tagBDSMMine, All Mine Ch. 02

Mine, All Mine Ch. 02

byDeathAndTaxes©

Author's Note: See! I promised the next [longer] chapter soon on the heels of CH1. Here it is! If you haven't read it already, you might want to do that first, so this one makes sense. It's short, I promise!

And now, on with the story. Enjoy!

Text copyright © 2016 Eris Adderly (AKA DeathandTaxes)


Part II: Silver Tongue

2015



Taylor sat in her ancient, army green Jeep, thumbing through her emails on her phone, baking in the dry oven of June near the Texas-New Mexico border. The most recent one was from her mother, asking for help with moving in a couple of weeks. Again. What else was new?

She shifted on the seat and made a little noise over having to wear jeans and socks and tennis shoes in this weather. Summer called for shorts, but that would be a dumb move today.

A dull, metallic pung pung pung made her glance up. Ian was lumping down the stairs from his apartment, pocketing his keys as he went, and shouldering a backpack. Taylor made a face as he hopped into the Jeep.

"Would it kill you to put on pants for one day?"

"It's hot," he said, slinging the backpack into the bed behind them. The Jeep was bare bones. A '53. Doors and a roof were a nice wish. At least Ian had the good sense to bring some bungee cords to tie up their packs, which he did before climbing into the passenger seat.

"You're gonna regret it," she warned, firing up the flathead and punching it into first.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah." He brushed off her nagging about his cargo shorts and wrestled with the stubborn lap belt instead. "Let's get on with it, Batgirl. I got shit to do later."

Taylor rolled her eyes at the newest nickname this project had earned her. Documenting bat behavior for her bio sciences master's had brought the cheesy jokes out of her friends like a good rain brought out earthworms.

Her nitpicking aside, at least she could count on Ian to show up when he said he would. There was something to be said for that. He might be the most helpful guy she knew. A body had to do no more than whisper about having trouble getting something done, and he'd come leaping out of the woodwork, sleeves rolled up and demanding to be pointed in the direction of maximum assistance. Sometimes this came as a blessing, but other times a person who'd accepted Ian's help would find themselves ready for him to go be uber-efficient somewhere else.

But what good are friends, Taylor thought, if they don't make you at least a little crazy half the time, right?

Some navigation out of the city limits later, they found themselves growling north on Highway 54 at about sixty miles per hour—about as fast as old Walt would do, and still behave himself.

Hot desert air flapped loose bits of her dark, coppery hair in every direction and Ian tapped at his thighs to some beat only he could hear.

"We could have taken my car," he hollered over the road noise.

"No, we could not."

"It has a stereo, though. And AC. And doors." She saw him glance down at the gray blur of the highway streaking by under the tires.

"Yeah, I'll bet it does. But it can't go where we're going." Taylor smirked. "I could sing some songs for you, if you want."

"No, thank you."

They both laughed. Wise men avoided her singing.

"I was gonna get you a bottle of your poison," he said, "but I ran out of time."

Taylor pulled her ever-present bottle of purple Gatorade out from where she'd wedged it between the seat and the side panel of the Jeep.

"That's cute you thought I didn't already have one," she said, raising it in a solo toast. "Thank you, though."

Her 'poison'. She chuckled to herself as they sped over sun-bleached blacktop. Taylor had never seen Ian drink anything other than water. Between that and the miniature pharmacy of vitamins he kept in his bathroom, The Good Apothecary Killbourne was set to outlive them all.

"Hey," she said, a few miles further into New Mexico, "if you need to call or text anyone, you better do it now. There ain't jack for reception at the mine. You won't be talking to anybody until we get back. Muahahaha!"

He ignored the cornball villain laugh she tacked on, but gave his phone a cursory check anyway before tucking it back into a pocket.

"So how long do you think this'll take?"

"Umm"—Taylor tried to guesstimate in her head—"an hour? Maybe? From the time we get there, I mean. I don't know, I've never done this before."

"Well how many cameras are there?" The entire conversation banged along at a yell.

"Three. One at the side entrance, and two near roosting areas. It shouldn't be that bad." She eyed him. "Why you in such a hurry?"

"They hired a new guy at the office, and I'm supposed to go in and start training him later."

"On a Saturday?"

"Don't get me started."

