Wednesday, May 30, 2012

QUICKIES: Made Up My Mind (PART 2)

Hello darlings~~

Thank God today is over with.  Being my first day back to work since my mini vacay, it felt like a SUPER MONDAY (Super Monday is defined by Night as a day that resembles Monday only multiplied by twenty.  Hair pulling or screaming through your teeth may be involved) or something to that effect.  One of my clients (who is a nurse) said that it was the moon that was influencing people's moods today.  The shift in tides or some such non-sense (which in fact is scientifically sound, i.e. the moon and woman's labor patterns or the rise in crime when the moon is high, google that craziness).  Any ways it was a long day filled with the worst lot of human beings I have ever encountered, who when I think about them even away from work still make me cringe.  No exaggerations here.  *But* I am trying not to end my day on a bad note, so I figured I would cheer myself up and all you other middle of the week slumpers with this second part to Made Up My Mind.  With that, I have nothing else to say except for there is another playlist below that is sure to stir up some memories for you. Enjoy....


Made Up My Mind Part 2 Playlist

Almost Love - A Fine Frenzy
Crooked Teeth - Death Cab For Cutie
Scar Tissue - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Foolish Games - Jewel
Vindicated - Dashboard Confessional
Turn Me On _ Norah Jones

If You Could Only See - Tonic
Say It Ain't So - Weezer
Head Over Feet - Alanis Morissette
Sweetness - Jimmy Eat World
Zombie - The Cranberries
If It Makes You Happy - Sheryl Crow
Take A Picture - Filter
Shine - Collective Soul

The engine slowly quieted and Mason cut the lights, making the barn disappear into the dark. Looking down into his lap, he rolled his eyes and shifted a little but Matt grabbed his knee and held on. “Alright, Jesus I get it.” Mason sighed and put his keys in his shirt pocket.  Reaching over, he undid the passenger door and slowly slid Matt across the seat until his feet hit the bottom step.  “Hold on Every,” Mason grunted as he held the drunk from behind and hit the ground. 
Looking around, Mason didn’t want to wake anyone, so he shuffled towards the barn and cracked the large door open.  Slipping himself and Matt into the dark, he found the small work lamp first and clicked it on.  The barn was illuminated in a soft glow and Mason guided Matt onto the small cot that Noah sometimes used to nap during the day.  Matt’s shoulder length hair spread around his head as he lay down—his dark lashes fluttered a little.
“I’m sorry. So sorry,” Matt mumbled and hid his face in a haze.  He was definitely drunker than a skunk and Mason felt sorry for him.  Why in the hell did he get this wrecked, Mason wondered.  Was it because of him?  With an unsure hand, Mason lowered his fingers to Matt’s frowning face and pushed his long golden locks away. 
“Why are you sorry? I’m the one that done said those things about…you know,” Mason felt like he was talking to himself but it felt good to get it all out.  “I’m sorry Matt.  It ain’t you, it’s me and okay maybe it is partly your fault but I just can’t be…that way with you.” Mason swallowed and knelt next to the cot—his fingers never leaving Matt’s face.  “What do you see in me anyhow?  I ain’t nothin special Every and I also like girls…”
Mason looked down Matt’s body and let out a slow breath as Matt stretched.  The band of his underwear peaked out of his jeans and Matt’s flat stomach showed as his cotton t-shirt rode up on his chest.  Mason licked his lips and leaned forward.  “I know I was planning on maybe giving this a try but what for?  This is your life and it ain’t fair to you to be experimenting when you have to be pining for a relationship like Noah and Jamie got.  I don’t think I can give that to you…but damn Every…” Mason’s hand found Matt’s burning hot skin and his palm sprawled out on Matt’s stomach.  Searing heat and a zippy tingle ran up Mason’s arm and he fought not to startle Matt by pulling away. 
A soft moan left Matt’s lips and his hand covered Mason’s—shocking Pierson into paralysis momentarily.  “Mason,” Matt whispered with his eyes closed and pulled Mason’s hand up his chest.  With wide eyes and almost non-existent breathing, Mason felt every inch of Matt’s chest like a lover would.  It was different than anything he’d ever known.  The skin was flat and a little hairy, solid but still soft for muscle—Matt was definitely not a woman and that scared Mason shitless.  Even scarier to Mason was that he wanted more. 
Bending over Matt—who softly moved under Mason’s hand—Mason brought his face close to Matt’s chest and just explored a little.  What did another man smell like?  Still scared but assured that Matt wouldn’t remember this, Mason inhaled at Matt’s chest and closed his eyes.  Not floral or fruity like Suzanna or the other girls but more like himself—woodsy, sweaty, you could smell the Irish Spring still lingering.  Scenting again, Mason pressed his nose right to Matt’s chest and cupped his hips without realizing it.
“Mason,” Matt slurred and put his hands in Mason’s hair.  He was having the most wonderful dream and it felt so real. His skin was so hot that his fantasy was just that more explosive and he was so hard it hurt.  Dream Mason helped him out of his shirt and the cotton brushed against his flushed face as it made its way off his body.  Relieved at how much cooler he felt, Matt ran his hands down his chest and let himself go back to the peaceful sleep in which Mason was touching him and whispering sweet words.
Almost ready to burst, Mason gawked at Matt’s naked torso and couldn’t believe what he was doing. His hands trailed down Matt’s chest and to the elastic of his underwear before grazing over his belt buckle and back up before things got out of hand.  It had been a long time since he’d dreamt about Matt but with him so close now, it was hard not to escape his straying thoughts.  He was straight, this wasn’t right, he shouldn’t be touching Matt like this.  Yet none of that seemed to stop him as he nudged his knee in between Matt’s legs and bent over the half delirious drunk. 
Smelling the beer on Matt’s lips, Mason wasn’t sure how to do this.  Was it wrong to kiss a half conscious man?  Was it wrong to want to kiss him in the first place?  Was it bad that his hands wanted to run all over Matt’s body? Was it wrong that he was getting hard from just looking at Matt like this? Brushing his lips over another man’s crossed into a territory that Mason wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to come back from.  He could feel Matt’s breath rush into his own mouth gently and their eyelashes painted tingles along each other’s skin as Mason pressed his lips to Matt’s.
Even in his sleep, Matt responded and ground against Mason’s knee—rubbing his half hard length up and down.  His hands pulled Mason down and wrapped around his back.  The door to the barn squeaked on its hinges and Mason stood up so fast he got a head rush.  With a flashlight in hand and a small cooler in the other, Jamie stood in the doorway with a look of panic.  Looking from Matt to Mason, he knew what was going on but what could he say?  Mason was…shit…  “I um just needed to put this away so Noah could…”
“Yeah right, I’m sure that’s what you were doin,” Mason snarled.  Inside he was terrified that Jamie had caught him.  What did he think now?  Would he tell Noah?  Was this assault? Oh God, Mason wanted to throw up but instead he grabbed his fallen keys and rushed past Jamie.  Searching for the right words to call after Mason, Jamie turned and looked at Matt who frowned in his sleep and curled up into a tight ball.  Setting down the cooler, Jamie looked around until he found the small fleece blanket above the metal cabinet and covered Matt with it.  Even in Matt’s sleep, he could tell the body wasn’t Mason’s and he curled away from the other person with sadness. 
“He’ll come around Matt.  Or…I hope so anyways…” Jamie whispered and turned around.
“Why are you whispering to Matt while he’s sleepin?” Noah startled Jamie with a weird look and the blonde shooed him out of the barn—turning off the lamp as he left. 
“I’m not crazy Noah.  Come on, let’s go inside.” Jamie let Noah lead him up the hill into the front yard.
“You gonna tell me what that was about? Or maybe if you’ve seen Mason?  Mama called a little while ago to check up on him but I couldn’t find him.”
“Well that’s what I was going to tell you.  Noah, I think I know why Mason’s been a pain in the ass lately.” Jamie looked around for Mason.
“Did he say something to you?” Noah stopped and put his hands on Jamie’s shoulders.
“No but he didn’t have to. Noah…I think Mason may be…”
Waking up on the hard surface of the dock was anything but comfortable and Mason sat up only to feel every bone in his body protest with pain.  With a crack of his spine, Mason yawned and looked out over the early morning water with a sigh.  He had to get the fuck out of here and quick before his brother and Jamie got up. Knowing well and good that Jamie hadn’t been spying on him last night, Mason felt guilty about his actions but he didn’t know what to do.  He’d kissed a man, hell he’d gone further than that but thank God Matt wouldn’t remember any of it.  And oh that didn’t make Mason’s conscience feel any better.  In fact, it made him feel lower than low. 
Hurrying to his feet, Mason stretched one more time and then started to jog up the dock and over to the house as fast as he could—taking the back way in lieu of the front in hopes of avoiding everyone altogether.  With heavy feet and this raging need to take a shower, Mason ran across the cement of the back patio and as quietly as he could slid open the sliding door.  There in front of his very eyes was Matt Every leaning over the kitchen counter—a look of death across his face. He looked over at Mason and grabbed his juice before leaving for the living room without a word.
Mason froze, his body locking up at the sight of Matt.  He could still taste the stale beer on his tongue, smell Matt’s sweat like it was still last night, but the guy had all but forgotten him now that it was morning.  The feeling didn’t sit well with Mason. He almost wished Matt had remembered him now and the moans he’d gotten Matt to make for him.  To make for him?  What the hell was he getting into, Mason cringed and tip toed out into the living room.
Matt held his juice like it was the only thing that existed.  His head was on another planet as far as pain was concerned and he had the shakes that came from dehydration.  The fact that Mason was standing there looking at him with that strange face only added to his humiliation. In a nutshell, Matt wanted to crawl under the nearest rock and die.  What the hell had he told these locals and the Olivettes for that matter? He had no idea but he hoped he hadn’t confessed anything too serious because when he’d started yesterday by drinking…it had been all about Mason and how he’d been royally denied.
“Go ahead and say whatever you’re thinking.  Or better yet, I’ll just go outside so you don’t have to waste your breath,” Matt mumbled and tried to blink but that only hurt his eyes.  He hadn’t been this hung over since high school.
“I wasn’t gonna say nothin.” Mason took a step forward and Matt snorted darkly.
“You? With nothing to say? Right and pigs fly.” Turning around, Matt had no desire to continue this conversation.  No amount of sexy country boy bed head would keep him around to be rejected all over again.  It wasn’t worth the heartache or the headache—both of which he already had, so Mason could keep that to himself.
“Hey Matt,” Mason called but got the slam of a screen door instead.  Knowing this was the right thing and that running away from his problems wasn’t going to get him anywhere, Mason took off after Matt.  The glass blower was downing his juice on the porch before he put the cup down and looked out at the rising sun.  The tall grass was silhouetted against the sun making each piece stand out as it danced in the light breeze.  “It’s beautiful isn’t it?” Mason asked as he took a few steps forward.
“It was,” Matt replied dryly without looking at the country boy. 
“Look about yesterday, I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean it and I was just angry about my own self not you.”
“Mason you thought I was coming onto you, that isn’t some magical thought that just popped into your mind.  It’s something that you’ve been thinking about for a while and you just happened to have a Freudian slip.  So I’m gay and you’re scared about that.  Why? I have no idea but that’s your own problem.  How about I stay away from you and you stay away from me?  I’ll be looking for my own place

