Wes Boyd's
Spearfish Lake Tales
Contemporary Mainstream Books and Serials Online



Dawnwalker

Book 1 of the Dawnwalker Cycle


a novel by
Wes Boyd
2002, 2008




Chapter 16

Finals week was a madhouse, and spending the last weekend before exams kayaking and surfing didn't help much, but Randy hit the books hard and tried to start packing up stuff from his room. He spent some time Tuesday evening helping Crystal load her car; she had one test Wednesday morning, and then was planning on hitting the road. His time was free the next morning, so they made arrangements for her to call him after she was done with her test so they could say goodbye. The call came around ten-thirty; he hustled over toward Crystal and Myleigh's room to find the two of them coming down the stairs, so he followed them outside. There the Olds sat, Crystal's surfboard tied to the top, with clothing and gear packed inside; at that, a big part of it would stay in Glen Ellyn till the fall.

Down in the parking lot, the three threw their arms around each other. "Drive carefully," Myleigh said quietly. "It's going to be a long time till fall."

"Yeah, take care, Crystal," Randy added, pulling his part of the group hug a little tighter.

"I'm gonna miss you guys," she told them. "Randy, if you can get free to come down and visit me on the Ocoee, well, you'll be welcome."

"I just don't know yet," he said, patting her on the back a little. It was nothing that hadn't been said before.

"Guess I'd better go," Crystal said, breaking apart the circle. "Randy, take good care of Myleigh for me. We'll get some good runs in next fall," she grinned, opening the car door and getting in. Randy and Myleigh stood side by side, their arms around each other, as she drove away. A turn signal blinked at the parking lot exit, brake lights flashed, and then the gray Olds Cutlass turned and was lost in the traffic.

"All good things come to an end," Randy told Myleigh sadly, as they looked out at the street where the Olds had disappeared.

"Yes, I shall miss her, too," Myleigh said. "At least we'll have another year together, the three of us."

"It'll be hard to top this spring," he smiled. "Let's not get maudlin. Come on over to the caf. I'll buy you a cup of tea."

"I must pass, I fear," she said, shaking her head. "I've an exam shortly, and it's far across campus."

"Let's make it a quick one," he grinned. "I'll drive you."

"Then let us," she smiled. "Randy, I may civilize you yet."

"I didn't say I was buying me a cup of tea," he grinned. "I'll stick to my barbarian coffee, but I will buy you one."

"Ah, yes, some things never change," she grinned.

The cafeteria was nearly empty -- but then, the whole campus was emptying out as people's classes came to an end. By this time next week, the room would be long closed and filled with echoes. They were on short schedules, so they just stuck to their respective cups of coffee and tea as they sat at a lonely table for two.

"You know," Myleigh said casually, "I really was a little angry with you and Crystal last weekend."

"You mean, out at the beach?" He'd thought about it, and realized that there had been a bit of acid in her words.

"Yes, that was showing off, and you know it. Do not misunderstand me. I know why you and she did it; you were feeling quite good about the whole affair, and you had reason to. However, I was a little piqued at the way we left town to come back here so quickly. It had all the air of a bull elk taking his harem back to his lair to rut."

"We came back and hit the books. You know that," he replied, not seeing anything particularly the matter with what they'd done.

"Yes, I know that," she admitted. "But that was not necessarily the impression that was left behind. But, no matter. I know it was mistaken of me, but it rubbed me a little wrong at the time. Perhaps I was being sensitive. The two of you were doing something out of the ordinary, and you had a reason to be proud. And, I was proud for you."

"I know we ignored you a little," Randy said. "That was unintentional. There was a lot going on in a short time."

"Oh, I knew that was going to happen and did not mind," she grinned. "I'm used to being the fifth wheel in such things, and suppose I shall have it happen more next year. But, perhaps the part that rubbed me the wrong way was a failing on my part, for I confess I felt a little shameful at being the one to bask in the reflections of your glory."

"Nothing shameful about it," Randy shrugged. "It's called being proud of your friends, proud for your friends, and proud that they are your friends. There's nothing wrong with a little pride, as long as it's kept under control. I'm proud of you, and don't mind being recognized being with one of the smartest and most literate girls on campus, if not the most, in both those categories. It makes me feel like I'm good enough that someday I might measure up to you in some way, and that you might approve of me."

