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After we dropped our sandy towels and flip flops off in the hallway just outside the laundry room I held out my hand for Rhea. She looked up to me with frightened, wide eyes before taking my hand.
“I’m afraid, Tanner.” Rhea said with a shaky voice.
I brought her closer to me, “I’m here, Bee. Just like always, me and you against the world.” I chuckle. I knew she needed the reassurance.
Rhea gave me a half smile. “Pillows.”
I smiled, “Blankets.”
Rhea pulled me down the hallway behind her, “Gummy bears.”
This was our thing. When the storms back home would roll in we would bring all the pillows, blankets and junk food to the living room and we would watch a movie and blast the volume to drown out the passing storm.
Rhea and I took the stairs two at a time. First, we stopped in her room to grab her pillow and blanket from the bed and then we stopped in the room down the hall that I was staying in. When I reached my bed a loud crack of thunder and lightning hit at the same time causing Rhea to scream, drop her covers and practically jump in my arms. Summer beach storms always seemed worse than the ones back home and this just showed true.
I finally loosen Rhea’s nails from my arm, “Come on, Honey Bee. Jump on my back.”
Rhea didn’t waste a second.
This was going to be a bit tricky with her on my back and now I was left to carry all our blankets and pillows downstairs without breaking my neck.
I reached down and grabbed Rhea’s pillow, “Bee, can you hold this and still hold on to me?”
“Yeah,” she held the pillow in her hands that were wrapped around my neck.
I grabbed her blanket, my blanket and pillow and turned to make my way back downstairs. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, out of breath and panting, Knox is leaning against the wall.
He cocks an eyebrow, “Whatcha doin?”
I roll my eyes; he’s been giving me more and more shit about all the time I spend with Rhea. He forgets that we live right next to each other and our families do everything together so of course I’m going to have a close relationship with Rhea.
“What’s it looking like?”
Audrey whizzed by and grabbed the blankets from me and the pillow from Rhea. She kisses her son on the cheek, “Grab bubba and get your blankets. We’re making a blanket fort in the living room.” Then she turns and walks down the hallway towards the living room.
Knox rolls his eyes.
“And don’t roll your eyes at me either, young man.”
Rhea starts to laugh and I can’t help to laugh either. Knox huffs and yells for his brother as he stomps upstairs.
Audrey helped us build a fort out of all the pillows, blankets, couch cushions and anything else she could find to make the biggest fort I’ve ever seen.
When she was done she put her hands on her hips, “That’s impressive.”
“It’s awesome.” Rhea sang.
Rex was laying all the way in the front near the fireplace with a book and flashlight in his hand. Next to him Knox set up his stuff and then Rhea and I were next to him. Rhea insisted on sleeping near the exit since she didn’t want to sleep in the middle of the boys and if she had to go to the bathroom she didn’t want to have to climb over everyone. She was the only girl and no one argued with her.
Audrey sat and wrapped Rhea in her arms. “Are you gonna to be okay down here with the boys, sweetheart?”
Rhea leans her head on Audrey’s shoulder, “Yes, ma'am.”
“Y’all will come grab me if she gets scared?” Audrey asked us.
“Yes, ma’am.” The three of us said in unison.
Audrey had somehow managed to get the TV under the blankets with us so she turned a movie on with the remote and turned it up pretty loud so Rhea didn’t hear the storm.
“Goodnight.” We all said.
A little while into the movie the storm was picking up and it could be heard over the movie. I looked over to Rhea and she had the blankets tucked up under her chin. I glanced over towards Knox and Rex who were both asleep before turning towards Rhea and slipping my hand under her blankets to grab her hand.
“Go to sleep, Honey Bee.”
She gripped my hand tightly in hers, “Okay.”
The thunder rattled the window and she jumped. Rhea moved a little closer to me. Before I fell asleep Rhea was snuggled up as close as she could get to me.
“Tanner,” Rhea calls.
I groan and roll over, hitting my shoulder in the close confines of my bunk.
“Tanner, get up.” Rhea nudges me in the back.
Rhea sighs, “Fine, I’m goin’ to the pool by myself.”
The thought of seeing her in a bathing suit has parts of me wide awake now. I roll in her direction, “You’re not goin’ to the pool by yourself.”
Rhea raises her eyebrows, “And why’s that?”
I throw my legs over the side of the bed and hop down. My thighs, stomach, and chest touch Rhea’s body. All I have to do is bend my head down and my lips would meet hers. I’ve been fighting this kiss forever now and pretty soon I’m not going to be able to stop myself.
I wink, “Because I’m comin’ with you.”
Rhea shivers and goose bumps break out across her skin. “Come then.”
I take a step back; my dick springs to life at the word come rolling off her tongue. She has no idea what she has been doing to me for years now. I’m afraid to tell her, afraid she’s too young, too afraid to screw our friendship up because of my hormonal urges but things are changing whether I want them to or not.
Rhea laughs and walks away, “Let’s go, Tan.”
~ Age 16 ~
Things are altering.
Time is passing.
People are changing.
My heart is breaking.
Families are falling apart.
Falling in love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Friendships are diminishing.
Have you ever had that feeling deep in the pit of your stomach that something wasn’t right? No matter what I did, no matter how I tried to distract myself from that feeling, nothing was working.