soon anyways so it won’t be much longer until I’m out of your way.” Matt crossed his arms continuing to look out over the open field.
“You’re taking this way too far Matt.  I said I didn’t mean it and I…I…think…I don’t know how to say it,” Mason whispered.  His hands ached as Matt turned around with screwed up brows.  “You never denied that you wanted me.  Did you?” Mason asked.
Matt fisted his hands at his sides. “Is that how we’re gonna do this?  You want me to tell you how gorgeous I think you are for your own personal reference?  Does it help to affirm your manliness or something?  I had you all wrong Mason.  I got you just all wrong.”
“I asked because I want to know, not because I want to hurt you.  I want to know for sure before I make a fool out of myself.  Before I hurt myself,” Mason’s voice rose a little with emotion and Matt leaned back.
“Hurt yourself?”
“You could hurt me,” Mason confessed and Matt went still.  Did that mean he….was…oh Lord above, Matt shivered.
“Mason, I think you need to talk to Noah or something.  Is that what this is all about?  All of this anger lately?  You think you’re gay don’t you?” Matt took a step forward and Mason shied away.
“I’m not gay, I’m just…” Mason noticed that Matt didn’t say he wanted him and he also noticed how he tried to pawn this conversation off on Noah.  Matt didn’t want him did he?  It was all in his head, Mason realized.
“Just what?  You either like guys or you don’t.  Unless you’re bi which is…” Matt waved his hand and Mason shook with frustration.
“Just shut up, shut up, shut up.  I’m not gay or bi or whatever.  I thought you would tell me…God!  You know what Matt, you’re right.  I don’t wanna be around you.  You always make me feel like I’ve done something wrong, when I haven’t.  You go on ahead and move into my house and live with my family and take right on over because I’m gone,” Mason screamed and leapt down the steps to the yard.
“What is going on out here?” Jamie opened the screen door and Noah pushed past him. 
“Mason? Mason!” Noah yelled but Mason was already in his truck and roaring around the drive.
Sinking down onto the stairs, Matt started to cry.  His heart felt torn in two because he didn’t know how to help Mason who was so confused and angry.  He didn’t know how to help himself either because the object of his heart just drove off with hatred in his eyes.  Matt didn’t know if there was any fixing what had just happened but he prayed to all that was good that he could.
“Matt what the hell is going on?” Noah crouched down in front of Matt and put his hands on Matt’s knees. “What did he say?”
Shaking his head, Matt looked at Noah. “He’s leaving.”
“What?” Noah’s eyes went wide and he looked up at Jamie. “Call mama and Sam and Perry.  I don’t know where Mason’s head is but he ain’t going anywhere.  I’ll have this whole damn town blocking his way if it comes down to it.”
“On it,” Jamie said and rushed into the house. 
“Now why don’t you start by telling me how long you’ve been into my brother?” Noah raised a brow and pulled Matt to his feet.
Slamming the door to his truck, Mason stomped onto the grounds of the lumber yard and headed straight for the office.  Pop Olivette basically lived in this place and his tiny raised metal box of an office sat on two stories worth of stilted metal with a series of grated stairs.  The giant of a man had been his daddy’s best friend and was the closest thing he had left to a father figure.  Even if he just sat in silence with the big man, it was always a comfort and Mason needed as much comfort as he could get.
Pulling off his ball cap, Mason knocked on the door and received a loud bark to enter.  “Pop?” Mason asked as he opened the door to the air conditioned box. 
“Well don’t let all the good air out.  Pay good money for the stuff,” Pop grunted and set his paper down.  The smell of strong black coffee and cheap wood paneling relaxed Mason’s nerves and he stepped inside and shut the door. “Have a seat, you look like shit boy.”
“Been a rough day,” Mason muttered and flopped unceremoniously into the beaten office chair next to him. 
“It ain’t but eight in the morning.” Pop chuckled and his entire body shook.  “Must’ve been some woman to get you this riled up before the high sun.  Whoo I remember my Willa being a handful when we was that young but I never looked like a sack of sad afterwards.”  Pop rubbed his thick beard and leaned back with contemplative eyes.  He’d gotten the call from Noah about fifteen minutes before Mason came traipsing in here.  Already knowing what the boy’s problem was didn’t make the paternal instinct to rush him with a hug any easier to stop neither—Pop had to wait this one out and make Mason feel good about sharing. Or that’s what Noah said.  Speaking of, where the hell was that boy?
“What do you think of Noah and Jamie?” Mason heard himself ask before he looked up at the burly bear behind the tiny desk.  Sam and Perry’s daddy smirked and tapped his fingers on his desk. 
“Why you askin what I think of your brother? Ain’t that obvious?” Gonna get it out of you one way or another boy, Olivette thought with a sip of coffee.
“You don’t think he’s less of a…less of a man for being…like he is?  For lovin another man?” Mason was scared to look up.
“Why you lookin at the floor? It ain’t about to talk to ya, so look here.” Pop leaned forward and put his red University of Louisville mug down. Mason mustered enough courage to look the three hundred pounds of muscle in the eye.  “Do I think Noah Pierson is less of a man for being in love with another man?  Hell no.  Why?  Because it’s hard enough to put up with a woman let alone another man.  I give him credit for being able to handle a mirror image of his self.  That’s a whole lot of stubborn and testosterone goin on in that relationship and any man that can handle that plus his comings and goings is more of a man than I’ll ever be.” Pop shrugged.  “But that ain’t what you really want to know is it?”
“I don’t know what I want,” Mason sighed and put his face in his hands.
“Yes you do but you’re scared to say it.” Olivette paused and grinned. “You want some coffee?” Pop got up with a squeak of his rolling chair.  His steel toed boots clomped over the thin carpet to the small coffee pot.
“If you know me so well, then what do I want?” Mason turned and grunted.
“To be happy but you don’t think you’re worth all that.  You ain’t got no job, no purpose, and you’re living out of your brother’s house.  You don’t think you’re worthy of this other person that’s got you so wrecked you can’t think straight.  Therefore you don’t think you deserve happiness but that’s where you’re wrong. You gotta think you’re deserving before you’re gonna feel it here.” The big man pointed to his chest without looking at Mason.  “So…you up for a little change Mason?” Pop poured his coffee and took a nice long sip.  With a satisfied exhale he eyed the boy that he’d watched grow up before his very eyes.
“Yeah,” Mason met Pop’s eyes.  “I am.”
~~~~~Three Weeks Later~~~~~
This was one of the hottest July’s on record in Shermin Heights and everyone was doing their best to cool off.  Little kids were lying on top of sprinklers instead of jumping through them, the elderly were parked in front of their windowed a/c units, and Noah was signing off on the work done for the central air.  He couldn’t believe the difference the whirring box next to the house made and when he stepped into the cool living room, he sighed in relief—leaving the hundred plus heat outside.
“Nice huh?” Jamie grinned and let Noah pull him close.  “It’s even colder upstairs.”
“It gets colder than this?” Noah’s brows rose and Jamie chuckled.
“Yeah, you wanna come feel for yourself?” Biting his lip, Jamie pulled his shirt off and threw it at Noah’s face. 
“Feel what exactly?” Noah crept forward as Jamie drew back.
“You’ll just have to come find out,” Jamie pulled the drawstring on his shorts and wiggled out of them—only a pair of white cotton briefs against his tan skin. 
