Hello, bookish friends! Here’s a rough draft excerpt from a Finn/Will story I’m working on..hope you enjoy!
Forbidden to shift at home, Finn turns to biker’s son Will Branson for help.
Will takes Finn to Jack Corbin’s house.
Making friends is hard.
It took two seconds for Finn to ruin everything.
He hadn’t meant to blurt it out the way he had. It was just that he was buzzing with nerves, and his stomach was complicating things even further by doing little flips every time Will caught his eye.
“It’s just up here,” Will had promised. He loped ahead, his muscled shoulders broad even beneath his motorcycle jacket.
It was confusing, that was all. Instead of going down one of the paved streets in the neighborhood blocks, Will had led the way past the gas station and down a dusty gravel lane. A rock skittered out from under Finn’s sneakers as they angled toward a beige single-wide trailer.
Maybe Will wanted to stop somewhere before they got to Jack’s house, Finn thought. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other as Will jogged up the rickety wooden steps and banged on the door.
“Will,” Finn started. “Why are we—?”
And then the trailer door opened, and Jack Corbin stood in the entrance.
The words were out of Finn’s mouth before he could stop himself.
“Oh, my god,” Finn gaped. “You live here?”
Jack shot him a black look. “Yeah,” he said curtly. “I live here.” He stepped aside to let Will in.
“Oh,” Finn said. The word fell flat in the afternoon breeze. “I, uh—”
Jack narrowed his eyes.
“It’s just, uh, smaller,” Finn said lamely. “Than I expected.”
“If you don’t like it,” Jack growled, “you can leave.”
And with that, he slammed the door shut in Finn’s face.
Finn strongly considered leaving right then and there. Maybe I’ll just walk until I hit the next state, he thought miserably. Change my name. Transfer schools. The only other option was dying of embarrassment on Jack Corbin’s front lawn.
Behind the door, he could barely make out Will pleading with Jack: Please, man, be cool. Just give him a chance, OK?
Jack finally opened the door again a minute later, heaving a sigh that made him sound like he was fifty, not fifteen.
“OK, Finn,” he said. “You can come in.”
It may have seemed like a do-over, but Finn was pretty sure he had already blown any chance of getting in good with Will’s friend.
Even now during gym class, Will and Jack were jogging shoulder-to-shoulder as they rounded another loop in the mile run. Finn shook his head, a strange hurt lancing through his chest as he trudged ahead.
Will was just teaching you to shift, he reminded himself. Nothing more.
Even if I wanted more.
Finn was so lost in his thoughts that he barely registered Will and Jack a moment later, the two boys coming from behind to lap him.
“Man,” Jack said loudly. “Look at you.”
Finn slowed and turned, his lungs burning. “What?”
Jack laughed easily. He looked like he had barely broken a sweat. “Have you actually been running this whole time?”
Finn frowned. Sweating through gym class was bad enough, but he would be damned before he let Jack Corbin ridicule him, too. “It’s the mile run,” Finn snapped. “What the hell else would I be doing?”
Jack shook his head. “You’re doing it the hard way. Here.”
They had reached the corner of the building. Jack motioned for Finn to follow as he and Will ducked around the bricks.
“C’mon,” Jack insisted. “Over here. You can stop running.”
Finn stumbled to a halt as Jack and Will leaned against the wall. “What…what are you doing?”
“Just takin’ a little shortcut,” Will said.
“Dude, you sound like a parrot,” Jack observed. “Look, we’ve been doing the whole mile run thing for years. We can obviously do it if we need to.”
“It’s jus’ that sometimes we don’t want to,” Will finished. He leaned over to scout the other side of the building before giving Jack the thumbs up sign. “OK, man. You go first.”
In one smooth motion, Jack slipped into his crow shape and launched himself skyward. He banked once he was over the school building and landed on the roof.
Will clapped Finn on the shoulder. “All right. You’re up.”
“What?!” Finn yelped. He quickly lowered his voice to a desperate whisper. “I can’t shift here!”
“It’s fine,” Will assured him. “You’re real fast, now. Besides, you wanna keep runnin’ ‘til you barf?”
“Then get up there, crow boy. I’ll watch.”
Finn was pretty sure Will meant he would keep watch, but he couldn’t help but imagine those shocking blue eyes lingering on his body as he changed over. Jesus. Maybe if Finn was lucky, the feathers would come in fast enough to hide his blush.
Finn landed on the roof a moment later, blinded by the sun and out of breath. He closed his eyes before he shifted back, the blood rush in his ears subsiding just in time for him to hear the tak of Will landing by his side.
::Nice work.:: Will observed.
“Thanks.” Craning his head, Finn surveyed the top of the school. “You guys really do this every time?”
“Just since last year,” Jack said. “Will figured out that no one can see you if you land by the science wing.”
“Fly up an’ cut across the roof,” Will confirmed. “It cuts things down by at least half.”
Jack raked his hair out of his eyes. “You have to be careful, though,” he warned. “Don’t finish the mile too fast. Mr. Fletcher has been bugging me to join the track team since last spring.”
“Four minutes an’ seventeen seconds,” Will said ruefully. “The hell were you thinking?”
Jack groaned. “I know, I know. Anyway.” Jack grinned as he turned back to Finn. “Hundred times smarter than your method, huh?”
“It is,” Finn said. He felt a little dazed, like he was emerging from a heavy fog. A hundred times smarter than your method… It was the kind of phrasing his dad would have used, the kind of phrase Dick Harval actually had used on more than one occasion:
‘You have to find the slowest way to do everything, don’t you, Finn?’
‘Don’t you ever think?’
‘Jesus Christ. Please tell me you’re smarter than this.’
Finn blinked. Jack didn’t say that to be mean, though, he realized. He was just…saying it. Joking around.
Like a friend.
“OK,” Will declared. “I think we’ve waited long enough. Now we just check an’ see if anyone’s down there before we fly down and finish the loop.” Rolling his shoulders, he loped to the opposite edge of the school roof and looked down.
“How’s it look?” Jack called.
“All clear. Hurry up, though.”
Finn watched Jack and Will swoop ahead before he took a deep breath and followed. His wings wobbled only slightly as the ground rushed up to meet him, and he managed not to flinch as his human limbs unfolded.
Jack’s eyebrows hitched skyward as Finn landed. “Wow.” He turned to Will. “How long did you say he’s been flying?”
“Not long.” Will glanced at Finn, his face alight with that warm, gorgeous smile. “He’s a natural.”
Finn tried to stammer out something smooth like I have a great tutor, but his mouth and brain seemed to be temporarily disconnected. He followed Jack and Will instead as they started to jog again at a brisk clip.
“Now the other important thing is to remember which lap you’re on,” Will said. “How many times have you passed Mr. Fletcher?”
“Good. Keep track.”
They pounded past Mr. Fletcher, who glanced up from his stopwatch. “Strong work, Corbin!” he called.
“Shit,” Jack muttered.
Will snorted. “You’re gonna end up on that track team for sure.”
And even though his lungs were burning, Finn smiled.
Aww, these boys. <3 Don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list if you want to keep up with drabbles, giveaways, and new release announcements! (Or if you just want to send a note to say hi–I read every one of your emails 🙂 )
Love and cardio,