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GRNW Round Robin > GRNW Round Robin part 3 by Talya Andor

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message 1: by Talya (new)

Talya Andor | 10 comments Baxter's shock as he was propelled backward through the air was absolute.

For a moment time seemed to narrow down as he flew between the stacks, a heavy weight crushing his chest. His eyes went wide. The handsome man shouted in dismay. There was no movie reel replay of his life or the succession of terrible choices that had brought him to that moment, only one thought large and vivid: if he had to die in that moment, what a good-looking view.

Reality returned with a thud as Baxter crash-landed, skidding most spectacularly over the floor which gave him a merciless wedgie, ultimately coming to rest against a support pillar bracketed by more of that glass. And was he hearing a waterfall, or was it surf? He swore he could smell the same ocean spray that had slapped against the waterfront piers. Baxter had never had an olfactory hallucination before and wasn't sure he could write it off as bad sushi.

Every muscle in his body was tensed. Baxter began a ginger self-evaluation as Handsome sprinted toward him, perfectly stubbled face drawn with concern. It's a good look on you, Baxter wanted to say, but concentrated on his arms. They bent at the elbow. Functional. Good. He tried wriggling his fingers. They all moved. Fortunately not broken. He drew his legs up and was grateful they seemed free of injury. At last, he tried to detach the weight from his chest and was more surprised than he ought to be to find the four hard corners of a huge, thick book. He let it fall onto his lap and squinted at the cover.

Cannons Throughout History

"Oh, you've got to be kidding me!" Baxter tried twice to get to his feet but his legs folded under him. Before he could try again, Handsomely Handsome was standing over him with the most delectably worried frown Baxter had ever seen.

"It was not my intent to involve you in this quest, mi amigo," Handsome and Stubbled informed him.

"Baxter," Baxter croaked. If he was going to risk death by book-cannon fire, he didn't want to go out with someone calling him 'amigo.'

"Baxter, then. Well met. I am Guiomar de la Sangre." A hand thrust into Baxter's field of view.

"Ghee-oh-what?" Baxter squinted up at him.

"Call me 'Guy,'" Guy suggested gracefully with a brief, amused show of teeth. He pronounced it "Ghee" and Baxter was about to ask whether he knew Rodrigo el Rojo when Guy leaned down, seized his hand, and hauled him to his feet. "Now that you are involved, however unfortunate, I suggest we quit this field before Black Burt is upon us!"

Baxter looked over Guy's shoulder and his eyes widened. Black Burt was striding toward them, stuffing a long wandlike tool down the barrel of his blunderbuss.

"Hold still, ye laggards, while I reload!" Black Burt roared.

"Point taken." Baxter clutched the heavy cannon tome in one arm as they sprinted from the scene. If all else failed, he could use it as a bludgeon. He wasn't going to take up anything with a pointed edge or gunpowder discharge--whoever was overseeing the props for the event was woefully lax and he was going to make a complaint. If he got out of there alive.

Guy kept a grip on Baxter's hand, dragging him past stacks so overturned and pillaged that he was surprised a library official hadn't shown to eject them. The layout of the place had definitely changed. The light had dimmed, though he wouldn't have been surprised if that was cloud cover descending on notoriously rainy Seattle. The rows of stacks were longer and Guy dragged him past a section labeled "Witchcraft" and another labeled "Humours" that Baxter was fairly sure hadn't existed before.

"Perhaps you can help me after all," Guy murmured. They made an abrupt turn and came upon a terminal against a wall.

It seemed so staggeringly out of place in its very ordinary-ness that Baxter eyed it suspiciously.

"You seem to be of this place, yes?" Guy asked.

Baxter considered reclaiming his hand and opted against it. Though damp with sweat, Guy had a strong grip and well-shaped fingers. He was regarding Baxter with such intentness that it made Baxter wonder how to provoke another of those heart-stoppingly gorgeous smiles. "I just got here today," Baxter admitted out of full disclosure. "But I guess ... I mean that's one way to put it. Sure, I am of this place."

Guy rewarded him with a brief sample of ravish-me-now smile. "Then, I have seen others of this place work a device such as this to find that which they seek. Can you do the same for me?"

Baxter squared his shoulders. He supposed he was in it now, whatever 'it' was. "The computer look-up? Sure, I can do that." Baxter wasn't going to tell him that any primary school graduate could do the same. For one, Guy was so in character he put Buckingham Palace guards to shame; for another, buy Baxter a ticket to Crazytown but he was beginning to enjoy his presence.

Guy passed over the motel notepad that Baxter had given him earlier. In flowing, almost calligraphic style, the words "Unraveling the Curse: A Modern Guide to Ancient Dilemmas" leaped out at him.

"Huh." Baxter made a considering face.

"Please, we must make haste," Guy implored, and when a hot man used that tone on Baxter he couldn't disobey. He headed for the terminal as Guy unsheathed his sword and drew a pistol from his belt that Baxter had somehow failed to notice before, doubtless distracted by his gigantic assets. "What does it say?"

Baxter squinted over his shoulder, pausing in the act of clicking on the search bar. "Are you kidding me? You wrote it down--how do you not know that?"

"I copied the letters," Guy replied. "My apologies, guapo Baxter."

That was the second time these guys had called him that, and Baxter tried to juggle his capacity for street Spanish, his incredulity over Guy's professed illiteracy given his beautiful penmanship, and the directive to title search. The third item won on the strength of Guy's wonderfully imploring eyes. Baxter huffed and did the look-up. He jotted the results on his motel pad, somewhat surprised to find the location under Cryptology rather than History or even Occult History.

