Author: sarita.alex PM
It was deja vu times a thousand. Every other cell in my being told me this was exactly where I needed to be. Every choice I had made in life, brought me to Jericho Barrons.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - MacKayla L. & Jericho B. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 9,486 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 10 - Updated: 02-01-12 - Published: 01-09-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7725753
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
All characters are KMM's brilliant work. I'm just playing with them.
How did I get here? Me? Mackayla Lane, cheerleader, one of the most popular girls at Ashford High, and until thirty minutes ago, the leading candidate for prom queen. How did I end up stranded outside her senior prom?
I stomped my Betsey Johnson silver sandals. My toes were painted Iceberry Pink and matched my pink satin gown to a T. I'd sprung for a spray tan, to make sure I was a nice even brown. Mom had taken me to her stylist who had curled and sprayed and teased my hair until it was a pretty feminine updo on my head.
It's not fair! I couldn't go back inside the prom. Those bitches would never get the satisfaction of seeing me after a fall. I'm freakin' Mackayla Lane! I eat mean girls for breakfast.
This was my life, my school. I didn't spend twelve years of public education just to... what? Stand outside my senior prom? I'm the girl playing volleyball in a bikini top and Daisy Dukes. I'm the girl with ten pairs of assorted flip flops bedazzled by rhinestones in all the colors that Swarovski can dream up. I'm the girl down at the Sonic sipping Dr. Pepper and eating french fries, watching the boys drive by in their pickup trucks. I'm the girl with the best shoes, the cutest dates, the loudest laugh.
I'm NOT the girl who loses the boy. I'm NOT the girl who gets robbed of the Prom Queen tiara. I'm NOT the girl who loses anything. Betsy and Tony were going to pay. I wasn't sure how... but they were going to pay.
I heard a sound behind me and turned. Jericho Barrons was walking out of the hotel lobby. Oh my God. This was worse than I thought. Jericho Barrons was the awkward weird guy in the senior class. Mysterious, moody, dressed all in black. He didn't hang out with the jocks, or the nerds, or the goths. He was just a loner. And that was the worst.
So it was me and the loner guy hanging out outsideof the Senior Prom. Just. Freaking. Great.
He wasn't wearing a tux. No, of course not. Jericho Barrons had to be different. A black - was that velvet?- coat, on top of a snowy white shirt, left open at the collar and topping black pants. I stepped outside of Ashford, Georgia for a moment and assessed him with the keen fashion eye I'd picked up from the glossy magazines that came to my house every month. If he'd been at a formal event in Europe, he would have killed it. The trousers were a trim European cut, the coat was tailored to perfection and tiny sparkles at his wrists indicated cufflinks. French cuffs? In Ashford? The cheerleader in me cringed. The fashionista in me gave him a (classy) high five.
"Miss Lane," he said formally.
I rolled my eyes. He couldn't even call me "Mac" like every other student at Ashford High did. And it wasn't like I hadn't told him that before.
We had been lab partners in sophomore chemistry. The first day of class, I'd smiled at him politely like my Southern mother had taught me and introduced myself as "Mac." He'd growled, "Are you always this perky in the daylight?" And he hadn't called me Mac the rest of the semester.
Jericho Barrons was dark and moody and let me copy his answers only after he glared and sighed heavily. Who needs that? But I couldn't help noticing he smelled good. Like, really good. And his teenaged body was already more man than boy. I knew he wasn't on any of the varsity teams - I would have known, please, I was a cheerleader. But he had the body of someone who worked out a lot. If I'd met him on Spring Break, I would have assumed he was in college. Like, a nerdy college in Massachusetts or something, not someplace cool like Miami or Bama, but still an older man.
And now here I was, shivering in the cool May evening in my strapless pink formal, thinking about six different ways I was going to kick my date's petunia for leaving me at the prom. Alone. With Jericho Barrons.
"Barrons," I answered him curtly, using his last name as he'd used mine. I turned and wrapped my arms around myself and pretended like I was waiting for someone.
In a moment, a warm coat was suddenly around my shoulders. It was Barrons' jacket. He'd taken it off and put it on me.
"Why did you do that?" I asked in horror.
He shrugged. "You're cold."
"I am not!" I insisted, but truth was, I had been and the jacket felt good. It was warm and the weight of it was like a hug. And it smelled good, like Barrons.
"Do you need a ride somewhere?" Barrons asked.
"Uh, no, I'm just waiting on someone."
My mouth dropped open. But he was right. I didn't have a ride. Tony and Betsy had split the prom in Tony's dad's Cadillac, leaving me without a ride and too proud to ask for one.
"Your date left you, Ms. Lane."
"You saw that?"
"The entire senior class saw it."
