The lovely Cathy asked Aidan to chime in on her blog, and I’m really, super glad she did! Brenna Blixen, the heroine of my first two YA novels, finally had to share her book with Jake and Saxon, and writing from their point of view was a very illuminating after seeing everything through Brenna’s eyes for 200,000 plus words! I loved bringing Trinity’s story out, but poor Aidan! He really had to hang back and let Trinity be her crazy/cool self. So here’s a little post from Aidan’s perspective, and it takes place after Trinity and Ruth went to Ireland for a few weeks over the summer.
Aidan’s Chapter: The Perfect Date Carried on Your Back
By the time Trinity and I were almost at our secluded rock in the woods, my tricep muscles were smoldering, sweat beaded down my back in torturous, mocking little rivers of irritation, and my body chemistry had morphed its composition so I was excreting some kind of strong mosquito pheromone. I was the newest blood delicacy at the all-you-can-suck mosquito bar.
“Aidan, seriously? Let me carry something.” Trinity swatted at a swarm of mosquitoes buzzing so loud next to my ear, it sounded like her voice was a recording off of an old-time phonograph.
She pulled a folded rectangle of paper out of her back packet and held it up, a twisted smile on her face. “The ‘Sorry Sonnet’ was enough. It’s very funny and I totally love it, by the way. But you don’t have to apologize, okay? The stuff that went wrong was out of your control.”
I wanted to do something special when Trin got back from Ireland. Something felt so weird and disconnected while she was gone, and, though I trusted Trinity with my life, something about Ruth’s brother, Lachlan, didn’t sit right. He had one of those pretty Hollywood pouty-man faces and that damn Irish accent that makes all the girls lose their minds. I took a pretty sizable chunk of the money I’d saved all summer, planned a night out…and it was a disaster.
I blew a stream of air up on my face in an attempt to keep the sweat that was pooling on my forehead from dive-bombing my eyes in stinging, salty drops. “Maybe. But I kind of feel like two flat tires, a kitchen fire, sexual harassment at the hands of a busboy, and food poisoning were a little much. I need to take a mulligan.”
We were at the rock. I put down the fairly enormous custom-built Adirondack lounge loveseat I’d crafted while she was away and lugged all the way here. I had tweaked, sanded, torn apart, carved into, and rebuilt that damn chair for weeks, and now it was here, where it belonged, the perfect permanent piece of outdoor furniture weirdly settled in the middle of our little bit of wild.
“I hope whatever jerk put nails in the road got a swift kick in the ass from karma. The kitchen fire wasn’t even that bad. And it was really reassuring how fast and orderly everyone exited when the alarms went off. And that busboy explained that, in all the commotion, he thought I was his girlfriend.” Trinity ran her hand along the back of the chair where all the carvings where, her fingers dipping into every notch and groove.
“His girlfriend was six inches shorter and fifty pounds heavier than you, Trin. He was trying to play grab-ass.” I dropped the picnic basket and the blanket, and held my hand out for her to take a seat.
“Can I look close now?” Her blue eyes were open wide, but they stared directly over the top of the chair. I knew there was no way to hide the thing from her, but I’d given strict instructions for her to not examine it closely. Because, honestly, although the chair itself got remade a few times to meet all of my detailed specifications, the beauty was in the carvings.
“You can look.” I got busy spreading out the blanket and watched as she knelt down by the chair.
I tried not to be too nervous, but I wanted so badly for her to be impressed, for her to see how much I loved her and how much I appreciated what she’d done for me and how she’d stood by me when everyone else lost faith. It was watch her examine the minute details of my thank you gift and equally hard to look away.
“Oh, Aidan.” Her voice came out all breathy, and it made my blood grind through my veins in too fast, overheated waves.
She pushed her black hair, kind of wavy and cowlicked from sleeping on it damp, away from her face. Trinity never got very tan, but a few weeks in one of the rainiest, grayest places on earth made her complexion even paler. She had no makeup on, and she was wearing a comfortable tank top and jeans. She was so beautiful, I was having a hard time concentrating on the mundane task of setting up a picnic without sneaking quick looks in her direction. The growl of hunger that snarled through me had nothing at all to do with the food I was setting out.