“Ah hell Jamie,” Noah groaned and pulled his tank top off before taking off after his love.  A crash and a few laughs later, Matt stared up at the ceiling where the moans were coming from.  With sullen eyes, Matt got off his bed and went to the window like he did every day and closed the curtains.  He hadn’t talked to Mason civilly in almost three weeks and he’d resigned to the fact that he probably never would again.  That didn’t mean that he wasn’t hurting…because he was. 
Every day had become a challenge and a certain twinge of depression had settled into Matt’s heart.  Changing into a tank top and a pair of his work pants, Matt packed a small cooler of water bottles and headed for the shack behind the barn.  He had to get his mind off his latest run in with Mason and maybe get some work done before his date with Todd later.  Mason had been at the Shermin Shack with the Olivette brothers when Matt had walked in two days ago.  The look on Mason’s face was anything but happy when he had locked eyes on Matt.  The awkward turn away, the change in subject, the pitiful looks Sam and Perry had given him—Matt in turn lurked to the back of the restaurant to hide his face. 
Barely leaving the Pierson property for almost a month, Matt had decided that day that it was time he got a little change of scenery and took his mind off his and Noah’s summer project.  Coming to the Shermin Shack was supposed to have been a good thing.  But as Matt watched Mason snake an arm around Suzanna’s waist from the back and cut his eyes to the darkened booth in the corner where he was, he knew then he wasn’t wanted.  Without a word, Matt slipped out of the booth before his waitress even noticed he was there and left the Shack.  He saw Mason’s reflection in the front door as he stood from the table but Matt didn’t want to hear anything else about why his being gay was a problem for Mason. 
That was when the shiny Jeep Cherokee had pulled up to the curb and a beautiful man got out of the driver’s seat.  Golden eyes grinned at Matt and he’d stopped in his tracks. The dark haired man paused and smiled wider.  “I don’t think I’ve seen you before and I know everyone.  I’m Todd, Todd Paola and you are?” The stunning model type stuck his hand out and Matt shook it—a familiar look passing between them.
“Matt Every, I’m over at the Pierson place helping out Noah,” Matt smiled as the guy’s hand lingered a bit over his before pulling away slowly.
“Well is that a fact?  I’m quite friendly with the Pierson brood myself.  You looking to stick around?” Todd leaned against his Jeep and stretched a little.
“Yeah, I think so.  I like it here,” Matt said.
“I thought I did too but there’s more to life than this small town.  But, I will admit it’s a nice place to spend the summer.” Todd dug in his pocket and pulled out a card.  “Why don’t you give me a call?  My parents live here and I’ll be around until the end of the summer.  We can…get a drink or something,” Todd drawled and his eyes narrowed.  There was no mistaking what ‘or something’ meant.  Being denied attention for a very long time, Matt shyly looked at the ground and nodded.
“Sounds good.” He flicked his eyes up. “I’ll call you.”
With a wink, Todd got up onto the sidewalk and quickly caressed Matt’s arm.  “I can’t wait,” he whispered before disappearing into the Shack.  Turning around, Matt saw Mason standing there angry as ever.
“You know who that is?” Mason bit out and Matt sighed.
“No, he’s a bastard.  That’s who he is,” Mason sneered and Matt threw his hands up.
“You just can’t give up can you?  Am I just supposed to be miserable because you are…whatever Mason.  I haven’t done anything to you, so just leave me alone,” Matt said and turned around to his own dirty Jeep.  Suzanna came outside as he was turning his key but Mason was still looking at him, even as the waitress gave Pierson a slow kiss on the cheek and put an arm around him.  Matt tried to hide the tear that slipped out by reversing onto the street before it got worse. He was done trying to play nice with Mason.  He’d call Todd tonight and see what his plans for the weekend were. It was time for Matt to move on.
Now two days later and a few hours-worth of work had Matt in a tizzy.  He’d thought putting out a couple of big pieces would get his mind off Mason but as he pulled off his gloves and looked at the cooling glass globes on the table, he knew it wasn’t going to happen.  Maybe hanging out with Todd tonight would bring his lighter side around and a smile to his face.  Shit, Matt thought looking at the clock, he only had an hour and he was a mess.  With a rush up to the house, Matt tore into the shower and began to get ready for Todd Paola and what would hopefully be a good night.
~~~~Earlier that morning~~~~
Mason was carrying another piece of lumber to his truck as Sam jogged over to help him tie down his load.  “I’m surprised you’re not chucking that wood through the windshield right now.  That’s good of you though not to let that temper get in the way when he’s going out with Todd.  Gotta show him that you can handle your shit Mase—be the bigger person and all that,” Sam chattered as he looped the strap into place to buckle the wood down.
“What are you talkin about?” Mason looked up with confusion.
Sam put a foot against the truck and pulled with grunt.  “Paola taking Every for a spin tonight, duh.  Everyone’s talkin bout it.  Todd came into the store today to get candles and shit and Clyde had no qualms with askin him what all the fluffy stuff was for.  Then George told Jenna and we know how my girl likes to run her pretty little mouth.  So everyone knows what Matt is in for…” Sam looked at a completely seething Mason. “Everyone but you apparently, ah shit Mase, I’m so sorry…I thought you heard…”
“I told him Todd was a no good rat!  Fuck!” Mason slammed his palm into the stack of wood and howled in pain.
“My God Mason! What in the hell is wrong with you?  You did this to yourself.  We all done told you to go after him weeks ago but no, you gotta be stubborn as a bull.  What did you think was gonna happen?  That he was just gonna wait until you finished rebuilding that shit for bricks house for him that he don’t even know about?  You think he’s gonna wait for someone that he thinks hates him?  No! He ain’t you dumbass.” Sam yelled and the entire lumber yard went silent.  Every man alive within the gates was turned towards the ruckus with trained eyes. 
“Sam!” Mason roared and came around the truck. 
“You wanna fight me boy?  Because you’re too scared to admit that you’re gay?  Ain’t no one here give two shits where you put your dick as long as it don’t involve putting your fist through a damn Ford.  So if that makes you angry enough to hit me, then you go right ahead and put it here,” Sam screamed back and pointed his nose. “Do it.”
With his chest heaving and his fists up, Mason realized this wasn’t right.  He looked at his best friend who didn’t so much as flinch when Mason moved.  Sam Olivette was a good man and when Mason dropped to his knees with a sob, Sam was right there to hold him in front of God and everybody.  Mason was his brother for life and he didn’t care what a pack of old hickerbillies thought.  He knew they didn’t care but even if they did, he’d sooner spit in their faces than see em makes hateful eyes at Mason.
“I want him Sam,” Mason choked.  “I want…another man.”
“It’s about time you said it you dumbass.” Sam laughed and squeezed Mason around the shoulders.  “Now the real question is what are you gonna do about it?”
“Yeah, I wanna know too because I just saw Todd Paola buying chocolates from the bakery.  He’s pullin out all the fancy stops for your boy.  You gonna take that Pierson?” Perry kicked dirt at Mason with a grin. 
With a deep breath, Mason’s heart clicked with his brain for once, and he sat back on his heels.  “I don’t know if I’d be gay for anyone else but Matt Every.  I love him and Todd Paola can’t fuckin have what’s mine.  We don’t take kindly to thievery around here.”
Sam grinned and his dimples added to the plotting behind his eyes.  “No, we don’t. Do we Perry?”
“Nah, I’d sooner whoop your ass than let you steal from me.” Perry crossed his arms smugly.
“Well alright then, it seems boys…we got ourselves a good old fashioned date to plan,” Sam said and clapped Mason on the shoulder. “You in?”
“Yeah, I’m in.” Mason stood and followed his best friends up to Pop’s office.

