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

Pulling Even
Book Seven of the Dawnwalker Cycle
Wes Boyd
2004, 2009, 2011

Chapter 29

Saturday, January 5, 2002

Originally, Trey and Myleigh's plan after they returned from their honeymoon had been to leave directly from the Camden airport on their trip back to Kansas City. But, that had been before Blake and Jennifer gave Myleigh the harp – and before Nicole gave Trey the handcuffs. From a point about two minutes after the newly-wedded Hartwells pulled out of the Walworth driveway, that plan changed. A honeymoon was one thing; they had planned it and had some things they wanted to do on it, especially in bed, considering their self-imposed delay. But, but getting her unfettered hands on that harp was something Myleigh was adamant about doing before they went back to Kansas City, especially since it was too big for Trey's car and would have to stay in Spearfish Lake.

Randy and Nicole had suspected such a scenario all week, but they didn't know for sure until Nicole got a call midmorning on Saturday from Myleigh. The two had gotten back to the airport in Camden and asked if it would be a problem if they came up and spent the night. Nicole told her that it was no problem; she had been as curious as anyone else about what had happened on the honeymoon, especially if the Tiburon Bahia Resort actually was what Danny had reported.

Randy had been out and around somewhere; Nicole wasn't sure where, but she thought either the Spearfish Lake Cafe or the office were pretty likely. He showed up a little while later, apparently lost in thought. Naturally, she asked where he'd been.

"Oh, out at the local ski hill," he replied absently.

"You went snowboarding and didn't take me?" she chided.

"No snowboarding," he shrugged. "I didn't even get out of the truck. I just needed to look around and adjust my thinking a little."

"Oh, the ski lodge thing again?"

"Yeah," he said. "I was thinking about it this morning and it struck me that all they're trying to build this year is that kind of place on a somewhat bigger scale, not Aspen revisited. I mean, I've been out there enough to know the place pretty well, but I sort of needed to jog my memory a little. The more I think about it, the more I think that we could get away with doing the project in-house and save the tribe a pot load of money."

Nicole had, of course, had a blow-by-blow description of the events of a few days before, and had been witness to a lot of Randy's ruminations about them. "You're saying have Ken design the ski area?" she asked.

"You get right down to it, I don't see any reason why he can't," Randy replied. Ken was a guy in his fifties who had worked for Clark Construction for many years, sometimes as a carpenter, but often as a draftsman. He wasn't a trained and certified architect, but had a good eye for design. He often did architect-quality work on projects when an architect wasn't really needed. He was good – in fact, he'd been the guy who had designed Randy and Nicole's house, if any proof was needed. "He's got a good eye for site design and development. I'm thinking if I send him out to nose around ski resorts for a week or so that he probably could learn all we need to know to get the design work done. It's not that complicated."

"How about the ski lifts and like that?"

"Again, it isn't Aspen," Randy said. "I did some investigation yesterday, and we can buy all the bits and pieces we need for the lifts and put them up ourselves. We can even get some consultation from the manufacturer for some things I'm not real clear about. After all, this isn't a public project, and there's no bank to insist on an architect. I think I'll call Norm on Monday and run it by him."

"How about the lodge? Could you have Ken do that?"

"I'm not sure without talking to him," Randy smiled. "But it's something to think about. While I'm having him look around ski areas, I think I'll have him look over the lodges while he's at it. He might come up with some good input even if he doesn't wind up designing it."

"Is that going to get in the way of you going to the Bahamas?" Nicole couldn't help but wonder.

"No, unless something really comes out of the woodwork, that's all set," Randy told her. "I'll have to take Ken up to talk with Norm, and it's going to take him a while, but he should just about have a proposal ready by the time I get back. The time pressure is really off now. If we keep it in house there's no way an architect can drag ass on it. So, what's happening around here today?"

"Oh, I had a call a few minutes ago," she reported. "Myleigh and Trey are back from Mexico, on their way from Camden, and they're headed up here. I don't expect them for a while. I think they'll go straight to Blake and Jennifer's."

"God help anyone who gets between Myleigh and that harp," Randy smiled. "She's been without a harp for almost a week now; she must be having withdrawal symptoms."

"Foaming at the mouth was the impression I got," Nicole snickered. "The question now is if Trey is going to have to handcuff her to get her back to Kansas City. They're going to spend the night here and leave for Marienthal first thing in the morning."

"Good," Randy smiled. "I'm looking forward to hearing about what happened."