"FROG!" I yelled and stomped my sandal again. I looked up into Barrons' cool dark eyes. "When I get my hands on that petunia hole..."
Barrons lifted a hand and gently held my chin. "What will you do, Miss Lane?"
I jerked my chin out of his fingers. "Something bad!" I answered loudly. I really was too upset to think of something good right now, but I knew I would. I'd do something really mean, like egg his house or spread a rumor about his penis size.
Barrons chuckled softly. "I bet you will, Miss Lane."
I glared at him. Was he laughing at me? He looked down and reached into his pocket. I tried ignoring how that made his pants tight. Alright, I looked. Leftie. It's not my fault, my sister Alina got me in the habit of checking.
Barrons looked up and I averted my eyes quickly. He picked up my hand and put keys in it. I looked down. The keys had a mustang keyfob on it.
"You're giving me your car?" I asked incredulously.
Barrons smiled without humor. "No. I'm letting you drive it. Thought you might want to get out of here, take out some aggression on the road."
I flashed my eyes at him. He was presumptuous. And generous. And... exactly right. When things got me down - and it didn't happen often, I was fundamentally a happy person - I got in my car, cranked up the music and headed down a country road. Best mood lifter ever.
I closed my fist around the keys and looked at him thoughtfully. I should have said no. Nice girls didn't run off with strange loners at the prom. My eyes caught movement at the hotel doors. Hailey Shepard, Emily Booth and Vicki Havens were headed out of the hotel with their dates. My decision was made. I looked up at Jericho Barrons.
Just a few minutes later, I was zooming down a country highway outside of Ashford, Georgia. Barrons had a totally rocking restored 1967 Mustang - black, of course. He had eyed me nervously when I started it up, thinking I didn't know how to drive his baby, I'm sure. And when I peeled out of the parking lot, he gave me a look like he regretted handing me the keys. But he'd relaxed when we'd gotten to open road. We rolled down the windows and let the cool May air whip through the car. My updo was ruined in a matter of seconds. I lifted my hands and shook the pins out, letting my long blond hair fly and tangle as it would.
Now I know what you're thinking. Mackayla Lane, do your parents know where you are? Are you sure you should be out driving to nowhere on prom night?Well, no, my parents didn't know where I was. As far as they knew, I had a 2 am curfew and after prom Tony and I were going to head to the Senior Lock In sponsored by First Baptist and Kensington Tire & Oil. But what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them, right? And I'm sure, once they knew the whole facts of the evening, my parents would support my decision to blow off the Lock In. I mean, I couldn't face the rest of the senior class after what I'd been through right? I probably had PTSD or ADHD or ED or something. My dad was a lawyer. I knew all about damages for pain and suffering.
I thought about it and realized that I was feeling like, a thousand times better already. Who needed pharmaceuticals when a few hundred horsepower and a windy road could do the trick?
One thing was missing though... I turned to Barrons. "We need music!"
He frowned at me.
"C'mon Barrons!" I shouted. "Tunes! Rock 'n Roll!"
I swear there was a twinkle in his eye as he reached down and popped open the glove compartment. I saw an iPod dock in there, probably not standard equipment in 1967 and in a second, Bruce Springsteen came flooding through the car.
A huge spontaneous smile spread across my face. THIS was good. This was exactly what I needed. I started singing along to the Boss.
Well now I'm no hero... That's understood...All the redemption I can offer girl...Is beneath this dirty hood
I laughed again. The wind smelled like fresh grass and open country. Barrons' coat still wrapped my arms and shoulders in his scent, expensive dark and masculine. I felt happy again. I felt strong. I felt like... me.
I reached down and turned up the volume for the next part, singing at the top of my lungs.
Roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair... the night's busting open and these two lanes will take us anywhere...
I slapped the steering wheel.
We got one last chance to make it real... to trade in these wings on some wheel...
I looked over at Barrons and my throat went dry. The look in his eyes caused a pain in my chest. I had the strangest feeling, like I was supposed to know something about him, like I was supposed to say something, do something. But I shook it off and looked back at the road.
We were in the middle of nowhere, about twenty miles outside of Ashford, but then I saw a road I knew well. I slowed down and turned right onto Jones Road.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Barrons giving me a questioning look but I didn't answer him. He gave me the keys to his car, which meant I got to go where I wanted.
And right now, where I wanted to go was Arrowhead Lake. In a few months, it would be the prime hangout for every kid between fourteen and twenty for a thirty mile radius. But it was early in the season, and nighttime. The lake road was deserted and dark and somehow just perfect for the way I was feeling tonight.
