal, since his headaches are coming more
frequently and sometimes he’s just not himself.”
“What’s wrong with him?”
“Not my place to say, he’ll share
if he wants.”
“I’m sorry to hear about his dad.
Was it long ago?”
“Few years back, not long after …”
He blew out a breath that made his shaggy hair lift up off his forehead before
settling on his face again. “We’ve had a few crappy years in our family. My dad
died in a helicopter accident, and Billy’s dad, my ma’s twin brother, committed
suicide, as he couldn’t handle seeing her in so much pain.”
“Oh God, I’m so sorry,” I stated
softly. I reached out and put my hand over Josh’s, which was lying on the
table. He blinked rapidly a few times and nodded his head in acceptance,
reaching up to quickly wipe his eyes with his free hand, looking embarrassed. I
squeezed his hand and let it go, not wanting to make things harder for him.
“They were really close, so it
wasn’t a great time.”
“Must have been tough,” I agreed,
nodding my head. I’d be devastated to lose my pops. “Wait, if Billy’s dad was
your mom’s brother, how come Billy’s a Hudson?”
“My mom’s maiden name was Hudson
too, she and my dad used to say it was fate.” He smiled weakly. “Anyway, poor
Nate had to step up, look after me and our ma as well as keep an eye on Billy
and his.” I recalled something Nate had said when I’d met him, “I’m used to
pain.” Poor guy, it was bad enough to lose a parent, without having to become
the man of the family or look after your aunt and cousin at such a young age. “But
Nate did good. He made sure Billy and I were ok, kept on top of our school work
so our grades didn’t slip. Christ knows when he slept. Between his coursework,
baseball practice, and his job, he was busy enough, without looking after us
“He sounds like a good guy.”
Whatever his reputation, I had a sudden newfound respect for the eldest Hudson
boy. Looking after your family like that wasn’t the kind of thing you’d expect
from a player, a good-time guy. There was obviously more to him than met the
eye. And he’d already given me plenty to look at.
“He’s the best,” Josh beamed as
he shook off his melancholy, that super-cute dimple of his appearing. “And you have
to see him pitch! He’s
good. Turned down a place in the draft
though because his degree is important to him. Says all athletes only have
finite careers, and he needs his education to make sure he has something to
fall back on when he’s forced to retire from the game.”
“He sounds positively saintly,” I
observed, giving Rosie a big smile as she put my shake in front of me, then
gave me a knowing smile and discreet wink before she disappeared. I had a
feeling she’d like nothing better than to see Josh and me hook up. “He must
have some flaws,” I added, as I dragged the tall, frothy glass toward me, eager
to know more about Nate.
“Nah, not really, unless you
count women. He’s got a bit of a rep, but it’s his way of blowing off steam,
and if anyone deserves to do that, it’s Nate.”
“Heartbreaker, huh,” I nodded, my
heart sinking to have my suspicions confirmed.
“I doubt that, he never lets
anyone get close enough to break their heart. Whatever anyone thinks or says about
him, he’s a good guy. He never leads them on or lets them think he’s after
anything but a good time, and he’s clear with them when it’s over. It’s their
problem if they expect more.”
“I guess.” I didn’t like the fact
that Nate was so experienced, but it made me feel a bit better to know he had
“He likes you,” Josh added
“What makes you say that?” I
didn’t want to let on that Nate had asked me out, so I feigned surprise and
raised my eyebrows.
“He’s been trying to get me to
give him your number. Even stole my phone off me when I said no, but he
couldn’t crack the code to get into it. That pissed him off.”
“I’ll bet,” I giggled.
“I didn’t give it to him,” Josh
added. “I figured if you wanted him to have your number, you’d have given it to
“Thanks, I appreciate that.” I
looked over my shoulder, checking out the restroom door and wondering what was
keeping Billy. “Do you think he’s ok? He’s been gone awhile.”
“I’ll go check on him. Better
drink up, we have a lot to do. We’ll do the bus stop first, since that’s what
you really wanted to know, then we can do the fun stuff.”
“Sure,” I agreed. I let him out,
taking a sneaky look at his ass in his jeans as he headed down the diner. Nice!
I blushed and spluttered as I caught Rosie grinning at me, fully aware that I
was checking him out. I quickly sat back and guzzled the rest of my drink,
hoping my traitorous pink cheeks would have cooled down by the time Josh and
Billy got back. I’d finished my drink by the time they did and noticed Josh had
a puzzled look on his face.
“Ok?” I asked Billy. “How are you
“Ermmm, fine. I only went to the bathroom,
I don’t know what all the fuss is about,” he replied, shooting Josh a scathing
look. I glanced back and forth between them, getting the feeling that I was
missing something. “We going or what? I need to see if you’re all talk and no
action in the arcade.”
“Trust me, I’m all action. I’m
known for my action,” I responded, shooting up out of my seat and fishing in my
jeans pocket for some cash to pay for my drink.
“Really, this day is going from
good to great,” Billy quipped.
“Oh God, that came out so wrong.
I didn’t mean … not …
action, I meant gaming action.”
“He’d be happy with either type. He’s
always had a not-so-secret crush on Wonder Woman,” laughed Josh. “Just don’t
turn up in that outfit if we have any costume parties to attend in orientation
week, or he’ll spontaneously combust.”
“Duly noted,” I giggled. “Thanks,
Rosie,” I called as we headed to the exit.
“Anytime, doll. Have fun, y’all.”
She gave me another wink and waggled her eyebrows, making me giggle.
“What’s so funny? Wonder Woman is
the sexiest superhero alive,” Billy stated as he stepped out onto the sidewalk.
“She’s not actually alive,
dumbass,” laughed Josh. “She’s a fictional character. Besides, no one rivals
Quake.” Billy let out a disapproving huff.
“Quake?” I queried.
“Daisy Johnson from
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Billy confirmed as we headed down the street. “He’s
got pictures of her all over his walls. Next to Wonder Woman, no contest.”
“Like to see Wonder Woman
deflecting Quake’s powers. Besides, she only ever wears one sexy costume. Quake
looks sexy in anything,” Josh retorted. “How about you, Sky? Who’s your fantasy
“You know Nate drives an Impala?”
Billy asked over his shoulder.
“I saw him working on it last
week,” I nodded. “It’s gorgeous.” I glanced at Josh when I thought I heard him
mutter “Great” under his breath. He’d shoved his hands in the front of his
jeans pockets and had a look of resignation on his face. “You ok?”
“Kinda hard to get a girl’s
attention when you have an older brother like Nate, and that’s without his
superstar status around these parts, or the fact he drives the car of the guy
you have a crush on,” Billy explained. “Josh is too nice to try and compete.”
“There’s no competition, Billy.
I’m single and I plan to stay that way. My degree is really important to me,
that comes before guys. Anyway, enough about me, what about you two? Why aren’t
“Josh is too shy to ask out a
girl he likes, not that there are many of them, he’s kind of picky. Me, I’m the
experienced one of us. I’ve had a few girls, they like my humor, but I’m not
looking for anything serious right now either.”