Four hours later, Mason stood in the old plantation house that used to sit on his family’s property before his daddy had sold it off.  Abandoned for many years, Mason had bought the deed with a bit of his inheritance and a good discount from Henrie.  The faded white, six-bedroom home stood on fifteen acres of land and had a walk around porch that had left Mason with the warm and fuzzies after he’d seen it.  The minute Henrie had suggested the place to Pop, Mason had felt in his heart that this house was where he belonged. 
With the subconscious intention of buying it for someone in particular, Mason had signed on the dotted line and worked on it every day since with the occasional man hour from the boys.  Not even Noah or Jamie knew what he was doing and as far as they knew, Mason was staying with Sam and Perry until he worked his shit out.  But with every coat of paint and every base board that he nailed in, Mason began to really come into his own and realize things about himself that he’d tried to repress.  The main issue being Matt Every and how with every bone in his body….Mason loved him. 
In his head, he’d had this grand scheme of rebuilding this house for Matt and bringing him here when it was all done as some big surprise, but in reality? He’d been too scared to tell him, too chicken shit to apologize and confess, too much of a coward to make Matt happy.  Hell, to make himself happy for that matter.  Now that he was working at the lumber yard part time and he owned his own house, Mason slowly evolved in his own head—feeling better about himself.  Sure it took a screaming match with Sam Olivette to get him to say it out loud but in truth, Mason had known since the minute he met Matt Every that he wanted him.  And he’d been fighting it every minute of every day ever since.  But not anymore, Mason looked down the large drive that was canopied with willow trees.
The old rotary phone rang in the hallway and Mason rushed to grab it. “Hello?” He gasped.
“If I get arrested for this, you’re bailing me out understood?” Sam chuckled and Mason grinned.
“Got it.”
“Then get ready blue eyes, because your little lover boy is gonna be right pissed at you,” Perry leaned in and added as the sound of a revving engine could be heard over the phone.
“Good, I like em angry,” Mason smiled and narrowed his eyes at the driveway in anticipation. With a little hope and a lot of help, Mason Pierson really had made up his mind this time. Matt Every was it for him.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

