“Wake up, sunshine,” Rafe said, kissing me in a very convincing matter. “What do you say to spending a day at the lake? It’s beautiful out.” One of the perks to living in Minnesota was absolutely glorious summer days.
“Go away,” I said grumpily, not falling for the famous Rafe charm. “I’m not talking to you.” I turned my back to him and the next thing I knew, I felt him pressed against my back, his hard cock against my ass.
“Come on, baby. I’m ready to play.” Rafe showered kisses on the back of my neck, the exact place where I loved to be kissed. He knew my body better than any other lover I’d had, which was saying a lot.
I tried to ignore him, but it was impossible. His hand was between my legs as his lips were on my neck, and despite my best intentions, I felt myself respond. He chuckled knowingly as my breathing grew ragged—a sure sign that I was becoming aroused. Instead of turning to face him, however, I kept my back to him. I was still mad because of his stonewalling me last night, but I couldn’t deny that I wanted him to fuck me. To maintain my dignity, I had to make it seem as if he were the aggressor, not me. That wasn’t hard to do as he was more than ready and willing to slip into the role. I heard rustling behind me and assumed that he was putting on a condom. He wanted me to get on the pill, but I told him that it would have to wait until we’d been together for at least a year. I don’t know how I fixated on that amount of time, but it’s always been my litmus test. I’ve never been on the pill yet.
“Come on, querida,” Rafe murmured as he nudged my legs apart. “Show me that you want it.” I arched my back slightly, pushing my ass out towards him. Without preamble, he slid right into me. I was so wet, I could have taken twice his girth—and he’s not small by any means.
After we had both come, we lay, exhausted, with him still inside of me. I liked being linked even post-orgasm, but I soon worried about his sperm leaking out of the condom. Reluctantly, I pulled away from him, feeling strangely bereft as he slipped out of me. I reached down between my legs, feeling how raw I was from the vigorous fucking. This morning and last night had been strenuous session, much more passionate than usual. I snuggled back against Rafe, feeling his sticky cock against my back. I turned my head so I could kiss him, and I found him staring at me. There was a mixture of sadness, lust. and something else in his eyes—something I couldn’t identify. I blinked, then it was gone. He was just Rafe again, a ready smile on his face.
“What are you thinking of, love?” I asked softly, not wanting to break the spell.
“Just you,” Rafe said, his eyes matching his lips. After a moment of contented silence, he sat up in bed. “Time to rise and shine,” he said, patting me on the rump.
“That’s what got us in trouble in the first place,” I cracked, but sat up, nonetheless. We showered together before dressing and going to the breakfast table. My parents were already up, of course, indulging in French toast and sausage.
“Your brothers and sister are coming for dinner tonight,” my mother informed me as she dished up food for Rafe and me. “I expect you to be there.” She’s using her no-nonsense tone which meant it would do me no good to argue, but I was going to give it the old college try.
“Mom, Rafe and I are going to the lakes,” I whined, drenching my toast in maple syrup. I took a bite and made noises of appreciation. My dad made kick-ass French toast, one of five things he made well.
“You can be back by six,” my mother said firmly, shooting me a steely glare. “Your siblings are worried about you, Beezus, and they need to see you so you can reassure them you’re fine.”
“I’m the one who might be in danger, and I have to reassure them?” I raised an eyebrow, but continued to eat. My father looked at me in amusement but didn’t participate in the conversation.
“I thought you decided you weren’t the target,” Rafe chimed in, a mischievous look on his face. My eyes told him that he was to be tortured in countless ways once we were alone. He didn’t seem to mind that implied threat very much.
“Beatrice, don’t argue with me.” If my mother called me by my full name, then she really meant business.
“Oh, all right,” I gave I with ill-grace. “We’ll be here.”
“I’m looking forward to it,” Rafe said, winking at my mother. “Family is very important.”
“Speaking of family,” I said, staring at Rafe.
“May I have more juice?” Rafe asked my mother, neatly interrupting me.
“Of course, Raphael,” my mother said, pouring him more orange juice. I let it go for now, and the conversation moved to more general things. I couldn’t wait to go to the beach and forget about life for awhile.
“Mom, we’re home.” I called out as Rafe and I entered the house, both of us sandy, but content. While I barely looked as if I spent any time outdoors, Rafe was golden brown, making me envy his Mexican genes. Or whatever he was.
“Dodo!” Mona raced to the door and threw her arms around me. I caught Rafe giving her the once over, but I didn’t blame him. Mona had waist-length jet black hair that shimmered under the light. Her huge dark brown eyes were expertly painted, the lashes nicely curled. With her slanted cheekbones and full lips, she looked like a prettier version of Lucy Liu. Her slim body was something I envied, but could never emulate. If she did boys, I’d worry about her snatching Rafe from under my nose. Hm. What did it say about me that I was worried about both my mother and my lesbian sister stealing my man?
“Mona,” I said, hugging my sister tightly. “Is Michele here?”
“She couldn’t make it,” Mona said, pouting. “Rafe! Good to see you again.” She flung her arms around him, too, pulling him in for a nice, long hug. I could tell that he was fighting the temptation to cop a feel, which was a good thing. She would have popped him in the eye if he had tried it. Despite her mini-skirt and heels, she packed a mean punch.
“Owen and Hank here yet?” I asked, walking towards the living room.
“Owen is. Hank’s late. As usual.” Mona rolled her eyes as she followed me to the living room where my mother, my father and Owen were watching the world news.
“He’s not late quite yet,” I said, checking my watch. It was five to six, so he had five minutes to slide under the wire. Knowing Hank, however, it would be at least another half hour before he showed up. He was perennially late, and we just dealt with it by telling him to arrive a half hour before the actual starting time.
