Pretend(9)

By: Riley Hart


For some reason, Gavin didn’t have to think about his answer. The only way for him to find what he really wanted in life was to get out and live it. “Name the time and place, boss.”





CHAPTER FIVE

Mason had gone skydiving twice in his life, both times when he’d needed a little clarity—the first right before he moved to Blackcreek, and the second a couple months ago when he found out he’d been lied to his whole life.

He hadn’t planned on going again when he asked Gavin, but something about the way he’d spoken to Mason prompted the question. Mason knew what it felt like for your life to suddenly seem as though it wasn’t what you thought it was—as though you didn’t really know what direction to go. He saw that feeling mirrored in Gavin. Even though he didn’t know Gavin well, he understood him on that level and wanted to help.

Plus, jumping out of a plane was fun as hell, and he was actually looking forward to the chance to spend a little more time with Gavin. Mason had this urge to figure him out, and he couldn’t yet.

They’d planned the trip for Sunday since it was one of the two days Mason took off at the bar. Gavin had worked a few shifts during the week and seemed to be fitting in well, which he was happy about. Mason took Creekside seriously. He’d always been somewhat of a workaholic, and that didn’t change when he bought his bar.

Mason pulled up at Gavin’s house to see him waiting on the porch.

“Hey. Thanks for picking me up,” Gavin told him as he climbed into Mason’s vehicle.

They had about an hour and a half drive ahead of them, and though it wasn’t too early, they’d both worked late at the bar last night. As Mason started to pull away, he spoke. “No problem. There’s coffee in the thermos if you want some. Black with sugar.”

Gavin raised a brow at him. “No creamer? Can we stop by Starbucks or something?”

“What? Get out.” He stopped driving. “No talk about fake coffee when you’re with me.”

“Ah, don’t tell me you’re one of those? Real men can’t drink good coffee?”

Mason started driving again. “Did you just insinuate that my coffee isn’t good?”

“Maybe it’s because you’re a good bartender… You know, you make good drinks so you make shit coffee. Can’t be good at everything, ya know?”

“Fuck you. My coffee and my drinks are good. Don’t be jealous because I’m a man of many talents. I’m not selfish. I can teach you all my tricks if you want.”

Gavin leaned back, his head resting against the seat as he turned to look Mason’s way. His eyes looked tired, and slightly red. He hadn’t shaved today, and Mason liked the dark hair on his jaw. He wore jeans that hugged his legs, and a t-shirt pulled tight against his chest. He had this innocence to him that Mason could practically feel, but at the same time Mason sensed more beneath the surface. He wasn’t sure what exactly it was, but it intrigued him.

“Are you going to watch the road so we don’t kill ourselves before we get to jump out of the plane?” Gavin smirked. “And are we really going to go there? With the ‘all my tricks’ thing? I’m not sure I’m awake enough yet to flirt.”

Mason shook his head and got his eyes back on the road where they belonged. “Fucker.” Still, he couldn’t help but smile.

***

They were quiet for most of the drive and Gavin was thankful for it. Not that he didn’t want to speak to Mason, but because it wasn’t every day that he jumped out of a plane.

Both excitement and nerves made his muscles twitch and his body feel overworked. Part of that was probably all the shit he had on his mind as well. He hadn’t talked to his mom since their conversation almost a week ago. He started working as a bartender, something he never saw himself doing. His mind had been running since the day he was forced to walk away from the career he’d given his life to. Deciding to go skydiving intensified it.

“Second thoughts?” Mason asked as he killed the engine in the parking lot of the skydiving facility.

Soon, he would be jumping out of a plane. Falling, flying, letting go. Which was exactly what he wanted in his life—to really live it and discover who Gavin Davis really was. “Not a chance.”

Gavin got out of the vehicle, Mason right behind him. They went inside, and watched a training video first. He had his arms crossed the whole time, the fingers of one hand tapping on the other arm because he couldn’t keep still.

He’d never done something like this before in his life, never even considered it, and suddenly he couldn’t wait.