Pretend(10)

By: Riley Hart


After the video finished they got suited up and put their harnesses on. It was a short drive in a company truck to take them where the actual plane would take off.

The muscles in Gavin’s body kept getting tighter and tighter. He’d always lived his life sort of tense, but right now he felt incased in cement. Rigid.

When Gavin, Mason, the two instructors and the pilot were all in the tiny plane, it started down the runway, door still open.

“I’ve never flown before!” Gavin had to shout so Mason could hear him over the noise from the plane.

“Are you fucking kidding me? You’ve never been in a plane and the first time you do, you decide to jump out of one?”

“Looks that way!” Gavin turned away, his left leg bouncing up and down against Mason’s.

“Holy shit, you’re something else.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Gavin saw Mason shaking his head but he didn’t reply.

The ride was bumpy and loud. His ears popped the higher they went.

Before he knew it, they were telling him it was time.

Gavin didn’t know how they all fit as the four men moved around, one instructor attaching himself to Mason and the other to Gavin.

“Who goes first?” One of the instructors called out.

Mason looked at Gavin as though waiting for him to answer. Gavin felt a tickle on the back of his neck. Nerves started to take root, deeper inside him, but not enough to make him back down.

He nodded at Mason, who threw a sexy smile at him before moving to the open door. He couldn’t hear what they were saying to each other, but then suddenly Mason and his instructor were tumbling backward out of the plane. His stomach dropped with them as he watched them fall through the air.

“We’re up. Backward on the count of three!” His instructor told him. “One,”

Oh shit.

“Two.”

What the fuck was I thinking?

“Three!”

Freedom.

Wind rushed around him, rumbled loudly though his ear. Fear didn’t fit here. It felt like he was alive for the first time—invincible yet small and breakable at the same time. He could live forever. He could die in a second. None of it mattered. Nothing did. Not the fact that his dad was losing his mind. That his mom would be alone. That his parents prayed for him daily because they thought he would spend eternity burning in hell.

His job didn’t matter. Life was short, could end at any second, and he hadn’t even lived it. Not really. And why?

It was a rush like nothing Gavin had ever experienced before.

Suddenly Gavin’s whole body jerked and he was yanked upward as the parachute opened.

And then nothing but quiet peace, the world at his fingertips.

When his feet hit the ground, all Gavin could think about was flying again. He wanted to spend the rest of his life that way.





CHAPTER SIX

“I’ve never felt anything like that.” Gavin shook out his hands and then held them up to Mason.

They were trembling.

“It’s adrenaline. I feel it rushing through my body. I can’t turn the shit off.”

Mason watched as Gavin paced outside of the building. They’d finished their jump a while ago, and were about to head back to his vehicle. Gavin hadn’t stopped moving the whole time.

“Do you want to? Turn it off?”

“My legs feel like they could go out from under me at any second. My heart is a fucking jackhammer. I want to burst out of my skin, but not in a bad way.” He stopped in front of Mason. “No, I don’t want to turn it off.”

That’s what he wanted to hear. “I felt like that my first time. You’re not going to want to be cooped up in the truck while I drive all the way home. Boulder’s close. We can head over there, hang out, maybe hike some trails or something.”

For the first time since they touched the ground again, Gavin stopped moving. “Yeah?” The surprise in Gavin’s voice came unexpected.

“Yeah, sure. It’s not like I’d pass up a chance to spend a day outdoors when I’m usually locked in the bar all day.” He nodded toward his vehicle. “Let’s go.”

Still, Mason called Creekside to check on things. It was a habit that he knew he should get out of. They could handle it. His employees had his phone number. Still, he called and stopped by more than he should on his days off.

It didn’t take them long to get to the park. Mason had been here before. It was a little out of town, and had not only hiking trails but also sports and other activities on the other side.

They’d grabbed some food, water and ice before they arrived and put them in a small, insulated bag that Mason had with him, then tossed it into a backpack.

“You seem awfully prepared. I’m starting to think you had this planned.” Gavin leaned against the door as Mason walked over to his side.