Capture, p.42
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       Capture, p.42

         Part #1 of Seaside Pictures series by Rachel Van Dyken

  "WHAT THE SHIT?" The screaming sounded a lot like Jaymeson.

  I jerked awake, my blurry vision taking in the tossed clothes in the room: mine, Linc's, and then my bra, proudly displayed at Jaymeson's feet.

  By the look of rage on his face, I guessed we were screwed, and I was going to find Linc's body belly-up in the ocean.

  "Linc." I elbowed him in the side. He was lying on his stomach, hugging the pillow.

  With a yawn, he blinked his eyes open. "Hey there." He reached for my head and pulled me down for a kiss.

  "Release the minor," Jaymeson said in an eerily calm voice that literally sounded like he'd channeled a forty-year-old dad and was currently being possessed.

  Linc's eyes widened in panic before he very slowly turned over, then pulled the blanket up to cover the fact that he was naked and waved.

  Right. He waved. At Jaymeson.

  He may as well have pointed a gun.

  Jaymeson lunged for the bed but was pulled back by a very calm Zane, who was cheerfully holding a bowl of Lucky Charms in one hand while clutching Jaymeson's shirt in the other.

  "Should have locked the door," Zane said under his breath, releasing Jaymeson and dipping his spoon into the bowl. A few marshmallows tumbled from the spoon. I imagined the freak had picked out all the healthy parts of the cereal and tossed them in the trash.

  "You bastard!" Jaymeson pointed his finger at Lincoln. "She's a child!"

  "Bullshit!" Linc shouted right back.

  I flinched at the loudness of his voice. "She's an adult, and she's been through a hell of a lot these past few years. Damn it, let her make her own decisions!"

  "Right!" Jaymeson stomped toward us. "She's been through hell and back. Do you really think she's in her right mind to make such big decisions? And you come rolling up into Seaside like some bloke whose shit doesn't stink, and you think I'm going to let you? Seduce her? My SISTER?" The sister part was said on a shriek.

  Pris charged her pregnant self into the room, took one look at the situation, and yelled, "Out! All of you."

  Jaymeson turned to glare.

  She glared right back. "Jaymeson, so help me, if you ever want to see me naked again, you will get out of this room. Now."

  "Ha…" Zane shoveled another bite of cereal into his room. "… I think I'm going to love Seaside."

  "Bloody asshole." Jaymeson stomped off, shoving Zane through the door then slamming it behind him.

  "Linc, you have exactly five minutes to get your clothes back on, jump out that window before my husband sees you, and make it to the set all in one piece," said Pris, holding out his jeans. "Think you can do that?"

  Linc pulled me close. "I'm not going to just abandon Dani."

  Pris's face softened. "You aren't abandoning her. You'll see her later today. I'm not cursing your existence and banning you from our house, though I'd appreciate it if you actually walked through the door so we could supervise all bedroom activity before it happens, but I'm too late for that. So right now, just let me talk to my sister and please… leave."

  Linc kissed me on the temple then slowly got out of the bed, snatching his jeans from Pris's outstretched hand. Sighing, she turned around while he quickly got dressed and made his way over to the window. "Do I really have to go out this way?"

  Pris's eyebrows rose. "The window means you live to see another day. The door means you may get shot. Jay lives in America now. He bought a gun and doesn't understand what the safety's for so…" She lifted one shoulder in a show of unconcern. "… your choice."

  "Window, it is," he muttered, giving me one last comforting look before lowering himself to the balcony.

  When he was gone, I wanted nothing more than to hide under the covers. But Pris very quietly walked over to me, sat on the bed, and burst into tears.

  I didn't know what to do.

  I was the one in trouble, right? The one who should be crying? Not that I regretted anything except for the fact that Jaymeson had walked in on us.

  "Pris…" I grabbed her hand.

  "I'm so sorry," she sobbed. "I should have been there more. I should have been present, instead of just…" She waved her hands into the air. "… been the sister. Damn it, I'm the mom now, and I'm going to be a mom, and I'm messing up with you. How am I supposed to do it right with our child?" Her eyes were red-rimmed already.

  "Whoa, whoa." I pulled her in for a hug, keeping the sheet wrapped around me. "Pris, this isn't about you."

  "You had sex!" she wailed. "With a Hollywood heartthrob who's leaving in a few months, and you love him, or at least you think you do, and he got you talking again, which is great, and I love him for it, but I hate him for leaving. He's going to leave, and you're going to be heartbroken, stop talking, and maybe stop eating again, and we're going to be left picking up the pieces that he trail blazed through. Damn it, Lincoln Greene!" She punched the mattress with her hand.

  I snapped from my dumbfounded state. "Pris, geez! At least take a breath. You're turning blue and that's bad for the baby." I shook my head and grabbed her hand, but the words just kept tumbling from her. Words like heartbroken, rich, playboy, bastard. Pris had never been one to overreact, so I knew part of it was her hormones and the other part guilt. I knew guilt well. Oh, did I know it. I squeezed her hand and whispered. "He's not like that. Do you really think he'd risk everything? His career? His relationship with Jaymeson? Just so he could sleep with me?"

  "Yes." She nodded, wiping away a few tears. "That's exactly what I think, Miss Forbidden Fruit."

  Guilt gnawed at my chest. I felt bad for letting her down and guilty that I was more upset about getting caught than anything. But I was old enough to make my own decisions, right?

  He wouldn't leave.

  Lincoln might be a lot of things, but he wasn't that guy.

  I refused to put him in that category. The Elliot category, the one who took what you offered and then dumped you the minute things got hard.

  "Right now…" I gripped her hand tightly. "… I don't need a mom. I need a sister. I need a friend. You can't undo what's been done, and I wouldn't want you to in the first place. He… You're right." Tears welled in my eyes. "I love him."

  "That's great." Pris's voice was weak. "It really is. And I'd love to sit here and support you, but I have a bad feeling about him. Don't take me wrong. I don't think he's a bad guy, I just… What happens if things go back to the way they were? I couldn't care less about him. I care about you. I want you happy, and I can't handle losing you again."

  "Then don't push me away because I slept with the man I love," I said softly. "And trust me to make my own choices. Can you do that?"

  "No." She laughed through her tears. "But I'll try. You know… sex with an actor, not the smartest choice."

  "Um, you're married to one."

  "Married," she said softly. "I married him first."

  All the blood left my head. "You — you what?"

  "Jaymeson and I… we were married first. Committed. After Dad died, there was this weird unsaid thing, us being a pastor's daughters. Jaymeson couldn't do it. He just… felt like he was doing things wrong every time he kissed me. Like if Dad was still alive, he would have asked permission to date me. He would have done things right. I was so broken after their death, so worried about you that the last thing he wanted was to add more guilt. So… we eloped."

  "I didn't know that," I said more to myself than to her.

  "You didn't need to…" She shrugged. "… but you're right. What's done is done. I just… I hope you know what you're doing. You're seventeen, you have a whole life to live, things to experience, but if you're sure he's what you want, I won't stand in your way. Just don't let a person ever have that type of control over you, where you're so invested in them that, if or when they leave, you lose a part of yourself. Okay?"

  My lower lip trembled. "Okay."

  She was quiet for a minute. Then a smile crossed her features, softening her face. "Now…" She sighed. "… I'm going to play the part of the
best friend." Pris crossed her arms. "How was it?"

  I hid under the sheet then let out an "Amazing."

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