“I told Henry five-thirty,” my mother said cheerfully, waving us into the room. “He should be here any minute.”
“Hey, sis,” Owen said, standing up to give me a hug. “Rafe.” He and Rafe did that manly shaking hands/pounding chests thing which mystified me to no end. “Have you heard anything more about the, uh, investigation?” Owen’s the sensitive one in the family. Slender, only five-foot eight inches with big brown eyes and full lips, he was prettier than I. He’s the one whom Mona and I suspect to be batting for our team even though he’s dated women in the past. It’s been ages since he’s had a girlfriend or even mentioned a love interest. Not for the first time, I wondered if I should talk to him about it—delicately, of course.
“Dunno,” I said, shrugging my shoulders. “Haven’t learned anything new about it.”
“Shh, the local news is starting,” my mother said, staring at the screen. “Isn’t that Shawn Hsu a hottie?”
“Anybody home?” Hank bellowed out as he entered the house. “Sorry I’m late.”
“…Edward Bates, owner of FunLand, was found dead…”
“You wouldn’t believe the traffic on 35W,” Hank boomed, stepping into the room. “Must have been an acc—”
“Shhh,” the rest of us said, transfixed by the image on the screen.
“Asphyxiated,” Shawn said gravely. “Bryce Bowman is on the scene.”
“When’s dinner?” Hank asked, plopping on the couch besides Owen. Hank was always thinking about food and nearly ate my parents out of the house when he lived at home.
“Shhh!” The rest of us said in unison.
“Shawn, the call came to 911 around three in the morning from a neighbor who heard a disturbance,” Bryce said, his dark eyes solemn. He carried himself with dignity, and there were many who believed if he wasn’t African American, he would have been anchor and not Shawn, a hotshot from Los Angeles.
The story, to put it succinctly, was as followed: A neighbor who was a light sleeper heard a huge ruckus next door around three in the morning and waited for it to end. When it didn’t, she called 911 and reported it. When the cops arrived, they found Eddie trussed up in a chair, a dog leash wrapped around his neck cutting off his circulation. There were signs of struggling which indicated that Eddie had not gone quietly into the night. There was no note, no journal, no nothing. At least, nothing that the cops were willing to release to the press. I was sure they had something they kept to themselves as was often the case.
“Why are we watching this?” Hank whined, something extremely unattractive in a man his size. “I’m hungry, Ma. I haven’t eaten all day just because I knew you’d serve up something good.”
“Henry, that’s Beezus’s boss,” my mother whispered, her face white. She flipped to another station that was just beginning to tell the story of Eddie’s demise. “Now, will you please shut up?”
We sat through it again, learning nothing new in the process. My mind was blank as I tried to digest the news. Eddie couldn’t be dead. I had to talk to him on Monday. What was going to happen to the park? These thoughts were whirling through my mind even as I tried to comprehend what was being said on the television. I couldn’t understand it, however, and shut it out of my mind. Eddie was dead. Lydia was dead. There had to be a link between the two, didn’t there? There was no way it could just be a coincidence—that would be too bizarre.
“Can we eat now?” Hank demanded once the news was over. “Sorry about your boss, Dodo, but I’m starved.”
“Yeah, let’s eat,” I said, grateful to my ingrate of a brother for being so blunt about his needs—it took the focus off me for a bit.
“Are you ok, querida?” Rafe asked me in a low voice as we trooped to the dining room. “This must be quite a shock.”
“I’m fine,” I said, stretching a smile across my face. I figured if he could be evasive about his past, I could be evasive about my current feelings. Of course, Rafe didn’t believe me as I wasn’t very convincing. For once, though, he followed my lead and kept quiet about it.
Everybody was underfoot as we all tried to help set the table. Finally, we reverted to our chores of childhood. I set the table with the plates, glasses and silverware. Mona fetched beverages and anything liquid—i.e., soup—as well as hot pads for the food. Owen and Hank grabbed platters of food and set them on the table as fast as Mona could slap down the pads. My mother ladled the food into platters as fast as she could before handing them over to her sons. Dad stood around looking helpless before finally deciding to sit down at the table. Rafe got into the act by dishing up the rice, though my mother gave him a dirty look for doing so. She didn’t believe in guests helping out with the serving, but Rafe no longer viewed himself as a guest.
By the time we sat down to eat, we had all worked up a healthy appetite. My mother, pleased to have her whole brood around her for once, had outdone herself. She hadn’t cooked it all, of course—that’s what Asian markets were for—but she managed to make or buy each of us our favorites. Sticky rice for Mona; tea eggs for Owen; barbecue pork buns for Hank; cow tongue for me. I didn’t eat much meat, but I loved cow tongue. And giblets. There were some of those as well. My siblings used to make fun of me for eating the junk, as they called it, but I insisted that they didn’t know what they were missing. My mother had even made fried noodles for Rafe who swore that he’d never tasted noodles so good, not even when he was in Thailand. My mother also had a whole fish, carp, I think, because that’s what my father liked best. He would pluck the eyes out and gobble them down, much to our disgust. Secretly, I thought that was why he did it. For several minutes, there was no sound except for chopsticks clicking.
“Mom, you’ve outdone yourself, as usual,” Hank said, beaming at my mother, who, understandably, looked weary. “I want the recipes for everything!”
“I’ll give them to you when you get yourself a girlfriend,” my mother retorted. My brother’s cooking escapades were legendary in the family, and none of them had a happy ending. My parents had to install a new stove after his last attempt, and he was forbidden from cooking anything ever again. Mona and I thought he had done it on purpose to get out of cooking duties, but he would never cop to it.
“Well, in that case,” Hank said, grinning to beat the band. “Hand them over.” Conversation stopped. Hank had a girlfriend? When did this come about? Normally, Hank would have been crowing about a girl the minute he found her; this one must be special.