Sun Don't Shine, Chapter 1:
I woke up with a hard gasp. As my senses begged to regain control I lessened the grip from my sheets. I let myself fall back onto bed with a long sigh. As I counted my heartbeats trying to regain my breath I tried to guess at the time. As if on cue my alarm went off. Shaking my head I stretched and pushed the all too familiar nightmare to the back of my head. My cat jumped onto the bed purring trying to get my attention, I gave him a small smile and patted his head.
"Morning champ." I cuddled him before getting out of bed.
I went about my routine, made the bed, topped off his food and water supply and used the bathroom. As I fixed my hair in a high pony tail I noted the dark circles around my eyes. "If only I could get more sleep." I thought to myself popping the earbuds on my ears, grabbing my keys and heading out the house.
The street was still illuminated by streetlamps when I fell into a comfortable jogging pace. I ran every morning that I could. It was quite a shock in basic training to discover my brain would shut off into a soft dull in the morning PT, I had found it invigorating once but now it was downright necessary. As I picked up the pace along with the music I could feel my body start to sweat and my muscles ache, my mind a blissful blank slate. I picked up the pace wanting to beat my own time in this particular trail. By the time I had reached the hotel I worked in the sun was beginning to rise.
I greeted the cleaning staff and headed towards the locker rooms and showers. I enjoyed my morning jog to the hotel; it would give me time to clear my head and get to work with a nice productive attitude. I smiled at the pictures in my locker my cat Victor and I with a huge smile on for the camera. There were a few pictures of my brother and I and a few silly posters. I grabbed the things for my shower and after undressing I stepped in letting the hot streams of water hit me and soothe my aching muscles. After I had pulled on my chef coat and left towards the bakery one of the line cooks handed me my order sheet, my shift had just begun. I opened the door to my unit and started checking on my ingredients and mise en place carefully with a gentle smile on my face.
I had always had a passion for baking. Until recently it had been just a hobby, a way to unwind. Now, after what had happened, much like running in the mornings it was a necessity. I enjoyed baking because it was much like science. You had formulas, elaborate equipment, a vast number of tools and a wide range of ingredients to choose from. With every different combination there is a different result and with every ingredient there's an endless possibility of chemical reactions that take place. Much like science everything had to be exact and I enjoyed the thrill of keeping my wits sharp, even if it was by muscle memory.
After hard hours of work and lots of sweets and breads later I was back at my locker. I felt my phone vibrating and took a look at it.
Did you forget that I'm in town tonight?
I smiled; I had forgotten he was coming through tonight. Much to my displeasure he was returning to re-enlist for another tour in Afghanistan. There was nothing I could do to change his mind, but like he did for me, I respected his decisions. I was glad I had brought some decent clothes with me and quickly threw them on after texting him the address of a bar I really liked. With one small once over at myself in the mirror I gleefully thought about how much I really missed him. I had a small formfitting lilac cocktail dress on that showed off my back completely. I had forgotten it at my locker one hung-over night. I was happy with how the dress fit me tightly in all the right places and my blonde hair was up towards the side cascading around my face. With one last smile I quickened my pace towards the bar, excited to be seeing him soon.
The bar itself was a small hole in the wall that my friends from the hotel and I frequented. It was cozy looking and warm, the beer was cheap and cold and the patrons were polite and chatty. It was frequented by travelers mostly, besides the regulars but that only made it more exciting to chat with some of them. I sat cozily with a glass of wine in one of the booths at the bar and decided to entertain myself while my crazy other half would get here. My gaze fell on a group of what looked to be students or colleagues; they walked in towards the bar laughing and bantering with each other. These were usually fun bunches when it was guys and girls mixed, as they weren't normally rowdy and from what I could tell consumed a lot. A couple of them picked a table and two of the guys came over to ask for the table's drinks. They settled beside me to talk and ask for their drinks giving me pleasant smiles. I saw as the bartender served their pink daiquiris and ceasars and opened a tab for them. Like the manly men they seemed to be, they had two beers and two shots. The tall blue eyed Scottish looking one asked for a scotch, while the dark charismatic one with a charming smile asked for vodka. This was one of my favorite things about coming out for drinks, people watching. After the two guys rejoined their group they all fell into animated conversations. It was maybe five minutes later, that two girls walked into the bar. The group greeted them with approval as they made a beeline towards the bar. I was completely grateful for the small walk they had from the entrance to my spot, because this girl coming in was a complete 10/10. She was tall, with dark hair, mysterious eyes and a strut of confidence that was making me go full geek. That hadn't happened in a long while, and took me completely by surprise when she asked for two beers. Her voice was as silky as the rest of her seemed to be. I smiled and swirled the wine in my glass completely taken aback by the heat I was feeling in my body from this woman standing besides me. This however seemed to shift her attention to me, I stiffened.