After Ian graduated, he'd taken a job at some company that made sales software. Taylor imagined a job like that to be pretty much a Monday through Friday situation, but they always had Ian working some nutty hours.

Still, he was the only one of her friends she trusted to help her out with this excursion. Chelsea was too busy and Nick was kind of a bull in a china shop. And Amy ... well, Amy didn't do dirt.

"Just tell them you can't come in," she said. "Tell them you fell down a mine shaft. Seems legit, right?" She looked over at him, waiting for a reaction.

"Heh. You said 'shaft'."

Yup. Immature. They both were. It was one of the reasons they were friends.

"You're goddam right I did."

He favored her with that lopsided grin of his and, for a few seconds, she let her mind drift.

Crushing on her best friend was one of those occasional and pointless pastimes she allowed herself, the same way people fantasize about what they would do if they won the lottery or how they would answer questions if Barbara Walters was interviewing them. The implausible scenarios were never going to play out in real life, but from time to time the mind turns them over the same way we examine an expensive watch in a store thoroughly and repeatedly, even though we never have any intention of buying.

If she'd never kissed him at that New Year's Eve party back in her freshman year, the thoughts wouldn't even exist. But the thunderclap of lust she'd felt that night had a way of echoing around in her psyche every now and then, seducing her into asking the dreaded What If?

Oh ... don't be dumb, Taylor.

There was no What If. Ian and Amy had been together more than four years. They were practically an institution. Everyone expected them to move to Dallas any minute now and have six or seven hundred babies and adopt a team of golden retrievers to pull all the strollers.

Taylor maneuvered a swig of her Gatorade and wedged the bottle back alongside her seat as Walt ate up the highway under the flat bake of the sun. There were things to do and she needed to pay attention to real life, not daydreams. She'd get to be as bad as her folks if she didn't watch.

* * * *

The Jeep lurched and jigged over the rocks in what remained of the dirt road up to the mine. Taylor's grip held the wild steering wheel in check and Ian bounced and swore from the passenger seat. A lesser vehicle would have thrown up a white flag half an hour ago, but Walt survived from a time when people built things to take a beating.

"Shit, Taylor!"

An unavoidable washed-out fissure in the road made the Jeep drop down and then jut back up, clacking their teeth. The lap belts yanked back on their hips and Taylor shifted down into the climbing gears.

"Can't we just park it and walk from here?" Ian asked, white knuckling the oh-shit handle on the dash in front of him.

"You want to haul all the gear up this hill on foot?"

They gritted their teeth and said nothing for a while as she wrestled the abandoned roadway up and up.

"Rrrrr!"

She had to lean to the side as thorny branches from mesquite bushes overgrowing the sides of the road fwapped past the fenders and windshield, taking swipes at her face as they went.

"Can you picture Amy out here?" she said, lobbing a teasing grin over at Ian.

"Haha! No," he said. "She wouldn't even have let you turn off the paved road."

Their whole group loved to give Amy a hard time about her "Princess Problems". Hell, Amy even made fun of herself.

Most days Taylor took a quiet pride in her guy friends' comfort venting about their partners with her. She was one of the boys, as far as they were concerned.

Once in a while it might be nice to not be one of the boys. At least not with him.

A series of carefully constructed internal safeguards rushed in and doused the line of thought before it could even warm up.

Nope. Nope, nope, nope.

They reached the highest point in the road they could get to before it topped the rise and fell away to a deep, impassable wash on the way down the back side of the hill. Taylor cut the engine.

"All right, this is it," she said, unbuckling her lap belt. "We just have to hike up there and drop in."

She pointed to a plateau on the side of the hill some hundred feet away. It was not a steep climb, they'd just have to avoid putting their feet in snake holes and twisting ankles. Stupid stuff like that.

"What do you mean, 'drop in'?" Ian said as he shouldered his backpack out of the bed of the Jeep.

"You'll see." Taylor smirked to herself, lifting out her own pack with all the camera equipment. She'd crammed sandwiches and granola bars and water in there, too, just in case. Always best to take more water than you think you'll need in the desert.

"I hate you so much right now," he said as they met in front of the Jeep.

"No you don't. You love me." Taylor hooked her thumbs under the straps of her backpack and squinted up the hill before looking back at the resting Jeep. "All right, Walt. Hold down the fort and don't do anything crazy."