"Well, I am proud of you, and proud to have you for a friend," she smiled. "As I am with Crystal."

"I guess maybe that's what friendship is," he said. "We can overlook our differences, and even glory in them, because we all like each other enough to overlook them."

"I think that must be correct." She said and sipped her tea, then snickered, "But, I must confess that I did a little to add to the freshmen's confusion Saturday, just out of my own devious pleasure."

He got a big grin on his face. "Myleigh, you little sneak!" he said. "What did you do?"

"Very little, actually," she smiled. "I tried to be casually cool, and tried to appear a little bored. When one of them approached me and said they thought what you were doing was, and I quote, 'Way cool!' I sort of brushed it off and said that it was nothing much and they ought to watch you two when you were on the big stuff."

"Shame on you for messing with the minds of innocent freshmen like that," Randy grinned. "Of course, they're not going to be freshmen much longer."

"Yes," she smiled. "Then, next fall, there will be other freshmen, and they will hear the legend about Saturday from the new sophomores. I confess, I hate to admit to basking in your glory, but it does give me a warm feeling to walk into a room and have my pride of lions with me." She looked sad for a moment, then continued, "I suppose had I such a pride of lions in high school, things would have been far different, but my lions have made my life much more rewarding here. So, I don't mind abetting a legend a little from time to time."

"Myleigh," he grinned. "Do you ever watch old movies? Especially westerns?"

"On occasion," she grinned. "They can be very escapist."

"Do you remember one, I think it was a John Wayne flick, maybe True Grit, maybe something else, where a guy says something like, 'When the truth is overshadowed by the legend, print the legend.'"

"It was The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, and it was Jimmy Stewart, not John Wayne. But yes, I remember the quote. I daresay to hear the story by next fall the two of you will have been in hurricane-force winds, dodging ice floes as you surfed."

"It may not take till fall," he grinned. "I've heard stories . . . well, no, I can't say that. Let's just say there have been some interesting glances and background whispers that I've picked up."

"I shall be forced to write a song," she grinned. "The Ballad of Crystal and Randy. I shall fill it full of huge icy seas and howling winds and innocent freshmen cowering at the sight of the two courageous souls on their surfboards."

"You do that and I shall be forced to turn you over my knee and spank you," he teased with an equally huge grin. "That is, assuming Crystal doesn't beat me to it."