"Can I get two Labatt Blue's and four shots of tequila? Kenzi here didn't pre-drink and she's Russian" she said to the bartender almost giggling at her own joke, which made me give her a smile and a chuckle.
"If that's the case, make it six. Bo hasn't had any pre-drinks either and it's our party night of the month!" They cheered with the first shots they had already poured for them, and downed the rest before taking a swig of their beers.
"Whoo that was great!" she said with a wide smile looking at me once more. "Hello" she almost whispered which sent a shiver down my spine.
"Hey." I replied softly running my finger on the brim of my glass. When my eyes met hers my mouth twitched in a smile as well, she was stunning.
"I'm Lauren" I said extending my hand which she shook a little too long. I hadn't missed the eye contact that beautiful Bo had given me when we shook hands, it was exhilarating.
"Bo, this is my bestie Kenzie." She signaled to the dark haired vixen behind her who waved at me and downed her shot instantly.
"Bo bo, I didn't realize it was lunchtime for you! I'm gonna go check in with Dyson and the gang." Kenzie mentioned and with a small farewell nod she left Bo and I alone a mischievous smile accompanying her out.
"That's a lot of shots there, wouldn't want to get alcohol poisoning." I offered.
"Impossible, I can handle my alcohol." She teased with a smile.
I couldn't help mirror the smile and brush a strand of my hair behind my ears. I could feel the words coming out before I could stop them, as per usual. "Oh but it is quite possible. You look to be around 5'9'' about 135 lbs, with that single shot you just took your alcohol level went up 0.25% on average. If you then consider that women have a different body chemistry than men, they can overdose on alcohol with less drinks in a rather lesser amount of time. So assuming that you want to keep up with Braveheart over there" I pointed at the Scottish stud now laughing with Kenzie. "I'd say alcohol poisoning looks very possible.
Her eyebrows shot up in amazement, and her smile widened even more if that was even possible. "Wow, that was a total geek out!" I flushed red and she giggled "No, don't be embarrassed, that was hot!"
I had to laugh out loud to that before answering still slightly embarrassed. "My scientific mind still speaks for me even if I haven't been a scientist for a while."
"Well, Doc, let me share some of this alcohol with your beautiful mind." She offered as she handed me a drink. "Wouldn't want me to alcohol poison myself" with that and a smile we made a toast and threw back.
"Wow! Started the party without me?" I recognized his voice behind me and turned to see him. I couldn't help but jump from my stool and embrace him long and hard breathing him in.
"Vincent, I've missed you!" I breathed as he laughed.
"I have too Lau, look at you. Looking wonderful!" he twirled me around and I could feel Bo's eyes on me as he did.
"You're as handsome as ever!" I exclaimed as he put me down. I caught Bo's elbow before she turned away and guided her towards us gently "Where are my manners! This is my newly made friend, Bo…" they shook hands and I could see my brother's eyes shine with amusement as he smiled towards her. "This is my brother Vincent"
"It's very nice to meet you Vincent." She responded charmingly before looking at me with another adorable smile. "Here I was worried it was a boyfriend."
I chuckled at the small confession with a smile as I could feel Vincent shaking with laughter next to me. "No, no boyfriends, or boys for that matter. Vincent and I haven't seen each other in a long while that's all."
"Oh!" She snapped into action "Don't let me intrude, I must meet back with my friends. It was quite lovely meeting the both of you." She said meeting my gaze with a smile.
"Likewise Bo." I let her name roll off my tongue and with one last nod and smile she walked off.