"You ready?"

He shrugged. "All right." As if there was a buffet of other options. She set off into the rocks and thorns and her friend followed.

A dozen steps up the hill and she heard him hiss behind her.

"Ow! Goddammit."

She didn't bother to look back and see. "I told you to wear pants."

"Pipe down, you."

True to her estimate, they made their way up onto the shelf in the hill in a short matter of minutes. The sun had climbed almost to its zenith, as well, and all the shadows were now huddling underneath their casters, doing their shady best to avoid the bake of summer.

"Hey," she said, reaching her right hand out to stop Ian by the shoulder. "Hear that?"

He cocked an ear and flicked his eyes over the landscape for a long moment. "No. What is it?"

Taylor's grin ate up her face.

"Nothing."

She got a smile back in recognition.

"Yeah. You're right. Damn," he said, "it's almost too much."

The lion's share of southern New Mexico was either unusable or owned by the government. A few miles from a highway already running through more or less the middle of nowhere left them far from the sounds of civilization. And now at mid-day, even most of the birds and insects were off trying to be still and not hot in their little nests and crevices.

All that was left was the enormity of silence. It was a thing Taylor took a selfish moment to enjoy every time she found herself in places like this.

A cloudless sky pressed down onto the rocky ground with a velvety, oceanic pressure, searing blue and bruising into purple the higher she looked. Desert heat baked up from the earth underfoot, not sizzling like the sun at an August beach, but permeating; a dry fog of warmth that passed through clothing and skin and soaked right down into bones.

And not a solitary sound, save the ones they made. Bliss.

Ian gave her a minute to soak in it before he spoke again.

"So where is it?"

"Over here," she said, bringing her attention back to the task at hand. In a dozen or so more steps onto the shelf she brought them to another halt and looked down. His eyes followed.

"Are you fucking kidding me?"

What was left of a vertical mine shaft dropped away into the earth, an especially cozy home for the sheltering shadows.

"Oh relax," she said, stepping closer to the edge. "There's a huge beam that's fallen down at an angle. See?"

He joined her, peering down into the hole. One of the support beams from who knew how long ago had fallen at one end. The lower half sank into the dusty earth at the foot of the shaft and the upper end remained wedged against the wall. The timber was about a foot square. Maybe not as wide as a barstool, but wide enough for an ass either way.

"We can just slide down it."

He eyed her.

"OK, well not 'slide'. But scoot down, anyway." The scrunch of one side of his face said he still thought she was insane.

"Look, I've already done this once," she said. "That thing has to have been there like that for at least thirty or forty years. It's not going anywhere: it's wedged in solid. You could jump up and down on it, wouldn't move an inch."

After a considering stare down into the mine that went on long enough to make Taylor start considering how else she could manage to get this done on her own, Ian let out a hefty sigh.

"OK. But I'm going down first."

Oh thank god.

"So gallant."

"Don't thank me yet," he said, squatting down to sit on the raw edge of the shaft opening. "We haven't even seen if I can get down there."

"Let me hold your backpack. I can toss it to you once you've made it."

"Good call." He shrugged off the pack and scooted forward, gauging how far he'd need to lower his feet before they met the beam. "If I die," he said, "please go back to my apartment and delete my whole browser history."

"OK, but only after I save all your furry porn."

"I told you never to talk about that." One leg started stretching down into the shaft while he supported himself on his arms.

"So we can play it at your funeral."

"My grandmother will be thrilled." The foot made contact. "All right. I'm going in."

A few moments of dusty scrabbling sounds later, Ian stood at the floor of the one accessible level of the mine where they'd be working. Taylor dropped down first his pack and then hers before coming to sit on the edge herself.

"Careful," he said from the shadows.

"I'm careful, I'm careful."

She wasted no time levering her body down to sit on the uneven surface of the beam, her prior scouting trips to the site lending her confidence in what she needed to do.

Like an inchworm, she moved her butt and feet down the length of the beam. Her hands gripped the weathered wood behind her as she descended bit by bit into the cooler, dusty space below, stopping when she could hop off into the dirt.

"Well I'm impressed," he said as they picked up the bags again.

"You should be. I'm extremely impressive."

"OK, what now, Doctor Jones?"

