Thursday, 25 April 2013

Sweet-Talked By The South

JournalWord: Something deliciously sinful.


The barn stands bright and vivid against the blue, cloudless sky, flaunting in it's fresh coat of vibrant red. It towers in comparison to the worn, pale, cream house meters away, and glints it's aluminum roof at the winding dirt road that curls over the hills to the little town in the distance underneath. 

The brilliance and pride of the resurrected building has lost it's spotlight from the boys who had helped nail, saw, and paint the barn only a month ago with their neighbor's father, right after they had graduated from the tiny high school four miles from this very barn. No, the attention has been shifted from personal accomplishment to concern and annoyance fabricated from the weeping of the girl curled up inside.

The wide, white doors are propped open by a rake and hoe, stabbed into the dirt to welcome any sign of a roaming breeze. The boys have taken up their stations in the shade of the building, eyes aimed at the bobbing blonde head hidden behind calloused hands.

"Holly, sweetheart," Cade coos in his Southern drawl, seating himself beside her on the crude bench he had helped slap together with planks of leftover wood from the barn construction. He wipes the sweat from his palms on his faded and dusty Wranglers before gently rubbing comforting circles between her shoulders. "Don't ya cry for him."

"She done deserves it," Ashton retorts gruffly, shirking his light eyes from the scene and ignoring Cade's glare to focus on the tack hanging on the wall across from him. He crosses his tanned arms over his chest, flexing his exposed biceps unconsciously.

"No, Holly, it ain't your fault," Cade reassures, brushing back her sun-bleached locks from her tear and sweat soaked face. "He wasn't fitting for ya." 

"You're spoutin' a load of bull, Cade. She shoulda listened at our warnin'."

"Ashton," Cade abruptly snaps, flicking his mop of dark hair out of his eyes, his face heating up from anger and the humidity. "Make yourself useful and fix her something to drink, why don't ya."

Ashton rolls his shoulders as he pushes himself off the column he was leaning on, uncrossing his heels and arms before strolling out of the barn without a sound, but obeying the order with an aura of menace trailing in the kicking dust. 

Cade watches the sun-streaked highlights of Ashton's hair and mud-caked cowboy boots stomp through the open door as they disappear into the brightness. Cade strokes Holly's hair and rummages into his back pocket to produce his light green handkerchief. He briefly prays thanks to his passed grandmother for instilling the rules of a Southern gentleman into his nature, especially the habit of carrying a handkerchief at all times for damsels.

She isn't crying anymore, but her tear streaked face frowns at him as he holds out the handkerchief. Raising an eyebrow at the expression of disapproval, he asks, "What's that look for?"

She accepts the handkerchief with a soft thank you and fingers the sewn initials of a corner. "He's right," she mutters, her usually light, perky voice heavy with emotion and dragging her vowels. "I'm a fool. A goddamn fool."

"You're not a fool, Hol-"

"She's a fool," Ashton interrupts, slamming the trough pail full of water onto the other side of the bench. Water sloshes over the rim of the aluminum pail and splashes onto the bench and beads on the packed dirt floor. "Drink up," he calls as he swivels to stroll out of the door once again. 

"Ashton!" Cade calls in a warning tone, jumping to his feet, but Ashton's already gone. Holly's sniffle returns him to her side, and he starts an apology. "Holly, he's just cranky. You know he just needs to blow off that steam of his. You'd think he'd have had enough when he knocked that city boy after what he said to you."

She lifts her chin and smiles weakly at him, her golden skin peeking through the dust she must have kicked up when she ran down the dirt road. Taking the handkerchief from her trembling hands, he crouches down in front of her and dips a corner into the pail. 

"I shoulda listened to yours and Ashton's warnin's. I shouldna got ya both involved in my mistake."

"Ya stop right there, Holly. That city boy had done you wrong by stringin' you like a baited fish. He done deserved what he had got," Cade dismisses, tipping her chin up so he can wipe at the mess of her face. 

"I still shoulda trusted my best friends when ya said he was no good. You must think I'm dumb for falling for his tricks. I'm a no good, dumb street-"

"Ya best not finish that thought, Holly," he commands, and his tone stops her. A tear slips from the edge of her lashes and he instantly frets with apologies for making her cry. "No, sweetheart, I'm sorry, so sorry. Don't cry."

Her lips quiver as her eyes glaze over again into her sorrow, and the tears start to cascade again. In desperation, he wraps his arms around her head, pulling her into a hug so his chin tucks the crown of her head to his neck. She cries out in protest, but he keeps his hold onto her. "You're dumb, but cute," he says. "But you're also huggable, and sweet, and he doesn't deserve your pretty smiles or warm apple crumbles." 

She chokes on a laugh and relaxes into his strange embrace as he takes the moment to continue. 

"But ya best remember," he says, but pauses for a thoughtful hesitation. She can hear a slight strain in his voice, and the thudding in his chest quickens. "Ashton and I will protect ya from every stumble and tear." His voice hardens suddenly with a serious tone. "Holly, I love ya."

She doesn't know what to say. Sure, they told each other they loved each other, but with the playful tone of childhood friends, but this serious tone startles her. This is a declaration she hasn't seen coming. 

"Correction, we love ya." 

She snaps her head out from under Cade's chin, but his arms hang loosely around her shoulders, allowing her to easily push out of his embrace. But she doesn't. She doesn't want to, especially when she sees Ashton standing in the barn door, a breeze brushing his hair from his furrowed eyebrows. 

But she also doesn't want to be in this situation. What could this mean? 

Ashton walks forward and gently places the tall, frosted glass of lemonade he had retrieved onto the bench beside the pail. She knows it's an apology for his comments and behavior but she doesn't touch it, no matter how much she's aching to drink it. Instead, she tries to meet his crystal blue eyes, and when she does, he immediately turns away. If she hadn't noticed the red tinge of his ears peeking from under his long locks, she would have thought he was insulted. 

She turns to Cade who retracts his arms from her shoulders, leaning back so she can regain her space. He doesn't smile, but his eyes openly express patience, and she tries to remember if he has ever gazed at her in such a loving warmth before, and why she never noticed. 

"I lo-" she starts, but Ashton interrupts. 

"No," he grunts out, then coughs to clear his voice. "No, don't ya say it unless you're sure." And she reaches out to pull his hand towards her so he will look at her. He refuses so she tugs him by the hand, startling him with the strength that tips him. 

"I love ya both, I really do, and I would never have thought that ya, both of ya'll," she corrects, turning to look both of them in the eyes, "would ever feel this way for me. This is shocking," she breathes. 

"Ya don't have to choose," Cade informs, "We both want ya and we want to share. That is if you'd like us." 

She blinks back tears at the soft catch in his voice, almost like a kicked puppy, and her head swirls. Suddenly she remembers all the times they've spent together, fighting and laughing, and the times they defended her and the times they told each other that they loved each other and the promises they made. She loves them as well, equally with a burning passion, but had set it aside for their deep friendship. 

Her tears over flow from her recollection of why she defied their warnings of George. She wanted to completely rid the love that she believed would rip them apart, and fill it with someone else to retain the friendship. Tears keep streaming but she grips his hand tighter, and uses her other hand to grab Cade's hand as well. 

Her voice shakes momentarily because of the tears and after a moment to still her trembling lips she looks at them both with a set gaze. "I don't even know how long I've been aching for this. I love ya, both of ya'll," she repeats and pauses when they both brush their thumbs over her cheeks, wiping the teardrops. 

"Don't force ya'self," Ashton whispers and she flares, glaring at him and setting her jaw. 

"Stop that," she bites out. "I love ya both, and I have for a long time so ya can't persuade me otherwise. I love ya'll, now shut up about not believing me and kiss me." 

They hesitate and they share a stricken expression between themselves and she wonders at how unfair it is that they've kept this to themselves and left her to dwell by herself. 

"Ya realize this is a sin," Cade supplies.

Ashton shakes his head in agreement. "We have resigned ourselves from the church under our own devices, but we don't want ya to fall with us."

A breeze trickles into the barn and teases the sweat on the nape of their necks, but she doesn't flinch like they do. 

"Well, ya know that I'm not religious, so let's be sinful together."

Ashton stares stunned at her angry pout, recognizing her hurt and determination. Cade chuckles. "Ya heard the queen," his familiar wide smile making its return.

She protests at the jest and opens her mouth to retort, only for Ashton to swoop in to press his lips against hers. He relishes her salty lips and takes advantage of her open-mouthed surprise, welcoming his tongue to meet hers. Cade whines at the loss of attention and they break apart, panting for breath. 

Thumbing her swollen lips and flushed cheeks, he remarks, "That tan of yours can never hide your blushes." She refocuses at his chuckle and he pecks her pursed lips. Before Ashton can give his sarcastic comparison, Cade whispers, "I'll top his kiss next time. I'll promise ya that," and winks.  


Something naughty~!
(Welcome to my messed-up mind.... *ghostly oooh's*)
Let me know what you think, and whether this is too tame.
Maybe I'll take that as a challenge. ;P

Could you hear the southern twang in their voices? 
Could you figure out what had happened to Holly?
Were Cade and Ashton's reaction decipherable? 

Please, let me know :D

Until the next story!
mera *__*


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