Chapter 7: The Past In The Loft


”So what are you doing tonight Moon-bear? ” My mom asks while I work on my assignments at the kitchen table. She is cooking spaghetti tonight alongside her girlfriend Lidia.

Lidia and Storm both moved in with us in July after wed been back in Palamino Bay for several months. They are both from another southern state town in a city called Blanche which is where Storm grew up.

Its a wonder I didn run into the Chaos boys before today.

Lidia has helped my mom, Amy, in the process of mourning my father and twin brother. Lidia and my mom needed each other in the beginning and their friendship morphed into love over the years. I couldn be happier for them both finding love again.

”Im going up to the loft to work on my assignments and the boys are coming over, ” I reply to her. My mother frowns at me. ”I know what you
e thinking mom. The boys had nothing to do with the bullying or the depression. They can be held responsible for the actions of others. They tried to help but I wouldn talk to them. ”

”Im worried for you, Carley. From what Ive heard since weve been back, those boys aren the same ones you grew up with., ” she says with worry lacing her voice while idly stirring the sauce.

”I heard Ransom is in prison. Why didn you tell me? ” I ask my mother who could have at least told me when she found out.

”When he went in you were happy working on the ranch with Storm and the guys. I didn want you worrying about that boy, ” she replies. That boy. That boy she made sure was clean. That boy she made sure had fresh untattered clothes. That boy she fed. That boy she cared for when no one else would.

”He has been my best friend since kindergarten, mom. He isn just some random boy, ” I attempt to chide her, but she clucks her tongue at me. I shake my head at her with a frustrated sigh.

”Did I hear my name? ” Storm saunters into the kitchen holding a rope in one gloved hand. He has been out roping his practice dummy for hours. He should have been working on his schoolwork as well.

He goes to his room to put up his things and probably wash his hands before dinner.

Its strange for me with him being here since we had a drunken one-night-stand with one another and now he is living with me. Its awkward to even think about. That one night together gave us clarity the next morning that we worked better together as friends than lovers.

I wonder how my guys will react when I tell them Storm and I slept together and that I also slept with two of his best friends. It never became anything other than friendship and the occasional casual sex to scratch that itch.

The thing is those guys are in love with their childhood best friend. I hope for their sake when they return to Blanche that they will be able to be with that girl. They are amazing guys that I adore, and I want them to find happiness.

I blush at the brief mental image of me having Arson by both of his heads. I cock blocked my friend today.

I clear my head of my playboy friend to continue on my assignment. Dinner is ready just as I get done.

The four of us devolve into pleasant conversation over dinner and red wine about how everyones day had progressed. Lidia found a dental assistant job so Im proud of her for that.

”So Cactus, what happened earlier when I found you with those guys around you? Especially that one that had you shoved against the wall later on, ” Storm comments.

I choke on my red wine because he chose that moment while I was sipping my wine to ask me that question. Gah alcohol burns when it goes down the windpipe. Mom has to pat my back to help me expel the liquid from my lungs.

When Im finally done coughing and can speak again I say, ”I just had to remind Arson he can act like a jerk to me, thats all. ”

How is Air-bear? ” Mom asks before he could question me more about that incident.

”I don like him, ” Storm grumbles.

”Arson just looks scary and acts tuff. Hes harmless. Well, harmless to me anyway, ” I say with a shrug of my shoulders.

”Carleys right, Arson has always been a teddy bear. He was a very respectful boy. He was always helping Mike out with home and car repairs, ” my mom replies in defense.

”Air seems to be doing good. He is huge and tattooed now. He has been sleeping his way around the bay, so he is going to fix that issue, ” I say with certainty.

My mom laughs softly. ”Well, those boys have followed your spoken and unspoken commands the majority of their lives. They were unnaturally devoted to you. ”

”Its more like they were obsessed. From what Ive seen today, and Ive heard about them they still are, ” Storm says having finished his meal. He sits back in his chair with his arms crossed over his broad chest.

”You don have any room to speak on that subject and you know it, ” I remind him that I know he has the same issue of obsession.

”Touche, Cactus. ” He makes a gesture with his thumb of slicing his throat. I roll my eyes at him being dramatic.

He looks up to find our mothers are done eating as well. ”You two go enjoy your evening already. Carley and I will clean up. You cooked, so we clean, ” Storm informs them.

I watch them fill their wine glasses and head back to the living to enjoy some quiet time together.

When we are done cleaning, I grab my backpack to work on more assignments up in the loft of the barn. Im not expecting the guys until late tonight so I will have plenty of time to myself.

Storm walks with me out to the barn after grabbing his glove and rope again. ”Is it those guys I saw you with at lunch that are coming over? ” He asks and I nod yes to him. ”I didn like the way that one had you against the wall, ” he says with his upper lip curling up in a sneer.

”Well, you missed me having him by the dick so I kinda deserved to be pinned to the wall. I said something that he took the wrong way, ” I shrug my shoulder to let him know it was no big deal. ”Arson is intense, but Ive been friends with him since junior high when he pulled my ponytail for pulling him to the ground. He is a cuddly teddy bear underneath all that attitude. ”

Storm sighs, ”If you say so, Cactus. ” He shakes his head in disapproval mumbling at how he isn so sure. ”You know Jen, JT, and I are here if you need us. Think of us as your weapons if you need us to be. ” He walks off to the tack room before I can respond to him, so I walk to the stair at the back of the barn and up the loft.

Storm can think what he likes, but I know how to handle Chaos. Chaos is the weapon Ive been able to wield for the majority of my life.

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