"Ah, yes, there is often danger involved with thrills, isn't there?" she snickered. "And, with that thought, Randy, I must be off. I dare not be late for my exam. You were going to drive me, weren't you, my lion?"

~~~~~

The campus emptied rapidly the next couple of days. Matt had his last test Thursday, and by late in the afternoon he and Randy had his pickup loaded with furniture and other nonessentials they wouldn't need till next fall. There was no big, emotional parting here, just a "See ya next fall, yaaah?" as he climbed into the cab. The room was a lot emptier when Randy went back to it; much of the necessities he was taking home had already been packed for loading after he finished hauling Myleigh on Saturday. For the next couple days, he'd live out of a duffel bag.

Randy had one big final remaining on Friday morning, and it was one he felt he needed to cram for, so after a quick dinner with Myleigh, he went back to the unaccustomed quiet of his room and hit the books. Once the test was over he was free, and by then so was Myleigh. He spent much of Friday afternoon helping her pack, and they loaded his car so they could get an early start in moving her over to the apartment on Saturday. It was a sad time; the campus was largely empty now, and it would finish emptying the next day. To break the spell a bit, Randy took Myleigh out to a quiet dinner at a restaurant to the south of Marquette, nothing elegant or fancy, but a chance to get out, and it was a quiet time. Summer seemed to hang very heavily upon them, now.

They were up early the next day, which was bright, cloudless, and almost warm. After a last breakfast, they headed over to Mike and Cheryl's apartment, which would be Myleigh's for the summer. It was a small, upstairs apartment in an older part of town, not far from the campus; it was reached by a long and steep flight of stairs.

Mike and Cheryl were close to getting the things they'd need for the summer loaded. It was a sad time for them, too; they'd be separated for the summer again, since none of their parents had any idea that they'd lived together for well over two years, although Cheryl was wearing an engagement ring. Randy had an idea that there was more of a story there than the brief bit he'd gotten from them, but he wasn't that interested. The hand-over went rapidly; it was the third summer they'd had the arrangement with Myleigh. Cheryl told Myleigh that they'd eaten most of the food in the apartment, but had left some items in the freezer and refrigerator. She was welcome to eat it, if she wished; it wouldn't last until fall. There was a tank of fish that had to be fed once a day, and the tank cleaned now and then, and a few other such minor details.

Randy and Myleigh helped Mike and Cheryl haul the last boxes downstairs to their separate cars, and they helped haul Myleigh's up. Once they had the apartment pretty well empty of the things that would be going, and Randy's car empty, as well, he and Myleigh headed back to the campus, mostly to avoid what had to be a rather poignant and private departure for the two. By the time they got back with the last of the things from Crystal and Myleigh's room, Mike and Cheryl were gone, no doubt sadly driving home in different directions. It made Randy and Myleigh's imminent separation both easier and harder. They made a run to the supermarket and loaded the car up again. Randy thought that Myleigh ought to be able to go for a long time on what they carried up the stairs and put away in the cupboards and refrigerator.

Finally, they headed back to the campus, to clean out the last of the stuff from his room. There wasn't much, but somehow it still seemed to fill up half the car. Randy turned in the keys, and they went over to the PEIF to get his surfboard off the rack and tie it on top. That was it; the year was over, and he was ready to go.

Randy was a little surprised to have Myleigh snuggle over next to him as he drove the car back to the apartment. They hadn't done that since the night that they'd been heading south on spring break, but it was a sad moment of parting, and while he couldn't speak for her, it was a moment of closeness that he would remember. However, not much was said until he parked the Dodge in front of the apartment.

"Looks like this is it," he said, turning to look at her. "I'll see you in a few weeks."

She turned her lips toward his, and they kissed, a much more passionate one than the pecks that they'd shared from time to time. As it ended, she rested her head on his shoulder, and they were silent for a moment. "Randy, my lion," she said finally, "If you're not in a huge rush, there's one more favor I wish to ask of you."

"I'm in no hurry," he said. "I probably should get home tonight, but I can drive late if I have to." They got out of the car, and he followed her up the stairs for what had to be the umpteenth time today, wondering what chore needed to be done. It was comfortable up there; it was still cool outside, and the heat was still on. "All right, Myleigh," he said as he shut the upstairs door and walked into the living room. "What is it you wanted me to do?"

She said nothing, but turned around, took him into her arms, and planted a kiss on him that made the one downstairs in the car seem like a peck on the cheek. As their tongues entwined, his mind roared, mostly wondering what was going on here. Finally, she broke free, rested her head on his shoulder, and whispered, "Randy, my lion, please hear me out, as this is rather embarrassing, and I do not know quite how to express what I wish to say."

"Just say it," he suggested softly.

"I want you to make love to me."

If Randy's mind had been roaring before, now it screamed. There hadn't been the slightest hint of this from her at all. Well, maybe there had been, but he'd been too dense to see it -- all that "my lion" stuff, for instance -- but somewhere near the surface of his thoughts was Crystal's warning of the week before, to be gentle with Myleigh, to not get out of line. "Are you sure?" he asked, as gently as he could.