"Got it," Baxter announced, holding up the pad.

A sharp crack rang out and something zinged through the air above Baxter's head. He ducked and turtled in, head up and eyes wild as he searched for their latest attacker. Crooked-nose was back, flanked with more of his scurvy brethren.

"Stabbin' Sam Pike has found us!" Guy exclaimed, grabbing Baxter and dragging him behind the nearest stack. He gripped Baxter and looked deeply into his eyes. "I regret to say we must separate, but you have the location of the curse-breaker?"

"I have it." Baxter gave a firm nod.

"You must find this curse-breaker, Baxter. Will you do this for me?" Guy's eyes were level and earnest.

Baxter found himself nodding. I only came here to come up with a plan, he wanted to protest, but had to admit whatever event they were staging was far more exciting than apartment-hunting. The edges of the pad cut into his hand and he glanced down, tucking it into one of his sinfully-tight front pockets.

"I'll find it," Baxter promised. "But what about you?"

Guy replied with a rakish grin. "I shall be giving Sam Pike cause for rigorous pursuit."

"Oh," Baxter said faintly, his libido surging to the fore again at the promise of that grin. He pushed it firmly down. "But ... but how will I find you?"

"The coin I gave you," Guy said. "Rub the face side and it will lead me to you. That failing, my partner Rodrigo may render assistance."

"Rodrigo, I've met him," Baxter grasped onto that, ignoring the silly bit about the coin. His face fell. Of course they were partners, dovetailing into the gay and taken category that kept Baxter down on his luck despite being a good gay man--

His brain was derailed from its self-pitying train of thought as Guy grabbed him, hauled him close, and crashed his mouth against Baxter's. It was not a magical first kiss as far as those things went. It was rough, over far too soon, and put Baxter in danger of a split lip as teeth attempted to clash with his through their closed mouths. The scent of sweaty, masculine Guy wrapped him in an intoxicating embrace and the scruff rubbed his chin in all the best ways, though, and when Guy pulled away Baxter's eyes were half-closed and leaving Guy's side was the last thing on his mind.

"Now go!" Guy gripped his shoulder. "Find the code-breaker and stay alive, Baxter, and I or Rodrigo shall find you once more!" He gave Baxter a not-ungentle shove toward the far stacks and brandished his sword, giving voice to a bloodcurdling yell that made Baxter cringe away.

The sooner they were kicked out of the library, the sooner Baxter could get Guy's number, he reasoned. He stumbled away with a dopey smile on his face.

He passed three panels of slanted ceiling to floor glass before turning incredulous eyes on it. There was water coursing down it from top to bottom, but the loudest roar of water was still in the distance. "Some kind of water installation ..." Baxter began dubiously, about to step closer before another sharp crack off somewhere in the stacks made his head rise like a startled deer's.

They would still be hunting for Baxter, and he was in far too open of an area. He darted into the stacks once more, trying to remember if he'd seen a Cryptology section. The further he went into the row, the more dark and dank the atmosphere became. His palms broke out in clammy sweat. He tried to keep his footsteps quiet, hearing shouts and the clash of swords, and scurried onward for the next aisle.

Baxter shook his head in dismay. He was totally, one hundred percent, utterly lost. He was going to have to work his way back to the Information desk on the first floor--and at least then he could find out whether the library had been rented out for some gay period costume drama and recommend they put up some kind of sign to warn entrants of what they might be getting into. Then again, knowing his own absent-minded tendencies, he'd walked past three such signs while admiring the improbable architecture.

He found another aisle and poked his head out, looking both ways. He sighed in relief when he saw what appeared to be the escalator to his far right. Taking care to move with caution, he skulked toward it and imagined the brilliance of Guy's smile if he were to present him the "code-breaker" he was seeking. Probably some kind of scavenger hunt, Baxter decided.

Instead of an escalator, Baxter arrived at a pair of mossy boulders. He gaped down between them at the waterfall flowing down the toothy metal steps of what had been an escalator, in another life or only half an hour ago. He could pick his way down slick waterfall-covered steps, try and find an elevator, or admit he was stuck. Baxter threw a narrow glare at the cheerful yellow "wet floor" sign straddling a stream that fed the waterfall. Seattleites had a truly bizarre sense of humor. Baxter was not laughing.

"Guapo! Oh, good, you are still alive!"

Baxter turned and his eyes widened. Rodrigo, dark and rakish and still wielding a wickedly sharp blade, stood between two stacks further down. He gestured urgently with his free hand.

"Are you still with me, guapo? I feared for your life. I am so glad to see you unharmed." His lively brown eye ran up and down the length of Baxter from his face to his feet and returned. Rodrigo gave him a smile Baxter would term sensual in any other context and beckoned again. "Come. You want to be with me, yes?"

Baxter clutched the cannon tome to his chest like a shield and wondered for a moment if he'd entered some kind of gay romance for the northwest. He dismissed that thought for the more immediate concern: flanked by two tricorn-hatted men, swords drawn, Stabbin' Sam Pike was charging between the library stacks straight toward him.

message 2: by ttg (new)

ttg | 571 comments Mod
LOVE. IT. OMG, Talya, this is hilarious (and sexy). The wet floor sign totally had me laughing! :D

message 3: by Kim (new)

Kim (dephal) | 16 comments Reading this is so much fun!

message 4: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Ricker | 7 comments This is hilarious and fun. And it's got the wheels turning in my head for the next installment.... :)

message 5: by Paul (new)

Paul | 30 comments Reading this is a blast!

message 6: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreaspeed) | 49 comments Great job! Here I was afraid if I made it too weird, everybody would hate me.. :D

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