QUICKIES: Made Up My Mind (PART 1)

I hope everyone's Monday was nice and relaxing.  I was outside the whole time but I got A LOT of writing done, so that's good. I started the latest Dan and Rowe chapter but I also started this and I think you'll be very happy.

I received a lot of love over On My Mind and I decided that I loved this story so much that I would create the sequel that you all wanted.  So welcome back to Shermin Heights, Kentucky and I hope you have a nice visit. Feel free to check out the playlist too because this one is download worthy.  It really got my brain going. ♥ XOXO NIGHTTEMPEST




Made Up My Mind Playlist

Holocene - Bon Iver
Thunder and Lightning - We Were Promised Jetpacks
Down the Line - Jose Gonzalez
I Feel It All - Feist
Maybe Not - Cat Power
Brackett, WI - Bon Iver
New Hampshire - Matt Pond PA
Lump Sum - Bon Iver
Where Is My Mind - Maxence Cyrin
Worth Wondering - Bronze Radio Return
Rise - Eddie Vedder
Within Dreams - The Album Leaf
Sleeping Lessons -The Shins
Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye
Ride – Cary Brothers
Use Somebody – 2cellos
Yellow - Coldplay
Girl In The War – Josh Ritter
San Soloman (Reprise) – Balmorhea
No Light, No Light – Florence and The Machine
Lasso – Phoenix
Oh No, I Tried – Right Away, Great Captain!
Be Here Now – Ray LaMontagne
Penelope – Pinback
See You Soon – Coldplay
Wash – Bon Iver (Uhhhh SEXY)
Cold December – Matt Costa

Pants rolled to his knees, a ball cap pulled over his dark hair, and a fishing pole in his hands made Mason Pierson a happy camper. He could feel the minnows swirling around his toes as he fed another piece of bait onto his lure and cast his line out in the water.  Lord it was hot though, Mason sweated and perched his pole in between his crossed legs to pull his shirt off.  Wiping up his sweat with his shirt, he tossed it off to the side and kicked back on the end of the dock. Pulling off a few quirky dance moves while he was alone, Mason bobbed around to a guilty pleasure pop song. 

A pebble hit him in the back of the head and Noah laughed at the jump Mason pulled—almost landing his ass in the water.  “Why you gotta do shit like that?  I wasn’t botherin nobody.” Mason spit to the side in a show of retaining his manly standard.

“Aww lil’ Mase got a bug up his ass today?” Noah stuck out his bottom lip and batted his eyes.  “Get your ass up to the house. Matt’s gonna be here with his stuff in a few hours and we still ain’t done clearing out the lady things from the downstairs.”

“It ain’t like the stuff is gonna bite ya Noah.  It’s just old and pink and okay it smells like the perfume from a stink bug but I can’t move it all myself!” Mason reeled his line in and sighed.

“Miss Merna is sending Buzz around in an hour to get gran and mama’s things, Mason,” Noah groaned. “C’mon now, help me out please?” Noah held up his hands and let them fall in defeat.

“Alright, alright but your lazy ass boy toy is gonna help me.  Taking phone calls and playin on that computer ain’t no damn job.  He needs to find out what real work is,” Mason said and nodded.

Noah laughed. “He does work hard for me Mason, whether you wanna believe it or not.  But…I’ll have him help ya out.  He’s been wanting to have a look around the house to start getting some ideas anyhow.”

“They ain’t been gone three weeks and he’s already redecorating?  Oh hell no, our daddy’s house is gonna look like one of them fluffy magazine show shits.  I won’t have it Noah!” Mason growled as he grabbed his tackle box and his shirt—marching past Noah in a huff.  The eldest Pierson grabbed Mason’s arm and made him stop.

“That man is who I’m gonna spend the rest of my life with and that up there is our house.  I love you like the summer loves sun Mason and I will do my best to make sure he don’t overdo it but…he needs to make it his place too.”  Noah frowned when he caught the look on Mason’s face.  Mason pulled his arm from Noah’s hand and kept on walking.

“Then since I ain’t got no place anymore, I’ll look elsewhere,” he yelled back and disappeared up the path to the house. He had no problem with Jamie Ford or his weird love for ordering things on the computer or the way he liked to eat pizza with a fork but this was too much.  He had only been half joking about the redecorating business, in truth the house did need an update but the way Noah had replied was anything but funny.  Mason was only twenty three and yeah that was time to move out but he didn’t have nowhere else to go and he wasn’t about to run to Merna’s place.  His mama and gran had already moved over there because it had felt right to them.  The girls had more lady time and the house was good with them in it.  Plus they weren’t so far out of the way that gran couldn’t get around downtown. 

She needed the fresh air and Mason liked that she was happy.  But now more than ever he missed having them around.  Even if gran couldn’t hear half the stuff he told her, Mason could always rely on her tiny hand to soothe his like she could rub the troubles away.  Mason wiped the sweat off his forehead and headed straight up the hill to the house.  An old open top jeep with a small trailer behind it was rolling up the dusty drive as Mason reached the front yard. 

Matt Every climbed out of his dirty blue jeep and pitched a large canvas duffle into the yard.  Tall, slender, but still strong, Matt proceeded to grab all his things out of the back and make a pile on the grass.  Spotting Mason, he threw up a hand in greeting and smiled.  Mason lifted his chin at Matt and walked over—putting his shirt half in his back pocket and dropping his gear on the front porch.  “I thought you weren’t gonna be here for another three hours?  Noah said I had til five.”

“Sorry, I left earlier because the traffic out of Louisville on the weekend is hell and well, I just wanted to come out and enjoy the sun.  It’s different out here you know?” Matt glanced around and pulled his aviators onto his head, showing off his green eyes.