"Randy, this is extremely difficult for me to ask," she said quietly, "Although I made the decision some time ago. I decided to wait until Crystal was on her way to Tennessee, as I did not wish to endure the teasing like I made you two suffer down in Florida, not that I believe for a moment that would happen. However, she and I have discussed it at great length, and she agrees that there could be no one better than you to deflower me."

Randy's mind raced. Myleigh and Crystal had probably been talking about it ever since spring break! Why hadn't Crystal given him some warning? Suddenly, he realized that she had -- that was what she had been talking about up at Big and Little Falls last weekend! She just hadn't been sure if it was really going to happen . . . "Why, Myleigh? I thought you wanted to avoid something like this."

"What I have said is that I do not wish to be a slave to a penis," she said. "I still do not wish to be. However, I also told you that I have no wish to die a virgin, and I'm asking you to relieve me of that burden."

He took her chin, and turned her face so that she'd look him in his eyes. "If that's what you really want, Myleigh. But, I'd still like to know what this is about, because I want to be sure I'm doing the right thing."

"Randy, this is no decision made on the spur of the moment," she said softly. "Suffice it to say that I've known that there's been something missing from my life. I suppose I teased you and Crystal so hard down in Florida because I knew it was missing. She understands this; as I said we have discussed it at length. But, because of our peculiar relationship, and because of that incident, I believe that with you I may lose my virginity without becoming a slave to your penis."

Randy's thoughts were settling down at her words, and becoming focused. "Before Crystal and I had that little evening, we had a talk about the three of us," he told her. "I told her then, and I'm telling you now, I don't want something like this to break up our friendship. That's just as true as it ever was."

"That's all the more reason," she smiled. "There has been a certain imbalance among us since Florida, although you have been very good at trying to keep that balance. I would hope that this would even it out."

"All right, Myleigh," he said, hoping he was doing the right thing. "One more time. Are you sure? Real sure?"

She looked in his eyes and smiled. "Quite."

"If you change your mind, just say so," he said, bending down to kiss her again.

To his surprise, she pulled away. "Before we get wrapped up in the heat of passion, there are a couple other things we must discuss, my lion."

"What?" he asked gently.

"As I told you before, Crystal and I have discussed this at length. All my life, I have heard stories of how the first time may be uncomfortable, even painful for a woman. She assures me that it was not the case with her, but she warns that it may not be true for everyone. However, she did request most strongly that if it does prove uncomfortable, I am to attempt it a second time, at a later date. Would you be willing to accommodate me if it should become necessary?"

"Of course," he said, remembering Nicole; it had been awkward and not much fun for her the first time, but better on later occasions. "I was going to try to figure out a way to suggest that myself without sounding pushy."

"I knew you were thoughtful," she grinned. "Also, Crystal has taken precautions with regard to the potential for biological accidents. Due to the uncertainty and frankly, the unlikelihood until recently, I have taken no such precautions, so I shall have to ask you to wear a condom."

"I've got some in the car, I think," he said.

"There's no need," she said. "Crystal was kind enough to acquire some for us. I would have been much too embarrassed to do so myself."

Randy put an item on his mental list: to wring Crystal's neck some time. Him and some army, that is. If she'd known this was coming, she could have given him a lot less ambiguous warning than she'd given him up at Big and Little Falls! But, that wasn't what he said. "If you'd like to dig them out so that they'll be handy when the time comes, then I think we can work on being passionate."

When he'd had that vigorous night with Crystal back in Florida, he'd known that she was a very physical person, who had been around the block before, so their lovemaking had been wild, uninhibited, and physical. This was not the route to take with Myleigh, and he knew that without even thinking about Crystal's warning. He knew to take it slow and gently and passionately with her, with plenty of touching, plenty of playing with each other's bodies, before they got down to the final moves.

Though he'd seen Myleigh in a string bikini before, when he took her brassiere off, he was pleased to discover firm, dark nipples that he thought were the prettiest he'd ever seen, and he spent some time licking them and playing with them, to her obvious delight. After a while, he lay back against the pillow, her head on his shoulder, and they kissed repeatedly as his fingers explored and thrilled her. He played with her a little more, then asked, "Are you ready for what comes next?"

"Of course, my lion. I can hardly wait."

Then, finally, he placed his knees between hers, gave her a kiss, then got ready to enter her. "Last chance to stay a virgin, Myleigh," he warned.

"Please put that status behind me," she smiled.

If she had any discomfort as he pushed into her, he didn't detect it. What he did hear was a moan that sounded like delight, with others to follow.

Afterward, they lay spent on the bed, their sweat mingling, sharing short words and long touches as they recovered. "That was very nice, Randy," she said presently. "Thank you for being so kind."

"Thank you for asking," he smiled.

"You know," she said, the spell wearing off a little now, "When I was a child, and first discovered what sex involved, my reaction was that having a boy's penis inside me was the most disgusting thing I could imagine. I could not imagine any sane woman tolerating such a thing, much less liking it and eager for it. Now, my lion, I'm pleasantly surprised to find that it's not intolerable at all."

Randy was halfway back to Spearfish Lake, replaying the evening in his mind, when it dawned on him that he didn't know if her words were a compliment or not.



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