Now you're giving me a look that says, Mackayla Lane, you best not be getting into any trouble.I know, I know. I'm a good girl, but sometimes, when you're eighteen, you need to let loose once in a while. You need to go to the boundary line, kick it, put your toe over it, do the hokey pokey and shake it all about. You need to see what will happen if the line is crossed. Usually, you'll be just fine. I mean, nothing bad could happen to a girl like me, right?
I drove past the big wooden sign that said "RECREATIONAL AREA CLOSED" and my whole foot went over the boundary line.
I pulled into the gravel lot and parked the car, the headlights shining through the trees and down the path where a thin silver of lake shimmered down the hill.
I got out of the car and so did Barrons. We stood there in the moonlight looking at each other over the hood of the Mustang.
It was weird, but it was like I could hear what he wanted to say. His words were in his eyes, his face and somehow in my head.
The lake's closed, Ms. Lane.
I smirked and answered him back silently, with my eyes, my face, the tilt of my chin. They can't close a lake, Barrons.
His eyebrows raised. Rules are for everyone else, is that it Ms. Lane?
I rolled my eyes. I usually get my way, Barrons, just don't get in it.
His eyes narrowed.
I turned and started walking down the path to the lake. He could stay with his car, I didn't care. I had the keys to the Mustang and I was doing what I wanted to do.
And what exactly did I want to do? And why was I doing it tonight, here, with Jericho Barronsof all people?
I was Mackayla Lane. I was eighteen. I didn't exactly stop to analyze my actions all the time. If it felt right, I did it, confident that I was loved by my mother and daddy, I was cute, I was safe and there was all the time in the world for me to sweet talk myself out of trouble.
I paused and slipped out of my silver sandals. It was kind of hard to walk over the pine needle-covered ground with them.
There would be plenty of time for me to regret my actions. There would be plenty of time to plot my revenge against tiara-stealing, boyfriend-nabbing so-called friends. But there was only one senior prom night. Since my other plans for making memories had been ruined tonight, I guessed I needed to make other memories.
I shrugged out of Barrons' velvet jacket and felt the cool night air on my skin. I dropped it on the dock. I reached up with my right hand and unzipped my pink formal. It fell to the ground. I stepped out of it and took two more steps. Before I could talk myself out of it, I dove into Lake Arrowhead, in only my matching pink bra and panties, knowing full well Jericho Barrons was watching from the shore.
As the water went over me, I realized it wasn't the freezing temperature I'd braced myself for. It was actually nice, like the end of a half-hour bubble bath.
I came up and took a deep breath of the fresh piney air.
And my next thought was... now what?
I looked up at the dock, fifteen feet away, at the figure of Jericho Barrons.
From this angle, in the moonlight, it was like I'd never seen him before. He was tall, dangerous and pretty damn attractive.
Well, you know what that did to my head. Crazy thoughts streaked through it. Here I am, practically naked in lukewarm water with not a soul in sight for miles? And the only person with me was a guy who was actually a ton cuter and nicer than I thought? A devilish smile crept on my face.
"Hey Barrons," I sang out to the dock.
"Ms. Lane," he sighed. So not the reaction of any other teenage boy in Ashford, Georgia. Most of them would be beside themselves at the sight of me in my panties.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" I shouted back. "Can't you even have fun?"
Barrons scowled at me. "Fun?" He asked. "This is your idea of fun?"
I paused and looked around. Ok, so maybe it was a littlelame. But I was trying, ok?
"It's called being adventurous, Barrons, you should try it some time."
"Yeah, take a walk on the wild side."
Barrons smirked. God help me, it pissed me off. "Skinny dipping by yourself in a deserted lake? You're just plain cuckoo, Ms. Lane."
Now he was making fun of me. "Well, excuse me for wanting to try something new. Go a little crazy. Act like I'm eighteen and not a freakin' forty year old guy who plays computer games all day."
I was so pissed off, I didn't even notice that he was unbuttoning his shirt.
"You know what, Barrons? Just leave me alone. Go back to your gothy cave and your emo music and let the rest of the world have an adventure now and again, ok?"
I had started swimming to... where? I didn't know. Just away from the dock, to show Barrons how I was the adventurous, free-spirited one, when I heard a splash and I swore I felt my heart stop for one long dread-filled moment.
I felt a wave of water and heard something surfacing, just feet behind me.
"You're right, Ms. Lane." Came a voice behind me. "This does feel rather like an adventure."
I turned and saw Jericho Barrons treading water not three feet away from me. I mean, if I wanted to, I could reach out and touch him, his smooth tan skin, his muscled arms, his strong lean neck.
Not that I wanted to, though.
I cast a quick look at the dock to see what clothing Barrons had left behind. He was clearly shirtless and it was, in the words of my mother's idol, a good thing.I just got a little nervous wondering how much of a good thing lay below the dark water.