I couldn't help but stare as she walked away. I was pleasantly lost in the wave of her hip and the roundness of her ass. It wasn't until I heard laughter from my side that I snapped out of my reverie. I was hypnotized by that woman.
"Good job sis!" Vince exclaimed as he sat at the bar with me raising his hand for a beer. His light caramel eyes shone with mischief while his sandy blonde hair was slightly longer than usual. He had a small stubble in the works making him look older than his years.
"I have no idea—"
"Of course you don't Captain, it's just a little science project, eh?" he teased.
"Shut up Lieutenant-" I countered taking a shot.
"Second Lieutenant now that I re-enlisted." He said happily.
"You know how I feel about this." I warned as we took to our second drink.
"I know, I know… I thought we had agreed- -"
"You started it." I pointed out. "Let's call a truce.
"Fine, are you talking to lady gorgeous again anytime soon?" he insisted.
"We'll see…" I said leaving it hang in the air, looking in her direction and flashing her a smile as our eyes connected.
The night kept on with small chat and banter between Vincent and I. I had learned that a big reason for his re-enlistment was the fact that he had met someone overseas, deployed like he was. I was intrigued and more than anything scared for him, but I tried to be as supportive as I could. He listened and laughed at the antics at the hotel and things he had missed while he was gone. I had been looking at Bo all night staring at her from the corner of my eye and wondering how or even if I should approach her. Vince offered more alcohol and encouraged me to go over many times but I was unsure whether to let it take its course or if I should make things happen. As the night continued and more laughter went on between Vince and I, I realized the bar had been emptying. My heart sank when I looked around and realized that the gorgeous stranger was nowhere in sight.
"As I was saying sis, we'll do hangover breakfast tomorrow." My lovely sibling slurred. He was beyond hammered, I was pretty buzzed myself.
"Alright bro, you have your coat, keys, phone?" he nodded and touched each item as I listed. "Cab is outside waiting for you."
"Thanks sis, it was nice seeing you." He said with a drunken smile. He put his coat on and saluted me before leaving through the front door.
I felt a pat in my shoulder and turned to see the woman that had been plaguing my thoughts all night smiling brightly at me.
"Hey Lauren" The way my name rolled off her tongue made me think she had been practicing it all night. I kind of liked that.
"Yes Bo?" I asked happily. I had been thinking of her name all night long, I had never met anyone with that name before. She smiled widely.
"I was wondering if maybe you'd like to hang out sometime?" she offered and I cheered a little bit inside my head.
"Yeah, I'd like that." I said, getting up and pulling my phone out of my hand purse.
"Wait, what about now?" She asked, suddenly changing her mind. "I after all, came back to see you, why not go for the whole enchilada?"
"Now?" I said, a bit taken a back. "I have nothing to do..." I stammered a bit, distracted by the pounding of my heart.
"Is that cool?" she looked asked Kenzie who had just seemingly caught up with her.
"Yeah, take your time. The bus comes at 7:30am." She said to Bo as she nodded and then to me "Make sure she leaves before 7:30am please." I nodded fervently as Bo looked at me curiously.
"Love ya!" Bo exclaimed and then turned to me, "Best friend in the world."
"I believe you" I answered with a smile thinking about Vince and how he tried taking care of me like Kenzie was.
We walked around town, it seemed to have quieted down, it wasn't exactly a Friday so the ones out were mostly students. I had found out that she was a private investigator, underground sort of. Kenzie and her took on strange and unusual cases that most other people wouldn't. She was currently working as a volunteer firefighter here and there as well. In my head I couldn't fathom this beauty running from the ashes of a once there flamed house. We went to my favorite after-hours bar where all the people from the restaurant industry would come after their shifts for a good time. We downed a couple of shots and I introduced her to some of the people I knew there. It was probably the 5th beer I was having when the owner of the place told the DJ to turn it up and Bo just pulled me into the dance floor with no warning.
