I still haven't packed for beach weekend either. And we're leaving tomorrow night after work. EEP. So that's why I say, *fingers crossed* I'll be done with Pieces by the end of this month =)
In the meantime... here's another teaser.
"You look happy." Olivia poked Jared in the side. The big man was grinning at his phone in a manner that she could only describe as goofy. Something she hadn't seen in... she couldn't remember the last time she'd seen him looking like this. Not since the first year or so of his relationship with Truckstop, and this big goofy grin had seldom been seen then either. "What's up?"
"Nothing." He didn't exactly try to hide the phone from her, but he tilted it away from her, his body twisting slightly. There was a note in his voice that was almost petulant.
"Ooo, it's a girl isn't it?" she teased, going up on her tiptoes to try and peer at the screen.
"It's Leigh," called Freddy from his place at the front desk. The sweet little subby was grinning, even though he had hunched his shoulders, already knowing that he was in trouble for telling on Jared. The Dom glared at him from across the lobby.
Olivia raised her eyebrows. "Looking for a spanking, are you sweetheart?"
"Yes?" The little sub's eyes lit up at the same time that an anxious expression passed over his face. He might want it, but he knew it was going to hurt too. Olivia just chuckled.
"I'll let Mistress Erin know that you need a lesson," Olivia said.
"Not you?" Freddy asked, looking disappointment. He flinched when Olivia sent him a sharp look, but she couldn't really hold it. Freddy was a sweetheart, and he was adorable, and wonderfully submissive, but not at all her type. Unfortunately, lately he seemed to have a bit of a case of hero-worship for her, starting from when she'd taken Roland down to his knees for getting in Lexie's face a few weeks ago. Olivia appreciated the sentiment, but she wasn't interested and she didn't want to hurt his feelings.
"You're a better match for Mistress Erin, Freddy. Besides, I'm teaching a class tonight, remember?" She turned back to Jared, so that she didn't have to keep looking at Freddy's sad puppy-dog eyes. "So Leigh's texting you? What's she saying."
"It's just stupid jokes." His tone was dismissive, but his eyes were lit up from within. It was all Olivia could do not to indulge in a little dance for joy. Jared hadn't been too appreciative of her last dance of joy, when he and Marissa had finally broken up.
She hadn't been sure whether or not she approved of whatever was going on between him and Leigh - after all, Jared definitely had certain needs which had gone unfulfilled for too long - but right now it looked like they were good for each other. At the very least, they could understand each other. Who knew, yet, if anything would come of it.
"Stupid jokes? I see."
"She sends them every day at the same time." Apparently Freddy really wanted a sore butt tonight. Olivia didn't mind, since he was obviously her best source of information right now.
"Butt out, Olivia."
"You know I don't offer advice unless asked," Olivia said, patting Jared's arm. She'd noticed a long time ago that people often didn't appreciate advice when it was early enough to really do some good; they preferred to wait until they'd messed up beyond all reason and were desperate for someone to help them out. So now she waited to give her advice when it was actually going to be listened to, even if a lot of problems could be avoided if people just came to her first instead of waiting till they'd fucked everything up. "I'm just going to say that I am very, very happy to see you looking so happy."
"We're not dating."
"Okay." Olivia kept her tone mild.
Jared eyed her, hesitating. "I might have sort of taken her on a kind of date."
"Uh huh." Now that was fascinating. Out of all of their friends, Jared was most often the one to sit quietly and listen to everyone else. It was hard to prod him out of his shell. Push any of the others hard enough and they would eventually crack and fess up; Jared would just retreat like a turtle. Not giving him a real response often yielded better results, but not always. He had to have something that he really wanted to share.
"It was just some star-gazing," he said gruffly, shoving his phone back in his pocket.
"Sounds like fun."
Olivia waited, but apparently that was all he wanted to say. Still, it said a lot that he was even willing to talk about it. He often dropped little tidbits to her that he wanted disseminated around the group.
He smiled at her. Olivia patted his arm again and headed into the club, almost relieved that he hadn't asked for any advice this time. She had no idea what she would have said. Leigh was a sweetheart and Olivia liked her a lot, but she was also getting over her own long-term relationship. She also had no personal experience with BDSM, even though she'd spent months in the club and had heard a lot of stories at girls' nights. Going by the way Jared was acting right now, he definitely had some developing feelings for her, but Marissa's hooks had always been in so deep... Olivia had hoped in the past that someone else at the club might be able to draw him away from Truck Stop, but it had never happened. She'd always managed to pull him back, manipulating his feelings of responsibility.
The fact that Leigh was floundering a bit now that she was single, that she was obviously still having trouble getting over her own ex, might be just what Jared needed. She could understand what he'd gone through better than anyone else in the group, and at the same time, her own emotional pain would be something that Jared would feel the need to help. Leigh wasn't broken, far from, but she was cracked. The combination might be exactly what Jared needed to finally get away from Marissa.