“Yeah it is.  Fresh air is probably hard to come by too where you’re from I bet.” Mason snorted and picked up the largest canvas duffle.  The strap settled onto his tanned shoulder and Mason had to glance away, bending to grab a smaller bag.  “Noah’ll be over here in a minute,” Mason called. That body, Matt felt his stomach flutter, dear God above.  Hearing Mason’s boots crunch away from Matt on the gravel, the glass blower straightened and watched the muscles of Mason’s ass and bare back move.  They did not grow things like that in Louisville.

Jamie threw open the door and held it for Mason.  The glare he received meant Noah had said something worth apologizing and that Jamie was about to take the blame for it.  Whatever it was wasn’t good because he got a nudge in the stomach with the duffle before Mason entered the house.  On cue, Noah walked up the lawn and stuck his hand out to Matt.  “A lil early but we’re glad you’re here all the same.” They clasped hands with a good shake.  “Give that here and get on in the house.  We’ll worry about that other stuff tomorrow.  Today we grill and chill as Jamie says.”

“Sounds good to me.” Matt smiled and took a good look around at his new home for the summer, and if he had his way? Longer than that, Matt sighed. 


Five days later and Mason couldn’t stand being around his own house for longer than an hour.  Matt had that fire blazing in the shed behind the barn and it was hotter than hell as the wind shifted towards the house.  Jamie was on the phone with Noah and Matt’s vendors all damn day and you couldn’t get a minute’s peace.  Then there was the ‘redecorating’, Mason shuddered in anger at the thousands of sticky notes and paint samples that covered every available surface in the house.  Feeling like a complete stranger to his own people, Mason packed up some lunch and climbed into his truck.  Maybe he would take Pop Olivette up on that offer and work with Sam and Perry at the lumber yard. 

There wasn’t anything for him here and Noah hadn’t said anything more on the matter to reassure him, so Mason put his keys in the ignition.  A hand slapped the open window frame and Mason startled.  Standing there covered in sweat and with his long hair pulled back away from his face was Matt.  Always with that damn smile and those girly green eyes.  A man’s eyes shouldn’t sparkle, Mason grunted.

“Where you off to?  Are you going into town perhaps?” Matt grinned and Mason looked around. Who the hell was he smiling at like that?  

“Lumber yard is all.  Just gonna see about doin some work,” Mason said and shifted in his seat.  Man, the guy could sweat, Mason noted the heavy trails of moisture running down Matt’s flat chest.  “Why?”

“I was hoping you could wait a minute and I could catch a ride if it’s not too much trouble.  Maybe talk about why you wanna ditch your job assisting me and Noah for some wood?” Matt laughed quietly but flicked his eyes back up to Mason with uncertainty. Mase found the silence after that to be awkward in a way that he’d never felt before.  What was it with this guy that made him so uncomfortable?

“Uh maybe next time, I should really get going,” Mason replied and watched as Matt took a few steps away from the truck.  His eyes didn’t sparkle anymore and for once…he didn’t smile. 

“Nah, don’t worry about next time.  I don’t even know why I asked you, I got my own jeep.  Sorry about that,” Matt mumbled and turned around.  What was that kid’s problem and why did that simple rejection kind of hurt, Matt wiped his hands on his dirty jeans and flicked a glance over his shoulder.

Mason sat in the truck and watched Matt get up to the porch before he honked the horn. “Get in.”

“What?” Matt turned around.

“I said put your shirt on and get it in,” Matt repeated thinking a shirt was better than looking at the guy’s bare chest all day.

“So now I’m alright?” Matt took a step down and Mase rolled his eyes.

“You got ten seconds before I roll out of here without you Every.

A smile slowly split over Matt’s lips and he threw on his shirt from his back pocket—a habit that he was beginning to pick up from the boys.  No matter, he liked the hard work and the little quirks that came with the simple living.  Fifteen minutes later, Mason and Matt were parked in front of the Shermin Shack after an entire ride of almost complete silence.  “So…uh you wanna get out or what?” Matt looked over at a flustered Mason.

Trying to muster the courage to ask what he wanted to, Mason turned to Matt and clicked his teeth out of nervous habit.  “Are you gay?”

“Damn it.  I knew it, I knew that’s what your problem was.  I saw the way you’ve treating your brother and Jamie and I should’ve expected it,” Matt surmised and began to open his door to get away.  Why would he bring me here then, Matt wondered but suddenly didn’t care.  He had figured Mason for the sweet boy next door that just happened to be drool worthy but a homophobe?  Matt hadn’t counted on that.

“Now just hold up there a damn minute,” Mason snapped and grabbed Matt’s thigh. “What are you talking about?”

“Yes Mason, I’m gay.  Freaked out now?” Matt looked down at the tight fingers digging into his knee and didn’t know whether to start screaming or writhing at the contact.

“Why would I be freaked out because you’re gay? You think…you think…ah no Matt, you got me all wrong,” Mason stammered.  “I ain’t no gay basher Every.  I love my brother and fuck…I love Jamie too but they just get on my last nerve.” Exhaling through his teeth, Mason pulled his hand away and flipped back into his seat with shame. 

“So then what has that got to do with me?  You’ve barely said two words to me since I got here and it’s like I did something to you.  I thought we were friends this past year or was that just my imagination?  I never told you I was gay because I thought you knew,” Matt groaned and sank into his own seat.  A few townies walked past the truck but paid them no mind.

“I don’t care about you being gay Matt and yeah, we’re friends.  It’s just that they want you there, not me and I kind of get a little bitter is all.  I’m sorry if I was a jerk to ya.”

“Why wouldn’t Noah and Jamie want you there?  They talk about you like you’re the glue that holds them together so I don’t understand why you would feel that way,” Matt said, turning to look at Mase.  “Mason?”

A tear rolled down Mason’s cheek and he rubbed it away.  “I don’t know where to go from here Matt.  It’s like everyone’s got something going or a place to be and I got left behind. Shermin don’t feel like my place anymore but I can’t leave because even if it don’t love me, I still love it.  Noah and Jamie are so happy they make me want to spit, gran and mama are over the moon at Merna’s, and you…”

“I what?” Matt leaned in.  He’d never heard someone confess something so personal to him before and with every word from Mason’s mouth, Matt felt closer to him. Call him crazy but Matt couldn’t get enough of Mason’s voice.

“You just fit right in like you were a part of this place all along.  Is it because you’re gay that they want you around?  Is that it? Because I don’t know what to…shit. I’m gonna stop talkin because now I feel like an idiot.” Mason rubbed his face with both hands.

“Do you think your brother and your brother in law hate you and like me because I’m gay?” Matt asked and then laughed and laughed some more.

“It sounds stupid when you say it like that and I already feel stupid.”