It was after dinner before Myleigh and Trey showed up. Both Nicole and Randy were a little surprised that Trey hadn't had to put Myleigh in handcuffs again to get her out of Blake and Jennifer's, but she seemed about as hyper as Randy had ever seen her. "What a marvelous, heavenly instrument," she gushed when asked about it. "I fear it shall never replace Blue Beauty in my heart, but the timbre and range of that harp is enough to send me to heights of rapture. How very thoughtful it was of Blake and Jennifer to arrange to procure that specific instrument and give it to me. I believe vast new heights of endeavor will be experienced when I am familiar enough to do it justice."

"I take it that means you liked it," Nicole giggled.

"Oh, dear me, yes," Myleigh beamed. "It is such a shame that I cannot take it back to Marienthal with us, but even if we had a vehicle of such size to carry it I fear there isn't enough room in our apartment for it. I shall be counting the days until I can return here to rest my fingers on its strings again."

"Gives you a reason to come back," Randy said. "I'm guessing spring break?"

"Oh, we shall be here for that, I am certain," she replied. "In fact, I would expect that we shall be making some weekend trips up here for no other reason, even though Trey feels that our presence here will be needed for items to do with the house."

"Yeah," Trey added. "While Myleigh was off in a world of her own, Blake, Jennifer, and I spent some time planning. It looks like I'm going to have to be up here more than we thought, starting in a couple weeks to get the studio set up, assuming that you guys will be done in there by then."

"We should be, unless something really stupid happens," Randy told him. "I wanted to have that project signed off before I head to the Bahamas. That's two weeks from today."

"It's still on?" Trey asked.

"I'm a little surprised that something hasn't come up to kill it," Randy told him. "But yeah, it is. If nothing else it'll be good to be away from all this snow for a while."

"Well, good for you," Trey said. "After a week of warm beaches it's hard to have to come back to the cold again."

"Hey," Nicole said, "I want to hear all about your honeymoon, but let's not just stand around here by the door. Why don't we get your stuff up to your room, and then I can break out some wine and we can hit the hot tub?"

"Oh my, yes," Myleigh smiled. "We had the most marvelous time. We'll have to tell you all about it."

A few minutes later all four of them were in the hot tub, all nude, of course. Myleigh was snuggled up under Trey's arm, with a huge grin on her face. "I suppose you wish to know all the lurid and intimate details about our honeymoon, with a detailed amount of all the mad, passionate sex my husband and I shared morning, noon, and night?

"Well, not all of it," Nicole grinned. "But I take it that you had a good time."

"All in all we had a very nice time," Myleigh grinned. "I think I am coming to appreciate the fact that I shall very much enjoy being married to Trey. He is quite fulfilling, and I mean that in more than one sense, I assure you. I fear I do not know how to say it, but I feel he completes a part of me that was in dire need of fulfillment. I confess that until recently I had not really thought much about the practicalities of being married, and I am sure that there are issues that we shall have to work out, but I feel that we shall be able to do so in a civilized manner."

"Well, good," Randy said. "It takes a little getting used to, and you have to learn to give and take along the way."

"Oh, I am quite certain that we shall," Myleigh told them. "I was rather incensed with Trey's refusal to remove the handcuffs from my wrists a week ago, that I might spend a few minutes with that magnificent harp. However, I am forced to admit that after a while I was able to get things into perspective and realize that he was doing it for the benefit of both of us."

"I wondered about that," Nicole said, trying to hide a smile. "How long did he leave them on you?"

"We had arrived at the motel room in Camden before he removed them from my wrists," Myleigh said. "I should have thought that he would have at least allowed me to change clothes here, but he was cruel and mean and dastardly to me by refusing to permit it. I had to bear the weight of those manacles upon my wrists for what seemed like days before he removed them, with the warning that he would shackle me to the bed with them if I attempted to sneak out and return to Spearfish Lake in order to try out that wonderful instrument."

"Good thinking, Trey," Randy laughed. "I've been around Myleigh enough over the years to know that sometimes you have to be a little firm with her, especially when she gets an idea in her head."

"Oh, I knew that," Trey smiled. "Sometimes you use the carrot, and sometimes the stick. Once she realized the inevitability of it all, that she had other things to occupy her mind finally filtered to the surface. Let's just say that we had a really enjoyable evening, and it was hard to get up when the alarm went off the next morning. We did, though, since we had a plane to catch."

"How'd that work out?" Randy asked, his distrust of airlines arising in him.

"Not bad," Trey said. "We only had one connection and it worked out pretty well. Camden to Minneapolis-St. Paul, then to Cancun. I had a rental car lined up there, and we headed on down to the resort. It shot most of the day in the butt, but it was a lot warmer than here."

Both Randy and Nicole really wanted to know what happened next, but were just a little reluctant to admit that they knew what Danny had told them. They'd talked about it ahead of time and agreed to give Myleigh and Trey a chance to admit it before they'd drag it out of them. "Are those Mexican drivers as bad as they say they are?" he asked.

