Capture, p.35
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       Capture, p.35

         Part #1 of Seaside Pictures series by Rachel Van Dyken

  "Dani!" Jaymeson yelled my name over the radio. I'd been toying with the idea of tossing the irritating black object into the ocean for the past hour. Being Jaymeson's assistant was worse than being Linc's. At least Linc liked order; he made lists for crying out loud. Jaymeson didn't know what he needed until he needed it, and it was always right then, in that moment. But paging me while I was using the restroom was an all-new low. He did a freaking countdown over the radio until I made it to his trailer, thankfully without toilet paper attached to my sandal.

  "What?" I heaved in exertion as I burst into his trailer, only to see him calmly eating Chinese food with chopsticks and barely managing two grains of rice per bite.

  "I'm hungry." He yawned. "Chinese food sucks, but that's all Pris wants now that she's pregnant. I think it's the salt, which is really bad for you, but when I said that to her, her face got very red, and I felt fear tremble in my—" He winced. "Let's just say pants. See how I'm learning to censor myself when it comes to you? Bloody brilliant of me."

  "Oh, you're bloody something," I said in a terse voice.

  "Question…" He lifted a chopstick into the air. "When you weren't talking, were you thinking all those snarky things?"


  "Feel good to say them out loud, does it?"

  "You have no idea." I sighed. "Jay, I still haven't gotten lunch for Linc, and he actually pays me. Did you need anything?"

  Jaymeson frowned. "I led with that… I'm hungry."

  I pointed to his rice bowl. "You have food."

  "I want a hamburger!" he growled. "No more rice. Rice is for pregnant people with no taste buds. I'm a man. I demand beef."

  I counted to three then lifted my hands in the air. "Fine. I'll have a burger and fries delivered to your trailer, just stop paging me. I need to eat too, you know."

  "No." Jaymeson dropped his chopsticks into the bowl and set it on the counter. "If I keep you busy enough, you won't be spending as much time with Lincoln, meaning he keeps his dirty hands off you."

  A slow burning fuse of anger lit inside me. "And if I want them on me?"

  Jaymeson gave me a pointed glare. "What if…?" His shoulders hunched. "Damn it. I'm already turning into a father."

  I exhaled and took a seat beside him. "How do you figure?"

  Jaymeson glanced up, his eyes sparkling with tears. "What if you stop talking again? What if I can't reach you? What if he hurts you? I worry about these things constantly, as if I'm not already at my wits' end, sanity-wise."

  I took Jaymeson's hand in mine. "Don't focus on it. I try not to. If I think about not talking, I can almost feel the block coming up again, my tongue feels heavy in my mouth, I start sweating… panic sets in. Honestly, I'm trying not to think about it or what triggers it. I just want to live. You should too. Besides, he's already hurt me, and I still had words after the fact. They were mean ones too. I think he even flinched."

  "Did you yell?" Jaymeson's gaze turned hopeful.

  "Loudly." I nodded. "A smart man would have taken cover."

  "But he's not smart."

  "He kissed me instead." I smiled at the memory. "Which was probably a better choice, considering had he just walked away, I would have thrown my shoe at his head."

  "I forget how mature you are." Jay grinned and pulled me in for a side hug. "Fine, go assist him, but if he asks for…" His cheeks reddened as he coughed into his hand. "… you know, that sort of… help, just say no."

  "Oh, so when he asks for a massage, that's code word for sex?"

  "Always." Jaymeson nodded.

  "And when he asks if I want to take my shirt off so he can see what the lighting's like in his trailer?"

  "WHAT?" Jay jumped out of his seat.

  "Kidding." I smirked. "He would never do that. We're friends now." I spat the word like poison.

  "Yeah, right." Jaymeson growled. "And I'm a virgin school girl. I highly doubt this whole friend-charade will last long. He's a man."

  "One who has nerves of steel and patience to match." I tried to keep the pout out of my voice.

  "If he can't wait for you," Jaymeson whispered, pulling me in for another hug, "then he doesn't deserve you."

  "Thanks, Jay."

  "Now…" He squeezed my body one last time. "… go get my burger."

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