“Well it was kind of stupid Mason,” Matt murmured and scooted over.  “But about the other stuff?  It’s not stupid at all Mason.  Everyone feels that way at one point or another in their life.  Why am I here?  Where do I go? What do I do next? Am I wanted?  Those are common worries and they aren’t stupid at all.”

“Yeah?” Mason felt Matt’s arm around his shoulders and he leaned forward a little.  What the hell was he doing?  With a startled breath, Mase leaned back and nodded.  “I mean that’s good.  So I don’t have to move or get on no medication right?”

Matt felt the emotions shift between them and moved back into his own seat with disappointment.  But truthfully where had he expected that to go?  It was his own fault he’d been crushing on Noah’s little brother who was perfectly straight. Did Matt really think Mason would’ve kissed him?  No but God he’d hoped for it.  “I don’t think it’s that bad Mason.”

“Good. That’s…good.” Mason glanced at Matt and then put his hand on the latch before getting out.  “We should get some grub and then get your stuff from the store.  Noah’ll wonder what I did with his prized blower…I mean glass guy? Oh fuck.” He slammed the door as Matt rounded the front of the truck.

Matt burst in laughter.  “Prized blower? Oh Lord!  I have to get me a t-shirt with that on it.”

“Matt,” Mason hissed and slapped his arm.  “C’mon I didn’t mean it like it sounded.  Cut it out.”

Taking a huge risk, Matt turned to Mason with a slow grin.  “It’s okay if you did. I’ve never had any complaints.”

Bright red had to be the shade Mason was wearing because his cheeks felt on fire with those words.  The image that went with the comment was downright devil’s handiwork in his head and Mason swallowed picturing Matt on his knees—those bright green eyes flicking up to him as Matt swallowed his…

“Okay!” Mason practically shouted and fanned his face before flinging open the door to the Shermin Shack and waiting for Matt to walk through.  He held open the door for a man?  What was going on with him, Mason feared something churning in his throat but he had to hope for the best.  He had no other choice.

“You okay?” Matt frowned once inside.  Mason looked flushed and his forehead was shiny with sweat.  “You look a little hot.”

“Oh my God,” Mason muttered.  There he went again, calling him hot.  Shit.  “I’m…I’m alright. Just need a drink I think.”

“Sure, okay.” Matt gave him a funny look.

“Well hey there Matt!” Suzanna Beauchamp strode over with her long tan legs and bouncy blonde hair.  Mason swallowed and sighed—Suzanna sure was a looker and she also had a thing just for him.  Ah man this was gonna get weird, Mason thought and glanced back to Suzanna. “I didn’t think we’d see you again around these parts.  How’s that fancy city company treatin ya?” She smiled and her pearly whites lit up the room.

“Hey Suze, it’s good to see you,” Matt greeted her like they were old friends and gave her hug.  Mason frowned and looked at Suzanna.  “Guess you hadn’t heard that I’m staying down here for the summer while I look for a place.  I left Shumacher’s and I’m going out on my own.”

“You mean you’re stayin in Shermin? Well Matt Every that is wonderful news!  Oh my stars, let’s get you a table and you can have a piece of pie on the house.” She winked and guided him to a table.  Suzanna didn’t even so much as cast Mason a flirty smile or even say hello.  He was left standing there with yet another flicker of depression resonating in his heart—another reason he didn’t fit in anymore.

“You gonna stand there all day Pierson or were you still hungry?” Suzanna put a hand on her hip and laughed but it wasn’t the same kind of laugh that she usually gave him.  Nope, her usual smile was wasted on Matt Every.

Mason walked over and slid into the old sticky booth and immediately picked up a menu to hide his face.  “You don’t need that. I already know what you want.” Suzanna snorted and tried to grab the menu.  Mason snatched it out of reach and shook his head.

“I want something different today. Thank you very much.” He knew his voice was cold but Mason couldn’t help it.  The one sure thing he had left was gone now too.  It was like the good Lord was pulling the tablecloth out from under his fancy dinner and spillin his life over the edge.

“Mason? You okay honey?” Suzanna tried to brush the hair out of his face as he took his cap off but he shrugged her off.

“I’m fine. I’d like an iced tea with lemon please.”

“Uhhh yeah, I’ll have the same but make mine sweet please?” Matt shrugged at Suzanna who stood back.  She’d never seen Mason Pierson frown like that…or not want her.  Something must be going on at home because Suzanna was sure as the sun would come out tomorrow that Mason Pierson had never been rude to her in his life. 

“I’ll be back,” she murmured before taking off.  Over the small partition, she watched Mason put his head in his hands and take a few deep breaths.

“You gotta talk to me Mase.  What’s really going on?” Matt got out of the booth and went to sit on Mason’s side.  His arm went around Mason’s shoulders and his fingers stroked that hard earned muscle without a thought.

“What are you doin?” Mason’s head shot off the table and he looked at Matt.

“What do you mean?” Confused and already tired, Matt sat back and let his hand graze over Mason’s shoulder.

Leaning forward, Mason checked around before whispering. “Why are you touching me like that?  Like…I dunno…”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it,” Matt explained and let his hand fall. “You’re my friend and you looked upset Mase. I didn’t…”

“You didn’t think is what you didn’t do.  I’m not like you alright?  If that’s what you’re after…I’m not gay.” Mason sat back—shock sifting through Matt’s eyes. 

Matt couldn’t believe his ears or the way his heart was pounding.  Talk about being denied but it was more than that.  He hadn’t been prowling on Mason, he’d been trying to be a friend because the pain that Pierson was in had been obvious, but to lash out like this?  God did it hurt and he couldn’t stand the sight of the guy he’d fallen for one second longer.  “I’ll see you around Mase.” That’s all he could manage as he got up out of the booth.  Mason stuttered for words as he’d realized what he’d just done and got up from the booth, but all he could do was stand there and watch Matt go.  What could he possibly say to make that right?

“Where you going Matt?” Suzanna called but he kept walking.

“To a place where I’m more than some gay stalker.” Matt waved a hand and walked out the door, turning heads in the restaurant.  He sort of remembered how to get back but it didn’t really matter.  He saw the front strip of Henrie’s place packed with dirty trucks and he jogged across the road to the local watering hole. The Olivette brothers were getting out of their truck as he breached the front porch and they hollered at him.

“Hey Matt.  Yo Every how you been?” They called out and he smiled.  A few pats on the back and a couple dirty jokes and Matt was hangin with the boys on their lunch break.

Mason watched from the parking lot of the Shermin Shack as his best friends took Matt in no questions asked. He punched the side of his truck in anger at himself and hissed as pain bloomed over his knuckles—no damage to anything but his own hand.  Looking over at Henrie’s place, Mason felt his own heart sink.  He’d done wrong by Matt but it wasn’t because he was scared of Matt being gay…it was because he was scared of the way Matt’s touch made him feel.  He wasn’t like that….

