Different Tracks Part 5
Saturday number four, and he was still hitting his thumb, and the back of his hand, and whatever other body part was within range with the hammer. Well, at least he’d made it almost to noon without a bruise.
Jo had given him a huge box of bandaids the week before and Xander wasn’t sure if she was joking around or not. Ever since Wednesday when Mr. J. had wandered into the butcher shop where Xander worked he lived in fear of these people finding out what the clumsy new guy did for a living. He could sling a meat cleaver with deadly accuracy, but with a hammer he was a threat to humanity. Mainly he was a threat to himself. Three years on that job and he’d never gotten hurt. Four weeks trying to help build a house and he was covered with nicks and scratches.
Xander felt a tap on his shoulder. He sighed and turned to meekly face whoever had come to rescue him. His heart--and cock--gave a little, happy flutter when he looked up into Peter’s face.
“You okay?” Peter held out a rag.
Xander took the piece of material, grateful to discover it was damp and cool. “Thanks,” He said and mopped his latest wound.
Peter folded his long legs and sat beside Xander. He placed two bottles of water between them and took the hammer and tapped a few stabilizing nails into the wood. “The trick is tap them lightly until they’re into the wood far enough you don’t have to put your hand so close.”
“Uh-huh.” Wow, Xander’s eloquence amazed even himself. He wiped the cold rag over his face as a distraction from watching Peter’s hands. Or how the slight sheen of sweat from the rising heat and humidity accentuated the muscles of his arms.
Handing the hammer back to Xander, Peter picked up one bottle of water and looked up at what they could see of the sky between the house frame as he drank. Xander sat there stupidly watching. When half the bottle was gone Peter put the cap back on and said, “Make sure you drink plenty today, though the way that sky looks I doubt we’ll work too much longer.”
A rumble of thunder punctuated Peter’s words. The sky was darkening to a grayish purple by the minute.
“Break it up, guys.” Mike hurried closer. “We’re packing it up for now. Severe storms are moving this way and tornado warnings are already popping up. Will you two get this part covered? We’re meeting up at that little diner about a mile down that way.” Mike pointed out the direction. “Peter, is your car still in the shop?”
Xander’s mouth opened and a voice that was his came out before his brain really engaged. “I’ll give you a ride. Wherever you want to go.”
Peter blinked at him for a second then smiled brilliantly. “I’d like that.”
The sky brightened for a few seconds. Xander counted, reaching three-Mississippi's before the air around them cracked and boomed. “That’s getting close fast.”
Mike ran to another group of people.
Xander helped Peter cover as much as they could with tarps. Fortunately this was a new project and the only thing up was the basic frame. Cement had been poured early in the morning for some part of the flooring and that was what they wanted covered.
All at once they were in the middle of a deluge. Everyone was running for their cars except Mike who had already hustled Mr. J. to his vehicle. The wind whipped the tarp and Xander started to go back to further secure it. Peter grabbed his arm and pulled him toward the parked cars. Lightning hit a nearby tree and tornado sirens shattered the air. Despite it all Xander appreciated Peter’s strong grip around his bicep.
“Come on.” Peter pulled on Xander’s arm.
Xander wasn’t going to argue. They ran for his car. “It’s not locked,” Xander called over the racket of rain, thunder and sirens.
Peter headed to the passenger side, but stopped and looked at Xander over the roof of the car. “Ride wherever I want to go?” Peter asked and cocked his head to one side, grinning. Xander couldn’t help the thought how great Peter looked with his blond hair all wet and plastered to his head.
“Get in the damn car!” Once Xander was behind the wheel he peeled off his sopping shirt without much thought. He seemed to have stopped thinking today.
“Wow. You started the Samurai tatt?” Peter ran two fingers down Xander’s shoulder blade. He nodded. “I approve.”
Xander didn’t have a prayer of stopping the quiver that ran through him. “Uh….” He reached into the back seat for a dry shirt, struggling into it. “Thanks. A drenched shirt against it isn’t good.” Glancing sideways at Peter, Xander shivered again as he watched a slow smile spread over Peter’s face.
“No, it wouldn’t be,” Peter said.
Xander stuck the key into the ignition and started the car, looking down as he did so. The clean T-shirt he’d grabbed was one of his work shirts. There would be no missing the long-horned steer with the words Butchers Make the Cut scrawled across the front and under that Otto’s Meat and Fish Shoppe. “You like steak?”
“Oh, hell yeah,” Peter said and laughed. He used Xander’s discarded shirt to wipe rainwater from his hair and face. “The diner is that way. We’d better get, this storm is getting bad fast.”
Kim Fielding is next up on Thursday with part 6!