"I love this song!" she screamed over the music with a huge smile playing on her lips "I haven't danced in forever"
As she said that she pulled me close by my waist and swayed her hips against mine making a shiver run down my spine. I wrapped my arms around her neck and danced to the beat of the song that she loved so much. Every time we brushed it was like electricity was running through me and it seemed she felt it too. It didn't help I was buzzed and I had no doubt she was way more than tipsy, but it seemed we were both enjoying this, a lot. After probably the millionth song we were so close I could feel her breath on my neck driving me wild. My pulse was running wildly and I could feel her press me even closer to her, the tension was palpable between us and I enjoyed every second of it. Out of nowhere her head snapped up and she looked me in the eyes, her face suddenly sober.
"What time is it?" this snapped me out of my buzz as well and I franticly looked at my watch
"Where do you live?" I asked worried
"Bronson" she said fright in her voice
"We have to go" I said already pulling her by the hand moving us towards the exits.
"Am I late? Please tell me I'm not late" she asked frantically as I shoved us into a cab
"Not if you hurry" I said and nodded at her for the address
"180, Bronson" she sputtered and looked at me "Where are you going?"
"The other way, don't worry I just want to see you home safe." I reassured her
"You're real sweet Lauren" she said with a smile
With that she laid her head on my shoulder and interlaced her fingers with mine. I let out a small sigh and leaned my head back happily. Come to think of it, I hadn't felt this happy and calm in a long while. When the cab driver stopped at the address I thought it was wrong. I don't judge people on what they own or how they dressed, life had taught me better than that. However as I examined the small run down shack house I couldn't help but wonder if this beauty and her friend were struggling in some way. I could see the inside lights were on, it was still dark out but she had made it in time. I paid the cab driver as she got out of the cab. I smiled at her and she smiled back looking over her shoulder with worry and looking back at me, as if deciding something. Finally one won over the other and she made her decision.
"Cup of coffee? I just have to take care of something real quick." She explained and I nodded
"Take all the time you need." I said taking her hand and getting out of the cab.
We walked towards this small house and I could feel the nervousness envelop me. She stuck her key in the lock but didn't turn it and looked at me for reassurance, I gave her a smile and her smile grew. Bo leaned down and very softly kissed my cheek. I closed my eyes on contact and boy, did it feel good. I could feel her smile stretch against my skin as she mumbled something about me being cute. I blushed and looked down.
It was a small house and some of the walls were bare, but all in all you could tell it had personality. We took our coats off and she took a glance at the clock with approval. Motioning to the red couch I took a seat fixing the hem of my dress with nervous fingers. Now that I was here I was very nervous of what could happen with this lovely girl. She let out a sigh and gave me a smile as she took a seat next to me holding my hands and giving them a squeeze.
"I've had a wonderful night, no matter what happens I wanted you to know that." She said lightly squeezing my hands once more.
"Bo, I've had a great night too, I - -"
"No, Frankie, come here- -" I heard Kenzie in the distance, as I turned to look a small figure ran past me into Bo's lap.
"Mummy, I missed you!" I heard the small boy beside me say. I masked my surprise.
"You missed me!? How come? You were sleeping!" she exclaimed and tickled his belly "Now go get on the bus, it's almost time for school."
"I had pancakes for breakfast, auntie Kenzie put m&m's on them!" he said full of wonder as I let out a chuckle. That got me noticed and he looked curiously at me with a small smile that reminded me of Bo's.
"Francis, this is Momma's friend Lauren" Bo offered flashing me a measured look.
"Hello Miss Lauren" he said softly, his small voice thick with an English accent. He buried his face in his mom's neck, his curious eyes still on me.
"Hello Francis" I said with a smile he smiled and blushed.
"Frankie" he mumbled shyly and his smile widened.
"Go on, go with auntie Kenzie or you'll miss the bus, I'll be here when you come back from school" she whispered in his ear as he smiled and waved at me before heading out of the room. She gave me a guilty look, as if I had discovered her secret and as I looked behind my shoulder to see his short little dark head of black hair disappear I caught myself smiling.
"He's adorable Bo." Her face was surprised and then it was glee.
"Thank you, I only get to see him a couple of nights, so I make it a point to always be here to see him off to school." She explained
"I'm taking off, see what Hale can do about this hang over that's still killing me." Kenzie announced following Frankie out of the house.
"Bye!" Bo replied as I waved her a goodbye. "Still up for that coffee?"