“There’s my baby!” A loud squeal from an all too familiar source made Mason want to cry.  Turning around, he watched his half blind gran clicking her walker up the sidewalk with his mama in tow.  Someone up there knew exactly what he needed and Mason went to his gran with open arms.

“I’ve missed you so much,” he whispered in her ear, feeling her tiny hand rub his back.

And for the first time in a long time she heard every word. “I ain’t gone nowhere boy.”

“Let me try that one,” Ella Mae said with a smack of her lips. Merna turned the Lazy Susan on her table and stopped the key lime pie in front of gran.  The tiny woman dug her spoon deep into the pie and came back with a heaping bite of dessert.  “Oh that’s wonderful Merna.”
Twelve pies sat in a circle on the table and Mason was in heaven. “Ya’ll do this every night?”
Merna and Dee laughed. “No only when the quilting circle is done.  Those women bring so much pie we don’t know what to do with it.”
“Why not serve it to the guests?  You got a full house this week,” Mason groaned and rubbed his full stomach—placing his spoon on the table and calling it quits.
“This is what was left after they already had their fill.” Merna giggled and pointed to the counter where a dozen empty pie plates were stacked.
“Sounds like a tough life you ladies got here,” Mason commented and leaned back in thought.
“What’s troubling you baby?” Gran squinted and leaned over.  “You look like you lost your pageant crown or something.  Them boys hassling you?  You just let me know and I’ll whoop their little asses with my cane.”
“Haha, no gran.  It ain’t that.  I’m the one who done something wrong, not them for once.  I don’t know how to apologize to him though because it’s more than I’m sorry.  I just…I can’t explain it,” Mason admitted.  “Mama I don’t know what to do.”
Dee Pierson stared at her youngest and recognized that very look in his eyes.  Those unshed tears, the frustration making his fingers twitch, the beat of his heart reflected in every small move he made—that boy was in love but did her Mason say he? She snorted, well hot damn she thought, got me two of em.  But just as Noah had once told her, it was best that Dee had let him figure it out for himself.  No one likes to be told who they are.  “Who did you go an piss off blue eyes?”
“Mama…” Mason rolled his eyes.
“That’s my name,” she retorted and grabbed his hand. “Now tell us.  Ain’t nobody here to be shy for sugar.”
“Ah hell, it’s Every.  I done said he was trying to seduce me and he got his feelings hurt.”
“Well, was he?” Merna put her chin in her hand and leaned forward.
“Yeah, was he trying to put the moves on you?” Gran’s eyes went wide and she too leaned forward comically.
“He said he was just being a friend when I was upset and I basically called him a stalker.  Then he left and went to Henrie’s Place.  And damn him, he done stole my best friends too!” Mason was suddenly reminded of that fact.
“Child all mighty, you hold your tongue. Them boys ain’t been stolen because they’re grown men and they can choose who to hang out with.  Matt is a good man and Sam and Perry are just being friendly is all.  Are you that childish that you can’t welcome him into your sacred little clique?  I thought ya’ll was friends?  You certainly acted like it this past year…or was that a rouse?” Dee cocked her head and watched her baby dance through his thoughts.  Oh yeah, Matt Every done struck a chord in Mason’s heartstrings but would Mason play back or he would fight this to the death was the question. 
“Mama!” Mason whined but a knock at the screen door cut him off.  All four heads whipped around and Merna got up from the table. 
“A little late for company,” she muttered but shuffled to the front door—wrapping her green sweater around her body to fend off the evening breeze.  Eyeing the girl on the other side of the screen she smiled.  “Jenna baby, what are you doing over here?  Bar don’t close for another hour.”
“It was sort of important Miss Merna.  I don’t spose Mason is here at all?  I saw his truck out front and this one here has been cursin his name all night, so I figured two peas in a pod and all that,” Jenna explained and then hitched a thumb at a figure half lying on the porch.  Merna leaned out the door with the squeak of the hinges and covered a laugh.
“Heavens above, ain’t that divine intervention?  Yeah he’s here Jenna.  You get yourself back on across the street before your daddy has a fit.  Oh wait, wait, wait.  You gotta take these to them boys over yonder!” Merna disappeared inside and grabbed a few pies. “Mason come outside please.”

“Why? Who’s there?” He eyed her skeptically.
“Don’t you sass me, get outside child.” Merna raised a brow and Dee slapped his arm.
“Alright, ow,” he complained but got to his feet. 
Jenna smiled as she lifted two pies from Merna’s arms and snorted as Mason came out onto the porch hiking up his jeans and looking every bit his older brother.  “Delivery for ya Mase,” she called out as she descended the porch steps with a nod at Miss Merna.
“What are you talkin…oh hell no,” Mason scoffed as his eyes landed on Matt half passed out on the porch.  “You are not leavin him here like this.  Jenna? Jenna!”
“Will you keep your voice down? We got people sleeping around here Mason Pierson,” Merna hissed. “Now you get that boy up and get him home.  And you better be nice to him.  You hear me?”
“Yes Ma’am,” he drawled bitterly and crouched in front of Matt as she let the door snap shut behind her.  “What is it with you guys and not knowing how to hold your alcohol?  First Jamie and now you…I swear.”
“Uhhh,” Matt replied and slouched against the pillar of the front porch. 
“Oh yeah?” Mason clucked his tongue and reached for the other man.  Under his shoulders, Mason pulled Matt up until his feet were semi-flat on the porch.  “Can you walk?”
“Huh?” Matt’s head was fuzzy and so were his eyes.  Everything looked blurry but the strong arms holding him up made everything better.  That smell was familiar and Matt felt sleepy again.  Leaning back, he nuzzled his head into the crook of the other man’s neck with a sigh.
“Oh, no you don’t, you damn drunk,” Mason whispered fiercely but he had to admit that Matt’s weight against the front of his body felt right.  Matt’s hair tickled his neck and the soft noises the guy made had Mason losing his anger in no time.  “Fine,” he murmured. “You win this time but don’t think you won the war Every.  This is just round one.”  Slowly and carefully, Mason bent at the knees and picked Matt up off the ground.  Matt’s arms slid around Mason’s neck with ease and the glass blower snuggled close as Mason descended the steps and walked out to the truck.  “What am I gonna do with you?” Mason leaned down and whispered in Matt’s ear.
After a few rough attempts, Mason got the door to his truck open and slid Matt onto the seat.  Looking up at Miss Merna’s place, he saw the three women waving at him in the window. Waving back with a hidden sneer, Mason got into his ride and sat at the wheel for a minute.  Matt snuggled closer and put his head on Mason’s thigh before stilling again.  What was Mason supposed to do now?  So many choices and things he could do with this moment.  He could keep going the way he was—veering off that road of his life he’d known so well only to end up on the outside.  Or…he could take choice B and experience something he’d never known before but…it could lead him right where he belonged.  Mason looked down at Matt and started the engine—having made up his mind.