"No camels!" They both laughed. "This way," Taylor said, moving to edge along a rough-hewn wall on their left. "There's not much room for your feet, so watch where you're going." She began to navigate a narrowish walking ledge into the mine. There was enough light from the shaft and a few other small crevices that had eroded through elsewhere in the mine that they didn't need their flashlights just yet.

"Umm ..."

"Yeah?" They hugged the wall, moving forward, their shoes making gritty shuffling sounds in the powder-fine dirt.

"There's a smell."

"That would be guano."

"That's bat shit, right?"

She chuckled. "Aren't you glad you agreed to do this?"

* * * *

Taylor checked the extended-life battery pack on the last of the cameras a final time. Everything seemed to be ready to go.

"OK," she said, "I'm coming down."

The silence in the mine carried her voice to Ian without her having to raise it. She headed back for the ledge, the silly-looking but useful head-lamp she wore pointing her path through the dark.

"I think ..." She ran her fingertips over her chin as she looked down to where Ian waited. He stood some eight or nine feet below, the weak dregs of natural light that made it into that part of the mine outlining his left side.

"I think you're going to have to sort of catch me."

He'd given her a boost up to the ledge where she'd wanted to install the second of the two roost cameras, but now the way back down was more complicated.

"Sort of catch you?"

"I think I can just drop down," she said, "but if you could just ... be there to steady me at the end of it so I don't break my ass. That would be good."

Now her legs were dangling over the edge, the way they'd done earlier dropping down into the entrance of the shaft.

"You ready for me?"

He stepped back, arms lifted slightly, but loose at the elbows.

"Yeah."

"All right. Here I go."

She slid off the ledge and let herself fall, feet first. Half a body length from the floor, hands were at her waist, gripping, slowing her descent. Her boots touched down and her knees bent, cushioning the impact as Ian let go to give her space.

"Perfect," she said, dusting the fine earth from her hands. "Thanks."

"No problem. You good?"

"Yup."

"So ... are we done?"

"Other than climbing back out of here, yeah," Taylor said, hefting her backpack up again from where she'd left it. "You want to eat some of this stuff I brought before we leave? I don't know about you, but I'm hungry now."

"Uh ..." He glanced around. "Yeah, OK. But where are we going to eat it? This bat dung smell is not exactly working up my appetite."

Hers, either. "We can eat outside. Come on, I'll show you."

Instead of heading back the way they'd come, Taylor moved further down the tunnel, taking the same path she'd found last time.

"I'm going to go ahead and assume you know where you're going?" Ian said from behind her.

"Nope. Getting us totally lost underground. They're just going to find our bones a hundred years from now."

An upward slope to the floor and a sharp right turn had sunlight exploding at the end of their path. "See? Here we go."

A second entrance to the mine, an extra-wide horizontal tunnel designed for wheeled and foot traffic, faced north into a sort of flat-bottomed bowl carved out of the back side of the hill. They hiked up and out of it, blinking their way into the sunlight.

"OK, why did we not just walk down this way instead of all that mess with the beam?" Ian asked as he turned back to face the mine.

"Because there's a big wash in the road. We wouldn't have been able to get the Jeep over to come around this side of the hill," she said, scanning about for a decent place to sit. "And because there is no way"—Taylor pointed to the sheer rock face that rose away from the tunnel they'd just emerged from—"we could have climbed down that to get here." At least not without a whole extra mess of gear, and one backpack each was enough while trying to navigate the inside of the mine.

"Ah."

"Well this is going to have to work." She brushed the excess grit off the top of a flattish rock she'd found under the shade of the mine entrance. It met her minimal criteria: a decent size for sitting and sufficiently lacking in pointy corners that would jab her in the butt while she sat. "That one's not bad," she said, gesturing to a similar hunk of stone a few feet away.

Ian came back to join her and she handed him over a bottle of water and one of the sandwiches she'd rescued from the pack after removing her head lamp and stuffing it into one of the pockets.

"What is it?" he asked, cracking open the water.

"Turkey and Swiss."

"Nice. And let me guess. You got a PBJ?"

"Yup."

"You're so boring."

"I like to call it: 'reliable'."

For a couple of minutes, there was only chewing.

"So I haven't seen you in weeks, man." It was the first time Taylor had slowed down long enough that day to just have a normal conversation.

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