"No, it went pretty good, all in all," Trey said. "They're used to people who don't speak Spanish showing up there, so everyone was pretty helpful."

"It was ever so much warmer than here," Myleigh added. "Even much warmer than in Kansas City. I found the different atmosphere and culture most exhilarating. We arrived at the resort about the time the sun was setting, just in time to partake of the evening repast. It proved to be a very nice resort, and I believe Trey did very well in choosing it."

"I didn't really have a lot to do with it," Trey admitted. "It was mostly the woman at the travel agency in Kansas City. I went to her and told her what I was looking for. That involved a small, intimate place with a nice warm beach, preferably with some surf, and a place where families wouldn't overrun us with kids. Everything worked out well, except that we only had surf one day and it wasn't particularly good. We had a room in the main building that opened right out onto the beach, so that was nice."

"A busy place?" Randy asked, trying to nudge Trey a little.

"No, it was not crowded in the least," Myleigh announced. "In fact, it was rather relaxed and romantic. I really appreciated the fact that Trey had been so thoughtful as to find a place where small children would not bother us. In fact, there were none. That might not be appropriate in other places and times, but for a honeymoon it was quite exquisite."

By now, Randy could see that they were avoiding telling something, mostly because he knew what they were avoiding. The time had come to be a little more direct. "Nice beach, huh?" he said. "I suppose you got some bikini watching done."

"Not a lot," Trey said. "There were other things we had on our minds."

"What Trey is being reticent about is the fact that since there were no children present, the clothing standards were somewhat relaxed," Myleigh grinned. "In fact, so much so that I think he would have to admit he rarely saw a body encumbered by a bikini. I for one found the opportunity to dispense with such unnecessary and archaic encumbrances a relief. I confess, I can hardly believe how liberating it felt to be able to fully enjoy the sun, the water, the sand and the air unimpeded. It was a marvelous, expanding experience, so much so that upon the one day that there was some marginal surf I chose to spend some time on the waves thus unencumbered."

"Let me get this straight," Nicole grinned. "You went surfing buck-ass naked."

"I should hardly be so crude as to say it in that manner, but that is indeed the state in which Trey and I enjoyed the rather modest breakers," Myleigh grinned. "I should admit to the fact that we were both slightly surprised to discover the relaxed requirements upon beach clothing the morning after we arrived, but after only a few seconds we considered that it was most fortunate. It made the experience ever so much more enjoyable."

"I have to ask," Nicole smiled. "Did you do anything more than hang around on the beach in your bare altogether with frequent privacy breaks in your room, or did you do anything else?"

"We did do some other things," Trey said. "There are some interesting Mayan ruins not far away, and we took off one day to visit them. Mostly we hung around the beach. We've been on a tight schedule for so long, with requirements that seemed to sometimes require us to be two different places at the same time, that it was nice to just sit around and not have to do anything but what we felt like doing."

"Yes," Myleigh agreed. "I will admit to some anxiety of separation from a harp, but that was strangely liberating as well, once I became accustomed to it. I dare say I should not want to experience that very often, but it allowed me to experience other joys. I somehow know that Trey and I would not have been able to achieve the closeness and sharing that we were able to enjoy had I been distracted by having a harp present. It would certainly have cut into the time we had available to enjoy such things."

Randy glanced over at Nicole with a gleam in his eyes and a chuckle on his face. In his years around Myleigh, Randy had learned a lot about how to decipher Myleigh-speak, although he didn't always get it right. He didn't have a lot of trouble with this one, though: Myleigh was coming as close as she ever would to admitting that the two of them had spent a lot of enjoyable time in bed together. Well, it was a honeymoon, and that was to be expected. The look on Nicole's face told him that she'd picked up the same message.

"Well," Randy said finally, trying to stifle his amusement, "I take all that to mean that you had a good time."

"Oh, yes, we had a most marvelous time," Myleigh said. "It was a shame to have to leave that tropic utopia and know I face a return to the toils of academe. I confess, I fear that this next term will seem to stretch toward an infinite period, especially considering that my love and I shall be separated as much as we expect. However, it is all to a good cause, and at the end of that period we shall be able to enjoy cohabitation in our new abode."

"It'll be gone before you know it," Randy said. "We're looking forward to having the two of you living up here. We had a little party on New Year's Eve, and if you two hadn't been on your honeymoon it would have been fun to have you around. We got to talking about stuff like doing a surfing trip over on Lake Michigan next summer, and the way a couple things have broken with my job it actually begins to look like I might be able to get free to enjoy some of those trips."