Sometimes it hit me like a log upside the head how much I loved everything about her; the awkward/comfortable way she held her body, the smiles and little o’s of excitement that shaped her lips, her spine-stiffening confidence, her tongue-curling happiness, and the way, when she looked at me, her eyes were light and eager with pride.
“You like it?” I looked down at the glass containers that held a meal that would have put the finest restaurant’s menu to shame.
I had started it on my own, but my mom can never stay away when someone messes in her kitchen. I tried to explain that it was for Trinity, partially because I knew Trin and Mom didn’t always see eye to eye, and partially because I wanted her to know how special I wanted the whole thing to be.
“For Trinity?” Mom glared for a minute, huffed, then reached on top of the fridge for her tin of super-secret recipes her Great-Aunt Sebastiana left for her. “Go pick a pineapple. Pull one of the leaves out of the top. Make sure it comes out easily, but not too easily, and make sure it smells sweet, but not rotten. We need to make a pineapple upside down cake.”
Great-aunt Sebastiana’s pineapple upside down cake was the high holy of holies in my mother’s kitchen. I was out the door and in search of fresh pineapple before she could change her mind, cautiously happy that my mom and my girl might start making peace around cake.
“Do I like it? I love it! Look at the little armadillos all gathered around Kali! You even gave them little spears, and all her arms have bracelets! Look at the skulls on her belt! And the cranes? They actually look like origami, but they’re carved! Aidan, this is art. This is too amazing. I love it. I love it so freaking much. We can’t just leave this in the forest. Other people should see this.”
She sat back in the chair, a messy-haired, contentedly-smiling queen in her love-carved throne, and I sat next to her so our bodies pressed together, shoulders to knees.
“That’s the whole point.” I ran my lips along her forehead and kissed the top of her head on all her glossy, sweet-smelling hair. “I want you to have beautiful things. Just for you. That I made with my hands. Our secret.” I pointed to the armrest where I’d abandoned all symbolism and carved a big, loopy heart with our initials.
She curled in and nuzzled my chest with her forehead, threw her arms tight around me and pulled my mouth down to give me a kiss that started slow and sweet as letting ice-cream melt on your tongue and ended with the sharp nip of her teeth on my bottom lip. “You know I’m never going to able to date someone else,” she whispered. “You’re like a crazy god of romance.”
I pulled her tight into my arms and mentally ticked off my worries. That I’d fall back to using. That she’d fall back to using. That she’d meet someone new. That our parents would drive a wedge between us. That we’d grow apart.
The few weeks she’d been gone this summer, I felt like I’d been sleepwalking, and I was so happy to be awake again, it kind of scared me. I kissed her long and hard, until she took the bait and climbed up onto my lap where she wrapped herself around me.
Her arms twined around my neck, her hair fell down over my shoulders, her legs squeezed on either side of mine, and I wished I could somehow whittle our bodies into puzzle-perfect pieces that would keep us independent but joined.
“I love you so much. I wish we could just stay here forever,” Trin whispered so close to my ear it made the hairs on my arms stand up.
I locked down my worries and kissed her as if I could transfer every splinter of love I had for her under her skin. Summer wound ahead of us like a slow, lazy creek with unexplored bends, and I wanted to raft down it with Trin at my side.
“So, have you made up your mind about doing the camp counselor thing?” I ran my hands over the silky bumps of her waved hair and my heart whirred and flopped like a drillpress with a loose belt.
“Oh I’m going.” She grabbed my shoulders and squeezed. “Three weeks together? Do you think you’ll be able to handle it, Aidan?”
My heart switched to a calm, steady rhythm of a well-oiled sander at her announcement, and I moved my mouth in the shape of a smile, but couldn’t answer.
I would have to handle it. No screw ups. No fall backs. No upsets. I could do this.
But I was afraid to jinx it all, so I kissed my girl and let her dream of intricately carved thrones in the woods, pineapple upside down cake, and a guy who could carry the perfect time and place on his back just for her.
Thank you so much, Cathy!! Also, you are on my list, because now I’m all excited to do a book from Aidan’s perspective ;)! This was really fun, and I’m so glad you asked for it!
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