I put some water between us and then he took a stroke forward. My heart raced in response.
All around us, the lake was still and quiet. Nothing but the sound of the water rushing around us, through our hands as we both treaded water.
We had another silent conversation. If I'd known we could do this, the whole cheating in chemistry thing would have worked out better.
Stay where you are, Barrons. I told him silently, putting an extra six inches between us to accentuate my point.
He smiled slowly. Is that really what you want, Ms. Lane?
I nodded quickly. But I didn't move back. And he swam forward a little bit.
What about having fun? Taking a walk on the wild side?
I gulped. And you're the wild side? Ego much, Barrons?
He swam forward so that we were nearly face to face. The dark water of the lake surrounded us, like sensuality and smoke. There was nothing in the world except for water, moonlight and Jericho Barrons.
In a sliding stroke I slipped my arms around his neck and his went around my back. Our lips met like we had kissed a thousand times before. There was no awkwardness, no first time where-do-I-put-my-teeth-my-tongue-how-do-I-tilt-my-head. We just fit. Perfectly.
I was eighteen, after all, and in a bit of a rebellious mood. Thanks to that mood, and virtually-skinny-dipping and a Mustang, I was all about kissing a boy tonight.
My fingers laced through his dark wet hair and traced his jaw line down to his neck. I lightly touched the chain around his throat and followed it down his chest, to an amulet of some kind that he was wearing.
When I touched it, he kissed me deeper and I responded in kind. Somehow we stayed afloat. A little voice in the back of my head was warning me about something. It was like a fly, buzzing around. I slapped at it, sending the dead fly to the bottom of the very dark, very sensual lake I was luxuriating in.
I was kissing Jericho Barrons. There was no place else I was supposed to be... there was no place else I wanted to be...
Even with an amulet.
And the dark lake that supported us, weightlessly, magically.
I wrapped my legs around Jericho's waist. He groaned, "Mac..." I got tingles up my spine. I started shivering and opened my eyes slightly.
The air around us was charged, fuzzy, like a TV that didn't have a good signal. Barrons gripped me tighter. Then the world seemed to tilt, to shift. The water, the sky, all changed in a second and my brain couldn't process it. It faded and was more intense at the same time. I saw things that hadn't been there moments before. Nothing was staying the same, except the feeling of Barrons.
Then somehow I knew I was in Dublin.
In a bookstore, in a sitting area.
There was the fireplace.
There was the antique faded rug.
There were the lived-in comfy leather chairs.
I gasped for breath, like I'd just been held underwater for a few minutes. "What was that?"
My eyes went straight to the OOP on the coffee table. It was the same amulet that... I blinked hard, twice.
"Don't touch it Mac," Barrons said, reaching out to hold me back. He was grown-up Barrons, not teenaged Barrons, handsome and hard-edged from his unimaginably long life.
"Were you there?" I asked him frantically, in confusion. My voice shook. "Please, Barrons, tell me you were not at my Senior Prom."
He didn't seem shocked at my question. He knew what I was talking about, so that meant we had both experienced... whatever it was. Barrons frowned at the OOP on the table, then at me. He shook his head slowly.
"No... Mac... "
"It was an illusion, right? The amulet took over my memory, put you in it... somehow... I mean, it was all just a dream? An illusion..." I patted the sofa. It seemed reassuringly solid. But then, so had the Mustang.
"It is a very creative amulet," Barrons said, still frowning at the table.
A brief laugh erupted from my lips. "I mean, you as a teenager. You've never been a teenager!"
Barrons smiled bitterly. "Never."
"Never?" I looked at him worriedly. What was he?
He tilted his head. "It's been a while," he admitted.
I laughed again, "And certainly not in this century! In Georgia!" The thought was ridiculous. Preposterous. Really really dumb.
Barrons didn't answer me. He was lost in thought, looking at the amulet.
I snapped my fingers at him. "Jericho?"
He didn't answer.
His eyes slid slowly to me.
"Illusions. The Unseelie King is a master of them," I asserted, stronger this time. I thought of the Sinsar Dubh, inventing an elaborate illusion of my biological mother and father who were going to fight the Book for me. This was just another trick of our minds. A joint delusion that we'd survived.
Barrons stood up and placed a kiss on my lips. "An illusion," he agreed.
I laughed nervously. "'Cause who would want to relive their teenage years, right?"
Barrons smiled gently. "You looked beautiful in your prom dress, though."
A/N: This is my first Fever fic and just some things I wanted to play around with. It will be pretty short. I'm terribly intimidated even thinking about Barrons, so please be gentle with me, but please, let me know what you think.