"That's good news, my dear Randy," Myleigh said. "I know you have felt very stifled for some years at having to work while your friends were out upon one adventure or another. It will be good for you to be able to occasionally enjoy an adventure of your own. I think I can safely speak for my husband when I say that I hope we might be able to accompany you upon one occasion or another."

*   *   *

Much later, Randy and Nicole were snuggled together in bed, close together under the covers with the lights out. "Well, shit," Nicole whispered. "I'd hoped to get a little more embarrassment out of her than that."

"With Myleigh? Not a chance," Randy whispered back, flexing his arm a little to draw her closer to him. "I think I told you that I figured that she'd take it in stride. I admit, I'm a little surprised that Trey did too, but not really that surprised. I think he tends to take his cue from her a lot. If she's comfortable with it, then he's comfortable with it. I'd be really surprised if they have any major problems for a while. Believe it or not, I think they make a good match. He'll probably be a much better husband for her than I would ever have been, so I guess that worked out."

"Was there ever a chance of that happening?"

"No, not really," Randy sighed. "There was a time that I wished that things would go that way, back when Crystal and Myleigh and I were a threesome and you really weren't in the picture. There's a very feminine side to Myleigh that appealed to me, a side that Crystal just never had and never will have. But I think I've told you before, the things I like most about Myleigh are the things that would drive me up the wall in the long run. Some of her quirks, like the way she talks, could get real old after a while. What's more, we both like to have our own way, and I can see that there would be a lot of times when it wouldn't be the same way. Trey is a nice guy, a little laid back, but he recognizes her unique and quirky qualities. Rather than trying to steer her, he instinctively knows that what he needs to do is to understand where she's trying to go and help out where he can. That's not to say that you're not a self-starter, but you and I can give a little with each other. I'll tell you what, Nicole. The last few days have driven it home to me. The more I see how both Crystal and Myleigh have matured, the more happy I am that I married you."

"Do you really mean that?" she said. "I really hate to say it, but I've always felt that I've been in a little bit of a competition with the two of them. Even since we've been married, I've felt that I've been competing with the memories you have of the two of them."

Randy was silent for a moment, contemplating her words. "I don't want to say that's not true," he said finally. "Because it was true there for a while. You were in competition with them back then, but you are not any longer. Remember that you won the competition, and in more ways than one. There are memories, but no longer competitive ones. Yes, Myleigh is still appealing to me in some ways. So is Crystal. Hell, Debbie, Tiffany, even Jennifer have some qualities that appeal to me in some ways, but you don't think you're in competition with them do you?"

"You've never been in bed with Debbie, Tiffany or Jennifer," she charged. "You have with Crystal and Myleigh."

"And now I'm in bed with you," he said. "Doesn't that mean something? It means you won, Nicole. It also means that I'm happy with the way things have turned out. Sure, there are times that I've been upset, especially in those times when I wanted to see more of you, but between Mosquito Valley, OLTA, college, and the Appalachian Trail you never seemed to have time for me. That's in the past, and we've ironed things out now. I've often been upset that I'll never get to do all the things that I'd like to do, especially things that the three of you have done where I never had the opportunity. But, there are new things out there, and we'll just have to do them."

"You really would like to have me on that trip to the Bahamas, wouldn't you?"

"Of course I would. I want to share things with you, and that's the downer about the whole trip. Under the circumstances I'm not going to give up on the trip, but I sure wish you were going with me. But maybe we'll get to do some other things, things we've never done before. Maybe sometime we'll have to find a week, maybe spring break, when we can go down and try out that resort that Myleigh and Trey went to."

"You just want to see me nude on a beach," she charged with a giggle.

"Yep, you've got it," he snickered back. "Come on, let's face it. If things had worked out a little different for us and I'd wound up taking you down there for our honeymoon, would you have spent the week bare-assed on the beach with other people around?"

She was silent for a moment. "At that point in time, no," she said. "In fact, I probably would have raised the kind of hell with you that I expected Myleigh to raise with Trey. But that was then, and you've liberated my thinking a little along that line. Well, you and the hot tub."

"I probably wouldn't have done it either," he whispered to her. "At least not then. But let me throw another question at you. Next summer, it wouldn't be any trick to get an invitation to spend an afternoon or a weekend out at West Turtle Lake. Wanna go?"

"Well, um . . . Mexico is one thing," she sighed. "Spearfish Lake is another. I'd have to think about it."

"You've got six months to think about it," he giggled. "Because, I really want to watch you running around bare-assed on a beach somewhere."

"You would, you lecher."

"You've got that right." He laughed, and went on, "You really have that right. I love watching your bare ass, and I think I would especially like watching other guys be jealous of me because I'm the only one that gets to hold onto that beautiful bare ass."

"Oh, hell," she sighed. "Why not?"

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