At the party, Kai and Paisley find out that Epiphany, Toby’s fiancee, is pregnant with their first child. The baby is due that day, but hasn’t put in his appearance yet.
“Yeah. Who’d have thought I’d be a dad and getting married? I mean, it’s strange. I still feel like a kid, you know? But I can’t even imagine being without her.” He rubbed his nose with the back of his hand, turning away from Kai. “Sorry. I sound like a chick flick.”
Kai chuckled, punching him. “Odd as it sounds, dude, I know how you feel. Been feeling that way myself, the last few days. I know we just met, but…. I dunno. I can’t explain it.”
“Been there. So, progress?”
Toby didn’t have to be anymore specific. Kai knew what he meant. He shook his head.
“Got some things to work through. Old fears….”
“That, and she’s a virgin.”
“You knew that?”
“Bro, I’ve got like a gabillion girl cousins. Plus sisters…. I know the signs. I also know when they give it up. Something about them changes. And I knew Epi was pregnant, even before she did.”
“You can do all that? Seriously?”
“Thought everyone could.” Toby shrugged, taking a sip of his beer.
“I think that’s strictly you, bro. Most men are totally clueless.”
Toby chuckled. “Didn’t say I have a fking clue about jack shit else. Good to have you back, blood. I missed you.” He clapped Kai on the shoulder, and moved off to join Epiphany and Paisley.
Kai drifted after him, catching up with Paisley. His arm went around her waist, putting his hand in the front pocket of her jeans. She leaned against him without turning around.
“How’d you know it was me?”
“Cause no one else smells like you. Or feels like you….”
“That’s good, I hope.”
“You smell like fresh air, sunshine, and warm ocean breezes.”
“Damn, I’m good. I thought I smelled like sunscreen and chlorine.”
She nudged him with her elbow. “No. What I said.” She turned to face him. “I feel so welcome here. It’s like I just came home.” She blinked rapidly, fighting tears. “How did I get so lucky?”
“Been asking myself the same thing, since I met you.”
He kissed her neck, nibbling at the curve of her shoulder. His body responded to her nearness, so he backed up a step, giving himself a little room. Instead of staying put, Paisley backed into him, pushing closer.
“Don’t be ashamed of that,” she spoke under the music so only he could hear. “Because I’m not. I’m flattered.”
Kai chuckled, mouth near her ear. “Good to know it’s got an additional purpose. Never knew it could be flattering.”
“It’s because you’re interested. He never got like that, unless he was hurting me.”
“What a bastard. I assure you, I get wood, last thing I wanna do is hurt you.”
Paisley giggled, bumping him with her rear end. He grabbed her hips, holding her still.
“Please don’t do that. Or I’m gonna embarrass us both, by jizzing myself.”
She took half a step away. “Sorry. Is it weird for me to say, I like how it feels?” She blushed, embarrassed by her admission, but unable to stop herself.
“Not weird. Exciting. Come on, they’re heading down.” He grabbed a cooler and followed the rest to the beach.
Toby led Epiphany down, holding her carefully around the waist. She waddled through the sand, taking a seat on a beach chair. There was a huge bonfire burning on the beach. People were seated around it making s’mores and drinking beer. Kai and Paisley found a spot to sit and each grabbed a beer from the cooler Kai was carrying.
Someone handed them each a s’more and they fed bites to one another, laughing at the gooey mess they made of one another. A couple people pulled out guitars, and someone else had a harmonica. Another guy had bongo drums. Their improvised band started playing and everyone sang Happy Birthday to Epiphany.
After the laughter and applause died down, they started to play again. This time, it was Fall to Pieces by Velvet Revolver.
“Kai, sing!” Toby encouraged. “Nobody sings it like you. Come on!”
“Forgot the words to this one,” he mumbled, not wanting to sing in front of everyone.
“Play him something else,” Toby insisted. “Dude, you’re gonna sing something for the mother of my son, or I’m gonna roast your nuts over an open fire.”
Sighing dramatically, Kai leaned over to one of the guitarists and murmured something. Nodding, he spoke to his band mates and they played an upbeat song. After the short introduction, Kai started to sing. Amazing by One Eskimo.
His voice caressed the words, soaring and wailing on the high notes. Paisley shivered as she listened to him, loving the texture of his voice. Like warm velvet, it wrapped around her. Soon, the others joined Kai on the chorus, harmonizing. One guitar improvised a solo and the harmonica player added an interesting counterpoint while the guitarist played a modified bass line. One of the guys beat on a cooler for the drums. The effect was magical. When they finished, there was a moment of silence, then the applause and cheers started. Epiphany coaxed Kai over, giving him a kiss.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes