Abebi sat opened mouth next to Sandy. Their table near the front of the small interior Starbucks café provided her a front seat view of Jackson and Remo exiting Agua Caliente. Jackson held some package in his arms. Abebi noticed the lanyard hanging around his next. Oh no, Remo hadn’t. Had he?
Sandy cleared her throat, sat her half-empty cup down, and leaned forward touching Abebi’s arm. “Hon, close your mouth before half of Remoor Beach sees your reaction.”
Abebi’s quick shake of her head before she faced Sandy couldn’t hide her response. Sandy knew about subtle signs and body language first hand. Rowdy drunk shifters were nothing new to her. Remo’s quick reflexes kept her safe. And the fast actions of their two bouncers, a mutant wolf-husky hybrid mix and his boyfriend—a midnight black panther, took care of the few that pushed things too far. Sandy smiled as an image of Lance flashed in her mind in his Halloween costume from last year. He and his partner Scott made fabulous Chippendale dressed dancers. Bless their hearts for putting on the evening’s entertainment complete with stripping down, way down past their skivvies.
Abebi cleared her throat and waved her hand in front of Sandy’s face. “I hope those thoughts are about your hubby and not Lance and Scott again.”
Sandy fanned herself. “Ah my hubster would share in a heartbeat. Problem is Scott isn’t bi and Lance loves me like a sister. So no takers there. But a woman can dream.”
Both laughed for a several moments. Sandy picked up where her original idea left off. “I know you got it bad for Jackson. You talked non-stop about him since you arrived three months ago.”
“Yes, I had hopes. Lupa must have heard my prayers. He’s here. But. . .” Abebi sipped her coffee.
“Whatever apprehensions are happening in your mind, keep them there. I know Remo muttered something about blood before he brought Jackson inside.” Sandy finished her coffee before biting into her vegetable filled pastry.
“Blood,” Abebi whispered. “How could Remo know? I mean did you. . .you know tell him?”
Sandy wiped her mouth. “No, I know when to keep my mouth shut. As Alpha, he’s got connections. Besides Remoor Beach is too small to not have certain things known after a while. Doc, I’m sure reported in at the last pack elders meeting. Pack health and welfare are keen issues for them.”
Abebi sighed. “Yeah, I love the tightness of our community. Still some privacy would be nice.”
Sandy laughed as she caught sight of Remo crossing the street heading toward the café. “I haven’t seen that much pep in Remo's step in a while. Lupa and Goddess help you and us. What has he gotten Jackson into?”
2 weeks later
Jackson looked down at his snow-white legs. The tan walking shorts looked deep beige against the starkness of his skin. Ah, the slathered on well sunscreen would keep him from burning. As his gaze rose higher, loud reds and blues amongst floral prints greeted him.
He groaned as the lanyard holding his picture and name along with judge boldly stenciled beneath it came into view. Jackson forced his eyes to the mirror in front of him and to the running shoes he wore. Remo was right. These sneakers were lighter than boots were and had bounce. Nice padded bounce too. Thank Lupa and her consorts, Remo hadn’t insisted on sandals. Jackson wasn’t getting caught in no salon getting any pedicure. When the local barber started offering them, maybe, until then wasn't any way this side or any other of the Peak he was getting that sissified.
Jackson grabbed the new hat he traded his Stetson for. At least the baseball cap was one color and had Agua Caliente’s logo on it. That damn thing had his name stitched on it too was a bit more than Jackson wanted, but Remo signed his paycheck. And for now was his landlord. The room over the bar was small but comfortable. Jackson grinned at Remo’s parting remark last night. Yes, Jackson would cooperate and mingle with the pack and citizens of Remoor Beach. But keeping his hands off Abebi until they were properly hitched was another matter.
Down on the beach, most of Remoor Beach’s young and old filled the roped off section closest to the waterfront. Several parents worked alongside their children digging in the wet sand filling buckets and building their entries. Some worked alone and others worked in groups. Abebi shielded her eyes with her hand.
Two groups over three of her students plopped sand down and mixed natural paint colors with it. Nothing man made was allowed in any of the materials. All natural and safe to the environment ranked top in the rules. Abebi smiled as she scanned the beach further.
Judging would start in a few hours. Many were doing elaborate pieces. Some just let their imaginations run with what inspired them. Others just wanted to have fun. She hoped Jackson’s first pack interaction wouldn’t be his last. Until Sandy arrived, Abebi couldn’t look for him. Someone had to mind their spot. Abebi wondered what Sandy’s sculpture idea was. The twinkle in her eye as she agreed to be Abebi’s partner in the competition had her wondering what Remo had put her up to.
Happy Weekend Gang!
Sorry this is posting a bit late. Work was crazy this week. Busy times around the spice homestead too. I'm almost done with the first draft on a new book entitled Hot for Torrey. I'll share a snippet or two perhaps once it's fit for public reading. Yes, us authors can be as bad as artist not wanting to show their artwork until it's deemed perfect and ready.
Hope you enjoyed this week's flash and more of Abebi and Jackson's story. Until next week and my muse decides whether Angel or our love birds puts in an appearance, share a good book or two with your spices and loves. Happy Autumn All!